MNHQ now email posters with how to "get around" the talk guidelines.

(401 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 26-Jun-14 11:57:44

There is yet another thread on FWR about trans people. Like nearly every other thread on there about trans people, it's a load of transphobia dressed up as gender analysis.

Nothing new, sadly.

What is new, is that MNHQ have now sent an email to a poster whose post was deleted, telling them how their post could be within the guidelines, even including a copy of their original post to make editing all the easier. This is because "discussion is important".

So, a few questions for MNHQ.

Are GLBT rights at all important to you?

Will you be extending this " How to bend the talk guidelines" services to racist, homophobic, or disabilist posts too, or is it only trans people who deserve to be discussed in a manner which is extremely offensive?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 26-Jun-14 14:36:24


We don't see it as advice on how to 'get around' the Guidelines tbh - more that it's a shame when people put a lot of thought and effort into a long post, and hundreds of words get deleted for the sake of a few lines.

It's not new at all - we do this quite often across all sorts of issues, and have done for some time.

We want people to feel MN is a place where they can have debates, even difficult ones. In these circumstances, just going ahead and deleting long posts without explaining why to the poster can seem a bit stifling.

But yes, GLBT rights are absolutely something we take seriously - see our regular work with Stonewall, for instance (and look out for stuff about Pride coming up soon). We added transphobia to the 'not allowed' list a while back and regularly delete posts that are reported as transphobic.

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 26-Jun-14 19:30:20

Rowan - would you really help someone who wanted to express racist sentiments to post within the talk guidelines?

Also, the TERF thread is not a debate, it is a thread that is overwhelmingly anti-trans gender people, particularly trans women.

Would you allow a thread with tons of posts claiming homosexuality was a mental order "that should not be indulged" to stand? Do you think Stonewall would be happy to work with you if you did? As that is exactly the sort of claims that are being on the TERF thread?

You have deleted entire threads for being mean or unsupportive about a particular celebrity, yet you allow and encourage transphobia to flourish.

The message you sent on the TERF thread, is that someone can be as unpleasant about trans gender people as they like, as long as they choose the right words when doing so. I think that is appalling.

KarlWrenbury Thu 26-Jun-14 19:32:17

dont call anyone a 'lunatic'

that would be my tip that i think is a pile of old cackerooney

KarlWrenbury Thu 26-Jun-14 19:32:56

Oh and don't put a fricken x at the end of a post.
We are middle class, if you don't mind, not a pile of huns

kim147 Thu 26-Jun-14 20:08:36

Do you think the TERF threads are debates with points being made by 2 sides?

Not sure if I do.

I've posted on that thread in what I hope is a reasonably neutral manner. I've read carefully every single post that has been contributed (expect any that have crossed with this one), and what I have seen is:

1) Well informed and carefully presented feminist critique of some vocal trans*activists who appear to be demanding rights that make some other women feel very vulnerable and at risk of harm.

2) Genuine sympathy for the difficulties faced by people who feel wrong or alienated in the gender they were assigned and desire that they not be harmed.

3) Concern about the medical treatments available to children and young people: concern that these treatments have as yet unknown physical effects and that they may be being offered not because the child or young person is certain of what they want but because the parents feel more comfortable with transitioning than homosexuality or gender nonconformity.

4) Some discussions about postmodernist / post-structuralist epistemology and academic privilege to separate theory from political reality and lived experience.

There is no intent to be unpleasant to trans*people and get away with it through skilled use of language and careful skirting around contentious points. There is an intent to discuss what is a very sensitive and difficult issue from the point of view of what it means for…how to put this appropriately… people with vaginas?

My own view, baldly stated, is that I am happy to accept trans*women as women but I am very concerned about what these very vocal trans*activists are doing. I appreciate the sensitivity of the topic, but it is important that neither feminists nor trans*activists are prevented from exploring their ideas and talking to each other about them.

Lovecat Thu 26-Jun-14 21:44:34

I'm finding the TERF threads very interesting and don't want them shut down.

Regarding debate, I don't think anyone is stopping anyone who disagrees with the arguments being put forward from posting there. As it is, it's quite refreshing to read a thread on the subject without having to wade through the kneejerk howls of transphobia and bigotry that pop up elsewhere on the internet when the idea that subjecting children to damaging hormones at a very young age might not be a good one (amongst other points) is raised.

Oh, no. Wait. The OP has done it here instead.

I'm also surprised and mildly amused that the OP tries to enlist Stonewall as support to her argument. Stonewall are fairly open about NOT including a T on their LGB rights campaigning. Are they a transphobic organisation?

KarlWrenbury Thu 26-Jun-14 21:49:15

wtf is a TERF
Like a Nerf?

CaptChaos Thu 26-Jun-14 21:51:13

TERF is an abusive acronym given to women by some trans*activists.

It means trans* Exclusionary Radical Feminist.

It is meant to be hurtful and is used as a slur against feminists of all stripes.

TiggyD Thu 26-Jun-14 21:52:29

Are they a transphobic organisation?
They do put transphobic writers up for awards, and use transphobic terminology in their media, and team up with companies like Paddy Power who make transphobic adverts, so yes, Stonewall are a transphobic organisation.

PortofinoRevisited Thu 26-Jun-14 22:03:27

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Lovecat Thu 26-Jun-14 22:19:47

All the more surprising, then, Tiggy smile

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 22:26:40

Guidance on the guidelines seems a fairly grown up approach.

Anyone who wants to get involved in the debate is surely free to do so. It seems to have moved on from the changing room issue, which was previously the main bugbear, into the heart of the both the philosophical and lived-experience matter of something that is distorting feminist discourse and should rightly be raised.

Get stuck in if you disagree. I always say that when there are moans about threads on FWR. It's not MNHQ's fault if you don't want to, nor the fault of those who are thinking hard about this stuff and posting on the back of it. Start some threads on the main boards if you want some back up. Make it a debate if that's what you want. Although, I have a feeling that's not the case... Well, tough. There are plenty who do. If you can't see any validity in that wish, then perhaps you're not as open minded as you think you are. I, for one, would love to see some counter to the posts with which I agree. Make me think harder, if you think I'm not thinking hard enough.

Enough of the poor trans. At the moment, they have won the feminist spaces on the internet, by and large. And are dictating what is discussed. Post more if you want this one to be constrained too.

QueenStromba Thu 26-Jun-14 22:28:59

GoshAnneGorilla - you do realise that your calling for the thread to be deleted is just vindicating what "TERFs" have been saying? That transactivists are trying to silence women and erode our rights by shouting transphobia or TERF every time we try to discuss the matter. You really aren't helping your cause here. Feminists didn't come looking for trouble with the trans community - trans activists came after us first and we'll be damned if we let them silence our protests at how the trans movement is damaging women's rights.

Kim, my reading of the thread before I joined (which was only a couple of days ago) was you turned up in the middle of a good discussion and repeatedly asked questions that you knew you wouldn't like the answer to until such a point as you got the answers you were expecting. You then refused to answer any questions that were posed to you on the basis that talking about being trans is so upsetting for you (funny how you turn up on every thread I've ever seen on here about the subject when it upsets you so much to talk about it). You were then asked several times to point us in the direction of a moderate transactivist which you couldn't do so you went off in a strop and now you're complaining to HQ about us. How is you trying to block discussion on the subject congruent to a balanced discussion? How is it not an example of the trans community trying to silence feminists who dare to question the gospel according to Paris Lees?

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 26-Jun-14 22:33:33

Lovecat - I didn't mention Stonewall, Rowan did. I know very well that they do not serve trans people.

I have been on many, many, many, of the FWR trans threads. Usually they are more balanced. Usually don't seem to intervene in the way that they have here.

Buffy - so you've seen no posts on that thread describing trans people as mentally ill? Or describing themselves as mutilating themselves? Or with one poster describing trans women as "autogynephilic" - a hugely contentious term which is very offensive to trans people.

It is a bigoted thread with people swapping hugely negative stories of trans gender to encourage people to actively dislike trans women.

Do not make any excuses about not liking the practice, but not wanting to harm the people - we all know that is nonsense, it's nonsense regardless of what group of society it is used against.

I am not a man and I am a feminist, so does my voice not count?

kim147 Thu 26-Jun-14 22:35:26


Trust me - you have no idea about why I'm not posting on that thread. And it's also not good form to try and say why I'm not on there.

I have also not complained to MNHQ - I'm just letting you lot get on with your "debate" - but I use that word loosely.

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 22:38:37

My previous post came across as more provocative than I would like. I should have added that I would welcome a debate because I would always love to understand how, for example, someone who is passionate about feminist issues in one sphere in which I am equally passionate and then we can be so diverged on other issue. For example, someone with whom I absolutely concur on the dynamics of male on female domestic abuse (in all forms) but whose opinions on, say, BDSM are diametrically opposed. I am fascinated in learning where that divergence occurs. The same applies to the trans issue - where does the divergence occur when arguing with the same viewpoint about women being discriminated as the sex class or socialisation of gender and then...woah!... complete opposite on transpolitics.I don't get to learn if you don't post.

MooncupGoddess Thu 26-Jun-14 22:42:03

I've seen radical feminists engage in hate speech against trans people online, and it's not a nice sight, but actually the recent threads on MN that I've read have seemed pretty thoughtful and measured. Trans issues are really complicated and I don't think shutting down the discussion (which is something both some rad fems and some trans activists try to do) is helpful in the slightest.

If you disagree with the posts by all means engage in the discussion, OP; MNers such as myself might learn something from you.

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 22:45:02

GoshAnne, your analogies to gay rights, when there are numerous lesbians on the thread in question saying they are being harmed by trans activism is inappropriate.

There is nothing wrong with disliking, even hating, a belief system while wishing no harm to the people. Religion, politics, radical feminism, genderism. You can dislike lots of beliefs and still wish no harm.

kim147 Thu 26-Jun-14 22:45:27

There's little point in posting on such threads when most of the people seem very fixed in their views on trans people. I honestly don't think it's a discussion.

QueenStromba Thu 26-Jun-14 22:47:56

Apologies Kim, it just seems like you're happy to discuss it when you're on a thread with loads of lib fems who will back you up but not when the majority of the posters on the thread aren't so happy to indulge you.

QueenStromba Thu 26-Jun-14 22:48:39

Cross posted there - you actually made my own point for me!

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 26-Jun-14 22:49:58

Almond - being trans is not a belief anymore then being gay is.

Just because it suits your argument to state otherwise, doesn't make it true.

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 26-Jun-14 22:52:41

Queen - So someone is happy to discuss something in a environment they feel is supportive, but doesn't feel comfortable discussing thing in a hostile environment?

I wonder why? No one else in the whole wide world would ever feel like that. hmm

MooncupGoddess Thu 26-Jun-14 22:53:47

But don't trans activists believe in an inherent gender identity, which can be separate from one's born sex? Have I got that wrong?

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 22:55:22

Please don't all fall into the trap of only seeing and responding to the posts that trigger a reaction. That's dull forum behaviour.

See, Gosh, I would love to read your explanation of trans not being a belief. Not goading, I really would. I can't understand if no-one lays out their explanation. Links would do.

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 22:56:23

I never suggested it was Goth Anne.

But genderism is a belief system that I am not required to believe in. I can still respect a trans person's lived experience and identity.

I suspect the reason you will not engage on the thread is because you would rather argue against straw men.

QueenStromba Thu 26-Jun-14 22:58:21

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

kim147 Thu 26-Jun-14 22:58:40

If you are interested in trans issues, why not post in Chat? I am sure there are people there who know trans people or have children / parents like that. You might get to find out stuff from people outside of FWR

kim147 Thu 26-Jun-14 23:00:11


In the nicest possible way - can you not post about me? I know I post on FWR - but I really don't want my body discussed on Site stuff as well.

But thanks for what you said though. flowers

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 26-Jun-14 23:01:58

I have been on many trans threads before, as I have already stated. I have no interest in discussing trans issues on your thread, just I wouldn't discuss race issues on Stormfront.

I feel MNHQ's moderation of this thread is hypocritical. Hence I have started a thread, in Site Stuff to discuss this issue.

KarlWrenbury Thu 26-Jun-14 23:02:42

oh god TERF

stop engaging with the weirdos

I said before - set a trap, pop back to provoke them and talk about it on a new thread called the New Lakeland catalogue"

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 23:04:39

I'm more interested in women's issues, actually. But I would be interested in learning about trans issues on a trans thread, from all invested parties. And women born and rased as female are just as invested as you are, for the reasons laid out in the numerous threads.

A chat thread would only serve to frustrate your search for validation, kim. So, knowing you are on here, I wouldn't do such a thing.

QueenStromba Thu 26-Jun-14 23:05:01

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

KarlWrenbury Thu 26-Jun-14 23:05:47

aggie and kim?

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 23:07:23

GothAnne, that is your choice, but I think you should stop attributing beliefs to me on this thread that I have never claimed to hold.

kim147 Thu 26-Jun-14 23:08:06

Why discuss - you won't listen. You can just carry on posting your thoughts on transpeople in the safety of FWR.

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 23:08:08

Why hypocritical? I am certain as I can be that MRAs (or their ilk) have been advised how to post prevously. That would explain their longevity, at least.

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 23:09:08


But is your lived experience more important that mine? Isn't that the crux?

kim147 Thu 26-Jun-14 23:09:20

Of course - if you posted on Chat, you'd probably face a different reaction.

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 26-Jun-14 23:10:01

A trans person, contributing to a thread about trans people is spamming?

As opposed to all the uber valuable contributions from people who have only encountered trans people on the internet?

So no trans people are allowed on threads about trans people, unless they behave in a way that non trans people approve of?

Do you hear yourselves? Do you realise how ridiculous you sound?

kim147 Thu 26-Jun-14 23:11:31

Can you all please stop discussing me?


almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 23:12:46

Again, nobody said the things you are claiming they said, Gosh Anne.

TiggyD Thu 26-Jun-14 23:13:16

I think the best way to have a debate about trans issues is in a feminist section so 50 ardent trans-deniers can crowd round the one or two trans people and tell them they're just mentally ill blokes in frocks.

SwerfAndTerf Thu 26-Jun-14 23:13:30

It's precisely these Orwellian attempts at silencing and demands of doublethinking sex and gender that alerted me to the existence of transactivism. Although transgenderism conflicted with my feminism I believed it to be a benign entity that wasn't a big issue for women. The constant attacks on women for Naming the Problem are what revitalised my radicalism.

I keep seeing more and more women having radical epiphanies due to transactivism so these attempts as silencing are doing our work for us.

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 23:16:18

TiggyD, again, that did not happen.

QueenStromba Thu 26-Jun-14 23:22:13

No GoshAnneGorilla. If the thread was "what is your experience of being trans" then it wouldn't be spamming, but when we're trying to talk about how transactavists are silencing feminists and eroding women's rights then a moderate trans person turning up and saying "but what about me?" on every thread feels like not only spamming but also silencing.

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 26-Jun-14 23:24:09

Querying the moderation on a website is not Orwellian.

Almond - Crotch maven did accuse Kim of spamming the thread.

I also think TiggyD's description is spot on, actually.

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 23:24:58

I would love to read a counter to "being a woman is not a feeling" or "a woman is not a man who doesn't want to be so" or "women born and raised as female should be able to discuss the issue pertaining to that in feminist spaces without interefernce from those without the same lived experience". Really, would love to understand the counter argument. Because the opposite is what is posited and is being accepted on virtually all feminist spaces. It's completely bizarre to me that feminism has reached this point and I would like to understand the reasoning behind it. Genuinely.

However, back to the OP. I am certain as I can be that MRAs (or their ilk) have been advised how to post prevously. That would explain their longevity, at least.

SwerfAndTerf Thu 26-Jun-14 23:25:31

I rather think the argument on the thread is that children who do not conform to strict sex roles are being medicalised and treated as if they were mentally ill when they should be left to explore their personalities.

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 23:25:38

Err, did I?

PortofinoRevisited Thu 26-Jun-14 23:26:22

My post got deleted - why? Are we not allowed opinions any more us CIS lot?

TiggyD Thu 26-Jun-14 23:27:01

Transactivists are also fighting for equality and against hate crime. Why do people never seem to mention that?

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 23:27:22

GoshAnne, but the rest of the claims in your post were untrue.

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 26-Jun-14 23:29:18

Queen - you are not just talking about trans activists though, are you? There is plenty of discussion of "genderism" why people think trans people are wrong/deluded.

Describing a trans person's contributions to a thread about trans people as spamming and silencing is ludicrous. You don't like Kim's contributions, because you find it easier to interact with avatars of trans people someone's read elsewhere on the internet. You don't like a trans person responding to what you actually say.

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 23:29:22

I'm not fighting for equality. Maybe that's where it all falls apart. I'm all about equity. And women's liberation, of course :-)

CrotchMaven Thu 26-Jun-14 23:34:08

Hello, Gosh? You seem to be reading my name, not my posts. (Apology accepted, because I'm sure you felt it, even if neither of us really experienced it)

If you want to discuss your OP, my response is: I am certain as I can be that MRAs (or their ilk) have been advised how to post prevously. That would explain their longevity, at least.

