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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Break it down for me?

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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:
Helleofabore · 06/03/2023 14:14

This document contains some important information. One of which is that even in 2018, Polly Carmichael recognised there was social contagion.

March 2018: Polly Carmichael had told an ACAMH conference:
“without a doubt there are some young people who are finding a community, friends and all sorts of things through joining a group who have an interest around gender and I think that for some of those we would be very foolish not to acknowledge that it's probably the case that they are caught up in something rather than it being an expression of something that has arisen from within. So there is a lot of concern.”

“I have been shocked by some of the things that are swilling around the internet that young people have access to. There are numerous groups on Reddit and Tumblr that many of the young people that are attending our service are going onto..maybe it's also the dissing of expertise, in a way, so that there is a feeling that this is about who I am, so what does anyone else know? It's a very odd situation in some way.`”

Helleofabore · 05/05/2023 13:53

Transcript for the video: "Gender Critical" is Not Feminist & Here's Why

This is a transcript from a video posted as a source of supposed explanation about Gender Critical feminists (not quite what the title says). This person layers many falsehoods about feminist history, goals and current beliefs and even brings in Montgomery and Maugham to discuss feminism.

The transcript starts after the first bit about the Pankhursts.


Part one

In the decades following the two world wars, women's liberation stalled. Fashion  became considerably more conservative,  politics and capitalism birthed an ideal of  the family which placed the modern woman,  still in the kitchen, but now as a consumer  of goods, all designed to achieve the perfect  home and more time to gossip over the garden  fence. Education rates for women declined,  the Hays Code meant that art and media was heavily  restricted on the grounds of enforcing Christian  moral standards.
And now, I’ve read a bit of that Bible book them Christians like so much and…a  feminist masterpiece, it ain't. The conservatism of the 40s and 50s was  to be shaken of course, and with the rebellions  of the Civil Rights and the Anti-War movements,  and the free-loving hippie vibes of the 60s came  a new wave of women's liberation activists, once  again, with their roots firmly in the momentum  gained by civil rights groups, as well as women's  labour movements in both the USA and the UK, which  of course, were entirely made of the working poor  
and predominantly immigrant and women of  colour.
This new wave of feminism's main focus  would be bodily autonomy and sexual liberation,  including pushes for the legalization of abortion,  access to contraception, lesbian rights and  liberation movements, demand for sexual equality  and educational and professional treatment and  outcomes, and an international anti-rp movement. 
Anti-rp movements have their roots way, way  earlier, with several laws being passed at  various times and places attempting to…you know,  make it a crime. But to skip a century or so,  the modern anti- rp movement started with victim  speak-outs, in which victims would speak out.  Basic stuff, you might think, but that, just in  itself, oppressed people speaking, talking to  each other about what had happened to them, that  was revolutionary. And a revolution it sparked.  
More laws were passed, women's groups  did marches and rallies and protests  calling for their experiences to be taken  seriously and victims began setting up  crisis centres helplines and shelters. When women had few rights and resources  beyond their husbands and when husbands  had rights and power over their wives,  providing women and children with a space where  they could escape their husbands and fathers was  a lifesaver to anyone who needed it. One of my  other gender-critical based videos is going to be  about IPV provisions and safe spaces, and  female-only spaces, because I have a lot  to say about that which reaches beyond the  scope of feminism, so you'll have to wait. 
Drives aimed at educating the public, law  enforcement and officials about the realities  and complexities of this kind of violence, how  to respond to victims, how to process evidence  and to undermine the culture of acceptance  and victim-blaming which, till this day,  is pervasive in…well everywhere I’ve been. But all in all, for the first time ever, sexual and domestic violence against women and children was taken as a serious crime and societal problem.  
For the first time ever. As well as this, a cultural shift was desired. 
Bodily autonomy and sexual liberation required women to have lives for themselves, independent of male figures or children. The concept of  the woman as eternal devotee to the family,  or viewed always as “wife of..”, “mother  of..”, “daughter of..”, this had to change.  Not only did the opportunities available to women need to change, the behaviour of women, and the  language with which we used to talk about them  did too. The use of the honorific Ms offered a way for women to identify themselves irrespective  of their marital status, and there were even  failed attempts to remove the word “man” from  “woman”. Literally trying to erase the word woman! 
With the publication of ‘The Feminine Mystique’ in 1963, which was an analysis and critique of suburban housewife life and its effect  on the mental health of American women,  most mainstream feminist movements rejected the  housewife lifestyle as antithetical to women's liberation.
Interestingly, in ‘Women Race and Class’, Angela Davis draws attention to the fact that the role of the woman within the Black enslaved family was not one that was seen as lesser, and this fact was seen as a threat by those who wish to uphold patriarchal structures,  and it's been used as a stick with which to beat  Black families ever since. But as Davis writes: 
“The sexual division of domestic labour [within  enslaved families] does not appear to have been hierarchical. Moreover, from all indications,  the division of labour between the sexes was not always so rigorous, for men would sometimes work  in the cabin and women might tend the garden and perhaps even join the hunt. The labour that slaves performed for their own sake and not for the aggrandizement of their masters was carried out on terms of equality. Within the confines of their family and community life therefore, Black people managed to accomplish a magnificent feat.” 
So again, we see that marginalized woman and their families were already challenging, already forced to live outside the structures and ideals that white feminists would later seek to upend.  And so, even the upending of these ideals would still fail to serve these women, whose needs differed from the ones of white, middle-class feminists. Another exclusionary flip side to the rejection of housewifey ideals was the women who just wanted to do that.
Women who wanted to take care of their household and family. These women were at best dismissed or ignored, but at worst called “traitors” or “handmaidens of the patriarchy”. 
And this exists till this day, you can see that in the  #BossBitch feminism that we see every-bloody-where. Like, of course it's fine to have kids, so long as you are rising and grinding, side hustling your Insta feed and have a (usually male) partner who doesn't mind changing the occasional nappy. Women who want to dedicate their time and labour to caring for their family, creating comfort and security in a chaotic world,  the priceless invaluable labour of raising healthy, happy children, these women have few feminist comrades, and way too often end up having to turn to the Conservative right for acceptance and validation.
While aiming to end or at least reduce the objectification of women, beauty standards were also challenged. Women stopped shaving, cut their hair short, and adopted fashions that prioritized comfort and freedom. During the 60s  and 70s, fashions and beauty standards did shift away from the hyper-feminine hourglass symbols of  the 40s and 50s but again, not so far away is to include Black, fat, disabled or elderly bodies. 
And of course, with this critique of beauty standards and the objectification of women  also came the exclusion of women who simply liked makeup, lingerie and gowns. Those women, who just liked that stuff, were seen as “conforming to stereotypes” and of course, betraying the feminist movement.
There's also a lot to be said, in fact too much to be said, about sex worker  inclusion within feminism. Well, there's more to be said about sex worker exclusion from feminism!  
And for me, that's the topic that really deserves a full video and my full attention and focus, but while I’m just talking away about exclusion from feminist movements, I cannot not mention  this. The rejection of the “girly girl” as somehow capitulating to patriarchy is…it's starting to  change, but it's like, recently starting to change. I mean, when I was growing up like,  “not like other girls” culture was just normal. 
Good to be an NLOG, actually, Like seriously,  there were articles in my teenage girl magazines on like, “How To Be A Cool Girl”…and I was. 
Thankfully, this is starting to change, but again, the hyper-feminine figure who loves pink,  big hair, big boobs, sexy lingerie, but who owns her sexuality and whose femininity  is for nobody but herself, this wouldn't be possible without trails being blazed by Black  women and artists. Excluding ANY kind of women from our feminism, even white, middle-class,  older cis women because we don't believe their choices are radical enough…ANY  kind of exclusionary or divisive mentality will always be antithetical to collective liberation,  and will leave room wide open for the Conservative and far-right. 

"Gender Critical" is Not Feminist & Here's Why

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Helleofabore · 05/05/2023 13:54

