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Has anyone written to their MP about the GRA

(62 Posts)
Glitterkitten24 Mon 12-Feb-18 11:38:52

Hello,

This is the first time I have posted in this section.
Inspired by the reminders to complete the consultation on the GRA in Scotland currently in AIBU, I want to write to my MP to explain my stance on exactly why the self-id is harmful to woman’s rights.

I am quite new to this issue, and the feminist boards but have seen many eloquent, and detailed arguements from posters here.
I will sit down to compose something later tonight, but just wondered if anyone has already contacted their MP, that might be willing to share their letter/email/thoughts with me?

I have never felt strongly enough to want to write to my MP about anything before, but I need to say my piece.

Any help from those more articulate than me would be hugely welcome!

UpstartCrow Mon 12-Feb-18 11:44:22

I found the best line is to ask them to uphold the Equality Act, preserve women's need for single sex hospital wards, the right to ask for female staff, and the rights of religious women to single sex spaces.
There is no legal or moral counter argument to that.

Keep your letter short and to the point, don't waffle, don't try to include everything.

Nickynackynoodle Mon 12-Feb-18 12:24:42

This is a great resource OP
fairplayforwomen.com/womans-place-uk/

I had a great chat with my MP after I wrote to him and got a shitty stock answer. I asked for a meeting with him and he apologised for the letter I got, said it didn’t reflect his views at all and he would consider all of the points I had made. Well worth it.

Destinysdaughter Mon 12-Feb-18 12:30:34

I have. Pm me and I'll send you what I wrote. Haven't had a reply yet!

goodyzoe Mon 12-Feb-18 12:40:40

I'm seeing my MP today.

I didn't write much at all - I just asked for an appointment and said it was to do with the GRA.

I've since sent through an email with some background because his aide said it would be useful (but a bit last minute. I doubt he'll have time to read it all!)

I should have included the Women's Place demands, thanks for posting them Nickynackynoodle I'll print them out and take them with me.

goodyzoe Mon 12-Feb-18 12:47:32

FWIW this is what I wrot when they asked for more info.

Probably way too long! But it's not the initial email. That was really short.

I'd like to talk to you about the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act and about Trans Rights Activism.

If you have time to read one thing before we meet, this is a great starting point: blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/02/can-we-have-an-honest-debate-about-gender/

Also it may interest you to know that this issue is starting to show in the polls. I expect you may have seen the YouGov poll this week, showing Labour dropping 3 points, Lib Dems gaining 2 and Tories gaining 1 - so the Tories now have a 4 point lead?

However - did you see the stats show the 3-point fall in the Labour share is entirely explained by a 6-point fall among women? (from 46% to 40%)
This Times article explains why. (Apologies for the paywall!)

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/labour-s-purge-of-the-trans-rights-heretics-p32khgn36

If you have more time, basically my concerns are:

- self-ID
the proposed change to the Gender Recognition act that will mean that anyone who wants to, can identify as a woman / man, no questions asked.
If this happens, that is effectively the end of women's sex based protection, It puts women and children at risk in places we are vulnerable- hospital wards, women's refuges, changing rooms, toilets, prisons. Also what about women's sports and women's rights? And the ability to collect stats where sex makes a difference, like breast cancer rates / crime stats etc?

- the pressure on gender-non-conforming children to transition
Currently, thousands of children who transition to the opposite sex are being sterilised - preventing them going through puberty and leaving them to a lifetime of surgery, medication and sexual dysfunction - in the name of progression, despite the evidence saying many of these kids would grow up into healthy gay adults, left to their own devices. This doesn't seem progressive to me, it's more like gay eugenics. I fear for my children having to navigate this.

It's also concerning that we know there is a significant crossover between teenage transgenderism and other conditions such as anorexia, depression and autism, so that vulnerable kids are being given a "panacea" that includes their sterilisation. How can a teenager really appreciate the implications of this decision? Did you know the fastest rising group of trans people is teenage girls?

See this article for more: fairplayforwomen.com/5102-2/
And this from Dr Wren from the Tavistock Gender Clinic www.thetimes.co.uk/article/schools-rushing-on-whisper-to-label-pupils-as-transgender-0d8zm53qs

- the lack of science or any debate driving this
Organisations such as Mermaids, for example, are being allowed to influence policy in schools and public bodies despite the fact that they are a pressure group. They are not experts in any sense of the word. Indeed they keep repeating the most irresponsible of stats - that trans children are at risk of suicide - despite having it pointed out to them numerous times that their stats are not valid, and that to talk about suicide in this way is to encourage it.