Perhaps the rest of your posts need to be on the thread you are complaning about. Then you can make it an actual debate, rather than making accusations about it being one-sided. Which it is, because you are posting on here. Unless you want to try for 2 one-sided debates, which seems odd.

HoneyDragon Thu 26-Jun-14 23:35:06

So what's the issue?

You are using site stuff to spread a debate from another thread, making this a taat?

Because, it sounds like MNHQ are trying to listen to people and give them a chance to accurately redo their posts without personal attacks, and to allow threads to continue rather than been deleted simply as they no longer make sense with all the gaps.

So which is it?

PortofinoRevisited Thu 26-Jun-14 23:36:19

To me the issue seems to be that there is a small minority of men who want to to be women. Fine with me - I have an uneducated opinion that if we never focussed so much on the gender thing it wouldn't even be an issue - but that now this small minority is trying to strangle feminist and women's views. And I get deleted for saying so.

SwerfAndTerf Thu 26-Jun-14 23:36:50

Most 'feminist' websites now delete any gender-critical commentary. I've been deleted for saying 'Gender is socialisation, it is not innate'. Saying something so fundamental to feminism attracts rape threats, death threats and 'I know where your children go to school' threats. This is what is so Orwellian. I've seen people be forced to apologise for saying FGM is a women's rights issue because 'men have vulvas too'. Subjective identity politics is silencing women from discussing the objective material reality of their lives.

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 23:39:47

Critiquing genderism does not suggest that trans people 'wrong' or 'deluded.' Not all trans people believe in genderism, just as not all women believe in radical feminism.

HoneyDragon Thu 26-Jun-14 23:43:11

Right so none of this really has to do with MNHQ, poor buggers.

I'll be off then.

SwerfAndTerf Thu 26-Jun-14 23:43:55

Is there anyone here who doesn't long for the day gender is abolished and, if so, why?

QueenStromba Thu 26-Jun-14 23:44:00

No GoshAnneGorilla, I don't like the fact that Kim won't actually discuss anything while trying to take over the thread. Myself and others have tried to reassure Kim that we're not talking about trans women like her but she doesn't listen and she refuses to admit to things like the fact that there are predatory men out there who pretend they're trans to get into women's spaces or that quite a large percentage of trans women have working penises and want to use them to penetrate lesbians. The fact that she cannot even conceive that this might be the case should let her know that we're not talking about her or people like her so popping up on every TERF thread just feels like she's trying to stifle discussion for no good reason.

Do not make any excuses about not liking the practice, but not wanting to harm the people - we all know that is nonsense, it's nonsense regardless of what group of society it is used against

Ah now, that's not what I said, is it. I said I have no problem accepting transwomen as women, but that I do not like what these vocal transactivists are doing. I do not like anyone dismissing the violence women experience from men and how they need refuge from it and I do not like anyone to use threats and insults to shut down debate. Which is what these vocal transactivists are doing. Are you arguing that they are not?

Gosh you came onto the original thread, threw a few outraged insults around and then popped off here to start this protest thread. Which you are using primarily to tell people what they are really thinking and saying. And you are doing it primarily on the basis of what, exactly? It feels like you're drawing upon your idea of a hierarchy of who has things the worst and therefore deserves the biggest voice.

If you want your feminist voice to count in a feminist discussion, why not try using it to engage in a discussion of the issues rather than simply using it to insult and provoke?

SwerfAndTerf Fri 27-Jun-14 00:01:35

I'm well aware that transactivists are campaigning against hate crime. Unfortunately they are directing this campaigning against feminists rather than the violent misogynistic and homophobic men that kill them. It's also the MRA argument - more men than women are victims of violence and this is somehow the fault of feminists.

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 27-Jun-14 00:16:30

HoneyDragon - Actually, I do have an issue if MNHQ are handholding people as to how they can vent their prejudices and stay within talk guidelines.

Hence I started a thread in site stuff to query this, because I want to know when else this is happening and if they are doing this for posters with racist, disabilist, or other prejudiced views too.

Buffy - I started this thread to ask about MNHQ's moderation of a thread. I have said all I wish to on the TERF thread and I certainly did not throw around outraged insults in my comments there.

FloraFox Fri 27-Jun-14 00:34:30

Kim and Tiggy you might not realise this but not every discussion between feminists needs to be framed as a "debate". We don't need MRAs or anti-feminists there to "help" us ensure that every discussion has the alternate view represented. We hear the alternate view all the time, every time we turn on the TV or radio or open a newspaper. This is one of the reasons why women like to meet sometimes without men. Feminists also engage in consciousness raising or just general discussion among ourselves. Not all voices are unified but we break away from default male constructs of "debate" where opposing views are given false equivalence. The constant demand to debate and include the "alternate" view that we hear every other place is draining and not constructive to feminist dialogue.

This is an open forum and anyone is able to contribute to any thread. On FWR, we are not allowed to exclude men, MRAs or handmaidens but we are allowed (largely) to discuss gender politics without being shut down, as is the case on most so-called feminist websites or general news sites like CiF. If you choose not to participate, our dialogue is no less valid. In fact, the most recent threads on trans issues have been measured and calm discussions of very controversial aspects of gender ideology.

HoneyDragon Fri 27-Jun-14 07:27:26

But it's been rolled out across the ENTIRE forum. I had thought it completely a totally unnecessary measure. However, having read the other thread and this one, I can see why MNHQ are favouring it.

I feel for them, I really do. When the forum was conceived they certainly did not expect the site to become an space to discuss FWR. It's a huge site with many topics and variables. Many posters over the years have come to use the FWR boards exclusively rather than the site as a whole. Attracting a certain mindset of posters and consequently a certain mind set of troll. Often the trolls will also head into other spaces were there are posters who are emotionally damaged and vulnerable, rather than simply staying and antagonising FWR boards.

If you are to have a space to have debates and to discuss the rights, wrongs and intellectual theories behind ACTIVISM as well as feminist issues than I think some responsibility needs to be taken for the responses that are attracted. MNHQ have listened and listened, and tried to provide solutions to this.

The whole board is fed up with trolling. But let's face it FWR attracts more than it's fair share .... Sometimes ever other thread is populated by a nasty goady twats and trolls. The threads read appallingly, because the trolls get fed.

People complain they are stifled and the debate is lost when deletions occur.

So why can't MNHQ try something new to keep debates running? Why does it have to interpreted as something sinister or taking one side over the other in FWR. If it's through the entire site how the hell does it make MNHQ transphobic?

HoneyDragon Fri 27-Jun-14 07:30:18

And don't any one dare to say I'm victim blaming. I'm certainly not ..... I just think MNHQ are been falsey maligned and used as a scapegoat for other motives.

FloraFox Fri 27-Jun-14 08:33:02

honey I think you are saying the same as me. That if people are complaining about the lack of debate, they need to show what part they played in the debate. For me, as a relatively old person, trans issues in feminism are fairly new. I have been aware of, been sympathetic to and known trans people for many years but it has only been in the last year or so that I have come to realise how the typical trans narrative has an impact on women in general. It is an issue that is at the heart of trans and feminist thinking and for that reason I offer no apology for my views. I certainly welcome the chance to discuss these controversial issues in a calm and rationale manner.

I am very grateful to MNHQ for facilitating the discussions around TERF and to all those who have posted on the threads.

GoshAnne: it's a load of transphobia dressed up as gender analysis

Please could you explain how feminists can do gender analysis without being accused of transphobia? It doesn't seem to be possible any more.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 09:10:49

Can people stop saying what they think I think? I know what I think.

I can't be bothered with those "debates" on FWR. I keep telling myself not to get involved but then I get drawn in. I have my own views on what's written in the debates and the posters on there but I am not going to talk about the posters because I don't think it's right to talk about other posters - especially on unrelated threads.

I can see there's been a call to arms though from FWR.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 27-Jun-14 09:11:04

'Please could you explain how feminists can do gender analysis without being accused of transphobia? It doesn't seem to be possible any more.'

You can't, because despite the po-mo at the base of their philosophy, genderists are effectively claiming the status of objective truth for their theories: gender is not about social construction, it is innate not coerced or conditioned, and 'identifying as woman' is the only acceptable understanding of the term 'woman'. Even though this conflicts with the dictionary definition 'adult human female', and with the experiences of women throughout the world, whose gender identification is completely irrelevant to their oppression.
If you point this out you lay yourself open to accusations of transphobia. If you dare to follow the argument to its next stage and suggest that according to some perfectly valid definitions of 'woman', transwomen may not actually be women, you will get it in the neck and run the risk of deletion.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 09:11:28

HoneyDragon, I don't understand your above post at all. This is nothing to do with trolling. There are no trolls on the thread in question.

I'm the poster that GothAnneGorilla is talking about in her OP. I've been a regular on MN for about 8 years, I'm not a troll and none of my posts on the thread in question are goady/spammy/personal attacks/etc. I joined MN before FWR existed.

I thought for quite a while about whether I was going to bother posting on this thread or not, but out of respect and appreciation for MNHQ and Rowan in particular, I want to say some things.

First of all I shall give you my version of what happened, I think I'm better placed to know than GothAnneGorilla because I am the person who was deleted and who received an email about the deletion from MNHQ.

There is a long and complex discussion going on in FWR about possibly the most controversial issue that feminism has encountered ever. It is an issue which has divided feminists and others, as we can see from the existence of this thread.

I have posted quite a lot on the thread in question and I had a post deleted because it was reported. The post was not a personal attack, it was not goady, it did not contain any slurs. It contained an opinion, expressed in normal language with no insults, swearing or offensive words. The post was quite long and touched on a few issues, I put quite a bit of thought into it. It wasn't a 'ya boo sucks, youz are all haterz' type post.

It got deleted and I was a bit surprised because I didn't see what in the post could be considered to break MN guidelines. As it happens I still had the thread open on my PC with the deleted post still intact, I considered editing the post and taking out a section that I thought might have been the problem but I wasn't sure if it was against the rules to do that and I wasn't about to bother MNHQ by asking them.

In fact MNHQ had already sent me an email on the subject. The email was very straightforward and diplomatic and said that I had been deleted because the post had been reported, that they understood that the topic is very controversial, that they are OK with the topic being discussed but that there were two implications/assertions in my post that they didn't feel could be left to stand, but I could re-post the rest of the post if I took those bits out (surprisingly, they were not the bits I expected). A copy of the deleted post was included in the email.

So I did just that. I also posted on the thread to say what had gone on (MNHQ specified in the email that it was fine to say why I was reposting) and to say thank you to MNHQ for allowing controversial issues to be discussed and to express my appreciation for the way they had handled things.

GothAnneGorilla posted on the thread saying pretty much what she has here. I replied to her saying pretty much what I have here.

There is nothing sinister going on and I'm very sorry that my and MNHQ's openness has resulted in them being attacked on this thread. MNHQ did not advise me on how to 'bend' or 'get around' the guidelines. They told me to remove entirely two assertions. Off my own back I also tweaked some of the wording because I suspected that the post might get reported again so I changed some language that I know some MNers would consider transphobic (basically I removed the word 'male' and replaced it with 'XY'). MNHQ did not suggest that I do that - I decided to do it because I frankly couldn't be arsed to repost a post if it was only going to be reported again because some people consider the words 'male' or 'man' to be transphobic slurs when applied to people with XY chromosomes.

I am proud of MN for being a place where women can discuss one of the most controversial issues to affect us in sexual politics, there are fewer and fewer places on the internet where women can speak freely on an issue which has enormous ramifications for us.

What constitutes transphobia is also hugely controversial and accusations of transphobia are increasingly being used in order to shut down women's speech and to make it impossible for us to discuss women's issues. I think women should be very very concerned about that, not contributing to it.

GothAnneGorilla you are not the internet authority on what constitutes transphobia. I read this thread as an attempt to shut down other women because you disagree with their opinions.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 27-Jun-14 09:13:36

...and I say that as someone who is open-minded about the possibility of different definitions of 'woman'.... I wouldn't go around telling transwomen they are wrong because who am I to determine which definition of womanhood makes sense for them? But the idea that this is now the only valid version of truth is hugely problematic and dangerous.

HoneyDragon Fri 27-Jun-14 09:26:15

But that's my point. I don't think anything sinister is going on. I think MNHQ have a tough enough time modding FWR because of all the crap that DOES go down on there. Which is not the fault of regular posters and activists but dickhead twactivists with their own crappy agenda.

Rather than continue an discussion that's clearly from another thread I would like to know how the op is justifying accusations of MNHQ being transphobic on the basis if a site wide system?

It seems unfair and misleading.

The topic is site stuff. Yet mostly this is an argument about definitions of gender and defining, not whether MNHQ should allow people to edit their posts to remove PAs.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 09:30:59

Personally - I think you can say what you want on FWR. I don't think it's a debate as such - but it's your space to say what you want. I've rarely complained about any posts nor asked for any threads to be deleted. I've just decided that it's not a place to post on for me anymore.

I do think that having the same discussion in Chat or AIBU would get a different reaction to FWR. I also think that the trans threads on FWR have changed over the years as certain people seem to dominate them and more liberal posters don't comment. But that's just my observation.

TiggyD Fri 27-Jun-14 09:33:50

One person's being told how to 'get around guidelines' is another person's 'help to stay within guidelines'.

I don't really see anything wrong with it.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 09:36:51

OK HoneyDragon, I understood that you thought the issue was trolling. Thanks for your clarification.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 09:45:16

MN has just had a very successful campaign around miscarriage care. I am very grateful for that as miscarriage has been a major issue in my own life, in that of other family members and I don't want it to be an issue for DD.

What is sad is that no mainstream feminist site could run that campaign anymore, because any issue of the female body gets closed down for transphobia.

I think the reason there are fewer liberal voices is because trans activism is radicalising many feminists and they have changed their minds. Many posters on the thread have said that is what has happened to them.

We are lucky to have MN. It is one of the few places leftonline that cares about females.

HoneyDragon Fri 27-Jun-14 09:57:29

We are lucky that we can say what we want all MNHQ as is that we are mindful how we say it.

And I wholeheartedly agree with what Tiggy just said.

HoneyDragon Fri 27-Jun-14 09:57:44


I agree with GoshAnne. I think overall the FWR section is terrific but I find the trans threads really depressing (not to mention, as a social scientist/constructivist myself, theoretically incoherent).

Because of that, I find HQ's decision in this case to be a bit incoherent as well. By deleting the post, they appeared to be agreeing it could be seen as transphobic. In which case, 'here's some advice to make it non-objectionable' is a bit creepy. Imagine someone wrote a long and thoughtful post about immigration policy, but with a few bits that were borderline xenophobic, let's say. Would we expect HQ to give some editing advice? I don't think so. The xenophobic bits colour the argument as a whole.

And if the response to that is: well, but the bits that were removed weren't really transphobic or objectionable, then why did HQ delete it at all?

I find the lack of transparency in the process troubling. If HQ had something to say about that post, they should have posted openly on the thread.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 10:08:57

I would assume MN is attempting to stay within the law, and that is how it decides what is and is not racist, transphobic etc.

It has never deleted posts just because they are prejudiced against women, Christians etc.

You can't, because despite the po-mo at the base of their philosophy, genderists are effectively claiming the status of objective truth for their theories

As I have been delegated the role of Straw Postmodernist even though I'd rather post-structuralist but that's not relevant and no one here really cares anyway and why should they I'd like to say that I agree so much with this analysis that it hurts. Yes x 100.

This is the problem: it's as though postmodernist ideas have been used to open up the possibility that there are other understandings of gender and interpretations of women, but only to create a chink that has since closed with a rusty metallic slam.

Imagine someone wrote a long and thoughtful post about immigration policy, but with a few bits that were borderline xenophobic, let's say. Would we expect HQ to give some editing advice? I don't think so. The xenophobic bits colour the argument as a whole.

I don't necessarily agree dreaming. How are people to evolve their views if they are unable to express them? I think that if someone is putting thought into trying to engage, posting in good faith and isn't trying to goad, then it is helpful to everyone to hear their voice. This allows others with more knowledge of the issues or with a different perspective to respond, and everyone's knowledge is richer for it.

I mean sure, if someone is just looking for loopholes to express bigoted opinions then that's a problem. And I know that some people here think that is what some of the posters on FWR are doing. But in this instance, who is the so say 'bigot' really does look different depending on where you stand. It is a judgement call and I think in this case MNHQ made the right one in allowing the discussion to proceed.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 10:22:50

Buffy, you can be straw post structuralist if you want! You might need a new thread to explain it all though.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 10:24:38

"This allows others with more knowledge of the issues or with a different perspective to respond, and everyone's knowledge is richer for it. "

But are there different perspectives on FWR or people with more knowledge of the issues? It honestly feels like a feminist trying to post on an MRA board sometimes.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 10:31:36

The problem is that what is or is not transphobic is massively controversial.

It isn't like racism or homophobia where there is a general agreement on what is offensive. (And I think comparing MN/FWR to Stormfront, a white supremacist neo-Nazi organisation, is disingenuous, disgusting and basically a veiled Godwinning.)

