Have Women and Girls Got Too Many Rights?

Do you think women and girls have got too many rights? Should some of these be rolled back now? Are we too equal? Too safe? Too represented? Too visible? Too powerful? Do you believe there should now be a reduction in women’s rights? Has it all gone too far? Are women actually the oppressors now? Would you support policies which would curtail some of those rights? Do you believe that women should have fewer rights?

Well, if you do, you’re in good company. It’s not just Men’s Rights groups who agree with you: there are increasing numbers of public institutions and businesses who believe that women and girls are so equal now that we no longer need the legislative and social protections which were fought for and won by previous feminists. We are so safe now we no longer need the provisions in law intended to ensure our safety. We have such a major voice now that we no longer need the mechanisms intended to increase our political representation. We have so much recognition for our work that we no longer need women-only prizes and awards. We are so equal in opportunity to men and boys that we no longer need any special treatment to level the playing field.

Do you agree? Lots of people do.

Women have so many rights in fact that we can afford to share them. We are not yet required by law to share them, but a combination of female socialisation, the post-Trans Inquiry Guide for Service Providers, and a rampant disregard for the Equality Act from trans advocacy groups, means that we are being compelled to share them. Or bullied into sharing them. Or coerced, or guilt-tripped, or emotionally manipulated. There are many ways.

The result of the Trans Inquiry and the Trans Report is that in public life the issue of trans self-ID has essentially all but been decided, without the need for the upcoming government consultation, and without any debate. Many institutions are already putting self-ID into place, and women and girls are already feeling the effects.

GirlGuidingUK for example, have implemented a transgender policy which effectively changes the organisation from being single-sex, and allows trans-identifying boys to share showers, tents and private spaces with girls, without informing parents first. Topshop has designated its girls’ changing rooms as unisex, based on a complaint from one man who identifies as non-binary. Hampstead Ladies Pond has decided to admit trans-identified males, based on self-ID, after they had some ‘trans-awareness training’. Cabins on the Caledonian Sleeper are suddenly to be separated along the lines of ‘gender identity’ rather than sex.

GirlguidingUK, Topshop, Hampstead Ladies Pond and Caledonian Sleeper are just four examples of what is becoming a trend. Businesses know they need to do a bit of diversity training, they get in their local friendly trans group for a trans awareness day, and suddenly the women working there, or the female customers, have fewer rights than they did beforehand. Many other institutions have come to the conclusion that women and girls no longer need the same degree of protection we once did. We have too many rights, we really don’t need them all. Some can surely therefore be removed without the need to consult with us first. An recent example of female protest, in the form of the group ManFriday, resulted in Swim England retracting their new transgender policy in favour of having a consultation. I have yet to come across a company which sees the importance of consulting with women before changing their policies.

In schools there is a definite move towards ensuring that girls grow up with fewer rights than their mothers had.  A recent story from Transgender Trend documents the methods used to ensure compliance at one school in Essex, which was coerced into converting its girls’ toilets into unisex toilets, after a campaign led by local trans group Transpire. The Equality Act specifically warns against giving one protected group rights at the expense of another, but when this is trans rights versus girls’ rights, trans groups are ignoring it and misleading schools into putting trans rights first. It is always girls who lose out.

Trans advocacy group GIRES has this advice in their factsheet about trans inclusion:

GIRES factsheet Toilets

The advice to schools provided by  LGBT support group Allsorts, in Brighton, follows the same pattern. This is from their East Sussex Schools Toolkit:

 

This advice was written in 2013 and since then the toolkit has been listed as a resource on the Mermaids website, and used by many schools across Sussex to inform and educate staff on trans inclusion. The aim to teach girls that a boy can be ‘in every other respect a girl’ clearly makes absolutely no sense, and moreover it conflicts with all other initiatives in schools designed to empower girls to respect and assert their own boundaries. It also compromises safeguarding practice. The sentence about the trans pupil’s rights under the Equality Act is a straightforward lie.

