We are very concerned about the dangers to lesbians resulting from the advance of Trans Rights Activism (TRA) and the rapid, unquestioning adoption of trans perspectives by governments, institutions and community organisations. Not only are our rights to be lesbian, and to congregate as lesbians, being eroded there are even moves to completely erase lesbianism as a sexuality!
“I just really need to know how Judith Butler’s definition of women applies to Afghan women who are being beaten on the streets by the Taliban. Have you ever considered that your academics really don’t fit the lives of women in the global South?”
In Afghanistan (extreme example) but also in Pakistan, where I live, in India, in Nepal, Bangladesh, Middle Eastern countries, North Africa, women (or people with female bodies) are being abused, harassed, assaulted and killed not just because they have female bodies, but because they refuse to hand those bodies over to men to do with as they please.
Because this possession and ownership of female bodies is absolutely tied to female biology and the production of children and sexual comfort for those men, separating sex from gender completely negates this form of oppression which is hugely insulting to all of us who are still fighting to end sex-based discrimination in our countries and regions.
Imagine a Muslim woman in the UK who escapes a violent marriage and threats of honor killing. She goes to a shelter where she feels safe because it is a female-only space. Not just because she is away from the realm of immediate male violence, but because as a Muslim woman she does not feel comfortable sharing intimate quarters with a person with a male body. This allows her to reconcile her awful situation as well as her need to feel she is acting in congruence with her identity and principles of modesty as a Muslim woman.
But if a trans woman with a penis is in the same space, then the Muslim woman will be in a terrible conflict about her actions in leaving her home. Suddenly, she is not able to remove her hijab or undress because she cannot do those things in front of a person with a male body who is not a family member. This not a hypothetical, there are Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu women who are now excluded from single sex-only spaces because the definition of woman has changed to include women with penises. To call that Muslim woman a TERF because she expresses discomfort is yet another abuse for her.
I’m afraid the trans rights activists are acting like Western colonisers and imperialists all over again, imposing their ideas of gender and sexuality on us the same way their Empire was imposed on us for a good part of the 20th century. I don’t really want gender colonialism in the 21st century. Do you?
Take a ringside seat as Bindel, one of the biggest names in the long struggle for women’s rights, enters into battle with the newly ubiquitous transgender orthodoxy that decrees “woman” can mean anyone who identifies as such, even if they’re still in possession of a penis.
Trans activists (the Queer ISIS, she calls them) have gone, she says, from requesting we use she/her pronouns for transwomen to demanding we believe that they are women. Now we must call ourselves “cis” women and accept womanhood is fluid; and lesbians should have relationships with transwomen. She describes the “gender madness” that is forcing women to share single-sex spaces — toilets, changing rooms, clubs, refuges and prisons — with transwomen; and which denies women biological reality by substituting “chest feeding” for breast feeding and “front hole” for vagina. Even the word woman is being obliterated in favour of “menstruater” and “womb-haver”.
Should women fail to agree with any of this, she argues, they are labelled transphobic, bullied and “cancelled”, which is of course why the vast majority of us, however unhappy we are at the expropriation of our sex, are too scared to say anything. But Bindel, already de-platformed, abused and physically attacked by trans activists, has spent a lifetime defying bullies.
Bindel is a rock star of second-wave feminism, a co-founder of the organisation Justice for Women, which has helped so many women defend themselves against violent partners. In 1979, as a 17-year-old lesbian from a working-class background in northeast England, she entered the fight to free women from domestic violence, prostitution, pornography and institutional prejudice enshrined in law.
Her book is intended primarily to remind us of that unfinished battle.
She’s appalled by the Fifty Shades of Grey effect, which has sold women eroticised sexual violence and coincided with a tenfold increase in the “rough sex” defence, where women die and the accused, to date all male, claims the victim enthusiastically participated. In the past five years, more than half the men using the defence got off, although two thirds of the deaths were by strangulation. Bindel points out grimly that the latest addition to LGBTQQIA+ is K for kink, and much of kink — I suppose it’s best we know these things — is BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadomasochism).
In a wide-ranging interview with La Repubblica, the twice Booker prize-winning novelist also gave her view on the monarchy, told how endometriosis has “devastated my life”, and how Boris Johnson “should not be in public life”. She also addresses the criticism of JK Rowling and her stance on transgender rights.
Mantel said the online attacks on Rowling after her essay were “unjustified and shameful”.
She added: “It is barbaric that a tiny minority should take command of public discourse and terrify those who disagree with them.”
She said: “I recently found myself ‘misgendered.’ I received a university publication, with news items relating to alumni, where I was referred to as ‘they’, not ‘she.’
“My books were ‘their books.’ I wasn’t singled out – the other alumni were similarly treated.
“I thought: ‘Being a woman means a lot to me. I do not want my womanhood confiscated in print.’”
An “eleventh-hour” bid has been launched to save a women’s charity, due to be evicted by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore for promoting what she claims is discriminatory attitudes towards transgender people. As revealed by Sky News in June, the Feminist Legal Clinic had its lease prematurely terminated by the City of Sydney council, after failing to remove from its website what the council considered to be non-inclusive material about transgender issues. Now the radical feminists have found an unexpected supporter – the founder of conservative-leaning think tank, Women’s Forum Australia.While they may have opposing views, the charity and the think tank have put their differences aside to create a petition to prevent the charity from being evicted, with its aim to collect 5,000 signatures. If the petition is unsuccessful, the clinic will have to be out of the premises by Thursday, about a year before the lease was due to finish.