Steph's Place

21st September. Thoughtless.


Who would be a trans rights activist? Am I mad to be here? Why?


Frankly, whatever I do seems to lead to some sort of problem or other.

Yesterday I tweeted this: "Umm. Well, Rosie Duffield claims she doesn't feel safe at conference. I won't feel safe when protesting at the Filia conference. Labour losing GC members because @Keir_Starmer won't back them. Ditto trans & allies in even bigger numbers. Tories smirking. What a f'n mess".

The point of the tweet was clear. Keir Starmer sits on the fence, alienating both GC people AND trans people. The reason why he sits on the fence is also apparent. The gender war is soooo toxic politicians are too frightened to say or do anything.

Sadly one GC person (SP) twisted the tweet by tweeting out to her 12,000 followers that I was alleging women was a threat to me. Easy for her - she is not trans.

She probably has not heard of the "sport" called "trannie bashin" - it's a bit like fox hunting, except I am the fox. Violence against trans people has quadrupled in the last five years, and Galop (an LGBT+ abuse charity) reports this:

This report presents the findings of a survey looking into the nature and impacts of transphobic hate crime. Trans people are under such high rates of physical, sexual, and verbal attack that more than half feel less able to leave their home. As one research respondent states:

“The fear is particularly prevalent when public figures – politicians, high profile newspaper columnists etc – demonise trans people in print or on air; it makes the fear more pronounced because you worry someone’s going to act on it.”

As per this report, in the last year alone, a quarter of trans people had experienced or been threatened with physical assault. Nearly one in five had experienced or been threatened with sexual assault.

As a trans person, that's not precisely comforting for me, is it?

Are women at such a high risk of violence? No, they are not - but still, I call it out because I detest it and it is certainly a fact that women do get murdered at a much higher rate than trans women, almost always because of violent partners or ex-partners. I write about these in our Every Three Days campaign. So far I have written the stories of 48 women who have been killed by men. 

Naturally, after SP had tweeted out, I was subject to a horrendous number of replies (most would call it a pile-on), then JH joined in (she has over 24,000 followers), tweeting out in the same vein as SP.

Oh, Joy!

The replies roughly feel into two camps.

(1) Why was I protesting at a womens conference.

(2) That I was suggesting women were a danger to me, (which I was not).

To answer the first question first. I am protesting at the Filia conference because of their response to the reform of the Gender Recognition Act. Nothing more. I share lots of their feminist aims entirely. Violence against women and girls, female genital mutilation, abuse, the patriarchy, sexism (in particular in the workplace and in politics), the list is endless.

You could say more unites us than divides us, but GRA reform is a BIG deal both for me personally and as an aim for the five editors who run this website. Indeed we only have six aims. One of which is GRA reform, another being to end male violence against women, something that Filia themselves obviously support.

GRA reform is vital simply because just one per cent of trans people have a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). A GRC changes a birth certificate, not retrospectively, just from the date of approval. It simply records I am trans and legally changed sex. I need a GRC so I can die in dignity. I am 69 years of age, for God sake - my best years are way gone. Put simply, I dont want to die as a man, and ALL my family understand and agree with that.

But I am not eligible for a GRC on many grounds, despite the fact that I had a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria ten years ago and was placed on hormones - despite another psychiatrist some three years ago confirming the same, leading me to get bottom surgery.

Sounds pretty crazy, surely?

There are loads of countries that legally recognise trans people, many by Self-id. Take Pakistan for example. They dont hang or stone trans people there - trans people can change gender by Self-id. Gender crits worry lots about Self-id but in Malta, just 143 people have done that in 6 years

Yet, I (and thousands like me) - who have had surgery are not automatically given a GRC. Indeed if that happened perhaps the gender war may not have even started. Indeed even in Iran of all places, trans people who have had surgery are given new legal documentation automatically.

Not in the UK though - we are not that civilised! 

Gender crits seem to think getting a GRC is easy. It is not. It is virtually impossible.

The fact that two psychiatrists (one from the BUPA gender panel) have diagnosed me with gender dysphoria means diddly squat in achieving a GRC. Because although those psychiatrists get me medicalised, allows me access to hormones and surgery, our fantastic government dont recognise those psychiatrists as being proficient - in short, they are not "approved".

The government stipulates which psychiatrists are approved. You can see a list by clicking here. You will note that the vast majority are tied to Gender Identity Clinics and are not privately available. I paid for my transition - it cost £35k or thereabouts. And so one of the many hoops I have to go through to achieve a GRC is yet another trip to a psychiatrist - this time a GRA approved one - again to prove who I am. The cost? I enquired just a few weeks ago. Here is the reply I received back.

Dear Steph

Many thanks for your email.

This is certainly something we can assist with. Fees are charged at £135 per hour. The appointment is scheduled for up to 2 hours and we allow 2 – 3 hours for reading and report writing.

If you would like to proceed on this basis we will also need copies of your medical records. It would also be helpful if you could gather photographic, time-stamped evidence (such as social media posts) of you living in role dating back to more than 2 years ago, as per the objective evidence requirement of the GRC application.

Do not hesitate to let me know if you have any queries.

Many thanks and kind regards

More red tape and more expense not to mention time and travel costs!

And the fact is Filia are one of the "feminist" groups who want to maintain the current conditions of the GRA.

As a semi-reasonable trans rights activist, I actually have transcripts and copies of much of what Felia has said regarding GRA reform.

And they have been damn unhelpful!

Words like this from Raqual Rosario Sanchez when giving evidence to the Womens and Equalities Committee a few months back.

" We know that obtaining a GRC is not particularly burdensome".

Bullshit, Raqual - utter bullshit.

As indeed much of her evidence was. Here is another example of her words:

"Filia's position is that the GRA works for the intended purpose that it had at the time the legislation was drawn up. It was meant to address the privacy of transsexual individuals and individuals who were experiencing severe gender dyshoria. For that purpose, there is not a problem in that sense".

So when Filia come to my city, I will be protesting.

Not because women are at a conference discussing womens rights. I am protesting because Filia (along with others) do not understand the problems I have as a trans person!

A trans woman who fights for many issues that Filia fight for - but can not currently die in dignity!

A trans woman, who, as part of a community suffers HORRIFIC abuse, and violence from MEN!

A trans woman, who because I speak to people like SP gets very heavily criticised by people in my own community and possibly even at risk from people within my own community!

So am I safe on the 16th and 17th of October, protesting at the Filia conference?

No, I dont think so.

I am not part of the anti-fascist group, I am alone, exposed.

Probably safe outside the Guildhall - but walking to my car? Going to the Loo? 

Did foxes advertise their location with date and time back in the days when foxes were torn to shreds?  

Do I stand by my tweet - damn right!

The question is how do SP and JH deal with theirs which currently put me at more risk? 

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