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The GRA of 2004 gave trans people the ability to change legal sex via a GRC, but only if they had a psychiatric diagnosis of dysphoria and only after having lived in role for 2 years. The spousal veto gave spouses a chance to annul or obtain a favourable divorce.

While this ultimately created the loophole in women’s rights that we’ve been fighting against in the last few years, it catered for a tiny number of dysphoric transsexuals and so did not have an enormous impact.

Discussions with trans friends and allies make it clear that, although surgery wasn’t a requirement for a GRC, the diagnostic procedures were expected to trap and exclude males who did not want surgery, thereby preventing fetishists and opportunists from exploiting a GRC.

The Equality Act of 2010 defined the various protected characteristics, including both sex and ‘gender reassignment’, and provided for sex-based exemptions, under the auspices of which it is legal to exclude trans people from some single-sex spaces and services.

The campaign to reform the GRA to remove medical gatekeeping and make changing gender a matter of self-id was where women put our foot down. The GRA gave a very limited group of MtF transsexuals access to our spaces. Self-id would have made this any man who said he was a woman.

In addition, transactivists were demanding the removal of sex-based exemptions from the Equality Act. This would have left women with no ability to exclude males from any space on any basis, thereby removing every protection gained in the last century of feminism.

This is the effect of self-identified ‘gender identity’ (the ideological concept on which this rides) combined with the deliberate conflation of gender identity with sex. There is no possible point at which women can draw a line.

Our resistance to this campaign was successful; I think most people recognise that it isn’t reasonable to allow any male to identify into women’s spaces on his say-so. It was, however, self-id which was rejected, leaving women’s rights open to further attacks.

Transactivists claim that the current process for obtaining a GRC is invasive and onerous, and continue to push for a reform they claim is ‘merely administrative’ (this doesn’t gel with the attacks on the Eq2010 sex-based exemptions, though: https://t.co/MpxjXv5IoL)

They use the struggles of dysphoric people as a weapon, and by pushing back against self-id we replicate this. Personally I think the best place to attack the ideology is on the conflation of gender identity with sex: https://t.co/zN0ziAZzyM.

This means that we say yes to all the demands of transactivists *except* the one which conflates TW with W, which effectively forces the declaration of a third (and possibly fourth) gender and the provision of facilities for them.

It means we’re onboard with self-id, access to medical care, non-discrimination, ability to serve in the military etc, which of course we should be in any case. We do NOT want to get gaslit into a kneejerk rejection of anything trans, which makes us sound like rightwingers.

BUT it also means we insist on a positive, sex-based definition of woman, and force TRAs to show their hand. We know perfectly well what we’re dealing with here; we want to force them to demonstrate to the public that their agenda is access to women’s spaces, not trans rights.

This worked like a bomb when the UK govt provided a trans prison wing so they could remove MtFs from the female estate. The squawking and wailing about being ‘othered’ and ‘caged’ was epic, and Joe Public went “Yeah, right.”

Basically it’s a position which says: you’re free to have a gender identity. You’re not free to tell me *I* have a gender identity. And you are definitely not free to tell me that your gender identity is in any way comparable to my sex.

The table of contents and a link to the full .pdf download. :)

Keira Bell: The High Court hands down a historic judgment to protect vulnerable children

In a landmark judgment that will have repercussions around the world the High Court today ruled that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are experimental treatments which cannot be given to children in most cases without application to the court.

We are delighted that the High Court has handed down judgment to protect children from experimental medical interventions with serious known and unknown risks and lifelong consequences.

The judgment concluded that it is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would ever be Gillick competent to give consent to being treated with puberty blockers and very doubtful that children aged 14 and 15 could understand the long-term risks and consequences of treatment in such a way as to have sufficient understanding to give consent.

The court also ruled that it would be appropriate for clinicians to involve the court in any case where there may be any doubt as to whether the long-term interests of a 16 or 17 year-old would be served by the clinical interventions of blockers and hormones.

The judgment is vindication for Sue Evans who instigated the case and first raised concerns at the GIDS over fifteen years ago. It is testament to the courage of the claimants, Mrs A and Keira Bell who, through her public testimony, has changed history.

