Thursday, 12 October 2017

What are trans rights?

There is ample historical, cultural and archaeological evidence that transgender people have existed in every civilization worthy of the name that has ever existed on this planet. Trans people have existed in different ways in different cultures across Europe, the Americas, Africa, South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region for centuries.

Prof. Susan Stryker then describes how one of those regions, Europe, experienced a cultural change about 500 years ago, which resulted in a significant cultural change, one which Foucault would describe as bringing in a new “episteme”; it resulted in the cultural primacy of the material over the spiritual or psychological to the extent that eventually Descartes had to remind us that the existence of the mind is one of the few certainties we have.

The rise of this materiality resulted in the development of science, capitalism and socialism; it also caused colonialism, and an increase in racism, misogyny, homophobia and toxic nationalism, and it resulted in the cultural erasure of transgender people in Europe, and consequently also in those countries that came under the yoke of European colonial dominance.
This cultural supremacy of the material resulted in an erasure of transgender people as gender became increasingly assigned solely as a consequence of external physical attributes. The Russian artist Vassily Kandinsky characterized the culture of this time as the “either/or” period as opposed to the “and” period that started to emerge in the 20th century; ie a fixed, static and monomorphic culture started to become replaced with greater complexities of identity, something that underlies processes of change still ongoing today manifest in the conflicts we are seeing over Brexit and Trump.

This erasure has resulted in a culture that makes it hard, if not impossible, to understand transgender people and indeed has made it difficult for trans people to understand themselves, as concepts like “scientific” are still used to delegitimize us in the same way that materiality was used to oppress ethnic and religious minorities, women, gay men and lesbians and disabled people. This materiality has manifested itself, in particular, in the external imposition of gender. One of the things many people still find unproblematic is their “right” to attribute a gender to others, even in opposition to those people’s own expressed identities.

Ultimately the re-emergence of trans people in recent years has come as a result of trans people asserting their right to self-determination in the face of this cultural process that externally imposes gender on all of us.  This culture of external imposition of gender has become manifest in a bureaucratic and psychiatric structure that largely serves to externally validate trans people’s internally identified genders. These structures have developed from the cultural that gender identity can only ever be externally imposed. These long drawn-out struggles of trans people to be externally validated are evident from reading the transition stories of many trans people, including trans children. There is a constant fight, as if we are on a kind of invisible conveyor belt, which is always trying to send us back in the direction of our birth assigned gender.

This is why trans people the world over have been asking for the right to self-define our genders, ultimately that is the only way any society is ever going to become genuinely trans-inclusive and eliminate the cultural exclusion of trans people. Trans people’s genders have always been the result of self-identification. That self-identification is currently dependent on a seemingly eternal and bureaucratised external validation which reinforces the external imposition of gender. This is problematic enough on its own but additionally represents an unnecessary struggle for trans people at a time in their lives that is already very difficult.

However it is ultimately still an internal self-identification, only still with added extra extended hoops through which we must jump. It is the continued presence of this system of bureaucratic re-assignment that maintains the external imposition of gender, as a cultural process. Until this culture has been swept away trans people will never experience genuine equality, never experience acceptance and never have the kind of self-determination that most people in our society take so much for granted that it is almost invisible.

This is why we see so many B-list celebrities finding it unproblematic to tell trans people what their genders are, as a convenient way of temporarily attracting fading limelight. It is one of the reasons why trans people get transmisogynistic and transphobic abuse in the street and it is why trans children still commit suicide. Indeed it is why a scuffle in a park has resulted in more news articles about it than the death of 15-year-old Leo Etherington.  Leo was a trans child who killed himself after his own self-identification as a boy was denied him by the very institutions that should have been supporting him.  It is why a trans girl was shot in a school in Manchester this year and why countless trans children suffer from bullying in schools and social exclusion throughout childhood and when they become adults.

