Sarah Ditum – not “gender critical” enough

Sarah Ditum’s article in the New Statesman this week is very clever. I’m not going to link to it – New Statesman knows well enough that publishing Ditum’s ongoing campaign against my community will always attract a lot of traffic to its site – drawn by the inevitable controversy that follows.

This is business, make no mistake, and if the trans community gets hurt and make a fuss, well that will be good for business too.

Sadly, folks don’t read enough articles written by actual trans people to see through the holes in Ditum’s arguments, and this latest article in particular reads to the ignorant as being very comprehensive, reasonable and balanced. So, for those who have already read it and been taken in, here’s what’s wrong with it. For those who have not read it – don’t bother, it adds nothing new whatsoever to the feminist conversation and is in fact a warmed-over version of some very past their sell-by-date ideas.

I’m going to take us through the over-long article point by point to expose its manipulations and distortions, so apologies if this is also a long response.

1. The header image

The header image shows a pair of false eyelashes nestled in a makeup box. This is a trope – it signals the “falseness” of trans identities by boiling them down to how we adorn ourselves. It sets the tone subtly to undermine the “realness” of us.

2. The subtitle

“In the US and UK, politicians want to enshrine respect for “gender identity” into law. The only problem? There is no scientific consensus on what gender is.”

Right in the subtitle of the piece is the heart of what this article is about. There is a “problem” with enshrining respect for gender identity in law (i.e. giving trans people civil rights), because science has not explained gender identity yet.

In the same way, I suppose we can’t enshrine respect for gay people because science hasn’t fully explained them either.

We cannot respect what we don’t understand. Let that sink in for a moment.

3. The threat

” Alex Drummond, who is male and identifies as female without having had any surgical or hormonal treatment – and with a full beard”

Alex Drummond is a woman with a beard. Harnaam Kaur is also a woman with a beard. One is cis, one is trans. But Ditum wants us to be afraid of Alex. Ditum calls Alex “male” knowing full well the baggage that goes with that word is so much more than biological. She is effectively gendering Alex. Misgendering her, in fact.

Why can’t Alex just live her life in a way that makes her healthy and comfortable? Why can’t she just be accepted as herself? Ditum will show us how dangerous this all is, and in doing so will take us back to a very regressive place, where as long as trans women have all the surgery and make every effort to “pass” in conventional terms, they will be somewhat tolerated, but trans liberation must not be allowed.

4. What explains us?

Ditum lays out four possibilities for what makes gender identity.

a) Gender is hardwired in the brain.

The idea she cites as favoured and acceptable. She makes it clear that this is essentialist (I agree, and so do most trans people I know) and not popular with feminists (quite right). She infers it is popular with trans people – not so.

Ditum then goes on to imply there are only 3 other options (also not true):

b) A sexual fetish, ie. autogynephilia

This is where her earlier (disputed) assertion that there are more trans women than men comes in handy – we can just ignore how trans men don’t fit this theory, can’t we? Oh, and we can ignore all the research that debunks the theory, too (I particularly like this one that shows cis women have identical experiences).

c) Faulty thinking due to autism.

Ditum exploits the fact that there is a higher incidence of autism in the trans population to suggest that autistic people “latch onto” gender identity due to feeling different. As an autistic person myself, this disableism is very unsettling. The idea that autistic people cannot know themselves as well as neurotypical people has no basis in reality.

Interestingly, the link between autism and sexuality has been explored in the past in similarly problematic ways, but now it is no longer acceptable to speculate about whether gay men are gay due to faulty wiring (Alan Turing, anyone?), we have moved on to scrutinise and undermine trans identities instead.

d) A response to trauma

Another nasty contrivance. Kids that grow up different are far more easy to marginalise and therefore to bully and abuse. So of course the levels of trauma in our communities are higher, as within the LGB community.

Yes, they used to say being a lesbian was caused by abuse too.

Apparently there are no other ways to frame our existence. We’ll see about that later.

5. Trans children must be stopped

Ditum goes on to stick up for “poor” Ken Zucker, saying he “was attacked for not conforming to the current trans political line, and ultimately forced from his job”.

