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We’re Still Here Conference 8th September: A report from the inside

(388 Posts)
TheHarpySings Thu 18-Oct-18 20:28:51

Hi all

First off, I’m a regular poster, have been here for years under various usernames, it I’m posting here on a name change as I don’t want this traced to me.

On 8th September there was a conference held in London a Bloomsbury Baptist Church which was called We’re Still Here, which featured a variety of panels and workshops and was attended by many prominent people in the pro-GRA reform camp.

I decided to attend to find out what was being said as it was clear that they did not want anyone to attend that wasn’t a TRA or an ally.

What follows are my notes from the day. But first a few notes on attendance:

There were probably 80-100 people in attendance. Overwhelmingly white. Mainly older transwomen. A couple of transmen. Some Mermaids delegates. Some fellow travellers/ allies. And me.

Okay. So here’s my notes

1) Health Panel:
Chair was Dr Ben Vincent of GIRES.

Part of the discussion on this panel was around GPs reluctance to prescribe “bridging hormones”. GPs are reluctant/afraid to prescribe them for liability reasons. Apparently a brand of T-Gel was withdrawn and GPs are reluctant to switch brands.

There was then a bit of chatter about whether a person’s sex was relevant for healthcare stats.

Then there was discussion about trans children. Dr Vincent was very scathing about GIDS-said there was disgusting and unethical practices. BV spoke about dispelling the myths about desistance and the myths of ROGD- BV called this “concern trolling, malicious and ethically bankrupt”. BV would like a review of the whole system.

Then Dr Vincent said that they’d received a review copy of “Born in your own body” edited by Heather Brunskell-Evans and Michele Moore. BV is reviewing it for some Royal College and said “I will tear it a new arsehole”

Also (and they didn't want this tweeted) BV is also planning a book called Terf Wars which will be a “rigorous takedown of terf arguments” which is getting serialised as articled in some peer reviewed journal- I’m sorry but I couldn’t catch which one.

Dr Stuart Lorimer, of the Tavistock and Portman who was also a panellist- said that ROGD is “evidence free”.

There was a great deal of discussion as to the health risks for transwomen taking certain brands of hormones- one person said they knew three other people who’d died taking them, and they’d nearly died as well.

TheHarpySings Thu 18-Oct-18 20:29:16

2) Education Panel:

There were 4 panelists and I didn’t get all their names. One was called something like “Zed”, who is NB (female) and works in a school. They want a trans ally in everyone school.

Anna Carlisle was also on the panel- she works at Goldsmiths and is a colleague of Natascha Kennedy.

This panel’s recommendations was to get the pro-gender extremist philosophy in at school governor level and find allies.

Some of their examples of where policy was good but inclusive practise was not good were hilarious. Apparently one of the panelists (who works for a charity) went to a school with an amazingly liberal dress code but none of the kids violated gender norms… so obviously there was a problem!

They want every single policy to be “inclusive”.

Jane Fae chipped in saying how sad she was that Natascha Kennedy got “monstered” in the Times that weekend and asked what could they do about “safety” re: universities with “known transphobic academics” like Kathleen Stock.

One panellist said naming and shaming doesn’t do any good. Anna Carlisle (NK’s colleague) said she was interested in what management’s response to the Times story would be.

One of the other panellists (a recently transitioned TW teacher) described the current events as a “war”.

Zed talked about offering a “safe space” for trans kids who maybe couldn’t be trans at home.. either because parents are unaware or unsupportive so the kids change at school and essentially live a double life.

Helen Webbeley (!!!!) then said she’d seen so much suffering of trans kids and asked about how to help kids who were trans who couldn’t face going to school.

Mermaids are apparently interested in researching the crossover with trans/ autism and also sexual orientation. Also “queering” PE as a lot of trans kids don’t get involved and spend a lot of time online.

Notable misogynist Adrian Harrop then chipped in asking about Transgender Trend’s school pack (which, he was very sad face to say, is the top hit on Google) and how we can stop this sick filth getting into schools.

Anna Carlisle said the Transgender Trend pack “made her sick… it was so mean!”

Zed and another panellist said that their networks (through LGBT sectors in teaching unions) were trying to “make schools aware” not to pay attention to the TransgenderTrend packs. Apparently the Mermaids resources have been ok’d by the Human Rights Commission and will “trump” the Transgender Trend packs.

TheHarpySings Thu 18-Oct-18 20:29:38

3) Keynote Speech: Dawn Butler MP: Shadow Women & Equalities

This speech was fucking cringe. She said she was an ally of LGBT but had got a lot of messages moaning at her for “betraying women”. “Despite the fact I AM a woman.”