But it does not have to be this way. Countries as diverse as Ireland, Argentina, Malta, and Denmark now allow self-identification of gender, and this has become possible with much reduced bureaucracy in South Korea, Columbia, Bolivia and some other states.
This process has not undermined anyone's identities or erased. Cis women and cis men still exist and have not been erased or had their identities threatened in Buenos Aires, Seoul, Copenhagen, Dublin, Bogota, Santa Cruz, Valetta, or anywhere else.

Ultimately self-identification of one’s gender is the only way any society can call itself truly trans-inclusive and show solidarity with its transgender citizens. Self-identification is self-determination and that will begin a move us towards a change in culture from one that regards us as problematic but tolerated to one that regards us as citizens on an equal and inclusive basis. This is why the Trans-Obsessed Fanatics want to halt this process. They want us back in our dependent little boxes; “Men (2nd Class) and “Women (2nd Class)” and no other valid options. It is time we become no longer dependent on others to tell us who we are, but free to decide that for ourselves in the same way that everyone else does. This is the ultimate basis of all trans rights.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Vanishingly small: "regret" statistics interrogated.

In a world dominated by post-truth politics even apparent hard figures can be misleading, and, for a general public that is relatively ignorant about statistics, it is easy to mislead while not technically lying. A headline like "Football violence doubles in three months!" may sound alarming but if that is an increase of 0.0001% to 0.0002% of supporters then it is very different from an increase from 5% to 10%. The headline would be true in both cases yet we would be looking at an epidemic in the second scenario but the statistical effect of possibly only one incident in the first.

Likewise with statistics about trans "regret".

The number of trans “regretters” is vanishingly small and difficult to ascertain as a percentage, so any kind of statistics about them are automatically going to be problematic. Statistics do not work with very small numbers, that is why opinion polls take a four-figure sample, and then they still usually get it wrong. So forensically examining any figures is what any responsible journalist should do before publication. The problem is that, in the current heavily biased anti-trans media onslaught, they are not doing this and consequently anything that is biased against trans people is automatically treated as true.

So the material produced in the media about a surgeon doing more trans reversals needs to be examined carefully. When we look at the figures provided in the press we can see the following;
Over 5 years he has had 13 trans people contact him about so-called reversal surgery (two are mentioned as being “in surgery” but it is not clear as to whether they are additional to the existing 13 or included in that number). That is approximately three a year. The first six are described as coming from “all over the “Western World” The “western World” presumably including most of Europe, north America and Australasia. For the other 7 it is not clear where they come from. One of the claims made in the article was that the "average" age of his clients had come down to 21. I find this to be a very spurious use of statistics. When you are talking about 13 people over 5 years, then just getting two 21-year-olds would be enough to change the "average". Of course we are not told the timescale for this "average" but if he gets two this year, or even just one, that could produce an "average" for this year of 21. we have also not been told whether it is a mean, mode or median average too, which could skew the stats. This is what I mean that using stats when the numbers you are talking about are tiny is totally meaningless and open to abuse, without technically lying.

Over the last year in the US, there have been 3,250 gender reassignment surgeries, in the UK there were 172 operations in 2014, with 280 on the list for surgery in 2017. Numbers are difficult to ascertain for other countries but we are probably looking at a higher figure than the 3,250 in the US for 2016 in Europe so we are probably looking at a figure of around 7,000 a year for the “Western World”. If we go beyond that to the Middle East, South Asia, the Asia-Pacific countries, Africa and Latin America, where the populations are larger, but whose access to surgery is restricted by poverty, the number of surgeries is probably running at well over 20,000 a year globally, it is probably difficult to tell exactly, but these are almost certainly conservative figures. Now there have been lots of stories about transgender surgery increasing exponentially, at least in the “Western World” so let us assume that the number was around 10,000 five years ago and has increased by around 2,000 a year in the intervening period. That means at least 80,000 people globally have had gender affirmation surgery in the last five years.

