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Old 17-09-2020, 05:30 PM   #51
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Yes and back then they liked to tell women to shut up and sit down as well...backwards in time we're going
Under his eye
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Old 17-09-2020, 05:42 PM   #52
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...it’s an outlet in Australia and it says that there are many books that it doesn’t stock on the shelves...(...similar to Waterstones and many other bookstores..)..but they’re happy to order...that’s often the way with books...


Should be in the title
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Old 17-09-2020, 06:39 PM   #53
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Under his eye
Mmhhmm
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Old 17-09-2020, 06:44 PM   #54
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JKR doesn't seem anti anything, but her brand of feminism is female-centric ... as revolutionary a concept that apparently is

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backwards in time we're going
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Old 17-09-2020, 06:44 PM   #55
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Old 17-09-2020, 07:14 PM   #56
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Robert Galbraith was the person who invented gay conversion therapy
I mean... With a brief half hour having a look into this earlier I can already tell you that this is a massive exaggeration. He definitely didn't invent it, he want even a prominent figure in it, nor was it his main area of focus.

He was a (pretty brutal) "psychiatrist" who engaged in DBS (deep brain stimulation) experiments, seeking to prove that it was possible to psychologically alter people by physically altering their brain (with electrodes). In one experiment seeking to prove that, he claimed that he had successfully "turned a gay man straight".

His goals weren't even anything to do with wanting to convert gay people, he wanted to prove his DBS hypothesis and did a whole load of unethical **** in the process.
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Old 17-09-2020, 07:29 PM   #57
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A pathetic move tbh.
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Old 17-09-2020, 07:33 PM   #58
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I mean... With a brief half hour having a look into this earlier I can already tell you that this is a massive exaggeration. He definitely didn't invent it, he want even a prominent figure in it, nor was it his main area of focus.

He was a (pretty brutal) "psychiatrist" who engaged in DBS (deep brain stimulation) experiments, seeking to prove that it was possible to psychologically alter people by physically altering their brain (with electrodes). In one experiment seeking to prove that, he claimed that he had successfully "turned a gay man straight".

His goals weren't even anything to do with wanting to convert gay people, he wanted to prove his DBS hypothesis and did a whole load of unethical **** in the process.
yep, as i said use any name and you can link it to a twitter "omg did you know that that name is also the name of a man whose cousin once knew a homophobe in Zimbabwe...THE ABSOLUTE BITCH"
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Old 17-09-2020, 07:45 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Toy Soldier View Post
I mean... With a brief half hour having a look into this earlier I can already tell you that this is a massive exaggeration. He definitely didn't invent it, he want even a prominent figure in it, nor was it his main area of focus.

He was a (pretty brutal) "psychiatrist" who engaged in DBS (deep brain stimulation) experiments, seeking to prove that it was possible to psychologically alter people by physically altering their brain (with electrodes). In one experiment seeking to prove that, he claimed that he had successfully "turned a gay man straight".

His goals weren't even anything to do with wanting to convert gay people, he wanted to prove his DBS hypothesis and did a whole load of unethical **** in the process.
https://www.history.com/news/gay-con...s-19th-century

‘Some LGBTQ people were given electroconvulsive therapy, but others were subjected to even more extreme techniques like lobotomies. Other “treatments” included shocks administered through electrodes that were implanted directly into the brain. Robert Galbraith Heath, a psychiatrist in New Orleans who pioneered the technique, used this form of brain stimulation, along with hired prostitutes and heterosexual pornography, to “change” the sexual orientation of gay men. But though Heath contended he was able to actually turn gay men straight, his work has since been challenged and criticized for its methodology.‘

He pioneered the electric shock therapy used in conversion therapy, being an awful crazy scientist to other people doesn’t take away that fact.
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Old 17-09-2020, 07:59 PM   #60
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I googled this: robert galbraith -book -rowling -potter -cormoran -bookstore -penguin which found search results for Robert Galbraith, but missed out anything to do with the terms which follow a minus, which means it'd probably show something similar to what JKR would have found when she googled her prospective pen name.

Dr Heath isn't on the first page. The results show William Robert Galbraith, a civil engineer; Robert Galbraith, a painter; and Rob Galbraith, a photographer.

