This is an account of the “Transgender Equality: What Next?” event that was held on Tuesday night in London (Sept 14), written by Stephanie Davies-Arai.
“In terms of socialised male/female power relations, the females still catered to the males, took them seriously and showed them respect, the males demonstrated a sense of entitlement, assertiveness and confidence in being right. The serious responses to transwomen and contrasting lack of interest in the concerns of women from Ruth Cadbury and Maria Miller looked no different to what women have come to expect in politics: the male sex is taken seriously, the female sex is not.
As women, we respectfully listened to transwomen’s views and the three of us who had a chance to speak made our points calmly and politely. We raised points about the sterilisation and lifelong medicalisation of ‘gender non-conforming’ children, the teaching of ‘gender identity’ to children in schools, women’s rights to single-sex spaces and services, the issue of male violence against women, and the protection of women-only awards, scholarships, prizes and sports etc. The lack of engagement with these issues, and the total absence of curiosity about our concerns was stark. Even the words ‘sterilisation of children’ met with impassive faces. Women know so well that feeling of being invisible, but it still always comes as a shock.
We were also met with the kind of emotional manipulation, gaslighting, minimising and denial of our reality that women are used to experiencing from men. We had threats (unless the comment “you wanna take it outside?” was just “banter”) and there were cries of “TERF!” “It’s not about you!” and “I AM a woman!” When the point was made that there were areas where the pursuit of trans rights clashed with women’s rights, it was met with an immediate chorus of ‘No!” and the speaker was eventually shouted down completely. Two young women sitting behind us kept up a tirade of abuse; we were told we were disgusting, that we should feel ashamed, that we had no right to be there and should leave.”