We are delighted to feature an interview with Spanish feminist lawyer Paula Fraga Arias. She is a representative of Contra el Borrado de las Mujeres (Against the Erasure of Women), an international alliance bringing together Spanish-speaking feminists in order to fight against the erasure of women’s rights resulting from the conflict between sex-based rights and ‘gender identity’ policies.
Gender is the rocky outcrop that gives safe harbour to the sexual subordination of women and the violence wrought upon us under patriarchy. That is how feminist theory defines it.
However, antifeminist and sexist theories – like queer theory – define gender as people’s internal life or a display of personality, and so they refer to a ‘gender identity’. Where feminist theory sees structural oppression, queer theory sees individual identity.
And this is what is being institutionalised through identity laws. The first problem with this substitution is that it does not fights against what we need to see abolished, but instead it reinforces it and protects it.
The legal eradication of sex, as a category, has dire consequences for women. To say that any male who identifies as a woman, and who with nothing more than their own declaration has be recognised as such, undermines women’s rights and compromises our spaces. A concrete example: categories of women’s sports are being placed at risk if trans (wo)men being accepted as competitors, putting at stake women’s right to compete on a level playing field and their physical safety.
In general terms, we can say that substituting sex-based rights for gender-based rights is a legal aberration, with important, prejudicial, practical implications for all women. It renders useless both any positive sexual discrimination and any public policies to fight sexual inequality. . . .
[U]nder patriarchy, it is men who overwhelmingly kill women, rape women, exploit women (sexually and reproductively), they force marriages on us and genitally mutilate us, just for being female. Yet there is a posh, post-modern activism that argues that, whilst we are suffering these harsh realities, dedicates itself to calling us privileged. This is on top of the accusations of transphobia against women who are simply talking about their bodies. How often are we accused of transphobia simply for speaking about bodily realities? . . .
Transactivism is badly named because you can’t call harassing women activism. The reaction from queer and transgender groups against me has been virulent. They refuse to debate, full stop. They have tried to discredit my work with personal attacks and insults. When I published an article that was critical of queer theory, they started a bullying campaign on social media that lasted days, and I’ve had threats of both violence and death on numerous occasions.