Zucker, if you are not aware, is a proponent of reparative therapy for both LGB and trans children. Zucker increasingly shifted the focus of his work away from gay kids and towards trans kids due to “political” changes. Imagine if Ditum was writing now about that political shift – away from it being ok to try and “cure” gay people.

All the reputable psychological organisations condemn reparative therapy for gay and trans kids, and Zucker was a lone proponent, ultimately fired by an independent investigation.

The man was a renegade, so why is Ditum not citing other research by people who work with trans kids, for balance? The article pretends to be comprehensive and even handed, but look at just a small sample of what’s missing.

Ditum later rehashes a tired old myth when it comes to trans children. Using the very scientific method of watching a TV documentary and listening to an anecdote, she concludes that trans children think they are trans because they like things associated with the opposite sex. She perpetuates the myth of desistance and misleadingly cites:

“studies suggesting 80 per cent of gender non-conforming  children go on to live in their original gender as adults”

Yes, this figure is true, but that’s because trans and gender non-conforming are not the same thing. Read this article to understand how this statistic is misused over and over again. There is also a better study that shows that gender identity in trans kids is equally as consistent as for cis kids. Not to mention (oh ok, I will) the other important recent study that demonstrates extremely positive outcomes for trans kids that receive treatment.

It is frustrating how much good work has been done to clear up these myths and yet how often they get trotted out to trap the unwary people who haven’t done the reading.

Has Ditum not done her reading? Or is she deliberately suppressing one side of the story – I will leave you to decide. Given the size of her platform, can anyone see the danger for trans people if she has not been fully ethical, balanced and diligent in her research?

A transgender child’s identification with another gender goes far beyond mere gender expression, and is extremely persistent. Often kids and parents talk about expressions and choices as some of the clues they had along the way, but obviously you cannot encompass years of gender dysphoria into a soundbite or even a documentary. And having seen the BBC documentary mentioned, Ditum is also guilty of having cherry picked the one line out of an hour’s programme that fits her own biased narrative.

6. Ergo we don’t exist

“arguably non-existent gender identity”

“In the absence of compelling evidence for brainsex”

The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence – we are still exploring the complexity of gender and biology. It is interesting that the lack of fully established evidence for brainsex spurs Ditum to fall back on possibilities that have even less evidence, including the entirely debunked theory that it is a paraphilia (autogynephilia, see above).

Like Ditum, I believe gender identity may well be multi-determined, and I am fiercely in the middle of the nature/nurture debate, as are most reputable scholars – it’s likely to be both. I do however see there are hints of a mosaic of brain and hormonal differences that, as Daphna Joel has discovered, are by no means binary. These findings back the notion of sex-similarity far more than sex-difference. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the entirely debunked theories of Simon Baron-Cohen and others, it is possible that there is biology at work here, as well as, of course, gender socialisation.

Ditum also cites “a response to homophobia” as one possible cause of being trans. As a person who identified as a lesbian for a decade as a response to transphobia and my reluctance to come out as trans, my challenge to Ditum is this – show me the evidence that there is more stigma attached to being gay than trans in this country and I will believe you. Show me a single study that prompted you to throw that one in the mix. Or are you just falling back on the tired old trope that trans women are “confused gay men”? Yes, there is an interrelationship between gender identity and sexuality, but they are not the same. Neither are they in competition with each other.

I lived a prosperous life as a lesbian and have suffered a massive loss of privilege and circumstance in coming out as trans. I came out not because it was advantageous but because my lesbian identity was a half-truth and not a full expression of who I am, and I could not continue to manage living in that half-truth.

8. Trans is a narrow option

“as the doctrine of gender identity draws tighter, options become ever narrower”

Again, where is the evidence of this? My experience of the trans community is that the more freedom to explore ourselves and be accepted we have, the more diverse narratives spring up, the more options become open to us and the more the walls between us break down. Where 20 years ago trans people were expected to live heteronormative lives, now many of us are out and challenging many of society’s preconceptions around gender.