Part two. It is very long

Part Two - Gender Critical [sombre music] “Gender Critical” is the term used to describe an ideology, and the people who hold it, who are against gender ideology. And what is that? 
So we usually talk about sex and gender, and gender is commonly understood to be about socially constructed characteristics, such as norms, roles, appearances and relations between different groups of people of different gender. How gender is understood varies from society to society  and it can and does change over time.
Historically different cultures and societies have had vastly different outlooks towards gender identity and expression, as well as how many genders there are,  
and even on the importance of quantifying one's gender over time. Gender is sometimes thought of,  especially in gender critical circles, as being opposed to biological sex.
I mean, I would say that we just have different ways of talking about different parts of human identity,  but for some people out there, like Boba apparently? That simply will not do.  
Oh! For those people, “gender ideology” is the phrase they use to describe anyone or thing which, in their minds, seeks to remove biological sex from its rightful position as The Most  Important Thing™. Anti-gender movements have unfortunately, been a thing for a few decades now.  
What was originally a Catholic-led anti-abortion movement has morphed into way, way more than JUST  that. These days, the anti-gender movement is closely focused on trans rights  and has moved far beyond the realms of religious organizations. Although, as we will later see,  ties to its roots remain strong. Modern self-declared gender-critical people include most of the Far, Alt, Religious and Conservative Right, as well as public figures such as JK Rowling,  
TV writer Graham Linehan, MP Rosie Duffield, Olympian Sharon Davies, and I think on last count, about 89% of Guardian columnists. That was a joke! I don't know the accurate figure, it could be as low as 87%. These are people who are quite outspoken in their gender-critical views, but there are way, way more public figures, politicians, journalists, who hold what I would  call “gender critical sympathetic” views.
Just as a side note, I think I’m going to start saying  “GC” instead of “gender critical” or “gender criticalism” because I stumble over my words in enough filming these… SEE? I’m stumbling over my words now! I stumble over my words a lot,  I need to make it easy on myself. So what do Sharon Davies, anti-abortion Catholics, outright fascists and the Suffragettes have in common? Well, the reason that GC has its roots firmly in  Catholic anti-abortion movements is fairly simple. [singing] It's biological essentialism!  And it's bad! Biological essentialism is understood as, “The belief that human nature an individual's personality or some specific quality such as intelligence, creativity, homosexuality, masculinity, femininity, or male propensity to  
aggression, is an innate and a natural essence, rather than a product of circumstances, upbringing and culture. The concept is typically invoked where there is a focus on  difference, as where females are seen as essentially different from males.” 
Now as I’ve already said, I’ve read a bit of that Bible thing the Christians are fond of, and right, sort of in the first part, you might remember a LOT of emphasis being placed on the differing roles and rules of men and women. The main vibe being, women are property of their fathers, then husbands, and they're expected to make babies and nothing else.  Rules placed on women were designed to restrict her sexuality and baby-making capabilities to the man who was responsible for her, and to confine her within this realm. Now, I’m not here to get into a “which religion is the most misogynistic?” thing, or even to attack The Bible, but till this day, religious fundamentalist organizations have sought to restrict  women to that which they believe is the purpose of women; to bear and raise children,  and offer support and sex to her husband.
 And as we have recently seen in the USA, this is an ongoing and successful mission, and biological essentialism is used to achieve this. It holds that it's simply in our nature to have kids and do mom stuff.  When applied to sex, biological essentialism holds that men and women, due to their biology,  have essential intrinsic and changeable differences and characteristics. For example,  
that male propensity for violence, “boys will be boys” attitudes when it comes to sexual assault, as well as a view of women as non-violent, non-abusive and naturally caring and maternal. 
As you can see, biological essentialism harms men and women alike, never mind those who don't identify as either! And it has been used for centuries to enforce segregation of the sexes in both public and private spaces. In fact, the idea of human nature as something intrinsic to all humans and from which we should not deviate, this is something that has supported all kinds of oppression on the grounds of “degeneracy”.
So to religious fundamentalists,  the idea that gender might be more important than biological sex attacks their fundamental belief that society should be concerned with restricting the reproductive rights of women, based on our God-given nature. If gender has nothing to do with reproduction, and can be fluid to any degree, then that invalidates the God-given role of men! So you can see why  religious organizations might be incentivized to spend ridiculous amounts of money and time dismissing the idea of gender ideology as “nonsense” or stronger, “dangerous”. But  what about these “gender criticals”? If they're going around calling themselves feminists, why  do they agree with such a thing? Despite the fact that gender-critical has its roots placed firmly in biological essentialism, which has its roots placed firmly in the idea of intelligent design,  you wouldn't expect your average gender-critical person to know that or understand what it is.  
If you went up to a gender-critical activist and asked what it is they're standing for, they won't say “biological essentialism!” they will say “women's rights”. 
Quick little disclaimer before we move on, this video is, it's kind of for the uninitiated, right?  It's not one for the choir. If you're already well-versed in all of this, it might seem a bit basic, and I want to re-clarify that this video is specifically concerned with how gender criticalism interacts with feminism and women's liberation in general. I am not trying to speak for trans  people. This video doesn't even really speak to trans rights at all, although you will find plenty  of resources linked in the description from trans people about these basic concepts, so if you're curious and you want to learn more, really do consider checking out that document, because  
there's just loads of links, loads of things to learn, all from really cool and entertaining creators. So in this video, I’m speaking from my perspective as a woman.
The type of woman, as it happens, that gender critical people seem to be very concerned with. They have a lot to say about women like me - domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors, autistic women, even, and  they claim to be speaking on my behalf. So that's what this video is; me speaking on my own behalf. 
And if you haven't noticed, I also happen to be a bit British, and if you're also a bit British,  then chances are you're being fed a gender-critical narrative…all day every day!  
And some of those gender criticals, at least to the unaware, can sometimes seem pretty reasonable… “All we're saying is biology matters!” “If trans people were under attack I would march with them,  but they're not!” “Nothing about us without us!” “We just don't want to see children  irreversibly damaged!” “Lesbians are going extinct!” “Women's voices are being erased!”  
“We don't want feminist progress to be undone…” “We just want to protect women's rights!” “You can't identify out of misogyny!” “Women deserve security and safe spaces.” “But women's rights are under attack!” “Children need protecting from harmful ideologies…” “Being a woman isn't just  about wearing a dress!” “A woman is not an idea in a man's head.” “We're only saying sex is real!” 
Now, GCs make a lot of what they call “arguments” and I couldn't possibly address them all in one video. I will be addressing them in other videos though! In this video,  I want to focus on the claim that gender-critical people are standing for women's liberation. As I said before, I’m going to be doing a whole video on spaces, female-only spaces, safe spaces,  spacey things…so I’ll be talking about what they say about that, in that. So spaces aside, what  these gender criticals actually saying?
Language seems to be one of the biggest bees in their  bonnet. Now I won't get into the whole “chest feeding”, “birthing parent”, “cervix-possessor”  thing here because honestly, I find that particular side of the moral panic particularly silly. Especially when those most angry about it are using terms like “penised individual”! 
But mainly because language always changes, we're always looking for ways to be more inclusive and sometimes, that looks a bit clumsy. But all those new and inclusive phrases being tried out are for use in such specific circumstances, like it's literally just mainly for the medical profession, a profession where clarity, specificity and inclusivity are of the utmost importance.  
Not all mothers give birth, not all women who have given birth want to be called mothers,  and yes, there are trans men and non-binary people who might give birth. So “birthing parent” or “child-bearer” or whatever, is just a more accurate way of describing the SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION of being pregnant and giving birth. Far more accurate than “mother” or  “woman” - neither of which are medical conditions. But honestly, this is my brain every single time  I see a GC pearl-clutcher claim that “we can't say woman anymore”.
It literally is just that, ironically. But language is important! Having words with which we can express ourselves is inherently liberating. As part of their amazing series, Inside A Cult,  Caelen Conrad powerfully and beautifully describes one of their darker moments. After suffering a  violent assault at the hands of bigoted strangers, and living with the anxiety they were left with,  they temporarily sought comfort in anger, and I’ll just let them tell you what happened next… 
The other main tactic to recruit LGB people, is to manipulate them into believing there  is an epidemic of straight people co-opting the slur “queer” and that gender-critical activists  are fighting against this. These posts would be screenshots of people saying things like,  “as a polysexual, I have the right to call myself queer”. “What's a polysexual?” I’d ask in the comments. They'd all have mostly different answers, things like “straight people who aren't even gay enough to be bi” or “straight people who want to seem cool” of course,  had I calmly thought to myself for a moment, I’d probably have come to a different conclusion,  but I wasn't calm. I felt like my heart had been racing for months, my skin was on fire.
How dare they? How dare you take that word from me? I was a queer, I knew what being queer was! It was discrimination, it was pain, it was living in a world where just walking alone at night  meant that I was fair game. I had no idea what this “polysexual” person had been through, but  I was still absolutely certain, it wasn't enough on its own, in my books, to reclaim the slur. 
And like, listen, I didn't care for nearly anyone in these groups, as I realized most of them were  simply there to have a place to vent their hatred towards marginalized people. I downvoted those posts, and occasionally got in arguments, but I wasn't there to engage. I was there because that  burning rage, that terrible pain needed a focus, and it gave me a sense of validation, because every screenshot of a tweet saying “cis gays aren't oppressed” was another tweet that affirmed what I was hearing in these subreddits, that they were trying to make the word “queer” meaningless, and if I believed this conspiracy theory to be true, then my anger suddenly becomes righteous!  
I’m on the side of protecting the LGBs! The cognitive dissonance I developed to allow me this outlet for my anger was unsustainable for someone as like in their head as I am. I don't pal-around with homophobes and misogynists, and the fact that I had even been sharing my  anger with them was sign enough that I was on the wrong path. And while this entire period  probably didn't last more than 90 days, it has allowed me a degree of insight into how trauma,  pain and a marginalized identity can be used to distract from obvious indoctrination tactics. How easy it is to be manipulated, when the ideology being pushed aligns with your gut feelings on the world, confirming your fears and your biases, telling you that you were right all along, and who doesn't like being right? And so because of this experience,  I can kind of understand and empathize with gender-critical women, especially the recruits whose only education about trans women comes from gender critical misinformation and propaganda.  
I get the feeling behind, “…how dare you? how dare you take that word from me? I am a woman! I know what being a woman was, it was discrimination, it was pain, it was living in a world where just walking alone at night meant that I was fair game. I have no idea what this “transgender woman” had been through, but I was absolutely certain it wasn't enough in my books to claim the term  “woman”. Of course, had either of us cared enough to ask, we might have found a lot more in common than we had expected. We might have found quite a lot of shared pain and maybe, we would have thought about the fact that as long as we define who we are through our oppression,  then we can only exist as long as we're oppressed.
