A Meaningful Transition? – Julia Long

If you can’t change your sex, why are the terms ‘transsexual’ and ‘transwoman’ lent credence among British gender critical feminists?

Jennifer Bilek’s important recent article on ‘good transwomen’ has initiated a long-overdue conversation about the role and influence of ‘transsexuals’ within gender critical spaces. In this piece I continue the conversation with a consideration of the inhibiting effects of their presence on critical thinking and language use in the British context.

Language determines what is perceptible, thinkable, possible and knowable within a culture. Language develops to support and enable different ways of thinking, or is suppressed in order to discourage them. The speed and ease with which new terms are established determines how quickly new social realities become normal; ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ are obvious current examples. The relationship between the words we use and the lives we live is, to borrow Andrea Dworkin’s phrase, an umbilical one.

This relationship is nowhere more obvious than in the phenomenon of ‘transgenderism,’1 which has over the past decade or so introduced a dizzying and seemingly endless proliferation of patently absurd new terms and concepts: ‘gender identity’, ‘trans woman’, ‘non-binary’. Given that these terms are based on false premises and easily exposed as fictitious, it is strange that the British gender critical2 movement has shown very little willingness to reject wholesale the pernicious language of transgenderism. High-profile groups such as A Woman’s Place UK (WPUK) and Fair Play for Women insist that they are in favour of the rights of ‘trans people’, habitually use the terms ‘trans woman’ or ‘transwoman’, and use ‘she’ pronouns for men who demand it. Paradoxically then, much of what is written and spoken in the name of British gender critical feminism in fact does the ideological work of transgenderists for them, promulgating their fictions as legitimate and valid through speaking their language.

The terms ‘transsexual’ and ‘transwoman’ are particularly glaring examples of this. It is striking that while gender critical feminists correctly insist that it is not possible to change sex, many breezily continue to use the term ‘transsexual’ or ‘transwoman’3 as if such a change were possible and as if such individuals exist. This oddly contradictory position is thoroughly normalised – mandated, even – at events held by groups like WPUK and Filia, and in the writings and speeches of media feminists like Julie Bindel and Sarah Ditum and academics such as Kathleen Stock and Selina Todd. Dissenters who point out this contradiction and straightforwardly name so-called ‘transsexuals’ as men are misrepresented and denounced as deliberately provocative, disrespectful and unkind.

So why are the terms ‘transsexual’ and ‘transwoman’ lent credence? One very obvious answer lies in the presence of such men within the gender critical movement, which predictably has had a chilling effect on women’s ability or willingness to speak plainly. In 2018, two men, Kristina Jayne Harrison and Debbie Hayton, spoke at a third of all WPUK events between them. Billed and introduced as ‘transwomen’, their speeches were greeted with great enthusiasm, often surpassing the reception given to female speakers. Harrison’s talk at a WPUK meeting in Hastings remains the second most popular of all the talks on the WPUK YouTube channel, with an astounding 23,000 views (most of the talks garner around two or three thousand views).

Hayton and Harrison both have a history of championing the ‘rights’ of men who claim to be women to be treated as such and to intrude into women’s spaces. A teacher and trade unionist, Hayton contributed to guidance on Trans Equality in Schools and Colleges which states that ‘Trans teachers should be free to use toilets appropriate to their acquired gender’. A self-confessed autogynephile, he supports access to ‘gender reassignment’ and has called for the ‘de-stigmatisation’ of his paraphilia. Watching Hayton’s wife talk about the impact of his decisions on herself and their children makes for very uncomfortable viewing. It is strange, given their name and declared mission ‘to ensure women’s voices would be heard’, that WPUK chose to offer regular speaking opportunities to men who put their wives into this position, rather than to the women themselves (a woman’s place is staying at home while her ‘transwoman’ husband holds forth at women’s meetings?).

