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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Break it down for me?

979 replies

TortiousTortoise · 20/01/2018 22:16

Hi all, I am fairly new to the discussion on the impact that transwomen are having on women generally and I want to more fully understand the issues (been trying to talk to my husband about it and am struggling to articulate it).

I feel so awkward writing about this as I definitely don't want to come across as sounding horrible about transpeople, I just want to understand.

Also there are a lot of acronyms being thrown about. Can anyone help me out?

OP posts:
irretating · 20/01/2018 22:21

Give me a second and I will look for a blog which really helped me come to grips with things.

irretating · 20/01/2018 22:33

I can't f ind the blog I was looking for. But Rebecca Reilly-Cooper's blog is very good and explains the problems with sex and gender.

Somewhere on mumsnet there is a list of gender critcial resources but I can't seem to find. Can anyone else link to it?

PencilsInSpace · 20/01/2018 22:33

Hi Tortoise,

This is a really good crash course on where we are and how we got here.

This is a good intro to the proposed legal changes.

This series of essays is a great intro to the philosophy of what's going on.

Post any acronyms you want to know and we'll help.

PencilsInSpace · 20/01/2018 22:35
Beachcomber · 20/01/2018 22:36

This is very good.

irretating · 20/01/2018 22:36

Yes, that's the one. Thank you.

Datun · 20/01/2018 22:38

It might be useful if you just read the posts and try and pick it up as you go along.

It's quite complicated, as you say, with all the acronyms and different strands.

I can help you out broadly.

There are two types of transwomen, according to Blanchards typology.

Homosexual transsexuals (HSTS) and autogynephiles (AGP)

Homosexual transsexuals are generally referred to as 'genuine transwomen'. They are attracted to men, usually have gender dysphoria which is a rejection of their masculinity and their male body, and are often fairly benign, just trying to get on with it under the radar.

They are often called Truscum by autogynephiles.

Autogynephiles (AGP) are different. They are aroused at the thought of themselves as a woman. It's a sexual fetish. And they are usually attracted to women. They are often late transitioners, are often married and have fathered children.

It's this second cohort who tend to be campaigning for access to women's spaces. They are 'male lesbians', the ones with a lady dick, or female penis, the 'transwomen are women', NoDebate. They are the ones who often say lesbians are transphobic for not dating them, and their penis. See cotton ceiling.

The other complication is this second, more aggressive cohort, are attracting just regular misogynistic men who want to dismantle women's boundaries.

TIM stands for trans identifying male. It's a banned term on mumsnet.

At least 85 percent of transwomen keep their male genitalia. They may take hormones to grow breasts and get a more curvy figure, but usually keep their penis (getting breasts, or shaving jawbones, etc, is still called sex reassignment surgery. It often has absolutely nothing to do with a penis). Of the two cohorts, it's the ones with gender dysphoria who tend to have the most invasive surgery. They would have felt female all their lives and are often effeminate. They 'pass' better.

The second cohort tend to transition late in life, after decades of cross dressing in secret.

They will often have used the narrative of the homosexual transsexuals to legitimise a fetish.

There is a schism in the community, with the first cohort trying to distance themselves from the second cohort, because cross dressing fetishists are giving men with gender dysphoria a 'bad name'.

TERF stands for trans exclusionary radical feminist. It's also a banned term here.

It was feminists who saw the misogyny in this ideology first, so that's why it was originally aimed at feminists. But it's now aimed at anyone who disagrees. Often followed by rape threats or die in a fire (DIAF). Men don't tend to get the threats anywhere near as much as the women do.

Gender critical women don't like the ideology for many reasons, but one of them is that reinforces damaging gender stereotypes.

Instead of a man saying I want to wear soft clothes, flick my hair, and act girly, he says in order to do those things he must be a woman. Thereby making those behaviours only things that women do.

It reinforces the gender boxes.

The gender recognition act was written in 2004 to make men able to legally become a woman. To help homosexual transsexuals navigate life easier. Also, at the time, same-sex marriage was illegal, and this was a good workaround. Become a woman, and you have a heterosexual marriage.

Coupled with that, the equalities act says that gender reassignment is a protected characteristic. Again, meant to help men with gender dysphoria.

It has been hijacked by AGPs who are exploiting it. It also means that men are beating women in sport, been transferred to female prisons, and all the other nonsense dreamt up by misogynists who exploit it at every turn.

I haven't mentioned women who identify as men, but that's going to have to be another post!

TortiousTortoise · 20/01/2018 22:49

Thanks folks, lots to take in!

OP posts:
Datun · 20/01/2018 22:52


Ha! You did ask!

It's really good that you did. The more women who know about this the better.

At the moment you have to be over 18, have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to have lived as a woman for two years to be given the legal title woman.

There is cross-party support to eliminate all three criteria and make it a matter of filling out a form online.

I'm sure you can see the problem with this!

Particularly as presenting as a woman is no longer necessary. Your DH could do it tomorrow.

Teabagtits · 20/01/2018 23:16

This is a post I was too scared to make!
Thanks ToriousTortoise and thanks datun for your response.

I’ve found reading the many threads started on mn you pick up on themes and the wider debates. They’re mostly from a radfem point of view so I’ve had to look elsewhere for the trans point of view but you’ll find the erudite and reasoned responses here whereas I struggle to find coherence or reason (or science) in many of the trans debates.