If we also remember that at least some of the patients in this surgeon’s figures must have had surgery more than 5 years ago then his clinic is probably dealing with a subset of patients from a group that exceeds 100,000 people. If this is the case then we are looking at 1 regretter for every 7692 people having gender affirmation surgery. In other words for every 7691 successful gender affirmation surgeries there is one unsuccessful one. This would give us a regret rate of less than 0.013%.

Now obviously I have to heed my own warning about statistics, so let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the global number of surgeries is half what I have estimated for the period in question; 50,000, that would mean that there is one regretter for every 3845 successful surgeries, still a vanishingly small regret rate. Even if we halve it again the regret rate comes out at 1922 successful surgeries for every regretter, a figure significantly less than 0.1%. Even if we then double the number of regretters there are still 960 successful operations for every regretter. Double it again and the ratio of successful operations to unsuccessful ones is still 480:1 a vanishingly small percentage. Let us remember that this figure is achieved by quadrupling the figures for this doctor and reducing the estimate for GRS by 75%, even doing this gives us a tiny percentage, well under 1%.

Of course one of the statistics we do not know is how many of those 100,000 successful operations would have resulted in death by suicide if they had been denied access to surgery. This is a statistic we can never obtain ethically of course. What is clear from those who are responsible for the gatekeeping processes for surgery is the way they consistently refer to the risk of suicide for their patients. The death of 15-year-old Leo Hetherington earlier this year, he after was told he could not have GRS, and from the people I know, especially young people, suggests that this figure would be very high indeed.

So media articles that talk about a rise in the numbers of “regretters” are effectively being dishonest and transphobic because they are not contextualising these figures. There is obviously going to be a rise in regretters because there is an increase in the number of surgeries. What matters is the proportion of regretters to successful surgeries and here it would appear that, if anything the percentage of them compared to the total number of surgeries performed, is getting significantly smaller. Without contextualising these figures they become meaningless at best and profoundly dishonest at worst. What journalists also need to do to contextualise these figures is to look at regret rates for other types of surgery. The lowest regret rate I could find was for LASIK eye surgery, which is described as having a “very low” dissatisfaction rate of 4%. Many other forms of surgery have dissatisfaction rates that are well into double figures. One of the types of surgery that many trans-haters try to liken to gender affirmation surgery, in order to delegitimise us, is cosmetic surgery. However the difference between the two is a whopping 65% regret rate for cosmetic surgery compared to a tiny fraction of 1% for transgender surgery.

The truth is that surgery for trans people is one of - if not the most - successful surgeries that is carried out on this planet with a regret rate that makes pretty much anything else look irresponsible and which saves countless lives. Some of those lives saved at the time will probably also include people who subsequently become regretters. As psychologist Diane Ehrensaft put it when talking about the risk of regret;

"Is it a risk? Let us call it a possibility. If that is a possibility we think that the most important thing is the same exact idea, find out who you are and make sure you get help facilitating being that person then. We have one risk we know about; the risk to youth when you hold them back and hold back those interventions; depression, anxiety, suicide attempts - even successes. And, if we can give them a better life I weigh that against that there may be a possibility of a change later, but they won’t be alive to change. That’s how I weigh up the scales."

Monday, 2 October 2017

The trans children's conveyor belt and the banal production of ignorance...

I was a trans child. I knew I was a girl just before I started primary school and my gender identity is still female now, despite society's best attempts. My school, however, was on a rough council estate and was not the sort of place someone assigned male would ever have dared to admit to being trans, even if there had been a word for it available to me at that time, which, in the middle of the last century, there was not. 