In addition to this, girls should get used to the idea of having fewer rights to compete equally in sports:

 

In a tortured attempt to spin the language, Allsorts believes that girls who object to a male competing with them should be ‘supported to do a different activity’. We all know that that really means ‘be chucked off the team’ though. This is a blatant and intentional misrepresentation of the Equality Act. Girls and women are protected under the category of sex, but trans groups going into schools and workplaces are providing materials which deliberately hide that fact in order to prioritise trans people. Women and girls are always the ones adversely affected.

Trans groups providing guidance for schools and businesses include Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence, GIRES, Educate and Celebrate and the Intercom Trust, as well as Allsorts and Transpire. They all believe that girls and women don’t really need all the rights they currently have, and some of these should be rolled back. It is no longer necessary for girls to enjoy bodily privacy as they grow up, for example, or to expect a level playing field in sporting activities. These are unnecessary cherries on the cake of female equality, and can be removed with no consultation and no impact assessment.

Sport at an elite level fares no better. At the University of Brighton in March, Professor Yannis Pitsiladis introduced a talk by Joanna Harper, at an event entitled ‘Beyond Fairness: The Biology of Inclusion for Transgender and Intersex Athletes’. Harper, a trans-identified male, delivered a shockingly biased talk which suggested no possible disadvantage to women from allowing men into their sports. The research evidence was extremely limited in size and scope, but was nevertheless used to ‘prove’ that there was no physical advantage to be gained from having a male body. Harper suggested that it was ‘traditionalists’ who believed sports should be separated by biology, but that ‘others’ believed gender could be self-identified, as if these two positions carried equal weight, and also as if Team Biology was just a bit old-fashioned.

Professor Pitsiladis had introduced the event as being the first in a series of hopefully informative debates on trans inclusion in sports. If the goal is proper debate then a powerful advocate for trans rights should always be matched with a powerful advocate for women’s rights, as it is always women who will bear the brunt of any changes. This did not happen and there did not appear to be any plans for it to happen in future events. Follow-up reading after the event revealed that Harper’s flawed research was the very research used by the International Olympic Committee to inform their policy on trans inclusion. There are already male trans athletes winning against women in sports such as cycling, boxing and weightlifting. There are already trans sportsmen taking the place of women in team sports such as football, Australian rules football and basketball. The uncomfortable truth is that for every trans person who wins a place on a team there will be a woman who will have lost hers. We can’t just pretend that’s not true.

Once again the views of a minority interest group have been allowed to inform policy which has a profound effect on women, without consulting women first. The IOC obviously take the view that women no longer need a level playing field in sports. We’ve had equality for ages now. For example women’s football is no longer banned by the FA. We have little left to complain about. No, women have had too much equality and too many rights, and some of these are no longer completely necessary, and should be taken away and given to someone else. Women after all are supposed to be good at sharing.

Feminists who have concerns about the erosion of the rights of women are currently being characterised as ‘anti-trans activists’ in an attempt to discredit them. It is clear from the examples above that there are many ways that women and girls lose out when trans rights are given precedence, but there is deliberately no acknowledgement of this from trans activists: it is more useful to them to characterise feminists as haters and bigots than to admit there might be a conflict of interest. In fact, to acknowledge a conflict of interest at all would be to acknowledge that there is a difference between women and ‘transwomen’ and this transactivists cannot do. The law itself does differentiate: it allows sex-based exemptions to the equality law where women’s safety, privacy or dignity is concerned. Biological differences are enshrined in law. Trans activists will never accept this: in their view ‘transwomen are women’. This mantra is used frequently to shut down any argument. Here’s a classic of the genre:

Transwomen are women

The repetition of this mantra is not just used to shout women down, it is also used as a justification for not conducting proper impact assessments. If ‘transwomen’ ARE women then there is clearly no need to look at the impact on women of any change in legislation because changes to help ‘transwomen’ will help women. The purpose of ‘transwomen are women’ is not just to be ‘nice’ to trans-identified males and show solidarity and support, as many people seem to think it is. Its purpose is to deny the whole notion of women having separate rights, because it is in this way that trans activists can get every change they want passed without any opposition. It’s almost as if a Trojan Horse dressed as My Little Pony has landed smack bang right in the middle of the women’s movement and now Men’s Rights Activists are pouring out of it intending to get their own way.

