Advanced search

My education re terf v tra on MN

(68 Posts)
WitchBitchHarpyTerfThatsMe Tue 21-Nov-17 23:32:16

Long term self-identified feminist for many years but struggled to get my head around the terf v tra issues for a long time, largely due to the inaccessible language/jargon of the debate. Also my essential 'live and let live' attitude.

Anyhow I finally got my shit together recently following the Hyde Park assault, gritted my teeth and forced myself to come on here, read, follow links/stats etc and had a brain melting intensive educational experience. My eyes have been opened and I'm truly grateful and in awe of the patient and informed posters on here. Thank you, all of you.

Although I did come on to the feminist boards before I didn't see as much activity as I have for the last few months. So, my questions . .

Is there a lot more traffic on these boards of late?

Is MN allowing more open debate on these issues than previously?

Badgerthebodger Wed 22-Nov-17 08:04:04

Hi Witch

I’ve pretty much had the same experience. Thought it was a load of fuss to start with, got sick of reading about it and frankly thought everyone was overreacting. Then I read a tiny bit of a thread, then some more, then read everything I could lay my hands on. De-lurked, just joined twitter for the sole purpose of supporting those voices who speak out so much more eloquently than I ever could. Contacted my MP, which I will do again.

I would have called myself a feminist before but oh my god I have got the rage now and I’m channelling into supporting the effort against the GRA going through in its current incarnation.

HumphreyCobblers Wed 22-Nov-17 08:08:52

Mumsnet is definitely allowing free discussion of this topic thank goodness.

There were a few incidents at the beginning but I am grateful that this discussion can happen here now. It is so important.

I still have the odd discussion in RL where it is clear that I am talking about aggressive transactivists, late transitioning and probably with AGP as the people who are now framing the debate in this country, whilst the person I am talking to is thinking of someone with gender dysphoria who is really struggling and trying hard to live their lives. The mums net threads on this topic help to bridge the gap in understanding.

CosmicCanary Wed 22-Nov-17 08:11:46

Is there a lot more traffic on these boards of late?

Yes I think so.

Is MN allowing more open debate on these issues than previously?

Absolutly. There was a point where nearly every trans thread was deleted despite its content.
It appears that MN are allowing debate around trans issues as long as they follow talk guidlines.

badbadhusky Wed 22-Nov-17 08:18:28

I started reading the trans threads on MN in the aftermath of Germaine Greer’s Newsnight interview a couple of years ago. I wanted to understand why she was getting so much flack when what she said seemed so self-evident (from a biological/scientific POV). I had no idea the rabbit hole was so deep, but I’ve found the FWR boards really helpful.

Datun Wed 22-Nov-17 08:19:52

MNHQ have always allowed debate. But they were a little trigger-happy with the delete button earlier on in terms of misgendering, etc.

They would have come under intense pressure from trans pressure groups who monitor this site.

But they have allowed debate to flourish as long as nobody breaks guidelines.

They are instrumental in this issue reaching hundreds of women.

Which is why there is definitely more traffic.

It was the women on the FWR boards who first alerted everybody.

Being feminists their skills at spotting misogyny are highly honed. And they saw through it immediately.

The ideology does not stand up to scrutiny. But it takes time for people to relinquish what they feel are right on credentials over this particular issue.

But debating is what does it. It gradually becomes very clear.

And when the scales fall, the clang is deafening. Much like feminism, actually!

No one should feel bad at not having seen it, though. The marketing has been very effective.

The issue needs to reach as many women as possible. It is highly detrimental to women everywhere. Not just this generation, but generations to follow.

Redefining the very word woman has devastating consequences for the rights of women.

busyboysmum Wed 22-Nov-17 08:22:45

Same journey here.

I never realised debate was being stifled actually until I tried to post some gentle queries on another site that was supposed to be about promoting girls. They all got immediately deleted. I was incensed. None were at all abusive or provocative.

So I found this board which I had never ventured on before. I think I was afraid. I'm a really ordinary mum and was scared that my version of feminism would be too lame. I didn't know all the terms but I read and I read and I educated myself on here.

I'm so grateful to mumsnet for allowing this debate. I feel proud that in the UK I see more questioning than in say the USA or Canada. And by people I respect not just unpleasant characters whose other views I don't agree with.

Apileofballyhoo Wed 22-Nov-17 08:28:58

I wasn't aware of the issues either until I read about them here. I'm very grateful.

Datun Wed 22-Nov-17 08:33:08

I'm so grateful to mumsnet for allowing this debate. I feel proud that in the UK I see more questioning than in say the USA or Canada.

I have been heartened by this too busyboysmum. I’ve seen women from those countries say that there is far more questioning about this here, prior to laws changing, then there was there.

They say they can say absolutely nothing now. That debate is even more stifled.

Kind of makes me glad I live here.

Mxyzptlk Wed 22-Nov-17 08:40:30

It's depressing and dangerous if USA and Canada are going straight ahead with this.
I'm another one who found out what was happening by reading on Mumsnet.