The puberty blockers given to children are off label, there have been no studies as to their efficacy or long term effects. It looks like they probably cause brittle bones. And what's the effect of not going through puberty on the brain, for example? Have there been major studies on this? No.
fairplayforwomen.com/fact-checker/mermaids-tg-lying-unprofessional/

- Policy makers bandwagon jumping, without taking time to understand who the players are
All of the main political parties - including your own - are, in my opinion, confusing the Trans Rights Activists (TRAs) with transexuals. Transexuals are the people who have gender dysphoria and have lived as the opposite sex for years, trying to blend in and be accepted. Transexuals are not political as a group. They are who most people think of when we say "transwomen", but it is not them as a group, who are driving the change, and the changes in the law do not benefit them.

Trans Rights Activism on the other hand is a political movement that is aggressively trying to change laws to remove any gatekeeping on the legal status of "woman". They are a broad umbrella for anyone who supports their ideology but including many people we used to call cross dressers, autogenophiles (those for whom dressing as a woman is a fetish) who also call themselves transwomen, also many others, such as transmen, those they call "cis" people (i.e. non-trans) - anyone who supports them. It's a political movement, not a gender.
This movement is narcissistic, cult like and aggressive, particularly in their treatment of women.

Not all trans people are behind this movement. See this for example:
www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2015/12/gender_critical_trans_women_the_apostates_of_the_trans_rights_movement.html

Currently TRAs are attempting shut down women debating this by intimidation and threats of violence - or actual violence.

See this blog and the three short videos. www.skepticat.org/2017/09/when-vicious-entitled-thugs-attack-i-fight-back/
It shows a 20-something male bodied person (who, we are to believe is a woman) repeatedly attacking a 60 year old.

I'm bringing it to your attention, so you can see for yourself what happened, and also to mention the reaction from the TRAs. They commend the young attacker for bravery and "self defence". They say the 60 year old woman's act of filming them was violent act, that she is a "fascist" and therefore deserves to be attacked. They believe the thoughts of gender critical women (that biology as we have understood it for thousands of years is real) is hate speech and to attack women like her physically is to defend themselves. Women have to meet to talk about this in secret locations to avoid intimidation.
(The speaker corner attacker is in court this Thursday, the TRAS are organising a masked protest).

Why am I mentioning all this?
Well, gender critical women are desperate for our voices to be heard, for us to be able to explain how this ideology threatens our rights and our safety. But these people keep trying to shut us down. Meanwhile people who don't know any better, assume that anyone who criticises the TRA ideology is a right wing bigot. But I, and the other women whom I talk to about this, are left wing. We are not bigots or transphobes. I vote for you, not the Tories!

We are desperate to see debate in public, for people to start looking at the science, for everyone to have a public platform- to discuss this respectfully - including the TRAs.

I'm not seeking support on this from you (although that would be nice!), I just want to have a chat so I know you're aware of the issues and hopefully support the idea that this is a topic that needs debate. And a reassurance that next time you come across a gender critical point of view, and someone else saying "bigot" to silence them, you might say - hold on, what are they actually trying to say? Why is this person so desperate to not let them speak?

I am genuinely fearful for my children having to deal with the impact of these ideas, and for my own safety if I go to the public meetings to talk about this with other women.

I don't know what to make of all this happening on the 100 year anniversary of the suffragettes and supporters winning votes for women (and working class men, let's not forget). Have things really changed that much?

Looking forward to meeting you, thank you very much for the opportunity.

goodyzoe Mon 12-Feb-18 12:48:20

In retrospect, I should have put the Women's Place demands a the bottom.

Mumsnut Mon 12-Feb-18 12:57:00

I wrote to mine and was hugely disappointed with the reply.

With hindsight, I could have written more fully, but I didn't expect to have to, iyswim? I assumed politicians would have made some attempt to understand the issues. But it is now apparent to me that we have to educate them - I suspect most jumped on the trans bandwagon without analysis, thinking it a sure youth vote winner.

That will come back and bite them on the ass, I think.

AttillaThePun Mon 12-Feb-18 12:57:15

Yeah, zero response. Shocking.

If you have a Labour MP, maybe lead with something like:

Jeremy Corbyn has recently declared himself in favour of male persons being allowed on all-women shortlists if they declare that they are transwomen.

This is a contravention of the Equality Act, which only permits people whose legal sex is female to be on AWS.

Or, if Conservative:

Your Party recently announced its intention to update and demedicalise the gender recognition process, which may include proposals for what is known as 'self-identification': any person may declare, without a doctor's diagnosis of gender dysphoria or any medication or any surgery, that they are a member of the opposite sex and be treated as such in all circumstances.