So unlike most of these people who have plenty to say about trans kids but actually know nothing about them, I can speak from the point of view of actual personal experience. I ached to be acknowledged as a girl when I was a child, but, because the word "transgender" did not exist then, I just thought I was a freak, the
only one in the world, a sad person who didn't deserve to be happy. I grew used to putting on a brave face while hating myself. In effect I was put through a kind of Conversion Therapy by default, which tried to force me to be a boy. It became more confusing after puberty because, although my feminine nature and interests resulted in extensive homophobic bullying, I only fancied girls. If I could have lived as a girl then, I would not have spent my twenties and most of my thirties nervous and lacking totally in self-esteem. If the normal, accepted treatment for trans children today; simple, unconditional acceptance in my true gender, had been available to me in those days I would have grabbed it with both hands and never let go. Instead I grew up in a body that hurt me so much I literally wanted
to throw it in front of an Intercity 125.

In spite all this, and in spite of some serious self-harm, I somehow, but only just, made it to adulthood and on the way I found out a new word; "transsexual" which I looked up in a local library, only to find a vile, disgustingly transphobic hate-text called "The Transsexual Empire". Before the internet it was the only thing I could find out about myself, and it told me I was horrible and should be "mandated out of existence" which I almost did to myself. 

So hearing that the number of trans children contacting Childline has doubled in a year to 2,796 does not surprise me. The stories of fear, isolation, terror, self-hatred and abuse that this figure conceals are incalculable and things I know about from personal experience, except that Childline did not exist back in the 1970s. It was a time of shit cars, boring TV, crap wallpaper and wall-to-wall homophobia, a bit like the wall-to-wall transphobia we are being subjected to in the current media onslaught against trans people.

One of the main targets of this onslaught has been, of course, trans children. The obvious target for the transphobic bullies; a group that cannot answer back and whose parents dare not answer back either for fear of outing their kids to face more transphobic bullying or being accused of child abuse. Those "brave" media voices are raised time and again in the Murdoch propaganda rags, the Mail, the Express, New Statesman and on TV. Bravely these individuals have a go at a group whose members are, in many cases, barely clinging to life and most of whom are self-harming or cowering terrified of being exposed and bullied out of their schools.

These "brave" journalists not only know nothing about trans children (but still have the arrogance to think that they can pontificate about them at length) yet they bring up, time and again, the old trope about a "conveyor belt" to surgical transition. They raise the fear that cisgender kids will somehow, on a whim, end up, many years later, unwillingly on a surgeon's table because, once they have started, it is argued, they will "inevitably" have to proceed to this end.

The ugly mind of Julie Bindel provided an early example of this baseless fabricated fearmongering;

"If I were a teenager today, well-meaning liberal teachers and social workers would probably tell me that I was trapped in the wrong body. They might refer me to a psychiatrist who would prescribe fistfuls of hormones and other drugs. And terrifyingly, I might easily be recommended for gender re-assignment surgery… just because I didn’t like the pink straitjacket imposed on girls."

Well let me confirm that there is a conveyor belt for trans kids, but it is moving in the opposite direction from the one these people tell us it does. It is constantly moving away from the direction of transition, constantly moving towards the social ideal of cisness. Trans kids grow up continually fighting for their right to exist (and let's be clear being forced to exist as a person you cannot be, is no existence, which is why so many trans kids attempt - yes ATTEMPT - suicide, and almost all self-harm). There is a unceasing social pressure to conform to your birth assigned gender, this is a conveyor belt that is impossible to get off, and trans children constantly have to fight against it. The paid hate-mongers of the fourth estate are just trying to make it harder for these children to do so. 

Let's just revisit that point again. 

Cis journalists, comfortably well-off, who have almost certainly never knowingly encountered a trans child in their lives, write reams of material that harms (yes HARMS) trans children, drives most to self-harm and some to suicide, and most of them get paid for it! This is the modern-day version of the Banality of Evil so vividly identified by Hannah Arendt. A huge propaganda machine dedicated to producing damaged children, from these "brave" journalists' MacBook Pros, sitting in their comfortable living-rooms, heated offices or local, trendy, wifi-equipped cafes alongside a Fairtrade Americano, Cappuccino or skinny latte. These people will never experience the sheer terror that their bullying causes, by proxy, every day in schools up and down the country. You too can participate in industrial-scale oppression from the comfort of your own home! 

