What a year.
What started off as one woman heading off to her local pool to demand they accept her as a man on her say-so became a nationwide group of nearly 200 women, er, men, with national and international news coverage, smashing #nodebate into tiny, glittering unicorn sparkle pieces. Six months on and:
- Swim England had withdrawn their Orwellian guidance telling swimming pools to ‘re-educate’ pesky women to accept men in their changing rooms, showers and closed swimming sessions;
- various organisations, including the City of London Corporation, had taken another look at badly-thought-out policies admitting men into women’s spaces;
- the government had responded to our petition, announcing an open public consultation on proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act that had previously been seen as a done deal; and, most importantly;
- people were talking and the great British public knew very well that ‘I am a man’ was not a magic sex-changing spell.
Now that the public part of the government consultation has drawn to a close, we’re hanging up our flowery swimming hats and mankinis, in the devout hope that we won’t need to use them again.
The job isn’t done – the government hasn’t made up its mind about the future shape of the GRA and Bonerwall is still mis-representing the Equality Act to any wokebot who’ll listen – but we feel that our part of it has come to an end.
We’ve been privileged to work alongside many excellent groups who are carrying on the fight in their own way: Fair Play For Women, Transgender Trend, A Woman’s Place, Standing for Women, Let A Woman Speak, Get the L Out, Liverpool ReSisters, Hands Across the Aisle, and more – and we’ll be continuing to support them as individuals who are passionate about women’s rights, safety, privacy and dignity.
Our thankyou list is too long to keep anyone’s attention, but in particular we must mention:
- Mumsnet, where this all started
- Hannah Clarke, who was thrown into the deep end as our media officer and did a stellar job every step (sometimes thousands a day!) along the way;
- Joani Walsh, who gave us our first media break with that Dulwich swim and continued to get the word out on our various #randomactsofmanliness;
- Julie Bindel, who coached Amy through her first TV appearance and gave invaluable advice;
- Dr Nicola Williams, who sat us down and talked us through the legal ins and outs;
- James Kirkup, who wrote some ace pieces;
- Sky News, for following us around with a camera;
- And every woman (and man) who came out, stood up to be counted, cheered us on, bought a t-shirt, joined team Sportacus and backed us up.
To our worthy and not-so-worthy adversaries: thanks for bringing us together. Without you we wouldn’t have met so many incredible women, or become friends, howling with laughter over your utter bonkers-ness. May you one day laugh as much as we did at your own ridiculousness.
It is impossible to change sex. The end.