I took an opportunity this weekend to hand deliver a letter addressed to Sir Keir Starmer to clearly spell out the dangers that the Trans Community face today in the light of the deeply worrying statement of intent made by Boris Johnson to attack and remove Trans Rights; the following is a copy of this letter (with the exception of a couple of personal details that I have omitted from this text).
Under such clear and blatant danger, more than ever the Trans Community needs a Labour Party that is going to stand up and be clear on its intentions - To stand up for the human rights and basic common decency of Trans people - To do the right thing.
The time has come to stop talking around the issue by avoiding tricky questions hoping to upset no-one - the choice is now clear - Labour either stands openly for Trans lives that will otherwise be destroyed, or for those like this Government spreading Gender Critical transphobic beliefs.
On one hand you have real lives, real people who will unquestionably suffer (and at a time when reported levels of discrimination and suicide rates are already at the highest for any minority - please note that my letter does touch on these issues so please don't read if this may trigger you), compared to those claiming they fight for Women’s rights but without having one shred of evidence that any supposed rights are under any genuine risk – it’s all based on lies and scaremongering.
So Labour’s choice is to stand up for real Transgender lives or for hateful Transphobic scaremongering. There is no other choice.
Our message is clear, and to Keir I can only say, our door is always open if you wish to speak with us - we have nothing to hide as our side only deals in truth and reality, and we simply want to find a way forward that is genuinely fair and safe for everyone.
This was my open letter:
As the father of an adult Transgender daughter, I find myself scared witless at what the future holds for Trans people living in England under this current Government and each day that I see yet another scare story in newspapers, I fear how anyone with fragile mental health will cope.
It is now abundantly clear that Boris Johnson has chosen the removal of Transgender Rights as a vote winning policy, and I don’t ask you to stand up against this simply because you are in opposition, but because of the truth, basic human decency and the way he is happy to discard real human lives simply to further his own political career.
When my daughter discovered and revealed her true gender identity some 6 years ago, I began my education to learn and understand about all of the issues that we see and hear banded about on social media and in the press. I entered open minded and prepared to question every aspect, and one by one I uncovered a web of lies as I uncovered the truth, not based on wishful thinking, but based on facts and reality, facts that I really want you to understand.
I fear for a community that simply want to be left alone to live their lives yet find themselves having to fight every day simply to justify their very existence. If this Government is allowed free reign to push ahead with their clear intentions, there will literally be blood on their hands.
As a co-editor of the pro Trans website, Steph’s Place (www.stephsplace.uk), we recently instigated the exposure of the Gender Critical beliefs and intentions of the EHRC, who are now being used by the Government to manipulate the law in relation to the Equality Act. The Government know that the EA10 Exemptions guidelines they have just published are not challengeable in law and are intended to give organisations holding likeminded beliefs to misinterpret the Act by introducing single sex space blanket bans rather than individual case-by-case exemptions where there is a proven legitimate aim as the law was intended. In the last couple of days it has been made abundantly clear by Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid that they are urging the NHS to enact on these guidelines by introducing a total exclusion of Trans Women (and by association Trans Men) from using any Single Sex Ward that matched their gender identity.
If they were to succeed, please understand that people will suffer from life changing conditions and some could even die.
Under such regulations, a high percentage of Trans Women and Trans Men would outright refuse medical treatment if it meant being forced into such a degrading and humiliating position, and those awaking from an emergency operation to find themselves placed in such circumstances will discharge themselves at the earliest possible opportunity regardless of how safe it was to do so. This is not scaremongering, people will suffer and die and for no justifiable reason.
When my daughter was being assessed for Gender Dysphoria at the Tavistock she was asked if she had a full understanding of the law because they knew it was so important she knew her legal rights on the use single sex spaces. And the reason given was because of the high number of Trans Women they see that had inflicted serious internal damaged on themselves simply because of a fear of ever using a public toilet. Under such conditions, Trans people make choices that are in direct conflict with their health, and the consequences of a Hospital ban are just too horrific to contemplate.
