As scandal after scandal emerges about the pervasive abuse of young athletes, it’s time we reevaluate our priorities. Trans athletes aren’t the problem.
It’s not just sports. Here in the UK, the “protect women” crowd who talk repeatedly about the supposed dangers of the dozen or so trans women in women’s prisons have nothing to say about the widespread abuse of women prisoners by cisgender inmates and officers. The crowdfunding campaigns that raise five or six-figure sums never go to services that desperately need funding, such as rape crisis centres and refuges. And that’s because they don’t care about protecting women. They care about harming trans people.
Penny Red’s article from a year or so ago is worth re-reading:
I’ve spoken to cis women involved in that side of the debate who have lost everything that mattered to them over years of austerity, cuts to services and welfare, who have been ground down by male violence and are now being told by people with an agenda that men in dresses are coming to take the last safe spaces they had. They are hearing, again and again, that trans people are coming to corrupt their children and convert their daughters to deviance — but if they sign up to an ideology that portrays trans women as “poison” (as transphobic feminist Shelia Jeffreys recently declared in the House of Commons), they can fight back.
This is how a lot of concerned, well-meaning women who only want a fairer, safer world came to be convinced that trans people are out to pervert children, prey on them in public toilets and refuges, and force lesbians to have sex with them against their will.
…Transphobic feminists are right to believe that there is a crisis in women’s liberation. But it’s not because of any sort of insidious neoliberal trans agenda. The people who are actually undermining women’s rights around the world are not being at all subtle about it. They’re not sending in trans women to invade domestic violence shelters. They’re just closing the shelters and taking away legal aid protections for women fleeing abusive relationships. In Britain, over half the domestic violence shelters have closed in the past decade. Around the world, misogyny and violence are becoming more acceptable, women in the public eye are being attacked and killed, and reproductive rights and sex- and gender- based protections are being torn up by right-wing governments led by tyrannical strongmen… While transphobic feminists focus their energy and attention on trans activists, the common enemy gets on with dismantling the basic rights of women and queer people of every gender.