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Dear India Willoughby - Where Is Your Solidarity ?

05/04/2017 16:36
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Dear India,

It's all too easy at the moment for people to deride and deny the rights of trans women and, when it comes from one of my own, it hurts even more. Of course, I am talking about your comments in Pink News "Unless you are transitioning, stay out of the ladies".

It hurts more when that woman speaks without understanding or knowledge of the community she has entered, and its broad diversity. I also recognise that this is a community you appear to want to exit as fast as you entered, so releasing your comments as you did, on the annual Transgender Day of Visibility, simply demonstrates further to me your lack of respect to the community you are part of, like it or not.

Furthermore, the only people who are going to "get seriously hurt", are the trans people you have dismissed as weekend women.

Ignorance About Your Community

Your comments display a level of ignorance for the trans community that comes from privilege, and a self-centred approach which ignores other people's personal situations, ignores non-binary gender identity, ignore female-to-male, ignores intersex, and ignores the fact that some people are simply are too scared (or too fearful) of expressing the gender they identify with. Not everyone is as courageous as you, and not everyone is prepared to "walk through fire" to realise their true authentic self.

As a trans woman myself, I must add that, although my journey was mentally and emotionally challenging, and physically painful at times, I am certain it's not akin to walking through fire.

Far from being a dresser who is cross, I am a woman that is cross - VERY cross with your comments.

Your furthering of the "bloke who likes to frock-up once a week" stereotype is simply too offensive a label for anyone who has not decided to transition.

The Evil People

Jenni Murray cannot be compared to the abhorrent Germaine Greer. Like your views, both are wrong, and your views simply add fuel to their arguments, that trans women are not real women. A woman like you. Germaine Greer will never see you as a woman, the TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) will never allow you in ANY women's spaces - to them you are simply a man who puts a dress on every day. It's offensive, and it's wrong.

Fay Weldon's next instalment of 'She-devil', which will see the male protagonist forced to live as a woman to inherit a legacy, is far from a new plot. This year also saw the release of Michelle Rodriguez film 'The Assignment', renamed from '(Re)Assignment', as the latter title was too offensive. Weldon is not like Greer or Murray; she is simply a businesswoman cashing in on current trans hysteria. Ring any bells?

And, yes, Ian Huntley is an evil person, far more evil than those mentioned above. It is unfortunate that they have decided come out as trans. However, if they are trans it is something we need to deal with. We need to make sure people separate their heinous crimes from the fact they are trans - punishing their crimes rather than their gender (and us). Notwithstanding my own personal feelings towards them, we live is a country that values democracy and the rule of law. Sometimes the price for this is something we don't like.

Would anyone want Ian Huntley in their bathroom? No! But this is not about them being trans.
Trans people are not evil and criminal, but sometimes evil people and criminals are trans - or cisgender men, or women.

No Solidarity for The Journey

As you have stopped biting your lip over the people you don't see as "real" transgender women, let me talk about solidarity for the people still on their journey, and trans IS a journey. Sometimes, like yourself, that journey once started is relatively swift.

For others it can take a lifetime, passing through various phases of gender expression - going backwards and forwards. Neither journey is right, or wrong - they are just different.

These people are all trans. Sometimes that journey doesn't come to a conclusion, sometimes it is cut short prematurely as the agony of gender dysphoria is too great to endure.

For some people expressing their gender temporarily is enough to keep them sane, whilst protecting their livelihood, family and friends - it is never right or wrong, it is just another choice that is equally difficult to make. It doesn't mean that they are not transgender.

And I am sure you had those moments during your transition where you didn't quite know which toilet to use. The point where the hormones hadn't quite kicked in to softened your features, your hair was still short, or you felt your wig wasn't convincing enough. Do I pass? Will someone tell me to get out? Too feminine for the gent's toilet, and probably not quite "good enough" for the ladies.

Being trans is always going to be about which gender space is appropriate. I was sexually abused as a child, and when I wanted group support I was refused by both men's and women's support networks. It's about using and respecting the spaces, and being appropriate. Your stance is not proportional, or appropriate.

Loose Woman

You appear to be no better than career-minded women in the 90's who pulled the ladder up behind them as their careers peaked. The trans (and LGB) movement has come on a long way without you; it is now both progressive and inclusive. I get you don't want to be part of it - you want to be a woman - but please never dismiss other people who are simply "not trans enough" for your binary and elitist view.

And, quite honestly, I'd rather not be associated with you as a trans woman if this is your feelings towards my friends and, in my trans history, towards me. The confidence I took from exploring my own gender identity would not have been possible if your version of the "transgender police" came into force.

I'm fed up about being polite about it, because the consequence of not spelling out the similarities could have a direct impact on other people's lives and well-being. The subtext here is that, rather than telling people that they are not quite "good enough", you are actually saying they are not as good as you.

So let me be clear, people should be able to use the gendered spaces they are presenting as, or feel comfortable in, and you should know better than to dismiss large sections of a community you appear to know nothing about.

Tough love, love.

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