If she's never looked into gay conversion therapy, she'd have no reason to know about one of her penname's partial namesakes. Any harm and distress the name caused to the, ah, "community" (lol) is unintended and coincidental.
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:07 PM   #61
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Robert Galbreith Wikipedia comes up on the first page and he’s on there, does anyone really believe a supposedly smart woman like JK wouldn’t cover all bases to secure her own back? there are too many different pieces to the story for me to ever believe it’s a coincidence
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:12 PM   #62
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She's never shown homophobic views though.

I'm pretty sure the Twitterverse had randomly decided she was transphobic before the first Strike book came out? So why would she play into their hands by using a name with that history?
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:20 PM   #63
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She's never shown homophobic views though.

I'm pretty sure the Twitterverse had randomly decided she was transphobic before the first Strike book came out? So why would she play into their hands by using a name with that history?
She’s been writing under that name since 2014, she used the name of a man who pioneered a brutal gay conversion technique, to write books with thinly veiled discriminatory tropes towards all sorts of minorities, including gay and trans, littered through them, she then came out publicly with her ham fisted ‘concerns’ about the trans movement, stirred up hatred, all just in time for a new book to be brought out about a straight men pretending to be a woman, so he can kill women, nothing will ever convince me that she’s anything but a fake ally at best, or an out and out bigot at worst.
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:21 PM   #64
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Robert Galbreith Wikipedia comes up on the first page and he’s on there, does anyone really believe a supposedly smart woman like JK wouldn’t cover all bases to secure her own back? there are too many different pieces to the story for me to ever believe it’s a coincidence
Why on Earth do you think she's homophobic though? She's only ever spoke about trans rights affecting womens rights.
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:26 PM   #65
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Why on Earth do you think she's homophobic though? She's only ever spoke about trans rights affecting womens rights.
I haven’t said I think she’s homophobic though? I tend to believe that she’s a fake ally that uses the lgbt community when she sees fit
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:32 PM   #66
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nothing will ever convince me that she’s anything but a fake ally at best, or an out and out bigot at worst.
What has she ever said that's bigoted?

I'm also interested in the "fake ally" stuff. That's very internet buzzwordish. I've never once considered that I need allies, and I doubt she ever referred to herself as such. Being in favour of gay rights is pretty normal these days, and I have no reason to think she's against them.
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:36 PM   #67
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I haven’t said I think she’s homophobic though? I tend to believe that she’s a fake ally that uses the lgbt community when she sees fit
I just mean this Robert Galbraith guy did something that was homophobic not transphobic so unless you think she's a secret homophobe what relevance would her picking that name have?
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:41 PM   #68
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It's a valid comparison in the terms of defaming her character, or rather, questioning her awareness of LGBT issues. Everything mentioned about Hermione being a different race to what everyone expected, or Dumbledore's homosexuality being referenced to in the loosest of terms and the faintest of whispers, did stink a little of tokenism and point-scoring on her part. When you throw in the criticisms she's received for the depiction of goblins in Gringotts as having strong antisemitic vibes, and the whole 'Cho Chang' mess, it does paint a broader picture of her as a clumsy, awkward writer and someone who isn't great at presenting various cultures accurately or in a good light.

I just don't really think she'd be as foolish or as callous as to deliberately set out and steal the name of some obscure conversion therapist as a little "bigotry easter egg" for us to work out, lol
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:42 PM   #69
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I just mean this Robert Galbraith guy did something that was homophobic not transphobic so unless you think she's a secret homophobe what relevance would her picking that name have?
Conversion therapy affects trans people too
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:53 PM   #70
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It's a valid comparison in the terms of defaming her character, or rather, questioning her awareness of LGBT issues. Everything mentioned about Hermione being a different race to what everyone expected, or Dumbledore's homosexuality being referenced to in the loosest of terms and the faintest of whispers, did stink a little of tokenism and point-scoring on her part. When you throw in the criticisms she's received for the depiction of goblins in Gringotts as having strong antisemitic vibes, and the whole 'Cho Chang' mess, it does paint a broader picture of her as a clumsy, awkward writer and someone who isn't great at presenting various cultures accurately or in a good light.