My trans circle is fiercely feminist, distinctly radical, and demonstrates a range of possibilities from assigned female “trans dykes” who use she/her but challenge what it is to be a woman, to non-binary people who manage to live outside of gender entirely. People who ease their dysphoria through medicine and people who don’t. And yes, people who know themselves to be women but don’t go through a medical process, who face huge challenges because of that. It’s funny how the nonconforming trans people like Alex Drummond are held up as the threat, and at one and the same time it is our community that is supposedly narrowing the options. Meanwhile, ultra conservative trans people like Caitlyn Jenner falsely dominate the public’s idea of what it is to be trans.

An observant person might suggest that cis people keep narrowing our options, while we keep trying to widen them so that we can live more healthily and congruently.

9. Cis people know better

“The fact of suffering is not evidence that the sufferer has unimpeachable insight into the source of that suffering”

A clever one, this. Yes, it’s true in a way, but it’s also deeply patronising. As a person-centred counsellor I have learned time and again that my client, whoever they are, is the expert on their own life. What is certainly not true is that Ditum can claim any real ability to shed light on this discussion.

10. It’s dangerous to give us rights

Finally, after an awful lot of going round the houses, we reach the real point of the article.

Ditum is very clearly arguing against trans people having civil rights, citing harm to “women” (read cis women) as the reason.

So, Ditum has cast trans acceptance as conflicting with both the gay community and the cis women’s community. A classic capitalist tactic to divide the groups that could be working together. She could almost be working for a neoliberal elite, so helpful is she being to them. At least, her career is probably doing very well because her message is so helpful in preserving the status quo.

So what do we know? We know, in fact, that the people who are most at risk of sexual, physical and domestic violence are trans women, and we know that there has never been any real problem accommodating them. I have experience of working in trans inclusive women’s services and it was never an issue.

What Ditum ignores is the position a trans woman has within women’s spaces. She will be scrutinised and suspected and watched. She does not hold the power in that space. How exactly is she to be a danger to others?

Ditum also plays on a fear that it is in patriarchy’s interests to perpetuate: women must keep themselves apart to be safe. Never mind that this excludes women’s voices in society, as I discuss in this blog post. Men want women to be afraid of them. They use the threat of rape and violence to enforce that fear, to convince women segregation is in their best interests. Fear of trans women is just another way of establishing that status quo.

Meanwhile, gender non-conforming cis women and lesbians are sharing with trans women the often violent consequences of this fear, as they always have.

Let’s be clear, there is absolutely no evidence that trans rights will have any detrimental effect on women’s rights. The changes in trans rights and acceptance that have happened so far over the last 40 years have not created problems for women. The problems people like Ditum feared have not come to pass. In fact, the experience of trans women and the violence, sexualisation and objectification they experience has highlighted the fact of misogyny and added a useful perspective to the feminist conversation. Transfeminism is exciting and vibrant and has earned its place within mainstream feminism.

11. Trans people are criminals

So, one Swedish study from a long time ago that has been much critiqued suggested that trans women (and trans men, as it happens) are incarcerated more than an average population of women.

It also says that trans people are more suicidal than the average population, no surprise there given how we are treated. This is often misrepresented, as in this article, to suggest we are more suicidal post-transition than pre-transition, something that has again been thoroughly debunked.

I could point out, as others have, that the study is old, has not been replicated, and was a very small sample. But actually, in the case of the criminality statistics, I really don’t need to.

Instead, imagine if Ditum was quoting the incidence of incarceration of other minority women compared to the norm for all women – say, lesbians, mentally ill women, women of colour, women living in poverty, women who have experienced trauma. Now let her continue to say those incarceration rates are due to something inherent in that population, rather than the fact that we know marginalised minority populations have higher offending rates for complex sociological reasons.

Ditum then says that prisoners might pretend to be trans to get more favourable housing. Well, yes initially they might, but when they see the hoops they have to jump through they will probably think again. Nobody is suggesting that there will be instant prison transfers on an inmate’s say-so, meaning of course that the prisoner will have to live as a woman for some time in a men’s prison, and experience the full force of misogyny that trans women experience.

