Team Smash The Patriarchy needs Mumsnet input/representation
We are hoping to have someone familiar with Mumsnet liaising with you on what the majority feeling is here and getting a list of your priorities for the outcome of GRA changes. The crowdfunder women are all Labour women, so any representations organised by us will take place within the confines of the Labour party.
However as this affects all women and is such a cross-party issue, we hope that people will lobby within their own parties, or their own factions within their own parties... and we can compare notes!
This is part of a piece on self-id from Bella Caledonia, it represents a good starting point for debate... bear in mind the debate has to end up with solutions and it's up to us to work that out together.
This is early days and we are all building this movement organically... let's see where it takes us.
Will check back and keep you posted Mighty Mumsnet.
So how do we address all of this?
Below I will outline my suggestions for consultation responses and I contend that these are all absolutely necessary if we are to protect women and girls. Not one of these suggestions threatens trans rights. Equal does not mean identical. Trans women are not female. Trans people have their rights to live as they wish, love who they wish, and have the same legal protections as everyone else. And they should have the spaces and services they need; everyone supports that.
None of this requires women and girls to lose our rights.
Our rights are only threatened because trans activists don’t want any distinction made between trans women and women. But we are not the same and pretending otherwise erases the female sex class, preventing us from addressing our sex based oppression, and what could possibly be a more heinous act of misogyny than that? Surely no-one in the Scottish government believes that women don’t suffer as a result of our female bodies.
So firstly I suggest we call on the government to establish the following principles as an underpinning to any legislation affecting women and girls:
• Females suffer exploitation, discrimination, injustice, oppression and male violence due to their reproductive sex. And as such, female bodies have a political significance that they need to be able to talk about, organise around and address as a distinct reproductive class of people.
• Females deserve equality, to participate in society, to be safe, and to have their welfare valued. The government should monitor and address females as a sex class on all of these measures, however ‘woman’ is defined in legislation.
• Trans equality should be based on trans as a characteristic, and not on erasing the female sex as a characteristic.
• Females are not to blame for the climate of male violence they live in or for the effects. Victim blaming is never acceptable, and legislation should reflect this.
• Females should be able to set their own boundaries around their own bodies; understanding that anything less is in direct contravention of the principle of consent.
• Females should not be forced to adopt trans ideology/biological essentialism/genderism. There can be no assumption that women as a group identify as the feminine gender that is coercively imposed on them to subjugate them; and women who do not subscribe to genderism and instead contend that for them a woman is simply an adult female, must be able to assert this (that’d be most of us).
• The government should not work with any LGBT/Trans organisation that deems exclusive same sex attraction as inherently objectionable.
In order to work with the above principles, the government should identify and pursue the necessary Scotland specific exemptions/amendments to the Equality Act before making any changes to the GRA.
In addition, before moving to a system of self ID the government should do the following:
• Carry out Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) on how the proposed changes to the GRA will potentially affect the equality, participation, safety and welfare of women and girls, understanding that trans inclusion has already had an unmeasured impact.
• Inform and consult with women on sex segregation and male bodied trans inclusion to properly gauge how to protect women and girls on the aforementioned measures. Most women don’t realise what is already happening, and a recent Panelbase poll found that women in Scotland are 3:1 against male bodied trans people having access to female only spaces.
• Draw up the necessary Scotland specific exemptions/amendments in response to these assessments and consultations, in order to ensure women and girls are protected, and secure these with the UK government before moving forward with self ID. FAILURE TO DO THIS IS ABANDONING WOMEN AND GIRLS ENTIRELY.
• Draw up guidelines on how to implement Equality Act exemptions, so businesses and providers can do so without fear of legal action.
• Be aware that the Engender led women’s organisations’ joint statement saying that these changes posed no threat to women’s equality, was released without any of these organisations consulting their members regarding the GRA beforehand, and indeed without conducting and concluding their own research on how these changes will specifically impact on women’s equality. Not only this, they have not consulted with women at all despite being asked to do so and choosing to speak for us, and nor have they carried out any other work in order to gauge how women and girls are already self-excluding/are otherwise affected. Furthermore, when approached by victims in relation to this proposed legislation, they refused to engage with their concerns. I know – I am one of them. Therefore we should call on the government to understand that these organisations cannot possibly represent women in this, and since they came to their position before carrying out the work necessary to come to said position, the government should assess any cited research/data itself, rather than rely on the interpretation of women’s organisations.
Lastly, there are a few additional suggestions for steps the government should take in relation to other parts of their proposals:
• Carry out its own research on dysphoria in young people and on desistance, not least because – as the NHS notes – studies show that most children diagnosed as transgender grow out of it, with all of the studies undertaken on this showing anywhere from a 63% to 88% desistance rate. Within this the government should properly research suicidality; follow up interviews usually halve the percentage for suicide in studies, and controls are used to filter out other factors so results can be instructive as to the causes. The study referenced in the consultation was neither followed up nor controlled. The government also needs to be clear on how transition affects mental health, including for the majority who desist, and who – due to affirmation – didn’t receive the right support when they needed it. Only then can the government assess the potential impact of reducing the age limit for a GRC.
• Unless the government wants to assert that a woman is someone who identifies with being submissive, and a man is someone who identifies with male supremacy, they should not introduce a third legal gender. It is reactionary in the extreme to uphold the idea that women and men identify as/actually are the gender imposed on them, and this should not be assigned to people as part of any legislation, and providing trans services does not necessitate this either.