I just don't really think she'd be as foolish or as callous as to deliberately set out and steal the name of some obscure conversion therapist as a little "bigotry easter egg" for us to work out, lol
Regarding your last paragraph- Well yeah it seems pretty far fetched
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Old 17-09-2020, 09:18 PM   #71
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...going back to the original story of the bookshop ‘banning‘ in Australia...?....it’s obviously felt very strongly by the shop that the book is representative of something very negative ...and it’s completely their prerogative to not stock it on the shelves, of course...but in doing that it’s just adding another layer of negative, which will surely only serve to give more publicity to the book JK and any publicity can be good, as they say...so it seems very counter productive in supporting their trans community...

...the profits for any sales the store has of Harry Potter are already donated to the trans and gender diverse support service, TransFolk of WA, the article states...so any profits from sales of her new book...(...which could be quite substantial..)..could also be donated by the shop, which to me would be a possibly better alternative in countering with a positive, rather than adding another negative on top of etc...because their support would have a more directly beneficial and positive value...
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Old 17-09-2020, 09:53 PM   #72
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I do think we're erring towards dangerous territory here by suggesting that anyone who criticises JK is anti-feminist or is pro-Handmaid's Tale. It's kind like the whole 'you can't criticise Israel or you're an anti-semite' state of mind.

I wouldn't support her if she was a man and I've been critical towards anyone who has views like hers. The sad thing is that, at one point, she had some valid points. Self ID should not be a thing and if we lived in a perfect world, people could transition instantly and live their best lives right away but the reality is that transitioning is a process and unfortunately there can, and should, be limits (within reason) as to what you can do regarding certain things (women's/men's refuges, sports, etc). I think once someone has finished transitioning, they are simply the gender they transitioned to, after that I think they are free to live life as they please as the gender they transitioned to, with the only problem area being sports. Trans men likely won't have a career after transitioning since they can't typically compete against cis men who have had an endless supply of testosterone flowing through their bodies all their lives and trans men can't compete and shouldn't compete against women. Trans women simply have too much of an advantage over cis women. It's a difficult one really.

JK's problem is that she got some valid criticism and then doubled down in response to the point I don't really want to support her work anymore. She's free to think and say what she will but there are no such thing as opinions that come without consequences.
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Old 17-09-2020, 11:43 PM   #73
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I actually agree that her rhetoric has strayed slightly away from her original valid points and into a tribalistic mindset. The response to her initial comments from (I would hope) a small but very focal subsection of the trans rights movement was vicious, aggressive and threatening with threats/wishing of sexual violence etc. and I think, sadly, instead of just criticising those extreme elements she "went defensive" and started playing into the classic polarised social media game. But then I also still think that anyone who wants to simple say "meh, transphooobe" or go down the route of miscellaneous name calling is doing exactly the same.

She should have stuck to writing opinion pieces about the issue if she wanted to raise awareness of the valid concerns... She should (in my opinion) have steered well clear of a social media back-and-forth. It's not just "unsurprising" that it descended into something a hundred miles from the original point - it's basically inevitable.
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Old 18-09-2020, 12:20 AM   #74
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Robert Galbreith Wikipedia comes up on the first page and he’s on there, does anyone really believe a supposedly smart woman like JK wouldn’t cover all bases to secure her own back? there are too many different pieces to the story for me to ever believe it’s a coincidence
Why would she change a pen name she's come up with out of the pairing of two names that have meaning to her because it may be similar to someone with a dubious history on the earth? You'll not find many names that don't have some "link" with someone unsavoury sharing a similar name.

It's grasping straws to label any and all of her actions as anti-LGBTQ.

If there was any truth to this.... she chose a pen name after someone involved with gay conversion therapy (or whatever), for what reason? The Comoran Strike series features one paragraph (out of 5 books so far) that describes a serial killer as wearing a "wig and a woman's coat" and that is literally it.