Harrison has a history of playing in women’s football teams, of claiming that he has ‘lived, worked and been treated as a woman for 20 years’ and stating that he is ‘married to an avowed lesbian’, none of which seems to have adversely affected the cosy relationship he enjoys with WPUK organisers or defender of women’s rights and lesbian rights Julie Bindel:

Harrison and Hayton ingratiate themselves at WPUK meetings through linguistic manoeuvres which involve making claims to their legitimate and customary accommodation within the social group ‘women’ whilst simultaneously acknowledging that they are male. This combination appears to entirely bamboozle WPUK audiences, causing them to lose their critical faculties and instead endorse the men’s utterances with rapturous applause and approving – if nonsensical – comments: ‘Kristina knows she’s male!’Kristina acknowledges that sex is different to gender and that she is a transwoman’.

The revered status of Harrison and Hayton is achieved through their success in convincing audiences that they are ‘transwomen’, and they do this through repeatedly invoking a mysterious-sounding process they have apparently undergone, which they refer to as a ‘meaningful transition’. The term has the ring of a Restoration comedy about it (and would no doubt lend itself to such a treatment – A Meaningful Transition, A Comedie by Mister Harrison, as it is Acted Tonight by the Companie of the Women’s Place UK) but nonetheless is deployed very effectively by its proponents to persuade women that certain men do not belong in the category of ‘men’. The term appears in Harrison’s talk in Hastings:

[Transsexual] is a term that describes people who for the most part undergo or wish to undergo a gender reassignment surgery and have hormone treatment to complete what I would describe as a meaningful medical transition

… in Hayton’s talk at a WPUK meeting in Liverpool:

[The word transsexual] implies somebody who has made or intends to make a meaningful transition that has been driven by gender dysphoria

… and here – perhaps surprisingly to some – in a Spectator article by Julie Bindel:

I am polite and courteous, and use female pronouns when addressing those who have meaningfully transitioned

This concept of a ‘meaningful transition’ apparently refers to surgical and medical interventions such as castration, the construction of faux female genitalia, breast implants and hormone regimes. Yet given the repeated acknowledgement that it is impossible to change sex, the claims of these men that the mutilation of or hormonal influences on their bodies result in a ‘transition’ are hardly convincing. What is clear, however, is what they wish such a claim to achieve. According to Kristina Harrison, this ‘meaningful transition’:

not only helps us to fit into an opposite sex social reality… but also goes some way to putting many women at greater ease at having male-born people in their spaces.

Let that sink in. ‘Putting women at ease at having male-born people in their spaces’. Here is a man speaking to a group of women supposedly committed to protecting women’s single-sex spaces, making his ambition to access those spaces abundantly clear, and being rewarded with fulsome praise and applause.

And here is Hayton:

For years transsexuals have been quietly included by women, either as a right if we have a GRC or by consent in many cases: in my own, where there is no GRC. And in real life women do include me in their spaces because they say they want me to be there.

Again, let that sink in. ‘Women do include me in their spaces because they say they want me to be there’. As with Harrison’s comment above, this statement was made plainly from the platform of a group supposedly committed to preserving women’s single-sex spaces, without a murmur of dissent from the audience. What is clear is that the phrase ‘a meaningful transition’ functions rhetorically as an extraordinarily successful device wielded by Harrison and Hayton, and their allies such as WPUK and Bindel, to persuade women to accept that these men are ‘transwomen’. They would have us believe that their insulting attempts to appropriate the female body through socially-sanctioned mutilation should act as a passport to gain access to women’s social spaces and community. It’s worth taking a moment to reflect that Hayton and Harrison’s category of men who ‘have undergone or intend to undergo a meaningful transition’ includes transgenderists such as John Ozimek / Jane Fae, Munroe Bergdorf, Warren / Heather Peto, Paris Lees, Shon Faye, Frank / Kellie Maloney, Sarah Brown, Mark Hellen / Natascha Kennedy, Liam / Lily Madigan and convicted murderer Peter Laing / Paris Green. Hayton and Harrison’s interest in preventing reforms that would bring in gender self-identification is primarily one of gate-keeping; they fear that ‘transsexuals’ such as themselves may lose access to women’s spaces through a potential backlash against the expansion of the category ‘woman’ to include those men who, unlike them, had not been through this ‘meaningful transition’.