Imherefornow Wed 22-Nov-17 09:08:02

Another thank you to the patient, knowledgable women on here from me too. I do not post on here often, but am making my voice well and truly heard on twitter. It's best for my characters to be limited :D

My family think we're all crazy, putting ourselves in a position to be harassed and abused. Though thankfully, they do understand what is at stake. However, I think of it in terms of informing the lurkers. The ones who are learning, barely questioning or just seeing what the fuss is about.

The patient, consistent and fact based disscusions on here, twitter and elsewhere cannot be easily dismissed (not without some spectacular cognitive dissonance in any case). Particularly when contrasted with the behaviour, manipulative campaigning and sometimes outright lies of those who seek to silence us.

Datun Wed 22-Nov-17 09:10:56

However, I think of it in terms of informing the lurkers. The ones who are learning, barely questioning or just seeing what the fuss is about.

Absolutely. Never forget, if you are replying to someone on a thread, you are actually speaking to several hundred other women who are not commenting.

It’s even more effective if someone disagrees on the thread. Because the arguments fall apart. And it’s patently obvious to any lurkers.

Mumsnet has 12 million unique users per month.

That’s a lot of women. And if we can reach them, that’s a lot of power.

TheCopyist Wed 22-Nov-17 09:27:30

MN seems to be one of the few spaces where women are freely 'allowed' to debate this issue without getting shouted down. They should be commended for that.

And we should all feel slightly depressed about that too

ferntwist Wed 22-Nov-17 09:38:43

If there is hope, it lies in the Mumsnetters.

This place is invaluable.

Catsrus Wed 22-Nov-17 09:46:55

Ditto. I argued with people on here about the issue, then the penny finally dropped when I looked at the FACTS and stopped trying to be the nice, inclusive woman. Bloody hell it was a real “emperor’s new clothes” moment. I’m in my 60’s now and this is the most serious threat to the safety of e9man and girls that I can remember, the proposed changes to the GRA simply sweep away so many protections its horrifying.

SellotapeQueen Wed 22-Nov-17 09:53:55

Yes, thanks to all frequent posters (special shout out to Datun).
I'm also a lurker (largely!)

I too have been educated by these threads, after coming from a position of being shocked & disappointed at Greer's position.

My peak trans moment was reading an NHS policy that promotes the punishment of women who raise concerns about sharing female hospital wards with people who 'identify as women' (even if they identify as women on a part time basis).

These discussions have provide me with well-needed confidence over the months I've been battling against this. I've reached a point where I'm quite willing to lose my job over it. I'm so angry. Thanks all.

Popchyk Wed 22-Nov-17 10:27:44

I've been around these boards for years, with a number of name changes. It was dittany about six years ago who I first noticed talking about this and what it might mean for women.

One thing I've noticed is that there has been a definite shift on here from some posters who were initially posting from what they thought was a neutral position saying "Where is the harm in allowing trans people to identify as women? Can't we be nice and inclusive?" These same people are now saying "Actually, this is harmful".

It is good to see.

MNHQ had a period a couple of years ago where they would delete things at the behest of a couple of pro-trans posters who were very invested in reporting practically everything on the FWR boards. Now you see very few deletions (apart from the obvious MRA stuff).

I'd be interested to know how much flak MNHQ are getting from trans activists and lobby groups behind the scenes. Maybe they've even given up trying to silence the debate on Mumsnet, who knows?

GurlwiththeCurl Wed 22-Nov-17 10:39:17

I would like to reinforce the comment about lurkers. I can never come out publicly with any statements on this issue as we have a transman family member and I would never want my stance to hurt his feelings. Instead, I lurk on MN and some FB groups learning, reading and digesting all of the arguments from those wonderful women who are braver than me.

Many thanks to you.

AssignedPerfectAtBirth Wed 22-Nov-17 10:44:41


MN may have stopped, but some users haven't. I could weep, honestly

BahHumbygge Wed 22-Nov-17 10:48:02

I also started reading/lurking these boards back in the days of Dittany, she really helped raise my feminist consciousness. Despite that, I still didn't get the trans issue, I thought it was just a case of being nice and inclusive, I didn't grasp the implications. I don't know what turned me, possibly an article in the New Yorker/NYT? in 2014 that outlined what the beef was between feminists and trans activists. I know that Owen Jones and cunnilingusgate in spring '15 was my peak moment (first of many).

Does anyone know where Dittany is now... does she blog at all, I'd like to read her writing?

GuardianLions Wed 22-Nov-17 11:05:43

I find this thread very heartwarming.

Irl for years now radical feminists have been connected between USA, Canada, UK, Australia, etc, fighting the corner, being subjected to terrible harassment, nearly or actually losing their jobs over it.

The Canadian and American feminists have been warning the UK long in advance - letting us know that the madness is coming our way soon, with Sheila Jeffreys, fearlessly bringing it all together and speaking about it. So many have been no-platformed, every meeting to discuss it has been subjected to huge effort to have it shut down by harassing the venue to cancel meetings, which has escalated to the point we saw Maria MacLachlan being physically attacked at the meeting point (because you can't openly advertise venues to discuss this) and then Helen Steel being attacked soon after for defending leafletting.