So let us be clear; every time a privileged TERF or entitled semi-celebrity attempts to spout ignorance about trans kids, they are engaging in child abuse by proxy, they are making it harder for trans kids to be accepted, for their parents to accept them, for schools to counter the bullying that arises as a result of these "brave" writers' precious exercise of "free speech". Trans children have become the subjects of the industrial-scale production of ignorance, a banal production-line of misinformation and hate that has real consequences for real children, but none for its comfortably distanced operators. 

Enjoy your free speech.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Transphobia in the Independent: The "Solution" to the "Problem" of Trans People.

Transphobes are fond of regarding the "problem" of trans people as a consequence of what they describe as "rigid gender roles". This is a complete misunderstanding (which is perhaps deliberate). Consequently their "solution" to the "problem" of trans people is nothing but a form of coercive oppression.

A transphobe called Jo Bartosch
has been allowed, by the Independent, to write a transphobic and dangerous article in one of Britain's daily newspapers, this is unacceptable for a number of reasons. However I want to start this piece by saying very clearly that I am not criticising this piece because it is "offensive". That does not mean that it is not offensive, it is, but that my reasons for criticising the editor for allowing it to be printed are not to do with "offence".

So, before the "grow a thick skin" brigade start putting words in my mouth, let me be very clear about my reasons for calling out this piece.

They are to do with harm. Actual. Physical. Harm.

To children.

First of all, how can I tell the writer is a transphobe? Well there are plenty of tell-tale signs that a simple analysis of her writing reveals.

Firstly she uses the standard-issue TERF myth, "transgender ideology". This is a fiction; an item of deliberate misrepresentation used by transphobes and anti trans fanatics. It has been constructed by transphobes in order to make people think that there is some kind of coherent belief-system, like 'communism' or 'neoliberalism', behind the existence of trans people. There isn't, trans people are trans people. Trans people have existed in all cultures for as long as anything that can be regarded as civilisation has existed on this planet. That is all there is to it. There is no ideology, just people. Transphobes use the term "transgender ideology" as just another means of dehumanising us, in the same way that oppressors have done throughout history.

Secondly she pushes the lie, by implication, that trans children irreversibly transition (ie. taking hormones) at very young ages. They do not. Some trans children take hormone blockers until they are old enough to decide for themselves, and no surgery is allowed before 18. Why the Independent did not do a simple fact-check on this I don't know. By printing this they are complicit in spreading deliberate misrepresentation of trans children in a way that could potentially cause harm or even death.

One of the biggest lies that the Independent allowed this transphobe to spread is this;

"There is no one approved way to respond to a child who declares themselves to be transgender."

Yes there is. 

Listening to the child, allowing the child to express the gender they want, and to identify in the way they want. All medical professionals who specialise in trans children agree on this. 

The suggestion that there is not is factually incorrect. A few transphobes who pretend to be feminists disagree, but they are not experts on trans children. That does not stop Bartosch from spouting the following transphobic ideology (which has only been around for a few decades) as though it represents a serious alternative to treating trans children with humanity and care;

"For decades feminists have fought to liberate people from the gendered expectations of being born female or male, and have spread the message that we should seek to change society, not bodies. The opinion that no child’s body is wrong should not be controversial and it deserves to be heard."

What is interesting here is how transphobes try and make out that there is such a thing as "transgender ideology" while then spouting an actual ideology (namely the one Bartosch describes above), which in this instance she attempts to suggest amounts to some kind of "treatment". The implications of this dishonesty are important to unpack.

If we go down the road that Bartosch's ideology suggests, in effect it will mean preventing trans children from accessing the treatment they need, treatment that keeps them alive. Let's be clear what that treatment is; support, believing the child, listening to the child, treating the child in the way they want, and not forcing any ideology, TERFish or otherwise, on them. In some instances hormone blockers are administered, which delay puberty, the effects of which are fully reversible; when you stop taking them, your puberty starts. These have been administered for a long time, uncontroversially and safely, to non-transgender children whose puberty has started too early. 