Interestingly, Hayton and Harrison did not feature on WPUK panels in 2019, which were far fewer in number than their 2018 meetings. But by this point their influence was well-established, and the effect of their presence evident. This took a particularly dark turn in early 2019 when Harrison publicly participated in the very serious smearing and misrepresentation of British women – myself included – who had gone to the US to support feminists there in raising awareness of and lobbying against proposed legislative reforms which would have disastrous consequences for women and children.

Harrison’s attempt to construct a narrative around legitimate / illegitimate voices (based on scurrilous misrepresentation and falsehoods) in what is primarily a movement of women and women’s groups reveals an extraordinary level of male entitlement and arrogance. I do not wish to reproduce any more of his commentary, which quickly descends into the realm of defamation, but what is even more extraordinary is the enthusiastic endorsement his pronouncements received from commentators more usually associated with women’s rights and lesbian rights.

What is sobering but necessary to remember is that these men would have had little influence had their voices not been amplified by WPUK and its associates. It is difficult to imagine such men being entertained for a moment within the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s and 80s, so it is particularly ironic that the recent WPUK conference was titled Women’s Liberation 2020. It is important to remember though that groups and individuals such as the Lesbian Rights Alliance, Standing for Women, Sheila Jeffreys, myself and many women active on social media have not allowed the pretensions of men to dull our perception of reality. Familiar as we are with those other male-authored dramas A Duplicitous Assertion and The Preposterous Postulation, we are perhaps less receptive to the long-running performance of A Meaningful Transition.

Thanks to Natasha Read and Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull for sourcing a number of the references in this article.

  1. I put the word in inverted commas to draw attention to the fact that the term and all its associated concepts are fictitious, based as they are on premises that do not stand up to scrutiny. The term ‘transgenderism’ only makes sense if it is used to refer to an ideology, with its proponents as ‘transgenderists’. However, it is seldom used in this way: instead, the term is persistently used both by its proponents and critics alike to refer to a state of being – that someone can somehow be ‘transgender’.
  2. I use this term here to refer to those groups and individuals who claim to be in favour of both women’s rights and ‘trans rights’. I do not include myself within this grouping as I neither accept the fiction of transgenderism nor the ‘right’ of an individual to be treated according to this fiction.
  3. The term ‘transwoman’ (rather than ‘trans woman’) is used by men who consider themselves to be ‘transsexual’.

27 Comments

  1. Thank you Julia. I agree with you and have been angered recently when John Nicholson SNP was touting for guests on his programme to talk through this issue of women’s rights yet his only request went to Rev Stu (Wings of Scotland) and Debbie Hayton. Women were applauding this and couldn’t seem to see that 3 men, 0 women were to discuss our rights.
    Twitter makes it almost impossible to refer to these men as men. Out language there is forced upon us to a large extent or we are suspended.

  2. I have to say that John Nicholson got an absolute slating from all quarters, including Debbie Hayton. It’s important for everyone to have a voice otherwise there can be no discussion. I think WPUK and others sometimes use the terms transgender, transwoman, etc because they are talking in the language of the policy makers. I see no point in being overly pedantic about language with those who we already know to be allied with GC feminists.

    • George… there is no reason for men to be included in the discussion of women’s rights and spaces. If you think that stating biological truth = “pedantic” then I have no idea what to even say to you.

    • It is not important for men who impersonate women to have a “voice” among women who are organizing to fight this total rubbish. That is absurd.

  3. Well said Julia.
    The reversals you highlight here are mind boggling indeed.
    Those of us who have unwittingly used these terms to describe people claiming the status of the sex they are not, have unknowingly and unintentionally contributed to their fiction.

