protest 2

Photo from Twiter

*BREAKING STORY*

London – Furious at the impending erasure of women’s rights resulting from the 2015 Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee Report headed by the Conservative Party’s Maria Miller, women representing a coalition of feminist, progressive, and lesbian organizations picketed today’s Westminster Social Policy Forum on Transgender Rights.

 

Protesters expressed outrage at the Committee’s recommendation to remove sex-based protections for women and girls by erasing the protected category of ‘sex’ and replacing it with an undefined category of ‘gender identity’. The proposed change would eliminate the ability of women to seek redress under law for sex discrimination and sex inequality. Such violations would no longer be recognized by the state as the category of ‘sex’ itself would no longer exist.

 

If the Equality Committee’s recommendations go forth as planned, the elimination of legal sex as a protected class will be replaced by an individual’s declaration of their subjective and internal gender-based “feelings”. This would give men who proclaim such gender feelings the legal right to expose themselves in women’s locker rooms and other single-sex facilities where public nudity occurs and where women are particularly vulnerable. Convicted male prisoners who proclaim gender feelings will be housed in cells with confined female prisoners who will have no legal grounds to object. Men will have the right to compete in women’s sports, apply for women’s scholarships, and the right to serve as female proxies by occupying affirmative action slots which formerly served to address sex inequality in women’s representation in public life. Single-sex rape crisis services, women’s refuges, lesbian public events, will become illegal on the grounds they discriminate against the gender feelings of men.

bathroom-uk_640x345_acf_cropped

From a flyer distributed at the protest:

 

Women’s voices are being ignored and our rights eroded in the name of ‘transgender equality’. Current policy recommendations regarding transgender rights have a potentially adverse effect on women in a number of ways:

 

  • The pressure on parents to accept a trans diagnosis for a gender non-conforming child, based on gender stereotypes of clothing and toy preferences; or in the case of teenagers, to give in to the social media contagion to which they might be susceptible.

 

  • The threat to current sex-based rights, which keep males and females segregated in public places where women and girls might be physically vulnerable. These include toilets, changing rooms, rape crisis centres, refuges, hospital wards and prisons.

 

  • The inclusion of male-bodied, male-socialised people, into areas of success and achievement where women currently have their own space in order to make competition fair or to level the playing field. These include sports, prizes and awards, shortlists and quotas.

 

  • The negative affect on the lesbian community of the pressure on young women to identify as trans rather than as lesbian. There is also pressure to accept male-bodied self-identified ‘lesbians’ as sexual partners.

 

  • The skewing of national statistics regarding crime, due to the higher rate of offending by male transitioners as opposed to women, with possible knock-on effects on funding for women’s services.

 

  • The effect on the ‘trans widows’ of men (and it mostly is men) who transition in middle age. There is nowhere for these women to turn: all the help and support is directed towards the ‘trans’ person.

 

  • The changing of language pertinent to women and girls in order to make it more trans-inclusive, thereby making ‘women’s issues’ impossible to talk about. This includes the use of such terms as ‘pregnant people’ by health providers.

 

 

No women’s groups were invited to testify at the 2015 Women’s and Equalities Committee hearings on the largest proposed rollback to the legal status of women since the birth of the Suffrage Movement.

The Independent covered the growing outrage in January of this year, reporting on Committee Chair MP Maria Miller: “The former Culture secretary said she was taken aback by the “extraordinary” hostility from a minority of women “purporting to be feminists”.

“The only negative reaction that I’ve seen has been by individuals purporting to be feminists,” Miller went on to say.

Fellow committee member, Labour MP Jess Phillips, was quoted as saying: “Some feminists prioritise gender equality above all else, but I think we should also do our bit to promote general equality.”

 

Today’s public forum at Congress Centre in London was organized by the same individuals behind the proposal to erase legal sex-based protections for women and girls. From the event page:

We are delighted to include at this seminar keynote addresses from Jackie Driver, Director, Funded Programmes, Equality and Human Rights Commission; Will Huxter, Regional Director of Specialised Commissioning (London) and Chair, Gender Identity Task and Finish Group, NHS England and Ade Rawcliffe, Creative Diversity Manager, Channel 4.

