What’s Current: Trans activists throw smoke bombs outside Metro offices, after publication of ad challenging proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

  • On Friday, trans activists staged a protest outside the Metro’s London headquarters, setting off smoke bombs, after the paper published a full page ad from campaign group Fair Play for Women, challenging proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act which would allow people to self-identify as the opposite sex. The media company also published a full page ad featuring the names of organizations and corporations “supporting trans communities,” including IBM, Absolut Vodka, and eBay.
  • At The Times, Janice Turner criticizes the way suicide has been wielded as a political weapon in the gender identity debate.
  • A UK parliamentary report recommends domestic abusers and stalkers register with the local police force, and be monitored under the same arrangements as rapists and paedophiles.
  • The Australian government has made a formal apology to thousands of survivors who suffered child sexual abuse in institutions such as schools, clubs, and churches.
  • A survey of women in 44 countries found that women often don’t know enough about ovarian cancer, the eighth most common cause of cancer in women. The disease is more treatable, even potentially curable, if detected in its early stages.
Natasha Chart
Natasha Chart

Natasha Chart is an online organizer and feminist living in the United States. She does not recant her heresy.

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  • lk

    Re: the trans advertisement

    At the top of the ad it says: “To all our trans family, colleagues, customers and friends. We are proud to stand alongside you in the fight for trans equality. We support your right to be yourself and you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect in all parts of daily life. We will keep on playing our part to make that happen and we send you our support and strength in the face of hostility directed at you. We are proud to come out for trans equality.”

    I have to wonder if these companies who are supporting the GRA ACTUALLY have any idea what they are supporting? I think people hear buzzwords: equality, inclusion, rights,fairness and jump onboard… but changes to the GRA are about none of those things.

    I recommend y’all read this amnesty international article about why you should support the GRA: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/have-your-say-gender-recognition-act

    Here is a line from the article: “No matter who you are, you should care because GRA reform will make this country safer and more equal for all.”

    Can someone please explain to me how allowing men to self-id (with no medial diagnosis or no proof of living as their proclaimed gender) will make the UK safer for women? All a man has to do is declare he is a woman and that’s it…he can change all his documents (birth certificate, drivers license, etc) to reflect this and thus have access to things specifically earmarked for women.

    Another one:
    “Trans women are women and trans men are men. Making the process to obtain legal gender recognition easier and respectful of human rights will only improve the lives of trans people, it will not affect anyone else.”

    “It will not affect anyone else”…..LOLOLOL….Nonsense, changing sex-based laws to self-id laws will have impact women tremendously and not for the better.

    • Blazewarrior

      ‘It will not affect anyone else’ is malespeak language which is always male code for men and their rights/their demands! Only men are the default human species so therefore us women can’t be affected because we don’t exist!! We are only adjuncts to the women-hating boys such as that male supremacist mens’ pimp industry supporter Amnesty International.

    • Rona Stewart

      I can’t remember which company it was, but I did see something on Twitter, the other day, about that, and no, they hadn’t been told what it really was about.
      Basically Stonewall did it under false pretences and the idiots caved in due to PC bollocks.
      I am reminded of the Midwich Cuckoos when I see this herd like capitulation.

    • Adam King

      Questioning a person’s coming out trans is like questioning a woman’s claim to be raped. The consequences of both claims are so horrible that no one would ever lie about it.

      • Meghan Murphy

        What does it mean to ‘come out as trans’?

      • Wren

        Rape is real, gender isn’t.

      • Tobysgirl

        Coming out trans seems to be the thing to do these days, and people gets lots of goodies for doing so, so your equation makes absolutely no sense.

  • Jen Miller

    As the conduct of TRAs becomes more repressive and aggressive towards a wider range of people – eg male journalists, male academics and male MPs – I wonder if it will open people’s eyes a bit? (Obviously no one paid attention when it was only feminists and lesbians being targeted…)

    The conversation about suicide is also a particularly concerning one. Suicide of trans identifying people is a real and valid concern. But when you see it being used to threaten women into silence and to sexually pressure women (lesbians are killing transwomen by refusing to date them etc), it’s hard not to be reminded of the way domestic abusers routinely use suicide threats to control their victims. “If you don’t stay with me, obey me, have sex with me, put my feelings above everything else, I will kill myself and it will be your fault.” The fact that sort of thing still gets presented to young people as normal behavior is really worrying.