She mentioned all the countries that have self ID (RoI, Argentina, Malta, Norway). Apparently she’d been to Malta recently and it was “really chill.”

She blames the Tories for allowing this debate to drag on. “It is cruel.”

The impact of self ID are “non existent”. She said if this had been done swiftly there would be none of the current fuss or transphobia.

She said

1) the LGBT community needs to mobilise
2) They need to contribute to the consultation
3) They need to change the tone of the debate (lolercaust)

She also went on to say that a “phobia” is an irrational fear and there are three treatments:

1) Hypnosis
2) Talking therapy
3) Immersion therapy

Apparently the only way forward to deal with transphobia is talking therapy. DB said that the conservation needs to be around counties that already have self ID and it’s “fine”

Hilariously, given that the audience contained fucking Dr Harrop, she said something like “keyboard warriors don’t know the consequences of their actions.”

DB: “Labour will champion the unheard.”

She said that this was another form of Section 28 on the trans community.

She then quoted at length from a song from “The Greatest Showman”. I wish I was making that up.

Also, she got cornered by Mermaids reps on the way out and is meeting with them and their kids soon.

TheHarpySings Thu 18-Oct-18 20:30:10

4) Equalities Act

So… there was a kind of informal meeting during lunchtime about The Equalities Act which was being run by everyone’s favourite advocate for extreme porn, Jane Fae. Edward Lord turned up, straight from a meeting with the City of London Corp. PlEASE NOTE THAT FAE AND LORD DID NOT WANT THIS SECTION TWEETED.

Edward Lord. He was dressed like Tweedledum. Or, if I’m feeling generous, a Mario Brother that doesn’t get invited to Xmas dinner anymore.

Mr Lord was very bumfaced about the Andrew Gilligan article about him in July and said that opposition to the GRA consultation just wanted to “cause mayhem.” He directly mentioned the Man Friday Hampstead Pond stuff.

Apparently “there have been no incidents of men turning up to the women’s pond but Man Friday turned up to the men’s pond and demanded admission- by force if necessary.”

As of 8/9/18, 15.5k people had completed the attitudes survey.

Lord said that TW were entitled to the protected characteristic “Woman”- he said the Gov dept on woman and equalities has confirmed this. Apparently the brave and stunning vexatious litigator Giuliana Kendall has something to do with this being confirmed.

Edward Lord is worried about the 125 elected members of the London assembly or whatever the fuck Londoners have governing the city. Not all of them are onside. He is worried that all of this is going to be discussed at committee and that “terfs are going to protest”.

Jane Fae said that JF has been in contact w/ YHA and GirlGuiding. Fae is of the opinion that the law doesn’t distinguish gender and sex. They are not defined and parliament will not define them.

The TRAs are fully prepared to take local councils to court of they try to invoke EA2010 for reasons of sex. JF was nodding at Giuliana when JF said this.

James Morton (Scottish Trans Alliance) said to be “strategic about test cases to ensure strong case law”.

Edward Lord agreed. He also said that the City of London Corp city solicitor and the Chief Exec are “strong allies”.

Regards the consultation doc put out by the City of London Corp… Lord implied that they were going to go through the answers and cherry pick the the qualitative snapshots.

One of the Mermaids mums in attendance said the “banner of concerned mothers of vulnerable children shouldn’t be captured by bigots”. Lord is meeting officers about how data is presented and is “conscious of that line of argument”

Jane Fae said the GC side are spreading a myth of predatory males- which doesn’t happen (!!! Lolz Karen White). And also spreading the myth that that TW are paedophiles (Loz Karen White x2).

Then (and Fae didn’t want this tweeted) apparently, there ARE terrible people exploiting The Equalities Act. And they are…

Man Friday
We Need To Talk
Fair Play for Women

According to Fae, all of the above have broken laws and engaged in upskirting and crotch shots of TW. Fae talked about debating Amy Desir of Man Friday about refuges. Amy talked about how female socialisation essentially stops us from refusing TW in our spaces.

JF then asked people not to tweet this next bit because it is libellous: Amy Desir took her husband into the Next changing rooms to commit voyeurism.
Fae (shouting): “Who is the pervert now?!!”

JF hopes that Amy and Man Friday are prosecuted.

TheHarpySings Thu 18-Oct-18 20:30:33

5) HOW THE GRA WAS WON

This was a lecture by Christine Burns of Press for Change

CB cited a lot of case law.

One which is relevant to our interests is that of a trans man called Mark Reece (sp?) who wanted to be a vicar and also marry a woman (this was pre female clergy or same sex marriage)

Reece took his care to the ECHR and lost but it brought attention to the case and Alex Carlyle advised Reece.