    It is as bizarre as if we were to describe an emaciated skeletal young woman as fat, while challenging her low carb diet.

    The power of language is fundamental to the protection of our sex, in culture and society but perhaps more so in the enactment of statutes, laws and treaties, international legislation and protections fought for, set up to protect women and girls among others, from oppressive discrimination and abuse.

    We are now witnessing the attempt to replace sex by the most obscure characteristics of the invented word “gender”.

    This notion of how we as women move through the world, experiencing ourselves and others, is being prioritised as the main definition of woman, over actual sex differences.
    This is suggested by many of those we would honestly expect to know better. They like the infamous Simone DeBeauvoire quote (one is not born a woman, but becomes one…) but that’s not the whole story though is it?!
    We are born female, and we are of woman born.

    Moreover, the very people we entrust to be watchful of the interests of women and girls, are avoiding the assaults of trans activists and simply capitulating to their demands to subsume sex under gender, or to remove sex entirely, and speak only of gender or ‘gender identity’.

    The revised Yogyacarta principles actually explicitly state that they want to replace sex with gender, and so many liberals have fallen under the spell of this cultish male rights agenda, that we have lost ground across the the world, to a frightening extent.

    Girls and women are not raped, abused and exploited because of gender. Our reproductive rights are not abused and trampled because of gender.
    No. On the contrary, gender is a propoganda used to obscure and justify the oppression of women and girls.

    Let’s be clear that we exist as human females. We are suffering under male supremacy, under enacted male violence, and we must defend our access to anti-discriminatory legislation now as much as ever. For that we need sex to be honoured and understood as non negotiable.

    We’ve woken up to this latest patriarchal assault, and you have been instrumental in shining a clear light on it.

    Well said Julia, and thank you.

  4. This is an absolutely critical contribution to this conversation amongst “gender critical” feminists. Thank you for publishing it!

  5. I absolutely agree. Men cannot become women.

    I find the acceptance of Hayton particularly bizarre. He wrote an article in Physics World in 2016, as a personal profile, in which he states that being a female role model didn’t encourage any more girls to take up Physics. No, of course it didn’t, what girl would be inspired by a creepy man? He put a link to that article in a pinned tweet in December 2019, so he still think it represents him well.

    I just found that article particularly disgusting as I was taught physics by some amazing intelligent women who did inspire me.

  6. It’s sad that otherwise intelligent women cater to the nonsense that transsexualism is a feminist issue and that we must constantly centre these men. That there is pressure to do this even as these men participate in a systematic eroding of women’s safety is a tragic farce.
    Well done Julia!

  7. I loved this article. The ‘meaningful transition’ claim always bothered me -people mutilating and poisoning their bodies to live a lie shows they are not well mentally and doesn’t justify the extraordinary demands they place on others to collude with their lies and sickness – in the way they think it does.
    What is a meaningful transition? Really? Why should extreme acts of self-mutilation make the impossible meaningful? Is it like the self-flaggelation of penitents (deeply meaningful for the penitent individual but weird and disturbing to onlookers)? Why is a man pledging to wholeheartedly appropriate everything that belongs to women for the rest of his life more meaningful than a man who only appropriates some of those things or for just some of the time?
    It’s so strange that more people who claim to be critical of gender haven’t baulked at this phrase. It is akin to ‘fervent’ or ‘devoted’ in its religious overtones but the choice of the word ‘meaningful’ sneaks it into the vocabulary of philosophy and law – to make a mystical claim sound weighty and secular. It’s very manipulative.

  8. I agree with this article in that there is no such thing as being transgender or transsexual to the extent that it implies that changing sex is possible. And I think Julia is right and her views are the point at which we must ultimately arrive in order to save women’s rights.

    However …

    Her views are a long way outside of the current position of Overton Window, particularly where it hovers over the position of lawmakers and policy setters. For this reason, people like the men mentioned are useful in the process of shifting it. And when the first shift is made, we can shift some more until we get back to sanity on the subject.

