“If there were going to be mass gender fraud, we’d have seen it by now”

Cyclist, academic and trans woman Rachel McKinnon writes for the New York Times:

People are angry because I’m a transgender woman, and I race in the women’s category.

Soon after my win, Donald Trump Jr. threw a Twitter tantrum about me. I’ve seen a huge uptick in the volume of hate mail I’ve received in the weeks since. I have four people who monitor my Instagram to delete hateful messages; they’ve been overwhelmed by the volume. Twitter is far worse. I’ve received death threats, but I try not to dwell on them.

The article includes a key detail about McKinnon’s sporting performance that the anti-trans lot tend to omit.

I lose most of my races.

I doubt this will convince any of the haters, because they’re not interested in facts. And until they realised they could use the topic as yet another way to demonise trans women, they weren’t interested in women’s sports either.

Trans women are women. We are female. And we are not taking over. No openly trans woman has set an open elite world record in any sport (remember: mine is in masters racing). No openly trans woman has won an elite world championship in any sport, let alone a medal.

There haven’t been any reported cases of gender fraud, where a male athlete is given a female passport or birth certificate by an unscrupulous nation, for the purposes of slipping a “man” into a women’s Olympic event. If there were going to be mass gender fraud, we’d have seen it by now.

Not my movement

In the 2014 referendum campaign for Scottish independence, I was a proud Yes supporter. I wore the badge with pride, attended rallies, and felt part of something important: we had the opportunity to make a better, more tolerant, more inclusive country.

In 2019 I wouldn’t attend an independence rally because I’d be scared for my safety.

In recent years trans people have become the bogeymen among significant parts of the independence movement, especially online; this week’s news that a member of the SNP complaints committee has resigned over antisemitism has been blamed on a trans conspiracy, even though vocal and vicious transphobia has thus far resulted in zero consequences for any of the people engaging in it.  Outright transphobia has become mainstream, with even senior politicians embracing and signal boosting antisemitic trolls simply because they really, really hate trans women.

The New Statesman, hardly the most pro-trans publication, has noticed too.

In a turbulent social media microclimate that includes prominent MPs, MSPs and activists from across Scotland’s political parties, allegations and instances of transphobia and homophobia are being met by those of misogyny and abuse. Offline, the controversy has focused on provocative public meetings to discuss “concerns” about the reforms, opposed by demonstrations from LGBTQ+ activists. The issue has provoked conflict within the SNP that has spilled out into the wider nationalist movement, and also taps into socially conservative elements of wider Scottish society. The dispute has been enough to prompt a modest climbdown by the SNP leadership, which has delayed the proposed changes.

…The various elements of Scottish nationalism that the SNP has tried to push to the fringes – such as socialists and a populist hostility to “minority” issues like trans rights – are coalescing around a new style of nationalist activism that feels, from the demonstrations I’ve attended, more like a kind of ecumenical religious revivalism than serious movement politics.

I’m saddened by this, and scared.

Update: 24 hours later, here’s the editor of the Scottish edition of The Times with an exclusive. According to the so-called paper of record:

LGBT activists in the SNP are allegedly digging up dirt on members who oppose self-identification for trans people in a campaign to “purge” them from the party.

Allegedly, of course, means that the claim can’t be substantiated. But facts don’t matter. The Times gets another bullet to fire in its war on trans people.

This, incidentally, demonstrates the problem with press regulation in the UK. You can’t complain about any of this because the regulatory code only covers claims made about named individuals. Provided the Murdoch press doesn’t lie about specific people, it can print complete fabrications about – and incite hatred of – entire groups of people with impunity. And it does, every week.

Don’t give money to the Salvation Army

If you’re considering donating to a charity this year, please don’t give to the Salvation Army.

The charity says it’s dedicated to helping all people in need irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but it has a long history of discrimination against LGBT+ people.

Here in the UK, the Salvation Army lobbied against repealing the hateful Section 28, which made it illegal for teachers to talk about LGBT+ people in schools, and against equal marriage. Last year in Australia it lobbied for legal “religious freedom” protection that would enable it to discriminate against LGBT+ people.

Also last year, it urged its members not to discuss their opposition to LGBT+ rights because if the public knew of it, it would be a “threat to our reputation, our fundraising efforts, and ultimately our ability to serve people in need.”

In 2017, the Salvation Army’s New York rehab centres refused to serve trans people; in 2013, the US operation referred people to dangerous and discredited “pray the gay away” conversion therapy; in 2012 one of its senior Australian officers told a radio programme that “gay people should be put to death”; and in 2008 a trans woman died in Texas after the Salvation Army shelter refused to let her sleep in the women’s quarters.

The Salvation Army has of course done some good work, and it’s possible that this evangelical Christian organisation has changed its spots, but given its history – and some of that history is very recent – it would be wise to assume that it’s more concerned about negative PR than it is about LGBT+ people.

Lots of other charities do good work too, and they manage to do so without fighting against other people’s human rights.

