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You win some, you lose some

A mixed few weeks for women’s rights:

Victories

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has ruled that toilets, changing rooms and so on can be single sex and exclude trans people. However, the following day, NHS diversity officers decided to band together to just ignore that advice.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, waded into the argument, telling NHS chiefs to heed that advice and keep women’s hospital wards single-sex.

The UK government banned ‘gay’ conversion therapy, but refused to do the same for trans ‘conversion therapy’.  It is important to realise that what is meant by trans conversion therapy is such things as counselling caution, watchful waiting, more in-depth counselling or even advice from parents. 

Instead the trans lobby wants this outlawed and replaced with immediate gender affirmation of people who may not be certain what is involved and who in many cases are not aware of the drawbacks (sterility and lifelong medication as well as physical mutilation).  Often puberty blockers are ‘marketed’ as just a ‘pause’ button. Powerful hormone treatment and surgery to mutilate healthy bodies and attempt to reconstruct them as the chosen sex often do not make people feel better than they did before.

The outcry is growing, albeit occasionally anonymously, against transwoman Lia Thomas, who has trashed women’s records in the US college championships.  In Lia’s latest outing, the crowd heckled Lia’s first place and the three runners-up stood together some distance away to great acclaim.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has warned that ‘gender cannot trump biology’ in considering trans participation in women’s sports.  Especially after puberty, males have huge physical advantages over females.  The backlash has grown since it was realised that allowing transwomen into the female category would effectively end women’s elite sports.

In British cycling, transwoman Emily Bridges decided to compete in the women’s category, a move initially supported by British Cycling, but later reversed following an outcry.  One of the voices critical of Emily competing in the female category is Olympic cycling champion Nicole Cooke, who stressed that sports competitions must be between equals.

One of the first people to transition very publicly was Caitlyn Jenner, who has proved an unexpected ally of female sports, declaring that it just is not fair for transwomen to compete against women.  Caitlyn plays golf and even seven years after transitioning, she has big advantages over women.  She has longer arms and can outdrive them by hundreds of yards. Although off testosterone and on oestrogen for seven years, she says ‘what I’ve got left over is still more than they’ve ever had’.

British PM Boris Johnson waded into the debate, saying males should not compete in female sports.

Lorna Slater is in hot water over comments about gender-critical commentators which may be in breach of the ministerial code, comparing them to ‘racists and antisemites’ and making vague allegations of funding for women’s groups by ‘certain right wing American groups’.

Sweden has banned puberty blockers for youth.

Sex Matters’ Maya Forstater, Caroline Ffiske and Heather Binning have started a campaign specifically with the upcoming local elections in mind – ‘Respect My Sex if you want my X’, and urge voters to challenge would-be councillors who doorstep them with the question ‘What is a woman?’

Having become a hot potato in Scotland, the Scottish Tories have thrown down the gauntlet to other parties in the Scottish council elections by pledging to retain single-sex spaces in schools, hospitals, refuges and so on, in council areas where they form the majority party in May.

But it seems they have not entirely thought through their position.  They intend to diverge from the UK party and ban trans conversion therapy.  But as this is the misnomer for watchful waiting and counselling, they are actually saying they will follow the headlong affirmation of gender, which is what most women’s groups oppose.

Writer and women’s activist Julie Bindel describes it as Britain finally coming to its senses.  

It has taken a long hard struggle by ordinary women to get here, helped by some famous names.  JK Rowling was airbrushed out of her own film franchise and novels by the very people she made famous.  Numerous politicians in mainstream parties have been unable to define what a woman is, and the NHS has tried to eliminate women from the ‘birthing’ process altogether, in ‘birthing centres’ (not maternity units), where they could only remain if they agreed to be the ludicrous ‘chestfeeders’. 

          What is worrying is that medical professionals bought into this, but I would love to know how they managed to get a biological male to ‘chestfeed’.  The medical profession and the NHS have also encouraged males into female-only hospital wards to the extent of gaslighting women who objected, just flatly denying that males were there, even when women could see them.  Talk about suspending your disbelief!

          They have succumbed to an extremely aggressive lobby which sought not only to deny women our rights under the Equality Act, but to criminalise us if we dared to question it.

Setbacks

Despite the outcry in Scotland over gender self-identification and the recent furore over elite sports, the Scottish government blithely announced this week that trans athletes would be able to compete in school competitions in the sex category of their choosing, only notifying the opposing team of the possibility of someone physically much stronger on their team ‘if the young person consents’. 

As these rights are rooted in the Equality Act, this advice is dubious at best.  Ditto the self-identification of males as women, which if passed would allow males into female-only spaces in Scotland.

Trans police officers born male who identify as women can strip-search female suspects in England and Wales.  If women object it can be recorded as a hate incident, though technically not a hate ‘crime’.  This only came to light after revelations from retired police officer Cathy Larkman about the ruling from the National Police chiefs’ Council for England and Wales.

In British Columbia, Canada, a nurse is being investigated by her nursing union because (wait for it) she believes biological sex is real!  The nurses union has even lobbied the Canadian government to pass a bill threatening healthcare workers with prison if they do not immediately affirm the stated gender of patients, however young they are.

Back in the UK, England Universities’ women’s football team appear not to have heeded the controversy, instead choosing as their goalkeeper a six-foot tall transwoman who used to play men’s football at Aberdeen University.  This despite the UK Sports Council Equality Group advice published last September that the inclusion of transgender people into female sport cannot be balanced with fairness and safety to women in sports where sex-based physiology causes performance differences, as transwomen retain ‘physical advantages thanks to male puberty’ regardless of testosterone suppression.

Fair Play For Women claims females all over the UK are dropping out of recreational sport due to the inclusion of transwomen in the female categories.  One is Bo Novak, who felt unable to continue participating in a women-only cycling group after finding that the group did not just include a transwoman, but was led by that person, who was much stronger and faster than the rest of the group.

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