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The Rainbow flag represents all of the LGBT+ community

Debate or just Hate – A Woman’s Place UK

Last week HOT published an article about Woman’s Place UK coming to Hastings on 20 June. This week, we publish a voice from the other side of the debate – Natasha Scott is one of the organisers of Hastings Pride and a trans-woman.

I honestly don’t mind having conversations around trans issues particularly where genuine concerns need to be addressed. I run trans awareness workshops. I was one of the small group of people who set up Hastings Pride. This was to break down social barriers because I know the impact that being trans and being seen to be trans has had on my life and no one should be discriminated or face bigotry just because of who they are. I’ve had abuse shouted at me down the streets, I’ve been sexually assaulted, discriminated against, marginalised and objectified.

I see A Woman’s Place UK (WPUK) doing their tour around the country and it scares me. It scares me because all I see them doing is just making a bad situation for anyone who is trans far worse than it is now. They say it’s about Self-Identification of trans people and their concerns, but I’ve heard them say nothing which justifies their fears and all I hear is rhetoric which claims I’m an ideology and therefore not real and worse to incite fear towards people like me.

To give understanding I will explain the problems with things as they are right now and the reality of gender identity and self ID. The World Health Organisation (WHO), the EU and UK Government all recognise that gender identity is real, and science is going out of its way to try and identify it. WHO this year will be declassifying their current position on Gender Identity Disorder, as they realise it is not a mental health issue because the mental health issues experienced by the trans community are related to stigma, discrimination and violence (both physical and psychological). Gender Dysphoria also needs to show distress either externally or internally for gender dysphoria to be diagnosed and so perpetuates the stigma of the trans community as having something fundamentally wrong with them. Therefore, WHO moving to Gender Incongruence is a big step forward, as it highlights the mismatch between gender identity and birth gender (sex) without classifying it as a mental health issue and stigmatising trans people.

People looking to change the sex marker on their birth certificate require a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) as outlined in the legislation of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA). The GRC process is widely agreed to be unjustly highly intrusive, dehumanising, a grossly bureaucratic process and outdated due to the Equality Act 2010. Conservative estimates of those who have undergone the process to change their birth certificate by getting a GRC, is less than 10% of the trans population who would require one. This is why the Women’s Equality Commission found it to be not fit for purpose – and why the GRA needs to be brought up to date because it is not working.

Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic as outlined by the Equality Act 2010 (EA). The EA led to all forms of identification being changed on the basis of self ID without the requirement of a GRC, which was not the case before 2010. Self ID is only relative to changing birth certificates and nothing else. You will hear horror stories that self ID will lead to men gaining access to women-only spaces by claiming they are a woman and no one will be able to do that. The law still prohibits and provides protection for people and self ID will not change that because it is only about birth certificates. Government bureaucracy is not going to allow people to change their birth certificates from one day to the next and to suggest otherwise is preposterous and in all honesty, it is nothing more than fear-mongering. The only people who have been guilty so far of making claims to be the opposite sex and forcing their way into single-sex spaces are the very people who are inciting the fear in their attempts to create panic.

So, what are the demands being made by WPUK?

To begin with their language indicates a separation of women and transsexual women. I say this because of the people involved in this movement use language such as ‘trans ideology’ and even refer to it as a ‘fashion’. They support literature for schools which was resolutely condemned by Stonewall as “a deeply damaging document, packed with factually inaccurate content”.

There is no evidence to support their fear-mongering as can be seen in the countries to have already adopted a self ID policy. The only study I’ve seen was highly dubious at best and an article in The Guardian outlined how the claims made were blatantly false. This study painted trans women as sexual predators and Woman’s Place UK are using that to create fear and incite panic.

Having looked at videos of their speakers, Woman’s Place UK are saying:

  • That children confused by their sexuality are being diagnosed as being transgender
  • That lesbian rights are being undermined and lesbian life and culture is in danger because of having trans identities imposed on them
  • That heterosexual men, under the guise of trans women, are insisting that they have sexual relations with lesbians, because they are women, but then outline that they cannot be women as gender is a social construct, ergo trans people are following an ‘ideology’. Saying that trans people are following an ideology is a very common statement from speakers
  • They have also claimed that LGB rights are being undermined by trans rights, as the LGBT community now only represents the trans community.
  • You can tell the difference between a trans woman and a woman and they should not be allowed in women safe spaces because women won’t feel safe

I’ve heard much more and worse but this is just to give an idea of the language and rhetoric used at these so called ‘debates’.

Their language and rhetoric is designed to divide trans women from women and often intimating that trans women represent a danger to women and children.

To say that I am following an ideology is ridiculous: socialism is an ideology which people may or may not support and follow. Being trans is not like being a socialist because it is who I am, and I did not choose to be Gender Incongruent. To say I am following an ideology is to say that I am not real but a concept – this dehumanises all trans people.

Trust me, no one chooses a life of social isolation, discrimination, stigma and violence; no one chooses to be trans.

Woman’s Place UK dismiss the attempted suicide rate of almost 1 in 2 trans people as a means to close down debate and in doing so, they are saying trans lives do not matter. They claim to be speaking for feminists and lesbian women, but it is clearly not the case. I honestly don’t believe that this is about the Gender Recognition Act 2004 or the Equality Act 2010, but it is their attempt to discriminate and segregate the trans community and specifically trans women from society – and their demands seem to have this principle at its core.

This is what hate looks like and anyone giving a platform to them or promoting them in any way is empowering hate. This is why I implore anyone not to engage with them – just as we don’t engage with racism or homophobia because we should never legitimise hate in society. Despite their narrative, this is not about respectful debate, however you try and dress it up. This is a platform of hate to incite fear in their bid to create panic to enable discrimination and oppression.

Equality Act 2010: Gender reassignment – the following points from the Equality Act 2010 show that a transsexual is already protected the moment that they start to make steps to transition – having a GRC doesn’t change that – it just changes your birth certificate.

  • (1) A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex
  • (2) A reference to a transsexual person is a reference to a person who has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment
  • (3) In relation to the protected characteristic of gender reassignment—
    (a) a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a transsexual person;
    (b) a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to transsexual persons.

You can read last week’s article by following this link.

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Posted 18:11 Wednesday, Jun 13, 2018 In: Campaigns

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