Datun · 20/01/2018 23:19

but you’ll find the erudite and reasoned responses here whereas I struggle to find coherence or reason (or science) in many of the trans debates.

If I had a penny...

NotTerfNorCis · 20/01/2018 23:23

That's a great explanation @Datun. It deserves to be circulated widely.

TortiousTortoise · 20/01/2018 23:37

Datun thank you for taking the time to set it out. I can definitely see the problem with the proposal, as can my husband thankfully. We're both gobsmacked at how far things had actually gone (the Greens having male and non-male only for example).

What do we do on a practical level? There must be a way to have this conversation without being drowned out by the chorus if voices calling us transohobic (sad to say I would probably once have been one of them as I has never stopped to appreciate that the way trans people's rights are being enshrined is by eroding the rights of another group, in this case, women!).

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SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower · 20/01/2018 23:54

@Datun - best post I've ever read on this subject (and I've read a lot).

Datun · 20/01/2018 23:56


A woman's place UK is taking a very considerate view and are lobbying parliament.

There are exemptions to the GRA which are not being invoked. Partly because retailers and service providers don't know about them, partly because the wording is woolly and partly because they are intimidated by transactivists (TRAs).

It's worth taking a look at their site. They are educated, informed intelligent, grown-up women.

They have an idiots guide to the law and they set out, quite clearly, what they would like to see happen. None of it is sensationalist and they don't get involved in arguing.

Other people who are making waves are Fair Play for Women and Transgendertrend, (who are mostly concerned with the impact this is having on children).

If you check out those three sites, you will be on the cutting edge of what women are trying to do.

The women who run those sites are often in the news.

And hang around here of course! Don't be afraid to post, don't be afraid to ask questions.

It can get heated, because everyone's got an opinion.

But it's generally fair and rational.

Be warned, the more you learn, the more you will drink Grin

Datun · 20/01/2018 23:59

NotTerfNorCis and SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower


I notice I wrote cross fetishists, instead of cross dressing fetishists. But hey, the cap probably still fits.

TortiousTortoise · 20/01/2018 23:59

Thank you Datun. Gin at the ready ;)

OP posts:
SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower · 21/01/2018 00:04

Seriously, it's an excellent summary

HelloGabriel · 21/01/2018 20:40

Delighted to read this post as I too have been dying to ask more. I've seen so many trans-related posts on MN lately, I thought if I asked for 'the basics' I'd be flamed Blush

I'm not quite there yet, I'll admit further reading is needed.

I'm afraid to even use the word 'trans' in case I offend.

I understand there are issues around women being in situations where this is becoming an issue (the recent story about the smear test, women in care homes etc.).

Is there anything else more 'basic' I need to know? Why else is it offensive and harmful to women?

I'm not asking for anyone to justify their views, these are genuine questions.

And I apologise profusely for my ignorance.

Datun · 21/01/2018 20:45



I've just returned from the cinema (Three Billboards - very good), and have some domestics to deal with.

So if your questions aren't answered in the meantime, I'll have a stab later, or tomorrow.

Questions are good!

HelloGabriel · 21/01/2018 20:52

Thanks, Datun Smile

Deadlylampshade · 21/01/2018 21:01

For me the main issue falls around the ramifications of changing the legal definition of a woman to include male bodied people.
Women are oppressed because of their biology, we are the breeders and feeders of the species and therefore we need specific legislation to make sure that we don’t miss out of things in society.
If we also include male bodied people in this definition then sex discrimination laws disappear into a poof of smoke. How could you sue your employer for sexual discrimination due to maternity rights if men can get pregnant too? The word women stops meaning biology and starts meaning how you feel, so basically womanhood is an idea in a mans head rather than our lived reality.
It also means that realistically we could have boards with 100% people with penises on them but still be hitting their inclusion quotas and claim to have 50% women.


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LangCleg · 21/01/2018 21:23

Also recommending The New Backlash as linked above.

I know it's a lot to get your head around!

Geronimoleapinglizards · 21/01/2018 21:42

There is also the other side of it which is that there are huge numbers of young women who 20 years ago might have been anorexic or self-harmers or struggling with their sexuality who are now very much following a trend of struggling with their gender. Many want to be transmen but many are non-binary too.

It's a big problem and growing all the time because they tend to be pretty self-righteous and happy to push the idea that if you don't use the correct pronoun, you might be responsible for someone killing themselves. It's a big issue at universities and there is a lot of pressure on other people to conform.

I dip in and out of the body positivity movement and you have someone like Bodyposipanda (getting on for nearly a million followers) pushing TRA issues fairly heavily. It takes massive strength to speak out against it all as a young adult or teen (see this post of hers for example) because you risk being labelled a bigot. It feeds into and supports the aggressive male TRA movement which is stomping all over Twitter telling people to suck their lady cock.

Badgerthebodger · 21/01/2018 21:53

Hello! Welcome

I too started from a position of unquestioning support for trans people but really once you start to look and learn you realise how much harm this will cause.

This is good from Helen Saxby

And Janice Turner’s articles in The Times
This in particular gives a good outline of what’s actually happening with teenagers transitioning

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