The Economist welcomes your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful of other readers. Review our comments policy.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Log in to your account.Don't have an account? Register
Give me a break! Can’t you come up with an original idea? Trans women aren’t women because they’re men trying to rape our women in locker rooms and bathrooms? Please! A trans woman is much more likely to *be* assaulted in one of those spaces than to be the aggressor. This argument has been used for many years and still there is not one legitimate incident of a trans woman accessing women-only spaces to assault the women inside. There are already laws to protect people from assault (which are woefully under-enforced when minorities are the ones being assaulted).
Pointing to the potential of a trans woman who hasn’t had any medical intervention as being as potentially violent as a cisgender male is inflammatory, disgusting, and offensive. To point to males and say “you’re potentially violent because you’re male” is a slippery slope - it provides violent men an excuse for their actions: “I’m a man, I’m violent, what did you expect?” No! Just... no!
And trans women can’t be women because it confuses me and my language? What a lazy approach! If your language is inadequate to describe something, you evolve the language. If you can’t comprehend something, you learn about it. Pointing to the definitions of woman, female, and lesbian “become confusing” is a cop out.
The scientific evidence is mounting and is clear: trans people *are* of the gender they are saying they are. Trans women’s brains align more closely with the brains of cis women than with cis men. In other words, a trans woman is a woman’s brain born in a male body. Imagine the confusion that causes one of these children as they’re growing up. They are told repeatedly (and sometimes violently) that they are *not* what they feel themselves to be, solely on the basis of whether a particular body part exists between their legs. Imagine the frustration, the shame, the fear, the self-loathing that comes from the mismatch of the signals inside their brain, and the messages and enforcement outside of it. Suppose we took a baby born without a penis and as we raised it, we told it that it was a boy, we forced it into stereotypical boy’s activities, we made it use the boys restroom and locker room at school. That would be child abuse! But we do it every day to these unfortunate souls who are born with this condition.
And now you are adding insult to injury by telling these people that they are not who they have fought hard to show the world they really are, sometimes overcoming enormous obstacles and paying unfathomable personal costs. *You* are continuing this cycle of abuse and trauma by denying them the basic respect and dignity *you* are entitled to simply by not having this condition.
The irony is that by doing so - by telling these people that they don’t know who they are and that *you* know who they are better than they do, and by policing their bodies and punishing them for not conforming to *your* standards - you are giving them an experience typically reserved for women; you are refusing to grant them the autonomy to be in charge of their own lives and bodies. Congratulations, you’ve become the oppressor!
And now that you know better, you can do better. Will you?
As a fully transitioned transwoman or MtF transsexual, I'm in pretty full agreement with the content of the this article and if the standand for any new law it that it on balance it does more good than harm, I fail to see how allowing anyone who wants to self define as a woman and expect to be treated as such fits the bill.
Apart from the rather obvious face that in practice you won't be treated as a woman for as long as others don't genuinely perceive you as a woman , which would seem to defeat the whole purpose of the exercice unless the intention is to go through a full transition , it does indeed carry considerable potential to expose biological females to both significant pyschological discomfort and even danger.
It also exposes transsexuals, who were gaining acceptance little by little, to significant backlash over a measure which many, if not most reasonable people consider to a step too far in terms of how gender is defined.
Even as a transsexual, I still feel like a migrant who has adopted a new land out of love, who passes pretty well for a native but who knows deep down that they can never consider themselves natives in the same way as those whose lineage goes back for generations. Based on this I wonder how someone who has not experienced the physical & psychological changes that come with hormone treatment and/or genital surgery can imagine that they come anywhere close to actually living the experiences that a woman experiences. Under such circomstances I would personnaly feel like a fraud but no doubt I'm too old school...
No compromise is possible on the issue of "transwomen are women". No, transwomen are not women. They are men with a mental disorder called gender dysphoria, and they deserve protection in keeping with their mental disorder. Sensible voices tried to stop the Gender Recognition Act in 2004, but were outvoted by "equalities liberals". This "discussion" will never end except by the recognition that the UK Parliament made a mistake in passing the GRA. It should be repealed. A number of transsexuals recognise that they cannot "change sex" and that the GRA is a disruptive piece of legislation. It conspicuously includes clauses which confuse "sex" and "gender" - very sloppy legal usage. Miranda Yardley, a "gender-critical transsexual" with a compelling analysis of feminist issues, agrees: http://mirandayardley.com/en/why-the-gender-recognition-act-2004-should-...