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Embarrassed to ask but...

(41 Posts)
ALurkerNoMoreForNow Tue 14-Mar-17 14:26:56

So I consider myself a proud feminist, but since recently returning to Mumsnet have found lots of talk about Trans / Peak Trans and I feel I'm arriving late to this particular party.

I genuinely hadn't realised this was such a hot topic, and please don't shout me down, but I would like clarity...

Is the issue only about people who haven't had a physical op (i.e. still have a penis)?

I'm reading these threads with interest, they have already generated some lively discussions in my house.

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 14-Mar-17 14:34:58

In my opinion, no, it is not just about bepenised people. Although for me, I reached peak trans when I realised that transgender was not just a prissier term for transexual (old gimmer). I had assumed transwomen actually wanted to be women, and found the bearded bepenised lesbians made me question that somewhat.

I am also disquieted about the effect on children and teenagers being encouraged to consider themselves trans if they are vaguely non gender-conforming or hesitant about their sexuality (which would be most of themsad) and encouraged to go down the route of hormones and surgery which may not actually be appropriate for them, and could lead to them being sterile or having cancer later in life.

It's all one big shitstorm.

heateallthebuns Tue 14-Mar-17 14:53:07

What is the prevailing view with regard to trans people in current feminist discourse?

MissSlighcarp Tue 14-Mar-17 15:16:16

The argument is whether or not it is permitted to voice the opinion that people who were born male, and who may or may not still have male appearance and genitalia, are not women in exactly the same way that you or I are women.

If the self-identification law goes ahead, the answer to the question above will be No. If a person with a beard and penis decides he 'identifies as a woman', whatever that may mean, then it will be unlawful to treat him as anything else.

So if feel awkward and embarrassed about having him lying next to you in a hospital ward, if you don't want him carrying out your smear test because you're a rape survivor and you prefer a female nurse, if you don't want to share a cell with him in prison or share a room with him in a women's domestic violence shelter because you're already traumatised from years of male violence, if you don't want him performing personal care for your learning-disabled teenage daughter or your frail elderly mother, then tough shit, you're a bigot and you need to get over yourself.

Apparently this is progress. hmm

slug Tue 14-Mar-17 15:33:02

Don't forget we can obtain instant equality in Parliament if just under half the current MPs suddenly decide that they are, for the purposes of gender equality, women.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Tue 14-Mar-17 16:09:17

MissSlighCarp's provided an excellent summary. I couldn't do better. If you're confused, OP, please ask questions.

picklemepopcorn Tue 14-Mar-17 16:18:11

I've become aware of this:
Self identification means that people who were born men can access resources which have set aside specifically for women (often to to redress inequality): jobs, scholarships, grants, places in a refuge.
Self identification means that people who were born men can expect to compete against women in sport despite having huge physical advantages.
Self identification means that people who were born men can expect to receive awards in the female category, even if they have previously received them in the male category.

Every time this happens, a woman misses out.

Self identification makes it harder for women to keep themselves safe in refuges, hospitals etc.
Self identification means the word woman apparently no longer applies to someone like me.

Current trans politics means finding medical help for your gender dysphoria child is hard, unless you accept the current treatment route which risks physical mutilation and drug induced sterilisation.

If I try to talk about any of the above, I risk being called bigoted and accused of hate crime.

There is a lot more very emotive stuff, but what I have said is enough for me, to be honest.

picklemepopcorn Tue 14-Mar-17 16:52:46

I'm trying to write to my MP about it, without coming across as over reacting to a numerically insignificant situation, or as a bigot.

DickToPhone Tue 14-Mar-17 16:59:07

There used to be a talk of 'pre-op' and 'post-op' transsexual.

Now that has been abandoned as apparently it's much too intrusive to ask if that person in the changing room with your daughter has a penis or not.

Hence the trans community itself has rejected the question itself as out-of-order.

So basically it's irrelevant. By the trans' community own claims.

