Rosie Duffield and trans backlash

Submitted by AWL on 13 October, 2020 - 3:33 Author: Angela Driver
Rosie Duffield

It is a common misconception that the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act threatened “single-sex spaces”, toilets, changing rooms, and meant that men just pretending to be women could access them.

These fears are unfounded. The GRA has nothing to say about the use of toilets. The Equality Act 2010 already gives trans people the right to access services appropriate to their lived gender at any stage of their transition. Single sex services are only allowed to exclude trans people under exceptional circumstances, where there is a justifiable reason for doing so. Trans women have always been able to use women’s toilets. That is nothing new.

For some the “fear” goes beyond ignorance and is based on an underlying prejudice that trans women are actually just men “pretending” to be women, on fear of and hostility towards trans people. It has recently spilled out into the open among Labour MPs.

A recent blog post criticised Law Society guidance that transitioning employees should use the toilet they felt comfortable with.

In response to a tweeted comment by Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Marsha de Cordova, Maya Forstater (who is consistently transphobic on twitter) tweeted that the guidance was for “cross-dressers”. Labour MP Rosie Duffield “liked” Forstater’s tweet, and thus publicly supported the idea that trans women are just men “dressing up” or “pretending” to be women.

The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights called on LGBT+, the Labour Party’s LGBT organisation, to act.

The chair of LGBT+, Heather Peto, criticised Rosie Duffield for liking Maya Forstater’s tweet — saying either she was not being careful or she was actively supporting transphobia. Rosie Duffield mocked Heather, saying she hadn’t “learnt to be careful” but was going to Stepford to be “reprogrammed”.

Rosie Duffield has previously had to apologise publicly for saying that only women have a cervix. She took a long time to apologise, and maintained her stance even after it was pointed out that such statements could discourage trans men and non-binary people from having cervical smears.

Despite repeated calls, neither Rosie Duffield nor Marsha de Cordova has apologised, and Keir Starmer has issued no statement on the subject.

The government’s abandonment of proposed reforms to the GRA has led to a significant backlash against trans people, who were already facing persecution.

There is a risk that the government may reduce the rights trans people have under the Equality Act 2010.

The Labour Party has existing policy to amend the GRA to allow self-ID. It should be vocally defending trans rights now more than ever. Instead we are seeing worrying signs that transphobia is becoming accepted in the Labour Party.

The Labour Party must treat transphobia just as seriously as any other bigotry.

Comments

Submitted by Helen (not verified) on Tue, 20/10/2020 - 16:56

"For some the “fear” goes beyond ignorance and is based on an underlying prejudice that trans women are actually just men “pretending” to be women"

You could not be more wrong. This shows how little you have engaged in conversation with women who oppose the easing to 'self ID' along with the ability to legally change sex on documents such as birth certificates, driving licence.

The ignorance is all yours as you approach none of the impacts on single sex based protections legally definable by record of sex. Namely, sports, employment & equal opportunities, data collection crucial to understanding womens health, crimes by and perpetrated against, scholarships and other such sex protected funding streams which were designed to safeguard women from having fewer opportunities than men.

There are so many areas in which having such a right to legally change ones sex impacts negatively upon rights women have fought to be recognised and finally had acknowledged as a justifiable leveller of opportunities and recognition.

To plainly refuse to see these risks to womens rights, to plainly shut women out of the conversation by villifying women who dare speak up on this is as misogynistic in it's most directly underhand form as it is disturbing.

Submitted by Feminist Ally (not verified) on Tue, 27/10/2020 - 22:32

“Rosie Duffield has previously had to apologise publicly for saying that only women have a cervix. She took a long time to apologise, and maintained her stance even after it was pointed out that such statements could discourage trans men and non-binary people from having cervical smears.“
Rosie Duffield stated a biological fact. She has no need to apologise to anyone; especially not to trigger-happy Trans activists, offended by reality. Where is your evidence that speaking the truth could discourage trans men from obtaining cervical smears? Facts and truth are inconvenient I know, but they are what they are. Rosie Duffield is a feminist hero for speaking out. I applaud her.

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