On 23 November the National published an article by one of their regular columnists, decrying the “lack of empathy” of those questioning the SNP Government’s unfailing support for the strange proposition that men who identify as women (transwomen) are the most victimised group on earth.
As JK Rowling was told in no uncertain terms, the only response to the claim that transwomen (ie.men) can be women if they say they are is total agreement. Women have to be prepared to share intimate single sex services and spaces with men if they “identify” themselves as women.
The Scottish Government has agreed to change the definition of women in legislation that 50% of places on public boards must go to a woman to anyone who claims to be a woman for the purposes of appointment as a woman to a public board. The Crown Office, the police, and the Prison Service have adopted policy that transwomen should be charged, tried and sentenced as women.
Education Scotland and local councils have endorsed guidance that children should be taught they may have been born in the wrong body and that the doctor made a mistake about their identity at birth. Womens Aid and Rape Crisis have adopted the belief that men can be women and must have places in these services for women who have suffered male violence. These are just a few of the frankly unbelievable consequences of the credo that “gender identity” must trump the reality of sex.
It has been the fastest piece of reversal of women’s rights ever. Lesbianism no longer exists, and young lesbians are lectured on how to accommodate “lady dicks” or be prepared to be run out of their own clubs and societies. Actual women are now to be called “cis women”. The term woman is erased from adverts for tampons or calls for breast and cervical screening.
Women have no rights to organise separately. Women’s meetings on the subject of our own rights have been met with threats, intimidation, protests to the venues, smoke bombs, barrages of chanting and banging on windows and doors. “Liking” a Facebook post by feminist organisations such as For Women Scotland or Women’s Place UK, is accepted as grounds for investigation and disciplinary action by employers in both public and private sector.
A judge ruled in court that a woman of 64 who was the victim of assault by a young man in his 20s was not entitled to full damages because she used male and not female pronouns for him when giving her evidence about how he attacked her and threw her to the ground.
And we are to believe that this is all in the name of human rights?
In the real world, 90 women have been killed by partners or ex-partners in the UK during lockdown this year. Women’s Aid reports record numbers of calls for help. Not a single “transwoman” has been killed in that time. Not a single transwoman has been killed in Scotland for at least ten years. When transwomen are killed, they are killed by men and not by women.
So when I saw the the complaint about lack of empathy by Stephen Paton, I wrote this letter to the National, which to their credit they did publish some days later. I sent it as an article, an opinion piece just like the piece by Stephen Paton which they paid for with my subscription money.
On the matter of empathy
I know I speak for many women when I write to you in utter frustration and anger at the continued vilification of anyone, but particularly women, who dares to contradict the insistence that we all have to agree with the currently fashionable transgender ideology. We are told that we must accept that children can be “born in the wrong body” having been wrongly “assigned a gender” on the basis of their genitalia. To me and most adults this is not a new frontier in the fight for human rights, but rather a relatively new minted belief that stems from and is allied to extremes of sexism and homophobia. Sexist stereotyping is at the heart of insistence that it is not “natural” for boys to like clothes and toys and books and activities that only girls are supposed to like, and vice versa for girls. Transgender beliefs deny same sex attraction, and therefore homosexuality. If sex has no meaning or definition, there can be no such thing as same sex attraction can there?
Your columnist Stephen Paton devoted a column (23 November) to tell us that we lack empathy and that are against equality because we object to the constant demand that we accept a hierarchy of oppression, which somehow once again has men right at the top. We who disagree are chided by Stephen Paton for a lack of empathy for transpeople on (yet another) day of remembrance. But no figures, no names, no inquests into these claimed deaths were forthcoming from Paton or anyone else. In fact Scotland, with no recorded murders of transwomen at all in over 10 years, seems to be quite a safe place for transwomen and transmen. Why not celebrate that? And remember instead the women who have been killed, the girls suffering and even dying from anorexia and other self harms? The truth is that there are statistically more transwomen serving sentences for murder and rape of women in the UK than transwomen who have been victims of murder.
Most women I know have huge empathy for the men and women and children who struggle with living in their sexed bodies. But that empathy does not mean agreeing to demands that deny the separate identity and needs of women and girls. Women and girls are being forced to accept men accessing our most intimate health care and other services where we are vulnerable to sexual and physical assault. The eminently sensible question “should men be allowed into showers with naked teenage girls, whether those girls agree or not?” is denounced as transphobic. If that is not recognised as a red flag, what will be?
Women and girls are abused and murdered on a regular basis in Scotland as in nearly every country in the world. 90 women have been killed in the UK is year alone during the Covid pandemic lock-up. We do know the names and identities of women killed and injured by men. There have been trials and inquests and fatal accident enquiries. When we count the women who are dead, we are not counting imagined deaths in places far away but actual women we have known in every town in Scotland. Women whose sisters and mothers and friends remember them. Women who have stood at school gates with other women, shopped, cooked, married, danced. Yet still women are told off by Stephen Paton and his ilk for having a feminist opinion.
The Scotsman reports today that half – yes half! – of all women and girls in Scotland were subjected to street sex based harassment by men and boys this summer. Those men know what a woman is. 80% of parents worry that their daughters will be sexually harassed. Most of the assaults are unreported. Whistles, lewd gestures, gropes and grabs, are all part of what girls grow to expect. We have to keep ourselves safe or be judged to have caused our own misfortune. Girls in school uniforms are subject to adult men’s lewd attentions. One of girls’ major complaints in surveys of school aged children is of sexual harassment by boys. The men frightening and offending against women and girls don’t stop to ask what pronouns they use, or whether they “identify as” women. They know what a woman is.
Unsurprisingly, it is girls who are particularly affected by trans-ideology. There has been a huge rise in the numbers seeking a medical solution having been wrongly promised hormones and surgery will release them from what seems to the adolescent girl the horror of being a woman. They will and do grow out of it if allowed to, but now are being encouraged to take life changing decisions before they mature. If parents object they are vilified as transphobic bigots and even accused of child abuse.
Accepting and embracing outrageous demands for women’s rights and children’s minds is not empathy, and it is not kind.
It’s time that there was a bit more empathy for women and girls. Erasing women’s existence as a separate sex with our separate rights and needs is not “empathetic”. And its time we had a bit more actual evidence of harm from those who would refuse us our own name and definition, and yet accuse us of lack of empathy.
The letter attracted lots of online attention and has been well received and supported. In the National itself, of 17 recorded comments submitted, nine had to be deleted before publication. The eight other comments were all supportive. Vicious personal attacks, obscenities such as JK Rowling, Joanna Cherry and Joan McAlpine have received by the thousand. Such is the nature of the opposition. Those like Patrick Harvie, Shirley Anne Somerville, Alex Cole Hamilton, and sadly even Nicola Sturgeon who support the trans lobby and its credo that “transwomen are women” do not deign to meet with or even reply to women who put forward the case against. Instead they hide behind the claim that transwomen are the most oppressed of the oppressed which justifies the obscenities and threats levelled at women who object.
Image by Sam Tobin/PA via AP, of Keira Bell who recently worn a case in the High Court in London as one of two claimants against a National Health Service trust that runs the U.K.’s public gender identity development service for children; she was prescribed hormone blockers at 16, and argued that the clinic should have challenged her more over her decision to transition to a male.