So, she's gone to all this trouble to choose that name for what reason? A private joke? The Strike books are hardly promoting a new wave of anti-LGBTQ opinions are they? It's almost like people are outraging themselves over something that is not there.
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Old 18-09-2020, 06:49 AM   #75
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...with ‘allies’ it’s really complex anyway in itself, because we’ll all decide ‘who our allies are’...within our own individual views and mindsets, as above all else, we are all individuals...I consider myself a feminist but I might not completely agree with certain mindsets of other feminists on specific things etc...someone who considers themselves an ‘ally’...may be someone that I consider... you’re no ally of mine, baby ...because our thoughts don’t align...someone will be their own version of ally as someone will be their own version of feminist..?..but ‘anti’ is much easier to define...an ally is someone that we would individually consider to be as such...and someone can be quite sexist or quite anti feminist, for instance...but they may be more anti transgender so feminism/female becomes more something they support in specific things...it’s all so complex..and then along comes social media like Twitter...And stuff like mumsnet which just adds to the complex because complex starts to become more a ‘battleground’....trans and feminism have so far to travel and the only way forward in progression for both is to travel together...obviously, the right discussions are so important and equally, the ‘the right listening’ is essential as well...those two simple and obvious things can be so difficult to achieve on the Internet because we’re in the ‘instant comment and response’ age...and also because of the interference as it were, of those who prefer and try to encourage ‘battleground’, rather than listening to views and giving views etc...

...anyways, We’ve had so many of these type of topic discussions on TiBB before and I found this, this morning...which I’m surprised, hasn’t been posted before because it was written in June of this year by JK Rowling...

...a long read, I’m afraid...but progression always required and always will require, time taken...there is a warning that her words may contain language inappropriate for children...so any much younger members of 13yr/14yrs etc On TiBB...please close your eyes and ears right now.../..thank you..



J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues

This isn’t an easy piece to write, for reasons that will shortly become clear, but I know it’s time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity. I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity.

For people who don’t know: last December I tweeted my support for Maya Forstater, a tax specialist who’d lost her job for what were deemed ‘transphobic’ tweets. She took her case to an employment tribunal, asking the judge to rule on whether a philosophical belief that sex is determined by biology is protected in law. Judge Tayler ruled that it wasn’t.

My interest in trans issues pre-dated Maya’s case by almost two years, during which I followed the debate around the concept of gender identity closely. I’ve met trans people, and read sundry books, blogs and articles by trans people, gender specialists, intersex people, psychologists, safeguarding experts, social workers and doctors, and followed the discourse online and in traditional media. On one level, my interest in this issue has been professional, because I’m writing a crime series, set in the present day, and my fictional female detective is of an age to be interested in, and affected by, these issues herself, but on another, it’s intensely personal, as I’m about to explain.

All the time I’ve been researching and learning, accusations and threats from trans activists have been bubbling in my Twitter timeline. This was initially triggered by a ‘like’. When I started taking an interest in gender identity and transgender matters, I began screenshotting comments that interested me, as a way of reminding myself what I might want to research later. On one occasion, I absent-mindedly ‘liked’ instead of screenshotting. That single ‘like’ was deemed evidence of wrongthink, and a persistent low level of harassment began.

Months later, I compounded my accidental ‘like’ crime by following Magdalen Berns on Twitter. Magdalen was an immensely brave young feminist and lesbian who was dying of an aggressive brain tumour. I followed her because I wanted to contact her directly, which I succeeded in doing. However, as Magdalen was a great believer in the importance of biological sex, and didn’t believe lesbians should be called bigots for not dating trans women with penises, dots were joined in the heads of twitter trans activists, and the level of social media abuse increased.

I mention all this only to explain that I knew perfectly well what was going to happen when I supported Maya. I must have been on my fourth or fifth cancellation by then. I expected the threats of violence, to be told I was literally killing trans people with my hate, to be called **** and bitch and, of course, for my books to be burned, although one particularly abusive man told me he’d composted them.

What I didn’t expect in the aftermath of my cancellation was the avalanche of emails and letters that came showering down upon me, the overwhelming majority of which were positive, grateful and supportive. They came from a cross-section of kind, empathetic and intelligent people, some of them working in fields dealing with gender dysphoria and trans people, who’re all deeply concerned about the way a socio-political concept is influencing politics, medical practice and safeguarding. They’re worried about the dangers to young people, gay people and about the erosion of women’s and girl’s rights. Above all, they’re worried about a climate of fear that serves nobody – least of all trans youth – well.