It can be lonely at Christmas

Christmas can be tough if you’re not partnered or part of a nuclear family: the ads show a family life you don’t have while every shop seems to be playing It’ll Be Lonely This Christmas on a loop. As Owl Stefania writes in Metro, it can be particularly hard for LGBT+ people. Stefania’s writing specifically about trans people here, but much of what she says applies to the wider LGBT+ community too.

…not everyone is as lucky as I am and Christmas, a time when most people go home to see their families, can be especially tough for trans people. Many trans people have been disowned simply for being themselves, while others face serious rifts at home.

I have other trans friends who simply can’t spend Christmas with their families because their families don’t want them there or they don’t feel understood. And some of those who do go home feel forced to play a role that isn’t really them to appease their family or to make them feel comfortable.

A few days ago I linked to a survey in which more than 1 in 10 parents said they wouldn’t be comfortable having their child live with them if their child was LGBT+, something that contributes to the disproportionately high proportion of young homeless people that are LGBT+.

Stefania:

If you know a trans person who is estranged from their family, please offer them support and check in on them. And if you’re someone who is struggling with accepting a family member who is trans, please set your reservations aside and embrace them – they need you.

And if you can’t be part of the solution, please don’t be part of the problem.

Bigots of a feather flock together

I wrote the other day that many bigots are stupid. So it was just a matter of time before they combined multiple flavours of stupid, as they do here.

Is a new trend that isn’t a new trend caused by something that doesn’t exist? Hoo boy, we’re gonna have to get our thinkin’ caps on for this one!

To be fair, banging on about the incredible power of things that don’t exist is kinda the raison d’être of religious loons. But even by their standards this one’s incredibly dumb. It combines three kinds of idiocy: anti-vax scaremongering, anti-trans scaremongering and deliberately misunderstanding or misrepresenting research.

The study on which this ludicrous story is very loosely based found that among a very small data set (177 people), there was a higher incidence of autism among the trans and non/binary participants than among the cisgender ones.

What the study categorically doesn’t say is that what the article argues: vaccines cause autism which causes “transgenderism”.

From the article (no link because nutcases):

Of course, this study neglects to mention that autism is caused by vaccine damage

Because it isn’t.

Get rid of these dangerous and ineffective vaccines, and you will greatly reduce gender confusion in children

Well yes, but not in the way being suggested here. If more children die of preventable diseases, then of course they won’t want to transition after their entirely avoidable deaths.

even if vaccines were shown to cause transgenderism

Which they won’t be, because science.

the LGBT community would come out firmly behind increased vaccination rates for children, as it would be yet another way to increase their numbers.

Remember I said bigotry is intersectional, that people who are bigoted against trans people are usually bigoted against other groups too? Let’s look at the good Christians in the article comments.

That guestion is a diversion, a deceit. The cause is j€wish ‘fueled’ preschool ‘education’

A bigot being anti-semitic? This is my shocked face. There’s more.

Obviously, a major factor in promoting transgenderism is jewish propaganda

Much more.

Big Pharma is run by jews

More.

Jews sell the vaccines and run the transgender propaganda machine.

And more.

the jews are the masters at divising methods to make people more susceptible to their powers of suggestion…and it usually involves something detrimental to our health, so then they can make money from the misery they cause us.

Big Pharma. Secret Jewish funding. A conspiracy to get people hooked on HRT. These hate-filled theories may seem extreme, but you’ll find UK anti-trans activists expressing exactly the same antisemitic conspiracy theories and many high-profile figures supporting them; if they’re not pushing anti-semitism you’ll often find racism and/or homophobia instead. Just look at the various political candidates currently getting booted as their history of antisemitism surfaces: many of them were already publicly bigoted against us, but because they were going after trans people there weren’t any consequences. The same applies to the vocal transphobes here in Scotland who are now turning their attention to the wider LGBT+ community. They were never going to stop with just the trans people.

Again and again, transphobia is the canary in the coalmine: if someone hates us, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll hate other minorities too. It’s just that with us, they don’t feel they have to hide it.

This hateful, murderous ignorance

The thing about bigots is that often, they have no idea what they’re talking about. Sometimes that’s because they’re stupid. But all too often it’s wilful stupidity, where the information is widely and easily available but they either don’t look for it or refuse to believe it.

Here’s an example from this morning. Over on Mumsnet, aka Prosecco Stormfront, the anti-trans lot are appalled at the idea of trans women being able to change the gender marker on their passports without having to present medical evidence, report to a panel and so on.

The thing they’re concerned about has been law for 49 years.

Not only that, but the law simply codified something that’s been happening since at least 1942.

If you weren’t wilfully stupid that might give you pause: after all, if self-ID were so dangerous and open to abuse we’d presumably have seen a flood of passport-changing predators over the last 77 years; the fact that there hasn’t been a single case demonstrates how ridiculous that argument is. But nobody’s going to change their mind here. All they’ll do is ignore the evidence and demand the law be changed to accommodate their bigotry.

They’re not interested in facts, or in evidence. They’re wilfully, maliciously, proudly ignorant.