Helen Belcher, Trustee, Trans Media Watch; Dr Polly Carmichael, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director, Gender Identity Development Service, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust; Peter Dawson, Deputy Director, Prison Reform Trust; Dave Frost, Vice-Chair, LGBT Committee, Equity; Susie Green, Chief Executive Officer, Mermaids UK; Dr Debbie Hayton, Head of Physics, King Henry VIII School, Coventry, West Midlands; Member, NASUWT and Member, TUC LGBT Committee; Delia Johnston, Specialist Diversity Consultant, Trans in Sport; Anna Lee, Vice President, Welfare and Community, Lancaster University Students’ Union; Megan Key, Equalities Manager, National Probation Service; Steve Mulcahy, Headteacher, Richard Lander School, Cornwall have also agreed to speak.

Baroness Barker, Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights and Ruth Cadbury MP, Member, Women and Equalities Committee have kindly agreed to chair this seminar.

The agenda [http://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/agenda/transgender-equality-2016-agenda.pdf]

protest 3

Photo from Twitter

Women’s groups represented at the protest include the Women and Girls Equality Network, Transgender Trend, UK Lesbian Rights Group, and Parents Campaigning for Sex Equality for Children, among others.

Another flyer from protesters:

flyer 2

 

*UPDATES TO THIS STORY WILL BE POSTED IN COMMENTS BELOW*

protest1

Photo from Twitter

Same-Sex partners Nancy and Thomas, mother of three.

Same-Sex partners: Nancy with Thomas Beatie, mother of three.

There is no such thing as a pregnant man, ruled Judge Douglas Gerlach in Arizona court today. The judge rejected female “Pregnant Man” Thomas Beatie’s petition for divorce from her wife on the grounds that their marriage was a same-sex marriage, regardless of Beatie’s transgender legal status as “male”. Same-sex marriages are not recognized in the state of Arizona.

Thomas Beatie, 38, was a lesbian named Tracy Lehuanani Lagondino living in the state of Hawaii when she underwent surgical breast removal and began testosterone injections to masculinize herself cosmetically. Tracy had been a model and teenaged beauty queen with a strong belief in sex-based personality theory. There is no national criteria for changing legal sex in the United States and each state determines its own legal criteria. The state of Hawaii allowed her to change her birth certificate from female to male based on a note from her doctor that she had undergone cosmetic breast removal and synthetic hormone injections.

In 2003 Beatie married another woman, Nancy, and after stopping her testosterone injections, gave birth to three children via sperm purchased over the internet. In 2008 Beatie made headlines as “The First Pregnant Man”, appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show and selling her story to tabloids worldwide. The couple moved to Arizona.

Last March Beatie filed for divorce and began selling videos of her wife to tabloids – videos in which Nancy appeared to be intoxicated. Thomas claimed in her divorce papers that Nancy had punched her “in the crotch”, a charge that Nancy denied. The divorce proceedings were delayed because Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach was unable to find a legal precedent or authority that defined a male as an individual capable of giving birth.

Today’s ruling reflects that reality: Males are not capable of giving birth. Transgender activists had sought to redefine sex as a matter of stereotyped cosmetic appearance or personality type rather than reproductive fact. Instead, the judge determined: Thus, by urging that Arizona law equates a double mastectomy with a sex change operation, the Parties’ contention, if adopted, would lead to circumstances in which a person’s sex can become a matter of whim and not a matter of any reasonable, objective standard or policy, which is precisely the kind of absurd result the law abhors.” 

The judge issued a separate ruling disolving the same-sex union and outlining child custody arrangements and child support. Nancy Beatie has stated that she is pleased with the result. Thomas Beatie and her attorneys will conduct a news conference about the ruling next week.

CULTURE_power_list_thomas_beatie_300co-2