Open Letters to Our MPs on the Gender Identity Bill(132 Posts)
I respectfully request that you represent my views during the second reading of the Gender Identity (Protected Characteristic) Bill 2016-2017 scheduled for 24 February 2017.
My reasons for this request is that I spent 7 years of my life gaining Higher Education qualifications (undergraduate and post-graduate) within the sciences and then taught biological sciences for around 14 years including anatomy and physiology, genetics and microbiology within both Higher and Further Education Institutes locally.
I feel that my entire academic and professional life is being invalidated and undermined by the transgender rhetoric that seems to insist that we ignore biological truths and that professionals such as myself are being subjected to what amounts to "gag orders" when we speak out against it and challenge the basic premise that for example a "transwoman is a woman". This is a biological untruth as regardless of how much surgery and medication a person chooses to undertake it is at the moment medically impossible to change ones sex chromosomes and therefore at best a transwoman is a person who has undergone a sex change, yet we are expected to embrace the linguistic untruth that this person is a woman.
By co-opting the notion that a "transwoman is a women" the transgender narrative could lead to some very disturbing possibilities and that these possibilities need to be investigated with a clear ethical and moral compass as a starting point. I feel it is essential to protect vulnerable young people being unduly influenced by the rhetoric and making life changing decisions without being fully apprised of the long term consequences for example sterility, social isolation etc. Furthermore I feel it is urgent and essential that a full investigation is undertaken:
1. To explore any potential links between rapid onset gender dysphoria and immersion in social media platforms such as Tumblr, Steam, Reddit etc;
2. To explore the potential links between rapid onset gender dysphoria and pre-existing untreated anxiety and depression and other co-morbidities
3. To explore the potential links between gender dysphoria and autism
4. To explore the potential links between gender dysphoria and peer pressure
5. To explore the potential links between gender dysphoria and social isolation
In the absence of such investigations (preferably by professionals with no vested interest and thus neutral in their positions) we are not only failing to protect young people, we are possibly opening up a whole tranche of litigation in respect of compensation claims from young people who are misdiagnosed, as it seems the current thinking is that a self presenting gender dysphoric individual is taken as being truth without fully exploring the reasons behind the self diagnosis i.e. the "gender affirming" approach.
Furthermore I came across a very troubling document online that comprehensively highlights some of the potential issues linked with the possible passing of this Bill and would respectfully request that you take on board the very real concerns in respect of the rights of children and young people raised within the attachments associated with the website: www.transgendertrend.com/gender-identity-rights-of-the-child/
Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns and I look forward to your response in due course.
I spoke to my MP as it's an important issue they should be aware of and made her aware of some of the points that should be discussed.
I already emailed my Labour MP, Stella Creasy wrt the first hearing.
She replied "thanks but I wholeheartedly agree with Maria Miller and believe that feminism should be inclusive"
Dead end zone.
I am writing to you regarding the review of the Gender Recognition Act, as Maria Millers bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 24th March.
In most instances I am happy to support the right of transgender people to live as they wish and I am aware of the challenges they face. However I am of the opinion, along with many other women, that our interests and those of girls are not being represented in the debate about transgender equality. Therefore I would like you, as my MP, to take a stance for your female constituents.
Firstly,regarding the matter of self-declaration to legally change gender. This is far removed from the current system when, if a person wishes to change their legal gender they must be over 18 and be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. They also have to have lived in their desired gender role for at least two years and intend to do so for life. Unfortunately the Committee’s report called for the removal of all three of these criteria.
It is this proposed self declaration that troubles me most ,as if this should become legally binding in law, anyone could become a member of the opposite sex, without the need for any form of social or medical transition.Therefore,any man could claim transgender status to gain access to sex-specific spaces and services, whether he genuinely thinks of himself as a woman or not and no matter how he dresses. This could include men who are attracted to women ( or girls), transwomen who have not had full surgery (currently about eighty percent) or men who are AGP. Questioning that persons motives would be classed as a hate crime under the Equalities Act 2010. Self declaration will put at risk women in prisons,psychiatric wards, hospitals, womens refuges and even competitive sport.
In certain situations society distinguishes between biological men and biological women for reasons of safety, dignity, privacy and fairness. Therefore, there are serious problems with biologically born men 'identifying' as women.
Redefining “sex” (a biological reality) to mean “gender identity” (a subjective feeling) makes men legally indistinguishable from women resulting in the independent legal existence of women becoming non-existent. So not only is the safety of women and girls compromised but male violence can be hidden by being attributed to women. Furthermore all kinds of discrimination against women and girls become invisible. The prison service is one area where this becomes very clear. Maria Miller’s recommendations would mean that any man convicted of rape has the right to be housed in a women’s prison just by self-identifying as a woman
It is clear to me that these proposals place female prisoners at an intolerable level of risk. Maria Miller has denied any clash of rights but there are already numerous examples of violent males being housed in female prisons, for example Lauren Jeska and possibly Lisa Hauxwell. I have included some links at the bottom of this letter which I feel are pertinent.
