So I wrote to my MP with my concerns about the conflict between the trans movement and women's rights

(31 Posts)
catinbooots Wed 02-Nov-16 21:12:27

I got a very odd reply.

Tell me if I'm reading it wrong but it's like he hasn't even read my letter properly. Spectacularly missing the point. hmm

The letter was based on a template that someone kindly on here gave me a link to. I will post my letter, then his response. Advice needed for my reply (if any)!

Dear Mr XXXX

I was relieved that the government, in their response in July to the recommendations of the Women and Equalities Select Committee's Transgender Equality report, is committed to monitoring and reviewing current legislation. Transgender people deserve full human rights and I fully support government measures to protect this group from discrimination. However, I have recently heard of four examples which suggest that "gender identity" is now being prioritised over "sex" as thelegal distinction between men and women, a change which has serious implications for both the status and safety of women and girls.
The first was a report of a man who became "the first female to serve on the front line" in the British Army, having decided he was a woman and started hormones only two months previously, denying a female soldier her rightful and deserved first place. It is a biological impossibility for a man to be female.
There were also two media stories of violent males who will be housed in women's prisons because they identify as women, which obviously compromises the privacy, dignity and safety of female prisoners.
One of these offenders was referred to as a woman with no further elaboration in some media reports, including the BBC, even though the investigation into his transsexual status was the point of the story and motive for the crime. This is unfair media representation of women,who are rarely violent offenders.
Finally, Brighton & Hove Police circulated an event poster "Celebrating Women and Girls" which invited "all self-identifying women and girls" to attend. It is of huge concern that the police promote this definition of girls which permits them no boundaries, but means they must include males whether they like it or not.
These are only the most recent examples of an increasing number of media stories which define males and females as identities rather than sexes, a system which only further advantages men over women.
Redefining "sex" (a biological reality) to mean "gender identity" (a self-defined subjective feeling) renders men legally indistinguishable from women and extinguishes the independent legal existence of women.This means that the safety of women and girls is compromised, male violence can be hidden by being attributed to women and discrimination against women and girls is rendered invisible when men are included in areas such as awards, quotas, prizes or any initiative designed to support and advance women and girls in an area where they are disadvantaged or face discrimination.
The prison service and the police are the agencies which should be the most aware of the threat of male violence (including sexual violence) against women and girls. The recent government report on the level of sexual abuse in schools reflects the importance of measures to protect girls as a sex, which must include the right to the privacy and safety ofsingle-sex facilities. We cannot meaningfully teach adolescents the importance of consent if legislation denies girls the most fundamental right to assert their boundaries: the right to not consent to having males in their spaces.
The published government guidelines for service providers is especially worrying for parents with daughters, as it suggests that any man may now use a women's public toilet or changing-room without being questioned by security personnel. The crimes of voyeurism and indecent exposure cease to exist if a man identifies as a woman, it is the girl who risks being criminalised for a hate crime if she recognises and names the person as male. She is coerced into accepting that a penis may befemale. There is no evidence in this document that the privacy, dignity and safety of women and girls has even been considered.
Children are learning that what makes them a boy or a girl is a feeling in their head and not their male or female biology, an idea which inevitably relies on essentialist brain theories and stereotypes of behaviour, interests and appearance. The term "gender identity" itself is just another way of saying "pink brain" or "blue brain." As these stereotypes are particularly harmful for girls (placing them as the submissive, passive, decorative sex) this teaching is in direct contravention of anti-discriminatory measures in schools specifically designed to challenge limiting stereotypes (see for example NUT and EHRC teaching guides).
Teaching children that their authentic self is split off from the body is arecipe for mental ill-health, the creation of a problem for children and adolescents which we are seeing reflected in the numbers presenting to gender clinics. Children and adolescents are being taught that "feeling like the opposite sex" means that they actually are, yet at the same time they need sex-change medication and surgery.
We should not be teaching kids that they need to medically alter their bodies to match their interests, we should be teaching the opposite: that boys can be "feminine" and girls can be "masculine" and they are fine as they are. There has been no public debate on the ethics of the sterilisation and life-long medicalisation of non-conforming children and adolescents. Young people are being drawn into a regressive and incoherent belief system they lack the maturity to understand and should be protected from. This survey of 200 women who have detransitioned or reidentified shows that we need to be asking questions about why so many young people, especially girls, are now identifying as transgender,and not just jumping to offer them sex-change treatments:
http://guideonragingstars.tumblr.com/post/149877706175/female-detransition-and-reidentification-survey]]
It is important for girls not to be coerced into accepting a new definition of themselves as a disembodied identity, that female biology is irrelevant and unconnected to who they are as girls. Girls are losing the right to name and talk about their own female bodies; to do so is considered "transphobic."
The distinction between men and women, boys and girls, remains biological sex whether or not some people believe they were born as the "wrong" one. It is impossible for a male to become female, or a female to become male; children need to know this fact and the law needs to reflect it.
I am very concerned about the futures of our daughters if the female sex is no longer legally recognised as a distinct group with boundaries, as well as the futures of all children being diagnosed by an ideology with no basis in science, medical knowledge or child and adolescent developmental psychology.
I would like reassurance that the impact on the human rights of womenand girls, as a legally protected sex, will be assessed through the due process of an Equalities Impact Assessment before any new legislation is considered by government. I would also like assurance that women will be part of the monitoring and review process and that children's rights and protections are included in any review.
I would be grateful if you would pass my comments to the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP.
Thank you very much
Yours sincerely
Catinbooots

catinbooots Wed 02-Nov-16 21:15:36

THE response:

right to privacy for trans people (Case Ref: XXXX)