    So I think there is room for all the brilliant movements that have sprung up in the last two or three years to address the issue.

  9. Thank you Julia for a brilliant article. Perhaps the aficionados of the groups mentioned started out thinking along the appropriate lines: however, they have been systematically manipulated, gas lighted, dominated, and ultimately controlled in a manner perfectly akin to emotional domestic abuse. Having welcomed these purported stakeholders into their discussions, the insidiousness of the strategic takeover becomes apparent only to outside spectators.

  10. TBH, I find myself inwardly cringing when I have to use the term transexual/transwoman/transman etc. Sex cannot be changed, that is an irrefutable biological fact.I would rather use the term trans identified man/woman, however certain quarters have deemed this term unacceptable, although the term is more accurate I think the use and acceptance of these terms is a result of us conditioned to feeling sympathy and being nice.
    I’m sick of being fucking nice.

  11. Excellent exposition of the situation. Ms. Long perfectly points out some of the pitfalls we’ve stumbled on in this situation. It’s the so-called trutrans fallacy. What might be true is someone has dysphoria to the extent that somehow this is their only way of dealing with it, but they can’t change sex. Many of us are left wondering why it’s now up to the women to “expand the definition” of womanhood and not expected that, in fact, it’s the men who ought to expand their definition. So, brava Ms. Long for so succinctly and cogently putting this into words!

  12. Wow, you lot sure hate men. Must suck to be you and having to share the planet with them. No mention of trans men either, what a surprise. Just pure hatred of men and trans women coupled with sand bagging a known anti trans group (not that I mind the divided front/in fighting). Unfortunately for you lot trans genderism has existed all throughout history in various cultures around the world and it’s not going anywhere, just the opposite. You hate it, I get it, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it does. Fact. By all means bury your heads in the sand and pretend this isn’t happening, the LGBT movement will just pass you by without a second glance.

    As medical practises advance, who knows what will be possible in the future, but I’m guessing there’ll be virtually no difference between trans women and natal women at some point, including the ridiculous and pointless grade 2 biology chromosomes arguement.

    The usual protecting single sex safe spaces strawman arguement also holds no water when registered sex offenders both female and male are able to share those spaces with impunity plus the utter lack of evidence/statistics to back up these so called concerns about trans women.

    Autogynaphilia is also a made up and debunked (by its original author no less) idea as it pretty much describes most non trans women. Plus the data used in their study was so poor it failed to stand up to any basic scrutiny, the author knew it as well.

    No one on your side of the losing arguement/war seems to wants anyone else who’s different from them to exist or at least not those who don’t fit their ideals of gender. There was a group in history that shared similar ideals to this notion of purism and those above, fortunately they were wiped out in 1945!

    So I leave you to your misery and evil thoughts, while wishing you all the worst of luck in your GC endeavours.

    A Trans Ally

      • Shonagh, I loved your short and witty reply!
        I hope you and others will enjoy my long version:
        “You lot sure hate men.” No, the hatred all comes from the opposite side. Pushing women out of all spheres of public life – that’s hatred. Grooming, brainwashing and experimenting on children, and trying to bring up girls to believe it’s futile to ever say ‘no’ to men – that’s hatred. Insulting people by enacting grotesque parodies of the other sex – that’s hatred. Rape threats, death threats, violence, bomb threats, smoke bombs, urinating on doors, nailing dead rodents to rape-shelters, marching with guillotines, cudgels, blood-stain design T-shirts – that’s hatred.

        “Must suck to be you and having to share the planet with” the 99% of the population who see through the falsehood of ‘transgenderism’; that’s a whole lot of people to hate.

        “Unfortunately for you” few, ‘transgenderism’ is such a new fad that thousands of people aged anything from 30 upwards are saying, “Thank goodness we never had this when I was a kid.”