When you base your sense of identity, your sense of what it is to be a woman on the very  specific confines of your own womanhood, then it might be hard for you to see other people  who haven't shared that experience using the words and language that you need to talk about yourself.  
But when we try to decide upon which and how many aspects of womanhood are enough to maketh the woman, in order to show why we shouldn't let trans women use the word “woman”, we inevitably and always fall into excluding whole groups of cis women from our definition.  Just as white feminism has always done. My experience of being a woman - of periods, of sex, of femininity, of boobs and beauty, of healthcare, of objectification, of misogyny, violence and pain; this will be nothing like the experience of the unhoused woman living under the bridge downtown, or the woman in modern day slavery building fast construction projects for huge corporations, or the woman who was born with different reproductive organs or genitalia, or the disabled woman living in full-time care, or the rich celebrity woman in her Beverly Hills mansion, or the elderly house-bound woman who has become invisible to society, or the trans woman holding  her pee until she gets home, risking infection because she's afraid to use public bathrooms. 
There is no universal experience of womanhood and there never has been. This is one of the points  that the theory of Intersectionality is trying to get across. A million and one things shape, impact and inform individuals over the course of a lifetime. And this might be a good place to counter another popular GC claim. You see,  even when a trans woman does pass as cis, when she does all the things that the gender gatekeepers put in front of her, she will still never be accepted by gender criticals, because of her “male upbringing”. Everyone's formative years shapes them fundamentally, there's no escaping that.
But to suggest that trans kids of any gender have the same experience as cis kids  
is…utter madness! Most, or…all trans and queer people I know have been bullied and ostracized for their WHOLE lives on the basis of their queerness or transness. It is absolutely wild to me that anyone can suggest that people who have very obviously been the target of toxic masculinity have somehow benefited from patriarchy. How is that not victim-blaming? Most feminist.  
There is no universal experience of womanhood, or girlhood, or manhood, or boyhood, or transness, or queerness and that's okay. Because to say that there is no universal experience of womanhood, doesn't negate the need for women's rights, it doesn't negate the need for sex to be held as a protected characteristic for the means of preventing discrimination, and to suggest it did would be silly, silly sauce. you don't need universal experiences  to have solidarity and to suggest as much would render all solidarity between differing groups impossible it doesn't matter that trans women are different to me I’m different to millions of women the variety of human beings is what makes us so beautiful so creative so impactful. 
But you know, this trying to identify what makes a “real woman”…it's done things to the gender-critical brain. “We can always tell” is a bit of a meme online now, what started with like some GC types like, bragging about how you can always tell a trans woman, has led to just like, multitudes of photos of beautiful cis women being called “men” by gender critical people.  One even said a photo of JK Rowling her very self was a man so, LOLs all round.  
All you have to do is plant a seed of doubt that a woman might be trans, and gender criticals will fall over themselves to pinpoint every single tiny detail that they think is too masculine or an obvious tell. And this is funny enough when people do it to supermodels or famous actresses or JK Rowling. It's amusing to watch the cognitive dissonance on display in real-time,  but let's not pretend they're not also doing this to just every person they meet in real life. 
A movement of mainly women, getting it into their heads that there is a global agenda which is trying to erase cis women and replace them with trans women, that there are simply hundreds, if not thousands of men out there, pretending to be women in order to sneak into our spaces…and  gender criticals DO think this, by the way, this is a breeding ground for a pervasive paranoia which has them judging mainly women on their appearance,  solely based on how feminine and soft they look.
I'll talk more about this in my video on spaces, but “The Bathroom Problem” is an issue that cis butch women have been talking about for a long time. Butch cis women have long found it difficult to access public bathrooms, due to being misgendered, essentially called men and accused of trespassing in the women's loos.  
That’s cis women, being targeted and harassed for not looking feminine enough.  
So much feminism, I can't even cope with it! In Part Three of Caelan's series, they talk about the various kinds of bigotry on display in gender-critical groups. Including, but certainly not limited to misogyny. Caelan spent months undercover in gender-critical Facebook groups, collecting data, screenshots and evidence of this. I do urge you to watch their series if you can, but what was on display regarding misogyny, I honestly found to be rather sad. 
When it's necessary to insult trans women, they immediately go to gendered stereotypes. In this instance, someone took a screenshot of a company Instagram photo and a woman in the photo was trans. They immediately began commenting on her outfit and appearance. Comments like, “A real woman would have coordinated her outfit with the others…”  
“They're dressed casually but in a normal way, the TiM is dressed like a straight-up child!  Grown women just don't wear things like that, especially if they're getting their picture taken!  Just one of the many ways that these dudes have no clue what it actually is like to be a woman.”  
Regardless of the fact that other people in the group said that that wasn't true for them, they were like, “I’d wear that & I’m 36…” The fact is, that any movement that tries to exclude trans people through policing visible gender non-conformity will always, by NECESSITY,  also limit the freedom of expression of all women. Even tall women are not women  enough at first glance for some of these people anymore… “HELP! Whenever I see a tall woman now,  
I question whether she/he is a man or not! Anyone else!?” Restrictive gender norms, that feminists fought so long to abolish, are even celebrated among gender-critical parents, forcing their “daughters” to shave their legs or their armpits, or cover them up. “Shave pits or cover pits - she can pick!” even going as far as to pay their children to adhere to patriarchal ideas of  womanhood… “I bribe my female-to-male kid $20 a month to shave her legs! I’m happy to pay it!” 
I mean, if your ideology has you afraid of tall women, I’d be giving it a rest with the old Facebook groups if I were you. Tall women rock. What we see when we look into gender-critical spaces, is women being forced to conform to gender norms or risk being judged, mocked, bullied, or having their achievements undermined. Take that Chinese athletics team, who did really well, won some medals at the sporting fields… I don't know, I don't sport!
But anyway, instead of getting to celebrate and just be happy in their accomplishment, they and the athletics organization that they were associated with were forced to spend their days defending their  womanhood to a bunch of angry gender criticals who had gotten a hold of a photo of them, and made it go viral as being a “woman's team full of men”. All the women on that team are cis, but they did have strong jaw lines, though so, I guess it's fair game. And as the prominent theme of Caelan's series makes clear,  the harm done to trans kids by parents in these gender-critical groups is incalculable.
Like the series is a bit of a hard watch, just due to the heart-breaking stories of child abuse at the hands of these supposedly “concerned” parents. Bribing them to remove body hair is the least of it. And gender-critical activists have some choice words for cis women who do not agree with them. “Handmaid” or “handmaiden” being the overwhelming favourite. When accused of  bigotry, when it's pointed out to them that human rights are good, actually and usually only bigots want to remove minority groups of their rights, GCs will respond by saying that, you know, while that is normally the case, it doesn't apply to them, you see, because, they say, trans rights conflict with women's rights.
Now, a lot of their reasoning for this is concerned with female-only spaces, so you will have to wait for my other video for my thoughts on that, it's also in that video that I’ll address the “fake trans” argument…so, watch out for that! But the idea that the liberation of trans people poses a threat to women and children…this idea is giving me déjà vu. Mainly because “protecting women and children” has always been the main rallying cry for all bigotry ever!
White suffragettes thought that civil rights for Black people were a threat to women's rights! Because if Black people got the vote, then Black men would have power over white women. Not to mention the long history of racist propaganda solely focused on painting Black men as a threat to white women. For a long time, bisexual men were painted as a threat to women.  Gay marriage was a threat to the family, it “erased the meaning of marriage” and of course, gay men have long been propagandized as threats to children. Modern anti-immigration and anti-refugee bigots use “women and children's rights” to excuse their bigotry.  I’ve lost count of the number of times some anti-immigration, flag shagging Islamophobe  told me that I “must be fine with women and children being r__ed”.
These days however, I mainly hear that from gender criticals. Lots! Of course, I can't simply point to other forms of bigotry and go “you sound like them!” that never convince anyone. Also, me pointing to the history of White Feminism, and the tendency of excluding women who didn't fall within the confines of what  was considered to be a “real woman”, that won't convince a gender-critical either, who will simply pronounce that trans women aren't women. I might say, “yes they are!  
Of course they are!” I might look to definitions and thought experiments that prove that they are, but they'll just call that a difference of opinion. I might retort by saying that white suffragettes didn't consider Black women, or disabled women to be fully human, let alone real women, but again, historical comparisons don't usually do much to convince people.  
So let's see what GCs are actually saying, today. The Sexist Dichotomy of the Gender Criticals! 
When GCs talk about the dangers of allowing transwomen in the loos, or talk about the irreversible damage done to confused and misled girls… I say “when they talk about that” but when aren’t they talking about that? But when they do, they display the very sexist, very biological essentialist, dichotomous worldview that they entertain. When GCs talk about trans men being the confused victims of brainwashing, who only need some acceptance, or to learn to feel beautiful in their own skin, or to have their breasts caressed…seriously. That this is all they need, to see the error of their ways, it's because they think that trans men are women, and women are feeble-minded and easily led. Or maybe they just need to remember that being butch is an option! Maybe they just forgot about it with the little lady brains! 
When GCs say that trans women pose a threat to women, it's because they believe that they are men, and that men pose a threat to women. OOF, you can just feel the statistics being angrily typed into the comment section, can’t you? So all right, let's talk about men! It is true that violence against women…ALL women…is usually perpetrated by men. The same goes for most violence against men.  
Most violence, in general it seems, tends to be done by the mens. The cis mens. And so, what should we make of such facts, such undeniable statistical certainty? 
Might we look to see how patriarchal ideas and structures, and toxic masculinity has  nurtured young men into acting a certain way, how material conditions again, due to capitalism and patriarchal ideas, have historically affected men in different ways to women?  Should we analyse how the systemic objectification of women's bodies, the dehumanization of women and girls can lead to men feeling certain ways about us?  How the cycle of generational abuse is almost always present in instances of violence, how socioeconomics, culture, media, and upbringing, has led to a situation in which  men feel under pressure yet disempowered, and women are seen as objects, receptacles, receivers?  
There is a long, long history behind how we as humanity went from largely matriarchal, communal, caring cultures, to the atomized and pressurized systems of today, in which the nuclear family is seen as common sense, and gender roles are defined along this highly illogical basis. 
Might the answer to the statistical likelihood of men acting violently lie somewhere in there?  