A fairly comprehensive summary of the potential issues can be found on your colleague David TC Davies' blog: www.david-davies.org.uk/news/transgender-rights-versus-womens-privacy

(If they're Lib Dem maybe something about how they're already in breach of the Equality Act by allowing self-defined women onto shortlists?)

If a male person can say they are a woman without any medical input, then a male person can also (entirely legally) demand access to women's changing rooms, women-only events (such as women-only swimming sessions), and women's shelters.

It doesn't matter whether or not the person in question is actually transgender.

It doesn't matter if they have had sex reassignment surgery or not (GIRES estimates that around 80% of transgender people retain their original genitalia.)

If they say they are a woman, then there are no legal grounds to bar them, except on a case by case basis.

It has already happened in places with similar laws, and if becomes law here, it cannot help but lead to a decrease in women's participation in public life. Particularly those women from religious communities who require single-sex gatherings.

Domestic violence shelters

In Canada, if you declare yourself to be a man or a woman then you are so, regardless of your physical sex. (Which is basically what is currently being proposed.)

This has led to violent men trying their luck at broaching women-only spaces. For example, Christopher 'Jessica' Hambrook posed as a transwoman in order to access women's shelters. According to the Toronto Sun article, Hambrook, "attacked four vulnerable females between the ages of five and 53 in Montreal and Toronto over the past 12 years."

www.torontosun.com/2014/02/15/a-sex-predators-sick-deception

The shelters legally could not refuse him entry because he said he was a woman.

But that, while appalling, could be considered an isolated incident. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Prisons

It is my opinion that natal males with a history of violent crime (and particularly sex crimes) should not be allowed to change their legal sex.

This is also the opinion of the prison service, who were consulted for the previous iteration of this bill. The experts who contributed were particularly concerned at the subset of sex offenders who they believed wished to transition in order to have easier access to women and children.

Marie Dean, formerly Greg Dean Marie, a sex offender who broke into houses and filmed himself masturbating into the underwear of teenage girls, wishes to be transferred to a women's prison.

www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/27/marie-dean-trans-prisoner-male-prison-hunger-strike

www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/4390490.Cross_dressing_Burnley_and_Padiham_burglar_jailed_indefinitely/

This would seem to be an obvious safeguarding issue, and the Prison Service have thus far blocked this course of action. If self-id becomes law, they may not be able to.

Female prisoners are overwhelmingly likely to have previously been victims of any combination of: sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence.

Because women's prisons are so small compared to men's prisons (only 5% of those people currently incarcerated in the UK are female) and since most women are in prison for non-violent crimes, it seems utterly ridiculous to suggest that a violent biologically male sex offender with a history of crimes against young women should be allowed to reside in the female estate.

Paris Green (a convicted murderer) was moved out of two female prisons in a row for having sex with the female inmates. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2525441/Transgender-murderer-Paris-Green-moved-womens-prison-sex-inmates.html)

In addition, Jessica Winfield, formerly Martin Ponting, a convicted double rapist whose victims were a 13 year old girl and a 15 year old girl with disabilities, was moved to a women's prison after declaring transgender status. Winfield has since had to be segregated from the general female prison population for undisclosed reasons.

We have a duty to make prisons as safe as possible for those incarcerated. Allowing a violent criminal with a penis into what is meant to be a female-only space does not seem particularly safe to me.

It is, I hope, also obvious that transwomen should not generally be housed with the main male population, but vulnerable prisoners can be accommodated much more easily in men's prisons, which have the ability to deal with, for example, elderly prisoners without needing to put them in with the main population.

Sex-segregated spaces are essential for the privacy and dignity of both sexes, and for the physical safety of women, who are generally smaller and physically weaker than men and thus more vulnerable to violence.

If we want to keep transgender people safe from violence, we should be focusing on tackling the problem of the violent men who assault and murder them, rather than compromising the safety of female people and the integrity of sex-segregated spaces.

Especially since transwomen are no less likely to commit sexual violence than any other natal male. In fact, a California study found that transwomen prisoners were MORE likely (20.5%) to be registered sex offenders than the average male inmate (14.6%). www.researchgate.net/publication/233070618_Where_the_Margins_Meet_A_Demographic_Assessment_of_Transgender_Inmates_in_Men%27s_Prisons

We should tackle discrimination against transgender people when it comes to jobs and housing. We should offer comprehensive mental health services to help them deal with their dysphoria.

We should not, however, compromise the safety of women and girls to do so.

