How can a human being be neither a man nor a woman? Sam Smith thinks they are, but what this means beyond grammatically inconvenient pronouns is hard to fathom.
Once upon a time an organisation was established to campaign for gay and lesbian rights. They faced opposition from the outset. They were widely condemned, even called out as a hate group when they talked about same-sex attraction. When they sought charitable status, a petition was launched, urging the Charities Commission to reject the application. Tens of thousands of people signed it.
But this was not the dark days of the 1980s, when Section 28 stopped councils and schools ‘promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’. This is now.
A year of disrupted schooling means there are plenty of issues facing our schools right now. But delegates at last week’s National Education Union conference were more interested in another subject: developing a new – and presumably beefed-up – definition of transphobia.
Is the Green party determined to make its female members feel unwelcome? After voting down women’s sex-based rights at their spring conference, the party has now suspended the co-chair of its women’s committee, Emma Bateman. The reason? According to Bateman, her decision to question whether trans women are female is to blame.
Something dramatic happened in the House of Commons yesterday [1 March 2021]: Penny Mordaunt told MPs that ‘transmen are men and transwomen are women’. This mantra – for that is what it is – has been said so often in recent years that it might now be an unremarkable way in which to wind up a debate. But it is a worrying sign to see it repeated so unthinkingly in parliament.
For a party so devoted to trans rights, it seems strange that the SNP is less than forthcoming over its new definition of transphobia that their National Executive Committee adopted in recent days. The mind boggles over what they may be hiding.
Lionel Shriver’s superb article “Why are the language police trying to wipe out women?” (News Review, last week) exposes the real focus of an out-of-control lobby that purports to support trans rights.
Changes to language alter the way we think. Divorcing the word woman from female biology separates women from their sex-based rights. It is misogyny, and in plain sight.
Meanwhile, the needs of trans people such as me — in particular, for medical and psychological support — continue to go unaddressed.
From using terms like ‘chestfeeding’ to claiming campaigning against trans electoral candidates is transphobic, trans activism has changed from an earnest campaign for rights into a mission to replace evidence with emotions.
Five years ago, in June 2016, Norway allowed anyone to change their legal gender. Legislative Decree 71 was everything that the gender identity brigade would like to introduce in the UK: no diagnosis, no medical reports, pure self-identification. The age limit was set at six years old, providing the child has at least one parent’s consent.
Sir, Further to your report “ ‘Chestfeeding’ advice from trans-friendly midwives” (Feb 10), if Brighton and Sussex University NHS Trust needs a formal “gender inclusive language policy” to instruct staff to treat all patients with dignity and respect, then it has a bigger problem than “transphobia”. It is not “biological essentialism” to say that mothers give birth to children, and then breastfeed them with mother’s milk. It is essential biology.
Such attempts to control language may backfire spectacularly on transgender people like me as the public tires of being told what they are expected to think. If even the facts of life are deemed to be transphobic, then perhaps transphobia has lost all meaning.