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Being called a bigot and transphobe - my response

(68 Posts)
mirrorisnotmyfriend Tue 07-Mar-17 17:35:59

Me and DH were both accused of this by family member, who sent us this article to help us understand why we are bigots.
This was my response - long but wanted to share - it took me ages but really sums up how I feel about the whole thing!

Dear X

In response to your email, I feel I need to say something.I'm concerned that the one sided, misogynistic article you linked to 'sums up much of your thoughts' to be honest. I am so disappointed that you would support something as poorly researched and partisan as this and my heart sank the more I read of it.

I have been a feminist for as long as I can remember. However I can see that the trans rights agenda will harm women, if we decide that anyone who identifies as a woman may enter women's spaces. I will not support that. So according to your article, because I don't believe that men with penises are women, I am somehow a bigot? And not a feminist??

It is a lovely idea that feminism should work with the trans rights movement, but it is also hopelessly naive. How can you honestly expect a movement that fights for women's rights to work with a movement who if successful will see the rolling back of our rights, in the removal of our right to congregate without the presence of men? Trans rights and women's rights are not the same. They need to be equal, but they are two different groups and by and large their needs are not the same. And you cannot advance the rights of one group by taking away the rights of the other.

Being critical of transwomen is not misogynistic. Misogyny is hatred of women, and I do not believe transwomen are women, they are biological males who wish to be women. We have been bullied into believing that saying this is akin to admitting you support the death penalty for gay people when it is in fact a reasonable opinion supported by scientific fact. I will call any transwoman a woman, use her correct pronouns, treat her with the respect she deserves. However you cannot force me to believe that a man is a woman, any more than you can force me to believe in God. People have the right to identify as they wish, other people have the right to perceive them as they wish, and they have the right to do that without being called a bigot. Saying that transwomen are women is a belief. Not a fact. Saying that they are not women is also a belief, in this case, a belief supported by science. It is not a thoughtcrime, or hate, or transphobia. You can say 2 + 2 = 5 as much as you like, but you cannot make me believe it. You will also find that there are many transwomen who completely accept themselves that they are not women. Miranda Yardley is one. Are they transphobes?

You are right in saying that the threat to women is men. So why on earth would you support a movement that will allow men to go into spaces that were previously designated for women? I cannot get my head around your logic, because it's a completely illogical position.You are quite wrong, sadly, in saying that men in men's clothing are the only threat to women. Unfortunately, so are men in women's clothing, as some of these examples show.

Do you think the women and girls harmed in these examples are acceptable collateral damage in the advancement of trans rights? I am sure you don't. Can you accept that it is at best naive and at worst wilfully ignorant to imagine that, in the context of the age long epidemic of male violence against women, men will not abuse identity politics and the legislation that surrounds it to hurt women? Why would you support anything that would enable that?

The article opens by saying that trans people are being murdered in their thousands. This is obviously a big concern. Male violence against women, something which has been declared a public health issue by the WHO, is something that happens to thousands of women every day, too. By removing safe spaces for women and girls around the world, the trans rights movement and its supporters will help contribute to augmenting this figure.

You cannot compare the trans rights movement to black rights or gay rights and it is quite offensive to those movements and to feminists to do so. A better comparison would be the men's rights movement to be honest. I see people calling upon feminists to make their feminism inclusive of trans rights. Feminism is the only movement in the world that is expected to be all things to everyone. And all you end up with is a watered down imitation of feminism that achieves very little. Do you expect CRUK to study Alzheimer's research? Do you accuse the RSPB of being exclusionary to land mammals? No, because these organisations can achieve more by focusing on one thing. Feminism is about women's rights. It should centre women's rights, which are by and large not the same as trans rights. A rising tide lifts all boats, and where trans rights and women's rights do intersect, there are gains to be made. But fundamentally it is a women's rights movement, and transwomen are not affected by the central issues that affect women.

You would not presume to go to a black lives matter march and say that they have to also fight for feminism and disabled people. Yet, somehow, feminism has to fight for everything and must center a group of people who are biological males and who are not affected by the issues I mention above. So instead of campaigning against child marriage or for abortion rights we end up tiptoeing around these issues as they hurt transwomen's feelings. You honestly could not make this shit up. Emmeline Pankhurst must be turning in her grave.

I do not see transgender people fighting for women's rights, speaking out against FGM, for reproductive rights, about menstruation, anything that affects only women. In fact, they censor women when they do try to speak about these things that are central to feminism. They are offended, and hurt, when we talk about our biology. Look at the reaction to the women's marches if you don't believe me

Allowing anyone who identifies as a woman to enter women's spaces; toilets, wards, prisons, refuges, is harmful to women. I hear people saying that legislation won't change anything and that opportunistic male predators will come in to these spaces anyway. In other words,shut up, hysterical women. You're going to get raped anyway. Move up and make space for men, like you always have, throughout history. The reality is that instead of sneaking into women's spaces illegally, predatory men will be able to come in unchallenged. And if we challenge their presence, we are in the wrong.