Their far-right friends show just how dangerous wilful stupidity can be. In Ohio, right-wing forced-birthers have introduced a bill that would force doctors to carry out medical procedures that aren’t physically possible at significant risk to pregnant women’s health.

I’m not making this up. The bill, Ohio HB413, says that if a doctor doesn’t want to face charges of murder for letting an embryo die, they must try to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy – something that isn’t medically possible.

A doctor will face criminal charges unless they:

Takes all possible steps to preserve the life of the unborn child, while preserving the life of the woman. Such steps include, if applicable, attempting to re-implant an ectopic pregnancy into the woman’s uterus.”

There are no documented cases of this ever being done successfully. The likelihood of success is zero. The risk of killing the woman is significant.

But these so-called pro-lifers aren’t interested in the health of the woman. They already advocate “watchful waiting”, which means refusing treatment to a woman until she miscarries – despite the very real and significant risk that she may die of a haemorrhage if her ectopic pregnancy isn’t treated.

That’s where wilful stupidity leads you.

Women’s reproductive healthcare is not some dark art or some secret. The evidence around ectopic pregnancy, its dangers and how to minimise those dangers is solid and easy to access.

But these murderous yahoos don’t want evidence. They don’t want facts. They want doctors to do what they’re damn well told because they know better than so-called experts with their “facts” and their “science” and their “not killing women”.

As Grazia Daily put it:

This is what happens when people who know nothing about women’s bodies make laws about women’s bodies.

A dangerous obsession

Let’s compare two numbers.

In a typical year, the UK Gender Recognition Panel will grant around 320 gender recognition certificates to trans people.

Over the last year, the UK press printed more than 6,000 articles about trans people, most of them negative, many of them scaremongering about the imagined dangers of letting trans people get those certificates in slightly less expensive, time-consuming and humiliating ways.

As the analysis notes, much of the coverage is carefully worded: there’s been a shift from obvious abuse to “reasonable concerns”, although the message and the negativity remains the same.

As of last summer, the UK government had issued a total of 4,910 GRCs over a period of fourteen years. The UK press printed that many anti-trans articles in less than one.

If the trend continues, the UK press will soon be printing more pieces scaremongering about trans people than there are actual trans people.

When parental pride doesn’t extend to LGBT+ children

According to a new YouGov poll, a quarter of UK adults would not feel proud of their child if their child came out as LGBT+.

The poll is full of saddening figures, of which this is the saddest: 11% would feel uncomfortable living at home with a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender child.

That perhaps helps explain why there are so many LGBT+ kids among the homeless: 24% of homeless people aged 16-25 are LGBT+, and 77% of them say that familial rejection was the main factor in them becoming homeless. Lack of parental acceptance is also a crucial factor in the rates of self-harm and suicide in the LGBT+ community.

I cannot comprehend how a parent would rather see their child self-harm, live on the street or take their own life than accept their child for who they are.

When things feel slow

When you’re going through tough times or big changes, it can be hard to see the bigger picture. You may be in a better place than you were in the past, you may be ending things that have had a negative effect on you, but you don’t necessarily feel like bouncing around in a joyful bubble.

It’s often quite the opposite: if you’re still in the trenches you can feel tired and demotivated because you’ve been dealing with this shit for far too long and it just feels like it’ll never end.

That’s why I think it’s really important to notice and mark milestones, no matter how trivial. They demonstrate what you don’t necessarily believe, that you really are moving forwards.

Here’s one such example. Just over two years ago – and it feels much, much longer than two years ago –  I stood outside my local pub, shaking. I was about to go inside as me for the very first time.

Last night, I co-hosted the same pub’s quiz night while wearing a really nice dress.

Sometimes you need to look in the rear view mirror to see how far you’ve come.

“A fatberg in the river of Scottish public conversation.”

I don’t normally link to The Scotsman, but I’m a big admirer of its columnist Laura Waddell. Today, she’s writing about the so-called debate over trans rights.

For the sake of trans people, for women, and for the state of our public discourse, enough of the bad faith actions. The Women’s Pledges which have recently sprung up to sit vulture-like on SNP, Labour and Lib Dem fringes are not party affiliated and further single-issue interests under the guise of speaking for all women; the trans-exclusionary alliances with Facebook pages run by young American men attached to Trump, anti-choice, and other pages designed to stoke political fallout from culture wars; the politicians who use the deeply irresponsible, imflammatory, and dishonest phrase ‘war on women’ about the policy consultation and who’ve let the idea they are leading the charge go to their heads.

Enough of those who direct online mobs to harass trans-inclusive Scottish women’s charities, shelters, libraries, and bookshops, weakening public faith in these important feminist organisations who’ve work with determination and grit over the decades for everything they have. Most of this doesn’t even pertain to the proposed policy which has attracted like a magnet a collected debris of homophobia, misogyny, men who’ve never taken an interest in women’s rights in their puff, conspiracy theorists and party agitators, condensed like a fatberg in the river of Scottish public conversation.