Dear Catinbooots

Thank you for your email regarding the need for a fundamental recognition of the right to privacy for transgender people. Pleas accept my apologies for not replying sooner.

I believe that fairness and equality are basic British values which is why I fully endorse the findings of the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Select Committee, set out in its report last on transgender equality.

As the report points out, any society that seeks to uphold the principles of fairness can best be judged by the extent to which it supports and protects the rights and interests of every citizen, even the most marginalised groups. Whilst Britain has been among the countries that have gone furthest in recognising lesbian, gay and bisexual rights, our society is still failing this test in respect of trans people, despite welcome progress in recent years.

The report showed that across the board, government departments are struggling to support trans people effectively, with the 2011 Advancing Transgender Equality action plan remaining largely unimplemented. There is no doubt that the 2010 Equality Act was a major step forward in providing statutory recognition and protection of trans people. However, many public services such as the NHS still struggle to provide a proper service for trans people.

That is why I support the Select Committee’s call for the Government to urgently agree a new strategy which it must deliver with full cross-departmental support which would enable us to properly address many of the problems facing trans people.

Sadly many of the report’s recommendations have yet to be acted upon by the Government. However, I will continue to do all that I can to help ensure that the Government starts to address the very serious issues the report exposed.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about this issue. I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of any further assistance.

Best wishes

MR xxxxx

ChangedDaily Wed 02-Nov-16 21:20:36

Somewhere in a file there lies your original letter with "Trans stuff, send them the standard Trans letter" scrawled over it in felt tip.

Thelilywhite Wed 02-Nov-16 21:42:17

Yep agreed. Pathetic. Ive sent a similar letter to my. mp twice and have not even had a reply. So if the people who legislate on such matters arent interested where do we go from here? Re your reply Catin I would point out that he obviously hasnt read your letter and perhaps reframe it in the form of direct questions. eg 'How soon can you give me your assurance that...'
Just a suggestion. Im goin to send another letter in that type of format and try and make much shorter. Will have a think and post again

almondpudding Wed 02-Nov-16 21:45:14

They didn't read your letter. Write back, saying that they don't seem to have read your letter, and a short summary of your concerns. Include the original letter.

It gives a very bad impression of your MP that they (or their staff) do not read the letters they are sent.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 02-Nov-16 21:47:00

I suggest you respond asking the fool why he didn't do you the basic courtesy if actually reading your letter!

Datun Wed 02-Nov-16 22:05:15

What a load of bollocks.

Still waiting for a reply to mine. MP forwarded my letter to Caroline Dinedage. I've receiving the standard 'holding' letter, but I'll be chasing it up. Not expecting much tbh.

IminaPickle Wed 02-Nov-16 22:24:28

My MP replied, agreed that it's a complicated issue and has asked me to go and see her. I'm just exhausted by the whole issue tbh and am posting here for an encouraging kick up the arse

Datun Wed 02-Nov-16 22:43:42

Definitely see her imi. Most people are getting completely disinterested replies from their MPs. The fact that you've been asked to go for a meeting is amazing.

IminaPickle Wed 02-Nov-16 22:50:29

I definitely will.

ChoccyJules Wed 02-Nov-16 22:55:29

I spoke to an MP's personal secretary at an event a couple of years ago. They said that letters and emails which were sent en masse using a template were not even acknowledged. I was like WTF? angry

HillaryFTW Wed 02-Nov-16 23:27:08

Good luck imi!

childmaintenanceserviceinquiry Wed 02-Nov-16 23:33:36

my MP has a clear statement on his website that template or campaign letters will not be answered individually (due to volume) - he includes a list of current issues with his replies and answers. TBH fair enough - if you send a template letter then why would you expect a detailed personal reply.

I contacted him using a template but added a lot of personal thoughts. I did get a personal reply then.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Wed 02-Nov-16 23:34:46

Yes, any time I've used a template I've got a template answer. When I've written in my own words I have had an appropriate and considered response. I don't use templates any more. That one was particularly long-winded too.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Wed 02-Nov-16 23:37:05

I can see why too, with the proliferation of campaigns via social media they must get inundated with identical letters, I really don't think it's that unreasonable to send back a template answer or none at all.

Lorelei76 Wed 02-Nov-16 23:40:25

OP I agree that they haven't read it but tbh I think it's a very in depth letter! I would reply saying that you think your letter wasn't read properly and give a short summary of the concerns.