    • Hanakai

      Interestingly, the suicide rates for transsexuals is about the same for pre-operative and post-operative transsexuals. This should lead to the conclusion that mutilating surgery is not an effective or appropriate treatment for people with what is being called gender dysphoria. Suicidal people are typically suffering form depression and they should be treated for that condition with medication and psychotherapy, not with amputating healthy body parts and hormonal loading.

    • Abi Tiki

      Counselling seems to be in order, rather than capitulation to ‘if you don’t do what I want I’ll kill someone’.

      • therealcie

        It sounds a lot like the Incels insistence that women who refuse to date them force them to go on killing sprees. These guys are scary and dangerous, but people continue to laugh them off because women are “overreacting” with our concerns about misogynistic men fixated on violence.

      • Tobysgirl

        I don’t think someone who says that needs counseling, I think HE needs consequences because HE obviously has never experienced any.

        • unfashionable

          Yep. Psychotherapeutic “counseling” is pretty effed up about sex and gender, as usual. Jail time seems more promising as a deterrent.

    • therealcie

      “lesbians are killing transwomen by refusing to date them”
      Well, that doesn’t sound at all like the brilliant argument that dudebros use to pressure their dates into sex. You know, those evil women who give guys blue balls by refusing them their right to have sex on command and all.
      Interesting how TRA’s sound a lot like PUA’s with arguments like this.

  • Midori

    The first story is really the best example at how different Radfems and TRA understand activism – the first group uses logic and facts, which are rooted in reality to argue their point, the latter uses violence, threats and stupid banners with empty phrases.

    …and of course they’re all white! What a surprise! xd

  • therealcie

    A lot of women’s health issues go undetected because we are taught to be ashamed of our bodies. As a survivor of past trauma, I couldn’t stomach the idea of anyone messing about in my bits. I was forced to have things looked at because I was experiencing heavy post-menopausal bleeding.
    Fortunately, my doctor referred me to a very compassionate gynecologist. This woman never brought my weight up at all. One of the reasons I’d been reluctant to go to the gynecologist and didn’t go for close to 30 years was because I feared being shamed for my size. Size shaming does nobody a damn bit of good, yet these damn doctors continue to do it.
    My gynecologist was also compassionate about the fact that I had previously been sexually assaulted. She didn’t behave as if I was overreacting or inconveniencing her. She listened to me.
    It turned out that I have non-cancerous endometrial hyperplasia caused by a multitude of fibroids and polyps growing in my uterus. I’m hoping that the hysterectomy I’m scheduled to have in December will take care of some problems that I started having years ago but was too embarrassed to be seen for.

    • corvid

      “A lot of women’s health issues go undetected because we are taught to be ashamed of our bodies.”

      Definitely agree. My PCOS was undiagnosed for over 10 years after I had begun to feel symptoms. I cannot tell you what kind of hell it was to go through puberty, it felt like I was becoming some kind of freaky monster and I had no idea what could be going on. I simultaneously had to deal with the shame of puberty AND the shame around the effects that androgens were having on my body. Antidepressants did not help. It was vindicating to find out there was actually something wrong with me, but my doctor wasn’t very helpful.
      This disorder is becoming more prevalent, quite prevalent actually, and it seems to me that the main reason this isn’t being addressed as a health and fertility crisis with probable environmental causes is that it is a women’s syndrome. There’s no cure. We’re basically told to suck it up, and if we’re lucky go on a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs. Like who cares if some women have to deal with infertility, insulin resistance and body hair etc., right? Just get on with the “body-positivity” and share photos of your beard online, maybe even join a freak show! Don’t forget to “feel feminine” with bubble bath and pretty floral dresses! There’s this troubling thread of individualistic thinking about this I see online, even people insinuating that our own lifestyle choices are to blame for this disorder and that lifestyle choices can fix it.

