Trans women as NUS Women's Officer- Part 2

(505 Posts)
StinkyPie Fri 26-Feb-16 16:30:48

Last few posts from Part 1;
sieReturningParker

Some of her aims:

Gender neutral sex ed
Women in leadership making room for transwomen (because you know how many women are in leadership roles)
BUS accepting transwomen to compete as women in sports

Today 16:19 ShortcutButton

4th if Anna and Sarah were TRUELY allies of women then they would seek to address the concerns that women are expressing in reasoned tones, over and over and over again in varies forums

Instead, they held an emergency meeting (this is before my poutburst) and decided the beast course of action was not to respond to women

How can you consider that approach to be the action of people that understand women, align with women, want to advocate for women????

Think of it as a personal relationship. Your lover or friend is expected to support and care for you. The person is acting in a way that you feel is not in your best interests. You attempt to start a conversation with your friend/lover to discuss this. They totally blank you and refuse to acknowledge that you even spoke

How do yuou feel about that person? Are they your friend?

Taking the analogy further...you get frustrated that you are being silenced and your concerns ignored and have a short aggressive outburst

NOW that person is listening to you. Telling everyone how violent and scary you are. Using this as an excuse for never having to listen to you again...a reason noone should take your opinion seriously...

How do you feel about that person now? That's an abusive narcissist personality type

Today 16:17 VincentVanLowe

They know you aren't threatening them. Your post was clearly making a point about the difference between criticism and concern versus threatening and harassment. The latter is what women are subjected to every day by trans activists. The former is what Lee and Noble have been busy deleting and dismissing as 'bigotry'. They've chosen to misrepresent posts here and elsewhere in order to play act like they believe a bunch of women posting on mumsnet are actually any sort of physical threat to them, two good sized males with plenty of media backing - it's farcical, we all know it is.

Today 16:16 PrettyBrightFireflies

4th - so why wouldn't you support a man in the role of NUS Womans Officer ?

If having experience is not relevant to the role, then what is the difference between a trans-woman and a man in fighting for the Annafesto?

StinkyPie Fri 26-Feb-16 16:31:47

first thread

WilLiAmHerschel Fri 26-Feb-16 16:33:13

Thanks for starting a new thread.

OhShutUpThomas Fri 26-Feb-16 16:34:27

Checking in.

4th I'm still interested to hear what you think about people identifying as black?

slugseatlettuce Fri 26-Feb-16 16:36:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Snarkmaiden Fri 26-Feb-16 16:38:35

Glad to see that this thread continues...

Other aims from the manifesto that will directly impinge on (natal) women are Anna's support of sex work decriminalisation, the insistance of transwomen being housed in woman's prisons and reserving Woman in Leadership places exclusively for transwomen.

Snowshimmer Fri 26-Feb-16 16:43:16

Well the big difference in opinion between 4th and other posters here is the belief that if someone identifies as a woman, even though they're male, they're a woman. And that a man would never fake being trans.
That's the one thing I simply do not understand. Calling Anna Lee a trans woman - sure. But a woman? You cannot see any difference in biology, childhood experiences, people's reactions and expetations, having different difficulties and so on?

MagicalRealist Fri 26-Feb-16 16:49:38

Exactly, Snowshimmer. 4th wave described her belief in lady-brain as reason for believing that transwomen are biological women.

PrettyBrightFireflies Fri 26-Feb-16 16:49:56

snow in that regard, it is the majority on this thread who are out of tune with society as a whole. The Equalities Commission make it clear that deliberately misgendering someone, no matter at what stage of transition they are, is transphobic harassment.

QueenLaBeefah Fri 26-Feb-16 16:53:41

Lady brain ( the love of cupcakes, kittens and being paid less) means you're a woman. Total horseshit.

WilLiAmHerschel Fri 26-Feb-16 16:55:56

I don't want to overwhelm 4thwave but I have another, question. If she does return and feels like answering I'd be really appreciative. I'm not a gender theorist either and I went to state school. I just want a straight answer though please.

I do not really understand what you think a woman is. It seems to me you think the term is meaningless. Something anyone who feels like it can decided to be. (I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth so if I've got it wrong I apologise.) So my question is, if I had grown up in complete isolation my entire life but somehow one day woke up in a room next to you, fully able to speak and understand English luckily, but knowing nothing much about anything, and I asked you if I was a man or a woman, what would you say? If you said something like, "Here's an idea, not mine, and not a new one. If you want to be a woman, you're in."- I imagine I would ask, "How would I know if I wanted to be a woman? What does it mean to be a woman?" What would you say?

