[R]ecent events have forced me, like many others, to think much harder than I have been used to about feminism. The immediate cause is a conflict of opinion about transgender activism and the reasons behind an increase in the number of girls referred for treatment for gender dysphoria in England, from 32 in 2009/10 to 1,740 in 2018/19. But debate on these issues has exposed a faultline with wider implications.
Understanding sexual difference to be an important facet of human experience, we seek a form of equality that recognises it. We do not accept the much newer concept of gender identity (the feeling of being male or female) as a substitute. And we think the idea that “sex” can be discarded in favour of more inclusive terminology, as advocated by Butlerian feminists, is naive. Because if “sex” ceases to be talked and thought about, how will we recognise and tackle sex-based oppression, not just in western countries but around the world?
None of this means “GC” feminists are in favour of bigotry, or don’t care about the obstacles and prejudices faced by transgender people, or that we deny the existence of people with differences in sex development. What it does mean is that we think rejecting sex as a way of thinking about ourselves would be a terrible error. And that we urgently want to be able to discuss this, in a respectful way, with those who disagree.