  • calabasa

    So this is the thing about the trans movement:

    1) It is the only “civil rights” movement in history (as far as I know) that demands not just basic human rights but thought legislation, and demands that the rest of the world deny real-world knowledge or else be discriminatory. To give an analogy, it’s as if someone were fighting for the rights of the mentally ill and instead of demanding better anti-discrimination legislation and more government-funded, safe facilities staffed by top professionals, as well as a national conversation about not discriminating against people for taking mental health time, instead they fought to legislate that all others believe in the beliefs (often called delusions) of the mentally ill. It enables rather than helps them and oppresses everybody else and is frankly an unbelievable way of approaching the issue of sex dysphoria. (DO NOT DEAD NAME YOUR NEW EMPLOYEE, NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, OR ELSE).

    2) It is the only civil rights movement in history that has gained acceptance due to the oppression of another group. In this case, the only reason this has caught on is because of rampant sexism and misogyny causing everyone to believe that gender roles are biological; people are far more ready to believe in “born in the wrong body” than to accept how gender is thrust upon all of us and the extent to which our socialization defines us (because that is scary, and also would require far more fundamental and structural changes than the simplistic “wrong body” gender identity narrative). The idea that “gender dysphoria” mostly comes from the same sex stereotypes that oppress the rest of us (women most) is anathema to these people. This has only caught on *because of sexism and also homophobia, which is related to sexism,* which means something is wrong.

    3) It is the only civil rights movement that in order to enact its stated goals severely curtails and violates the civil rights of others, and not just of others, but of already-oppressed others, to boot (women, homosexuals, and children).

    4) It is the only civil rights movement demanding we change the language that describes reality in order to police other people’s thoughts.

    The problem with all of this is an incredible failure on the part of just about everybody to address the historic legacy of sexism and homophobia and what they have wrought and how they manifest today (this particular iteration of a “trans rights movement” is an example of their manifestation today).

    Here’s what the trans rights movement should look like:

    1) It should understand, categorically, the difference between gender and sex, and that sex is biological and immutable, and there is no evidence that gender is either.

    2) It should acknowledge the destructive nature of gender roles and the gender hierarchy.

    3) It should clearly demarcate the difference between physical and social dysphoria, and provide room for discussion of the etiology of both. (Whether physical dysphoria *is* due to “hormones in utero” or to mental illness is, I believe, irrelevant; it is highly distressing and often alleviated by the changing of secondary sex characters via cross-sex hormones. Social dysphoria, on the other hand, while it can arise from physical dysphoria–not being perceived as the physical sex one wants to be perceived as–more often arises from confusion about not “fitting into the man box” or “woman box,” i.e. from being gender non-conforming. Acknowledgment that a lot of “social dysphoria” comes from the imposition of stifling, prescriptive and proscriptive gender roles would free a lot of people from believing they need to physically transition or declare themselves the opposite sex, and would help make them comfortable living as gender non-conforming people without having to stick a label like “non-binary” on themselves either, as if that somehow erases their biological sex).

    4) It should examine the damaging role of the modern notion of “identity” (and identity as relates to consumption in a capitalist society) in all this (liberalism would greatly benefit from such scrutiny too).

    5) It should acknowledge autogynephilia. I personally believe there is no reason to shame men with autogynephilia as long as they don’t hurt anyone (I know it’s “creepy” when such men say, go into lingerie stores and ask young female sales clerks about what bra size they wear and other personal questions; such men need to be taught that they cannot sexually harass others as a part of their fetish. If they are aroused by simply dressing as women and doing daily activities with women while dressed as women, as long as they are not exhibiting their arousal, which would be harassment, and the other women are okay with them being wherever–in their women’s book club or whatever, which is to say, as long as there’s not societal pressure on them to “be nice” and accept the cross-dressing man when they feel uncomfortable–then there’s no problem, IMO). However, all of these factors need to be taken into consideration, and men with AGP should be considerate when dressing as women and hanging around women not to make them uncomfortable. If they are, I don’t see anything necessarily wrong with this fetish (the problem is the common comorbidity with other fetishes, such as voyeurism or exhibitionism, and even more harmful fetishes; there’s also a high degree of comorbidity with certain mental illnesses and personality disorders, which can make these men more dangerous). In and of itself, without harassment, I don’t think autogynephilia is a terrible thing, it’s simply a “target location error” in arousal and if the partner of a person with AGP is into it, I see no problem. HOWEVER, MEN WITH AUTOGYNOPHELIA ARE NOT WOMEN. End of story.