In her witness statement, Keira Bell said

“I made a brash decision as a teenager, (as a lot of teenagers do) trying to find confidence and happiness, except now the rest of my life will be negatively affected.”

Through her court action, Keira Bell has ensured that other troubled teenagers will now be protected from the harmful consequences she has had to face.

In a lengthy summing-up of the evidence that was heard in court on October 7th and 8th, the judges reflected many of our concerns about the experimental medical treatment for children with gender dysphoria in the absence of a robust evidence base.

Transgender Trend intervened in this case particularly on the issue of the recent unprecedented rise in the referral rate of teenage girls and the specific cultural context within which the most vulnerable young people are now suddenly adopting a transgender identity. We are delighted that the judgment reflected some of the concerns we raised in our intervention about the failure of the Tavistock GIDS to ground medical intervention in evidence and objective science.

In our intervention, we submitted evidence that the GIDS operates within a core illogicality: a belief that biological sex is irrelevant to being a boy or being a girl, while providing a service that is predicated on the existence of, and ability to define, a ‘boy body’ and a ‘girl body’ that children might move between through medication and subsequent surgery. This is of course an impossibility, but it is an outcome that children are led to believe is possible.

We submitted that the service colludes in beliefs that depend on the rejection of biological facts, giving greater weight to a subjective, self-declared identity over the material fact of biological sex, and operates from within the same culture of unreality that has influenced the young people being referred. On this basis we submitted that the GIDS is not competent to safeguard the bodily autonomy and integrity of adolescents who arrive at the clinic fully conditioned in gender theory and eager for the medical interventions they have been told they need.

The court judgment referenced the fact that in 2011 the gender split was roughly 50/50 between natal girls and boys but by 2019 the sex ratio had changed so that 76 per cent of referrals were females, but that the Tavistock did not put forward any clinical explanation as to why there had been this significant change in the patient group over a relatively short period of time.

This is not surprising: denial of biological sex prevents analysis on the basis of biological sex, including the specific experiences and pressures faced by female adolescents as compared to males. The lack of curiosity at the GIDS is easily explained if children are viewed through the dehumanising lens of ‘gender identity’. This also explains the apparent lack of concern about the serious physical effects of this treatment: if biological sex is irrelevant then future sexual function and fertility must also be unimportant.

The judgment is a damning indictment of clinical practice at the GIDS. The case was decided on facts and evidence known to the Tavistock, and ultimately on the lack of facts and the weakness of the evidence in the Tavistock’s defence. The GIDS lacked even basic data on children who had been given puberty blockers. In the court judgment the judges expressed ‘surprise’ in the following areas:

  • In respect of the ages of children treated with puberty blockers between 2011 and 2020, the data has not been collated for each year.
  • In respect of the number or proportion of young people referred by GIDS for puberty blockers who had a diagnosis of ASD or any other mental health diagnosis, the data has not been collated and there has been a lack of investigation or analysis.
  • In respect of the proportion of those on puberty blockers who progress to cross-sex hormones there is no data available, even for those who commence cross-sex hormones within the GIDS itself. Children were not tracked into adult services.

The GIDS puberty blocker ‘trial’ did not even track outcomes.

The judgment handed down today has established the salient facts about puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones:

  • Puberty blockers are not ‘fully reversible’.
  • Puberty blockers do not ‘buy time’, they are the first stage of a medical pathway very few children come off.
  • There is no evidence that puberty blockers alleviate distress.
  • The pathway of blockers and cross-sex hormones has serious physical consequences, including the loss of fertility and full sexual function, with profound long-term risks and consequences.
  • The treatment is experimental.

The most damning evidence of complacency in the service is the fact that the GIDS offers troubled adolescents no alternative therapeutic treatment pathway. Far from being a last resort treatment, blockers and hormones are the only treatment for children with complex histories and mental health conditions. This is the result of a service that operates on the basis of ideology in place of clinical standards. The judgment raises the issue of medical negligence and our immediate concern is for the children who have already been through this medical system.

This case has shone a light on the worst and most unforgivable result of the institutional capture throughout society by the gender lobby: the medical experiment on children’s healthy bodies, with serious irreversible and lifelong consequences.