At Steph’s Place we have so far received responses to 28 FOI’s from NHS Hospitals, confirming that not one has received a single complaint about a Trans Women on their Female Wards in the last 12 months – not one. Yet those seeking to ban them paint them all as potential rapists. I can’t imagine how this would be preserved if branded on any other UK minority, but for some reason there is no outcry when this is stated about those Transgender. And the only reason there is any fear of such an issue is because of the constant scaremongering from the likes of Baroness Nicholson, Jackie Doyle-Price and your own Rosie Duffield, who have created a culture of fear that a tiny number, but very vocal, Cisgender Women have succumbed to. Their fear may well now be genuine, but not because of any genuine risk, but because they have been programmed into believing the danger is genuine. So much damage has already been done, but only by stopping these public political displays of discrimination will this feeling eventually fade.
The evidence is clear, yet the issue is being portrayed by this Government as a genuine threat to Women’s safety. The only Women in genuine danger from this policy are Trans Women, and as a consequence, Trans Men. Do we honestly have to wait until we see evidence of an even further increase in the suicide rates of Trans people before action is taken? The rate of attempted suicide within the Trans community is already reported as the highest level of any minority and there is no question the latest action of this Government will hit this statistic even harder.
There is a reason why over 100 LGBT Organisations withdrew from the Governments shamefully entitled ‘Safe to be Me’ conference. There is absolutely no justification whatsoever to remove those Transgender from the Conversion Therapy ban, but Boris Johnson is clearly using this as a political football – again, we are talking about real lives that will suffer as a result of his pandering to those holding Gender Critical beliefs.
The British Psychoanalytic Council have already issued a strong statement affirming that their treatment and assessment of those expressing symptoms of Gender Dysphoria will in no way be hampered or restricted by a Transgender CT ban – and to even suggest otherwise is nonsense, in precisely the same way Religious leaders of all main stream religions have no issue with Gay CT ban restricting their ability to offer genuine spiritual guidance. When it comes to the treatment of Transgender kids please do not lose sight of the fact that every single Trans adult was once a Trans kid, so the numbers will of course appear high. No treatment should ever attempt to force anyone who is Transgender to be Cisgender or in fact anyone into believing they are Transgender when they are not. Neither version of CT is acceptable, so a ban would protect everyone, including kids. It’s important to recognise that holding Gender Critical beliefs is a personal choice that has no bearing on job or profession, and there are cases of child psychologists holding such views that refuse to accept the reality of gender identity. Without a ban, they will remain free to practice Conversion Therapy on children – how can this be acceptable in the UK in 2022?
The so called ‘complex’ issues that Boris Johnson refers to are not new that have suddenly come to light - the Government has been looking at the way to implement a full CT ban for over 5 years, and many counties around the world have managed to introduce full bans without any such issues, so the claim that ‘more time is needed’ is nothing but an empty excuse to avoid ever including Trans people. Not because there is a genuine reason, but because he is trading innocent people’s lives and suffering believing it will win him popularity and votes.
But even here he is greatly mistaken. He is being taken in by the loud minority who have convinced him with their lies that this is what this Country want. Yet again the evidence simply fails to back this up. In the latest YouGov Poll, when asked ‘What do you believe to be the most legitimate way to define the gender of someone Transgender’ only 12% of Women (who we are led to believe are all living in fear of Trans Rights destroying theirs) believe those Transgender should be defined by their Birth Sex, whilst the overwhelmingly largest percentage of 47% believe it to be as the gender with which they Identify. What is even more remarkable is that in the 6 months period prior to this poll when the UK mainstream media has only published negative, anti-Trans articles and on a daily basis, the number of those holding Gender Critical beliefs (that we are defined by our birth sex) had fallen from 15% to 12%, whist the fully accepting group remained at 47%. The number of Women holding Gender Critical beliefs had fallen despite no main stream media access to the truth, just Gender Critical lies. So UK voters do not support these views.