• Immediately move to introduce misogyny as a hate crime. Women are being targeted for violence and abuse at unprecedented levels, just for being women. We are even becoming targets of hate for talking about the meaning of our bodies, and naming male violence. We are an oppressed and marginalised group and deserve the same protections all other such groups have.
The Scottish government consultation has been written with a very clear bias, and the fact they haven’t carried out a single EQIA regarding how these proposals could potentially impact on the equality of women and girls is simply indefensible. Surely it’s in no-one’s interests that the government moves forward with legislation without understanding how to protect the largest marginalised group in our society. So let’s make sure that happens.
I'm sorry but you lost me with your "Mumsnet Tories" on twitter.
Thanks this is great will have a think and get back on this. Anywhere that is listening to wonen's concerns and not just shouting 'BIGOT' is good.
Jennifer thank you for the update and all you are doing to fight self-id in the Labour party and shine a light on it beyond that
Also THIS. I discovered this today and I do not think I have EVER been so angry in my life:
The Scottish government consultation has been written with a very clear bias, and the fact they haven’t carried out a single EQIA regarding how these proposals could potentially impact on the equality of women and girls is simply indefensible.
We absolutely need to work cross-party, and with people who have no party affiliation but vote, to sort this out pronto - and make sure it never happens again.
It is absolutely crazy... Maria Miller's Women and Equalities group, when they consulted on GRA changes, forgot to ask any, errr..
We have a lovely woman in our Crowdfunder team who is on Mumsnet, we have decided to ask her to come and crowdsource ideas. She is much less confrontational than me... the truth is I'm no good without a block button.
She says it was Mighty Mumsnet who peaked her!
Yes this does need lobbying cross party.
There is currently a conservative women's thread on here and a green party one (not sure about others) it would be useful for someone to share info on those regarding cross party issues.
I have difficulties with long blocks of text. What is being asked for?
Great to see you thinking strategically, Jen! We do have to go cross party on this and I'll be up to contribute to any strategic legal actions we could take.
I also nominate Datun if she would be willing. She has an excellent grasp on all the ramifications and has the most admirably steady temperament. I think she could fairly mediate the wide range of women posting here and come up with a Mumsnet "voice" as it were, that almost all of us would go along with, regardless of our other differences.
WiseOldHag - Jen is hoping that an MNer would liaise with her about FWR priorities for an anti self-ID campaign going forwards.
This is fab. I can’t believe it has come to this, but even so, I’m glad somebody is listening. We all have a lot of work to do.
Is Tory a bad an insult as misgendering now? I thought people who voted conservative didn't mind being called tory?
Anyway as a labour voter I am so torn over this issue as it would be heartbreaking for me to be unable to vote for them over this.
Thankfully they have time before the election to sort it out.
It is absolutely imperative to create that distinction between trans women and women before anything that affects either goes ahead so great starting point.
Just want to say good stuff all above looks amazing and keep it up, take care.
Another one saying please meet up with Datun this cause needs her !
Jen - worth understanding about FWR (that's the abbreviation for this feminist board part of Mumsnet):
The women here are from a wide range of political backgrounds, from centre right to old school socialist left. There are LibDem voters and WEP members. This is a cross party board!
*Almost everyone posting here opposes the GRA being amended to a self-ID threshold.
*Almost everyone posting here thinks EA single sex exemptions should be maintained and orgs should be encouraged to use them more often.
Otherwise, there is a wide variety of opinion. Hope that helps!
And another nomination for @Datun
@LangCleg you're brilliant too
Yes datun, langcleg, hairyballtheorem (God I love your name), BertrandRussell. Would happily let them speak for me (if they wanted to )
And wouldn't it be good to say to Jezza 'I was speaking the other day, with Bertrand Russell...'
I agree that you're doing good stuff here Jennifer. And I get that you love JC and I get that you're frustrated that some of this seems to be hurting the party you love. And I love it too. Worth remembering though -
1) this is a single issue for lots of people here and not about coming to the aid of the Party. It's good to see you trying to form a consensus.
2) it's not you hurting the Party, it's a bunch of stubborn men at the top, they need to listen to us.
3) it's okay to stand away from the keyboard sometimes when you're feeling
like accusing us of being Tories passionate. Have some to help with that.
After yesterday's debacle, I will not be getting involved with anything JJ does. There was a lot of visceral feelings expressed yet not a word of comfort, support or an apology. Now JJ swans back onto MN and expects everyone to jump. I won't! There will be other ways to fight self ID where ALL woman are welcome to participate, I will be happy to involve myself with any group who doesn't put a value on my political leanings or any other 'box' we could be placed into. This is a woman's issue and possibly one of the most serious and scary in my lifetime. It needs all woman, not just those of a certain political stripe.
I also need to say JJ the need for a block button is a very sad indictment of the world we live in and I'm glad MN doesn't have one (that I know of).
I've said my piece now and don't want to derail this thread but I couldn't sit and stay silent.
Thank you so much for all you are doing jenniferjames. I too peaked due to mumsnet. It really is a Bastion of free speech and intellectualism.
@DaisyDrip - sounds concerning. What happened please? Any links?
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