My second concern is around the increasing number of children and young adults seeking treatment for gender dysphoria. This is often based simply on a preference for toys, clothes and behaviours usually associated with members of the opposite sex and which are stereotypical. I am fearful about the effect this push towards the concept of ‘gender identity’ will have on childrens and young adults mental and physical health.
Particularly worrying is the prescribing of possibly dangerous puberty blockers and the encouraging of irreversible surgery to impressionable young people. Indeed there is a recent upward trend in teenage girls wishing to trans. Sadly there are many documented cases of young people who subsequently de-trans after regretting their decision.
The vulnerability of women occurs because of biology, not identity. This is why sex is a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010. The implications of replacing biological sex with self-identified gender are far reaching. There must be careful consideration, including a full impact assessment before any changes are made. I am of the opinion that this has not happened. I am asking you to take these points into consideration and work to find a solution for trans-gender people that does not have a detrimental impact on the safety of women’s and girls, nor on their hard won achievements such as in sport and careers.
I hope I have been able to help you understand that women are not being transphobic when they raise concerns about these changes as Maria Miller implied, but have real and valid concerns.
I had emailed a letter to my MP first time and received no reply. He is a right wing Tory male in a very safe seat who cares only for Brexit despite the fact that his constituents voted remain. I suspect he finds the whole issue either unworthy of his attention, or faintly distasteful.
I tweeted him the other day and I've done so again today under the #21CSuffragette hash tag.
I'll write to him again but I hold out no hope of support or even acknowledgment.
ego I'm curious as to what sort of response your MP gave you.
Was there any awareness of the implications of self-id?
May I use your letter? I think it encompasses what I would like to say, in a pragmatic way.
Mybeloved Of course you can and thanks ! Although i have to confess its made up of extracts from gc feminists websites and posters on here as well as my own thoughts. I just read a great post somewhere on here about questions to ask in your letter. I will see if I can find it and post here again if i can
mybeloved The questions to ask mp post is by Datun on the 'Second reading of Gender Identity Bill 24th Feb' thread
I'm not sure emphasising the rights of women is the way to go here. I don't think most MPs give a whatsit about women. Never have, never will, unless they started out life with dicks.
I'm wondering if thinking about unintended consequences and bureaucratic nightmares might be the way to go. At the moment, as anyone who has put in a passport application lately will know they are desperate to make sure that people's identities are in some way stable and that they have clear records of who is who. Having a range of records changed, and by people who simply declare that they are men (or women) will surely be a bureaucratic nightmare for a range of systems - health and security being two of them. It would help if this was explored more (particularly by journalists). I do think that potential identity / security issues might be the tipping point.
It would also help to be familiar with how Bills progress through Parliament.
It is this stage that I think will be most crucial because the Bill be read by those who have actual legal expertise and who will have to consider the real consequences, as well as how it might impact on people and other legislation.
There will also be plenty of time and scope for lobbying at this point.
It will be possible to track the progress of the Bill here
In other words, most of the objections thus far have been on ideological grounds, but once the actual experts get hold of it I think they will start to consider how it might actually work, and this is where it might start coming unstuck (in my view).
I've already posted this on another thread and then found this thread. Here is my letter and his
copy of Maria Miller's press release reply
I wish to state my complete opposition to the Gender Identity (Protected Characteristic) Bill which has its second reading next week. Its aim is to replace Gender Assignment with Gender Identity as a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010.
I appreciate that as a Private Members's Bill it is highly unlikely that it will get through the second reading stage but as it has been introduced by Maria Miller who is Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, it appears that the idea is being taken seriously by some at least.
If gender identity were to become a protected characteristic ( as for example it has in Canada) it would become illegal for self identifying women/girls , even with a fully functioning penis, to be refused entry to women only spaces or women only jobs, sporting events and so on.
Last week in Newcastle. a self identifying woman was charged in court with two counts of rape against a man. As only a man can rape, this woman clearly has a penis but she was referred to as a woman in court. As she was given bail, there was not the problem of her being remanded to a woman's prison although there has now been the case of such a person having to be moved twice from women' prisons because of inappropriate sexual activity with women prisoners.
I also believe that some police forces record crimes by trans women as female crimes which, clearly, in the long term would skew the crime statistics.
The whole issue of transitioning is complex and clearly potentially sets the rights of one group against the rights of another. I believe it is a folly at the moment to even consider such a Bill as a great deal of consultation and discussion needs to take place on this whole issue and its many facets.
I absolutely accept the right of people to transition and that they need protection against the transphobia that exists but this cannot and should not be achieved by taking away the hard won rights of women and girls to, for example, safe spaces, recognition of their achievements as female and the acknowledgment of the unique biological experiences of being born female.
I would welcome your views on this matter
His reply - it's in the photo
Who gives a sweet fuck about women? I can't even write the word.