I think what happened is that someone argued to MN that two aspects of my stated opinion were what they would consider transphobic/offensive.

And MNHQ listened to them. Which I think is to be appreciated (even though it resulted in my being deleted).

In trying to be fair and balanced, MNHQ also contacted me to explain what the problem raised was with my post (which was helpful as I think all of us are unsure as to what constitutes transphobia because it varies so enormously from site to site and person to person).

Rather than just zap an entire post they suggested that I remove two specific parts that would be considered transphobic by some people but not by others.

I think MNHQ was trying to be fair, to listen to and respond to the poster who reported me, to not stifle discussion and to be mindful of the fact that my post was a considered opinion on a very very controversial subject.

They are never going to please all of the people all of the time (understatement!) but AFAICS what has happened here is that HQ have tried very hard to be both fair to me and to the person who reported me.

Giving them a hard time for it seems rather rude to me.

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 27-Jun-14 10:32:50

Just to reiterate, here are my points.

1) Do MNHQ email posters who have had posts deleted for other forms of bigotry such as racism, homophobia or disabilism and tell them how they can express their prejudices without breaking talk guidelines?

Because if that is happening, I think MNHQ need to be very open about this.

You cannot delete threads for being unsupportive to parents, as MNHQ are increasingly doing, yet actively assist posters to promote views which are prejudiced and hurtful to many parents and posters on here.

If this is happening, I think posters have a right to know, particularly in the light of discussions about "goadyiness" across the boards.

2)If MNHQ has never emailed posters who have had posts deleted for other forms of prejudice telling them how to express their prejudices within talk guidelines, then why are posts deemed transphobic being singled out for this treatment?

Either MNHQ deems transphobia a prejudice akin to racism, homophobia, disabilism and therefore in breach of talk guidelines, or it doesn't.

Also, according to Rowan's post, MNHQ will be working with Pride, who unlike Stonewall, described themselves as "serving the LGBT+" community, so I do think this makes it an even more relevant question to ask.

CaptChaos Fri 27-Jun-14 10:32:56

^ Imagine someone wrote a long and thoughtful post about immigration policy, but with a few bits that were borderline xenophobic, let's say. Would we expect HQ to give some editing advice? I don't think so. The xenophobic bits colour the argument as a whole.^

Off topic, but... I have seen many threads about immigration policy, especially those around the time of the election where both borderline and actual xenophobic statements have been made and allowed to stand. So, why would HQ email those posters anyway?

MNHQ were completely transparent, as was Beachcomber. This might have been the problem in fact and hence the TAAT. If MNHQ had just deleted and Beach had had a look and reposted her own edited post with no discussion, I'm assuming that would have been ok? Or if MNHQ had deleted and then quietly told Beach which bits were offensive, but told her not to say anything about it?

AFAIA, this thread was started because GAG felt aggrieved because she believes that MNHQ had helped a poster 'get around' the talk guidelines. This has been shown not to be the case. If people feel that the thread on FWR is going a way they don't like, then they are free to post on it, however, it's been good to see debate about a subject that usually gets shut down in minutes by people screaming bigot at anyone with a differing opinion.

I agree with that Buffy but I'm not sure that explains what happened here.

This seems less a case of engaging with someone and explaining how their words might be offensive, everyone moves on in more enlightened fashion, etc etc.... and more like HQ being a copyeditor. Eh, scrub these two paragraphs so no one complains.

I do find this unsettling. I would really hope this doesn't happen on the UKIP threads for example, where yes there are people writing very thoughtfully and not being goady and yet still being bigoted. Simply telling someone 'these are the sentences to take out' doesn't necessarily mean thinking evolves, it's just telling someone how to present the same ideas a little differently.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 10:48:03

GoshAnne, the issues around trans are being discussed within the LGBT community as well, and many of the posters on that thread are LGBT themselves and discussing it from that perspective.

Most of the people targeted by trans activism seem to be lesbians or gay men.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 10:51:34

I hope it does happen on UKIP threads, despite being opposed to UKIP. Most of what I have learnt from MN has been from posters being allowed to express arguments so others can argue against them, as long as those arguments stay within the law.

The problem is that what is or is not transphobic is massively controversial. It isn't like racism or homophobia where there is a general agreement on what is offensive.

I disagree with this enormously, and I actually think perhaps this is the root of our different takes on this (perhaps for GoshAnne as well).

Racism and homophobia are still incredibly contested. At a crude level, how many threads do you see on here where people debate whether certain things are racist or not? You will see incredibly varied interpretations of what is racist depending on who you ask. It will vary enormously across different countries, generations -- think of what wasn't considered racist just a few decades ago.

These are not static concepts, they are highly normative and shift constantly.

So I strongly disagree with placing transphobia apart from these, and implying it's okay to say objectionable things because 'it's controversial', because no one agrees what transphobia is.

As a more recent concept, transphobia is perhaps more contested, but if MN has included it within their talk guidelines then it should be taken seriously.

I agree with beach that the finer details of what constitutes being transphobic are the crux of the discussion. Nobody on that thread wants to be a bigot, let alone be called one.

These issues are relatively new: they are relatively new to the world (2004, did someone say?) and certainly the type of transactivism being discussed on the thread is new to many feminists, including me.

What worries me about it is that it is women / feminists being attacked for being transphobic, not men. White, straight men seem to be being left alone to get on with being oblivious to all these struggles for freedom by pretty much everyone who isn't them. Is anyone, for instance, outraged that testicular cancer is talked about as a man's issue? Or erectile disfunction being something men need help to overcome? Consequently, this emphasis on women, their language, identity and space, seems really worrying.

So because of the relative novelty of how these issues are being framed politically and because of the implications that they have for women who aren't trans, I think it is important we be allowed to discuss them, yes with sensitivity but without being shut down. They are still being sorted out, so there will be tensions and moments when what and how people can speak is contested. Attempts to silence this discourse are part of the problem, not the solution.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 11:02:28

DB, it is okay to say racist things on MN, as long as it stays within the law. There have been large thread where almost everyone agrees a certain poster's perspective is racist, but the posts in question are not deleted.

The difference on the trans thread is that there are not lots of posters who think the posts are transphobic. Should a lack of people who disagree be a reason for MN to delete?

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 11:07:22

"The difference on the trans thread is that there are not lots of posters who think the posts are transphobic. Should a lack of people who disagree be a reason for MN to delete?"

Do you think that if the thread was on Chat or AIBU that people on that area might have a different perspective?

People who are anti - homosexuals and post on a thread where most people agree with them probably think what they say is ok.

almond I think often, site guidelines are not compatible with democracy. MN needs to be consistent with its guidelines regardless of whether the majority of posters agree or not, and of course then we are free to say what we think about that.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 11:17:53

dreamingbohemain shall I give you an example of some things that are considered transphobic by many people and website guidelines and then perhaps you could give what the equivalent would be with regards to racism.

"women menstruate"

"women are adult human females"

"abortion is a women's rights issue"

"a penis is a primary male sex organ" (Wikipedia is guilty of this one as is the NHS website, every biology book in the land and every sex education class given ever.)

What is considered racist or homophobic is not set in stone but what is considered racist or homophobic does not enter into the realms of denying white people or straight people their identity and body biology. And neither white people nor straight people are an oppressed minority so the comparison falls down right there.

Most educated decent people can agree on what racism and homophobia are. The same can not be said for transphobia. At all. To compare transphobia to racism and homophobia is not to compare like with like and anyone who is informed on the issue knows that there is massive controversy and disagreement over statements such as those I have given above.

Transphobia is not just saying offensive things about transpeople. It is also saying true things about born women/females/biological women/FAABs/insert other PC term here as the term 'woman' is now controversial too.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 11:18:29

Kim, yes, they probably think it is okay, but I have not seen such a thread on MN.

I think if you posted a thread on AIBU, most people would be totally unaware of transgender people beyondbelieving they were people who wanted to be the opposite sex, a statement which itself is considered transphobic by trans activists.

Try going on chat and asking people what trans means.Most people, in my experience, think it means the above.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 11:20:31


Do you think any of your statements would be controversial on FWR or even on the rest of MN?

Do you think that anyone on here would consider them transphobic?

I certainly don't.

Also like almond I do enjoy reading the opposing viewpoints on UKIP threads and having a lively debate. I think posts there should stand unless really appalling, and we should all engage with each other on the thread.

What I don't like is to think that perhaps MN is there behind the scenes, showing posters how to 'clean up' their posts, like Nigel Farage or something. That to me is not engagement.

CaptChaos Fri 27-Jun-14 11:22:17

If it is merely which sub forum the thread sits which bothers you, Kim, then why not start another similar thread elsewhere, as you suggest Chat or AIBU?

I'm sure the differences in opinion would be just as interesting there, however, it might be more difficult to learn from it.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 11:26:20

1) Do MNHQ email posters who have had posts deleted for other forms of bigotry such as racism, homophobia or disabilism and tell them how they can express their prejudices without breaking talk guidelines?


GothAnneGorilla that is not actually what happened. As I clearly explained in my above post MNHQ emailed me and said (politely) "Beachcomber you are not allowed to say X and Y".

They did not suggest a different way of expressing X and Y. They said I can't say them.

Perhaps you would like access to my emails in order to check up on both me and MNHQ? I mean in addition to implying that we are bigots who are no better than neo-Nazis because we don't hold the same opinion as you on an issue of enormously conflicting views.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 11:33:36

almond Why not start a similar thread in Chat?

Because I can't be bothered to have yet another trans thread with lots of debate. It does get kind of boring.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 11:38:50

I never said that. It was quite clear in my post that I was talking about a hypothetical thread.

Please do not attribute statements to me that I did not make, Kim.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 11:40:38

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 11:20:31

beach Do you think any of your statements would be controversial on FWR or even on the rest of MN?

Do you think that anyone on here would consider them transphobic?

I certainly don't.

That is exactly the point I'm making. The above statements are not considered transhpobic on MN which is a big mainstream website. And yet they would be considered highly transphobic and offensive in other places. There are feminist websites where you would get deleted and told to check your privilege for saying such dreadful things as I have posted above.

And yet dreamingbohemian is arguing that transphobia is no more controversial than racism or homophobia.

If I say "lesbians are women who are sexually attracted to biological females" I can be accused of transphobia. Which seems a bit unfair on lesbains. I mean for it to now be bigoted to give a straightforward explanation of their sexual orientation.

Perhaps dreamingbohemian would like to give us the racist equivalent of that too.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 11:44:43

Sorry almond I misread what you said.

Transphobia - how about transwomen are just blokes in frocks? I'm sure no one would say that kind of thing - but I think that's the point where transphobia starts.

TiggyD Fri 27-Jun-14 11:48:25

Not by anybody on here Beach. And not by any of the trans people I know. I dare say the trans equivalent versions of David Icke would.

beach those statements are intentionally grounding 'woman' in biology and thus hostile to the concept of trans, so yes I can see why some people would consider them transphobic in certain contexts. It's a bit disingenuous to divorce simple statements from the politicised contexts in which they're taking place (i.e. a bigger discourse about gender identity).

That doesn't mean you have to think they're transphobic -- it doesn't mean MN does either. And this goes back to the original question. What is transphobia for MN? Is it simply that you can't use hate speech? Because then probably your post should not have been deleted. Or is it a more extreme version? I doubt it, given the content on the rest of the site. I sense they are trying to straddle different interpretations and perhaps not being consistent.

I don't see how you can argue that the evolution of what's racist hasn't changed white (and especially white male) identity but that's probably another thread. And given that many 'educated decent' people deny structural racism exists, I disagree that there is consensus in this area at all. Perhaps progress, but still a long way to go.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 11:51:50

Maybe MNHQ - who have been very quiet on this thread - should clarify how they would define transphobia?


I did not at all say that transphobia is not as controversial as racism.

I said you should not use controversy as an excuse to be phobic, because by that logic it would be okay to be racist as well, given the still contested nature of racism.

kim yes, I think they should

TiggyD Fri 27-Jun-14 11:57:26

To avoid accusations of transphobia avoid the use of the word "tranny" and don't refer to 'MtF' transpeople as men, and don't say 'he' or 'his'. 'They' or 'their' would be fine if you didn't want to say 'she' or 'her'.

Talking about the issues would be fine, as well as saying that you believe the whole thing is a mental disorder if that's your opinion, so long as you mention it's your opinion and get the personal pronouns right.

And be aware of the problem when it's 50 against 1 in an argument debate. The more of you there are, the more careful you need to tread so the one person doesn't feel like they're being bullied. (And that's for ANY subject)

I think that's a great start, Tiggy

I wonder if we all gave suggestions, we might find there is actually a lot of consensus

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 12:04:31

TiggyD, then perhaps you would like to give us some links to a moderate transactivist who doesn't share those beliefs.

DB, those beliefs are frequently cslled transphobic in the context of women's rights issues that are not about gender identity.

Both yours and Tiggy's points were covered and arguedagainst with evidence on the thread.

Pretending that is not the case just means the whole thread ends up replicated here.

Also, I don't enjoy engaging with UKIP supporters. I don't have the knowledge to do so. I read and learn from hearing the sound arguments against.

I would learn nothing if I came to this with little knowledge, because all you, Tiggy, GothAnne and Kim are doing is arguing against things you would have liked 'us', MNHQ and feminism to have said/done rather than engage with the actual situation.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 12:07:11

Tiggy, sorry was responding to your David Icke post notyour last post which I xposted with.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:07:27


I personally don't think there's any point in engaging with many of the people on such threads. I don't think people's minds are that open to engage.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 12:08:29

dreamingbohemian can you (or anyone else) give me an idea of what would be the racist or homophobic equivalents of;

"women menstruate"

"women are adult human females"

"abortion is a women's rights issue"

"a penis is a primary male sex organ"

I don't think you can. And I don't think you can because gender politics are inherently different to the politics of race and homosexuality/lesbianism.

When you say that white people's identities have been changed as a result of considerations of racism, I agree. White people's unearned privilege and undeserved higher status have been adressed (at least a bit). And that is how it should be - supremacists and oppressors should be made to relinquish privilege in order to give human rights and recognition to the groups they exploit, harm and oppress. This is not denying white people their identity however.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 12:08:50

DB, my first guidelines for you, Tiggy, Kim and GoshAnne would be to not to refer to women as sluts and whores.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:09:24


Have I ever said that?

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 12:15:32

No, but nobody on the thread in question used the T word, yet apparently it is excellent advice for us to be told not to do do.

I will also point out that thousands of people are petitioning to have Dan Savage no platformed because he used the t word to explain why it should not be used, just as Tiggy did. So it certainly isn't excellent advice. It is a transphobic post.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:19:57

What one person considers transphobic would be what someone else considers gender analysis.

MNHQ need to define transphobia - so people recognise it when we see it.

We all recognise racism, xenophobia and homophobia when we see it - or do we?

Interesting point about the ratio of people with different opinions. We could rehash the thread (from which I learnt a great deal) on chat or AIBU, where feminist posters would be outnumbered.

We'd have to scroll through I'd guess 15 or 20 'this is a non issue' and 'get a grip' as well as the odd 'you feminists all eat babies so I hate you all' for every sensible contribution.

I can see how this would make those who felt uncomfortable and outnumbered on the TERF threads feel less uncomfortable and outnumbered, but I don't see how it would advance anyone's thinking.

FWIW, I felt like a dissenting voice for most of the thread. I still don't have an issue with a transwomen being a she. I wouldn't mind that much if she used a changing room with me, as long as she behaved 'normally' in that space.

But I don't understand why some of these really vocal activists want to override the voices, wishes and psychological wellbeing of women who aren't as lucky as me (I've only experienced the normal low level sexual assault and verbal abuse you get from men and would feel reasonably safe in a public changing room with a respectful transwoman). And in particular I am shocked by the idea that they feel they should be allowed to transgress the sexual boundaries of anyone. Gay men don't want to have sex with me because of my biology, I don't have the right to call them a bigot for it.

This is what worries me. I have no issue whatsoever with what I imagine are the majority of transpeople just trying to get on with their lives in peace, like Kim.

DenzelWashington Fri 27-Jun-14 12:22:32

Just to be clear, I found this thread through 'Active Conversations', not any call to arms on FWR.

OK, so, GoshAnne said:

I do have an issue if MNHQ are handholding people as to how they can vent their prejudices and stay within talk guidelines.

Hence I started a thread in site stuff to query this, because I want to know when else this is happening and if they are doing this for posters with racist, disabilist, or other prejudiced views too.

Actually, I don't have an issue with it, whether it relates to FWR trans threads only or more wide e.g. race, disability discussions as well. I really do think views (even seriously unpalatable views) have to be debated, explored and challenged.

For example, if someone came onto MN and denied that the Holocaust ever happened, should that post just be deleted, or should it stand and attract reasoned, detailed responses from people who actually know their history? I think the latter.