    6) It needs to acknowledge that the reason people are on board with this all of a sudden is as a liberal backlash against women’s rights and gay rights. This is, as liberal feminists are so fond of saying, “problematic.” Rather than exploiting this weakness for the cause, it gives them a greater responsibility to categorically reject sexism and homophobia and examine their movement and themselves for these positions. It needs to ally with women women and homosexuals, and so far the movement has done the exact opposite.

    7) It needs to acknowledge that when asking to transition into an oppressed group it is the responsibility of the transitioning party to be respectful and considerate, which means respecting that “woman” equals adult human female, and that women have the right to maintain sex-segregated spaces (for safety, comfort, to escape male harassment and male intrusion in a patriarchal world, and simply because women have the right to gather together if we wish), which in this case means that not only should transgender women be more, not less, aware of the aims of feminism than most women (in wanting to transition, they should have done some study about what it means to be a woman; this is like how adult second-language learners will know more than the majority of native speakers about the grammar of their second language, as they had to learn it as adults in order to study the language; in this analogy, female people are simply socialized into expectations of women, and those who don’t do further study might not realize it; those who wish to transition to some approximation of womanhood *should* do that study) and should stand up for women’s rights, part of which would mean agitating for transgender women’s rights and spaces apart from women’s rights and spaces (third spaces for restrooms and locker rooms and in prisons, trans scholarships and sports teams and shelters, etc) in order to respect women’s sex-segregated spaces.

    8) It needs to acknowledge that male privilege is not erased by transitioning, and that sexism informs many transitioners’ attitudes towards women vis a vis accepting their transition, and also may inform the desire to transition itself (needs to be unpacked so those people get help and don’t transition because of, say, an addiction to pornography).

    9) It needs to acknowledge that no one can change sex, trans women is a label that does not mean that trans women are actually women (as women are adult human females); this distinction is important for both trans women and trans men but affects women more than men, because women are oppressed by patriarchy. It needs to acknowledge this not only for the mental health of transgender people, but also because thought legislation–legislating that people believe the opposite of observable material reality–is fascist and oppressive.

    10) It needs to acknowledge capitalist drives and conflicts (medical industrial complex, beauty industry), discuss the usefulness of the medicalization of this condition and when it’s appropriate and when it’s not, and it needs to acknowledge that the majority of children who claim to feel like the opposite sex desist and acknowledge that pushing transition for children is abusive.

    11) It needs to acknowledge that unlike say, being black, being gay, or being female, being trans is an inherently distressing disorder, *not* simply belonging to a group of otherwise-happy but marginalized and discriminated-against people, which is to say that the distress of being trans comes first and mainly not from society but from the person’s feelings about their own body and sex. THIS MEANS IT IS A DISORDER. I actually don’t care about the etiology of this disorder for the sake of this discussion (mental illness or a result of “hormones in utero”), EITHER WAY IT IS A DISORDER. The reason that this should not be embraced as a desirable identity (as opposed to being gender-nonconforming, WHICH SHOULD BE) is because physical sex dysphoria is a condition which, to be resolved, entails dangerous, ongoing medical intervention. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING TO ASPIRE TO AND THEREFORE CREATING TRANSGENDER RATHER THAN GENDER-NONCONFORMING AS A GROUP IDENTITY TO ASPIRE TO BELONG TO IS DANGEROUS AND WRONGHEADED. Why would ANYONE want to have a crippling disorder like sex dysphoria?! Not demonizing or discriminating does not mean glamorizing or romanticizing! INSTEAD WE NEED TO GLAMORIZE AND ROMANTICIZE GENDER NONCONFORMITY WITHOUT EVER USING WORDS LIKE “TRANSITION.” BREAKING DOWN THE BINARY MEANS GETTING RID OF STIFLING GENDER ROLES BASED ON SEX, NOT GETTING RID OF THE REALITY OF SEXED BODIES. Not only is that throwing the baby out with the bathwater, that’s a quick recipe for denying the reality of women’s sex-based oppression, WHICH ACCOMPLISHES THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT ANY TRULY PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT SHOULD WANT, PARTICULARLY ONE THAT CLAIMS TO BE “FEMINIST” OR ABOUT PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF GENDER AND ENDING GENDER-BASED OPPRESSION FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