BeyondBootcampsAgain Fri 26-Feb-16 16:56:35

Well ime, most of society think mtt=woman is nonsense, but not serious enough to worry about. See also a large chunk of mn on this and the recent survey on hetero-men and why they wouldnt date a mtt (the most popular answer was - "because im not gay")

PenguinVox Fri 26-Feb-16 16:58:34

One of the differences between someone identifying as a woman and someone who is a woman is that the person identifying as a woman can change their mind and go back to living as a man. I can't escape my womanhood. Even if I identified as a man, it wouldn't work. I already have short hair and wear trousers but I am much, much smaller and slighter than even a very small man. Plus my voice is of the typical female pitch that seems to be out of the hearing range of the average man. Me saying that I identify as a man wouldn't change the way that people treat me. It also wouldn't stop me having painful periods and it wouldn't reverse the many physical changes that pregnancy and childbirth have made to my body.
Also, saying ding ding ding a man is a woman because they say so without offering a clear definition of what "woman" means just comes across as gaslighting.

Twunk Fri 26-Feb-16 17:01:48

I don't "feel like" a woman - I am one. I have breasts and periods and PMT. I have had 2 babies and several miscarriages. I've taken Lord-knows how many hormones to prevent pregnancy. I've had uterine coils fitted (ouch). I have been sexually assaulted, discriminated against, dismissed as "emotional". I've had post-natal depression. The list goes on - and these are all a result of my biology, not what I "identify" as.

And I have had it easy compared to many women in Western Europe, never mind the rest of the world.

Being a woman comes from my biology. I don't "feel" like one because I feel like me. I couldn't possibly describe what it is to "feel like" a woman.

"Gender Critical" means rejecting the societal norms that are attributed to both sexes. We don't want to be reduced to sexist cliches and stereotypes. And when I see transgender women often all I see is a stereotype of a woman. Anna can wear what they like, be called what they like and it just doesn't matter, I am very much in favour of self-expression. But Anna is not a woman.

VincentVanLowe Fri 26-Feb-16 17:03:14

I don't think it is clear that the Equalities Act counts accurate use of pronouns as harassment. The Equalities Commission guidance seems to suggest that repeated use of unwanted pronouns in the context of providing a service or employment could be treated as harassment. I still haven't found any actual cases of people being found guilty of harassment for 'misgendering' and there are lots of examples of use of correct pronouns in online news sites, forums and blogs, academic publications, and medical publications, none of which seem to have come a cropper of the Equalities Act. So - I think that it is unclear at this stage whether 'misgendering' is actually legally actionable or not.

RomiiRoo Fri 26-Feb-16 17:08:14

Well, I think one thing is clear - in all my years of working with and advocating for women, that is the first time I have ever been told I am pissing on other women ...

Divide and rule. I am going to keep working and advocating for women the best I can.

4th wave rightly raised the issues a trans* person faces; these are trans* issues and worthy of advocating for, but they are not women's issues. Unless we are advocating for common humanity, in which case, why not seek common ground and discussion instead of closing down debate and calling differing opinions vile?

PrettyBrightFireflies Fri 26-Feb-16 17:12:33

vincent having re-read, I agree it could be read that way. I wonder if the most significant element of the 'example' given by the EC is that the 'victim' had asked for the 'perpetrator' not to refer to them in those terms?

Is it actually the case that transsexual harassment is subject to the same tests of law as other harassment - that is, the perpetrator must be aware that their behaviour is unwelcome, or it is behaviour that a reasonable person would consider unreasonable?
I don't think a reasonable person would consider it unreasonable for anyone to refer to another person using the pronoun they believe accurately reflects the persons sex?
So that leaves us with the situation where it's only harassment if the perpetrator is made aware that their language is offensive to the victim.

madwomanbackintheattic Fri 26-Feb-16 17:15:42

Fuck that. That makes me a dude. 16 years in the military, not worn a skirt in decades, make up is for the stage. I gave up performing femininity bloody yonks ago and still managed to procreate three times. I might negate any cultural bollocks about femininity but I'm still a woman.
The difficulty is, of course, that you have to prove lady-brain and perform femininity flawlessly to the satisfaction of the GIC if you want the right to identify officially as a woman. Thousands of born women would fail the gender test. Possibly millions, although of course we have all been taught well enough how to fake it.