Also note that only a very small % of transwomen have had the op. It's a pretty shitty thing from what I understand, the 'vagina' has to be dilated regularly or it will heal up.


(a) they always still have a penis
(b) even if they don't, the trans community won't allow you to ask, transgender is (according to them) self-declarative.

So you must assume that ALL transwomen have a 'seven-inch surprise'

ALurkerNoMoreForNow Tue 14-Mar-17 17:47:35

Oh. This is more concerning/depressing than I had anticipated.

I am unsure what troubles me most, the issues associated with self identification or the apparent censorship in response to it.

I follow lots of feminists on various social media but it has only been since returning to MN that this issue has been highlighted.

Thanks for helping me make sense of it.

terrylene Tue 14-Mar-17 17:52:20

It is the apparent censorship and the shutting down of any debate that worries me, along with lack of checks and balances with the self-identification issue.

I am very much a live and let live person, but I do not like the underhandedness of the current proposals.

RakingUpBadMemories Tue 14-Mar-17 17:59:38

*Self identification means that people who were born men can access resources which have set aside specifically for women (often to to redress inequality): jobs, scholarships, grants, places in a refuge.
Self identification means that people who were born men can expect to compete against women in sport despite having huge physical advantages.
Self identification means that people who were born men can expect to receive awards in the female category, even if they have previously received them in the male category.*

These are already happening under current systems of gender recognition, but self identification will presumably remove any need even for evidence of inner malaise.

CalebHadToSplit Tue 14-Mar-17 18:06:33

I've just written to my MP on this issue for the first time. She sent a long response the last time I wrote and posts a lot of pictures of her meeting various local women's groups, so I hope I won't get fobbed off all called a bigot.

I included in there how reluctant I've been to speak out on my worries as I've been scared of the backlash that women who speak out face. I hope this will make her see that there are lots of women feeling silenced and intimidated here.

I'm a teacher and worry that I'm risking my job if I say that a vagina is a female body part to the wrong person. How ridiculous is that that we have got to this stage? I then decided that I would be ashamed of myself if I didn't speak out before the identity bill goes through.

RoquefortMonster Tue 14-Mar-17 18:25:19

What troubles me most about this, and where I think we should be concentrating our fight against it, is the effect on children who do not conform to rigid gender stereotypes being encouraged to think of themselves as transgender. Documents like this one are being used by schools:
Schools are being encouraged to promote the idea of 'gender identity' and whether or not this matches the child's biological sex. They talk about children who 'want to transition' as though it's some sort of lifestyle choice, rather than a lifetime of hormone treatment and major surgery.

TheQuestingVole Tue 14-Mar-17 19:16:33

OP to answer your question directly I think the issue is not purely about whether someone has had an op or not.

In a world where the odds are stacked against women (and have only improved for western women vanishingly recently in historical terms), I think it does matter if people who are male and are raised with male socialisation appropriate really hard-won resources and spaces that women managed to carve out for ourselves, and attempt to speak on our behalf. It changes the way we use our spaces and the way we talk to each other - the dynamics of female groups and female discussions inevitably change when someone male turns up. It makes it harder for us to organise politically in our own interests and to take pleasure in being in the company of other women.

It doesn't really matter if someone has the op or not or what their motivation is for transitioning - I'm interested in the end result, which on current trend will end up as anything but feminist.

Nobody would ask or expect race campaigners or ethnic minority groups to centre white people's feelings and hand over hard-won resource and space to them. But people do feel free to ask that of women with respect to transwomen. Which illustrates the point that we haven't come as far on attitudes to women as we think.

TheQuestingVole Tue 14-Mar-17 19:19:39

And that's without even getting started on gay and lesbian erasure, or the fact that transgender politics by its very nature upholds the existence of rigid sex stereotype roles, which are harmful for both women and men ...

ALurkerNoMoreForNow Tue 14-Mar-17 19:26:54

Caleb my local MP is a male, and a highly conservative one at that so I'm not sure how much interest he will take in this, however I will still write to him, along with a neighbouring female MP who is pretty into women's issues.