    Basically, to approach the idea of trans rights EVERYTHING REGARDING SEXISM (which includes homophobia in that umbrella category) NEEDS UNPACKING AND EXAMINING. To be done right, society at large would have to acknowledge all the sexist reasons the trans movement is a)happening and b)”problematic.” This a huge ask apparently society isn’t ready for.

    Just my 11 cents.

    • Meghan Murphy

      WOOOORD

    • Sharpie

      Trans people are pretty much going after people and whatever bit of sexism or discrimination they might have in their brain. They think that by yelling enough, shaming people into submission and so on they will achieve their utopia where everyone does what they want and accept whatever rule they might decide to apply.

      Fat chance. I give them 5 more years before people start ignoring them completely again.

    • Tobysgirl

      I personally do not want to be exposed to adult males’ sex fetishes. It is fine for them to pursue their fetishes in private, but it ends there.

      • calabasa

        Anne Lawrence has done a lot of research on the issue and persuasively argues that autogynephilia is an orientation, not a fetish. Like other orientations, it’s so much a part of a person’s identity that it will manifest even when they are not thinking sexually. The only difference between dysphoric and autogynephilic trans women is dysphoric trans women feel horrible distress about their bodies, while autogyephilic trans women feel constant desire to be something else (have a preoccupation that is probably also distressing but has a different origin than dysphoria, one based in sexual orientation). The two might still be related; this is unknown!

        I personally don’t care if an otherwise-nice person gets secret jollies from being in a women’s knitting group as long as they keep it to themselves and all the women in the group are okay with them being there. People of all types sexualize others all the time without their knowledge. I think it’s important to pinpoint this particular etiology of being trans, point out that male cross-dressers have historically been shamed for being “gender nonconforming” even if their interests are in fact sexual, and that they are currently shamed as “perverts” which is why the denial from the trans community for this reason for transitioning. If we say it’s okay for men to cross-dress as long as they don’t harass anyone we might find another avenue for resolving the gender-based oppression of these men without foisting them on women (ultimately, the goal would be to say that cross-dressing men can cross-dress where they want but should not access sex-segregated spaces. Most dysphoric males *do* get surgery and I honestly don’t mind that tiny percentage of males in women’s bathrooms or receiving women’s services; the eighty percent of trans women who are in fact transvestites and are helming the movement, which has unfortunately become a male sexual rights movement, would pose much less of a problem if they did not call themselves women, demand access to women or to women’s spaces; shame over their sexuality is, IMO, a large part of this; they’d much rather say they have dysphoria and adopt the wrong-body narrative than admit this is about sex). If we can validate this as a sexual orientation then they could be part of the LGBT fighting for the rights of their orientation without actually having to call themselves women, and that would be fucking GREAT and might potentially reshape the whole trans movement.

  • lk

    I’m a little disappointed at how ridiculous many of the comments are…Like: “The notion that sex is a simple binary of male and female is a cultural idea without scientific merit. Denying the reality will produce a policy that harms people”

    Lol…Lots of things are products of culture, but the existence of 2 sexes in the human race is not.

    I believe this is the article Hanakai is referencing and that I read the comments on: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/opinion/sex-biology-binary.html

  • lk

    Thank you for sharing this…I am happy to see how many of the posters are speaking out about the trans movement does not respect lesbians, women’s boundaries or women-only spaces.