I’d stepped back from Twitter for many months both before and after tweeting support for Maya, because I knew it was doing nothing good for my mental health. I only returned because I wanted to share a free children’s book during the pandemic. Immediately, activists who clearly believe themselves to be good, kind and progressive people swarmed back into my timeline, assuming a right to police my speech, accuse me of hatred, call me misogynistic slurs and, above all – as every woman involved in this debate will know – TERF.

If you didn’t already know – and why should you? – ‘TERF’ is an acronym coined by trans activists, which stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. In practice, a huge and diverse cross-section of women are currently being called TERFs and the vast majority have never been radical feminists. Examples of so-called TERFs range from the mother of a gay child who was afraid their child wanted to transition to escape homophobic bullying, to a hitherto totally unfeminist older lady who’s vowed never to visit Marks & Spencer again because they’re allowing any man who says they identify as a woman into the women’s changing rooms. Ironically, radical feminists aren’t even trans-exclusionary – they include trans men in their feminism, because they were born women.

But accusations of TERFery have been sufficient to intimidate many people, institutions and organisations I once admired, who’re cowering before the tactics of the playground. ‘They’ll call us transphobic!’ ‘They’ll say I hate trans people!’ What next, they’ll say you’ve got fleas? Speaking as a biological woman, a lot of people in positions of power really need to grow a pair (which is doubtless literally possible, according to the kind of people who argue that clownfish prove humans aren’t a dimorphic species).

So why am I doing this? Why speak up? Why not quietly do my research and keep my head down?

Well, I’ve got five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism, and deciding I need to speak up.

Firstly, I have a charitable trust that focuses on alleviating social deprivation in Scotland, with a particular emphasis on women and children. Among other things, my trust supports projects for female prisoners and for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. I also fund medical research into MS, a disease that behaves very differently in men and women. It’s been clear to me for a while that the new trans activism is having (or is likely to have, if all its demands are met) a significant impact on many of the causes I support, because it’s pushing to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender.

The second reason is that I’m an ex-teacher and the founder of a children’s charity, which gives me an interest in both education and safeguarding. Like many others, I have deep concerns about the effect the trans rights movement is having on both.

The third is that, as a much-banned author, I’m interested in freedom of speech and have publicly defended it, even unto Donald Trump.

The fourth is where things start to get truly personal. I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility. Some say they decided to transition after realising they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families.

Most people probably aren’t aware – I certainly wasn’t, until I started researching this issue properly – that ten years ago, the majority of people wanting to transition to the opposite sex were male. That ratio has now reversed. The UK has experienced a 4400% increase in girls being referred for transitioning treatment. Autistic girls are hugely overrepresented in their numbers.

The same phenomenon has been seen in the US. In 2018, American physician and researcher Lisa Littman set out to explore it. In an interview, she said:

‘Parents online were describing a very unusual pattern of transgender-identification where multiple friends and even entire friend groups became transgender-identified at the same time. I would have been remiss had I not considered social contagion and peer influences as potential factors.’

Littman mentioned Tumblr, Reddit, Instagram and YouTube as contributing factors to Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, where she believes that in the realm of transgender identification ‘youth have created particularly insular echo chambers.’

Her paper caused a furore. She was accused of bias and of spreading misinformation about transgender people, subjected to a tsunami of abuse and a concerted campaign to discredit both her and her work. The journal took the paper offline and re-reviewed it before republishing it. However, her career took a similar hit to that suffered by Maya Forstater. Lisa Littman had dared challenge one of the central tenets of trans activism, which is that a person’s gender identity is innate, like sexual orientation. Nobody, the activists insisted, could ever be persuaded into being trans.

The argument of many current trans activists is that if you don’t let a gender dysphoric teenager transition, they will kill themselves. In an article explaining why he resigned from the Tavistock (an NHS gender clinic in England) psychiatrist Marcus Evans stated that claims that children will kill themselves if not permitted to transition do not ‘align substantially with any robust data or studies in this area. Nor do they align with the cases I have encountered over decades as a psychotherapist.’

The writings of young trans men reveal a group of notably sensitive and clever people. The more of their accounts of gender dysphoria I’ve read, with their insightful descriptions of anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, self-harm and self-hatred, the more I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition. The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge. I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager. If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred.

