Steph's Place

24th January. An open letter to Suzanne Moore.

More unites us than divides us.

Dear Suzanne

 

Yesterday I called you out by way of a tweet. Unlike many 'blue tick' people, you had the courtesy to respond, and I am very grateful for that. You replied that your definition of feminism and mine are different. But are they? I would argue that we have much more in common than divides us. 

Now I know I am a trans woman and am outnumbered by women ninety-nine to one. I know I am different and was unable to be a girl or give birth - to this day, these facts make me very sad. But my biological issues do not stop me from being a feminist, and in this, we must surely share these concerns: 

  • Domestic violence, (which mainly affects women) increases year on year. Over the Christmas period, Warwickshire Police reported that over 50% of the arrests they made involved DV - yet awareness is so low. Sentences for those convicted of DV is often exceedingly lenient, yet no one seems to call this out either. 

  • Due to COVID-19 women are losing jobs, especially in retail, at a much higher rate than men. Yet the government are doing very little to get these women back to work. The effect on families is devasting, not to mention a woman's self-esteem. And then, of course, there is a matter of equal pay. 

  •  Also, due to COVID comes the potential problems of childcare, homeschooling and possibly adult care of an elderly relative. Again these issues tend to burden women much more than men. 

  • Keyworkers, especially in the care industry, are more exposed to COVID are underpaid and often are on zero-hour contracts. Who takes on these roles? Women. Who is calling this out? No one. 

  • In many cases, PPE equipment is designed for men so the equipment dont fit women very well. This means women are more exposed to risk when treating COVID19 patients. Again this issue is not being reported. 

  • The welfare system and in particular Universal Credit is failing families and in particular women. Again how often do we try to raise awareness of the rapid expansion of food banks - yet some make a song and dance about the odd trans woman in a loo? 

  • And I dont mean to shoot myself and other trans women in the foot, but do you know we get offered some services on the NHS that natal females invariably can't. Electrolysis, for example - dont you think we should all have access if required? 

Now we get to those contentious bits about feminism and trans inclusion - but is it really that difficult?

Most women in society are quite happy to accept trans women. I know, I work with them. Those that dont often seem to be abuse survivors. But that should not cloud their judgement as trans women are very often abused themselves. 

You worry about the sports issues but is that not for the relating sports bodies to deal with?  You may not be aware either that there is a research report from Loughborough University that concludes that trans people in sport are disadvantaged not advantaged. To see the report please click HERE. In the UK, the Equality Act makes it entirely legal to discriminate when appropriate. Fairness and protection from injury are valid but did you know that a few months ago, Stella Moore, a trans woman, was banned from playing in a woman's team? The sport? Bowls! 

And what about those single-sex spaces that many trans people (myself included) really do not have an issue with. For we are not above the law and again if the service provider decides to exclude anyone, they can. But if they do that, unfairly (the legal term is 'proportionate means to a legitimate aim') - the law is there to assist. 

So I would argue there is much more that unites us than divides us and I have not even mentioned the biggest enemy of us all - patriarchy. And I would further argue that the gender war is false. Based on exaggeration, fear and lies. 

For trans women are still going to use the ladies - always going to exist - will still be part of society. We are part of diversity, not to threaten, abuse, or be rude but to contribute as best as possible. 

Neither the gender-critical nor trans folk will win this false war - but in the meantime, feminism fails, and patriarchy moves forward - silently.

 

Best Wishes,

Steph 


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