Sometimes whatever the institutional controlling force dictates is wrong.

I have a fair few trans friends. And ds1's friend is ftm. I'm not a transphobe.
I don't give a flying fuck what you wear, do, or which pronoun you prefer to be addressed by. Be my guest. <I am always mildly boggled when mtf friends ask me for nail polish advice, because as a woman I obviously have an inherent understanding of such things. To be fair, I do have a cultural understanding of such things. I can tell them exactly what to wear if they want to pass the stupid reductionary real life test. Because having lived as a woman for 45 years I know EXACTLY how I am SUPPOSED to dress, behave, talk, walk etc. I at least have a choice. In order to pass the test, they don't.>

It's not the poor bastard trans folk that have set up this ridiculous dystopian nightmare. It's the entire patriarchal government and medical institution.

For the love of God, don't swallow this lady-brain horseshit. And don't confuse trans issues for women's issues. Have the basic understanding that someone has made a checklist of stupid pseudo 'feminine' shit that women are supposed to ascribe to. And that mtf trans folk HAVE to ascribe to in order to gain recognition. In order to make peace with yourself, call it whatever you like. But have the sense to believe deep in the core of you that just because you look like a duck, walk like a duck, quack like a duck, doesn't mean you are a fucking duck. Whatever that checklist says. It just gives you rights to be CALLED a duck, change your birth certificate, whatever.

It doesn't matter what the hell you are. Be whatever what you want to be. But you can't pretend to have an understanding of what it is like to grow up as a woman. You can ask women. Or you can somehow get tied in knots about what it means to grow up as a man and then transition to being a woman and think that is the same thing and qualifies you immediately to campaign on women's behalf as you are one and the same. If you are a trans woman and want to represent WOMEN, do that.

Fucking lady brain my arse.

madwomanbackintheattic Fri 26-Feb-16 17:22:36

Lol, apols. Deep in rant and convo moved on.

madwomanbackintheattic Fri 26-Feb-16 17:25:41

I'm also entirely aware that my diatribe is akin to 'I'm not a racist. Some of my best friends are black'. grin
I'm not. Honest.

OhShutUpThomas Fri 26-Feb-16 17:28:28

that is the first time I have ever been told I am pissing on other women ...

Yes but remember who is telling you....the boss never changes...

BathtimeFunkster Fri 26-Feb-16 17:32:15

The idea that as women we should "welcome all comers" is infuriating.

It's totally disingenuous.

Who are ALL the other people who might come?

Well there's men and... bears? fish? as-yet undiscovered alien brings?

Brooke Magenti is not really saying "all comers", she's saying "men should be allowed everywhere".

All we ask is that they SAY they are a woman.

That's the password.

That's all you have to do to take a woman's place.

You can only adopt that position if you don't think being a woman means anything at all.

If you don't think women are at a disadvantage relative to the men they must welcome.

If you don't think women are at any risk from the men that want to get into their bathrooms and prisons.

"We welcome all comers: all rapists, all honour murderers, all paedophiles, all wife beaters, all serial killers, all imams, all priests, all chauvinists, all misogynists, all men's privilege activists... Just say the magic words and you can take over and our ability to organise around our common interests is gone."

FimbleBlizzard Fri 26-Feb-16 17:34:26

4th, I appreciate your long replies, you write very well (though I don't agree with everything you say).

You say this:

"I feel like a woman because society rejects my voice. I feel like a woman because when I read Atwood bell hooks, or Woolf or Alice Walker or Sappho or whoever, they speak to me on a level I can’t articulate. I feel like a woman because Shakespeare makes me angry with all those dead and useless women. I feel like a woman because I am sick to death of Hamlet. I feel like a woman because this conversation hurts me, to see my own gender turn against its own. And yes,I do feel like a woman in part because of my vagina, because of my hormonal acne and because of those times crouching in loos pissing on sticks - but that isn't the sum of my feeling or my experience. I feel like a woman in my head, in my heart, in parts of myself I can’t name. I feel like a woman in my every interaction with men – good or bad. I feel in my every interaction with women. If someone clicked their fingers and I was me but I suddenly had a penis and no breasts – I would still feel like a woman, I would still be a woman."