When I read about the theory of gender identity, I remember how mentally sexless I felt in youth. I remember Colette’s description of herself as a ‘mental hermaphrodite’ and Simone de Beauvoir’s words: ‘It is perfectly natural for the future woman to feel indignant at the limitations posed upon her by her sex. The real question is not why she should reject them: the problem is rather to understand why she accepts them.’

As I didn’t have a realistic possibility of becoming a man back in the 1980s, it had to be books and music that got me through both my mental health issues and the sexualised scrutiny and judgement that sets so many girls to war against their bodies in their teens. Fortunately for me, I found my own sense of otherness, and my ambivalence about being a woman, reflected in the work of female writers and musicians who reassured me that, in spite of everything a sexist world tries to throw at the female-bodied, it’s fine not to feel pink, frilly and compliant inside your own head; it’s OK to feel confused, dark, both sexual and non-sexual, unsure of what or who you are.

I want to be very clear here: I know transition will be a solution for some gender dysphoric people, although I’m also aware through extensive research that studies have consistently shown that between 60-90% of gender dysphoric teens will grow out of their dysphoria. Again and again I’ve been told to ‘just meet some trans people.’ I have: in addition to a few younger people, who were all adorable, I happen to know a self-described transsexual woman who’s older than I am and wonderful. Although she’s open about her past as a gay man, I’ve always found it hard to think of her as anything other than a woman, and I believe (and certainly hope) she’s completely happy to have transitioned. Being older, though, she went through a long and rigorous process of evaluation, psychotherapy and staged transformation. The current explosion of trans activism is urging a removal of almost all the robust systems through which candidates for sex reassignment were once required to pass. A man who intends to have no surgery and take no hormones may now secure himself a Gender Recognition Certificate and be a woman in the sight of the law. Many people aren’t aware of this.

We’re living through the most misogynistic period I’ve experienced. Back in the 80s, I imagined that my future daughters, should I have any, would have it far better than I ever did, but between the backlash against feminism and a porn-saturated online culture, I believe things have got significantly worse for girls. Never have I seen women denigrated and dehumanised to the extent they are now. From the leader of the free world’s long history of sexual assault accusations and his proud boast of ‘grabbing them by the pussy’, to the incel (‘involuntarily celibate’) movement that rages against women who won’t give them sex, to the trans activists who declare that TERFs need punching and re-educating, men across the political spectrum seem to agree: women are asking for trouble. Everywhere, women are being told to shut up and sit down, or else.

I’ve read all the arguments about femaleness not residing in the sexed body, and the assertions that biological women don’t have common experiences, and I find them, too, deeply misogynistic and regressive. It’s also clear that one of the objectives of denying the importance of sex is to erode what some seem to see as the cruelly segregationist idea of women having their own biological realities or – just as threatening – unifying realities that make them a cohesive political class. The hundreds of emails I’ve received in the last few days prove this erosion concerns many others just as much. It isn’t enough for women to be trans allies. Women must accept and admit that there is no material difference between trans women and themselves.

But, as many women have said before me, ‘woman’ is not a costume. ‘Woman’ is not an idea in a man’s head. ‘Woman’ is not a pink brain, a liking for Jimmy Choos or any of the other sexist ideas now somehow touted as progressive. Moreover, the ‘inclusive’ language that calls female people ‘menstruators’ and ‘people with vulvas’ strikes many women as dehumanising and demeaning. I understand why trans activists consider this language to be appropriate and kind, but for those of us who’ve had degrading slurs spat at us by violent men, it’s not neutral, it’s hostile and alienating.

Which brings me to the fifth reason I’m deeply concerned about the consequences of the current trans activism.

I’ve been in the public eye now for over twenty years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor. This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember. I also feel protective of my daughter from my first marriage. I didn’t want to claim sole ownership of a story that belongs to her, too. However, a short while ago, I asked her how she’d feel if I were publicly honest about that part of my life, and she encouraged me to go ahead.

I’m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces.

I managed to escape my first violent marriage with some difficulty, but I’m now married to a truly good and principled man, safe and secure in ways I never in a million years expected to be. However, the scars left by violence and sexual assault don’t disappear, no matter how loved you are, and no matter how much money you’ve made. My perennial jumpiness is a family joke – and even I know it’s funny – but I pray my daughters never have the same reasons I do for hating sudden loud noises, or finding people behind me when I haven’t heard them approaching.