In some places I've found MPs immediately pass this kind of letter to someone else, in others they've emailed to say "I've passed this to so and so" but not everyone will tell you that.

If it was dealt with by a team member who isn't familiar with the issues, that might explain the reply.

Xenophile Thu 03-Nov-16 07:54:49

My MP has a bit on his website where he formulates his views on the issues of the day and asks people not to write to him.

He's an utter arse and I sincerely hope he loses his constituency in the next boundary changes and is found in breach of electoral rules when the committee releases it's report.

CharlieSierra Thu 03-Nov-16 08:17:41

I didn't even get a reply from my MP but I copied in Theresa May and got a reply from her office thanking me for sharing my views. It's shit!

Datun Thu 03-Nov-16 08:24:12

Don't stop writing! I know it's a pain in the arse, but keep going. Change the letters, keep them short and end with asking a question.

bibbitybobbityyhat Thu 03-Nov-16 08:30:53

Holy moly! Yes it is a template reply to a template letter, but it is on an entirely different subject! You have to write back and point this out op! Condense your thoughts down to a handful of bullet points and ask where has your reply addressed a single one of them? Dear oh dear 😱.

Datun Thu 03-Nov-16 09:48:40

It's infuriating that this juggernaut of an ideology is crashing through regardless of objection.

Don't these people ever look online? Even a cursory glance at the zillions of sites devoted to trans should raise massive red flags.

I've been googling some of the assumptions. The oft quoted 41% suicide rate for instance. Not only is this 'attempted' not 'actual' even the authors thought it probably included self harming. Googling how many trans ACTUALLY commit suicide brings up no surveys at all. I can't find an answer. Another poster much cleverer than me analysed the figures and made a mockery of the claims. Also the 'transwomen get attacked in men's rooms', hence we need to use the ladies - googling 'transwomen attacked in men's room' brought up <nothing>.

Datun Thu 03-Nov-16 09:49:13

I'm happy to stand corrected on any of this, by the way.

HiDBandSIL Thu 03-Nov-16 10:08:19

That is piss poor! Why on earth have you spared him the embarrassment by not putting his name here?!

WankingMonkey Thu 03-Nov-16 11:30:58

Dear Chloe,

Thank you for getting into contact with me with regard to gender identification.

As you may be aware, the Labour Party is committed to supporting transgender equality. It is clear that our current legislation needs to be updated and it is important that we hear from the transgender community about how this can be achieved.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), their survey found that within the LGBTQ community, transgender people face the most alarming rates of sexual violence.

The Women and Equalities Committee created a very well received and in-depth report on the issues facing trans individuals, entitled: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee Transgender Equality First Report of Session 2015–16. In regard to segregated spaces, the report found: “We heard from Ashley Reed that: In gendered refuge centres, it is worth noting that trans people will often be turned away from ones that are protected for either gender, so a trans woman could be rejected from a women’s shelter but would also be rejected from a men’s shelter. Were they to go to a men’s shelter, they would be at serious risk of harassment or physical or verbal abuse, and that would be a major onset of dysphoria.”

Moreover, the report also found that: “The NUS stated that students who had experienced transphobic harassment in higher education were two to three times more likely to consider leaving their course.” If you would like to read the report further, I have included a link for your reference.
www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmwomeq/390/390.pdf

In regard to your concern of predators taking advantage of the proposed changes, UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute, a research group that focuses on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy, is working on a study to learn if the proposed changes would lead to more crimes by predators. Jody Hermann, a scholar stated: "As far as we know there hasn't been some sort of, you know, devolving into chaos in restrooms. The only solid evidence of any such attacks in public restrooms are those directed at trans individuals, a significant percentage of whom report verbal and physical assault in such spaces.”

According to the Law Society, a transgender employee must be able to use the toilet or changing room of their expressed gender identity without fear of harassment. People should not be made to use unisex disabled toilets.
LGBT have a blog where Tran’s members can share their views if you want to read about the experiences of others I have linked both websites below:
www.lgbtlabour.org.uk/
www.lgbtlabour.org.uk/trans

Thank you for taking the time to write to me about this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions you may have.


Yours sincerely,

Roberta

Office of Roberta Blackman-Woods
Member of Parliament for the City of Durham

--

That was my reply. Fuck all to do with my letter. An d apparently there have been no instances of trans people attacking 'cis' in bathrooms/chan ging rooms and such but many of trans people being attacked in their own sex spaces. what a crock of shit. I didn't expect any different from my Labour MP though tbh. Fuck womens rights to be safe, its all about making others comfortable.

Lorelei76 Thu 03-Nov-16 11:51:36

Datun "Don't these people ever look online?"

I had no idea this was happening till I joined MN. More importantly, I thought trans meant actual sex change, not just a weird ideology that allowed penises into the women's bathroom.

Then when the US bathroom law stuff happened I mentioned it to a couple of friends and it turned out they didn't know either. They thought "using the bathroom of the sex you were assigned at birth" meant that full surgery transsexuals were being asked to use the other bathroom. They had no idea you could do nothing and say "I'm a woman now" and use the ladies'.

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