Feminism: Sex & gender discussions
Janice Turner article in today's Times
Stopmakingsense · 16/09/2017 07:33
september 16 2017, 12:01am, the times
The battle over gender has turned bloody
Women who believe that their rights are threatened by transgender activists now find themselves at risk of assault
When is it OK to punch a woman? I’ve pondered this question since Wednesday evening when I watched a 60-year-old in specs and sensible shoes called Maria being smacked in the face. Yet I learn from her assailant’s defenders that it’s fine. Punch harder next time, guys! Because “acts of physical violence against those who are systemically violent are self-defence”.
I was at Speakers’ Corner waiting, along with about 80 others, to learn the secret location of a meeting entitled, “What is gender? The Gender Recognition Act [GRA] and beyond”. It was all very cloak and dagger because the original venue, a south London community centre, had cancelled the previous day on health and safety grounds. Which is one way of saying “trans rights activists harangued our staff and threatened, via various Facebook groups, to cause havoc if it went ahead”. Then, hearing of the Hyde Park rendezvous, they rang every conceivable venue within a mile radius to promise mayhem. Having failed to find it, about 15 of them arrived at Speakers’ Corner with placards saying “TERFs not welcome.”
TERF stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. But lately the definition has expanded to include any woman worried that permitting men who “self-identify” as female to enter women’s changing rooms or refuges unchallenged makes her less safe. Which is exactly what will happen if reform of the GRA, as championed by Maria Miller, who chairs the Commons women and equalities committee, goes ahead this autumn.
TERFs, according to trans activists, are evil. TERF is the new witch. Search on Twitter for “TERFs must die” or “burn in a fire, TERF” and behold a cauldron of violent vitriol. Before the meeting, a trans-woman posted: “Any idea where this is happening? I want to f some TERFs up, they are no better than fash [fascists].” Search “punch a TERF” and you will find crowing approval of what happened to Maria.
So at Speakers’ Corner trans activists and feminists were chanting and taunting each other. Maria was taking photographs when an opponent grappled with her, snatched her camera and smashed it on the ground. Then a tall, male-bodied, hooded figure wearing make-up rushed over, hit her several times and as police arrived, ran away. I asked a young activist if she was OK with men smacking women: “It’s not a guy, you’re a piece of s and I’m happy they hit her”, came the reply.
After that, organisers whispered the secret venue and attendees peeled off towards the University Women’s Club where one of the feminists, an engineer, is a member. Activists chased them through Mayfair streets in a black cab, but were stopped at the door by the club’s magnificent pearl-clad chairwoman. And in a grand library the meeting finally took place, with the trans activists outside chanting; “Burn it down!”
I wouldn’t trouble Times readers, no doubt weary of reading daily about gender-fluidity and schoolboys in frocks, with this affair if it didn’t reveal such serious issues. Changes to the very definition of “man” and “woman” are being proposed, yet it is almost impossible to hold a public meeting to discuss them. Wednesday’s speakers were a lesbian academic and a trans woman. Two members of the LGBT group Stonewall initially agreed to take part in what was to be a debate, but dropped out. Winning arguments is far harder for the trans lobby than shutting them down.
Winning arguments is far harder than shutting them down
Mainly because trans demands and women’s rights are often in such clear and irreconcilable conflict. Take Martin Ponting, jailed in 1995 for raping two girls, one disabled. After cosmetic surgery, but still possessing male genitalia, Ponting, now called Jessica Winfield, was moved to Bronzefield women’s prison but after making unwanted sexual advances to inmates has been segregated. Are you appalled that a rapist is confined with women prisoners, mainly non-violent offenders and themselves often victims of male sexual abuse? Do you think the Soham murderer Ian Huntley should never be allowed to transfer even if, as reported, he calls himself “Lian”? Then you too are a TERF and deserve to be punched.
When white supremacists marched through US streets, the left concluded it was fine to counter-attack heavily armed racist militia who posed a physical threat to ethnic minorities. But certain trans activists have extrapolated: they believe debate itself makes them “unsafe”, so it is self-defence to attack those who are “systemically violent”, ie anyone with whom they disagree.