All incarcerations are risk assessed, as are hostel placements and refuge placements. The reality is, sometimes cis women are too dangerous to house in a women’s prison, hostel or refuge, and special accommodations have to be made. We don’t need a special rule that affects an entire minority group, because we already have rules in place to deal with violent, dangerous, and sex offending cis women.

Ditum fails to mention Vicky Thomson, who killed herself when she was put in a men’s prison despite having lived as a woman for years. Or Tara Hudson, who was also imprisoned and sexually harassed in a men’s prison despite having transitioned long ago. Or Mary, who was raped 2000 times in a men’s prison. She fails to highlight the women who really are at risk in all this, as if trans women’s lives don’t actually matter in the same way. She also fails to highlight that those women are likely to be in danger in women’s prisons too, if we continue to stigmatise and doubt their existence.

Then, apparently thinking it will clinch her argument, Ditum cites a case of a trans inmate having sex with other inmates. Not rape, let’s be clear, but sex. Because apparently sex doesn’t happen in prisons when there are no trans women around. It takes the presence of a penis and testicles (yes, of course Ditum has to mention these) for sex to happen. And note the wording – the trans woman had sex with the other inmates, no possibility that, excited by the appearance of a penis in their midst, they might have been the ones “having sex with” her. Because cis women are always passive?

Don’t let all this essentialism slide – who people are and in what way they can move through society is being brought entirely down to the shape of their genitals. Note how, in all her discourse, Ditum is actually pushing trans women back towards a medicalised model where they will have to have “full surgery” to be tolerated. She is pushing us away from people being able to live as Alex Drummond lives.

11. Trans feminists aren’t proper feminists

“Julia Serano, who insists on a definition of feminism that contains no reference to patriarchy”

Ditum grossly misrepresents Serano’s work. I would recommend reading Whipping Girl and Excluded, but here’s a blog about this, where, funnily enough, Serano mentions the reality of patriarchy, as she often does:

“In Excluded, I describe these “gender systems” – whether it be patriarchy, the gender binary, and so on – as being models that provide a fairly decent approximation of how sexism and marginalization function in our culture. However, like all models, they are necessarily incomplete, and there will always be instances where they do not accurately describe the world.”

Why would Ditum be so dismissive of the nuanced and thought-provoking (although not always perfect) work of a noted transfeminist? Isn’t this a balanced article that’s supposed to be looking at all sides of the issue?

12. Save us from this false ideology!

“There is a real danger that an unproven theory of innate gender identity is now directing treatments”

Again, where is the evidence? Treatments are outcomes-based, not theory based – doctors try to alleviate suffering, and continue doing what works best until a better solution is found. Despite quoting again that one discredited Swedish study, we know treatment outcomes for trans people are really positive.

The answer to the philosophical question of “who are we, really, when you get right down to it?” is not necessary to know that gender reassignment works for those who want it, saves lives, and saves the NHS a fortune in mental health services that will never resolve the issue.

Whoever we are deep down, being allowed the freedom to live in a way that resolves our sense of incongruence is good for us. And actually, what’s good for the individual is generally good for the people around that individual too. Allowing trans people to be happy and healthy is a win-win.

Also note Ditum mentions that one Swedish study and fails to mention the many many more recent ones – so much for balance. There’s a handful of papers on my professional web page to get you started. Hey, that one old, unreplicated study has done an awful lot of heavy lifting for gender critical feminists, it must be tired by now.

Conclusion: Not critical enough

Despite the length of the article, I think I’ve demonstrated Ditum’s cherry picking of information prevents this from being a genuinely critical look at the full story.

But for me, the biggest issue here is the way Ditum’s argument reinforces gender.

Gender is a social construct, this is rightly a tenet of feminist belief. Gender is the word we use for everything man-made about the differences between men and women. I use “man-made”advisedly, because nobody here is arguing that patriarchy is not a real thing. As I have argued before, though, this inevitably means sex as a man-made social class and legal status is actually a part of gender.

