Socialist critique from Ireland of Gender Identity politics

(53 Posts)
GrainneMhaol Mon 14-Sep-20 17:51:47

Hi everyone, I've written this piece looking at

Why has a conflict arisen between Transactivists and Feminists? What should a Marxist approach to this issue be?

I am hoping it is going to be the first in a series of articles on this issue. I'm working on the second one at the moment.

I'm hoping this article helps to give a left-wing perspective on what is going on, and highlights this issue to people who might not otherwise be aware of it. I would say the public in Ireland has been generally less aware of what is going on as press coverage on the subject is very limited. A lot more seem to be talking about it though since JK Rowling spoke up.

I've been a long-time member here but haven't posted that much in the last year but read the board regularly (I've name changed) The Mumsnet forum actually woke me up to what was going on. I had no idea we had self-id until I read about it here.

OP’s posts: |
Stealhsquirrelnutkin Mon 14-Sep-20 18:02:23

Thank you, that's an excellent description of what has been going on, I've posted it to my Facebook page and eagerly await the reactions.

GrainneMhaol Mon 14-Sep-20 18:21:13

Thanks. Hopefully you won't get too much blow-back.

OP’s posts: |
MadamBatty Mon 14-Sep-20 19:11:27

Thanks Grainne, well written. I have had the experience of be kind & middle aged female friends who work in stem confusing intersex & being born in the wrong body & trans rights be conflated with gay rights & be kind. However in recent weeks I’ve seen glimmers (it should that be glinners 😁) of questioning.

Your article is a step forwards.

notyourhandmaid Mon 14-Sep-20 19:22:26

"anti-materialist individualistic ideology" - yes!

Thank you for this. Most Irish people don't have a clue that self-ID was brought in, and haven't thought about it at any length if they are aware. The media are complicit, which sounds like a paranoid conspiracy-theorist thing to say, I know, but watching people alerting feminist journalists to the prison situation in Limerick and being ignored... quite grim.

FWRLurker Mon 14-Sep-20 20:56:16

I think it’s a really good article. Nicely done

GrainneMhaol Mon 14-Sep-20 20:58:19

I'm hoping to cover the media silence in a later article. I've asked Ruth Coppinger on facebook about the transwoman sex offender in the female prison and they just deleted my post rather than answering. The two-facedness of saying they are for women and against harassment etc. and their radio silence on this issue is sickening (not just her but all the other virtue signalers)

OP’s posts: |


WiserOlder Mon 14-Sep-20 21:13:48

Wow, they just deleted your post?
I hope you can get an audience.

Abhannmor Mon 14-Sep-20 21:15:48

That is a very clear exposition of the paradox that is some people , who are broadly left wing , subscribing to set of very unscientific notions. Thanks Grainne.

Abhannmor Mon 14-Sep-20 21:17:08

I can't believe that about Coppinger! Gutted.

Cailleach1 Mon 14-Sep-20 21:45:19

It is really good you are writing about this and I hope it is shared widely. It will help bring awareness to the impact on women this trajectory is having/will have. I hope more Irish writers will take this up and write about it from other perspectives, too. It is important that Irish people, especially women, are informed on this legislation, which was furtively introduced, without any national discussion or impact assessment, on what it may mean for women.

How reductive, limiting and potentially harmful in so many ways to be portrayed as a little more than an identity/role parody with safeguards broken down and accolades being stolen.

Not to mention the sheer bloody waste of female energy that again has to go into guarding against the effects of another misogynistic belief system that has the overwhelmingly male Oireachtas has allowed to disproportionately influence laws to the detriment of Irish women.

The abortion referendums, the divorce referendums, the symphysiotomy scandal, the Magdalen laundries, stolen babies, brutalised children and wrecked lives. Still, on we go!

notyourhandmaid Mon 14-Sep-20 21:47:29


I'm hoping to cover the media silence in a later article. I've asked Ruth Coppinger on facebook about the transwoman sex offender in the female prison and they just deleted my post rather than answering. The two-facedness of saying they are for women and against harassment etc. and their radio silence on this issue is sickening (not just her but all the other virtue signalers)

Extreme right-wingers like the National Party have latched onto this issue, so the presumption is that anyone raising valid questions about the safety of women or children must only be doing so out of bigotry. The propaganda machine of the TRAs is a very strong one for such an oppressed and fragile group.

GrainneMhaol Mon 14-Sep-20 21:52:40

Abhann, I'm afraid ruth is full on TRA. Here she is at a march complaining about rainbow capitalism but also wants cosmetic surgery publicly funded, compares these surgeries to women needing abortions, complaining about women's views (tue 'small tiny group of feminists') getting too much coverage in the press (where?)