Yours,

Attilla
(You need to include your address so they know you're a constituent)

Ohforfoxsakereturns Mon 12-Feb-18 12:58:13

Yes. His response was vague ‘yet to form a firm view’. Ignored my question about the eligibility of someone without a GRC to hold the post of Women’s Officer’ completely. I suspect he didn’t want to enter the debate. That’s ok, I get it. I’d rather he said nothing than buy into Corbyns lady-dick thinking.

Collidascope Mon 12-Feb-18 13:01:58

Yep. He didn't respond. Arsehole.

AttillaThePun Mon 12-Feb-18 13:10:08

Are MPs obliged to respond to constituents, by the way? Because I thought they were but...crickets, so is my MP (not unusually) crap, or is it not a requirement any more?

TerfyMcTerface Mon 12-Feb-18 13:28:55

Atilla - I'm not sure if they're obliged to respond, but I did read somewhere that a tiny number (think just one or two) don't ever. You could always follow up by asking for a meeting, or attending a surgery?

I wrote to mine (tory) last week. I haven't heard back but in the past she has always written back to me in a couple of weeks, and in a way that suggests that she was actually listening to what I said. However, she is not someone who likes to involve herself in anything controversial (her tweets are all about fluffy constituency stuff and dull committee meetings), so it will be interesting to see how she responds this time.

TerfyMcTerface Mon 12-Feb-18 13:32:03

I suspect he didn’t want to enter the debate.

This annoys me. His party has put this issue on the cards. He is an MP. He should be prepared to debate it.

Everyonematters Mon 12-Feb-18 13:40:17

I am going to go and see mine. I have never even written to an MP before but this is huge, and complicated.

RadicalFern Mon 12-Feb-18 19:03:55

My MP is Catherine West (Lab), who as far as I can tell has NEVER voted against party. I don’t know whether it’s worth expending time and emotional energy on it. Which is a depressing thought.

Cerealcomplainer Mon 12-Feb-18 21:39:13

I have. I reckon even if you don’t get anywhere, the message will feedback what a depth of feeling there is. And policy may change, slowly ( or at least not so quickly go the other way).

Destinysdaughter Mon 12-Feb-18 21:50:16

Currently Labout blokes on Twitter are mansplaining the sudden drop in support for Labour, if they didnt have their head up their arses so much, they might realise it's staring them in the face!

MillyTantTerf Mon 12-Feb-18 22:14:19

Written to mine. I needed his help once before and he was awesome and straight on the case. I didn't even vote for him.

Glitterkitten24 Mon 12-Feb-18 23:11:02

Done! Thank you destiny for sharing your email which articulated pretty much exactly what I wanted to say. And thank you all for your thoughts and ideas on what to say.

Lets see if I hear back, I'm lead to believe our MP is pretty decent so I'm hopeful. I'm outraged on behalf of all of you who have taken the time to write to your MP and they haven't even replied! Surely an MP must be obligated to at least reply to constituent concerns?!

traviata Mon 12-Feb-18 23:18:16

where can I find what my MP has said on this topic?

I don't use Twitter or Facebook, and his website doesn't mention GRA. Is there somewhere else which collects up MPs' statements? He's a Labour MP but there hasn't been a parliamentary vote on GRA so nothing to see on votes as yet.

TheXXFactor Mon 12-Feb-18 23:47:52

I wrote - no response.

Bourdic Tue 13-Feb-18 00:04:48

Last year several of us on MN wrote to our MPs about what was then Maria Miller’s private members bill. We compared our MPs letters On here and they were practically identical - clearly issued by MM’s office. I’m going to write again now - thanks for the suggestions on here. And I’m going to tell him how he was named and shamed on MN 😄 and will be again if he sends me someone else’s homework, He’s Tory but the identikit replies were used by Labour as well

Glitterkitten24 Tue 13-Feb-18 00:09:22

‘Sends me someone else’s homework’ 😂😂😂

bridgetbishop Tue 13-Feb-18 00:17:12

I saw my MP and I found out they're on our side. So heartwarming! So glad I went to see them.

They're really familiar with what TRAs are like and very concerned with women's rights and with what's going on.

I'm not going to say who it is as they're not "out" as gender critical. They know there will be a backlash when they go public with their views and I got the impression they're maybe waiting for it to be more in the mainstream first. They're going to talk to their party members behind the scences in the meantime.

I was the second constituent they'd seen this about this in a week apparently!

I'm not going to say who it is, I respect their position and trust their judgement. They asked me to keep them informed and I will.

I wonder how many more MPs are waiting for the "right time" to say something.

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