Or should we assume that there's just something inside all people  who are born with a penis that drives them towards violence? An…essence of some kind? That's what makes this all so much worse! They're not even creative with their biological  essentialism! Like, it is bog standard. Men are strong, predatory, prone to violence, sex-obsessed and always looking to subjugate women. And women are eternal victims, powerless, weak, maternal and non-violent. It's the “boys will be boys” excuse for sexual violence, but with extra steps! Those are kind of abstract, ideological ways in which gender criticalism is antithetical to feminism.
And honestly, if their sh__ stayed in the abstract, I probably wouldn't  be making this way too long video about it! But the STINK of gender-critical ideology can be smelled in ever-increasing areas of public life and policy. Remember I said that the roots in the anti-abortion Christian Conservative Right remain strong? Well the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, the EPF, produced a report on the financial funding of extremist groups and politics, from outside of the EU.  And one thing that stands out to me, besides all the hundreds of millions of dollars pouring in from Christian Conservative groups, is that the EU doesn't distinguish between anti-trans rights groups  and anti-abortion groups, rather it calls them all “anti-gender”. For reasons I outlined earlier. GCs will obfuscate about the financing issue, with like, some of them just announcing that they're happy to work with, and be supported by the far-right, actually! It's fine! While others usually plead ignorance. In fact, just this week, prominent gender-critical activists have been promoting like, a new film documentary thing, called “What Is A Woman?” which is made by a self-declared anti-feminist. I think he said that feminism is a cancer? Like full-on anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, bog-standard bigot dude. It's fine for the gender criticals, it's all good.
 I think Katy Montgomerie described it best. As she wrote on Twitter, “One of the many reasons I don't believe GCs when they say that it's just a coincidence they're allying with anti-abortionists against trans rights, is that they won't ally with trans feminists over abortion.” Speaking of Katy, in this interview, Katy and Jo Maugham of The Good Law Project discuss that far-right funding I was telling you about…
They're very media savvy, they seem to have enormous amounts of money. We know that vast amounts of money are coming into  the UK from the Christian Right, we don't know where that money is going, but it must be going somewhere, and if it isn't going in part to many of these crowd funders, and many of these organizations that seem to spring up out of nowhere with very professional offers,  I’d be pretty amazed! I had this discussion actually with the LGBA founder and she said,  “well no, all of our money comes from members of the public!” and I said, “Well how do you know?  
Because you don't know who is giving you money, even if money comes into your crowd-funder, people have the option of telling you who they are!” It’s self-ID, isn’t it? It’s self-ID, that's right! And so you just have no way of knowing in truth whether the money is being fed in in dribs and drabs from some huge Christian Right organization in the States, or from somebody who's genuinely concerned in the in the UK. There was one ages ago, it's because some as well as these big attacks on laws, there's been like, lots of different defamation and stuff cases going on around this as well and there's also been cases about police misconduct…there's been lots  of different things, and I can't remember exactly what it was, and I’m not going to say who it was,  but a gender critical person had some law trouble, and they needed money for some case but in that thing, people are accusing them of taking money from the Religious Right and stuff, 
because that's the accusation that gender criticals always get, and she was like kind of like, accidentally mask-off said, “You know what? I DID have a religious right organization come and say that they pay all of my fees and we wouldn't have to, and I turned them down! So if anyone says we're being funded by the Right, they're lying!” and I was like, “Yeah, but  they wouldn't have come to me and offered me the money, would they? And they did offer it to you!” 
And all the other people who you know…there'll be lots of people around who have had that  same offer & who have accepted it! Yeah, I mean undoubtedly there's a huge avalanche of money from the Christian Right coming into the UK and Europe, there's report, after report, after report that  identified that the number is in the billions of pounds, and you know the trans community in the UK does not have much support in the establishment, as you rightly point out, it's very very difficult to get any newspaper to give trans people any sort of a hearing,  let alone a reasonable and sustained one! The full interview is linked below and I do urge  you to go and watch it.
Later on, they talk about how gender criticals are placing themselves in the centre of power, including the British Equality and Human Rights Commission - that's the public body overseeing all human rights in the UK. And the harm to feminist progress just does not stop!  
You know how feminism is often painted as “man hatred” and then feminists have to spend great amounts of time explaining basic concepts like “equal”? The framing of feminism as being anti-men is one of the most effective ways that patriarchal power has put people off feminism. 
A 2018 YouGov poll found that 34% of women in the UK said “yes” when asked whether they were a feminist, up from 27% in 2013. However, people do not appear to reject the term feminism because they're against gender equality or believe it has been achieved.  
This same study found that 8 out of 10 people said men and women should be treated equally in every way ,with many agreeing sexism is still an issue. This apparent contradiction between only 34% of  women in the UK calling themselves feminists and yet, 8/10 British people saying that they basically agree with feminism, I think that can certainly be explained by the viewing of  feminism as being “anti-men”. And men, anything masculine, anything at all penis-related, is viewed with utter derision in GC circles. Unless of course the men folk are being called in to protect us! 
If they're performing their traditional role as Protectors of Women & Children™ then that's permissible, in fact vehemently encouraged by gender criticals! Including by inviting armed men into women's toilets… 
I’m talking about you dads, who maybe carry, I think that's what you say, I’m so down with the  American lingo! Maybe you carry, maybe you don't, maybe you consider yourself a protector of women,  maybe you're that sort of man, if you have a daughter or a mother or a wife, maybe you have  a sister, maybe you just have some friends, maybe you just think women are human and you don't need  any absolute connection with them to PROTECT US, I think you should start using women's toilets, men! 
Literally armed men on the toilet doors, making sure you've got the right genitals for entry, or of course, you know, they could just hang around in there…with their guns…keeping an eye on things… You know, in case anything creepy happened! This is the future GCs want. 
Aligning with and accepting funding from far-right and Christian Conservative groups and media institutions, who are ABSOLUTELY about policing women's bodies, claiming to speak for all women, while dismissing any woman who doesn't agree by using overtly misogynistic tropes, judging the appearance of other women for being too tall, too hairy, too strong, not soft enough, not feminine enough, inviting cis men into female spaces for our protection, declaring that the universal experience of womanhood is about pain, victimhood and oppression, without any consideration as to how intersectionality interacts with oppression, holding the feelings of white, wealthy, able-bodied, neurotypical women as more important than the material harm being done to marginalized women by the politics they support. They support right-wing parties,  both with their votes and advocacy. Infiltrating the upper levels of power to ensure that biological essentialism continues to influence policy, wrongly arguing that women could never match men in sport, encouraging men to be men, abusing their children who wish to explore their gender identity and sexuality, actively undermining public opinion of feminism by holding anything masculine in contempt…this is not an exhaustive list.
But I do hope it shows why gender-critical feminism is actually just a continuation of the same Conservative, Christian right-wing nonsense that has always held women back.
But then, how do so many gender-critical women believe that they are still protecting women's rights?
Part One of Caelan’s series explains in detail how gender-critical activists recruit people, often parents, who are either concerned or confused. How they use tactics usually reserved for cults to twist women's concerns into fear, paranoia and  eventually, hatred. And there's other reasons why women might turn to the supposed support that they think they're finding in these groups - jealousy for example, it's very common for straight people to feel jealousy over what they perceive to be a celebration of LGBTQ people. They see rainbow logos and Pride displays in supermarkets, and take from that LGBTQ people can't be oppressed.  
But this is just White Lives Matter levels of thinking! This is a man standing at a Suffragette  rally holding a sign saying “VOTES FOR MEN”! Maybe they feel overlooked.  
Maybe they feel repressed. Maybe, as some of them openly admit, they might have liked the freedom to explore their gender and sexuality when they were younger. It's kind of like that whole,  “I had to pay tuition fees, so it would be unfair to scrap them now!” kind of thing. But as Caelan points out, many simply concerned women come and go from these groups all the time. But the ones who stay, the ones on whom the constant cultish barrage of propaganda is effective, the ones who become vocal activists, who begin making content and lobbying politicians, they cannot be explained away by ignorance. And when what they are saying is so completely in-line with what the Far Right is saying, so much so that the EU doesn't even bother to distinguish between them, we should take them out their word.
When somebody shows you who they are, believe them. And I believe that the gender-critical movement is nothing more than a furthering of the same Far-Right, fascistic oppression of women that we have always seen. But as I hope to have shown, the very limited feminism of white middle-class cis women not only has a long and sordid history, but it will continue to restrict women's liberation so long  as white, middle-class, able-bodied, neurotypical, cis women are seen as the default. So long as they're the only women with any meaningful power in what is still very much a man's world.  
Outdated concepts of social hierarchy which shape our current societies are embedded in our minds, and people have a tendency to apply hierarchical thinking to all manner of things. You can't have equality and hierarchy. You can't have equality and capitalism, which is in itself a kind of hierarchy. Sylvia Pankhurst knew this. Feminists of colour always knew this. In fact, the only ones who don't know this, or at least, who resist accepting this, are the ones who find themselves, or at least perceive themselves to be, close to the top of this hierarchy, and who do not wish to risk this position.  
This tendency for white feminists to believe that they should be the ones taking the charge, that they will fight for the rights that they believe we all need, this exposes  
the “we know best” mentality which has always been a feature of white polite society. It's  seen in the way that straight people judge gay people for the way they express themselves,  it's seen in all respectability politics, it's seen in the way that able-bodied and neurotypical people talk down to disabled and neurodivergent folk. Having a default type of person by which all other people should be compared is in itself a hierarchy. And it can be uncomfortable  for those who are the default, those who believe themselves to be near the top of this hierarchy,  to learn how to view themselves as just one of many, one voice, among millions of equal voices. 
If you have an idea of women's liberation which is centred on women like you ,with the needs you have, then attempts to include different kinds of women, with different kinds of needs, might well feel like being pushed aside. You might then feel like pushing back. That's understandable, but it's not forgivable. Centring arguably the most privileged women in the world will inevitably push out the most marginalized, and i am not only talking about trans women.  
The needs of marginalized women, I mean ALL marginalized women, have never been at the centre of mainstream feminist movements. And the gender-critical movement, far from being radical, is just a continuation of this trend. Putting your own feelings of discomfort before the rights and  freedoms of marginalized women, and in so doing, promoting politics, ideologies and mindsets,  laws and policies which inevitably harm all women. These are not the acts of a feminist. These are the acts of a bigot who uses feminism as their smoke screen. You do not get to claim to speak for women. You do not speak for me. And i will not let your claims of feminism go unchallenged. 