    There are of course some silly ones and this one is my fave: “hey, there – please remember that non binary and genderqueer folks exist. starting your article with “brothers and sisters” is itself an act of erasure.”

    LMAO….so just using the phrase brothers and sisters literally erases people who are genderqueer and nonbinary?!

    The article itself is interesting: “Helping us defend our basic rights no matter how much you can or how hard you can is the only right thing to do.”

    Basic rights? Nope, trans activism stopped being about basic rights a looong time ago….

    It is not a violation of basic rights …
    ….if a lesbian does not want to date a TIM
    …for biological women to be housed in shelters, prisons etc with other biological females
    …to acknowledge the reality of biological sex
    ….for the medical community to recognize and treat humans bodies for based on biology and not feelings or identity…

  • SkyLark Phillips

    The male high school student dressed in a red shirt doing all the kicking and punching started to “transition”, so the violence is acceptable. He should be charged with attempted murder for kicking and punching people in the head while they are defenseless an on the ground. Women, ask yourselves this. Do you want this violent man sharing the same restroom as your daughter? Do you want this violent man in a women’s homeless shelter, bunking down next to homeless women? Do you think he belongs in a women’s jail?

  • kristen

    The trans ‘civil rights movement’ is a farce- especially in regards to men identifying as women. It’s actually quite insulting for them to believe they’re engaged in a civil rights movement. They are not being denied any rights! Women, people of color, and gay people were denied actual rights that other people had. These men just want to use our bathrooms and spaces when they already have their own- nothing is being denied to them. They want into our sports when they already have their own. Want our scholarships and jobs when they already have their own. They say they’re denied medical care for their transitions and they want their hormones and transition surgeries covered while women fight for abortion rights and coverage of birth control and other people with life threatening illnesses can’t afford their medications or surgeries. They say they’re discriminated against for wearing clothing of the opposite gender when everyone including non-trans, non-gender conformists are discriminated against if they wear ‘women’s clothing.’ And all this proves is how much the world hates women that men can’t wear ‘women’s clothing’ without facing discrimination. Trans people are not being denied any rights whatsoever. There is no civil rights movement here. Just a bunch of men who want to take away everything women have fought for over hundreds of years. The true civil rights violations come from the trans community. Taking away women only spaces, jobs, scholarships, sports trophies, policing our language about ourselves and our bodies, and reinforcing abusive gender stereotypes that harm women. I’m fed up and absolutely terrified of these men and the feminists who embrace them.

  • Tobysgirl

    Watch out for those “reliable” liberal voices! Slobbering all over Russiagate and buying into the worse trans crap imaginable!

  • Tobysgirl

    More urban mythology.

  • Tobysgirl

    Excellent comment, excellent. Sound just like toddlers, don’t they?

  • Tobysgirl

    No, no, no. Not just anyone could find themselves with a child with mental health issues. I am so sick of this “anyone” and “everyone” crap that people spout. My nephew committed suicide at age 23; he had mental health issues. And let me tell you, if I had had to grow up with my oldest sister as my mother, I bloody well would have had mental health issues as well. My sister is entitled, superior, unfeeling, unsympathetic, and had no business having children. And still I wish someone had tested my nephew for hypothyroidism and iodine deficiency, both of which contribute to serious mental health issues. (Hypothyroidism in extremis can lead to hallucination and psychosis.)
    And I would remind you that many people with mental health issues do not go around threatening suicide if they don’t get their way.

  • Tobysgirl

    It doesn’t surprise me when you research where they get their money from.

  • Deborah

    Ho ho! Wow! Reading those comments on the Advocate thread is phenomenal. Many were razor sharp in their truth. This does not bode well for the trans lobby. To lose the support of the very group they sought to represent and protect them….damn. Serves them right for biting the hand that fed them…I now think this tide will turn faster than I originally predicted. If the LGB folks are angry and fed up with being attacked and used as pawns, and they go public, this whole thing will expire faster than month old milk.