It was also interesting to hear Jo Maugham from Good Law Project in a recent podcast interview (with Katy Montgomerie) describe how the picture may appear bleak due to the current political climate, but wanted to stress how the future was far more positive. He is aware that within the field of Consumer Brands, who are very heavily invested in looking at what the world will look like in the next 5-10 years and invest massive sums in determining popular view because of the impact it will have on profitability, and he stated that all of them were on the side of the Trans community and none of them will be associated with any Gender Critical beliefs or transphobia. They know what the future looks like and it is inclusive. It is already so evident to see the increased levels of gay representation within TV advertising, and clearly product advertisers only want to depicts scenes that their viewers want to be associated with, so the belief that Boris Johnson holds that the UK is not inclusive and that votes can be won by peddling to transphobia is simply misguided at best. He already has the support of his far right voters but that is simply not sufficient to win him the next election, so it will be decided by an inclusive population.
For understandable reasons, those Gender Critical have long seen Sport as the low hanging fruit, because on the face of it, and without any knowledge or understanding, of course you’d think this was one area where serious problem exists. I myself believed this before I looked further into it and discovered yet again that the facts simply don’t add up.
There is a reason why in our entire history, Wikipedia can only list 24 Trans Women that have made even the slightest impact in Women’s sport, and not one at elite level. Laurel Hubbard is the only TW to have even qualified for an Olympic Games, and she finished last. The talk is of TW destroying Women’s Sport, yet they can’t even qualify for major tournaments let alone win any medals. We know the scientific evidence is missing, but only because there have been no Trans Women athletes at the highest level that have had performance levels officially recorded pre transition, during transition and then post transition. So the only conclusive fact is the clear evidence that they are not having any impact and clearly the hormone therapy treatment they undergo is removing their male puberty advantages. If not, where are all the Trans Women winners? The Medical & Science Director of the IOC made this precise point when he announced their latest guidelines.
The issue we fully accept is how to judge what is fair, and Trans athletes themselves do not want to compete unfairly. What they want is fairness for all, so why would that be considered such an unreasonable position to hold?
Please consider the case of Emily Bridges, the British cyclist who has just seen her immediate hopes of competing in sport taken away from her. All her dreams have been removed, so is this fair?
It is really important to make clear that Emily was not an ‘average’ male athlete seeking to ‘cheat’ by switching to women’s events, and if anyone bothered to check pre-transition performance records of any TW athlete, like Lia Thomas or Laurel Hubbard, they would easily discover their drop in performance levels post transition. The only athletes that stand any chance of succeeding post transition are anything but ‘average’ athletes. Amongst other successes, in 2019 Emily was a Men’s British Junior National Champion who weeks later went on to finish 4th in the World Junior Championships missing out on the bronze medal by just 0.2 of a second. This alone shows her true performance level pre transition at the top of Men’s sport, but what is even more remarkable is that Emily competed throughout both competitions in pain, and scans only undertaken after the events revealed she had been competing with a broken ankle! For Emily to be described as ‘average’ is a disgraceful lie,
Emily has a proven record of winning major junior titles and had she not been Transgender, Emily was already on her way to becoming the next Golden star of British Cycling. For what reason would she simply abandon a path of glory and adulation, and choose to go down a path fully expecting the hatred and attacks she would face, especially knowing the fact she had aims to compete at the top of elite spot which no Trans Woman has ever managed. Who would choose this if not for genuine reasons? She did so because she is a Women and that is the only way she could live her life. She is not a Cis Woman, but a Trans Women. And simply because she wants to live true to herself, she is currently being stripped of her right to live her dreams and fulfil her potential of simply using her God given ability.