The judgment is also vindication of Transgender Trend and our work over five years to raise awareness and facilitate open debate about the very issues this court hearing was about. It is a judgment that raises serious questions not only about the Tavistock’s service, but about the transgender lobby groups that have influenced the NHS and pressured the Tavistock into providing these treatments for children at ever younger ages.

In response to our application to intervene we were instructed by the court to submit our full witness statement and evidence which had to be helpful to the court, relevant to the case and had not already been presented in any witness statements. Stonewall and Mermaids also applied to intervene and were similarly instructed. The court granted Transgender Trend permission to intervene on the basis that we had introduced new evidence that was potentially relevant to the case. The submissions from both Stonewall and Mermaids were judged on exactly the same grounds, and they were refused permission on the basis that they had either repeated evidence already before the court in witness statements, or that the evidence they submitted was irrelevant to the case. The evidence presented by Stonewall and Mermaids focused on issues such as bullying, hate crime and the human rights of the ‘transgender child’ to an identity; in other words, the activist rhetoric we are used to hearing from such groups.

The difference between our submissions was that our evidence was based on reality and facts, whereas the submissions from Stonewall and Mermaids were based on a political and ideological view of children as ‘transgender’. The most striking aspect of the court case was the complete absence of ideology and ideological language. Nobody claimed that some children have a ‘gender identity’ that doesn’t match the sex they were ‘assigned at birth’ to justify the use of blockers and hormones. In the absence of the ideology, the justification for this treatment falls apart. It was revealed that in the real world, there is no justification for serious medical intervention on children’s healthy bodies.

This raises serious issues about why these lobby groups have been allowed to influence our health service so radically, causing harm to so many children. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust is a Stonewall Diversity Champion, as is the Care Quality Commission who judged the Tavistock service ‘good’. A senior clinician at the GIDS was a member of Gendered Intelligence, a lobby group the GIDS has worked with. GIRES has produced training resources for the Royal College of General Practitioners. All these groups promote the ideology of ‘gender identity’, none are qualified doctors or clinicians.

On the basis of the landmark judgment handed down in court today, the government needs to take action to remove all transgender guidance and resources from schools and social services departments to safeguard children and prevent any further teaching of this ideology to children as ‘fact’. The Health Secretary must take steps to curb the influence of these lobby groups and eliminate ideology from medical theory and practice. Government departments, health bodies and schools must cancel their membership of the Stonewall Diversity Champions scheme.

Proper therapeutic pathways need to be developed within a psychoanalytical model that can be delivered by professionals already trained in counselling troubled young people. Children must be treated as children, not as political mascots for an ideology. ‘Gender identity’ must be removed from the UKCP Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy, and therapists and counsellors must be given back their freedom to do their jobs properly and offer children a normal duty of care.

The judgment today is a watershed moment. As a society we must ask ourselves how we allowed this to happen. The threats, bullying and the silencing of alternative views must stop here.

Today the right judgment has been handed down in the High Court. But we should never have had to learn about the dangers of institutional capture in this way.

 

Found on JCJ’s site: Speech at Women’s Equality Party Assembly, 23 September 2020

To lay out my thoughts about women’s political representation, I want to first outline my socialist and radical feminist analysis of women’s politics. What I most want to underline is that from my perspective, feminism is a form of materialist class politics, not a form of identity politics. That is, my analysis of the position of women is rooted in understanding that female people have a particular type of body and reproductive capacity and are subject to a system of power on the basis of being female. This power structure exists because of the historical development of a hierarchical system of extraction of the reproductive and socially reproductive labour of female people, otherwise known as patriarchy. Consequently, women have a range of shared material political interests. Most obviously these pertain to issues around reproductive and sexual autonomy, and the violences women are subjected to by male power’s effort to control their bodies as a sexual and reproductive resource. This then extends to how women’s labour is devalued, invisibilised, and appropriated by the intertwined structures of patriarchy and capitalism. This includes women’s disproportionate poverty, the wage gap, maternity cover and child-care, the undervaluing and feminisation of all forms of care labour, the concentration of women in low-paid and low status occupations, and the ways all these issues disproportionately impact working class and racialised women. Lastly, this leads to the demand for a fundamental structural transformation in order to challenge extractive relations, undertake a just accounting of women’s labour, and do away with the symbolic representations and psychological conditioning that undermines women’s humanity by positioning them as a sexual, reproductive, domestic and emotional resource for males. The fundamental structure of patriarchal gender is then a matter of socialising women into the role of a service-class orientated to male needs, and socialising males into a mode of dominance and entitlement. Feminist politics which reinforces female socialisation and de-centers the needs and interests of female people is thus antithetical to challenging gender in its deepest sense.  