They recommended tying to find the “lever” to force the Govt to do something. To chip away at laws which are discriminatory.

They are looking for good test cases.

Burns said that the TRAs need to make themselves the legislators friend. Apparently pre GRA 2004 there was an inter-departmental working group set up in Government to look at the issue and produce a report. Press for Change (CB’s org) wrote the report and the government basically just used that (!). This was 2000 - 2001 time- wonder if we can dig this up?

Anyway,, the GRA 2004 was not what the trans rights group wanted as they had to make concessions on things like medical evidence for a GRC.

TheHarpySings Thu 18-Oct-18 20:31:13

6) GETTING THE GRA WE WANT

This was a workshop with 3 experts sitting with groups and talking through activism. They were:

Helen Belcher (Lib Dems, Trans Media Watch)
James Morton (Scottish Transgender Alliance)
Alex Moore (GenderJam). Moore is from N Ireland.

James Morton gave some insight into tactics the TRAs will probably start using in England and Wales as they were successful in Scotland.

He said the TRAs need to build allies in mainstream women and children’s organisations so it looks like they care about them.

He also said what worked in Scotland's was a “constructive, friendly, innocent” tone when debating or in dialogue with the GC side. To be mindful about who is watching- essentially like what we do with the lurkers on the FWR board. To make the TRAs look like the reasonable side.

James also said that in dialect with elected officials, to clarify that the trans side aren’t silencing anyone but want to clarify the misconceptions being bandied around by GC feminists.

The Scottish GRA changes will probably be put forward in the 2019-2020 parliamentary year.

Belcher has been meeting with MPs and members of the House of Lords. Most of them don’t really understand the GRA and don’t have much time to think about it thanks to the Brexit FUBAR. “Education” of law makers is needed and that’s what Belcher is doing.

Apparently the TRAs lack the infrastructure they had in the 1990s and early 2000s so they need to think carefully and coordinate.

Belcher said to re-iterate to MPs that the EA2010 is not being affected and no one is losing any rights (wtf).

Apparently in terms of political support, the Tories are split about 50/50, Labour, Lib Dem's and SNP are all onside. The Greens were NOT mentioned.

The big fear on the TRA side is that this Government won’t survive long enough to get this through- again because Brexit.

According to Alex Moore, Arlene Foster of the DUP went to a Pink News event and didn’t seem to know much about this. In NI no one really cares about the trans issues because everyone is focused on same sex marriage and abortion.

Alex then moaned about the Together for Yes campaign’s transmisogyny and that the campaign completely erased the experiences of trans and NB people who need abortions. Alex would like a legal change of gender to be free of charge and as easy as changing your name.

Helen Belcher was annoyed at GC feminists using “emotive arguments” regards rape.

HB said that the pile ons pro self-ID MPs get from the GC side if they say something supportive of the trans side are not helping the GC cause. Maria Miller told Belcher that MPs got loads of abuse in the run up to marriage equality and that abusive messages, tweets from GC feminists will only harden MPs against the GC side.

HB also said something snide about “mouthy” female Labour MPs who speak before thinking on Twitter- especially on a Friday or Saturday night after they’ve had a few drinks.

Apparently the TRAs have civil service support and that the Stonewall report and Gov survey are strong bits of evidence they have which is helping them win arguments.

They are saying there is no risk to reforming the GRA and are asking MPs “what is the risk?”

In the group I was in they also talked about how changing your gender multiple times should be allowed and shouldn’t be seen as “bad intentions”.

James Morton talked about how they can get rid of “gender” markers on things like IT systems and places where it isn’t relevant- apparently GDPR might be able to help them here.

JM’s campaigning tips were to gain trust in the local community- and to approach moderate feminists, “correct misconceptions and forgive any ignorance they may have displayed”. They want to gain trust and make themselves likeable.

Apparently small acts like helping to campaign about period poverty or retweeting the local branch of Women’s Aid will make a difference and result in some reciprocation. They want to make it look like they care about Women's issues so they don’t appear threatening

TheHarpySings Thu 18-Oct-18 20:31:40

7) MERMAIDS
This was the last thing I attended. I found it very sad as there were a couple of trans kids there who were in their early teens. They were very intelligent and articulate and they felt that the current laws around under 18s not being able to get a GRC or change their birth certificate were discriminatory. They don’t seem to want to be outed as trans and found it very upsetting when they had to present their birth certificate for things like their first job or opening a bank account and have people be ignorant or discriminatory to them.

Christine Burns said that children have “gender awareness” from around the age of 2. The general consensus was that a child who articulates that they want to change their gender should be able to- no matter how young they are.

CB also said that we “baby” children in our culture, whereas in other countries 12 year olds are considered old enough to fight in wars. I DON’T KNOW WHY SHE THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD COMPARISON.