If you could come inside my head and understand what I feel when I read about a trans woman dying at the hands of a violent man, you’d find solidarity and kinship. I have a visceral sense of the terror in which those trans women will have spent their last seconds on earth, because I too have known moments of blind fear when I realised that the only thing keeping me alive was the shaky self-restraint of my attacker.

I believe the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable for all the reasons I’ve outlined. Trans people need and deserve protection. Like women, they’re most likely to be killed by sexual partners. Trans women who work in the sex industry, particularly trans women of colour, are at particular risk. Like every other domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor I know, I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men.

So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.

On Saturday morning, I read that the Scottish government is proceeding with its controversial gender recognition plans, which will in effect mean that all a man needs to ‘become a woman’ is to say he’s one. To use a very contemporary word, I was ‘triggered’. Ground down by the relentless attacks from trans activists on social media, when I was only there to give children feedback about pictures they’d drawn for my book under lockdown, I spent much of Saturday in a very dark place inside my head, as memories of a serious sexual assault I suffered in my twenties recurred on a loop. That assault happened at a time and in a space where I was vulnerable, and a man capitalised on an opportunity. I couldn’t shut out those memories and I was finding it hard to contain my anger and disappointment about the way I believe my government is playing fast and loose with womens and girls’ safety.

Late on Saturday evening, scrolling through children’s pictures before I went to bed, I forgot the first rule of Twitter – never, ever expect a nuanced conversation – and reacted to what I felt was degrading language about women. I spoke up about the importance of sex and have been paying the price ever since. I was transphobic, I was a ****, a bitch, a TERF, I deserved cancelling, punching and death. You are Voldemort said one person, clearly feeling this was the only language I’d understand.

It would be so much easier to tweet the approved hashtags – because of course trans rights are human rights and of course trans lives matter – scoop up the woke cookies and bask in a virtue-signalling afterglow. There’s joy, relief and safety in conformity. As Simone de Beauvoir also wrote, “… without a doubt it is more comfortable to endure blind bondage than to work for one’s liberation; the dead, too, are better suited to the earth than the living.”

Huge numbers of women are justifiably terrified by the trans activists; I know this because so many have got in touch with me to tell their stories. They’re afraid of doxxing, of losing their jobs or their livelihoods, and of violence.

But endlessly unpleasant as its constant targeting of me has been, I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it. I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans, who’re standing up for freedom of speech and thought, and for the rights and safety of some of the most vulnerable in our society: young gay kids, fragile teenagers, and women who’re reliant on and wish to retain their single sex spaces. Polls show those women are in the vast majority, and exclude only those privileged or lucky enough never to have come up against male violence or sexual assault, and who’ve never troubled to educate themselves on how prevalent it is.

The one thing that gives me hope is that the women who can protest and organise, are doing so, and they have some truly decent men and trans people alongside them. Political parties seeking to appease the loudest voices in this debate are ignoring women’s concerns at their peril. In the UK, women are reaching out to each other across party lines, concerned about the erosion of their hard-won rights and widespread intimidation. None of the gender critical women I’ve talked to hates trans people; on the contrary. Many of them became interested in this issue in the first place out of concern for trans youth, and they’re hugely sympathetic towards trans adults who simply want to live their lives, but who’re facing a backlash for a brand of activism they don’t endorse. The supreme irony is that the attempt to silence women with the word ‘TERF’ may have pushed more young women towards radical feminism than the movement’s seen in decades.

The last thing I want to say is this. I haven’t written this essay in the hope that anybody will get out a violin for me, not even a teeny-weeny one. I’m extraordinarily fortunate; I’m a survivor, certainly not a victim. I’ve only mentioned my past because, like every other human being on this planet, I have a complex backstory, which shapes my fears, my interests and my opinions. I never forget that inner complexity when I’m creating a fictional character and I certainly never forget it when it comes to trans people.

All I’m asking – all I want – is for similar empathy, similar understanding, to be extended to the many millions of women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats and abuse.



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Last edited by Ammi; 18-09-2020 at 06:56 AM.
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