I have been isolated for four months now, not leaving the house and garden. I am aware that my anxiety about going out again now is increasing as the trans issues have been all over social media. I have no difficulty with the prospect of meeting work colleagues again and going about my work. What concerns me is whether the increased visibility of anti-trans phobia in the press and social media will have made a difference to the general public.
When I first started going out full time, rather than to safe venues which were trans friendly, after a few months I found I was no longer concerned walking round town into shops etc. Yes, of course I was careful not to put myself into situations which might put me at risk, but probably no more so than a cis woman would do. As long as I was confident in the way I walked and carried myself then this reduced the chance of abuse. The only place in which I felt real anxiety would be ladies toilets. Simply because this was a single sex space and though I identified as a woman I was aware that there may be women who would object to a trans woman being in “their space”. The solution was for me to make sure that wherever possible I would visit single gender facilities in outlets such as Costas or disabled facilities where available in pubs or restaurants. I do not like using disabled facilities, because I am not disabled, even if it is safer.
The truth is I feel even more at risk in male toilets. A woman walking into male toilets is asking for a hard time. I always remember the relief when I was visited the Tate Modern as a guest and saw facilities for “all gender” as well as male and female. No need to be concerned.
So will all of this current media interest have made it any worse? I see that the TERFS are now putting out guidance as to how to spot trans women. Check out her height, size of hands and Adam’s apple. Really, this is intolerable. Funnily enough I am a human being, not interested in disturbing anyone. I just want to be able to go about my daily life free from harassment. If I need to go to the loo, to do so without being afraid. I do not think that is too much to ask.
So while isolated I have watched the anti-trans activists upping their efforts and for a while became quite dispirited. Then, at last, there has been a measured response from trans-activists including sensible articles in the press supporting trans women. I find it interesting that all the “safe space” issue seems to be with trans women and not trans men who of course are seen as women by the anti-trans activists.
Public opinion in various polls still have majority support for maintaining the status quo, petitions asking the government to protect trans rights also have substantial support. People are writing to their MPs and in a couple of days time I understand the Rt Hon Liz Truss MP will be setting out her proposals. Whatever the outcome it will be a question of holding one’s head up high, having confidence and using the facilities you identify with whether under the present system or under new restrictions.