        No-one “pretends it isn’t happening”, as seen here by all of us voicing our concerns. Doing one’s level best to combat the threats to society of having a fiction enshrined in law is not “burying our heads in the sand.”

        “The LGBT movement” is a fallacy. There are LGBs, stating their sexual orientation is other than heterosexual. Fantasists and liars have nothing to do with them.

        “Who knows what will be possible in the future?” Here we go with the fantasies again. Even if we could ever literally change a man into a woman and vice versa, it would be no “advance”, since nature has already created ready-made males and females.

        “Registered sex offenders … are able to share those spaces” is irrelevant. If they commit an offence and get caught, the law deals with them. There is plenty of evidence of male sex offenders who call themselves ‘transwomen’. Half the self-styled ‘transwomen’ in prison are there for sex crimes, a far higher proportion than the rest of the male prison population. We women are not that stupid that we can’t work out why most men aren’t publicly hankering to enter places where women are either captive or in states of undress while all of the so-called ‘transwomen’ are doing just this.

        “Autogynephilia” does exist if transvestites exist. “Non trans woman” is tautology; the word is “woman’. Autogynephilia is sexual arousal at the fantasy of oneself as a woman. This automatically excludes all women, for whom being one is not a fantasy, but a reality. No, we are not sexually aroused by being women or we’d all be in a permanent state of sexual arousal – yet another fantasy, methinks.

        “Who don’t fit their ideals of gender.” Glad to inform these people that if we have no “ideals of gender” this non-argument needn’t bother us.

        “Misery and evil thoughts” from someone as good as calling everyone else a Nazi. It must be miserable choosing to hate people this much and hate the truth.

        “Worst of luck in your GC endeavours.” Lots of well-wishing and love going on here. Yup, let’s stick people into rigid ‘gender’ boxes. ‘Fixing the car today, dear? Don’t even look at it until you’ve had a double mastectomy, fake willy made from your arm skin and a good dose of testosterone,’ is a sure-fire winner.

    • It interesting to see how some responses / comments cater for the culture of male narcism and that a womans sense of worth is solely to be believed from these male projections supported by a legal system which promotes male eroticism in our denigration.

      We need to analyse the State which supports transgenderism – the State which enforces legal doctrine and social institutions supported by political parties like Labour in order to change it.

      One way is to identify the interests of women as a whole so that each initiative empowers women as a whole. This structure should help lawyers, policy makers to challenge and change the way society hurts women.

  13. A refreshing piece and something which has long needed to be addressed. From a safeguarding and boundary-setting perspective we should not be coerced into negotiating entry into single sex spaces for men who have had surgery. It changes nothing and it is insulting to imply that a man without a penis is by default a woman.
    The irony is that everyone knows this to be true, but on social media many will seek to over-compensate and quell their own rational thoughts by seeking out people such as Dr. Hayton and consoling, bolstering and complimenting. Look at how many end their messages with two or three kisses to him(which they wouldn’t do when addressing women) It is a sub-conscious act, and fascinating to see this subtle conditioning at work.

  14. Thank you for this brilliant piece, Julia. The muddled thinking of the ‘nice’ feminists is astonishing: to fight for single sex spaces while platforming men who insist on access to those spaces.

  15. Excellent article. Thank you Julia for articulating what many of us feel about the obfuscation of language and how it continues to manipulate even those at the very heart of GC feminism.

    It strikes me that AGP men have their favoured masquerade based on female caricatures – some like to play at ‘model or ‘pornstar’ or ‘high flying business woman’ or in the most extreme of cases ‘8yr old little girl’. Then there are those it seems who like to emulate rad fems and of course integration in our movement is part of that.

    None of it is for the benefit of women. I really wish more women could see that.