Cue my favourite training slide:

not biology

So, in trying to reinforce the legal segregation of gender, upon which all social construction of gender is built, Ditum is in fact propping up the very thing she claims to want to dismantle. She has argued (on BBC Newsnight, earlier in the year) that sex needs to be legally recorded for women’s protection.

Let’s put that to the test in the usual way: “In order to ensure you as a gay citizen are protected, we need to legally record your status as a homosexual on all your documentation.”

No way that could go wrong, is there?

So, here is a possibility Ditum never discussed. Women and men are not that fundamentally different, although there are all sorts of complex nuances to our neurological, chromosomal, hormonal, and social experiences that create variety in how we are embodied and how we experience and interact with the culture around us.

That culture is oppressive in a number of ways – it favours heterosexuality, masculinity, men, and the idea of oppositional sex, as Serano terms it (as well as whiteness, able-bodiedness, neurotypicality, etc).

Gender segregation, in the form of legal and social sex (really gender) assignment at birth, is one way in which the culture is oppressive. This legal and social process oppresses gay people, women and trans people. Trans people are fighting to exist comfortably within this oppressive system, but many of us are also fighting to change it.

Ditum, let’s be clear, is fighting to preserve it.

Post-script- added 20/5/16

Given how hastily I wrote this, in just one afternoon, I am overwhelmed by the messages of support it has had. The only response I had from Ditum herself is as follows:

ditum

A friend pointed out this is a fine example of “dead cat politics“.

Of course that is not what I am saying! I am saying, however, that gender segregated toilets are not a feminist invention, and not necessarily in the interests of feminism, but that reaction to fear of men and rape, legitimate as that is, can sometimes lead to decisions to back gender-enshrining legislation that isn’t ultimately in women’s interests.

So, some folks then brought up the risk to women from lack of appropriate sanitation facilities in India and Africa. White women appropriating the experiences of women of colour to further their own agenda? Surely not. So let’s get this clear:

We do not have to have gender segregation enshrined in law to make safe provisions for diverse people in diverse situations. There are times, of course, when people are getting naked and need appropriate privacy, and it’s important to provide them with that. Women’s safety and children’s safety are absolutely important. This safety and privacy is generally achieved by providing a door with a lock on it, along with other reasonable security measures like safe external access. I think you’ll find most UK toilets and most new changing facilities afford this safety and privacy, and women everywhere have a right to demand this. Desegregated does not mean not risk assessed.

If facilities are not safe for everyone to use, we should probably stop letting our boy children use toilets. And women should probably start worrying about the 64,000 registered women sex offenders who are permitted to use all these facilities.

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26 thoughts on “Sarah Ditum – not “gender critical” enough

  1. Hortense

    I think you rather gloss over the issue of the trans woman in Cornton Vale having sex with other prisoners. While it may have been consensual are you saying that it’s ok for a trans woman to have sex using a penis because it really doesn’t matter how you have sex even though you see your gender identity as a woman? If so why call yourself a trans woman? Just call yourself a trans person?

    Reply
    1. Sam Hope Post author

      Hi Hortense, gosh where to start with such a basic conflation of people’s gender and their anatomy. They are not the same thing.

      I hope my article makes it clear that when you assign somebody to a legal and social class, that is a process of gendering them, it is a man-made process. Therefore, given it is a social construct, we have the right and possibly the obligation to challenge and undo it.

      For all trans people, as for all women and intersex people, this birth gender assignment is oppressive. Trans women live in the world as women and move through the world as women, and although “woman” is just a word and has different meanings to different people, the feminist understanding of it fits trans women – a class of people who are oppressed, sexually objectified, at high risk of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse. Given trans women are *more* at risk of these things than cis women, and are massively in danger and at risk when put in men’s jails or expected to use men’s toilets, etc, it is clearly a no brainer that they should be able to access spaces that are safer for them, especially given the inordinate amount of evidence that this does not put cis women at any higher risk. Semantics are as irrelevant in this as genitals, and I don’t think it is helpful to boil people’s complex sociological experiences down to what is between their legs.