Then they started talking about something very disturbing- the “Grey area” around consent laws with regards to trans people who don’t tell sexual partners they are trans- whether that deception should count as the person not actually having consented to the sex. I believe a trans man recently went to prison for this. From the sounds of things the group in the room didn’t seem to like the idea of sexual partners being able to use the law if their sexual consent was received by deception.

TheHarpySings Thu 18-Oct-18 20:36:20

Oh and in case you’re wondering: not one fucking word was uttered about the possibilities of self-ID being abused and how this could be mitigated or prevented. No one said anything about safeguarding.

They don’t give a shit about women and girls.

scepticalwoman Thu 18-Oct-18 20:43:22

Thank you for sharing this OP.

How extremely interesting. And not surprising given everything that has been revealed about 'entryism'. It really confirms everything that we have been saying. And interesting that JF stated that they had been in contact with YHA and Girl Guiding !!!! That counters the public narrative.

NibblyPig Thu 18-Oct-18 20:43:46

You are a hero!

NowtSalamander Thu 18-Oct-18 20:48:23

Christ on a bike. No words.

Somehow I thought that when they were by themselves they all went “Ha Ha, good joke we’re playing, what?” In a Bertie Wooster voice.

AbsintheFriends Thu 18-Oct-18 20:50:15

This is utterly chilling.

Thanks for attending and sharing OP.

OvaHere Thu 18-Oct-18 20:52:01

He said the TRAs need to build allies in mainstream women and children’s organisations so it looks like they care about them.

Such massive entryism. They DGAF about those orgs.

CrazyToast Thu 18-Oct-18 20:54:52

Interesting read, thanks!

I think we all should note the tactic of 'a “constructive, friendly, innocent” tone when debating or in dialogue....To be mindful about who is watching- To make the TRAs look like the reasonable side.'

We need to do more of this. It's cathartic to vent on here or be annoyed on twitter but it doesnt help us. I know there is a thing about women not having to be nice---but we need to do what will make us safe rather than what we feel like. IMO anyway. This is politics afterall.

terfing Thu 18-Oct-18 20:56:28

You're a shero! 

I loved your description of the good doctor. He sounded like a stroppy teenager.

Knicknackpaddyflak Thu 18-Oct-18 21:02:21

If this is forced through however they cannot require or force co operation from women. Phase two will involve massive civil disobedience and refusal to co operate.

52% of the population. And once the realities start to sink in, women and their brothers, fathers and husbands are going to be more and more angry. This is not going to end in sunshine and unicorns for anyone .

adulthumanandtired Thu 18-Oct-18 21:03:23

That made very chilling reading indeed. Thank you.
The comment against “babying” of children immediately made me think of the PIE. Horrifying. We have much to do to safeguard our vulnerable citizens.

Cuntysnark Thu 18-Oct-18 21:05:48

You’re one brave and brilliant woman!

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 18-Oct-18 21:07:10

Well that's disturbing especially as I can't help reading "BV" as Bacterial Vaginosis

Melamin Thu 18-Oct-18 21:09:56

Wow! Thank you. This is fascinating reading. I am lost for words.

beldaran Thu 18-Oct-18 21:12:09

TransposersArePosers Thu 18-Oct-18 21:12:43

Thanks for attending and posting OP

I think we all should note the tactic of 'a “constructive, friendly, innocent” tone when debating or in dialogue....To be mindful about who is watching- To make the TRAs look like the reasonable side

Interesting having read the reverse ferret in the press and the prof Stephen being oh so reasonable and amending irresponsible comments in the press after engaging on here. And the Metro ad. All at once. Part of a 'lull them into a false sense of security' perhaps?

Even IW against PP went all calm and reasoned rather than the person that was seen on BB.

beldaran Thu 18-Oct-18 21:13:02

That's supposed to be a shocked face btw....it isn't showing up on my app.

LangCleg Thu 18-Oct-18 21:15:45

Zed talked about offering a “safe space” for trans kids who maybe couldn’t be trans at home.. either because parents are unaware or unsupportive so the kids change at school and essentially live a double life.

Well that doesn't ring any alarm bells at all. Jesus fucking Christ. Could these people be any more irresponsible?

RunningWild12 Thu 18-Oct-18 21:16:44

Thanks for doing this. Not anyone’s idea of a good day out. But it’s so important we document what is actually going on away from th pink sparkly glitter they’re throwing in the public’s eye. I’m in Scotland. the civil service dealing with this has been captured. Deliberate campaign going back years by the lgbt lobby groups. And so govt is captured. Always used to prefer cock up to conspiracy theories. Not in this case.

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