Helleofabore · 15/05/2023 07:20

Helleofabore · 08/01/2023 23:17

Adding this link for the Messaging Guide : Transgender Youth and the Freedom to Be Ourselves

From December 2021

The Transgender Law Center’s work.

(I can never find it when I want it.)

Trans Law Center / Transgender Law Center

WarriorN · 15/05/2023 11:21

I'm adding this thread here as there are a number of links between PIE and ideas around sexpositivity and gender identity. The table further on in the report tracks the similarities between PIE statements and statements in WHO and UNESCO directives on sex education.

Where did PIE go? WHO and UNESCO new guidance has routes in Queer Theory, Sex Positivity and believes children are "sexual from birth"

Helleofabore · 22/05/2023 23:14

Statement from Reem Alsalem

Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls *

I am deeply concerned at the escalation of intimidation and threats against women and girls for expressing their opinions and beliefs regarding their needs and rights based on their sex and/or sexual orientation. Disagreement with the views of women/girls including politicians, academics, and women rights advocates should never be used as grounds to justify violence and intimidation. In addition, discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation is prohibited in international and regional instruments.

I am concerned about the decreasing space available for women and women’s organizations to organize and/or express their opinion peacefully in several countries in the Global North. Women coming together to demand the respect for their needs based on their sex and/or sexual orientation have been threatened, attacked, and vilified.
Law enforcement has an important role and responsibility to protect lawful gatherings by women. Law enforcement agencies should ensure women’s safety and rights to freedom of assembly and speech without intimidation or coercion. Whereas counter-protesters also have the right to freedom of expression and assembly, law enforcement must ensure that this is not exercised in a manner that prevents women from exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and speech, whether through threats, intimidation, or use of violence, where women’s speech is effectively silenced by loud counter-protests. There is a positive legal obligation to protect women in such circumstances, including by keeping counter-protesters at a distance that is safe, and enables women’s speech to be audible. The impact of law enforcement failing to provide the necessary safeguards has been observed in some countries. Women and girls have been exposed to verbal and physical intimidation and attacks and/or been drowned out by the noise of counter-protesters in attempts, frequently successful, to derail these events. Threats and acts of violence, suppression of speech should not deprive individuals of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Law enforcement should therefore ensure the full protection of the rights of women, girls, and their allies to express their views, including women politicians, women rights advocates, sportswomen, “de-transitioners” and academics to ensure that those that have perpetrated violence are brought to account.

I also note with concern the frequent tactic of smearing women, girls and their allies who hold lawful and protected beliefs on non-discrimination based on sex and same sex attraction as “Nazis,” “genocidaires” and “extremists” to intimidate women, instill fear into them and shame them into silence. They also have been made with the specific objective of inciting violence and hatred against women based on their beliefs. According to international human rights law, freedom of expression should be protected unless it incites violence and hatred. The victims of these sort of attacks on freedom of speech and expression who call for respectful and transparent discussions around the definition of “sex”,”gender” and “gender identity” and the interaction of rights derived from these for rights holders in any given society.
The duty not to discriminate based on sex and associated stereotypes regarding the roles of men, women, boys, and girls is a tenet of international human rights law that States are obliged to adhere to and that they have codified into most national laws. Concerns around the continued adherence to these obligations should therefore not be delegitimized, trivialized, and criminalized. Women and girls who emphasize the specific needs of women born female and who call for and engage in discussions around the definitions of sex gender, and gender identity and the interaction of rights derived from these for rights holders in any given society should therefore be able to express themselves and their concerns on these issues in safety and in dignity.

Moreover, it is important that people, including researchers and academic, who express their views on “gender affirming” interventions including for children are not silenced, threatened, or intimidated simply for holding and articulating such views. This is particularly important given the implications for vital issues such as safeguarding, participation and consent by children, and sex education.

Measures that I find particularly concerning include reprisals such as censorship, legal harassment, loss of jobs, loss of income, removal from social media platforms, speaking engagements and the refusal to publish research conclusions and articles. These tactics have affected the ability to discuss issues related to sex, gender, and gender identity within universities and in society. I am furthermore aware of women politicians who have been sanctioned by their political parties, including through the threat of dismissal or actual dismissal. These actions have been accompanied by attacks and integrity, both online and offline, via smear campaigns and the incitement of hatred.

According to international human rights law, any restriction on freedom of expression should be carried out strictly in accordance with the human rights standards of legality, necessity, proportionality and to serve a legitimate aim. Those disagreeing with the views of women and girls expressing concerns related to gender identity and sex also have a right to express their opinion. However, in doing so they must not threaten the safety and integrity of those they are protesting against and disagreeing with. Sweeping restrictions on the ability of women and men to raise concerns regarding the scope of rights based on gender identity and sex are in violation of the fundamentals of freedom of thought and freedom of belief and expression and amounts to unjustified or blanket censorship.
In addition, I note with concern the way in which provisions that criminalize hate speech based on a number of grounds, including gender expression or gender identity, in countries in the Global North have been interpreted. Some such provisions are being taken to mean that any interrogation of the scope of rights based on gender identity amount to hate speech against non-binary persons and perhaps even incitement of hatred and genocide.

I would like to emphasize that the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly are crucial to ensuring that societies can develop their priorities and policies democratically and balance the rights of diverse groups in a pluralistic society. Attempts to silence women based on the views they hold regarding the scope of gender identity and sex in law and in practice and the rights associated with these, severely affects their participation in society in dignity and in safety, as well as their country’s prosperity and development.

Helleofabore · 24/05/2023 13:11

Just adding as I realised it was not in this thread

The discredited study by Richard Branstrom (Karolinska) & John Pachankis (Yale)

A major correction has been issued by the American Journal of Psychiatry. The authors and editors of an October 2019 study, titled “Reduction in mental health treatment utilization among transgender individuals after gender-affirming surgeries: a total population study,” have retracted its primary conclusion. Letters to the editor by twelve authors, including ourselves, led to a reanalysis of the data and a corrected conclusion stating that in fact the data showed no improvement after surgical treatment. The following is the background to our published letter and a summary of points of the critical analysis of the study.

Correction: Transgender Surgery Provides No Mental Health Benefit

The American Journal of Psychiatry has issued a major correction to a recent study. The Bränström study reanalysis demonstrated that neither “gender-affirming hormone treatment” nor “gender-affirming surgery” reduced the need of transgender-identifying...

Helleofabore · 24/05/2023 19:15

The NIH-published study that exposes the gulf between trans athletes and women in sports: Male-to-female transitioners are faster, stronger and fitter than most women even AFTER taking hormone drugs

Trans women athletes possess multiple physiological advantages over biological females even after they transition medically, Government-published research suggests. 

A major review quietly re-shared by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) last August suggests that early exposure to testosterone means trans women possess at least eight physical and mental attributes that could give them an advantage in sports — even if they make the change relatively early.

Findings showed trans women had greater muscle mass and bone density, which aid strength, power and durability, plus bigger lungs and higher oxygen levels, which help with endurance, as well as increased connections in the brain responsible for spatial awareness, which could help with agility.
The research, by experts from the University of Otago in New Zealand, concluded: 'The former male physiology of trans women athletes provides them with a physiological advantage over the cis-female athlete.' The paper adds: 'The inclusion of trans women in the elite female division needs to be reconsidered for fairness to female-born athletes.' 

Despite the scientific evidence, the debate around transgender athletes competing in women's sports continues to rage on. This week, a female high school runner was beaten by a teen boy who identified as a girl — which reignited the argument.

This is the link to the study.  It is actually rather a good explainer.

Transwoman Elite Athletes: Their Extra Percentage Relative to Female Physiology
Alison K Heather, Stacy T. Sims, Academic Editor and Christopher T. Minson, Academic Editor

August 2022


There is increasing debate as to whether transwoman athletes should be included in the elite female competition. Most elite sports are divided into male and female divisions because of the greater athletic performance displayed by males. Without the sex division, females would have little chance of winning because males are faster, stronger, and have greater endurance capacity. Male physiology underpins their better athletic performance including increased muscle mass and strength, stronger bones, different skeletal structure, better adapted cardiorespiratory systems, and early developmental effects on brain networks that wires males to be inherently more competitive and aggressive. Testosterone secreted before birth, postnatally, and then after puberty is the major factor that drives these physiological sex differences, and as adults, testosterone levels are ten to fifteen times higher in males than females. The non-overlapping ranges of testosterone between the sexes has led sports regulators, such as the International Olympic Committee, to use 10 nmol/L testosterone as a sole physiological parameter to divide the male and female sporting divisions. Using testosterone levels as a basis for separating female and male elite athletes is arguably flawed. Male physiology cannot be reformatted by estrogen therapy in transwoman athletes because testosterone has driven permanent effects through early life exposure. This descriptive critical review discusses the inherent male physiological advantages that lead to superior athletic performance and then addresses how estrogen therapy fails to create a female-like physiology in the male. Ultimately, the former male physiology of transwoman athletes provides them with a physiological advantage over the cis-female athlete.


Testosterone drives much of the enhanced athletic performance of males through in utero, early life, and adult exposure. Many anatomical sex differences driven by testosterone are not reversible. Hemoglobin levels and muscle mass are sensitive to adult life testosterone levels, with hemoglobin being the most responsive. Studies in transgender women, and androgen-deprivation treated cancer patients, show muscle mass is retained for many months, even years, and that co-comittant exercise mitigates muscle loss. Given that sports are currently segregated into male and female divisions because of superior male athletic performance, and that estrogen therapy will not reverse most athletic performance parameters, it follows that transgender women will enter the female division with an inherent advantage because of their prior male physiology.

The current IOC regulations allow transwomen athletes to compete if testosterone levels have been lowered to <10 nmol/L for 12 months prior to competition. While this begins to address the advantageous effects of circulating testosterone on athletic performance, it does not take into account the advantage afforded by testosterone exposure prior to transitioning. The existing data suggests that lowering testosterone to less than 10 nmol/L for 12 months decreases muscle mass but not to biological female levels and despite the decrease in mass, muscle strength can be maintained, especially if concurrently exercising. Estrogen therapy does not affect most of the anatomical structures in the biological male that provide a physiological benefit. Hemoglobin levels are lowered by estrogen therapy, and consequently, maximum aerobic effort may be lower, but this parameter will only be manifested if testosterone levels are suppressed to levels within the biological female range and maintained for extended periods of time. Reported studies show it is difficult to continuously suppress testosterone in transgender women. Given that the percentage difference between medal placings at the elite level is normally less than 1%, there must be confidence that an elite transwoman athlete retains no residual advantage from former testosterone exposure, where the inherent advantage depending on sport could be 10–30%. Current scientific evidence can not provide such assurances and thus, under abiding rulings, the inclusion of transwomen in the elite female division needs to be reconsidered for fairness to female-born athletes.

Transwoman Elite Athletes: Their Extra Percentage Relative to Female Physiology

There is increasing debate as to whether transwoman athletes should be included in the elite female competition. Most elite sports are divided into male and female divisions because of the greater athletic performance displayed by males. Without the se...

Helleofabore · 22/06/2023 14:53

Adding this link from the Greens.

it is in archive sites.

Here is the relevant bits. It is a communication guide.


Below are some commonly used transphobic dogwhistles. You'll find out what they actually mean and how you can disarm them.

  • 'The Trans/Gay Agenda'

What it means: 'Trans Agenda' is the attempt to suggest that transitioning (especially medically transitioning), trans awareness and trans equality are all being pushed by ominous figures in the 'Establishment'. The 'Establishment' here includes 'big pharma (major multinational pharmaceutical companies collectively as a sector of industry.)' and 'globalists' (a rightist term describe 'unpatriotic' capitalists), e.g George Soros (a Jewish Billionaire who often supports progressive leaning projects around the world), and often ties in with antisemitic tropes of Jewish plots to undermine white patriarchy.
How to disarm: Ask the person, if in a small group or 1-1, what evidence they have and who their sources are.
  • 'What about detransition rates?!'

What it means: Talk of detransition narratives and regret are often used to delegitimise the competency of those seeking or who have sought transition (mainly medical). This has also been used to justify trans exclusion from the Conversion Therapy ban, as if people need to be 'tested' (read: tortured) regarding their gender. As well, Bell v Tavistock news coverage often centred the regret of Kiera Bell as a way to suggest clinics were 'pushing' being trans.
How to disarm: Noting that there is no one reason for detransition, and that detransition rates are incredibly low, is helpful.Only around 0.4-2% of those who medically transition, detransition and considering the small size of the trans population, this is a very small number of people - the actual number is unknown due to poor data collection. Indeed, the main reason, for around a quarter of cases, for detransition is actually social pressure and societal resentment.
Special Note: Detrans people should not be pushed away by us and plenty of them are allies. Read this article for more information.
  • 'Biological Sex' & 'Sex Matters/ Sex Essentialism'

What it means: This is to effectively say that gender identity is irrelevant, and that sex is what defines what a 'man' or 'woman' is. Non-binary and gender diverse people (enbies) get put into one of these categories as a result. This is used often in discussions on sport, public toilets and also in pregnancy (often over trans men and assigned female at birth (AFAB) enbies). The term ‘sex matters’, that relates to the concept of ‘sex essntialism’, is used to justify a set of policies that takes the imagery of ‘common sense’ to a constructed mainstream audience (which is mostly white and middle class) which would lead to the policing of the bodies of all (cis and trans) woman by a misogynistic police force, and for all AFAB trans people a healthcare system that is even more humiliating than it already is. Then, sex essentialism is dangerous and hurts gender non-conforming people especially.
How to disarm: Pointing out that sex isn't a binary is part of disarming: intersex people exist, and people’s chromosomes aren’t always XX or XY - there’s also more to sex than chromosomes! As well, making it clear that gender identity and all its variations in time and place has a role too in the oppression non-cis men face. While genitals of course do play a role in how society 'genders' people from birth, and are part of how cis women (and AFAB people generally) are oppressed, the point gender criticals make downplays how gender expression plays a role in oppression, and how our cis-patriarchal, white supremacist society punishes those who don't conform to white cis masculinity.
  • References to the Trans Suicide Rate and mental health

What it means: Gender critical people use this argument to suggest trans people are 'mentally disturbed' and 'sick'; therefore, unable to have competency over defining what their gender, or lack thereof, is. Intersectionally, this is both transphobic and ableist.
How to disarm: When trans suicides occur, it's generally as a result of untreated mental illness and health issues that are a result of a transphobic society and unequal health service, or because of intense bullying campaigns.
  • 'Protecting Children'

What this means: This is about suggesting that trans and queer people generally are a threat to children's safety, implying paedophilia among a whole group.
How to disarm: Challenge the presumption by asking the person what they mean, and following that with asking what their evidence is can be helpful if you have the facts already about the rate at which this actually happens (which is negligable) and if it's among a small group or 1-1. If it's in a fast paced area, like a conference debate, using your point of information or inclusion card could be a good way to stop their flow and counter their dogwhistle.
  • 'Let kids be kids'

What it means: Kids are apparently being overloaded by ideas like 'gender' and 'sexuality' which is ‘transitioning’ them. This is nonsense. This links back to the idea of the 'trans/gay agenda' (1). It also links to the idea of ‘social cognition’- especially as kids are seen as more prone to ‘trends’ like queerness, as if being queer or trans is a fashion statement. As well there is the idea of forced transition, where an authority figure like parents are forcing their kids to be trans for clout. This is harmful rhetoric which endangers children, especially trans children and young people, which leads to a Section 28 style culture in education.
How to disarm: If this person generally sees themselves as progressive, ask them if they think being taught gayness existing at an early age is wrong. Otherwise, question whythey think it's wrong. Why is it a safeguarding risk? Why is it intrinsically wrong to teach queerness? This should expose their ideas. As well, note that when something becomes more socially accepted, that thing increases in people identifying with it, from left handed writing to accepting they’re gay or bi. The same is happening with the wider queer identities now.
  • 'What is a woman?'