If  ever there was a reason for avoiding the language of ‘transwomen’ this is it. Using the phrase ‘trans-identified males’ instead works for women because it serves to clarify the boundaries of the conflicting groups, and leaves no doubt as to the necessity of impact assessments for women and girls before changing legislation for trans people. When most of the rights enshrined specifically for women involve biology to one degree or another, and usually safety, privacy and dignity as well, this is an essential distinction to make. If we are not allowed to make it we can’t fight for our own rights. This is why it has become the preferred language for many women: we have been told ‘transwomen are women’ once too often, and it is never to our advantage.

Feminists are pro-women, not anti-trans. Feminists do not attack and assault trans people, we just know that for women sex-based rights are crucial. When the trans movement is deliberately intent on misleading schools, businesses and institutions, to the detriment of women and girls, the time for being ‘nice’ is over. We have to be honest instead. We have to defend our rights. In every new case of changing trans policy, if there is anyone who needs to budge up, shift over and lose out, it is women and girls. The only way this could be acceptable is if you believe that women and girls have too many rights already. Do you?

 

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14 thoughts on “Have Women and Girls Got Too Many Rights?

  1. Rose M. Jordan April 6, 2018 / 9:23 am

    This is a wonderful piece. Makes it so clear that every right a crossdresser gets a girl or woman loses.

  2. Hecuba April 6, 2018 / 11:55 am

    ‘When the trans movement is deliberately intent on misleading schools, businesses and institutions, to the detriment of women and girls, the time for being ‘nice’ is over. We have to be honest instead. We have to defend our rights. In every new case of changing trans policy, if there is anyone who needs to budge up, shift over and lose out, it is women and girls. The only way this could be acceptable is if you believe that women and girls have too many rights already. Do you?’

    Excellent analysis of how and why men are once more erasing women’s and girls’ fundamental rights. Ask yourselves the question who benefits from this systemic erasure of women’s and girls’ rights? Why aren’t men being told they must accept women who claim they are men? Why is it always women and girls who must relinquish their fundamental female sex rights because a tiny virulent minority of women-hating males demand it?

    Answer is as always it is men who are the ones benefitting and it is men who are not being told they must accept women into their male only groups because these women are now men!

  3. Derrington April 7, 2018 / 9:57 am

    Blistering piece!!!

    • Not The News in Briefs April 9, 2018 / 5:28 pm

      This piece from GIRES completely misrepresents the concerns of women. It also accuses women of not understanding the difference between sex and gender and then proceeds to conflate the two. In this post I have detailed a small fraction of the effects on women of the belief that self-ID is already in place, and nothing from the GIRES piece answers any of the points I make. I don’t share your view that we need to ‘redefine our understanding of gender’, I think what we need to do is remember that sex is a material reality, not a choice

    • Lavender Blume April 11, 2018 / 8:20 pm

      I’m guessing you want to be polite and empathetic because you feel for trans people. Do you have that commitment when it comes to women and girls? There are two choices here: tell people what they want to hear or be honest. Trans women are trans women. They’re male. Women are female. You can transition and present however you wish but the fact that a person is trans doesn’t override their biological sex. This matters. The article explains why this matters very clearly, so I’m wondering why you still don’t get it. Can you tell the difference between a person who needs a pap smear and a person who doesn’t? How would you go about doing that? We live in a patriarchy and that means that female-bodied people have unique and severe challenges because of our female biology that males will never share no matter how they present, whether they pass, or whatever other challenges they face. Women aren’t subdivided into “cis” women (actual women) and trans women (men) just because a minority of men wish they were born female. Being a feminist means saying things that people don’t want to hear but that need to be said apparently, there are too many people on this planet who don’t think females have value.

  4. ktrantingredhead April 10, 2018 / 5:36 am

    75% of the global illiterate are female. 70% of the global poor are female. There are 7 million child brides worldwide THAT WE KNOW OF. In some countries, as high as 95% of females have experienced genital mutilation. 20k women a year are trafficked into the sex trade in the US alone. In the US, only 30% of government positions are held be females. In he US, only 5% of Fortune 500 are owned by females. Only 1% of global land is owned by women. Only 10% of global wealth is in the hands of women.

