Monthly Archives: February 2020

No equality on a dying planet

While we are striving to settle the most contraversial issues just now, maybe worth considering the words of Sisie Orbach, by way of context?

“With a broken planet, we will have no gay rights, no feminism, no respect for trans people, no attempt at fairness and justice for people of colour.
Brutality is only kept at bay by the rule of law and by there being a critical number of educated people, in work, healthy and worth enough money and food to keep them invested in society. (The Climate Emergency and the End of Diversity, Matthew Todd)
Law and order only holds as long as it serves people, as long as they can feed themselves and their families. All consideration of equality and decency disappears in the face of desperation.

We participate in activities that are often against our self interest. We are seduced into thinking that uncomfortable things will go away or that “science” will solve the problems. But it’s not accurate and the urgency upon us means we need to engage with our own denial.
(Climate Sorrow, Sisie Orbach)

Debbie Hayton, trans supporter of Labour

Exasperated trans Labour supporter

I listened yesterday to a radio debate between an AllianceLGB ‬spokesperson and a journalist applauding some Labour Leadership candidates for signing a pledge calling on the Party to expel “transphobic” members.

A trans caller made an interesting contribution, saying that women are women, an immutable biological fact, and trans women are trans women, not women. It reminded me of interviews with Sharon Davies early last year, in the context of discussions on transgender athletes, where she said allowing transgender athletes to enter female competitions “has the potential to ruin women’s sport”. She argued that transgender athletes who were born male have a physical advantage over cisgendered women, presumably concerned at the possibility Martina Navratilova had raised, where ”…someone cynically changes gender, perhaps temporarily, to gain a competitive advantage”. There were also echoes there of worries about male-bodied people entering women’s spaces. I suppose that might be a problem, in rare cases, but there is also a danger of assuming the worst of all trans people, and that is clearly absolutely wrong.

I heard Sharon explain she was referring to the XX and XY sex chromosomes, that determine things like relative bone density and ability to recover from injury. The science escapes me now, but I think I may also have heard that XX/XY does not invariably set a hard and fast division between sexes.

This all goes to show there are immense difficulties in classifying by gender (however identified) or by sex. I hope that our Leadership candidates have considered all this; and I hope someone can explain it to me dispassionately. It is surely an issue (range of issues?) that deserves cool discussion, without presupposition of the motives of participants in that discussion?