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Hadley Freeman on Self ID of gender in The Guardian

(173 Posts)
NoSquirrels Sat 31-Mar-18 17:50:39

I’m popping over from MN to see if there’s been any threads over here in politics about Hadley Freeman and her articles in the Guardian this week, particularly this one:

I read this and thought it articulated so well all my issues with the transgender self-identification debate, and was very fair and balanced. But on social media she is getting a HUGE kicking as transphobic, hate speech etc.

It seems to me there’s a generation gulf and the younger generation can’t see that saying transgender rights shouldn’t adversely affect women’s rights is automatically bigoted. Which just seems mad to me.

There’s a petition you might have seen if you’ve been following the issue, but in case it is new to you it’s here:

Politics seems to be very lively on Gransnet but not much discussion of this, so perhaps it’s also not interesting to the generation above me too? Or perhaps it’s just not being talked about yet?

Esspee Sat 31-Mar-18 18:02:55

My feeling is that we of the older generation view the current trans gender issue as fundamentally flawed. Everyone I know considers it a complete load of bollocks.

NoSquirrels Sat 31-Mar-18 18:07:17

Self ID is completely bollocks? Or just all the discussion around it?

minesaprosecco Sat 31-Mar-18 18:10:34

Trouble is espee no matter what you think, or anyone else, thinks about it, it's an issue that could affect very many women. Self ID is a minefield and the consequences just aren't being thought through properly.

NoSquirrels Sat 31-Mar-18 18:17:00

I’m just interested in why the issue isn’t getting out there - I know feminists have always been considered as people to be ignored, but this idea of self-identifying gender does away with biology completely, it seems to me- and I am sure most of the population wouldn’t be OK with that. But it’s not being talked about except in terms of how we need to be inclusive and redefine terms like ‘woman’ completely.

Wheniwasyourage Sat 31-Mar-18 18:50:12

Hadley Freeman is (as usual IMO) spot on. I think one reason this is not being talked about is that people don't believe that anything as totally ludicrous like the proposals for self ID can possibly be true. I know it's causing problems for genuine trans-gender people (the ones who have gone through the process of living as their chosen gender and had hormones and/or surgical treatment) and also for lesbians, who are accused of being transphobic if they don't want to sleep with a man who is self-identifying as a woman! confused

winterwhite Sat 31-Mar-18 18:53:47

Not sure why the OP thinks this would be thought uninteresting to grandparents. Or who thinks feminism an issue to be ignored. On the contrary in both cases I would have said.
There have certainly been threads, or one long thread, on GN about self-identification.

Wheniwasyourage Sat 31-Mar-18 18:55:39

Yes, and a lot of us signed the petition when it was mentioned on the last thread (by the same OP, wasn't it?)

Wheniwasyourage Sat 31-Mar-18 18:56:32

Yes, it was the same OP. Just checked.

MaizieD Sat 31-Mar-18 19:00:29

I thought this was discussed quite extensively at the time of the previous thread?

NoSquirrels Sat 31-Mar-18 19:17:43

Yes - apologies, was me last time too! I thought possibly posters on News & Politics was a slightly different audience, but perhaps GN is smaller than I’d thought - and I am genuinely interested that it’s not being discussed more in general.

I solemnly promise not to bother you all about it again though wink

Iam64 Sat 31-Mar-18 19:39:41

hello there NoSquirrels good to see you back. I do like it when someone "pops over from mums net". Please do continue to 'bother' us about all of this, as often as you like. My sister phoned earlier and said how much she'd enjoyed the Hadley Freeman article. The Guardian is currently in other hands (probably along with the tv remote) so I was very pleased to read the link you gave.
I'm an old style feminist, I struggled with some of the rad fem issues in the 70's. I was happy to declare myself a Political Lesbian, much less so about the abuse I got from our local Wimins Group when I was seen out "with a man". They were heady days when there were serious discussions about the age at which boy children could be excluded from wimin only meetings. At least we talked and talked and talked some more about women's rights and we organised our local women's refuge, and various other significant things.
I'm grateful to the younger feminists for carrying on and carrying on. I'm happy to sign petitions, write to my MP and anything else that will help with the current Self ID stuff. The fact the issue was discussed extensively on the previous thread doesn't diminish its continued importance.

NoSquirrels Sat 31-Mar-18 20:07:07

Thanks Iam. I’m not in any way “rad” and so that’s why this is so fascinating/scary to me - a sleepwalk into ceding even ‘woman’ to people who are not-women ...

Bridgeit Sat 31-Mar-18 21:00:18

I think we all need to get a grip really, everyone is terrified of saying the wrong thing or being called out for mis -titling someone. Whilst I do think it’s important to address a person however they choose, I also believe we should be allowed to lighten up a bit & just apologies if we get it wrong or just ask the question ‘how do you want to named, introduced etc etc. ‘ it’s not rocket science or life threatening!

petra Sat 31-Mar-18 22:52:01

I think Esspee speaks for many ( maybe not on GN) including my 3 daughters and niece.
a complete load of bollocks

MaizieD Sat 31-Mar-18 23:41:49

I might be 'old' but I don't think it's a complete load of bollocks. But I think that social media is possibly whipping it up out of all proportion.

I don't know what the experience of trans women has been like over the past few decades as I don't (to my knowledge) know any and it's not a subject that has been particularly prominent in mainstream media. I recall the furore when James Morris became Jan Morris, 1972. but I really thought that it had become perfectly acceptable, mainstream and non controversial by now.