      I am sure you understand that some trans women also experience physical dysphoria about their bodies and have surgery, but this is not the experience of all trans women, and it is not what makes someone transgender. Being transgender is fundamentally about that birth assignment process, not about bodies. We also don’t really know how much this woman in particular was going along with what the other inmates wanted for her own safety. Given how trans people are treated and endangered, and given that women’s prison inmates are hardly a bunch of retiring delicate flowers, it may be that this woman was exchanging sex for protection, as trans women are often forced to do as people whose experience is marginalised, objectified and sexualised.

      Finally your question “Why not just call yourself a trans person?” Well, if you want to join me in my fight to have non binary identities recognised in law and supported, or better still for gender not to be enshrined in law at all, more people will have the opportunity to just be people and not be gendered. However, at the moment “person” is not a legal possibility, and so de-gendering someone against their will is consigning them to effective non-existence.

      Reply
      1. posieparkerpictures

        Assigned Birth gender?

        Oh dear.

        Baby comes out, has a penis… Boy. Has a vulva …. Girl.

        Sex is reported at birth.

        No doctor says that baby will like kittens and pink.

      2. Sam Hope Post author

        Bless you, this is a very common mistake people make. Yes, babies come with penises, vaginas or intersex genitalia, that’s true. But the process of assigning a legal and social identity to those parts (and erasing intersex in the process) is social, not biological, therefore we most certainly are assigning a gender, not a sex. It’s an easy mistake to make, but a penis is a penis, not a man, and a vagina is a vagina, not a woman.

    2. Jay Denton

      “… are you saying that it’s ok for a trans woman to have sex using a penis because…”
      So, by direct implication, what you are actually saying is that you think that trans people should abstain from sex until after they’ve had genital surgery. In the UK, the waiting time for 1st appointment at a GIC is now typically 2 to 4 years. Then, after having your gender dysphoria diagnosis confirmed, there’s an additional (compulsory) 2 years of RLE (Real Life Experience) required before you can get an appointment for genital surgery. Note that these waiting times are the absolute minimum and may in many cases be far longer. So you expect trans people to completely abstain from sex for at least 4 to 6 years until after they have ‘completed their transition’. Are you having a laugh?

      Reply
  2. Deb T

    Having read the Ditum article, your article writes in coherent words everything I thought when reading Ditum’s. If only NS would publish your article alongside Ditum’s. Or…better yet, publish yours and not hers.

    Reply
  3. posieparkerpictures

    Can you evidence, with actual numbers, how transgender people are more at risk from violence than any other group? Is that violence from men they’ve deceived by saying they’re women? Is that violence a result of sex work? Is a transwoman sex worker more likely to be assaulted than a woman sex worker?

    As I think women are at greater risk and have a higher homocide rate.

    And men 45-59 are the most likely to commit suicide.

    I see these arguments often but have yet to see any evidence that this special group are as vulnerable as they say.

    Reply
    1. Sam Hope Post author

      There is plenty of evidence out there, just go look for it and come back to me with evidence that what I’m saying isn’t true!

      I’m just dashing out the door but this survey is a good place to start http://www.scottishtrans.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/trans_domestic_abuse.pdf – it also evidences a higher rate of childhood sexual abuse for trans women than cis women, a well established fact that rather blows your prejudiced assumptions out of the water. Unless you believe pre-transition children are also deceiving people into abusing them and voluntarily engaged in sex work.

      And the rates for domestic violence in ongoing relationships are also much higher.

      I can evidence this too as someone who worked in the fields of domestic and sexual violence.

      It doesn’t take a genius to work out that people who are isolated, stigmatised and socially marginalised are going to fall prey to abuse, or that if they are perceived as women they will be objectified, sexualised and demeaned.

      Reply
    2. Lesley Stafford

      “. . . men they’ve deceived . . . ” Really? No, it is just men in general, men like those who chased me around Edinburg’s West End for no reason than my being trans, men like the men who call out dirty comments on public transport, men like those will tell you off because they just don’t like you, you know . . . the kind of men who hate women anyway.