    So, NO, I don’t think women are “too equal” or “too free.” NO, I don’t think any reasonable person would….then again the T movement is not reasonable….

  5. snowbear April 15, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    What is missing is any effort to consider women and girls in all this.Shocking male powergrab, it’s
    horrifying that this is happening.

  6. Nina West May 20, 2018 / 9:22 pm

    Great article summarising the effects of the transactivist movement on women and girls. The only issue not covered is the effects on so many young people being led to believe they can change their biological sex and embarking on medical treatment with no chance to reflect or receive counselling. History will judge this era as one of abuse .

  7. Helena Wojtczak May 24, 2018 / 11:48 am

    Helen Saxby is currently my favourite write on this issue.

  8. Smallnotfaraway May 29, 2018 / 1:50 pm

    Great article, Helen. There are so many bright, knowledgeable, logical and compassionate women writing on this subject, and I’m always pleased to see another woman adding her inelligent and measured voice to counteract the shouting and rage from the trans extremists.

    The example from the Allsorts East Sussex Schools Toolkit really brought home the issues – In scenario (I will paraphrase) girls who are uncomfortable with a trans-identifying boy in a single sex changing room should be offered an alternative place to change separately.

    WELL. Let me give you a real-life example of how this may affect some of our most vulnerable girls.

    My daughter is autistic – until recently she had been going to swimming lessons at a ‘starter’ pool for beginners, so aimed at young primary school children.

    Due to her diagnosed ASD, my daughter has taken a longer time to learn to swim, she is averse to change and enjoys the small, shallow pool and doesn’t mind being in a class with 6 year olds even though she is the oldest at age 11. The teacher is understanding of her condition.

    Anyway, the classes changed, and my daughter was put in a class of girls on a different day at different time with children she didn’t know, but she was reasonably happy with this – she’d been attending the pool for several years and it was familiar and safe.

    So on the day of her new class, we went into one of the changing rooms, and there was a boy there from an earlier class (not undressed), but he was closer to her own age. My daughter was shocked and embarassed and walked straight out and into the other changig room, where there was an undressed (younger) boy prancing around – again, we walked straight out, as she doesn’t like chaotic places, particularly since she’d already had a shock in the first room.

    My daughter was extremely upset and didn’t want to even change in the girls toilets or even go to her swimming lesson at all. I was obviously completely sympathetic and supportive. My daughter stayed upset and anxious/clingy for an hour and a half after the incident (parents of ASD children will understand what this means – it is a major deal for them). She hasn’t been back since.

    Now imagine if girls at a school would be placed in the position of having to change with a boy in the room – many NT girls may not say anything whilst actually being uncomfortable. However, a sensitive autistic girl like my child, who KNOWS a boy is a boy, is unflinchingly honest and desires the privacy natural to her age, would be PHYSICALLY affected by such a scenario, as was shown by the parallel incident experienced by my daughter.

    The ‘wrongness’ of a boy being in the girls’ changing room cannot be normalised, particularly for vulnerable autistic children. Autistic girls try to conform and follow rules – it is a feature of female autism – and have real difficulty following or recognising instincts which are red flags for dangerous situations.

    Confusing autistic children by telling them ‘a boy can be a girl’ leaves them more vulnerable in the future: How do they know who to trust? What situation is safe? Is someone really who they say they are? Why is a man dressed as a woman? Are they trying to trick me?

    Also, autistic people (especially undiagnosed) are gender questioning anyway especially as teenagers, as they really don’t fit into societal norms. Obviously there’s a whole other subject about the link between autism and ‘transgenderism’ and how it takes a few years longer than it does for NT people for autistic people to understand and accept themselves as adult humans, and find how they fit into the world.

    If male children believe they are a girl whilst in reality being male-bodied, you would think they would be EXTRA sensitive to girls and not even DREAM of making them feel awkward or unsafe in any way.

    Insisting on using their single-sex spaces amounts to narcissism, and should not be encouraged.

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