    • That’s an excellent point and we should be frank about what these AGP men get out of playing feminist: they get access not only to bathrooms, but to women’s intellectual and political spaces. They get access not only to bodies but to our minds and discussions. They get to double down on playing victim, and they get hundreds of women to soothe and congratulate them. And if women speak up they turn our own movement against us. They have stolen and dismantled the the movement for women’s rights. They are sneaky and underhanded and go directly for our boundaries. And they get to feel even more special than their fellow male narcissists, because they are the “true trans”.

  16. Thank you Julia for bringing this “meaningful transition” MEME to light. Many of us who have been following the development of the issues with the GRA in the UK did hold the same stance about language and what it serves for, and for a long time. You warned us about using the language of our oppressors from the start.

    What I miss in this conversation in my county Serbia and the Balkan region, is the fact that none of the feminist groups or leftist individuals who understand the transgenderism project as an assault on women’s and lesbian’s rights, talks about the fact that the Serbian state still covers, now elective, “sex reassignment surgery” as well as “hormonal therapy” trough the state sponsored psychiatric system, to this day. Meanwhile the services for mothers and women are all already dysregulated and outsourced to the private health hospitals.
    Since 2019, trans activists working in the LGBT organizations, with rising neoliberal cuts and measures on their side, did achieve a sort of “Self-ID” in Serbia. The state sponsored commission for “transsexualism” (they still use that term in their books here) no longer holds so called SRS obligatory for trans identified persons. They only make one thing obligatory: a year spent on cross sex hormones, and then you can get your cross sex certificate and have your ID & Passport that says your SEX is the opposite of what it is in reality.
    In Serbia, cross sex artificial hormones can be bought in many pharmacies in Serbia, without prescription. This way, they’re preserving money from the public health budget, and privatizing this “trans business” one step at a time.

    This could be compared with the fact that before the 2000’s and the austerity measures, Serbia had free publicly sponsored abortions due to the fact that abortion was, and still stays the first massively used form of contraception. Men liked it that way, didn’t hurt them, so it stayed free for a long, long time since the 70’s. When Serbia changed it and made abortion a commodity (that must be payed) in state hospitals, they’ve also introduced one nasty nationalistic patriarchal condition (2015) that’s still endangering lives of the poorest women in Serbia.
    If an unemployed women, who receives social help like publicly sponsored healthcare, has an abortion in state hospital, they temporarily loose that state sponsored healthcare.
    This way, the poorest women are pushed out of the state hospital system towards the private health sector, and abortions outsourced to the private hospitals now costs up to two minimal paychecks in Serbia. Therefore, most of the abortions are done in the private hospitals, and the data is not as reliable as it was when this was done in the public hospitals.

    What was the fearmongering meme they used in Serbia to introduce this condition into law in 2015? They talked about how BAD it is that the corrupt state has all the data about abortions done in the public hospitals. The establishment that controls almost all the media and newspapers in Serbia now, scared the women with absurd articles about state owning the “Lists of women who had the abortions”. Who do you think reacted to this and spread the fear about this? The prominent, established feminists did, the middle class women did, those whose husbands that gladly pay for the private sector already. The “Abortion list” meme was successful, and not many feminists noticed the nasty condition for those women who depend on the state help, and that law was put in place with no rallies against it.

    As if “nothing changed, but everything remained the same”.

    Considering the fact that young trans identified men in Serbia (who are mostly gay men!) tend to do not even want the SRS, and the fact that doping with cross sex hormones does little lasting change to their body, and that they’re usually sponsoring themselves through prostitution or working for the LGBT NGOs (who also push them towards prostitution), we already have Self-ID in practice for many cases. The state of Serbia is going OUT of the whole trans issue in the same way it went with the abortion issue, while, at the same time they’re issuing men IDs where it states that they’re female. Not “women”, they’re considered female (we don’t have “gender” in our documents)! I think this was introduced because of the fact that most of the young trans gays in prostitution are being pimped to powerful homophobic powerful men in Serbia.
    Meanwhile, the clueless “leftists” in Serbia push women to adopt the “meaningful transition” meme, introduced trough the Academia (in 2019 the academics riled up against a bunch of us who spoke of this issues on the public radio station while at the same time they gave Judith Butler her honorary doctorate), and pushes the notion that “transing homosexuals” is justified, while therapeutic help for those in crisis is also outsourced to the private health sector. There’s no “gender critical” psychotherapy in Serbia anywhere.
    In all this, I’ve come to know several post 2000’s female transsexuals in Serbia – and all of them are lesbians. None of detransitioned lesbians that one can see appearing in the West more and more, appear here in Serbia. This is due to the fact that misogyny + lesbophobia is very, very strong. None of the lesbian NGOs receives funds *particularly for lesbians* from LGBT orgs in EU, UK, USA (who did help for the last 30 years) and the little that we have left of the old organizers and activists or event or clubs live under uncertainty of the future of their orgs.