If MN contact people and say (to continue with my Holocaust example) your denial post can stand but take out the anti-Semitic abuse, to tone it down so as to minimise the hurt and upset to other posters then I think that is a broadly sensible way of proceeding.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 12:23:54

TiggyD, I don't disagree with the outlines you post above as to how to avoid being transphobic.

However I think you are underestimating the controversy of the issue.

For example you said "don't refer to 'MtF' transpeople as men" - to which I would ask you, what is a MtF transperson to you?

Would you consider a person who was born male, who has XY chromosomes, a penis and testes, a biological male body with usual levels of male hormones and who takes no synthetic female hormones and who has had no gender reassignment surgery to be a MtF transperson? I mean if they claimed that they were a woman and cross dressed and wanted to use women's services such as changing rooms, women only refuges, women only rape crisis centers, cervical cancer screening etc.

Because currently in what gets called trans* by most of us such a person would fit into the spectrum that asterisk denotes.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 12:27:57

No, but nobody on the thread in question used the T word, yet apparently it is excellent advice for us to be told not to do do.

I will also point out that thousands of people are petitioning to have Dan Savage no platformed because he used the t word to explain why it should not be used, just as Tiggy did. So it certainly isn't excellent advice. It is a transphobic post.

Good point almoncakes.

See how it is complicated Tiggy! In trying to not be transphobic you have just done something that would have you no platformed by transactivists for being transphobic. I wonder if that makes you more or less transphobic than me and all the biology books in the land?!

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 27-Jun-14 12:28:04

I don't think Tiggy's advice is much cop tbh. GAG has already implied she thinks mental illness references are unacceptable, and I doubt any of the transwomen I know would be happy with 'they/their' - while I hesitate to speak for anyone else, I suspect it would be regarded by some as dehumanising.

A full and detailed set of instructions from MNHQ on what is and isn't transphobic would be great but I wouldn't envy them the task - I think they'd end up upsetting both sides. There are a few words like 'tranny' that are obviously unacceptable but most of it isn't that clearcut, especially given how much diversity of opinion there is within the trans community about what it's all about.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:30:25

The only posts that I have seen deleted are personal attacks where words like "he" and references to a penis have been included.

I think that's transphobia - or just plain attacks on a transwoman.

TiggyD Fri 27-Jun-14 12:33:49

In America it would probably be transphobic. They don't like to use those 'bad' words under any circumstances even to say they're bad. In this country using them in order to talk about them is normally considered OK. Otherwise you get a situation like I was in a while ago when I was forewarned not to use the 'K' word in a thread about South African issues. I could not, not, use the 'K' word because I didn't know what the 'K' word was and nobody could tell me without using it.
Racist words are OK in British Scrabble competitions, whereas they are not allowed in America.

Beach, if somebody wants to be referred to as female, I'll call them by female titles. If I don't know their status but somebody is generally giving off a more female vibe than male, I'll go with female again, or neutral until I can figure out what they would like.

And there's no way I'm using an asterisk. No other words have asterisks. I'll occasionally use a hyphen, but that's it with the funny symbols.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 12:39:05

But Kim I wasn't deleted for doing either of those things nor did I make any personal attacks. So it seems that things are more complicated than that.

DenzelWashington, I know you didn't mean it that way but could people please stop comparing me posting on MN to Nazis such as Holocaust deniers and Stormfront. It feels very personally attacking and IMO unhelpfully hyperbolic.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:39:40

If you were MNHQ - what would you define as transphobia?

I agree it's difficult - what you think's fine would be transphobic to someone else.

Personally - just trying to use the pronouns for a start.

And things like this "when THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD is big white blokes having their cocks cut off on the NHS?"

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:40:38


Like I said - I've started avoiding trans threads on FWR so I have no idea what you said or why it was deleted.

It is complicated.

DenzelWashington Fri 27-Jun-14 12:46:50

Not only did I not mean it that way, but that is not any kind of analogy I was drawing. I used an example far away from this debate to illustrate how I thought guidance could remove gratuitous insult but still allow necessary debate.

I have not compared any of the content of your posts on MN (didn't have you specifically in mind in any case) to anything Nazis such as Holocaust deniers and Stormfront might say, and I am quite irritated to see you suggest that I did.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 12:47:20

Beach, if somebody wants to be referred to as female, I'll call them by female titles.

Don't you think that renders what it is to be female utterly meaningless? Which may not bother you too much but it bothers lots of biological females, especially when we want to do things like campaign for abortion rights and address rape, violence against women, equal pay, the right to vote for women who don't have it yet, etc.

Perhaps if all the women in Saudi Arabia claim that they are actually male, they will be allowed to drive?

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:50:26


You've referred to me as "she" plenty of times. Why not "he"?

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 27-Jun-14 12:50:57

Oh, it's all so blooming difficult. Even the pronouns.

I don't have too much trouble referring to Kim as 'she', or various other transwomen I know that live as the opposite sex and have been doing so for ages. Feels weird to refer to them as 'he', in some cases.

But when some bloke with a beard in his early twenties makes a Youtube video about how he's genderqueer and a lesbian, and he clearly has no intention of giving up any kind of male privilege, to be told I must use female pronouns in relation to him feels..... problematic.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 12:53:08

I know you didn't intend it that way DenzelWashington (and it wasn't you who mentioned Stormfront - it was someone else upthread).

I'm sorry, I am a bit upset at the implications on this thread about me and what I got deleted for. Indeed I'm upset that the thread was started at all. I'm also pretty annoyed for MNHQ. I am no doubt being oversensitive. Please accept my apologies.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:53:19

And there's the rub.

I agree with Tunip though.

I wouldn't mine calling this young bearded person she if that was what they wanted.

I would have an issue with someone socialised with male privilege expecting their desires and experiences to trump everyone else's. I have this issue regardless of the gender with which that person identifies though.


Beach I think you've conducted yourself with great dignity and integrity on both threads flowers

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 12:57:06

You've referred to me as "she" plenty of times. Why not "he"?

Because I imagine that it would upset you and I don't see what the point of that would be.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:57:48

I'm honestly surprised MNHQ haven't said much on this thread.

And yes beach , it must be hard on this thread when you are being discussed.

DenzelWashington Fri 27-Jun-14 12:58:26

Apology gladly accepted, Beach.

This whole situation is very, very difficult and emotive. it stirs anger, outrage and protective instincts on both sides.

DenzelWashington Fri 27-Jun-14 12:59:21

I would have an issue with someone socialised with male privilege expecting their desires and experiences to trump everyone else's. I have this issue regardless of the gender with which that person identifies though.

I think this is the crucial point.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 13:01:35

I also have a copy of Beachcomber's original post. The two things that were flagged as transphobic are things that have been allowed to stand in other posts. I think the reason they were seen as problematic in Beachcomber's post is that they were mentioned in passing without an argument to back them up.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 13:04:32

Thank you Buffy, Kim and Denzel.

I don't mind being discussed and I don't mind my posts/deletions/emails with MNHQ being discussed.

I take issue with implications about bigotry, being compared to racists, homophobes and neo-Nazis (I'm referring to GothAnneGorilla's post about Stormfront by mentioning the Nazi thing again, NOT Denzil's post that she has kindly clarified for me).

AnyaKnowIt Fri 27-Jun-14 13:12:49

So calling a man with a penis, male is transohobic?

I don't envy you mnhq

LurcioAgain Fri 27-Jun-14 13:16:48

I've been searching round for an analogy which isn't going to be taken as extreme for what I think is one of the central issues of the trans* debate.

So here's my analogy - and I hope by picking a group I used to be a member of, it won't be seen as a crude parody of some minority group. I used to be a Christian - a kind of liberal, wishy-washy Christian. I had a crisis of faith a few years back and would self-identify as an agnostic. One thing that used to upset me, and which actually I still find offensive, is a certain type of atheist who holds that religion is the root of all evil (yes, it has been responsible for a lot of evil things done in its name, no sane person could deny that - but to say therefore that all religious belief is therefore intrinsically evil does not follow logically). So I got tired of being treated as if I were the same sort of person as a member of say, the Westboro Baptists (the genuinely evil bigots who picket funerals of dead service people in the USA because they claim that war deaths are God's punishment for a society that tolerates homosexuality).

Now I think there's a danger of a similar thing going on here - that most trans people want to quietly get on with their lives (and I would, like Buffy, have no problem with sharing a changing room with most well-intentioned trans women, while at the same time seeing that this might be deeply troubling for a woman who'd been sexually assaulted). However, at the extreme end, the trans activists who complain about the cotton ceiling or about abortion clinics being women's health issues are for me an extreme fringe.

But here's the interesting thing - how come this extreme fringe, who (as far as I can tell) are not representative of the views of trans people as a whole, become the go-to spokespeople for the movement? Now, one parallel that springs to mind is with radical Islam - when a mainstream newspaper wants a soundbite, they typically talk to a self-styled "community leader" who is more extreme than the community he claims to speak for. This is partly because extremism makes for good press, and partly because some of the more rightwing newspapers have a deliberate editorial policy of setting Islam up as the enemy of traditional values, and therefore want their readership to believe that an extreme form of Islam is the norm when in fact it is unrepresentative. So the question I'd ask is not so much why the "cotton ceiling" end of the trans spectrum exists (every movement has its extreme outliers) but why it is given so much air-time, and why liberal feminism is so anxious to defend this extreme position? And for me, it was that question that the TERF thread was designed to address - it was not intended as a transphobic thread.

Sorry, just catching up. Beach again, I think it's disingenuous to post those statements in a vacuum. Saying that women menstruate in most contexts is more or less factual. Saying it in a context of defining identity is more provocative. Obviously so.

In the context of an identity debate, saying 'women menstruate' is really the equivalent of 'you can only be a woman if you menstruate'. So imagine saying something like 'you can only be considered black if you have dark skin' -- i.e., grounding racial identity in physical characteristics only. That would also be a controversial statement and some would find that bigoted.

Lurcio that's a really interesting post

On here anyway, I don't think people defend the extreme activists so much as they just keep pointing out that they are the extreme. I think there's more of a problem of people focusing on the extremists and using them to discredit all trans people generally.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 13:53:39

I think the point that Beachcomber was making there was that all of the things she mentions are biological truths (excluding the fact that not all women menstruate for various reasons) that you will read in any text book, there are many liberal feminist websites that will shut you down for saying them even if the thread is nothing to do with trans rights. This makes it impossible to talk about things like teenage girls in some developing countries not being able to attend school for several days each month because they are menstruating.

Radical feminists are fighting back because the whole situation has turned into an Orwellian distopia where women can't talk about reproductive rights and things that only affect born women because someone will say "but some women have penises" and the whole discussion is labelled transphobic.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:02:04


But do you think that will happen on MN?

It's a real shame if feminist websites are shut down - or threads are deleted because they are deemed to be transphobic if such comments are made. Those comments aren't transphobic - and are totally irrelevant to trans rights.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 14:04:22

In the context of an identity debate, saying 'women menstruate' is really the equivalent of 'you can only be a woman if you menstruate'.

No it isn't. A statement like 'women menstruate' is a generalization (with potentially the implication that men don't menstruate).

It is nothing like saying 'you can only be a woman if you menstruate' or something like 'all women menstruate'.

It doesn't mean that post menopausal women are no longer women. Or that anorexic women whose periods have stopped are no longer women. Or that pregnant women are no longer women. It is a generalization that most people are able to take at face value. Perhaps if I put it into a context for you that would help.

women menstruate therefore we need to put sanitary bins in the women's toilets (put into this context the section 'women menstruate' would be considered transphobic on many websites and by many people - perhaps by the OP of this thread)

So imagine saying something like 'you can only be considered black if you have dark skin' -- i.e., grounding racial identity in physical characteristics only.

Hah! I think it is you rather than I who is being disingenuous. I asked if you could give racism or homophobic equivalents to things I actually said, not things I didn't say. 'you can only be considered black if you have dark skin' could, at a push, be the racial equivalent if I had said 'all women menstruate' (although it would really be the racist equivalent of a misogynitic statement). But I didn't say that. That is what you decided I said.

Do you think if I say 'women get can pregnant as the result of intercourse' what I actually mean is 'you are only a woman if you get pregnant every time you have intercourse'? Based on your above post it would be reasonable to think so.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 14:08:00

No I don' think that will happen here Kim, but the fact that it is happening elsewhere makes it all the more important to discuss how the trans movement isn't good for women while there are still places we can discuss it.

LurcioAgain Fri 27-Jun-14 14:09:24

Dreaming - I can see that there's a big danger of picking on extremists and using them to discredit all trans people (which I think is precisely what is done with Islamism vs. mainstream Islam). But I still don't think that's what's going on with the TERF thread (I think you could level that accusation at some of the infamous Changing Room threads in Chat, though I'd be wary to because I am fortunate enough not to have been raped, so I don't know what it feels like to be a woman who has been raped suddenly confronted with a penis in a changing room).

What I think is going on with the TERF thread is an attempt to examine the following: when I first started reading about feminism (in a kind of pick-and-mix random sort of way - it has never been my academic field of study) back in the 80s and early 90s, the distinction between sex (biological) and gender (socially constructed) was central to the analysis of why women had historically been denied access to certain activities. But what I'm picking up from the TERF threads is that in order to defend the view that self-identifying as a woman should be considered as enough to make you a woman (without taking hormones/ having surgery), gender is being treated in an essentialist way - that it is some sort of mysterious "inner feeling" that people have, rather than a complex interaction between biology and social factors which reinforce some behaviours and suppress others in a malleable and varying way. And that this essentialist view is becoming such a dominant orthodoxy that if you try to question it on a liberal feminist website you will get deleted for transphobia.

And this has desperately important practical consequences. I was a gender-non-conforming child (I actually dressed as and passed as a boy for several years in childhood). But at no point did I think I was a boy - it was just my immature way of expressing the fact that boys got to do what I thought of at the time as the cool stuff (cricket, football, woodwork, climbing trees, going to the railway museum) while the girls got the rest (netball, sewing, visits to the costume museum). Now what do you do with a child like that? Hope that she/he will grow out of it? Come to a more nuanced understanding of gender (just because stuff is labelled as "for girls/boys" doesn't mean it actually is - you can climb trees in a dress or play with the dolls house in your khaki "mummy's little monster" t-shirt)? Or reach for the puberty blockers assuming that the child is trans, regardless of serious implications for future physical health and fertility? Because I'd hate to live in a world where the third of these was the only possibility we were allowed to discuss, because all other interpretations of the child's behaviour were trans-phobic.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 14:12:41

DB, why do you keep misrepresenting the thread?

I was the poster who talked about women menstruating. The context of that was an international campaign to provide school girls with sanitary pads and toilets in schools because of the girls who get to go to school globally, one in ten of them miss four or more days of school a month due to lack of sanitation.

The trans activist response to that was that the girls should be referred to as menstruators, because calling them girls was transphobic.

It was not in the context of feminists or anyone defining gender identity.

I am finding it very tiresome that you keep criticising things that were not the topic.

I could just keep randomly making up sexist stuff you never said or did, and saying you shouldn't do it, but what would be the point?

I am still waiting anyone to link to a moderate trans activist, and there are plenty of moderate Muslim speakers, so it really is not comparable.

TiggyD Fri 27-Jun-14 14:15:45

Lurcio I agree that you shouldn't judge a group by it's most vocal and extreme members. That's why talking about trans issues on Mumsnet seems so pointless.

LurcioAgain Fri 27-Jun-14 14:19:42

But Tiggy, that slightly misses the point. We expect the Mail and Express to deliberately seek out extremists as examples of Islam, but we expect better from the BBC or Guardian. What's interesting about the whole TERF thing is that as far as I can see, most liberal feminist websites are behaving like the Mail rather than the Guardian - putting the views of "cotton ceiling" extremists centre stage, rather than seeking out more representative viewpoints. And even more bizarrely, putting these extreme views centre stage to the detriment of women's issues. I don't think it's transphobic to say something peculiar is going on here.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 14:20:53

Buy Tiggy, in this case it is the most vocal and extreme members that are setting the agenda which is why we need to discuss the issue with them in mind. In this case it really doesn't matter what the transwoman who keeps her head down thinks because they aren't the ones affecting policy and shouting TERF when women try to talk about how we are oppressed due to our biology.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:22:25


Instead of repeatedly asking for a link, why not go and speak to some trans people. Maybe most trans people aren't activists - in the same way most women aren't actively involved in feminist activism.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 14:24:01

But Kim, it doesn't matter if 99% of trans people don't agree with the transactivists.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:24:29

TBH - it's also the extreme examples of what some transactivists do that come up on trans threads. You can guarantee the things that will be said on any trans thread. And it's the actions of a few that get quoted.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 14:26:04

TiggyD isn't about judging a group by its most vocal and extreme members. Its about going 'woah, hang on, why are the most extreme members having such a huge influence in non extreme circles?'.

Such as extremists being allowed to dictate what women can say about the sanitary needs for girls in poor countries so that they are able to go to school when they are menstruating. FFS.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:26:13


It does matter when those views of the transactivists get repeated ad nauseum on any trans thread as they do damage to transpeople.

Just like the views of what Muslims are like get distorted by the actions of a minority.