On the question of why women’s political representation matters, let’s focus on two key areas. The first involves the symbolic importance of women’s representation, the way it serves as a role model and opens possibilities for other women, and the fact that ‘representational justice or equality’ is an important value in and of itself. With respect to the inclusion of trans women in women’s representation, this immediately forces a confrontation with the bitterly contested ontological question of ‘what is a woman.’ As should be apparent from what I’ve just said, my answer to this question is informed by materialist class analysis. That is, women are a sex-class. This matters not only because it frames women’s class interests, but because the alternative interpretation, from our perspective, relies on essentialising gender, which we consider to be the mechanism of the oppression of women as a sex-class. At the heart of this conflict is the fundamental question of the definition of women being changed from a sex class to a gender class. Given that we think that gender is how women are oppressed on the basis of sex, we consider it regressive for women to be recognised in public life as instantiations of gender, and to be redefined on the basis of an identification with gender that not only bears little relation to our experience as female human beings, but diminishes the way patriarchal gender profoundly harms our humanity.

I think it’s worth briefly thinking this under the rubric of ‘Diversity and Inclusion.’ The aim of inclusion is actually structurally contradictory to the aim of diversity. If everyone is included inside one category, then many salient differences between groups get lost, and we undermine diversity. Much present identity politics is focused on a possibly over-stated emphasis on difference, while conversely, the relation of women and trans women is being thought under the sole political directive of inclusion, which is undermining the recognition of important political and social differences. What we should be aiming towards is a model that honours both similarity and difference. We need to recognise that female people and people who identify as women are not identical, and stop trying to erase this difference in a way which many women feel is overwriting their political existence and interests,. This will allow us stand in solidarity with each other, in areas where our political interests are aligned.

This leads to the second area where representation matters, the expression of women’s political interests. This is not simple, because under patriarchy women have the most fractured class consciousness of any oppressed group, and it is far from evident that women in positions of political authority are in the business of representing women’s interests. I would hope, however, that this is less true of the political consciousness of women inside a party set up by and for women. The question then is to what extent women and trans women share political interests. My claim here would be that trans women who respect the difference between trans women and women, and understand why women resist being redefined on the basis of gender, can stand in real and meaningful solidarity with women, although our interests still do not completely coincide. However, at present, given the effort to erase differences, redefine women by gender, and demand access to all sex-based spaces with no gatekeeping, the interests of women and those aligned with the present trans rights project, are, in fact, diametrically opposed. This was evident in Munroe Bergdoff’s much criticised injunction that women shouldn’t centre reproductive issues at the Woman’s March because it was ‘exclusionary’. It is also starkly illustrated by how often advocates of present trans rights discourse diminish the impact of male violence on women’s lives – as indeed Judith Butler did yesterday –  and the extent to which being raised in a society that sexualises women from their early teens, demands that female people have sex-based spaces to preserve their dignity and humanity, as well as their safety. This is source of great regret, as opposition to male violence is one of the places where women and trans women’s interests should most closely align. On the basis of all these factors I would argue that – especially under current circumstances – it is not appropriate for trans women to represent women politically, and I hope in time we can move towards a place where we can stand in close solidarity with each other.

Our language needs to reflect concepts that correspond to physical material reality.  Individuals that seek to remove females from the public sphere would have us believe that the terms on the right are somehow the correct terms – they are not – they are dehumanizing terms.

 

On the left represents what an accurate depiction of what inclusion looks like.

 

Precisely. The nebulous concoction of self id and ‘gender-identity’ are virtually orthogonal to the real world situations women face. No one can ‘identify into’ or ‘out of’ the structural sex based oppression that exists within our societies.

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