    Recently, I came into a clash with my feminist friends in the EU about the other very popular meme that has been gaslighting us on the margines in the last two months, and that is – “We Are All In This Together” meme. Nope, we’re NOT ALL in “this” together. More fights in marginal little countries like mine, on the border of EU, already LOST this fight due to systematic failure of whole neoliberal project that allows illiberal democracy to thrive while making sure it happens somewhere else. More poor women are unable to have an abortion, and more and more of them will choose to trans themselves to survive. Or they’re going to sell their babies – because the surrogacy laws are being introduced in 2020 and nobody is doing any serious organizing needed here in Serbia. You see, there’s no funds for the feminist NGOs right now.

    Do you think any of us really care about the women in UK who want to preserve their social capital / social status by catering to men? No. We don’t.

    Therefore, I do hope that Julia’s warning makes UK women and all the women in the West world think twice about the politics and who is being protected by introducing men into any of our fights. It is not the poor women, the working class, and the women in “illiberal democracies”. It is the established women who need the support of men to stay in their feminist ranks. We saw what happens when one of us breaks the rank so many times. The backlash to those like Julia is not feminism; it’s the status quo preservation. Or everything must change, so that everything remains the same.

    The feminist revolution must make our own memes. It’s not going to be possible if we denounce women who bring the memes like #GetTheLOut or #StandingForWomen.

  17. why does your website not have an archive or category history? Having ‘assorted articles ‘ does not help people find posts like this.

  18. Thanks for a brilliant article, Julia. I LOVE this no-nonsense approach. Language is so important when fighting this drivel. They have an entire vocabulary of baby-jargon to fit around their fantasies, none of which features in my large, printed dictionary of standard English, and it’s very insidious the way they try to insert it into the real world. They call us ‘cisgender’ because we absolutely MUST be somewhere on their silly ‘gender spectrum’ – abstention is not allowed. They accuse us of ‘misgendering’ when we never ‘gendered’ them in the first place, let alone got it wrong. People talk of being ‘accused’ of ‘transphobia’, when as far as I’m concerned, there’s no such thing as ‘transphobia’ as there’s no such thing as ‘transgender’. I don’t see it as an accusation, so I’m not bothered; all it means is they’ve noticed we’ve got an opinion. Good – I’d rather be told that, than be told I’ve got a ‘gender identity’.

    I was glad too of your insight into why those men spoke at women’s meetings. I think it could have been a strategic move by WPUK to show they were prepared to give a platform to these men, which TA’s don’t give to anyone who opposes them; everyone can see that the women are the more reasonable. That said, the manipulative technique bothered me and I am pleased you highlighted it. They want to make out they are not all a disruptive, baying mob, and are playing ‘good cop, bad cop’, the non-abusive to counter the abusive, the ‘true trans’ to counter the ‘fake trans’. We see through it because all these ‘trans identities’ are as phoney as each other, and their bodily mutilations are of no relevance or interest to us. The message is the same: men should stay out of women’s bodies, toilets, changing rooms, sports, hospital wards and prisons unless we have given them informed consent to enter. If we haven’t, they show us no respect and must expect none in return.

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