It is great that Mumsnetters have been there throughout all this and amazing that Mumsnet listened to the many Spartacuses and got rid of a few key trolls - to mean this place really is the only place people can speak freely about it. But hats off to those amazing, tenacious, fearless and committed women who have continued to organise in real life at great risk too!

Imherefornow Wed 22-Nov-17 12:20:57

Where is the harm in allowing trans people to identify as women? Can't we be nice and inclusive?

This is absolutely the position I came from. Live and let live...

I still think it is absolutely vital that the genuinely dysphoric, who have earned the right to be legally recognised as their 'acquired gender' are supported and we should be inclusive. I also believe there is a need to re-examine the process of obtaining a GRC.

What most allies of trans activism do not appreciate, is that the gender dysphoria narrative has been hijacked by those who could not otherwise legitimately acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate. Hence the push for self id. Self id lies in conflict with the rights afforded to women and legally recognised trans women. And those trans women who object are shunned and abused by the very community which should be there to protect them.

Additionally, in order to further legitimise their demands, TA's are weaponizing the turbulent nature of adolescence and are actively influencing policy regarding the affirmation and medicalisation of 'trans identities'. It is in my view propaganda and indoctrination of young people, based on ideology as opposed to research. The politicised nature of this debate and the impact of trans propaganda was highlighted in the recent interview with Dr Bernadette Wren in the Guardian. I was heartened to hear her advocating a sensible approach to the treatment of young people and recognising the impact of the trans narrative on their service, despite the immense scrutiny that the Tavistock is under from both sides of the debate...the author of the piece however, spectacularly missed the point!

TA's simultaneously deny the research regarding likelihood of desistance and the existence of the increase in detransitioners. The only acceptable stance is presented as 'transition or die'. Anyone who advises caution in this 'literally want trans people to diiieee!!!'... They do love their hyperbole.

They are not doing this because they care about young people. If this were the case, efforts would be spent campaigning for additional research, resources and mental health support to get to the root causes of this increase in gender dysphoria. They would be as concerned as everyone else about the danger of mistakenly transitioning young people and working to discover the best approach to differentiate between those who will persist and desist. Including supporting the best and safest methods regarding the treatment of those who present with gender dysphoria.

We can now see that the TA's narrative is incredibly manipulative, yet for those who dare not, or will not scratch beneath the surface, it is also incredibly compelling as the next social cause. To question it is akin to heresy!

I think what "pro trans rights" supporters need to think about is that this issue is obviously very complex. It is, like most things in the world, not a case of the good guys vs the bad guys. It is nuanced and we should strive to do right by everyone.
But in order for this to happen we need a full, evidence based consultation regarding the proposed changes to the GRA. That's it! A review of the evidence...actual evidence that should be examined and scrutinised by a, as far as is possible, independent and unbiased panel. Though granted, this will be difficult to assure

I can't understand how anyone could think this is unreasonable. I can't understand why anybody wouldn't want this to happen for the good of everyone. Yet Trans Activists are actively working against this.
So...for anyone who is reading this and thinks that mumsnet is a hive of intolerant and bigoted women. Ask yourselves why?

Imherefornow Wed 22-Nov-17 12:41:36

I would add (after my incredibly long rant blush ), that I feel incredibly outraged on behalf of the truly dysphoric. Not only has their condition and struggle been appropriated by the trans narrative, they find themselves in danger of being ex-communicated from their communities and ultimately society as a whole.

While the recent press coverage has been largely positive for rad fems in raising awareness, it has rendered legally recognised trans women and the dysphoric as the enemy. They are being tarred with the same brush by the average person who has little understanding of the nuance of the trans debate. Indeed, tweets and comments from those who are not otherwise invested in the debate are becoming increasingly intolerant, abusive and bigoted.

The backlash that the current Trans Activism will have on the genuinely dysphoric will be immense. And I am truly sorry for my part in it.

GuardianLions Wed 22-Nov-17 12:59:54

I'm sure the truly gender dysphoric will be okay - well TIMs anyway. I notice that no one irl gives a shit about any of this until you send Miranda Yardley stuff their way. Women's voices are never very persuasive for misogynist majority.

Having said that I of course support the needs of everyone with mental heath issues to get the services they require - including the gender dysphoric, and support the gender non-conforming to live lives free from harassment, discrimination or violence.

Let's not forget that those who truly stand to lose are women and girls.

Imherefornow Wed 22-Nov-17 13:21:22

It wasn't my intention to imply that the impact on women and children was irrelevant in comparisson to those who genuinely struggle with dysphoria. It isn't.

However, it is yet another consequence to trans activism that needs to be highlighted in my opinion. Particularly as trans allies who are fighting for the 'rights of trans people' think that it is these dysphoric people they are supporting. When in fact it is exactly those individuals that they are unintentionaly damaging due to a lack of understanding.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: