I grew up in 1980s County Durham; it felt at the time like a People’s Democratic Republic. When the miners went on strike in 1984, Labour held 53 of the 72 seats on the county council. But whatever impression southerners might get from watching Billy Elliot, boys like me did not engage in ballet. Labour may have been in charge, but attitudes were socially conservative. We played football and supported the Toon, or Newcastle United to give them their official name. Allegiance to Sunderland raised eyebrows — in my town at least — while Manchester United was beyond the pale.
Canadian archer Stephanie Barrett is making her Olympic debut aged 42 having only taken up the sport four years ago, but all the fawning articles charting her meteoric rise fail to mention that Barrett was born male.
Laurel Hubbard, born male, is competing in women’s weightlifting. Hubbard may be classified female, but retains many of the the advantages of a male body. The key is testosterone, not just now, but in the past.
Women in Scotland are angry. Yesterday [20 July 2021*], hundreds gathered by the McLennan Arch on Glasgow Green where their sense of betrayal was palpable.
Politicians waved legislation through and the public isn’t happy
Jess Phillips thinks that transwomen — like me — are not female, but we should be treated as women. She has probably succeeded in upsetting both sides of what has become a toxic debate. Politicians entering these shark-infested waters do so at their own peril. If, like Rosie Duffield or Joanna Cherry, they stand up for science and reason, they put their careers at risk. If they go with the programme that we all have a gender identity, and biological sex doesn’t matter, they end up looking ridiculous, like the ‘jiggle on the stairs’ crew.
Our planet is in a mess. Ice caps are melting and the glaciers are retreating. This summer in Canada, the mercury has already broken through 49 degrees Celsius, with August still ahead of us. Climate change worries me, and I think it should worry others too. But despite the party’s name, the Green party isn’t devoting its full attention to this issue. Instead, some of its members are preoccupied with rooting out alleged transphobia within the party.
New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. But now, 120 years on from that landmark moment for female equality, Kiwi women are fighting a rear-guard campaign to defend the meaning of the word ‘woman’.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s push for recording lessons is misplaced – it would be better to tackle the lobby groups that are driving absurd, divisive and dangerous policies into our schools.
Last year, the equalities minister Liz Truss set aside laws which would have allowed people to self-identity as the legal gender of their choice. For those worried about the effect self-ID could have on women-only spaces, Truss’ move was a welcome relief.
But campaigners for women’s rights should not be too complacent. As recent developments across the world in New Zealand show, it only takes a general election to trigger a massive move in policy in a matter of months.