Lurcio thank you again for that thoughtful post -- it's really helpful, I'm afraid I have to run out but I'd like to come back later and reply to it.

Beach I said in the context of an identity debate not all the time. I don't think those statements are transphobic as a rule, I can just imagine some contexts in which they could be. If you are saying they are labelled transphobic 100% of the time, then that is excessive. But is that really the case? It doesn't seem the case here on MN, at least, so why have that argument here?

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:29:35

It also matters when rare examples of what some transwomen have done are repeatedly brought up on threads as though this is what transwomen are like.

It happens frequently - rare examples of awful behaviour are used to tar transwomen.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 14:29:41

It matters because if it's only 1% of trans people who think this way, why aren't any of the other 99% speaking up and saying "hang on, this is all getting ridiculous now"? So rather than 100% of women having our lives made worse by the 1% of born men who are trans we're actually having our lives made worse by 0.01% of born men who are trans and are arseholes. Great, that's so much better.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:31:42

Isn't that the same argument about why aren't Muslims speaking out about the actions of a few?

Should Muslims speak up about the actions of a few in their community?

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 14:32:01

We mostly bring up examples of non-trans men claiming to be trans so that they can access women's safe spaces and abuse women. And the vocal 1% of trans women will defend their right to do that until the ends of the earth. Do you not see a problem with that?

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 14:33:47

Muslims are speaking out about the actions of the few. For example, I read an article a couple of days ago about a man who was speaking out against his son who had gone to fight for Isis.

CaptChaos Fri 27-Jun-14 14:34:09

Kim... is that the same argument as men should speak out against men's violence? Because if it is, then I agree with it.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:34:17


If you read any of my posts, you'd know what I thought on that.

However - is it my responsibility to speak out? I've said that on the threads on here.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 14:34:54

The idea that it is bigoted for women to talk about girls living in poverty not being able to go to school due to lack of private space in which to attend to their menstrual flow, makes me angry.

Or abortion clinics no longer referring to women's right to access abortion but 'people's right to access abortion'

That is what this has come to. These things erase girls and women. Which goes some way to explaining why supposedly 'extreme' voices are having so much influence - they aren't considered extreme by misogynists. They are lapped up by them.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 14:35:35

If the trans community is going to let the transactivists speak for them then they can't get upset if feminists start tarring all of them with the same brush. I don't actually see anyone doing that though.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 14:35:44

Kim, because the topic is not the behaviour of trans people. It is the behaviour of trans activists.

It is not the case that the same things come up on every thread. The current treatment of Dan Savage has only just happened. The attempts to label girls as menstruators has only just happened. The trans woman elected politician telling a feminist to suck her balls and then being asked to speak at London Dyke march has only just happened.

These kind of events are getting more frequent and closing down feminism and gay rights more and more.

If there are no moderate trans activists, stop making out we are cherry picking the extreme ones in these conversations.

There are plenty of moderate activists around Islamic issues.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:38:04

The trans community? We all gather and decide what we all think?

You wouldn't label Muslims with the same views because of the actions of a few. Yet I get the impression that many feminists on FWR are happy to label trans people because of the actions of the vocal activists.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:40:17

By definition - activists are vocal. And probably are more outspoken.

I have no idea if there are moderate trans activists. I should imagine a lot of trans people don't have anything to be really vocal about so there is no need for them to be "active" on line.

Beachcomber Fri 27-Jun-14 14:44:42

dreamingbohemian, the reason I choose the statement "women menstruate" is because this is a real life example of women being called transphobic when they discuss the sanitary needs of girls in certain countries and how it affects their ability to go to school.

Now will you accept that what constitutes transphobia is controversial and a different issue to that of racism or homophobia?

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:53:45

But there are trans people who are active in trying to get NHS services better. I don't know if they have blogs - but they are involved on FB.
There are trans groups trying to tackle media representation of trans people.

Trans lawyers who fight employment issues.

You've probably not heard of them -and they're not vocal online.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 27-Jun-14 15:15:21

I'm beginning to wonder if it would be more helpful to talk about genderists rather than trans activists.

As far as I can see this is a better delineation of the group who are causing problems for feminism/women - the people who think that innate gender identity trumps everything else and they need to attack the TERFS for not recognising their cis privilege. Not all these people are trans (many are just general Twitter-based social justice warriors) and as Kim suggest, trans activism in itself shouldn't be a problem - in fact it's rather important as far as I can see, that there are people out there fighting the obvious discrimination trans people get in employment etc. And not all trans people believe in 'gender trumps everything' anyway.

7Days Fri 27-Jun-14 15:30:17

they are still erasing womens rights whether they are only a tiny minority of transpeople or not. You have to expect that feminists will oppose people who trample their rights, surely.

there is a distinction between ordinary trans people and transactivists who cause harm.

Lovecat Fri 27-Jun-14 15:32:22

As I said on the thread itself, it's not so much the vocal trans activists (although what they say/do is pretty vile), it's their accommodation by feminists who appear to want to be righter-on-than-thou, who bend over backwards to give trans rights higher billing than... well, pretty much anything else. They're the ones policing feminist websites, abusing other women for bigotry and transphobia, closing down debate.

I'm sure the vast majority of trans people who aren't activists don't do this sort of thing and yes it is bad that they get lumped in with the activists who post 'die cisscum' at women and no-platform anyone who doesn't roll over and admit that their hurt feelings trump anyone else's rights.

They don't need to when there are a shedload of internet handmaidens ready and willling to do the work of that 0.01% for them.

I'm not sure why that is, but it is frightening that any debate or mention of another POV is being shut down like this.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 15:42:22

Kim, if you named any other issue it would be easy to name moderate activists in that group. Being outspoken is not the same thing as having an extremist view.
Of course this is an issue of genderists rather than the majority of trans people -- and most genderists are mot trans. I said that on my first post on the terf thread.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 15:54:19

That said, I did not use the word genderist, because that is not the word they have given themselves. I'm not sure it is up to us to decide what to call people who call themselves trans activists.

FloraFox Fri 27-Jun-14 20:22:32

The transactivists I know in person and their allies believe and say the same things as the so-called extremists. I have lost a very long standing friend (not a very close friend but someone I have known and liked for 30+ years) who is not an extremist in any way (Lib Dem in fact) over a discussion about whether a transwoman is a woman / is of the female sex. I was told it is transphobic to even discuss this.

You say these are extremist views. I don't believe you.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 20:40:22

Surely discussion about activism etc would be better off not on Site stuff.

I still think MNHQ need to clarify what they would define as transphobic. You might not like what they say - but at least everyone would know their position.

I don't think transphobia is the right word anyway. Should it be comments that promote hatred of trans people or are anti - trans people? I understand it's a difficult one and also that feminists need a space to discuss the effect of trans activism on women.

That said - is it comparable to a place to discuss the effects of immigration on the indigenous population? I don't know. How do you discuss that without accusations of racism and xenophobia?

And MNHQ still haven't commented much on this thread.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 21:05:09

That's actually the perfect analogy Kim. Say there are two countries - Womanistan and Manistan. Womanistan has historically been oppressed by Manistan and Manistan are much richer than Womanistan. Should the citizens of Womanistan be expected to accept immigrants from Manistan who will use up Womanistan's scant resources when Womanstani's aren't accepted in Manistan? Especially when the most vocal Manistanis who want to move to Womanistan make it pretty pretty obvious that rather than just wanting acceptance in Womanistan they want domination of Womanistan. It sucks for the Manistanis who just wanted asylum but the Womanistanis can't be expected to accept any old Manistani who wants in when the most vocal amongst them are obviously anti-womanistani.

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 27-Jun-14 21:05:16

I started this thread to seek clarification from MNHQ with regards to moderation, that's why I started it in Site Stuff.

This section exists for members to ask questions of MNHQ, so I don't see anything wrong or rude about my OP.

In order to highlight this thread, earlier I have reported my most recent post stating exactly what my questions were, so that it is flagged up to MNHQ.

This thread was not intended as a trans issues debate, there have been plenty of those already.

FloraFox Fri 27-Jun-14 21:08:23

If I was MNHQ I wouldn't go near this with a ten foot pole. Look at what happened to Gia Milinovich after she tried to have a balanced event to discuss trans issues. Even Laurie Penny has been rounded on by transactivists for her latest article in the New Statesman.

I'm not sure that GAG or dreamingbohemian would agree with you that feminists should have a place to discuss the effect of trans activism on women.

These discussions would be more comparable to Indians meeting in India to discuss the effect of immigration of British people into India. That would not be racist or xenophobia.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 21:10:36

Actually, in order to make my analogy work, Womanistan must have only have only recently succeeded from Manistan.

almondcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 21:12:39

No, it is not comparable because the 'indigenous population' is a racist phrase if you are referring to the UK.

If you mean British people, the British are not a disadvantaged group, while females are.

FloraFox Fri 27-Jun-14 21:17:24

QueenStromba I'd say Manistan is still oppressing Womanistan but less than it used to.

SwerfAndTerf Fri 27-Jun-14 21:34:44

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 21:44:23

Now I think we're getting close to the transphobic comments.

QueenStromba Fri 27-Jun-14 22:03:43

What exactly do you have issue with Kim?

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 22:16:04

Is it transphobic to refer to a transwoman as a man born a man?

Or is it just someone's opinion?

MNHQ have deleted such comments before - and have pointed out that in their opinion, transsexualism is a recognised disorder and therefore such references are transphobic.

I am sure others will disagree - and there's the difficulty. Where do you draw the line between what some people would call offensive transphobic comments and others would say is just their opinion?

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 22:18:21

"We're all for freedom of speech. That said, we'll remove posts we consider to contain personal attacks, to break the law and/or to be obscene, racist, sexist, disablist, ageist or homophobic, once they are brought to our attention, we will also delete any posts that we think are just seriously unpleasant (Please note that any subsequent posts repeating the words in the deleted post may be deleted, too.)"

That phrase in bold is interesting. How is unpleasant defined?

NormaStanleyFletcher Fri 27-Jun-14 22:27:25

I would like mn to continue to let the conversation continue on fwr.

It is one of the only places I have seen it happen.

SwerfAndTerf Fri 27-Jun-14 22:29:40

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 22:29:58

Well - MNHQ are a bit awake this evening - and there's an idea of what they think constitutes transphobic comments.

CoteDAzur Fri 27-Jun-14 22:30:06

I'm confused. Is it now offensive to refer to an adult male human with XY chromosomes and a functional penis as a "man"?

Someone inform Merriam-Webster and Oxford Dictionaries.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 22:31:25


I have no idea who you are. And from what I see - the debate is still going on and I haven't complained or reported it.

Do you feel silienced by me? How?

AnyaKnowIt Fri 27-Jun-14 22:31:54

So am I CoteDAzur

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 22:34:31

And if I was mysogynistic - why the fuck would I have done all this to myself for the last 5 years? For fun confused

CoteDAzur Fri 27-Jun-14 22:36:08

You say it's a disorder. So no, I'm guessing it's not fun.

kim147 Fri 27-Jun-14 22:16:04
... transsexualism is a recognised disorder

DenzelWashington Fri 27-Jun-14 22:48:15

I am not asking this to be inflammatory or glib, but why is it so important not to allow statements that are even arguably transphobic, or racist, or disablist?

Why is it so important to zap them immediately, rather than let them stand, perhaps with some judicious editing, to be debated, analysed and, one hopes, shot down?

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 28-Jun-14 00:08:14

Denzel because people get tired of having to debate and educate others. It's not just words on a screen reading nasty or ill informed bigotry that is aimed at you or your loved ones.

To give an example, it has been a huge issue on here among posters who are parents of children with special needs. MNHQ's attitude used to be to let disabilist comments stand as they usually are borne of ignorance, so parents of children with SN could provide informative responses.

However, the response to MNHQ from parents of children with SN, was that they had enough to do in their lives without having to respond and educate every goady bigot on here.

NotAgainTrevor Sat 28-Jun-14 00:09:34

Why are female born people the only oppressed group which is not allowed to define their own boundaries? Why are female born people the only oppressed group not allowed to define who they are? Why? Why do female born people matter less? Explain why as all I can see is that female borns matter less and no one gives a shit.

I'm also waiting for someone to tell me what wonderful Cis privilege I have too, well fucking define it. There is a list of cis privilege knocking around and it is all male privilege or utter bollocks, the site it comes from has lists of all sorts of privilege except one notable example, female privilege. They can't even pretend female privilege exists.

Beachcomber Sat 28-Jun-14 09:12:59

Beach I said in the context of an identity debate not all the time. I don't think those statements are transphobic as a rule, I can just imagine some contexts in which they could be. If you are saying they are labelled transphobic 100% of the time, then that is excessive.

dreamingbohemian I've been thinking about what you said here and I find it quite illuminating as to the arbitrary and controversial nature of what is considered transphobic and why there is so much disagreement. By the way, many would consider your above post highly transphobic and I don't just mean extremists; on a website like The F-Word chances are you would get flamed (actually your post probably wouldn't make it through moderation).

I don't think what you say above is transphobic, but I do think it is incoherent. Either one accepts transgender ideology, or one does not. Surely one cannot pick the bits that one is OK with but not others? Surely one cannot accept transgender ideology in some contexts but not in others? Surely that is transphobic?

Let me explain. Transgenderism (which is different to transsexualism) is based on the idea of a defining inner gender identity. If you accept that, (and it is transphobic not to) then the statement 'women menstruate' is always transphobic, no matter what the context. Because transwomen are women in exactly the same way that bio women are women but they don't menstruate - and to generalize about women in a way that dismisses or leaves out or erases women who happen to be transwomen, is transphobic. In other words, either you accept that transwomen are women and transmen are men - or you don't. You can't accept it some of the time and in some contexts, but not in others. That is transphobic. And incoherent.

On sites like The F-Word their guidelines about transphobia clearly state that any comments which suggest that transwomen are not real women or that they are somehow 'lesser' women or not as womanly as bio women will be deleted for transphobia. Therefore discussions generalizing about women with the assumption that things like menstruation, abortion, cervical cancer, FGM, pregnancy, hormonal contraception, etc, etc are women's issues or that they affect women in general, are transphobic (and essentialist). Because they marginalize transwomen and suggest that they are not real women. Which is perfectly logical and coherent IMO if one is starting out from the position of accepting the concept of inner gender identity and its role in how a person identifies.

What I see a lot of people doing is accepting part of the ideology but not taking it to its logical conclusion (in other words they accept the bits that fit in with their world view and politics but kind of ignore the rest). And that is transphobic and not a little hypocritical - especially if one is accusing others of transphobia.

Really if MNHQ want to draw up guidelines about transphobia they would need them to be very clear that there is absolutely no difference between bio women and transwomen and that we are in the same sex category. Indeed MN would find itself in trouble because many of the sections of the website would be considered extremely unwelcoming and excluding of transwomen on a site that is aimed at women (all women, right, not just bio ones) - sections such as the pregnancy, childbirth, antenatal, postnatal depression, miscarriage, breast and bottle feeding, etc exclude transwomen and carry the highly transphobic implication that they are not real women. MN would probably be breaking its own guidelines.

Beachcomber Sat 28-Jun-14 11:45:19

Another thing that has occurred to me is the huge irony this thread and GoshAnneGorilla's posts on it are.

GoshAnneGorilla you are bending the talk guidelines.

You are carefully staying just within in them by not actually saying 'Beachcomber and many other posters on the FWR are nasty ignorant ill informed bigots who are no better than goady trolls and fuckwits who post offensively on the special needs section and no better than white supremacist neo-Nazis and homophobes". You aren't actually boldly saying that because it would get you deleted for personal attack.

So what you are doing is getting around the guidelines by making comparisons with disablist trolls and neo-nazis and posting stuff like;

'It's not just words on a screen reading nasty or ill informed bigotry'

Which any regular MNer knows fine well is a way of calling people nasty ill informed bigots but doing it in a carefully constructed way so that it bends the rules on personal attack and avoids deletion.

Oh, the irony.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 28-Jun-14 12:24:21

Beachcomber - it's called playing the ball, not the man, it means you agree or criticise what is being said, not the person saying it.

It is standard practice in a discussion, not "bending the rules".

Beachcomber Sat 28-Jun-14 12:48:13

Sure thing GoshAnneGorilla, loads of MNers do it, we know what it is.

It's the difference between being deleted or not.

Beachcomber is an ill informed nasty bigot = deletion.

Beachcomber's words/posts/opinions/thread/politics are nasty ill informed bigotry = will probably just escape deletion.

It means you get to say what you want to say about someone whilst pretending that it isn't about them but it is some high level intellectual debate.

It means you get to say really offensive things like;

I have no interest in discussing trans issues on your thread, just as I wouldn't discuss race issues on Stormfront.

whilst claiming that one is above making personal attacks or bending the talk guidelines to just within a hair's breadth of breaking point.

I think it would be much more interesting and fruitful if you would engage with some of the discussion around what transphobia is. It might move things forward better than comparing FWR to neo-Nazis, racists, homophobes and other bigots because we don't agree with your analysis of gender.