What you also need to know is that Emily has been part of an ongoing Loughborough Study because she herself recognised she was an athlete that could finally deliver the scientific study that is so desperately needed. Given her position in the GB Cycling Academy, all her pre transition performance times had been officially recorded and therefore she has been able to provide genuine scientific evidence throughout her transition process. It was therefore an unbelievably brave and selfless decision to continue competing in Men’s events whilst transitioning and fulfilling the cycling requirement to reduce her testosterone levels for a 12 month period. In a world that is far from fully inclusive for Trans people, being accepted as the Gender you identify with is paramount for anyone Transgender, so I can’t imagine how she must have felt still competing in Men’s events at a time when she was desperate to now be accepted as a Women. But she did and I know that her performance levels dropped quickly and dramatically during this period. Fellow Cis Male team mates that would struggle to keep up with her were now lapping her several times. The M to F advantage for endurance cycling is recorded at 10%, and Emily has recorded drops in strength of between 13-16% at a time when she reduced her Testosterone to below the required level. She is competing fairly.
It is not unreasonable to insist on fairness for Cis Women in Sport, but if fairness is what is truly sought, then if Emily is competing fairly then it is surely we must be equally fair to her, and fairness is not to exclude her outright, but to ensure she has no retained puberty advantage and allow her to compete at a comparable level in Women’s to where she was in Men’s.
The IOC Medical & Science director has stated that Trans Women are Women and calls for inclusion to be the starting point, but that inclusion must then be fair and safe. The issue is that no one Gender Critical is prepared to accept this. We have to be honest and recognise that those calling for her to be removed are not in fact truly interested in fairness – they simply don’t accept her as being a Women, and surely transphobia should never be permitted as the primary reason to dictate the rules of Sport.
Those pushing Gender Critical beliefs do so using fear and lies. They claimed ‘Self ID’ would somehow be a danger to Women’s safety, when the truth was the complete opposite. The GRA Reform has always been solely about changing a Birth Certificate, a document that has no benefit or use in gaining access to single sex spaces. The GC scaremongering claim is that this would be abused as any Cis Man would then be able to simply ‘Self ID’ and gain access, but ignoring the fact that this reform was to have no impact on the EA10 and that Cis Men have already been able to do this under the EA10. So for the last 12 years predatory men could have declared themselves Trans and chosen this way to attack women in single sex spaces, but there is zero evidence this has ever happened. Predatory Men simply don’t pretend to be Trans to attack their victims. So why is there a constant barrage of hate saying this will happen?
The GRA Reform would have made no difference to Women’s safety yet the scaremongering has convinced Boris Johnson that Women need protecting from a danger that simply doesn’t exist. And you more than anyone from your previous role must acknowledge that in the UK we prosecute individuals who offend, but what we do not do is discriminate against an entire community ‘just in case’ some might offend. And yet that is precisely what Boris Johnson wants to introduce.
The total irony of refusing to introduce Self Declaration (it should never have been referred to as Self ID) is that they have retained the need for Trans people to ‘prove’ they are Trans enough in order to obtain a GRC. This means proving they have lived 24/7 for a minimum of 2 years as the Gender they identify with. So this includes using the single sex spaces they identify with – the very spaces the Government are trying to ban them from using!
The Trans Community are horrified and truly frightened by the recent events and they desperately need someone to stand up and fight for them. They desperately need you.
Is it right and easy to publicly state that a tiny percentage of Women, who are in fact Trans Women, may have a penis? Yes it is, in precisely the way that Emily Thornberry did this week, because it is true and this is not a position you should fear declaring. Will you upset some people? Yes, you will upset those that refuse to accept Trans Women are Women – as already stated, the basic definition of refusing to accept those transgender is transphobia, so why would the Labour party seek support of people who discriminate against others, especially when they are so out of line with the vast majority of the population.
This has to be the time to make sure you are on the right side of history. To stop this Tory Government bringing in their own version of the vile and harmful Section 28. Will we never truly learn from history? Please don’t stand by and let this Government inflict serious harm with serious life threatening consequences.
I truly fear for the future and safety of my daughter and of the friends I have made within the wonderful Trans community who so desperately need your help. Please don’t abandon them.