Keeping on

I have been encouraged by the steady number of articles emerging in support of Trans rights in the last few days. I had been discouraged by the incessant abuse being hurled about on the arguments thinking that this just inflamed the situation. I have written to my MP, though with his track record I would be surprised if something positive came from it.

One of the things that has heartened me about the growing response is that there are some cool heads emerging. There is a good  article in Harpers Bazaar by Ugla Jonsodottir “When feminism supports trans rights everyone benefits”. Importantly she distinguishes between the terrible toxicity of the debate where there is abuse being thrown around from genuine criticism and challenge by way of debate. The main thrust of this is that their issue is with men and not transwomen. She points out that trans women “suffer disproportionate levels of sexual and domestic abuse from their partners, showing quite clearly this is a feminist issue”.

I was recently sent a Facebook page that illustrates clearly the argument that JKR’s issue is really with men. I have not been able to find the link save that the author is @darida.d. In it simplicity it shows the fallacy of JKR’s point.

Dear J K Rowling

he word you are looking for is “men”. Your problem is with men

(not with trans women)

You were assaulted by a man

(not a trans woman)

You want single sex spaces to protect women from men

(not from trans women)

You worry that women would be attacked by men who pretend to be transwomen

(not trans women)

Your fears and concerns are valid. But they are to do with men

(not with trans women) 

Your problem is with men

(Specifically cis men)

This highlights quite simply that the fear mongering which JKR has put out is truly based on the actions of cis men and does not take into account the reality that transgender people are just the same as everybody else, trying to lead normal lives and that the scenarios suggested by JKR are not going to take place by trans women and that in all likelihood any such behaviour will be carried out by cis men. It is an established fact that the majority of women who are subject to domestic violence already know their attacker/abuser. They are not random men dressing up as women in single sex spaces. The world portrayed by  JKR’s words is not born out by empirical evidence. In countries were self ID is already law there has been no increase in the kind of assaults or dangers that have been suggested by JKR.  

The Welsh Government this last week has issued a statement in which it confirms its support of Transgender rights in the Principality and calls for clarity on the single sex spaces issue from Liz Truss and for the Government to get on with the Gender Recognition Act review. 

As Ugla Jonsodottir said in her article “If we could let go of these hypothetical debates and instead listen to the stories of transgender people, weʼd all find out that we have way more in common and all share similar aspirations, fears and values in life. Transgender people just want an opportunity to be who we know ourselves to be in every aspect, and to create a society that values safety, inclusion and freedom. If that isnʼt a feminist cause, I donʼt know what is. “

Returning to the question of toxicity, the depth to which some people will go with their hatred has shocked me. A mother had posted on Twitter a picture of her daughter who had recently died. Yet she was subject to loads of abuse that her daughter would be tormented in hell, sorry for the loss of her son, etc, etc… It is essential that this issue is debated without such hatred and bile pouring out.

In that vain I was pleased to see that when The Sun attacked JKR on its front page in relation to the domestic violence she had suffered, sixty trans activists signed an open letter to the Sun saying that although they disagreed with JKR over her views on gender they found the Sun’s front page attack on JKR abhorrent and describing it as cruel and misogynistic. The ability to treat people as human beings and to debate issues in an open way free of toxicity is the only way forward.

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