Stephen Paton writes in The National about the mischaracterisation of gender reform as a “trans vs feminists” debate.
With the debate so heavily influenced by these groups, it’s no wonder that a narrative proclaiming trans rights must come at the cost of women’s has found mainstream attention, while sneaky facts that contradict it have been quietly relegated to the back room.
…the reality is that feminist organisations in Scotland support self-ID. A statement from Engender, which included Close the Gap, Equate Scotland, Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, Women 50:50 and Zero Tolerance, made that clear.
Over on Medium, Julia Serano is sick and tired of being asked to contribute to “trans rights vs feminism” pieces.
Virtually every single person that I know who is actively involved in feminist causes and organizations, Women’s and Gender Studies departments, and so on, are supportive of trans people and issues. And all of the trans people that I personally know are supportive of feminism and women’s issues.
…There is [a] small minority of feminists who call themselves “gender critical” or “radical feminists” (and who others sometimes call “trans-exclusionary radical feminists/TERFs”) who are vehemently anti-trans.
…social conservatives and other groups who are opposed to transgender rights and gender-affirming healthcare have increasingly taken to amplifying TERF voices and appropriating certain TERF talking points — particularly the argument that transgender people somehow constitute a threat to women. Their reason for doing this is quite simple: It is far more socially palatable to frame their anti-trans policies and positions as being “pro-woman” rather than “anti-transgender.”
What we’re seeing here is the US religious right working on a global scale. It meddled in the Irish anti-abortion referendum. It’s been funding rabid anti-trans groups in the UK. It’s shovelling money into anti-LGBT referenda across Europe. It’s active in Australia, which is particularly toxic towards LGBT people of late.
While trans people are the ones currently in the firing line, the same tactics are being used against other groups. For example, the Christian Right lost the battle on equal marriage – so their new tactic is to concentrate on “gay cake” cases and position gay people as a threat to good old straight folks just trying to make an honest buck.
It targets feminism and women’s rights with false arguments such as “The #MeToo movement is framing innocent men with rape allegations”, even though the facts demonstrate that a man is 230 times more likely to be raped than to be falsely accused of rape. And so on.
And sadly, it’s working. A new study of Trump voters published this week shows that the majority of Trump supporters believe that straight white men face more discrimination than women, people of colour or LGBT people.
Trans people are often the canaries in the coal mine: the groups that come for us first will come after other groups next.
The Gender Recognition Act consultation that the religious right has poisoned ends today at 11pm. If you haven’t already completed it, Stonewall has a good guide (and it also massively reduces the time required: it only takes a couple of minutes to complete). You’ll find it here.