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 13:11:40

I also have no interest in discussing trans issues anymore on FWR. For me, it feels like a feminist posting on an MRA board - and that's just because the viewpoints are so so different.

The viewpoints are so different - and the people on FWR who post on trans threads do tend to have a fixed view on trans issues - that there is little point posting on there anymore.

I'll probably post on other boards - but not FWR anymore.

IonaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 28-Jun-14 13:28:46

Hi everyone.

Thanks for all your comments on this thread, and the reports drawing it to our attention again.

We have been watching the thread, and the thread it references, and have tried to let the conversation on both flow as much as possible, because it seemed to be a really interesting discussion and one into which lots of posters had put a great deal of time and thought.

As the thread has now gone on all week, we think we need to sit down at MNHQ next week and see if we can come up with a definition of transphobia that explains what it is, how it may be manifested and exactly what Mumsnet's policy is on transphobia on the talk boards.

It goes without saying that we are against all forms of prejudice but it seems clear from the posts here that Mumsnetters would like more input from us on what that means with regards to transphobia specifically. It's something we take seriously and can be difficult to define in absolutes, so we want to get it right.

Please do remember we are not experts in the subject, and moderate daily across a wide range of topics. Sometimes it's inevitable that we'll make a call that offends or upsets some people, and sometimes we do miss things. So apologies if that's been the case. Please bear with us while we come up with a definition we think will help.

We'll meet next week and update you at the earliest opportunity.

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 13:38:54

You've got a difficult job.
Some people think it's a recognised medical condition and the person has no choice. Others think it's not a medical condition but more to do with gender roles.
And of course - you've got people who identify as trans but go no further.

Is it acceptable to call transwomen men? Or is that transphobic?

I don't envy you. People on FWR have every right to discuss trans issues and how they affect women. At what point does that discussion become transphobic?

I'm glad you're going to tackle this - and I am sure you'll get input from other people.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 28-Jun-14 13:45:38

IonaMNHQ - Thank you.

CoteDAzur Sat 28-Jun-14 13:48:35

"transwomen are women in exactly the same way that bio women are women"

How? confused

Surely the fact that transwomen have XY chromosomes, need to be castrated, and then take external hormones for the rest of their lives counts as a rather big differences?

Is it now transphobic to point out these glaringly obvious facts? confused

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 13:57:46

OK - Cote - would you call a transwoman a man?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 28-Jun-14 14:04:38

I'm sort of with Cote here, I think. I understand that trans* mentally believe they are of the other sex (in physical biological sense), but surely you cannot ignore the physical biology. A person choosing to be the opposite sex was still born in the physical body of a particular sex.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 28-Jun-14 14:06:12

I guess it comes down to gender (social/mental construct) or sex (physical/biological). On which basis should you discriminate?

CoteDAzur Sat 28-Jun-14 14:06:50

I would call them whatever they want to be called. Which is the only polite thing to do. I've been referring to you as 'she' because that is what you want to be called, for example.

A question for you: Do you think you are a woman in exactly the same way that a bio woman is a woman?

AnyaKnowIt Sat 28-Jun-14 14:11:14

I would call a transwoman she out of politness

Do I think they should have the same rights, no I don't.

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 14:11:52


I've said that plenty of times in great detail on other threads.
For the record,no I don't. I just feel normal now

But that's all I'm going to say as I've discussed that question and explained my feelings frequently.

TheBogQueen Sat 28-Jun-14 14:16:25

I find the whole thing mind boggling TBH

As an ordinary punter who gas no experience of thus sort of debate I have no idea how I would even put forward an opinion with falling into a flaming pit.

It really does seem to be a matter of semantics. Would rather not be referred to as a 'menstruator' though grin

CoteDAzur Sat 28-Jun-14 14:18:38

I'm glad you feel normal. Body dysmorphia must be a terrible burden.

However, the question was whether "transwomen are women in exactly the same way that bio women are women".

I don't think so. And you say you don't think so, either. So we agree.

Beach - Here is a transwoman disagreeing with that statement. Who is it that agrees? I'm curious.

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 14:21:50

Thanks cote flowers

The thing is - there are transwomen out there who would say things like that - and that's what sparks the 1000 post threads on FWR.

CoteDAzur Sat 28-Jun-14 14:33:10

A few people with a strange and clearly incorrect claim wouldn't make Beachcomber write the following, though:

Transgenderism (which is different to transsexualism) is based on the idea of a defining inner gender identity. If you accept that, (and it is transphobic not to) then the statement 'women menstruate' is always transphobic, no matter what the context. Because transwomen are women in exactly the same way that bio women are women but they don't menstruate - and to generalize about women in a way that dismisses or leaves out or erases women who happen to be transwomen, is transphobic.

I'm just wondering if ^ this is now what is accepted as reality so that pointing out the glaring difference between transwomen and bio women is considered transphobic.

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 14:36:43

Some people think so. That's probably been discussed on the TERF thread - it's certainly not transphobic to point that out - or even to mention that. It's obvious - but apparently there are trans activists out there who think that. I can't get pregnant nor have periods - despite the nurse asking me if I was on my period when she checked my urine recently.

I don't think it would be transphobic to say that on here - nor should it shut down debate.

vesuvia Sat 28-Jun-14 15:17:56

IonaMumsnet wrote - "we think we need to sit down at MNHQ next week and see if we can come up with a definition of transphobia that explains what it is, how it may be manifested and exactly what Mumsnet's policy is on transphobia on the talk boards."

While you are in the process of defining Mumsnet guidelines on transphobia, can you please give some consideration to the following:

Is it transphobic to refer to a transman as a biological female, for example when discussing that person's own pregnancy and childbirth experiences? (Several transmen have become pregnant and given birth, after transitioning from their original gender role of living as a woman to their new gender role of living as a man).

Is it transphobic to refer to a transwoman as a biological male or male-assigned-at-birth ?

Is it transphobic to refer to a transwoman as Male-to-Trans (MtT)?

Transsexual people have become a relatively small group within a larger transgender population. Will Mumsnet transphobia guidelines distinguish between transsexual people (who, under official monitoring, are taking hormones, living in the opposite gender role, having surgery) and other transgender people (who identify as the opposite gender but have no intention of altering their body in any way)?

For example, is it transphobic to refer to a biological male, who is transgendered but not transsexual, as a man or male?

Is it transphobic to not accept that someone with a penis cannot be a lesbian?

I hope your Mumsnet transphobia guidelines will bring some much needed clarity for all MNers.

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 15:21:30

It will be an interesting meeting. And probably some long guidelines.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 28-Jun-14 15:22:29

Wow vesuvia, coming from a position of ignorance In would have assumed all in your list are fine. They are just a statement of the facts. If others find those offensive I can see why it is such a minefield

Good luck MNHQ!

vesuvia Sat 28-Jun-14 15:26:19

"Is it transphobic to not accept that someone with a penis cannot be a lesbian?"

oops, too many negatives there.

I meant: Is it transphobic to say that someone with a penis cannot be a lesbian?

TunipTheUnconquerable Sat 28-Jun-14 15:29:42

Good luck, Iona. You will need gin and a lot of chocolate biscuits!

DenzelWashington Sat 28-Jun-14 15:32:58

Therefore discussions generalizing about women with the assumption that things like menstruation, abortion, cervical cancer, FGM, pregnancy, hormonal contraception, etc, etc are women's issues or that they affect women in general, are transphobic (and essentialist). Because they marginalize transwomen and suggest that they are not real women.

All of MN is transphobic in that case.

CoteDAzur Sat 28-Jun-14 15:34:22

"is it transphobic to refer to a biological male, who is transgendered but not transsexual, as a man or male?"

What else are we to call an adult male human? confused

I certainly hope that MNHQ will not come up with guidelines that make it a deletable offence to use words in their correct dictionary meanings.

Denzel I was about to post the same thing. One consequence of designing guidelines with FWR in mind is that less in depth and theoretically informed conversations elsewhere may be affected.

Good luck HQ. flowers

The viewpoints are so different - and the people on FWR who post on trans threads do tend to have a fixed view on trans issues - that there is little point posting on there anymore. Bear in mind that on these threads there are people like me. Lurking, getting an overheated brain from the problem, thinking (3am last night) about this. But I don't post much on threads about gender and trans-issues because of two things; I like to work out what a feel and think and I just don't know yet; I have a suspicion I would be crushed like a bug. By everyone.

I wildly vacillate between feeling that gender is a damaging societal construct and wanting to mount the barricades to defend your hard-won right to call yourself a woman. Are both possible? Is it possible to keep safe spaces, hoping in the future we won't need them, while making everyone feel as welcome as each other?

The other issue is that when I talk to XY, white, straight DH, he goes "huh" and doesn't even know there is a debate he does now. I feel like we are all the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea arguing about crumbs while the Romans eat swans tongues and laugh about crucifying us.

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 17:44:39

I know there are lurkers - and that's often the reason I post. Not because of the people who post and who have fixed views but to post to explain a different POV to lurkers.

I think your analogy at the end is probably very true grin

CoteDAzur Sat 28-Jun-14 18:23:35

I wonder if men's websites are so preoccupied with discussions re transmen are men in exactly the same way that bio men are men, it's transphobic to say men ejaculate because transmen who are just as men as bio men don't ejaculate, etc.

Somehow, I don't think so.

TunipTheUnconquerable Sat 28-Jun-14 18:25:27

Generally transactivists don't attack men, they attack women. It's women and in particular feminists who get the death threats, accusations of bigotry etc. I wonder why that would be....

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 18:33:52

It's shocking the way women are treated online. I've seen them and it saddens me to see how some transactivists treat others. Of course - some rad fems also say some horrible things about transwomen. But 2 wrongs don't make a right.

Meanwhile men just carry on.

FloraFox Sat 28-Jun-14 18:37:16

Rad Fems don't threaten transactivists or tell them to die in a fire. They don't post pictures of a man wielding an axe over a woman lying on the ground and say they want that to happen to all "TERFs". This is not a case of there being two wrongs. This is abuse and harassment of women.

Good luck MNHQ and thank you brew

NormaStanleyFletcher Sat 28-Jun-14 23:37:45

I wish MNHQ much luck in drawing up that list.

Beachcomber Sun 29-Jun-14 09:47:34

Good luck MNHQ.

I have faith in you to not come up with anything which imposes a belief and acceptance of gender on women. To accept gender (which is not synonymous with sex) is to accept that the subjugation of girls and women is the natural order.

I have faith in you not to come up with anything which stems from the notion that girls and women have "lady brains".*

I have faith in you not to come up with anything which stems from the notion that lesbians are faulty and the result of their mother's faulty bodies.*

I have faith in you to not come up with anything sexist or that encroaches on biological women's rights, including the right to question and defy restrictive sex stereotypes and gender as a social construct and hierarchy which places women below men.

I have faith in you not to come up with anything which imposes a belief in gender and "inner gender identity" over the female lived experience of what it is to be an adult biological female. To not impose a belief in oppressive social constructs over neutral non oppressive biology.

I have faith in you not to come up with anything that implies that femaleness is nothing more than a feeling.

I have faith in you not to come up with anything which implies that the most important and valid factor in what it is to be a woman is what men think we are.

For the points on lesbianism and lady brains please see the section "what causes people to be trans" from this link provided by The F Word in their guidelines about transphobia.

kim147 Sun 29-Jun-14 09:56:11

That's a good link - and an acknowledgement that there may well be a medical cause. Something I think is not acknowledged on FWR by some people.

Beachcomber Sun 29-Jun-14 10:25:08

Yeah an explanation that is entirely theoretical and which is offensive about mothers and lesbians and homosexuals as faulty. Probably due to "mother's stress" (like we mother's have never heard that one before as the cause of most of the world's troubles).

It's a made up theory which is offensive. As is the notion of a brain not "masculinizing" or "feminizing" properly, whatever the fuck that means.

It's lady brain theory. It is misogyny dressed up as science and has no actual scientific evidence to back it up.

kim147 Sun 29-Jun-14 10:28:09

Either you accept there is a medical cause or you don't. Which is the crux of the whole debate and divide.

And that is probably the issue facing MNHQ.

vesuvia Sun 29-Jun-14 11:05:24

If a person (or MNHQ) does accept that there is a medical cause for trans, I hope they will have given a great deal of thought to how any such biological cause could apply to and explain the very different situations of transsexual people (who experience body dysmorphia and who've been on the medical profession's radar for about a century) and the larger number of people who are transgender (in which body dysmorphia is absent and no medical treatment is sought, and who were either non-existent or invisible before the hi-jacking of transsexuality, post-modernism and gender that has occurred in the past decade driven largely by the internet).

Beachcomber Sun 29-Jun-14 11:15:05

I disagree Kim. Although I can completely see why it is important for transpeople.

Whether the cause is medical/biology based or not, transgenderism is always going to be political because sex and gender are political.

Somebody could demonstrate to me water tight science for how transgenderism occurs in humans but it still wouldn't change my opinion that there are fundamental and important differences between women and transwomen and men and transmen that mean that we shouldn't have to pretend or adhere to the belief that we are one and the same.

I don't believe that biological women and transwomen are in the same sex category (biological or sociological) no matter what the root cause of transgenderism is.

I also find it very hard to believe that all transgender people, the world over, both transmen and transwomen are transgender for the same reason and that that reason is utterly unrelated to cultural influences, socio-political paradigms and subsequent socialization.

As an aside anyone who believes the theory outlined in the link above should be totally against the transgendering of children as it is at odds with a theory which considers the "cause" of lesbianism/homosexuality and transgenderism to be different levels of the same phenomenon.

The theory is very offensive to lesbians because it suggests that they are not really women or that they are faulty women. Lesbians have been stigmatized and othered by such theories for centuries. Enough.

Beachcomber Sun 29-Jun-14 11:21:56

ITA vesuvia.

vesuvia Sun 29-Jun-14 12:10:12

The fact that doctors have medicalised transsexualism does not prove that it has a biological cause e.g. "male brain/female brain".

One problem with medical conditions (in general) is that doctors have a long history of classifying departure from the "norm" of human biology and experience as medical conditions i.e. pathologising people, often for the benefit of doctors and the patriarchal status quo rather than for the benefit of patients.

Doctors medicalise a condition for several reasons, not only for treatment of the patients' medical symptoms and any benefit to the patients. Doctors often medicalise conditions to control them politically and socially.

Examples are pregnancy and childbirth. I think it's ironic that doctors have a history of treating pregnancy as an illness when there is such a good counter argument that pregnancy is a sign of good health rather than poor health.

(disclaimer: of course, doctors also do a good job of treating many medical conditions and doctors have saved or improved countless lives etc.)

WhentheRed Sun 29-Jun-14 16:45:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Sun 29-Jun-14 17:05:00

Well - either there's something going on inside the body with some underlying medical / biochemical cause - or there isn't.

Right now - nobody knows. But transpeople exist - as do homosexuals and at least transsexuals can't help how they feel - just like homosexuals.

It would be interesting to see what the people from FWR feel would be transphobic - seeing as they are probably the ones mostly going to be be affected by this policy.

WhentheRed Sun 29-Jun-14 18:43:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

There is an interesting threat running in FWR at the moment that could be regarded as transphobic under some of the interpretations from other sites. It's about conditions women face in India wrt sanitation and whether adequate sanitation is a feminist issue. Is this transphobic, because it uses language like 'women menstruate' and 'girls miss school because of menstruation'?

MNHQ need to consider any impact of their definition on threads like this, too.

kim147 Sun 29-Jun-14 18:45:44

Do you honestly think anyone -even MNHQ - would complain that is transphobic?

I started that bloody thread. It's certainly not transphobic.

It's a great thread and I wouldn't have thought it transphobic, no, until I read the guidelines at sites like F Word. It appears to be an extremely difficult issue to navigate. I hope HQ are successful in providing guidance.

TunipTheUnconquerable Sun 29-Jun-14 19:15:16

I think the F Word is trying to make sure that nobody accuses it of transphobia ever.
Mumsnet is likely to have a bit more confidence in the value and necessity of women talking about women's experiences. I love Beachcomber's post from earlier today.

MinesAPintOfTea Sun 29-Jun-14 19:28:47

See, I thought I wasn't at all Trans phobic, happy to share safe spaces etc. Then I read beachcomber's post and that seems to far to me. It should be acceptable for cis women to have a space to freely discuss the issues that are unique to being a cis woman.

AnyaKnowIt Sun 29-Jun-14 19:38:22

Any chance of banning the word cis ?

ArcheryAnnie Mon 30-Jun-14 00:36:24

Kim posted this:

MNHQ have deleted such comments before - and have pointed out that in their opinion, transsexualism is a recognised disorder and therefore such references are transphobic.

Except I have seen it stated often elsewhere, and widely accepted, that to so much as hint that any form of being trans can be classified as a "disorder" is really, really transphobic. Or that to imply that being trans includes having any kind of problematic relationship with the configuration of the body you were born with is (you've guessed) transphobic. These aren't people on the fringe, either.