OP’s posts: |
GrainneMhaol Mon 14-Sep-20 22:00:12

Cailleach, yes hopefully more women will speak out. Unfortunately we are behind here raising public awareness and it is difficult to stick one's neck out. But I did notice a lot more people questioning it on facebook in the past few months and a few articles on JK Rowling (all very biased against her) had most comments beneath them backing her.

NotYourHandMaid I agree, though I've been raising this issue for a few years and got the same crap thrown at me from the beginning.

OP’s posts: |
BlueBrush Tue 15-Sep-20 09:41:39

Excellent article. Thank you.

SonEtLumiere Tue 15-Sep-20 10:00:39

Whilst I don’t disagree with your analysis, I also would like to see equivalent discussion papers in mainstream fora.

No Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael voter is going to be turned on by Marx. Never mind those of us who yearn for the heady days when Michael McDowell was the AG!(ok slight exaggeration).

Sinn Féin are the Marxists in the Dáil (obviously no Marxists in Crossmaglen or Jonesboro). I would never ever vote for them.
It has to be wider, with themes of unfair/illogical/safeguards for children/hidden agenda.

Annasgirl Tue 15-Sep-20 10:45:08

Thanks Grainne and I am sure this is necessary for left wing people. I am not left wing, and indeed now, more than ever, I see left wing ideology as failing women, and failing feminism. Also, Marx was no feminist - but I'm sure you knew that. And indeed, the left wing women of Ireland were completely abandoned by Larkin et al after they served their useful purpose in the early part of the century, abandoned to the kitchen sink and the laundries, to Catholic fundamentalism and patriarchy - but left wing men were never really on board with equality for women, were they?

I also take issue with your assertion that most feminists were supportive of Trans rights before all the TRA stuff kicked off - I must say, as a feminist in Ireland though the 1980's and 1990's I never gave Trans rights a thought - I was still fighting the good fight for the mere right to have a baby out of wedlock and remain in employment, have access to contraception, have the right to walk through their office without having to look at a wall, papered with the images of Page 3 girls.

Annasgirl Tue 15-Sep-20 10:48:32

Sorry, Grainne, having just caught up with your last post, that is awful for you (I get the same on the right wing side when I try to raise these points, and really, it is hard to blame female politicians when you see what happened to JKR). But if they remain silent, how on earth will we ever effect change?
Does any one know if the people who voted in the GRA reform in Ireland in 2015 understood what they were voting for? Do we know who wrote the bill?

Cailleach1 Tue 15-Sep-20 11:54:00

These might be interesting. Debates on this Gender Recognition Bill in the Dáil and Seanad.

Wonder what % of those illustrious members male? Greater than 70/75%?

Cailleach1 Tue 15-Sep-20 12:07:31

Joan Burton in the Seanad aligning it with progressing the civil rights of transgender people and aligning it with the referendum on same sex marriage. This was the false equation.

StephanieRang Tue 15-Sep-20 14:44:25

Excellent job op, I'll keep an eye out for the next installment. I had to read it a few times and think that the sections near the end with examples about schools etc would resonate well with the general public.

Re TD's or journalists - are there any that are receptive and worth writing to?

talkingdeadscot Tue 15-Sep-20 15:42:28

I already posted this on FB when it first came out. It's an excellent piece and I'm really looking forward to the next part.

Predictably it's been met with complete silence. My DH is a committed socialist but is adamant that TWAW. I really hoped something like this would get through to him. Unfortunately, he's countered with plenty of other articles written by socialists who believe TWAW.

I keep shouting 'material reality' at him but it's not working smile

GrainneMhaol Tue 15-Sep-20 16:01:13

Thanks for the replies everyone, and I hope to answer them properly again.

TalkingDead the next one is on homophobia. If that doesn't convince him I don't know what will (well maybe part 3 on the potential medical harms).

It is worrying how many people are afraid to question this stuff, or who will argue black is white because they think it is what they are supposed to do.

OP’s posts: |
Annasgirl Tue 15-Sep-20 17:00:56

@Cailleach1 - thanks for that link. Wow, just wow, what a self congratulatory load of codswallop. Throwing women under a bus (and many of those proposing it were women (I despair often at the power of the patriarchy to lower the critical thinking ability of women). I always liken feminism to the anti racism movement - would a black person propose a law which eroded their own rights? Could we ever envision a time when this happened? Yet, here and in many other jurisdictions, women are enacting laws to give away their sex based rights to men.

WiserOlder Tue 15-Sep-20 18:54:09

He probably didnt read it.

I encountered shocking ignorance in my fb book club. Not a real meet up book club just 700 fb people in ireland but all convinced jkr is anti trans. The deluge of posters telling me to listen to my self. Depressing.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in