It looks slightly as though you would argue that a trans man is actually still a woman, but I'm pretty sure you can't have meant to imply that. Yet most trans men will have shared many of those feelings and experiences - do they have extra ones that you would say make them men, really? If so, what are those?

Woman can just be the word for adult humans with female biology. It really can be. It doesn't have to force or prevent any particular feelings (although we can predict certain feelings based on common experiences). I've read a lot of trans supporters who seem to think that tying 'woman' to biology is somehow to reduce women to that, to no more than our biology. It really isn't. It's reducing the significance of the word 'woman' to biology alone, while freeing the actual human beings who have (biologically) that label to have an infinite variety of different feelings, personalities, clothing and so on on top of that biology.

It is perfectly possible to like someone, admire them, agree with them on many many issues, believe that they should be respected, treated well, not discriminated against in employment etc. and want to protect them from violence, but still disagree that they are actually a woman, if they are not. Saying someone is not a woman is not to want to harm them. It's just drawing a line, it's saying no, we still need 'woman' to mean what it's always meant. Transwomen are a valuable part of humanity, but they are not a subset of women, rather they are a particularly interesting subset of men who wish to live their lives socially as if they were women. But we have not, as women, somehow outgrown the need for a word to describe just us. You may not recognise that we need that word at the moment, but I suspect as you move through life you eventually will.

MrsToddsShortcut Fri 26-Feb-16 17:59:32

4th, you seem like a nice, genuine passionate person and I appreciate you posting on here, especially as you clearly feel uncomfortable with some of the content.

I'm a student and a member of the NUS. I'm also in my 40's, a single parent with two kids, one of whom is disabled, and I work full time. I do my college work mostly in the middle of the night, so for me, student issues impact hugely on my life and my ability to manage it.

Please understand that I mean Anna no harm or disrespect at all. She seems like a passionate activist and I know she has a history of student activism which is great. But her lived experience of womanhood is extremely limited in comparison to the many women that she wants to represent. She has no biological experience of womanhood, it's all entirely ideological. I don't see how it can be otherwise.

I won't vote for her, not becuase I dislike her or wish her ill, but because, if I have to pick from two candidates, both with policies that support women, I'll pick the candidate who I know has greater personal experience of those issues. Anna clearly wants to be an ally to women and clearly feels strongly about supporting womens issues, and I welcome that, but living as a women and identifying as a woman isn't exactly the same as being a woman.

I am biologically female. I have female sex organs and gave birth to two children and I menstruate. I've been raped and sexually assaulted for being female. Beyond that, I'm just me. I don't 'feel' female at all. I don't 'feel' any gender because I believe that gender is a social construct that society uses to categorise us. When someone tells me they 'feel' female I can't relate I'm afraid. But by the same token, I wouldn't presume to say I knew how it felt to be trans.

The wider issue here is about men in women's spaces. I work, socialise and have lived with many members of the LGBT community over the years and fully support their continued struggle to have their dignity and rights promoted and defended in law. My problem is that the proposed new gender self-identity laws that are being promoted, will, I fear, lead to abuse by men.

NOT by transwomen or transmen, but by predatory men. As you quite rightly point out, being trans is hard. But that won't matter any more if these laws are passed, because predators won't need to dress or act or live like their stated gender in order to access women's spaces. All they will need to do is walk in and if questioned, state they are 'female' and they will have protection in law.

This law isn't going to be abused by the trans community, but it will be abused by predatory men and if you think it won't, then I believe your view to be a little niave. Women and girls deserve to have protection from this. The threat is very real and in fact, the trans community know the threat is real as it is so-called cis-men who are posing the threat. Trans people need safe space as much as everyone else, but in the current climate, if you try and discuss this or debate this, you are shut down and accused of being a TERF or cis-scum.

A minority of the trans community are publically rejecting a third space, or secure gender neutral facilities, presumably because what they want is public validation of their womanhood. But it just isn't as simple as that and as a minority of the population, they absolutely deserve to have their rights and dignity protected, but not by taking those rights away from women.

As a comparison, a couple of posters have asked you your view on Rachel Dolezal, who 'identified' and lived as a black woman and took a role representing them. I would honestly (and without wanting to trick you are catch you out) want to hear your thoughts on that.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 26-Feb-16 17:59:36

Glad this discussion is continuing.

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