I don't envy MNHQ their job. I think a lot of current trans activism is both misogynistic and homophobic, and I would mourn the loss of one of the few safe spaces to discuss this.

WhentheRed Mon 30-Jun-14 02:16:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 08:17:23


The word is currently . I assume you also are aware that homosexuality used to be called a psychiatric disorder.

And of course - many psychiatric disorders have a biochemical / genetic element to them.

Why don't people just admit they are against people who are transsexual. Just like people a long time ago -and even now - are against people who are homosexual. It would save a lot of tip toeing about.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 08:24:13

I seriously do not think that many of the FWR feminists believe that there is any kind of biochemical / biological cause to people with gender dysphoria. They just do not accept that - and believe that it's societal instead.

The fact they aren't actually transsexual seems to have escaped them. I only hope their children don't want to come out to them as they would have a hard time accepting them. Just like people didn't believe that people could honestly fancy their own sex a long time ago and put them in jail. They are called bigots now. I wonder what people in the future will think of these debates.

I'm not opposed to transpeople. Not in the least.

I am opposed to people who are opposed to women's liberation from a male dominated society. Some of those people seem to be trans.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 09:00:36

It's ironic you should say that, Kim, given it's lesbians who are now being shamed for their sexuality.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:02:50

The irony doesn't escape me.

No one should be shamed for their sexuality.

ArcheryAnnie Mon 30-Jun-14 09:06:24

Why don't people just admit they are against people who are transsexual. Just like people a long time ago -and even now - are against people who are homosexual. It would save a lot of tip toeing about.

Kim, this is really disingenuous. I don't have any problem (and I've seen other posters state the same) with trans people who live their lives like the rest of us live their lives. I have every possible problem with a very vocal brand of trans activism which aims to stop women talking about their own lives, and which seeks to position women (and especially lesbians) as the recipients of privilege and the perpetrators of oppression, but leaves men (and patriarchy as a whole) to carry on just as they always have. I feel like we are fighting to hang onto the gains that we have fought so long for, and which are in real danger of being taken away. Like others have said, this is a fight that's been brought to our doorstep, not one we've gone looking for.

I could just as easily ask you, Kim: why do you focus so heavily on critisising posters who are trying to combat the misogyny and homophobia inherent in this strand of trans activism? Why are you so against people fighting sexism and homophobia?

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 09:09:45

Then why do you find it so hard to believe, Kim, that our problem is with the harmful implications of genderism for women and lesbians, rather than bigotry against trans people themselves?

I have nothing against trans people. I do have a huge problem with my lesbian friends being told they're bigots for not wanting to sleep with them, and an equally huge problem with this lady brain business and the genuine experiences of women throughout the world of oppression on the basis of sex, being invisibilised because we're all meant to be talking about gender identity.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 30-Jun-14 09:10:15

I also have no problem with trans people. However I do not accept that phrases like "women menstruate" are transphobic and should be banned.

ArcheryAnnie Mon 30-Jun-14 09:15:10

My personal "fuck it all" point, ItsAllGoingToBeFine, was seeing someone on a different social media platform post about FGM. And the response she got was not an expression of solidarity or sympathy or a call to action or an offer of help - she was called "cissexist" for describing the procedure as Female Genital Mutilation, because men have vulvas too.

If anyone can't see how fucked-up, misogynist and narcissistic that is, there's no help for them.

I am not against trans people. I am against the silencing of women when they try to speak about the effects of gender on their lives.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:22:34


I've read enough threads on FWR and elsewhere to think that a significant proportion of posters have a problem with trans people and how we want to live our lives. We just want to go into changing rooms and attack women so we should be banned from there - as we are going to show our penises if we're pre - op.

I've read enough to know that there is - and I use this word based on my own thoughts after reading a lot of threads on here - a hate and non acceptance of trans people by a lot of the more radical feminists on FWR.

But that's just my opinion - based on experience. I don't think many even accept it's something real and it's all just made up really.

Lovecat Mon 30-Jun-14 09:27:37

I'm not opposed to trans people at all. I've recently become very good friends with a trans woman and I admire her greatly for going through all that and coming out the other side at peace with herself and her sexuality. I would always refer to her as her, to do otherwise would just be rude and hurtful.

But like Buffy, I'm opposed to people who come from a position of male privilege to tell us silly women how to do feminism and lesbianism properly. I'm also opposed to giving children untested doses of hormones at an early age which could do untold damage to their bodies when they may not actually be trans, just gender non-conforming (as I was as a child, and my DD seems to be as well).

MN is full of posts elsewhere saying how boys playing with dolls and liking pink 'won't catch the gay' - no-one ever suggests they buy them a subscription to Attitude, smuggle them into G.A.Y. and take them on Pride marches (none of which have long term implications to their health, although a night in G.A.Y. might damage their hearing...) as they MUST be gay, so why is a refusal to submit to gender stereotypes seen as proof positive of trans?

Let me be clear that I'm not saying this about you, Kim. I can only imagine that knowing something is wrong and your body not measuring up to how you feel it ought to be is horribly distressing. However, I am deeply concerned at the recent rush to diagnose gender dysphoria in children and the online and RL plaudits that the parents receive for being 'cool' about it, which serve to reinforce their choices. To question this is not being transphobic.

My DD likes being Thor and Legolas when she plays. She also prefers weaponry to fairy wands, loves taking things apart to see how they work and likes nothing better than to roll about in mud. I don't stop her from playing as she likes, but I don't immediately think she must really be a boy in her head, just that things designated 'male' by our society are more appealing to her than things designated 'female'.

Surely the answer is to abolish gender values and celebrate difference rather than dish out drugs to children?

I find it quite telling that Iran performs the second highest rate of MtF surgeries in the world (first is Thailand) because they don't accept homosexuality but will surgically and hormonally alter a man's body to allow him to sleep with another man. This is not quite the situation in the UK with lesbians but there does seem to be mounting pressure for a 'butch' lesbian to go trans FtM rather than be herself and remain female.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:29:44

And I obviously understand the effect gender roles have on women's (and men's ) lives - otherwise I wouldn't be posting on FWR.

I also don't think women's voices should be silenced.

At the same time - I wish that people would accept that transsexuals do not make it up. It's not societal conditioning. It's real.

But that's transsexuals - those with gender dysphoria. Then there's all that other stuff that people claim to be trans but don't want to have surgery or hormones. I think that's more to do with people who don't want to live in their assigned gender roles but aren't confident enough to step out and say this is how I want to live my life. They need a label for it. I also get pissed off when transactivists and their allies say words are transphobic when they aren't.

It makes life as a transsexual quite hard.

ArcheryAnnie Mon 30-Jun-14 09:32:02

I've read enough to know that there is - and I use this word based on my own thoughts after reading a lot of threads on here - a hate and non acceptance of trans people by a lot of the more radical feminists on FWR.

What do you have to say about the hate and non-acceptance directed against women, and particularly lesbians, by the current vocal trans activists? Why are you so keen that women don't talk about the misogyny and homophobia directed against them?

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:34:14

Now if a child wants to "be a girl or a boy" at school - why stop them? I agree that hormone therapy at a young age is controversial - for some it's a life saver but for others, it's a no go.

But how do you be "a boy or a girl" at school? Is it just wearing dresses in summer? Having a different name? What is actually different? In theory - nothing. You should be treated the same. You just might look different.

But yes - a label is attached. When it might just be a boy wants to do "girl things" so a label and appropriate clothing needs to be attached. Which is a whole separate debate about what it is to be a girl / boy at school.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:35:07


" Why are you so keen that women don't talk about the misogyny and homophobia directed against them?"

Can you back up that statement with any evidence? Or withdraw it?

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:36:30

Have I reported that thread? No
Have I agreed on that thread that it is wrong for transwomen to complain about how they are treated by lesbians? Yes

So either back up your comment or withdraw it.

ArcheryAnnie Mon 30-Jun-14 09:38:33

Nope, won't withdraw - not unless you also withdraw your totally disengenous post saying this:

Why don't people just admit they are against people who are transsexual. Just like people a long time ago -and even now - are against people who are homosexual. It would save a lot of tip toeing about.

I think it's a disgrace that you compare gender-critical feminists to homophobes when the homophobia is coming from this nasty strand of trans activism.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:40:52


Do you think transsexuality is real? Or not?

People didn't think homosexuality was real. Now they accept it.

Do you accept transsexuality is real?

That's the comparison.

ArcheryAnnie Mon 30-Jun-14 09:43:13

If you'd actually read any of my posts, you'd know what I think. I've stated it here, in the last couple of pages of this thread.

Do you think the violent misogyny and homophobia of this strand of vocal trans activism is real? Or do you think we are all making a fuss about nothing?

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:47:48

I don't keep up to date with vocal trans activism - so I'm only aware of it through the posts on FWR. I don't know how representative that is of the trans community - or if it's just selective posting by a few people who find a few blogs and then blow it up and keep posting about it.

I know it exists. I could equally find some radical feminist blogs and keep posting about their views of trans people. You would say that's not representative - but if the same things keep getting repeated, people start to believe it as truth and reality.

I don't know how much of this strand of transactivism represents the views and opinions of most transpeople.

Beachcomber Mon 30-Jun-14 09:48:56

I'm not against people who are transsexual and I'm not against people being transsexual. I totally believe that some individuals have body dysphoria.

I'm against the idea that it is possible to change sex and that a transwoman is the same as a bio woman (idem for transmen). I'm also against social and political pressure for lesbians and homosexuals to transition.

I think most feminists have a 'live and let live' attitude to transsexualism. Problems arise AFAIC with the insistence that transwomen are biological females and that therefore a penis is female and abortion is no longer a 'women's issue' it is a 'people's issue'. Or when I'm told that being female is a 'feeling' (a feeling defined by males). Or when I'm told that it is bigoted and transphobic for bio females to want to meet and organize together to discuss women's issues (such as abortion, forced pregnancy, menstruation, being oppressed because we are the sex class which carries and births babies). Or when I'm told that a male bodied transwoman is a lesbian and that born women lesbians are bigots for not wanting to have sex with transwomen. Or when I'm told that I'm 'cis' and have cis privilege (cis privilege is gender privilege; in male supremacist society, girls and women don't have gender privilege). We aren't discriminated against for being transgender but we don't have gender or sex privilege (cos we are oppressed by sex and gender. Indeed gender was invented as a mechanism by which to oppress us for being reproductively female).

If certain transwomen would stop insisting that their 'inner gender identity' trumps biological women's concrete physical sex and lived experience as females in male supremacy, then I suspect we would all get on a lot better. Feminists do not believe in gender as anything other than a social construction - and one that harms girls and women the world over. I'm happy for others to believe in their inner gender identity and gender - I'm just not happy that they insist that I believe in those things too.
Particularly when my whole life's experience as a woman demonstrates to me that gender is an oppressive social construct and a hierarchy which harms girls and women and is the mechanism via which we are exploited, terrorized, abused, controlled and subjugated. I cannot support gender, it harms me and my sex caste.

If people born with male bodies and chromosomes, and who are socialized as male, want to take on the trappings of femininity and 'live as a woman' (whatever that is), I have no desire to stand in their way. They are welcome to oppressive beauty practices, being objectified, restrictive and revealing clothing, cosmetic body modification (from ear piercing to boob jobs), misogyny, being low status, rape culture, street heckling, feeling unsafe going about one's usual business, constant messages about the importance of appearance and all the other women hating crap that is alive and well in society today.

Good luck to them, they will need it. All women have to deal with the above and if transwomen want to experience all that I don't mind. Why on earth would I?

What I do mind is all the other stuff, the biological stuff (the reason for why women are oppressed stuff). On top of all the misogyny above, bio girls and women also have to deal with something else. We have to deal with the biological fact that we are reproductively female and we are the section of the population who can grow new human beings in our bodies. And men want to control that. And we are oppressed due to that. We are controlled and exploited because of that. We aren't oppressed because we wear high heels and act feminine and we aren't oppressed because we have 'ladybrains' - we are made to wear high heels and act feminine because we are oppressed. We are told that the ladybrain exists as a reason for our low status (just as black people were told that the 'Negroid brain' existed).

Girls and women get the shitty end of the patriarchal deal because we have wombs. And that is actually quite important for us because it has resulted in great harm being done to women and girls and that harm continues. And we need to be able to name that. To resist it. To fight against it. To look after ourselves and each other. To find solidarity and support together. We are female because we carry and birth babies and we are oppressed as women due to that immutable biological fact.

And I think transwomen should respect that and they should acknowledge it and be sensitive to it. Being a woman is not about clothes and the trappings of femininity. Being a woman is about being reproductively female in a society which wants to control our biology (whether one reproduces or not).

No transwoman will ever have to worry about getting pregnant, or having an abortion, or not being able to get pregnant, or being traumatized by childbirth, or dying in childbirth, or being forced to be pregnant. No transwoman will ever be married off as a child and forced to bear children for a man who owns her. These are things that bio women have to deal with and they are at the root of our oppression and therefore at the root of why gender exists and why femininity exists. Femininity subjugates girls and women.

If transwomen want to experience some of the aspects of femininity, I won't stand in their way. Don't tell me that that makes you a woman though. And don't tell me that I'm a transphobe because I think being a woman is being reproductively female in a society that oppresses you for a biological fact that you cannot change.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:49:28

I don't see your opinion on whether transsexualism is real or made up. I do see that you don't have an issue with people trying to live their lives.

But you see - some FWR posters do have such an issue.

ArcheryAnnie Mon 30-Jun-14 09:50:15

or if it's just selective posting by a few people who find a few blogs and then blow it up and keep posting about it.

So you do think we're making a fuss about nothing. Good to know.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:51:18

And they don't accept transsexuals - which is why I compared them to people who don't accept homosexuals.

Which is called homophobia.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:52:13


Wow - talk about selective reading.

Did you see the word if?

And the words I know it exists

ArcheryAnnie Mon 30-Jun-14 09:56:27

You have posted this kind of thing again and again, Kim, so it isn't "selective reading" at all. Either you believe women, or you don't. You have repeatedly cast doubt on women's experience of encountering this kind of misogynistic and homophobic trans activism with this kind of post, so I no longer believe that you are discussing this in good faith.

Beachcomber Mon 30-Jun-14 10:14:05

Kim, it isn't a few blogs. It is a movement.

The Gender Recognition Act of 2004 is not a blog. It is an act of parliament which says that transwomen are female.

Why do you keep comparing gender critical feminists to homophobes? It is offensive and hugely dismissive of women's lived experience of our biological sex, of our lived experience of being oppressed by gender, and of women's rights.

There are lots of lesbians who are gender critical, do you compare them to homophobes too?

AnyaKnowIt Mon 30-Jun-14 10:20:38

How's does not wanting someone with a penis in a woman's only space make me a bigot?

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 10:34:31

What kind of thing have I posted again and again

Beachcomber Mon 30-Jun-14 10:43:42

You know Kim this isn't about a few women thinking that transsexualism or transgenderism is a bit too freaky for our delicate sensibilities.

This is about defending women's rights.

If the transgender movement was not eroding women's rights I doubt most of us would have much of an opinion on the practice itself. It just wouldn't be on our radar. Because contrary to what you might think, the focus of feminism in this area is defending and supporting women, not persecuting transsexuals.

AbbieHoffmansAfro Mon 30-Jun-14 11:25:29

There's all that other stuff that people claim to be trans but don't want to have surgery or hormones. I think that's more to do with people who don't want to live in their assigned gender roles but aren't confident enough to step out and say this is how I want to live my life. They need a label for it. I also get pissed off when transactivists and their allies say words are transphobic when they aren't

I completely agree with this. I think probably we all do. Where the debate is really directed on FWR is towards the fact that, if a woman posted this on many sites, she would be howled down for being transphobic.

I'm glad that this is not the case on MN.

QueenStromba Mon 30-Jun-14 11:34:26

I'm so pro gay and lesbian rights that I can't actually comprehend why anyone would have an issue with gay and lesbian people so to be likened to a homophobe is really upsetting for me. If you'd asked me a year ago I would have told you that I felt the same about trans people. Now that I've been made aware of of how the transgender movement is taking away women's hard won rights I'm no longer pro trans rights in the same way as I am pro gay and lesbian rights. That doesn't mean I'm going to start hassling trans people in the streets.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 11:46:11

That's kind of you.

7Days Mon 30-Jun-14 11:54:07

No harm in pointing out actually that it isn't feminists who ARE hassling trans people in the streets.
So you'd have to wonder why feminists are the wicked witches of all this.

AbbieHoffmansAfro Mon 30-Jun-14 12:00:24

I think where we may all be going wrong is in debating this as a battle between opposing groups, rather than a battle between opposing ideologies. But them ideology is hopelessly out of fashion, and identity (politics) is not.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 12:02:34

"I'm not against people who are transsexual and I'm not against people being transsexual. I totally believe that some individuals have body dysphoria. I'm against the idea that it is possible to change sex and that a transwoman is the same as a bio woman (idem for transmen). "

^ This. I fully agree with what Beachcomber said there.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 12:19:03

Abbie, I agree.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 12:24:26

"I seriously do not think that many of the FWR feminists believe that there is any kind of biochemical / biological cause to people with gender dysphoria."