But this issue of self identifying but not actually transitioning is a different matter. I think it seems like a reluctance to commit to actually becoming (as far as is possible) a woman and immediately places a question mark over the motives of the self identifier. Added to that are all the reservations about people who are basically still men using women's spaces, competing in sports with women and even taking positions where they speak on behalf of women. I don't find this acceptable.

I know that some aspects of 'gender' are cultural constructs but there are physical aspects of being a woman that no trans woman could ever experience. I suppose that I'm saying that I just don't think they can be 'real' women.

NoSquirrels Sat 31-Mar-18 23:55:04

I’ll leave you this for anyone who thinks it’s easy to get it right on how to address someone:

As a non-binary trans person, it makes a huge difference to feel that my gender is seen by people. Most days involve fairly constant misgendering as I get called madam or sir in shops and cafes, she or he by people who don't know me – and some that do

So damned if you do - and if you don’t! From this article in the Indy

BlueBelle Sun 01-Apr-18 08:07:11

I m afraid I m in the bollocs camp they can make a problem out of a grain of sand nowadays if someone tells me what to call them I ll call them it otherwise I ll call them what I see in front of me a he if it appears a he a she if it appears a she
If it keeps changing tough I can’t read their thoughts so I ll have to offend them

Elegran Sun 01-Apr-18 08:41:10

" . . . it makes a huge difference to feel that my gender is seen by people" but we can only see what is in front of our eyes, we are not mindreaders.

Also, if we already know someone by one gender, it is a very big move to alter our relationship with them even for a once-in-a-lifetime change. That is multiplied when it is several times over, as is necessary when non-binary people switch back and forward from one gender to another.

I appreciate that it has been a great upheaval for a trans person to change such a basic factor, but someone who spends half their time in one gender and half in another is surely NOT undergoing that same initial upheaval daily/weekly/whatever so they don't have the same claim for understanding from me each time they swap over - they must excuse me if I get confused and have compassion fatigue. It does seem a bit like choosing to have a foot in each world and wanting the advantages of both but also special consideration in both.

sodapop Sun 01-Apr-18 08:47:14

Totally agree Elegran

Granny23 Sun 01-Apr-18 09:33:49

Bluebelle You just solved that problem with your last line - 'I'll have to offend THEM'. I think our heavily gendered language has a lot to answer for. All this Mr Mrs Miss Ms stuff, boys and girls (what is wrong with children?), Ladies and Gentlemen, the men and the girls in the Office (ie Staff) and on and on. We seem to have managed to get rid of 'ette' from Usherette, and the ess from Conductress, Manageress, etc. but I still hear oddities such as The Doctor and the Lady Doctor; The Nurse and the Male Nurse.

Why does the 1st question on any form, survey, application ask if you are Male, Female or (nowadays) Other?

I currently have a problem - namely how to take DH (who has dementia and needs help with dressing) to the swimming pool with me. There are two large disabled accessible cubicles but one is in the middle of the Ladies changing room, the other in the middle of the Gents facilities. Segregation?

Luckygirl Sun 01-Apr-18 09:34:35

a non-binary trans person - I am not even clear what one of these is! Where does the non-binary come in?

I have a friend who transitioned from male to female - surgery, hormones, the lot - and that seems to be what she wants. To be brutally frank she looks like a pantomime dame: 6 foot 4, huge hands and feet, large masculine features, all with the addition of boobs. I think her every moment in public must require courage as she gets stared at - but, as I say, she appears to be happy with her choice, which is what matters.

I can understand her desire to be recognised as female.

But the whole self-identification thing is indeed utter nonsense, or as identified above, complete bollocks (or possibly lack thereof). I do hope that the powers-that-be do not rush into any legal changes just to appear "right on" without a period of proper consideration and consultation.

And as for chopping and changing......words fail me.

We can never truly escape our biology, as my friend demonstrates.

Bridgeit Sun 01-Apr-18 12:33:48

Lots of commonsense posts on here Ladies,

trisher Sun 01-Apr-18 13:07:40

I do think this has become such an intellectualised debate and so many factors have been brought into it that blur the issue that it is virtually impossible to look objectively at things. So there is the issue of changing facilities and loos, where it is feared self identifying transgender men will assault women. Firstly there always have been and always will be men who assault women, and if we were to live our lives in absolute protecton we would still operate purdah, secondly there are some women (few I know) who assault other women. How are we to be protected from them?
I am firstly a human being and although I may have more experiences in common with women, there are men I have things in common with as well. I have no doubt there will be transgender women I share experiences with and transgender women I have nothng in common with.
I don't suppose the majority of men will want to self-identify as women and who knows the ones that do may add to our acheiving true equality. I do think people who publish articles such as Hadley Freemen would be better off campaigning for proper representation in Parliament for women, or for better childcare, or for better pay and protection for women on zero hours contracts. The argument over what is a woman is something that really won't impact on most of our lives. We may find self-identifying men in the changing room and loos who still have penises, but honestly will a brief glimpse of something so insignificnt really matter in the fight for female equality?Let's focus on matters that will change things like the 50/50 campaign

SueDonim Sun 01-Apr-18 14:14:06

Hello, NoSquirrels, it's nice to have a visitor from MN!

That's a very good article, and I agree with Elegran's post, whereas Trisher's post, I feel, is trying to do the very thing Hadley Freeman is writing about - silencing women and closing down debate.

People are perfectly able to talk and campaign about more than one issue at a time. If this is an issue which bothers someone, why shouldn't they speak of it?