What it means: This question is usually asked in bad faith. The answer it demands from queer people is an answer that can easily be construed as 'big burly (cis) men with penises' in order to 'discredit' self ID as a safeguarding risk, similar to (5), by presenting the real threat of male violence as one of a fictional 'trans violence'. This is in spite of the evidence from countries like the Republic of Ireland.
How to disarm: Pointing out that the question is flawed in how it seeks to reduce women to their genitals can work, but can backfire by seeming to avoid the question. If you go for a self ID answer, know the facts: say with certainty that cis men abusing this doesn't actually happen.
  • Using 'they' to describe a trans woman/ trans man repeatedly

What it means: This can be a casualisation of pronouns to deny the gender identity of a trans man or trans woman by refusing to use he/him / she/her respectively.
How to disarm: In response, you're speaking about a particular trans person or persons, assert the right pronoun first and foremost in your speech.
  • 'Protecting Women'

What it means: Like (5), the suggestion is that queer people are inherently dangerous to women. At the moment, this applies more so with trans women and NBies who present femme. However, this dogwhistle has been used historically towards lesbians (particularly in the 1910s to 1930s and in the 1990s), and to this day also targets 'butch' and more masc presenting lesbians, cis or trans.
How to disarm: Pointing out that trans women/femme enbies are often the targets of violence and hate crime like cis women is important. Reframing the dogwhistle to be about how protecting not cis men from the violence cis men can produce can be useful.
  • 'Protecting Lesbians'

What it means: An attempt to divide our community, the dogwhistle of 'protecting lesbians', and relatedly 'protecting lesbians from being forced to have sex with trans femmes', is invoked to suggest the false inherent 'predatory nature' of trans women towards cis women, to suggest an individual with a penis can't be a woman, and that sexuality is dependent on genital preference.
How to disarm: The fact that the vast majority of lesbians actually don't feel threatened, on the contrary are supportive of, trans women should be noted. The idea that potentially penetrative sex for a queer person with a vagina invalidates their sexuality is an incredibly reductive view and also seeks to invalidate bi people as well as lesbians who have sex with people with penises. As well, the notion of 'protecting lesbians' from often straight individuals is infantilising.
  • 'Women's sports is being infiltrated'

What it means: Verges onto explicit at times, this dogwhistle is the call for trans femme exclusion from women's sports, and by extension trans masc exclusion from men's sports on the grounds of 'fairness' and/or 'safety'. This can force trans athletes into dysphoric situations and can lead to intense safeguarding issues for trans athletes.
How to disarm: It's a fact that recent 'sex based' qualification checks relying on testosterone levels have disqualified cis women of colour. Pointing out how these kinds of tests lead to results that are in practice racist is important.
  • 'Genital Preferences are obviously transphobic'

What it means: The idea here is to suggest trans people existing forces cis people of any sexuality, though usually lesbians (10), to 'accept' a 'genital preference' that is far from the wishes of the latter. Though genital preferences can be a thing, to say they're transphobic 100% of the time is not nuanced. The point transphobes are making is that trans people are unreasonable and forcing others to accommodate them sexually.
How to disarm: Argue that very few trans people actually think that, if any, and most are concerned about healthcare and hate crime. As well, reducing sexuality to genital preferences is a disservice to every queer person and our shared culture that is so much more than genitals.
  • Kink and Other Derogatory Sexual Implications

What it means: That trans identities are simply about sexual gratification and or fetishism, usually as in trans femme people are doing this as a sexual kink. This also applies to gender nonconforming people, and notably towards Drag Queens who are doing Drag Queen Story Times, which links back to point 5.
How to disarm: Pointing out that the pseudo psychology behind this theory is disproven and homophobic is helpful. As well, noting how this language is that of the far right is also effective.
  • ‘Real Man/Woman’ and ‘Biological Fact’

What it means: A common one that even people who are well meaning but not as knowledgeable will make by accident, the assertion of ‘real’ (read: cis) women or men is one used actively by Gender Critical people to assert that trans identities are not valid, and therefore by implication are not as deserving of rights and protections.
How to disarm: If a genuine mistake, correct them politely and explain what cis means and how it isn’t a slur. If deliberate, ask why they think that and if they could explain how sex works then, considering how it isn’t a clear binary, as well as noting that reducing womanhood to biology is in the face of lived experience and is potentially racist and ableist.

Dogwhistle Guidance - LGBTIQA+ Greens

How to Spot and Disarm a Dogwhistle Content Warning: racism, antisemitism, misogyny, transphobia, queerphobia, mentions of paedophillia, suicide, mental health, abuse. This document seeks to be a shorthand reference for [...]Read More... from Dogwhistl...

LifeInAHamsterWheel · 22/06/2023 15:45

Well. 😐

I hope someone can produce a handy guide to "disarm" all that nonsense.

FriendofJoanne · 22/06/2023 22:26

Jeez what a load of bollocks. I couldn’t read it all, I’ll have to come back to it. Same old crap cycling round and round.

Helleofabore · 07/07/2023 09:11

From Dec 2022 CPS guidance for Domestic Abuse

Annex D: Impacts of Domestic Abuse

Although not an exhausted list, some examples of how trans and non-binary people may be abused by intimate partners or family members include (see also; Domestic Violence: A resource for trans people in Brighton and Hove):

  • Using the process of transitioning or “coming out” as a form of control
  • Threatening or sharing pre-transition images
  • Body shaming or criticising the victim for not being “a real man/woman” if they have not undergone reassignment surgery
  • Minimise or disregard the abuse by blaming the victim’s “perception” on their hormones
  • Physically assaulting surgically or medically altered body parts
  • Withholding money for transitioning
  • Targeting sexual or emotional abuse towards parts of the body they are ashamed of or forcing the victim to expose scars
  • Refusing to use their preferred name or pronoun
  • Destroying medication or clothes

Domestic abuse is traumatic for all victims, however trans and non-binary people can experience additional barriers to disclosing abuse or accessing support.
Additionally, for trans and non-binary victims, they often struggle to get access to refuges, while non- binary individuals, who were assigned female at birth (AFAB), may be forced to be “closeted” to avoid removal from places of safety. Where victims are able to access safe accommodation, staff are specially trained to recognise their needs and support services required to provide appropriate protection.

Resources – Page 9 – AVA – Against Violence & Abuse

Helleofabore · 14/07/2023 14:18

It is archived.

Youth Gender Transition Is Pushed Without Evidence
July 13, 2023 4:51 pm ET

As experienced professionals involved in direct care for the rapidly growing numbers of gender-diverse youth, the evaluation of medical evidence or both, we were surprised by the Endocrine Society’s <a class="break-all" href="" rel="nofollow noindex" target="_blank">claims about the state of evidence for gender-affirming care for youth (Letters, July 5). Stephen Hammes, president of the Endocrine Society, writes, “More than 2,000 studies published since 1975 form a clear picture: Gender-affirming care improves the well-being of transgender and gender-diverse people and reduces the risk of suicide.” This claim is not supported by the best available evidence.

Every systematic review of evidence to date, including one published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, has found the evidence for mental-health benefits of hormonal interventions for minors to be of low or very low certainty. By contrast, the risks are significant and include sterility, lifelong dependence on medication and the anguish of regret. For this reason, more and more European countries and international professional organizations now recommend psychotherapy rather than hormones and surgeries as the first line of treatment for gender-dysphoric youth.

Dr. Hammes’s claim that gender transition reduces suicides is contradicted by every systematic review, including the review published by the Endocrine Society, which states, “We could not draw any conclusions about death by suicide.” There is no reliable evidence to suggest that hormonal transition is an effective suicide-prevention measure.

The politicization of transgender healthcare in the U.S. is unfortunate. The way to combat it is for medical societies to align their recommendations with the best available evidence—rather than exaggerating the benefits and minimizing the risks.

Signed by

This letter is signed by 21 clinicians and researchers from nine countries.
Prof. Riittakerttu Kaltiala, M.D., Ph.D.
Tampere University

Laura Takala, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Psychiatrist, Alkupsykiatria Clinic

Prof. Richard Byng, M.B.B.Ch., Ph.D.
University of Plymouth

Anna Hutchinson, D.Clin.Psych.
Clinical psychologist, The Integrated Psychology Clinic

Anastassis Spiliadis, Ph.D.(c)
Director, ICF Consultations

Angela Sämfjord, M.D.
Senior consultant, Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Sven Román, M.D.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Anne Wæhre, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior consultant, Oslo University Hospital

Em. Prof. Patrik Vankrunkelsven, M.D. Ph.D.
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Honorary senator

Sophie Dechêne, M.R.C.Psych.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist

Beryl Koener, M.D., Ph.D.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist

Prof. Celine Masson, Ph.D.
Picardy Jules Verne University
Psychologist, Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants
Co-director, Observatory La Petite Sirène

Caroline Eliacheff, M.D.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist
Co-director, Observatory La Petite Sirène

Em. Prof. Maurice Berger, M.D. Ph.D.
Child psychiatrist

Daniel Halpérin, M.D.

Prof. Reitze Rodseth, Ph.D.
University of Kwazulu-Natal

Janet Giddy, M.B.Ch.B., M.P.H.
Family physician and public-health expert

Allan Donkin, M.B.Ch.B.
Family physician

Clin. Prof. Stephen B. Levine, M.D.
Case Western Reserve University

Clin. Prof. William Malone, M.D.
Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
Director, Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine

Prof. Patrick K. Hunter, M.D.
Florida State University
Pediatrician and bioethicist

Transgenderism has been highly politicized—on both sides. There are those who will justify any hormonal-replacement intervention for any young person who may have been identified as possibly having gender dysphoria. This is dangerous, as probably only a minority of those so identified truly qualify for this diagnosis. On the other hand, there are those who wouldn’t accept any hormonal intervention, regardless of the specifics of the individual patients.