I'm probably not a feminist in the strict sense that FWR regulars would define it, but fwiw, I think it is likely that there is some sort of biological reason why you feel you are a woman (adult human female) although you are a man (adult human male) with XY chromosomes and a functional penis. In fact, people with body dysmorphic disorder are known to have differences in brain structure.

What I don't understand is why you think a biological basis is such a great thing that validates a transwoman's claim that they are really women, and exactly the same thing as a woman born an XX female. Many disorders have biological basis, like schizophrenia. A person with schizophrenia says he feels the aliens abduct him on a regular basis. Do I believe that he totally feels this way? Yes. Is there a biological difference in his brain that makes him feel this way? Yes. Is he really being abducted by aliens? No.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 12:28:22

Abbie - it also often feels to me like a battle fought over trans people rather than against them.
I've seen one too many occasions on Twitter where someone cries transphobia and the person accused of transphobia is actually trans and the person doing the accusing isn't.

ArcheryAnnie Mon 30-Jun-14 12:33:20

Turnip - indeed. It's a topsy-turvey situation where someone who loudly and publically identifies as cis can berate someone who identifies as trans for their transphobia. There's even a special insult from trans activists and their allies for trans women who are gender-critical - "truscum". And I have seen trans activists in public call for help in their doxxing of gender-critical trans women (which could well put them in danger), and one gender-critical trans woman I was friends with on twitter was hounded off social media altogether.

Beachcomber Mon 30-Jun-14 12:35:00

Actual violence and harassment against transpeople is overwhelmingly perpetuated by men.

And yet oppressed minorities such as lesbians, and women in general, attract so much attention and accusations of transphobia for daring to say that we think biological females exist as a population distinct from transwomen.

Funny that.

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 13:55:14

Kim, it feels like these threads go around in circles as people make the points over and over again.

Of course it is possible that there is a biological (neurological?) reason why trans women who want surgery feel that they should have a female body.

But that doesn't mean they have anything neurological in common with female bodied people. There's no evidence at all that all, or even most, female bodied people have something in their brain that tells them they should be in a female body.

Female bodied people just are in female bodies.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 14:04:54

"Kim, it feels like these threads go around in circles as people make the points over and over again."

That is so true.

FloraFox Mon 30-Jun-14 14:56:06

I don't keep up to date with vocal trans activism - so I'm only aware of it through the posts on FWR.

And yet you feel able to say that women on FWR are akin to homophobes because they won't capitulate to trans ideology? We don't need to look to vocal trans activists to see appropriation of issues faced by homosexuals or intersec people. kim does it right here. The irony is that the very people who were among the first to stand against homophobia (feminists) are the ones being abused by trans activists. It is such typical male behaviour to rage against women because the attention / acceptance given to one or some men (gay) is not given to them. This is male entitlement.

There are plenty of sexual behaviours that we used to consider wrong and we still consider wrong (eg incest). There are things that we now consider more wrong than we used to (eg paedophilia). Why do trans activists always use homosexuality when trying to gain acceptance for their ideology? Is it because they are trying to shame feminists into accepting their anti-feminist ideology? Is it because there is no rational basis for their position so they can only try to cling to another civil rights movement for validation? Is it gas lighting?

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 15:00:39


My reference to homophobia was based on the belief that some feminists do not believe transsexualism is real.

That's all. Not everything else. The simple belief that some feminists don't accept it as a real state of being.

Not because you won't capitulate to trans ideology. But that some feminists think transsexuality is down to society and not down to the body.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 15:01:56

Do you think transsexuality is an ideology?

Do you think it's comparable to paedophilia and incest?
Do you think being transsexual is wrong?

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 15:03:52

Maybe we should all be locked away and treated like perverts? That's what people used to think of transsexuals in the past. Do you think that? Should we be locked away? Given no rights. Not allowed near children?

AbbieHoffmansAfro Mon 30-Jun-14 15:14:19

Genuinely asking: why is the belief that transsexuality is down to society and not down to the body attracting such aggressive opprobium?

Radfems in particular are being consistent in critiquing trans theory in line with what the radfems have always believed about gender, and that suggests that what they say about trans* people is not motivated by hatred of them. It is clear that it comes from feminist thinking that existed before the current trans* theory developed.

It doesn't appear to be a school of thought that is actually contributing to the active oppression of trans people-any oppression is more likely to come from more conservative people, mostly men.

The numbers of people who are active in this debate as radfems or transactivists are minute, frankly. I often see posters pose the question of why feminists are so exercised by this obscure topic, but one could and should ask the same of transactivists. Why does it matter so much what radfems think (no one else seems to care about that, after all)?

And since power lies with men, why aren't they the focus of debate?

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 15:16:53

Kim, I don't think people of any particular sexual orientation, transsexuals and paedophiles have anything in common with each other.

I don't know whether any of them are caused by biology or society or a combination of the two.

I don't know whether my own sexual orientation is a result of society or biology. Whether a feeling is created by society or biology doesn't make it more or less 'real' than another feeling. It also makes no difference to it being comparable to material reality.

I love my children. I am certain of the reality of that feeling. I don't know if it is biological or social or both.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 15:22:28

That's the point - the feeling is real.

Yet I believe that some feminists don't believe it is real.

FloraFox Mon 30-Jun-14 15:30:25

The feeling may be real but the belief is not.

I agree with almond that no aspect of sexual behaviour is like any other and I would like trans activists to stop appropriating the struggles of the LG community and using those struggles to gaslight women.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 15:31:58

The feeling is real - I believe you.

Unless I've misunderstood it, the debate is not about the feeling. It's about the reality - of whether an XY man with a penis can realistically be called a 'woman' and allowed into women's spaces etc.

deadwitchproject Mon 30-Jun-14 15:39:18

What is sad is that no mainstream feminist site could run that campaign anymore, because any issue of the female body gets closed down for transphobia.

this is so shocking. Reading through the threads has been a revelation to me.

The trans activist response to that was that the girls should be referred to as menstruators, because calling them girls was transphobic.

being called a menstruator by anyone including a trans activist enrages me. I can completely see how this type of response has served to radicalise some feminists. It most definitely feels like an attack to me.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 15:46:29


So you don't think a site like the F-word could do a campaign on miscarriage, FGM or abortion rights because they are worried about transphobia?

I've seen those things being discussed on what it a mainstream feminist site and no mention of transphobia.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 15:49:09

This is the F -words position on transphobia

We reject as transphobic:

Any assertion that trans women are not “real" women, or that trans men are not “real" men, and any assertions that we consider, to the best of our judgement, to stem from this belief.
Any assertion that trans women are men, or that trans men are women, and any assertions that we consider, to the best of our judgement, to stem from this belief.
Any assertion that trans women should be excluded from women-only spaces, or from accessing services that are designed for women.
Any assertion that trans people are mentally ill. This is also disablist.
Any assertion that trans people have no place in feminism.

Transphobic comments, or those which engage in trans-misogyny, as defined above, will not be published. However, the content of these comments may be shared between bloggers or contributors and then addressed in articles (without naming the commenter), or directly in an e-mail to the commenter, in an effort to tackle transphobic attitudes and behaviour.

No doubt different from the views by many on FWR. Which probably reflects the different feminist views out there.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 15:52:18

re "ideology":

I feel like a woman - not ideology

It's enough to feel like a woman to be a woman - ideology

QueenStromba Mon 30-Jun-14 15:56:08

being called a menstruator by anyone including a trans activist enrages me

Yup, lets start referring to biological women by the attribute that most cultures find dirty and shameful (including our own to a degree). Why not choose "gestator"? It's still insulting to be boiled down to that one thing as a sex but at least it doesn't have the same connotations.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 16:05:21

Being called that is insulting.

Sites like gendertrender also radicalise transwomen when you read the hate on there.

Beachcomber Mon 30-Jun-14 16:19:03

Incubator ?

I don't know Kim, it wasn't me who said that they couldn't. I avoid The F-Word because I don't like having to apologize for gender privilege I don't have. I don't like being gaslighted be it by liberal feminists or anyone else.

I already said on this thread that I believe some people have body dysphoria. And of course I believe that transgenderism and transsexualism exist.

When feminists argue that something is socially constructed or influenced that doesn't mean that we don't think it exists or that it isn't real. As to whether transgenderism is biological or social, I have no idea. I suspect it isn't the same for everybody and perhaps varying degrees of both. The answer to that conundrum doesn't change how I feel WRT bio women and transwomen being politically, physically and socially different however.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 16:43:06

"Any assertion that trans women are not “real" women, or that trans men are not “real" men..."

Do you think you are female, kim?

And if not, how exactly would you say that you are a "real" woman? (Whatever the difference might be between a woman and a "real woman")

I'm genuinely curious about this. It seems clear-cut biology and dictionary definition to me, and not something that could remotely be called prejudice or *phobia.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 16:49:42


I'm just me now. And that's the main thing for me.

I was just quoting what the F word says and that feminists out there have differing views.

Probably some of what I think could be described as transphobic on there as well

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 16:51:36

And please forgive me for not going into detail on that as I have been asked that question on here loads of times.

QueenStromba Mon 30-Jun-14 17:30:25

Apologies if I'm overstepping the bounds here Kim or if I've misinterpreted what you've said.

Kim has said before that of course she doesn't know what it's like to "feel like a woman". In her case it's more about feeling wrong in her body and despising her male characteristics. So rather than "feeling like a woman" it's more about not "feeling like a man" in Kim's case.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 17:34:25

That pretty much sums it up - like I said, I've been asked that a lot.

QueenStromba Mon 30-Jun-14 17:34:29

Actually I do suspect that Kim probably has about as much in common with the transactivists as the rest of us.

chibi Mon 30-Jun-14 17:46:50

there is no such thing as woman as a definable category, just man and not-man. if you are sure you are not a man, you must be a woman.

this is how it seems to work.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 17:50:34

I asked Kim is she thinks she is female because that is surely a prerequisite to being a woman, since the word "woman" means "adult human female".

And I'm asking this question because kim said F-Word (whatever that is) considers any suggestion that transwomen are "not real women" as transphobic.

I find this puzzling.

Is it ageist now to say that a 5-year-old female is not a woman? What if that little girl feels she is a woman? confused

It's crazy. I certainly hope MNHQ will not make it a deletable offence to use the word "woman" according to its dictionary definition - i.e. Adult human female.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 17:51:31


And what about a trans man?

If you are not a woman, you must be a man.

So man must not be a definable category as well - according to your logic. When a trans man says he is not a woman, he must be not woman.

chibi Mon 30-Jun-14 17:54:37

i have never felt like a woman, or a man, or something else.

i reject utterly the idea that you must have some sort of feeling in order to be a woman or man or whatever, because the implication is that if you lack this feeling you are what? genderless? ridiculous

CrotchMaven Mon 30-Jun-14 18:00:38

I'm actually not that bothered about definitions in the context of this thread. What I am bothered about is that feminist discourse is being distorted and that those dipping their toes into Feminism on large and relatively mainstream sites are faced, not with feminist discussion centered around the oppression of women, but with a whole load of stuff seemingly about gender politics, without being able to discuss gender politics.

How is anything going to change, and how do we stop things slipping back, without acknowledging the oppression which is based on the reproductive ability of women born as women. Beach said it much better.

Beachcomber Mon 30-Jun-14 18:26:49

Thank you CrotchMaven. It took me an essay to say it though!

I agree with what you say above. There are several feminist sites that say that transgender issues should be central to feminism because transwomen are women. I find that concerning because it constrains women and goes counter to us rejecting gender as the mechanism by which we are awarded second class status. It also prevents us from making sexual politics our focus. It changes feminism so fundamentally that it actually isn't feminism anymore, it makes it genderism and no longer a movement about women's rights under patriarchy. Feminism is being co-opted and colonized (as are lesbianism and gay civil rights movements. Just look at what is happening to the Dyke Marches).

Lovecat Mon 30-Jun-14 18:30:58

Kim, you keep asserting that some women post transphobic things on FWR. Can you either name names or stop doing that because at the moment it just looks like you're flinging wild assertions around without any back up at all. Your constant rhetorical questioning (as in your posts of 15:00:39 and 15:01:56) - I say rhetorical because you don't acknowledge or seem to take in any answers you're given, you just continue to ask questions in a thinly veiled accusatory manner.

I haven't seen anyone on here saying transexualism is caused by society and not the body. Perhaps I'm not reading the threads clearly enough. I think you seem to be ignoring the many posters on here who accept gender dysphoria as a condition while NOT accepting someone who has done nothing and overtly refuses to do anything to change their physical male body yet claims they're a woman and demands that women accommodate their claims. You yourself have said you don't agree with that. Conflating the two is really not helping.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 18:36:33


I've been on many threads on FWR where transphobic stuff has been posted and has been deleted. I'm not going to name names but there's probably 3 years of threads you can look at. You can also find plenty of posters who claim it's down to society - again, just look at the threads. There's probably about 10,000 posts to look at though.

Again - if you read my many posts on other threads, you'll know what I think of those people who claim to be trans but do nothing about it.

I've probably done several hundred posts on this subject over the years. You are more than welcome to read them, see the deletions and abuse and you'll probably learn a lot about me.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 18:45:01


Did I also mention that my trans status has been used to attack me on threads outside of FWR as well?

And those highly personal attacks aimed right at me have also been deleted.

So maybe I get a bit sensitive when transsexuality is discussed on here and some people just think it's all made up.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 18:52:10

Who has said transsexuality has been "made up"?


CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 19:00:07

Are you ever going to answer my questions, kim?

- Are you female?

- And if not, is it possible to call you a "woman"?

- And if not, is the sentence "transwomen are not 'real' women" is "transphobic"?

Again, this is about F-Word's position on transphobia which you quoted earlier:
We reject as transphobic: Any assertion that trans women are not “real" women, or that trans men are not “real" men, and any assertions that we consider, to the best of our judgement, to stem from this belief.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 19:03:23


Look at the threads on FWR. I've done this so many times that I just can't be bothered anymore. queen answered it well.

That's not ignoring you - it's just something that I am kind of sick of explaining so many times.

And if you look at the 1000s of posts on FWR - you'll get many views on transsexuality and the causes. I'm not going to search all of them.

FloraFox Mon 30-Jun-14 19:03:37

I hope when MNHQ make their decision, they take account of the current legal position in the UK as well as the dictionary definitions for female and male, woman and man.

The Gender Recognition Act unsatisfactorily uses the words "gender" and "sex" interchangably. It starts by talking about "a person of either gender" and provides that they can get a gender recognition certificate on the basis of "living in the other gender".

In order to get a certificate, a person must:

- have gender dysphoria
- have lived in the acquired gender for at least two years
- intend to live in the acquired gender until death.

“gender dysphoria” is defined as "the disorder variously referred to as gender dysphoria, gender identity disorder and transsexualism".

Although there is no requirement to have genital surgery or to take hormones, the form to be filled in by the doctors requires them to provide details of any surgery, hormones etc and Kim has told us before that it is extremely difficult to get a certificate without having had surgery.

If a certificate is issued "the person’s gender becomes for all purposes the acquired gender (so that, if the acquired gender is the male gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a man and, if it is the female gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a woman)". However, there are some exceptions e.g. for sports, succession and for gender-specific offences. The person is not treated as the acquired gender for every purpose.

According to the F-Word, this is all transphobic because:

- it recognises that there are two sexes and that people are either male or female
- it requires a certificate to be issued before a transperson will be treated as the acquired gender
- it describes gender dysphoria as a disorder
- it does not fully treat the transperson as the acquired gender for every purpose
- it does not recognise that the person was the acquired gender from birth
- it requires surgical or hormonal intervention and a medical report to acquire a certificate

I'm not saying that the GRA is the final authority as to what is transphobia. Transactivists and gender critics alike should be entitled to discuss and lobby for change to the legislation. However policies like the F-Word make any support of the GRA as it currently stands as transphobic. I would hope that MNHQ continue their current policy of allowing these discussions and do not go down the bizarre route of saying that stating support for a piece of enacted legislation, the law of the the land, is not permitted on this site. If MNHQ plans to produce a list of words that are not allowed (I'd prefer they didn't), I would like "TERF" and "cis" added to that list. Both terms are highly offensive.

chibi Mon 30-Jun-14 19:08:21

i read somewhere that cis was not a way to self identify any more than gentile is- non-jews don't see themselves as gentiles, they see themselves as catholics, or buddhists, or atheists or whatever.

i appreciate why, politically, trans people identify non-trans people as cis, but it is never going to be a name i call myself, any more than Not-Man is

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 19:11:34

TBH - most of the stuff on FWR and on other threads is fine. But some stuff gets close to the bone - depending on how it's said.

I think people would recognise a comment that is offensive to others.

But that's my opinion and my view of trans issues. I am sure other trans people would have more different and fixed views.

I have learnt a lot from trans conversations on FWR and it has helped me see different POV - even if it may not come across like that. I can see the rad fem POV but there are times when the views clash.