How dreadful. Has not adressed any of your points. Its just a collection of sound bites. 'protecting the most vunerable' my backside. I think they must have a template letter which they use to reply. In fact Id say many of them are too thick even to understand what we are trying to put across
I really thought and actually still think that I'd written a very moderate clear letter - I thought being quite measured might be more fruitful. I'm wondering what to do now - I'm actually quite furious at this so called MP thinking he can just ignore my points like this - if he disagreed with me he could have said why. I wonder about contacting my local paper as his letter is basically in support of gender self identification and that will go down very well in my corner of Surrey😀
Ladies, I really admire the work that you're doing on this issue. I amn't UK based right now but I used to work years ago for a UK MEP in Brussels and I thought maybe I could give some insight as someone who has been on the receiving end of emails such as above on different topics
I hate to say it but emails make very little difference and thats not to discourage your work or to stop you from contacting your representatives but maybe to encourage you to contact them differently.
Think yourself just how easy it is to fob someone off via email or shut down a discussion without having to give an actual answer, often if an issue was controversial we would have a stock answer (that looks to be what you got Bourdic) that we would send to everyone, often only one or two would make it to the MEP.
The biggest difference you can make is going along to your MP's constituency clinic or if they give a talk, dealing with someone in person makes a much more lasting impression and is more likely to sway someones thought or make them just listen to your POV. The next best thing is contacting their constituency office or their Westminster office, chances are you won't get through to the actual person but talking to staff can make more of a difference, it makes you seem real to them rather than just an email on a computer and you can ask to be called back. I know its against our nature as women but make yourself a nuisance if they don't ring or email back. The next best thing is to send a hand written note or even to post your email, there is much more of a chance of it being seen as its much rarer nowadays, it shows to the MP that you aren't just firing these off to every single MP.
Heres a US version basically saying the same thing [http://lifehacker.com/the-best-ways-to-contact-your-congress-people-from-a-f-1788990839] this is another good one about how to write a persuasive email to a representative again from a US source, sorry there don't seem to be any UK specific ones [http://lifehacker.com/5871810/how-to-contact-and-properly-communicate-with-your-government-representatives]
Also contacting the paper if you disagree is a great idea, theres nothing that is feared more than bad press for a politican. I heard once of a Swedish person who couldn't get a straight reply ringing up an MEP and pretending to be from a paper to get a decent response.
You shouldn't stop emailing as I realise all the other things I've suggested are much bigger time commitments but this is just to maybe give some people with time on their hands alternative suggestions
New to this thing so can't see how to edit my post. Forgot another link this is a guide that the US democrats on how to combat Trump at a local level based on republican tactics that worked for them against Obama www.indivisibleguide.com/web
Again sorry for all the American ones but I think they're useful. Basically what matters most is that you're a verifiable constituent from their area
Had another thought for you Bourdic, if the paper won't post your annoyance at getting the form letter from your MP, think about posting it on his facebook page or a local facebook page that constituents might read.
Even email him saying that your unsatisfied with his response and that you're planning on posting your email and his response to show that hes not responding to emails just sending form letters and see what he replies with
miri well first and foremost I'm no fucking lady - I guess the others on this thread may not be either. The very fact that you can use this word means that as far as I am concerned I can't take your patronising advice at all seriously. Are you sure you are a woman? Just for the record, my MP only holds surgeries by prior appointment and refuses to see you if he doesn't like what you want to talk to him about. Mine is the invisible man unless he's opening another fabulous extension to yet another independent school with which his constituency is littered. And funnily enough as a mere lady I did manage to spot his stock response - I rather thought I had said that. There is absolutely zilch that you can advise me to do that I haven't tried over the years with my fuckwit MP. But my first step was to give him the chance to respond- I can hardly talk to the press about his uselessness unless I've done that can I? And finally weren't you ashamed of yourself working and no doubt being well paid in a system which showed such scant respect to the people who your employer was supposed to represent? And finally finally haven't you any idea how busy we all are FFS?
You think he has a FB page and you serious think that if he did, I wouldn't have thought of doing that?
I apologise, English isn't my first language and I assumed that it was not an offensive thing to say on Mumsnet, clearly I was wrong.
I randomly came across this thread while looking something else up. I don't work in politics and haven't for many years but I have experience of how this works and thought I could help
I stated that I know how busy people are and that what I suggested is a time commitment. Obviously I don't know your MP or how he operates it was just a general offer of advice. I did not mean to offend and I obviously did.
I responded because I thought your email was well written and thought you deserved a response
I clearly made a mistake responding to your post, I thought what I said might help, I did not mean to patronise anyone. I feel terrible that I offended you which was not my intention.
I thought my advice was good and perhaps something new but clearly it is not
miri I apologise as well - you were in the firing line and that wasn't fair - i was just so cross with my MP although why I should expect better I do not know. No wonder so many of us are do disillusioned with the political process. But I shouldn't have taken it out on you
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