The article suggests that people who say that transwomen are not real women would also be against gay rights, or would say that childless, lesbian women are not real women. What a mindless non sequitur that is. How offensive to feminists, many of whom are lesbians. I know many feminists who have spent their lives fighting for women's rights, many who are childless, too, and not one of them would espouse those views. By the way, did you know that lesbians are particularly hated by transwomen? That's because lesbians refuse to have sex with transwomen, on account of the fact that they have penises (80% of transwomen keep their male genitalia). They are told they are transphobic for not wanting to touch a penis. That is rape culture, by the way.

Transwomen do need their own spaces, which is why I support gender neutral spaces. As a man I do not think you can possibly understand the need of many women to have their own spaces, where they will not encounter a male bodied individual, regardless of how he identifies. You don't have skin in this game in the way that women do. Do you know how vulnerable many women feel, in toilets, changing rooms, in prisons, hospital wards, rape centres? Do you have the slightest idea or can you try to understand how horrifying the idea of sharing these spaces with men is? For a woman who has been raped, the question of how a male bodied individual with a penis identifies is moot, the biological reality of that person's male body is the thing that holds terror for her. Do women like that not matter? Are they just bigots?

For every woman who is just super progressive and so down with sharing space with men, there are more that just aren't OK with it at all. You won't hear these women's voices much, because they are silenced by people like you, who call transphobe, bigot, hate at the slightest provocation. Through my volunteering at women's aid I have met women whose history of abuse would mean that they simply cannot use a toilet if they think they will meet someone with a penis in it, regardless of how they identify. One woman could not even enter a toilet when there was a male cleaner in it. Are they bigots? Transphobes? Hateful? Your blind support of this movement, which seems to have given no consideration to what women feel about all this, supports the complete and total eradication of women's spaces. They will become spaces for anyone who identifies as a woman. These are spaces that our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought hard for and they should not be sacrificed at the altar of 'progression' and trans rights. Transwomen are no less deserving of humanity or dignity, they should have spaces where they also feel safe, but they do not have the right to infringe on women's right to have spaces they can call their own.

The article refers to the 'hypothetical case of a man who suddenly announces he is a transgender women the minute he is convicted of rape'. I am assuming you don't know that Ian Huntley, who murdered two young girls in the UK a few years, ago, now identifies as a woman and wishes to be called Lian? I assume you are completely supportive of Lian's right to be moved to a women's prison, and that you are ok with vulnerable women inmates being locked up with him? The author has also chosen to ignore the cases of Davina Ayrton who raped a 15 year old girl before transitioning. Davina was sent to a women's prison. He (not going to call a rapist a woman) had had no surgery, retains his penis, yet has said the magic words 'I am a woman' and hey presto, he is one, and vulnerable women end up locked up with him. There are others. The violent transwoman Tara Hudson is another. It is cases like these that tell me that transactivists give zero fucks about women's safety, and why it is completely galling to be told we have to fight for these kinds of rights as feminists.

In your email you say that we shouldn't judge a group by the acts of the few. But it is these few that are shouting extremely loudly, who are suppressing women's voices, and who are driving policy. They are doing this very successfully. And make no mistake, some of these activists fucking hate women. Did you see what happened in Vancouver recently, when women tried to open a women's library with women's writing in it? Transactivists turned up and bullied, physically intimidated and harassed the women who were meeting there. They also demanded that books they deemed 'transphobic' be destroyed. Does that remind you of anything? There was the Working Class History Library in the UK too who featured a talk by 'known transphobe' aka lesbian feminist Julie Bindel. Tranactivists attempted to have her no platformed and when that didn't work they threatened to turn up at the event and inflict physical violence on the attendees. In both cases, they behaved just like men, and I refuse to call them women.

Did you know that the Gender Identity Bill is due a second reading in Parliament soon? If passed it will mean that gender identity, rather than gender reassigned, will become a protected characteristic. This will mean that anyone can say that they are a woman or girl, and that nobody will be able to legitimately challenge that. Can you honestly not see the nightmare that this will create for girls and women? Not just in terms of our safe space, but in sport, scholarships, employment? Let's take DD as an example. She is very talented at football. How would you feel if after all her hard work and practice, she found herself playing against a team of boys who identified as girls? Girls cannot hope to beat boys in sport, as they are not physically matched. Yet they will have to, should this legislation go through. Fallon Fox, the MMA fighter, and a transwoman, caused the worst damage in the history of women's MMA to her opponent. What motivation will girls have to compete in sport when they are competing against people who are not fairly matched?

You may also not be aware that for many late transitioning transwomen, their transition represents a sexual fetish. This is called autogynephilia. A significant percentage of transwomen are autogynephiles. I have seen screenshots from darkweb pages where they meet. They are utterly chilling and if you had seen them too you would not be so generous in your support of allowing just anyone into women's spaces, I can assure you. Yet women are expected to welcome these individuals into our space with open arms.

Women have been oppressed by their biology since the beginning of time and now we are being told that biology does not matter and that woman is simply a feeling, not a biological, material reality. Are the 700 million girls and women worldwide who have been subjected to FGM, victims because they identify as women? Or because they are women? When Boko Haram invade a village, do they kidnap and abduct girls because they are girls? Or because of how they identify? When I walk home alone at night do I fear being assaulted because of how I identify? Or because I am a woman?

