Let’s start with this statement: I am not going to justify women having their own spaces. Thousands of women, some I know, most I don’t, fought the fight for women’s spaces before I was born so that I, and other women in the UK today, don’t have to. Thanks to them, women’s rights, protections, spaces, and services exist to facilitate women’s participation in social life by upholding and protecting our safety, privacy and dignity. Programs and offices reserved for women seek to redress systemic discrimination against women that puts us at a disadvantage compared to our male peers.
If men want to access these spaces, they need a darn good reason. Like the time male paramedics entered the women’s changing room at the gym where I had collapsed due to complications with my first pregnancy. The women in the changing room had a heads-up so that they could get dressed, hide in the loos, leave the changing room or stay there. It was inconvenient but none of the women present minded because my life and the life of my unborn baby were in danger. The circumstances were exceptional, controlled and limited.
Here are some reasons that aren’t good enough:
- For a laugh
- They’re curious
- It’s more convenient
- They don’t think women should have their own spaces
- They want to make a point
- They fancy a woman in there
- The existence of women’s spaces makes them feel discriminated against
- They get sexual gratification from making women uncomfortable
- They think they have a better chance of achieving their aim in there
- They feel sad
- They think that they aren’t safe around other men
- They want to attack women
There’s one thing about all of the above reasons: they centre around the man’s feelings. To heck with women’s safety, privacy and dignity; it’s all about them.
Which is why, listening, reading and speaking with other people involved in the debate about policies of gender self-identification, I have yet to come across a good reason for men to be given access to women’s spaces on their own say-so. At any time, a woman must be able to assume that when she is in a space reserved for women, no men will be present. And if a man does enter their space, they need to be able to challenge them and have them removed.
I don’t think I’ve said anything unreasonable or contentious so far. So let’s go to the transactivists’ mantra of choice that justifies why men should be given access to women’s spaces: ‘Transwomen are women’.
No, actually, they’re not. Transwomen as most people imagine, who have had surgery to reconstruct their male bodies into an approximation of a woman’s, still retain the male musculoskeletal structure and their socialisation as boys and men. The physical differences matter in the areas of healthcare, sport, clothing and so on. The differences in socialisation matter when it comes to programs for women such as all-women’s shortlists, scholarships and advancement programs, specifically designed to counteract the effects of female socialisation and discrimination against women. We have different challenges, different bodies, different needs. Women are women. Transwomen are transwomen and there is nothing wrong with that.
Let’s move on to the new thinking around ‘transgender’, promoted by Stonewall and the transactivists so feted by the dudebros of both Left and Right in their quest to be seen as the most ‘progressive’. This goes far beyond most people’s understanding of trans and says that men who ‘feel’ like a woman, are women. A penis attached to a person who says that they ‘feel’ female, becomes a female organ. It doesn’t matter if the man says he’s only a woman on a Friday, according to the new trans doctrine each Friday he is literally a woman. There is no ‘fake trans’ according to the Stonewall definition. And anyone who doesn’t accept that unquestioningly is not only wrong, they are ‘transphobic’, ‘hate-filled bigots’ and ‘TERFs’. This includes lesbians, who are ‘transphobic vagina fetishists’ unless they agree to sleep with ‘lady-dicks’.
This might seem ridiculous, but the implications are serious. With cross-party support, the Conservative government is currently considering changes to the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act that would not only allow any man who says, ‘I am a woman’ to be treated as one, no matter their reasoning, but would also put women who challenge these ‘women’ in violation of the law.
Not only that, but public organisations and services including the Labour Party, Swim England, the Youth Hostel Association, Girl Guiding UK, schools and others are already acting as though this was law, bringing in policies that not only enable but actively promote men to enter women and girls’ spaces, and demonising women who object. Women have been physically attacked in the street, have been surrounded by chanting men on picket lines, have had death threats and rape threats and been the target of vicious online hate campaigns that seek to have them thrown out of their jobs, positions and Labour Party memberships. This has happened in full public view and yet is publicly denied by transactivists.
The 100+ women of #ManFriday are using direct action to expose the absurdities and injustices of self-ID and smash the transactivists’ stealth campaign to erase women’s rights (their chosen slogan: #nodebate). We support A Woman’s Place UK, Sex Matters, Fair Play For Women and others in their demands for a free and fair debate on self-identification, for women to be consulted on changes to the laws and policies that profoundly affect their lives and for the government and public organisations to uphold and extend single-sex spaces.
If you agree with us, please:
- Sign the petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/214118
- Write to your MP
- Visit fairplayforwomen.com to find out more
- Attend a Woman’s Place UK event (all constructive debate welcomed)
- Follow @ManFriday_ and @SexMattersUK on Twitter
Founder of #ManFriday