Targeting trans women for being women

Boris Johnson’s team in No 10 plan to announce protections to safeguard female-only spaces, including public toilets, to stop them being used by those with male anatomy. I’m curious to know, how would the British Government ensure that “transgender women with male anatomy” are prevented from using female facilities?

Would someone be standing outside the facility, employed to feel crotches? Is that a productive use of labour? Could any random woman just outside or inside the facility legally demand a crotch-touch from “suspects”? Should such random women be formally trained and licensed by police in crotch-touching?

Here’s a better idea: socially agree without government intervention that women (cis or trans) who present as female (such as myself) are allowed to use female facilities. This has been happening for decades, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Perverts and rapists are smart enough to know the risk of exposure in female facilities. Also, ask yourself, how would men and their wives/girlfriends feel if they had to share male facilities with me?

If this is genuinely about safety from sex crimes, why not segregate straight people from gays and lesbians whilst we’re at it? If not, why are we focusing on trans women and not trans men? Why the inconsistency, the double standards, and the hypocrisy? Why are we engaging in anatomical perversion? How would you feel if your genitals were the subject of public debate? Whatever happened to polite society…

A law isn’t going to stop a man from being in a women’s bathroom if he so wants to sexually assault a woman. He already is breaking the law by sexually assaulting a woman, as if he’s going to care there is a law against him being in there. Such a law just creates division and makes law-abiding citizens suffer without having any effect on the criminals it supposedly targets.

Sexual assault is a terrible problem, and the safety of women is a valid concern, but this policy proposal doesn’t create any demonstrable difference. Men have sexually assaulted women in bathrooms before, and they’re not pretending to be trans women when they do it. It’s virtuous to say this is a win for cis (not trans) women by protecting their safe spaces but not much is getting fixed at all for cis women, and is instead piling an incredible amount of danger onto trans women.

This is often ignored in scientific consensus around this topic because of a ground-level dehumanisation of trans women that permeates this debate from the word go. I appreciate the concerns for protecting cis women, so I would only hope we have that same concern for a trans woman friend of mine who had to deal with 12 incidents of indecent/sexual assault in 6 months for being trans and forced to use spaces that clearly didn’t represent who she is.

Want to read this story later? Save it in Journal.

This policy proposal does not ameliorate the very niche issue it’s focused on, and instead jeopardises the safety and well-being of far more women, but we often don’t think about those women as conscientiously because they’re trans. I suspect the obsession with penis is formed from the current mind set that if you have a penis you are a potential rapist. A standard assumption amongst many of a certain belief system.

There’s been no law needed now for decades, and trans women have been using female toilets since the 1960s without issue (a decade for me). Most trans women actually hate that body part they don’t want to see and are normally on hormones that would make it impossible to even ‘get it up’, not to mention that muscle mass is heavily reduced in trans women. The muscle mass factor is also conveniently ignored in the trans women in sports debate.

Trans women on hormone replacement therapy long-term are generally more disadvantaged than cis sports women because they essentially have female muscle mass supporting male puberty-induced skeleton. I think it’s fair to say that what’s driving this hysteria at its root is male puberty affecting trans women who were traumatised by the experience. But if one targets trans women because they’ve been through male puberty, why would one also oppose trans girls from transitioning to prevent themselves from going through the same male puberty?

On this question, the response is either deafening silence, or ‘let kids be kids’ without any regard for minimising gender dysphoria harm. ‘Let kids be kids’ implies that trans teenagers shouldn’t have access to puberty blockers, yet at that age us adults make other medical decisions for them. Isn’t that inconsistent?

Secondary sex characteristics are a manifestation of hormones, especially during puberty. I’m very blessed that my East Asian genetics didn’t masculinise me badly during my male puberty, but other trans girls haven’t been so lucky. Surgeries to manipulate secondary sex characteristics like facial feminisation surgery are painful and expensive. Again, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to pass in society as a woman without needing such surgeries, despite lack of access to puberty blockers growing up.

Passing isn’t about superficial looks. Passing, for trans women, is about getting on with life in society as women without people reading you as men. Passing is about long-term safety and well-being. Whilst the behaviour of the over-memed “It’s Ma’am!” trans woman is not acceptable, perhaps she wouldn’t have rose to infamy on the Internet if she was administered puberty blockers growing up in order to pass well as an adult woman.

Being trans isn’t fantasy play, it’s a very serious matter that doesn’t have to be complicated, but I think sometimes us adults make it complicated and cause harm, no matter how well-intentioned. Isn’t it great being a trans woman? You get targeted for being a woman with allegedly ulterior motives thanks to male puberty, so you might ask, why do I even bother? The other day someone said to me, out of the goodness of her heart:

“I don’t believe medicine will ever be able to do anything but disguise a person’s sex. To change chromosomes, ie sex, seems to me to be a soul-crushing and life-wasting fantasy. The whole idea of basing your happiness on other people’s opinions or perceptions of you also seems like a trap, another soul-crushing fantasy. I feel very sad that people could feel so discontented with their bodies, because we are our bodies, they are inescapable, mortal, fallible, aging, sexed. Women are not experiences or clothes: they are adult, human females defined by biology alone.”

Medicine should be used to alleviate dysphoria, not to disguise a person’s sex, at least that’s been my experience. I base my happiness on not getting distracted by dysphoria, ie getting on with finding meaning in life like everybody else, nor do I care about other people’s opinions or perceptions. But other than that, I don’t really have a rebuttal to what she said. That’s because I wish I never experienced gender dysphoria (this is what actually makes me very sad). If I didn’t experience it 24/7, I would’ve “be[come] a man” as I was told to do growing up, and probably would’ve said the following to other trans women:

“I feel very sad that people could feel so discontented with their bodies, because we are our bodies, they are inescapable, mortal, fallible, aging, sexed. Women are not experiences or clothes — they are adult, human females defined by biology alone.”

I’d imagine that if I was a cis man, that would’ve been easy for me to say. But I’m not a cis man, and I wouldn’t say that as a trans woman, not because I’m being politically correct, but because I have no capacity to ever understand what it means to not have gender dysphoria, ie be cisgender. Ever. I never had that capacity to begin with, and I never will. Transition was a last resort because I wanted to stop being miserable, and stop being so unhappy. If I could’ve avoided transition, I would’ve. Ultimately, no one can give me happiness, only I can.

📝 Save this story in Journal.

🌎 Wake up every Sunday morning to the week’s most noteworthy stories in Society waiting in your inbox. Read the Noteworthy in Society newsletter.

--

--

--

TransCatholic ⚧️✝️ | Liberal Arts student @notredamesyd | Thomistic Personalist | CPTSD survivor | all opinions expressed here to move the needle are my own

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

The Australian Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for trans and gender diverse children…

How Special Are They? How Special Are You?

So You’ve Sexually Harassed Or Abused Someone: What Now?

NO RAPING!!!

Unemployed and Near Homeless?

I was here in ’92. I’m here now. Where are you?

Where did we loose our soul?

Angela Hooks shares her perspective on inclusion, Black politics, and honoring our history

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Dana Pham

Dana Pham

TransCatholic ⚧️✝️ | Liberal Arts student @notredamesyd | Thomistic Personalist | CPTSD survivor | all opinions expressed here to move the needle are my own

More from Medium

We Need to Talk About Abortion.

“What Do We Call You Now?”

The Human Rights Campaign Might Be Racist

My Wife Is Now My Husband: Stumbling Blocks