I do wonder what it will take for you to open your eyes to what is going on here. In the meantime, I'll leave you with Danielle Muscato, who by your logic is as much of a woman as I am, because he says so. Because anyone who says they are a woman, is one.Http://

This the logic that you are defending. A logic that says that women who speak up for their own safety are bigots and oppressors.

May I suggest you use the terms transphobic and misogynist more judiciously in future.

Best wishes

DJBaggySmalls Tue 07-Mar-17 17:41:17

Send her this first;

There is nothing hypothetical about this multiple rapist.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 07-Mar-17 17:42:44

That's very powerful indeed.

DenimChicken Tue 07-Mar-17 17:43:49

I doubt they'd read it. It is very, very long and people don't tend to read very long texts that are pointing out they're wrong.

Bluntness100 Tue 07-Mar-17 17:45:40

Couldn't get through it myself, been done to death on here. Sigh,

HotSince82 Tue 07-Mar-17 17:45:47


mirrorisnotmyfriend Tue 07-Mar-17 17:53:38

It's an email so hopefully it will be read at least in part, I doubt it will change his mind though.

mirrorisnotmyfriend Tue 07-Mar-17 17:54:04

Thanks Countess.

mirrorisnotmyfriend Tue 07-Mar-17 18:00:35

DJ that links beggars belief. It's a MAN.

CuppaTeaAndAJammieDodger Tue 07-Mar-17 18:14:33

I read to the end and it wipes the floor with the article your relative linked to. I suspect that they won't read it all, but it is very well done.

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 07-Mar-17 18:17:04

It is long, and I doubt if your relative will actually read it. They'll probably have a knee jerk reaction to it and refuse to read on the grounds of it being transphobic and hateful, in their opinion. But you've put your point across fairly calmly, so you never know.

M0stlyBowlingHedgehog Tue 07-Mar-17 18:20:38

I too doubt that your rellie will even bother to read it, but it's very good.

Lessthanaballpark Tue 07-Mar-17 18:21:15

"Feminism is the only movement in the world that is expected to be all things to everyone. "

Fucking amen to that!

DJBaggySmalls Tue 07-Mar-17 18:22:55

But they self identify, so we all have to walk on eggshells around them.
Ready for another one?

Transgender murderer moved from women’s prison ‘after having sex with female inmates’

Thats penetrative, heterosexual sex.

Datun Tue 07-Mar-17 18:59:43


That was brilliant. Anyone reading that would be given pause for thought, unless they were a raging misogynistic men's rights activist.

Moreover, your fear, anger and pain is obvious. Authentic and powerful.

Well done.

WitchingHour666 Tue 07-Mar-17 19:07:30

Mirrorisnotmyfriend, that is an excellent summery of what is going on, your relative almost certainly won't like it, but at least you have put your point across clearly and intelligently.

Datun Tue 07-Mar-17 19:09:59

If you need any more grist for your mill, this link is an eye opener. Especially two or three items down where a transwoman lesbian threatens an underage girl with rape.

DameDeDoubtance Tue 07-Mar-17 20:23:05

Well done mirror, we all have to be a little bit braver and tackle this head on. This filled me with rage, they are exploring female violence which is on the rise, using a transwoman rapist to represent our sex. angry

Fairyflaps Tue 07-Mar-17 20:36:23

The person who wrote that article is currently in my Facebook feminist group trying to tell us how to be good feminists, and offering to educate us about trans people as she has a handful of trans women friends.
She is being given a hard time.
Yours was a good and well thought out response.

Barcoo2 Tue 07-Mar-17 20:38:41

For some reason i assumed your family member was female, then i read the bit where you refer to him as male. It was at that point i thought, 'He's not going to listen to all this'. How ccondescending to be telling a woman how to practice feminism . it's a great letter.

MercyMyJewels Tue 07-Mar-17 20:53:26

Brilliant Mirror. I will be plagiarising some of that if you don't mind

whoputthecatout Tue 07-Mar-17 20:54:27

I have put a link to your email on to the gransnet thread discussing transgender as a lot of the posters there don't seem to be quite as up to speed on the seriousness of the issue as MN.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Tue 07-Mar-17 23:20:07

Fabulous email, OP. It's more than generous to spend so much time and effort on someone who has accused you and your DH of bigotry. You must care a lot about this relative.

Please let us know if you get a reply.

Obsidian77 Tue 07-Mar-17 23:36:40

Imo, the article your relative sent you is not a very good one. It's full of false equivalencies, eg asking pertinent questions about gender and identity does not mean you are exactly the same as some moron who would have shouted homophobic comments.
It's this attempt to control the narrative and stifle debate that, again, imo, is so offensively patriarchal.
Your response is very balanced and reasonable. I hope you make some headway.

EmpressoftheMundane Tue 07-Mar-17 23:43:44

Great letter mirror..
It's calm and well reasoned.

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