If Bartosch's ideology is followed then the TERF "solution" to the "problem" of trans children will be imposed coercively. They will not be believed, not treated humanely, not be supported or listened to, but subject to a kind of Conversion Therapy that forces them back into the boxes society has told them they should be in. They might be told that those boxes can be expanded a little but nevertheless the only alternative to currently accepted treatment is coercive. This is effectively what Bartosch is advocating, even though she does not say so explicitly.

This is dangerous. This is something that will cause harm because it delegitimises trans children and makes us think they are not genuine.

Ask any educational expert, child psychologist, what all children need is basic love, care and understanding, to deny that to a particular group, because they are trans has terrifying consequences. Only a few weeks ago Leo Etherington, a 15-year-old trans boy, died from suicide after this humane treatment, love, care and support, was withheld by his school and his doctor. Leo is not the only trans child in the UK to die from suicide this year either. And a short while ago I visited a trans youth group in the North-West; every single one of the youngsters in that group had self-harmed.

This is the result of Bartosch's ideology. 

The sickening consequences of the "treatment" which she implies are all around us; they are indeed the default. Trans children are treated in this way unless they come out, and request otherwise and insist they are trans, something that is fraught with danger in many cases. 

In effect what Bartosch is doing is suggesting that, because one child who is gay has mistaken gender identity for sexuality, all trans children should be regarded, not as trans but gay, lesbian or non-binary. What Bartosch clearly does not understand is that already most trans children are usually regarded as gay or lesbian anyway, and that it can take them a long time to get past this to understand that they are trans. There is nothing inherently better in being gay than trans and the fact that she attempts to infer that this outcome is better represents profound transphobia (a life of hormones is better than being dead with no hormones). In effect she is arguing the age-old trope that trans people are really gay. 

In essence what psychologist Diane Ehrensaft (who really is an expert about them) said about the possibility of trans kids not turning out to be trans is true; 

"If that is a possibility we think that the most important thing is the same exact idea, find out who you are and make sure you get help facilitating being that person then. We have one risk we know about; the risk to youth when you hold them back and hold back those interventions; depression, anxiety, suicide attempts - even successes. And, if we can give them a better life I weigh that against that there may be a possibility of a change later, but they won’t be alive to change. That’s how I weigh up the scales."

Diane explains very well why the TERF "solution" is dangerous, particularly for trans children. The "solution" that transphobes propose to the "problem" of trans kids all comes from their (deliberate) misunderstanding of trans people;-

What TERFs like Bartosch fail to understand, possibly wilfully, is that identifying as trans is about IDENTITY and BODY Morphology not about "gender roles" or anything else. (Nevertheless the transphobes would like to make it out to be this way, because it suits their ideology.) That is why Gender Identity is called "gender identity" because it is about our gender identities, most trans people want to change their presentation and/or body morphology and names, not because of gender roles because of their "gender identities". I can see why they are confused. 

It does not make and will never make, the slightest bit of difference if gender roles become completely identical, or whether men are allowed to wear dresses or whatever, that is not the point. The TERFs can create some mythical utopian genderfree paradise in the future but it will not make any difference. That is because it is nothing to do with gender roles and never will be, it is about gender identity. 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Lies: What the homophobic Nazi posters in Australia reveal about the trans "debate"

The Nazi homophobic posters appearing around Melbourne, as part
of the Australian referendum campaign on equal marriage are very revealing in a number of ways. One the most revealing is as an illustration of how the trans rights “debate” has proceeded in recent years.

The Nazi posters have made some claims about gay include some
outrageous claims that can only be described as outright lies, such as “92% of children raised by gay parents are abused”. These claims have been deliberately built on a “scientific” study that has been torn apart andthoroughly discredited. They are lies.