When is the bill being put forward?

Datun Tue 14-Mar-17 19:39:39

The element that has probably made you seen a shift, OP is the fact that the transactivists, the ones who are pushing the agenda and have the power, do not seem to be made up of genuine transsexual people. Nor do they represent them. Genuine transsexual people probably number in the hundreds. TRAs are in the thousands.

It seems as though the greater majority who are campaigning are transwomen who retain their genitalia, remain attracted to women and have autogynephilia. They are usually older, white, middle-class men.

It is they who insist they are actually women, it is they who are insisting on access to spaces, it is they who say talking about women's biological issues is exclusionary, it is they who are insisting that a penis is a female organ, it is they who are pressuring lesbians for sex.

Gemuine transsexuals want to go under the radar. Transactivists want to shit all over the radar as much as they can because misogyny is at their core. They really, really do not like women. Hence all the rape threats and 'suck my lady dick, bitch' bollocks.

Faulksonline Tue 14-Mar-17 20:05:13

Following this with interest. I would be very grateful if someone could outline the details of the bill in layman terms, for this layman. Some issues raised in these boards have left me feeling alarmed & out of my depth.

ALurkerNoMoreForNow Tue 14-Mar-17 20:17:20

Faulks that pretty much sums up how I feel, alarmed and out of my depth.

Part of me wants to tune out and go back to my ignorance, but the other half wants to scream WTF!!!! and do something. Guessing the latter will win out...😉

Cooroo Tue 14-Mar-17 20:29:05

I've been reading threads here (and excellent stuff by Rebecca Reilly-Cooper) for just a few weeks. I have no real experience of trans gender people - my DD has a few friends who identify as non-gender (IIRC). So I generally felt that as a nice liberal person it was all fine. I've realised it isn't all fine at all.

But a huge majority of people out there are barely aware of the issue and the controversy surrounding it. FB friends post energetically about inclusive feminism and trans rights in a total knee jerk way. For once I'm trying to make up my own mind.

I found the argument that trans activism shares many characteristics of a cult persuasive and frightening.

RakingUpBadMemories Tue 14-Mar-17 20:51:35

Teenage DD and DS have friends or classmates who identify as transgender. It's everywhere.

I was talking to DD about this again today, and she has somewhat cooled her original position of 'You are such a bigot Mum!' She mentioned that the FtM child in her class is 'far the nicest of the boys and not sexist like most of them'.

Then she thought about that a bit, and added 'probably because he knows what it's like to BE a girl, so you know, he's kind of in between?' So I asked whether she thought someone transitioning male to female understood what it was 'like to be a girl'.

No answer. But none of the automatic arguments, either.

Then she went off on a nice rant about how half the boys at school think 'women are much more privileged than men these days' and all the ways in which they are clearly wrong. FGM, gender pay gap, women's sports and abortion rights might all have got a look in. I'm starting to suspect she's been reading these threads (hi sweetheart, if so - now go and do your maths).

RoquefortMonster Tue 14-Mar-17 22:13:43

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

genderrefusenik Tue 14-Mar-17 22:34:06

I'm about a month into peak trans and it's been important for me to read the analysis by gender-critical trans people as well as feminists:

Cooroo Tue 14-Mar-17 22:54:39

Roquefort my DD is now 20 although she knew these girls at school. We have talked about it, especially a close (non-biological) relative who defines as non-gender. She has been diagnosed as having Asperger's. I asked DD what it was the girl was rejecting about womanhood and she admitted she was a bit mystified too, but stands by them in their decision.
I would say that the 2 girls, and a boy who seems to be heading towards gender-fluidity or something (I haven't got the terms sorted yet!) have all been troubled teens (aren't they all though?) and feel their decisions are certainly influenced by this becoming such a 'thing'. None of them, AFAIK, is considering surgery, just living their lives in a certain way.

DD and I have never been into much traditionally 'girlie' things and I don't feel I have to stop being a woman to ignore fashion and celebrity !

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