      And you think women are at greater risk and have a higher homicide rate . . . than . . . than what? Women you think may not be women? Women like me, perhaps?

      And do you really believe that men of a certain age are at greater risk of suicide? Figures available widely indicate that at 30% of trans women have attempted suicide. The real figure is very likely much higher. Figures from the USA suggest that 50 of trans women attempt suicide.

      Look them up yourself. Don’t trust me. I’m a trans woman and might be lying, or exaggerating because that’s what women do about violence . . . well . . . men say they do.

      Reply
      1. Sam Hope Post author

        Thanks for your input. Yes, all my trans women friends, and i have many, experience constant harrasment from men. Most have been assaulted, both physically and sexually. None of them are sex workers, not that being a sex worker is any kind of licence for male violence

  4. rachbowyer

    I think the way that you attack the Swedish study as the “discredited Swedish study” is unfair. The study aimed to look at how effective treatments were for trans people and seems to me to be a solid piece of research. What has happened is that critics of transgendered people have misinterpreted the research. Cristian Williams of TransAdvocate has written an excellent article http://www.transadvocate.com/fact-check-study-shows-transition-makes-trans-people-suicidal_n_15483.htm, which includes an interview with the author of the study. In particular the study splits transwomen into two groups: those who transitioned between 1973 to 1988 and those who transitioned from 1988-2003. For the group who transitioned between 1988-2003 it did not find a male pattern of criminality.

    Reply
    1. Sam Hope Post author

      Yes I agree it is mostly in the interpretation, but also in the fact, as I keep saying, it is just one study and none of the bits gendercrits twist and cherry-pick have been replicated. It’s so disingenuous to manipulate science in this way. Like when they cite a higher risk of suicide “post-transition”, and fail to mention the comparison is to cis people, not to pre-transition trans people, who are even more suicidal. Thanks for sharing the link, I went looking for it but did this blog in a hurry and couldn’t find it.

      I would also challenge this whole paradigm of “male pattern criminality” as nonsense. In this prison-industrial complex it isn’t the patriarchs who end up in jail, it is mostly oppressed groups and minorities.

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Just an ordinary day | A Feminist Challenging Transphobia

  6. India Willoughby

    Well done. I wish I had your patience to systematically take apart these horrible lies. Why can’t some people just live and let live? Congratulations ❤

    Reply
  7. Deb Swinney

    Hi, I agree with almost everything you say, and thank you for this article – except… except.

    I am a cis woman, and I truly would feel much less safe if we had only gender-neutral toilets. Women-only toilets are used not just for the obvious, but for women to go to to change clothes, talk to female friends about men (possibly if they are worried about being harrassed), and many more things. Plus yes, there’s the question of whether we might be assaulted. Consider the women’s toilet in a club – it’s where you might go to get away from the guy harrassing you in that same club. So are you saying that my fears aren’t valid, or that they’re less important than concerns of trans women?

    I have no problem with most of what you’re saying, but I wish you wouldn’t gloss over this issue, it’s not as small as you make out.

    To be clear, I am absolutely in favour of trans rights. And I’m fine with trans women using women’s toilets. And I’m fine with gender neutral toilets being available, so long as women-only restrooms are preserved also. Just leave me my safe space.

    Reply
    1. Sam Hope Post author

      I appreciate it’s a tricky issue – I too am a champion of women’s safe spaces like my local women’s centre – I am hoping we can get to a point where we may be more creative about how we make spaces safe and anti-oppressive but to be clear am not in favour of instantly making all facilities as they are now gender neutral, but rather creating alternative ways of making them safe – segregated toilets are not necessarily safe for bullied kids in school, for instance, but other configurations and arrangements are safer. Segregation isn’t the only safer space option and I hope we evolve (over time) towards other options.

      Reply
  8. growinguptransgender

    Hi Sam Hope, just came across this. Brilliant piece. I’m thinking about writing something related to this, wondered if you’d be open to me running a couple of ideas past you? I’m @DadTrans on Twitter if you were willing to chat. Thanks!

    Reply

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