Endocrinologists aren’t psychiatrists. We aren’t the ones who can identify gender-dysphoric individuals. The point isn’t to open the floodgates and offer an often-irreversible treatment to all people who may have issues with their sexuality, but to determine who would truly benefit from it.
Jesus L. Penabad, M.D.
Tarpon Springs, Fla.

What is interesting to see here is very few of these signatories are out and vocal on social media. Levine and Malone are probably the best known.

The pushback is really growing now.

Opinion | Youth Gender Transition Is Pushed Without Evidence

Psychotherapy, not hormones and surgery, is increasingly the first line of treatment abroad.

berryfull · 29/07/2023 19:18

Can anyone link to a timeline of the gender wars ? I remember reading it years ago
but can’t find it now!

berryfull · 29/07/2023 22:04

Thank you! X

berryfull · 29/07/2023 22:27

Just read it through and it needs an update

Helleofabore · 05/08/2023 08:12

This is a report of a conference session from Dr Stephen Stathis.  He is a clinical psychiatrist who founded the Queensland gender clinic. He is now saying that puberty blockers are not reversible in some important areas and that the evidence is weak in their continued use.

He has hinted that Australian gender clinics are now jointly researching puberty blockers.  

He also feels that adolescents cannot give consent for these drugs. 

The Gillick test requires the child to understand fully the treatment proposed.

Dr. Stathis said: “I’ve asked QCs [senior barristers], what does it mean for an adolescent to fully understand what is proposed, particularly for lifelong treatment? No one can give me an answer.

”I would say I don’t believe, based on the definition of Gillick, that an adolescent does have the capacity to understand.”

this is a very long article by Bernard Lane and it is very worth reading. It seems a balanced report on Dr Stathis’ session. 

Helleofabore · 07/08/2023 07:56

New link to the Denton’s document as it has been removed from the page attached to the other link.

Helleofabore · 07/08/2023 19:38

Results from a Murray Blackburn MacKenzie survey showed that when asked the questions, the UK public are confused by who the terms trans woman and transgender woman refer to.

Overall 65% of people believed Transgender Woman was a male at birth (17% thought female & 18% was not sure) and 60% believed that trans woman (21% thought female & 19% was not sure) was a male at birth.

Here is some commentary from MBM.

Looking at how the results break down further by sub-groups of the population, the patterns become messier and more different for the two terms. The results for these smaller sub-groups need to be treated with some caution, but are worth attention (some columns below do not sum to 100% due to rounding).

Both sexes were more likely to understand ‘transgender woman’ correctly, but the difference in results between the terms was very small for women. For men, the understanding of ‘transgender woman’ was much higher, and they were also much less likely to misunderstand that term, than ‘trans woman’.

Neither income nor level of educational qualification were simple predictors of accurate understanding. However, those with no or the most basic level of qualifications were most likely to have difficulty with this language, with ‘trans woman’ causing most confusion. Its meaning was clear only to just over half (54%) of that group.

For both terms, those with Level 4+ (HE) qualifications did less well than at least one of the Level 3 (A-level equivalent) or Level 2 (GCSE-equivalent at higher grades) groups: see here for level definitions

The largest variation was by region. The lowest accurate response rate of any group was well under half (43%), in London, for ‘trans woman’; over one-third of this group (35%) gave the wrong answer. This may possibly be connected to higher numbers who have English as a second language (see Biggs, 2023 for a similar hypothesis in relation to the gender identity question in the 2021 England and Wales census).

This deserves further consideration, alongside the results for the group with no or limited qualifications, as a likely plain English issue. Women with lower levels of qualifications or more limited language skills will already tend to be more socially and economically disadvantaged: their understanding of what they are being told about the operation of services and spaces appears especially likely to be affected by using this language.


Strikingly, of those aged 25-34, barely half gave the correct response, for both terms. Well over one-quarter (29%) of that group thought a ‘trans woman’ described someone who had been registered female/a girl at birth. As this effect was seen for both terms, separately sampled, it seems likely to be a real population effect. It may reflect more of the 25-34 respondents being uncomfortable with the idea sex is registered rather than ‘assigned’ at birth, or greater resistance to considering a person’s sex at birth entirely separately from their identity: but that would not immediately explain why the youngest age group records substantially better understanding of these terms than those aged 25-34. There is scope for further testing to understand what might explain this effect.

The link to the spreadsheet is in the article.

Another point of interest is that in describing Transgender woman accurately, the conservative voters (68.41%) were more accurate than the Labour (61.66%) and LD (64.49%)voters. And Transwoman was accurately described by conservative voters (63.03%), labour (64.36%) and LD (55.7%).

Clarity matters: how placating lobbyists obscures public understanding of sex and gender - Murray Blackburn Mackenzie

This blog describes the results of polling we commissioned to test how well people understand what the terms ‘transgender woman’ and ‘trans woman’ tell them about a person’s sex. The findings show that there is substantial confusion about these terms,...

AmaListening · 13/08/2023 14:59

Datun · 22/01/2018 10:12

Yes, peak trans is meant to invoke the image of a hill.

So people might start in the foothills wondering what on earth women are talking about, why is it so important?

Then they begin to question. Still not sure, because up until now, they didn't see any problem. Why not be nice? What's the big deal?

Then they start to understand the concepts. Sometimes they still waver, because this all feels like it's happening somewhere else. Online, or not really affecting them. And anyway, feminists have a downer on men, so it's unsurprising they're cross. And, honestly, I know a transwoman and she's absolutely delightful.

Then they read about a rapist being transferred to a female prison. So what, one news story. Are you saying all transwomen are rapists?!

Then they read about the woman who asked for a female HCP and got a man. Oh well, a little uncomfortable, but still, what's the big deal? Then they read that the woman was called a transphobic bigot for objecting.

Hmmm, well that's a bit off. I may not mind a man doing my smear test, but I can understand women who do. It's not really bigoted.

At this point you have advanced a few hundred yards up the hill.

Then a sports story is mentioned on here. A mediocre male weightlifter suddenly winning awards by competing as a woman.

Oh, whatever, I don't like sport anyway.

Then another one. Then someone in cycling, fell running, roller derby, football, cricket, golf.

Then suddenly it appears to be less about sport, and more about women being disadvantaged.

The crampons come out and you advance another few hundred yards up the hill.

Then you notice that a 19-year-old boy has been elected as labour's women's officer. Oh well, he probably feels like a woman inside. That's gender dysphoria, right?

Except he starts to compile a secret list of all women who disagree with him to get them ousted from the party. Despite his remit being to include as many women as possible in the party. Claims he can get pregnant in that biology is irrelevant.

Then you start to notice intimidating tactics against women. Meetings to discuss the upcoming law change are targetted, a 60-year-old woman is hit at speakers corner. Venues pull out, peoples jobs are threatened, they are doxxed online, they are reported to the police for disagreeing.

You scramble up towards the peak of the hill.

Then someone tells you about autogynephilia, and all the men's rights activists flocking to the trans movement. You realise that it is actually true that the government is legislating to legitimise a fetish.

You peak. You look back down the hill and can't believe you ever stood at the bottom.

Then you read of 2 transwomen, one of whom has been asked to speak at the Women's March. Who claims that being treated like a piece of meat by men is sexy and objectification is hot. And because they are woman, they speak on behalf of women. And the other one who claims that women are allowed to go to the Women's March, as long as they don't talk about their reproductive systems. You know, the very basis of women's oppression. Because it excludes men. The ones who are doing the oppressing.

And you peak all over again.

This keeps going.

You look at the handful of men with gender dysphoria and how to include them, and wish, with all your heart, that it could be that simple again.

This is so well written.

Helleofabore · 13/08/2023 15:27

Sadly, it is still so true even now 5.5 years later. And @Datun is still fucking awesome!

MavisMcMinty · 13/08/2023 19:58

Hard to believe that was written so long ago, when it has all happened to me since last November, when I found Mumsnet after being banned from Twitter. All of those things Datun mentioned have happened in the last year!

MavisMcMinty · 13/08/2023 19:58

Well maybe not all, but I got the general gist.

Helleofabore · 14/08/2023 18:30

This is a review of the studies often discussed here on MN in regards to males feeding infants the secretions from their breasts. It confirms what we have been posting.


Given all the available data on the amount of milk produced as well as the lack of studies on the safety of these medications at such high doses, it is safe to say there is no sufficient evidence to prove transwomen can safely breastfeed an infant. Transwomen cannot produce enough to give adequate nutrition and the unknown dangers to the infant from the medications is not worth the risk.

But even further, it is concerning that it was of great importance that breastfeeding was affirming for the transwoman.

Breastfeeding is about providing nutrition and immunity benefits to the infant. It should be concerning to everyone that affirmation is addressed at all. Given the risk to the infant, the ethical question must be asked: is a transwoman nursing really about feeding the infant, or is it about feeding the dysphoria?

The Ugly Truth of Male Breastfeeding — Paradox Institute

Is a transwoman nursing really about feeding the infant, or is it about feeding the dysphoria? In this detailed piece, Talia analyzes the literature on artificially-induced male breastfeeding to see if it is safe and healthy for the infant.

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