This combination of declared victimhood and ruthless vengeance has so far achieved its goal: silence. Maria Miller, chairing her GRA inquiry, did not even call prison gender experts who submitted their fears that male sexual offenders transition into women to be closer — how amazing! — to potential victims. When Miller’s report went before parliament only one MP, the fearless Caroline Flint, raised potential conflicts with women’s safety, for which she was eviscerated online.
But the tide is turning and the trans activists have a lot more people to punch. Like women athletes who fear their sports will soon be meaningless if trans women are allowed to compete; teachers horrified by an epidemic of adolescent girls binding their breasts, persuaded by extreme internet blogs that they’re in the “wrong body”; psychiatrists fearful of demanded changes to gender treatment protocols which will make advising “wait and see” to confused teenagers rather than shoving them straight on hormones a hate crime.
So when is it OK to punch a woman? When she won’t do what you want; when you don’t like what she says. Some things never change.
Datun · 16/09/2017 07:58
That's bloody brilliant.
I believe the tide is turning.
Incidents like that of Wednesday are abhorrent.
This issue has been played out largely online and the general public are still relatively unaware.
If they ever are exposed to the word terf and the vitriol associated with it, this article has pre-empted the idea that it may not apply to them. The word terf will apply to almost everyone. And now they know.
Shashuka · 16/09/2017 08:04
Great article. Shame this is posted in Feminist chat as I think that needs wider readership from many woman who would agree with every word but don't identify with this section of MN.
I'm also sad this is behind a paywall otherwise I would tweet it far and wide.
Hardlyhangingon · 16/09/2017 08:10
This reply has been deleted
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
TheCountessofFitzdotterel · 16/09/2017 08:15
I am very impressed with the Times publishing this and being prepared to engage with the issue of transgenderism more intelligently, honestly and bravely than any other paper (and without the stirriness of the Mail).
It lives up to the best of the Times's history imo.
KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 16/09/2017 08:17
She was writing last week about these vile male labour politicians who think it's perfectly fine to attend "community" meetings from which women are excluded "because it's cultural, innit". People go on about Jacob Rees mogg but I am truly frightened about what might happen to women if Corbyn gets a sniff at power. But at least we'll have our own railway carriages eh?
enoughisenough12 · 16/09/2017 08:24
A great article. And it's very prominently displayed. The btl comments can be quite thoughtful as well (much of the time).
They're offering a cheap online 3 month subscription and I have happily paid, given how many gender critical articles they are publishing.
Hardlyhangingon I think one of the things we can do is repeatedly and respectfully challenge the silencing, the intimidation and the violence and highlight the 'any criticism is actual violence' lunacy by clearly advocating for the rights of women to our long and hard fought for rights.
SummerflowerXx · 16/09/2017 08:25
Janice Turner is on Twitter and usually links to her articles at some point - you can retweet and show your support that way. It is also possible to read a couple of articles a day free, i think, if you register.
Janice Turner has been a brave and somewhat lone voice in the mainstream media, any retweets or likes I think would be good to show support.
SophoclesTheFox · 16/09/2017 08:43
Brava, Janice! I'm another who has given up lifelong guardian readership because they've slid so dismally into click bait and really shoddy journalism on women's issues. Have flirted with the Indy, but with stuff like this the Times could lure me back!
I'm actually easing back on online journalism full stop, and have started buying the New Statesman (for Helen Lewis, Sarah Ditum and Glosswitxh) instead, supplemented by the occasional Exonomist and FT for a bit of balance. With all the data gathering and tracking that goes on, I worry that my online reading gets too tailored to one point of view, and that newspapers chasing clicks just don't do good journalism any more. I prefer to pay for something better quality than get crap for free. Anyway, that's a tangent, bloody well played Janice!
Ilovesliz · 16/09/2017 08:45
Ok. Deep breath. Here goes.
Why is it OK with men identifying as female but it is not OK for the Swedish lady to identify as being black?
I get that some men have more female genes than male genes, but there are some who don't and yet still want to be housed in a female prison..
Doesn't our DNA reveal that we are all descended from the first Africans?
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