Nevertheless Australian Prime Minister Maclolm Turnbull has said that these posters are “part of democratic debate”. Yet in the same way that people have argued about false information spread by transphobes against us, Turnbull made it about something other than what it was;

“People will often say in any democratic debate, they’ll often say things that are hurtful and unfair and sometimes cruel, that is part of a debate.”

Note here that his argument is framing these posters and “hurtful” “unfair” and “cruel”. He is not acknowledging the main criticism of them; namely that they contain lies. This mirrors exactly the experience of trans people in the so-called trans “debate”. Commentators from Julian Barnes in the Telegraph to Nick Cohen in the Guardian have reworded as “offence” trans people’s opposition to transphobes publishing lies and assertions that cause actual harm to trans people, including trans children. Transphobes from Germaine Greer to Milo Yiannopoulos have been defended in this way. The Australian example demonstrates that these supporters of "free speech" are actually attempting to put words into our mouths; the objection to transphobic material being published is not primarily that it is offensive but that it contains lies, and lies that can be verified as lies.

However the trans “debate” continued recently with a dishonest article in the Morning Star by a teacher, who, worryingly, is also in a senior position in the NUT. Amongst the oft-repeated claims she makes are that granting the same rights to trans people as to everyone else (ie. the right to self-identify) would “have huge implications for all of us”. This unsubstantiated assertion is followed up with a similar one; “Neither is it helpful to say that these proposed changes only affect the trans community because it fundamentally isn’t true.” She also says, “The relaxing of any legal definition of what it is to be a man or a woman could render sex discrimination law meaningless”, and perhaps the worst lie of all;

“To deny any group or individual in that group the right to be part of a discussion about their identity is insulting and will result in a failure of the great liberation we are all seeking.”

Given that extending trans rights will not affect anyone other than trans people, this assertion can only be regarded as deliberately misleading. The current trend amongst transphobic bigots is to frame the debate on trans rights as changing women’s identities, as if trans women being able to identify as women fundamentally undermines the identities of cis women, a ridiculous claim that is easily exposed by asking the simple question of it, “How?”

Like the claim that trans kids are automatically on some kind
of "conveyor belt" to surgical transition, the NUT Vice president's assertion is a pure fabrication, yet it is one that gets plenty of airing to the extent that I’m sure that the TERFs would be using the slogan “We want our gender back!” if UKIP had not got there first. 

So if there is no threat to women's identities from trans people's human rights, why do transphobes want to muscle in on the campaign for trans people's rights. The answer can only be to prevent trans people from having equal rights, not to protect women, but because these people hate us. They want to do this, not because trans people having equal human rights to cisgender people threatens any cisgender people, because that argument is so obviously false but to keep trans women, in particular, in their place as "Women; 2nd class".

One of the problems for trans people is that the way the media is currently constituted makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a group of people who are the object of this dishonesty to have a response printed which directly exposes the falsehoods and deception these kind of articles spread. Because most people have little knowledge of trans issues, that makes it easy for transphobes to take advantage of editors' reluctance to publish any right-to-reply. This has been used to distribute transphobic material unopposed.

The example of Nazi homophobic lies in Australia is obvious to most people; indeed large numbers of people will see through these kind of lies. This is not the case for trans issues. What the Australian example reveals to those not affected by this morass of transphobic hate is the nature of this trans “debate”. It is a “debate” which, like those mendacious Australian posters, is made up with one side’s material being comprised of almost entirely lies or unsubstantiated claims, and the other side attempting to expose this dishonesty with basic facts. Yet when we complain about these lies we are told we are merely “offended” rather than deliberately misrepresented. 

So next time we hear of someone complaining about lack of “debate”, or that “women’s” voices – ie transphobes - (inferring that trans women are not women) should be “heard” in this debate, what follows is almost certain to be even more lies, misinformation and unsubstantiated claims. That, unfortunately, is the nature of this debate. One side would not be able to take part at all if dishonesty, unsubstantiated claims and outright lies were excluded.