Steph's Place

Transgender Battlefield

By Julie Miller

As a middle-ranking British Army officer for 25 years, including training at one of the most prestigious military colleges in the world, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and a student at the British Army Staff College that trains officers in the Art of War, Julie Miller uses the British Army’s Land Command Manual and concepts of Mission Command and Manoeuvre Warfare to analyse the transgender battlefield[1].
   
MISSION ANALYSIS
   
For many trans people, each day of their life is a running battle against a social culture that treats them as enemy, a despised foe, an affront to British values and standards; their very presence an act of cultural contempt, and they should be punished by any means possible.  At its mildest the punishment is rejection from the community, abrasive and uncomplimentary comments, unwarranted exclusion from facilities like toilets and changing rooms. At their worst is physical abuse including (let's not forget) murder.
  
And the only “crime” a trans-person has committed is to present their identity in a manner they find most comfortable. This, just like anyone and everyone else can, and in doing so looking after their own good mental health.  If there is one thing we have all learnt in this Global Pandemic, is that people who look after their good health protect the NHS and save lives.  Sadly, some people, for anachronistic historical reasons, still deem this gendered presentation a hostile act.
  
Other cultures around the world and throughout history have accepted trans people within the community, for example Fa’afafine of Samoa, Hijra of India, Waria of Indonesia, and native Two-Spirit Indians of North America, albeit they do not use the word trans, and there is no rational reason in modern Western Society why a trans-person should not be treated with respect and live peacefully with the non-trans community. Moreover, their religions are accepting of ALL people.
  
The history of contemporary trans science and medicine in Western society began around 100 years ago with the development of relatively safe hormone treatment and sexual reassignment surgeries, but for much of this period, contemporary Western culture has side-lined trans people as medical aberrations.  With the advent of the internet and progressive equality laws like the Equality and Human Rights Acts, trans people are being afforded, more than ever before, the respect and dignity they deserve. 
 
In those 100 years there have been countless general elections where the electorate have been able to discuss and vote on the acceptance of trans people in society, and the conspicuous absence of any such discussion in political party manifestos, suggests that the majority of Western democratic society has no difficulty with the existence of trans people. 
 
People who do not accept trans lives have no rationale for their hate. The fact that their superficial arguments are based on outdated cultural concepts and traditions, rather than objective scientific and medical research, are easy to ridicule and dismiss, but still, they loathe trans people and make their lives difficult. They have their individual anti-trans agendas, for example, political extremists (right and left-wing, Trump and Putin), religious extremists (for example Christian and Islamic extremists), and so-called “gender critical” feminists, otherwise known as trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs).  
 
Collectively they are transphobes and need to be confronted and challenged at every opportunity. The fundamentals are on the side of trans people, who maintain the moral high ground, in particular relating to science, but also the inexorable onward march of modern Western society’s pursuit of humanity and equality for all. 
 
Not so long ago it wasn't normal to see gay people and people of colour going about their daily lives as respected members of the community, but now they do because of this pursuit of humanity and equality, and there is no reason why trans-people cannot achieve the same state of “normality”. Not that they should have to fight for it really.
 
The transgender battlefield is asymmetrical. The adversary is an anachronistic culture that is a subset of the history and traditions of a complex society spanning generations. Born of this culture are strategies and tactics from transphobes that differ according to their respective agendas. The weapons they use are similar, ranging from political lobbying, anti-trans media articles, and verbal and physical abuse of trans people going about their everyday lawful lives. 
Trans-people are only a tiny minority of the population and yet, must face this monolithic anti-trans culture. A culture with all its multi-faceted aggressions, strategies and tactics, that is a formidable and fearful experience, akin to the folklore David versus Goliath.
 
MISSION STATEMENT
 
The mission of trans-activists is to use all lawful means to defeat the irrational arguments and discrimination of transphobes; to promote trans lives as an accepted and respected component of natural human variation, in order to normalise the existence of trans people in modern Western Society.
 
OPERATIONAL CONCEPTS
 
In order to counter transphobic tactics and pursue the normalisation of trans lives in modern Western Society, the trans-person can undertake a variety of proactive actions, broadly divided into two operational concepts:
  
Collective strategic action - This is when a trans-person becomes an activist and joins an existing trans supportive group whose goal is to promote trans issues and to oppose transphobic aggression.  These include, for example, national LGBT organisations like Stonewall, or local trans-rights groups.
 
Individual tactical action - This is when a trans-person takes personal initiative according to the situation, for example explaining trans lives to people they know or meet in social or domestic settings, promoting trans people in a positive way whenever possible, reporting transphobic crime, assisting other trans-people in distress.
  
PRINCIPLES OF TRANS-ACTIVISM
  
Whether the action is as part of a collective or as an individual, the over-arching principle that should be deployed is take Sun Tzu’s[1] advice and:
  
 Subdue the enemy without fighting,
  
Specifically using the following principles:
  
1. Education – this is the principal weapon available to a trans-person and they should take every opportunity to read and research trans-science, culture, history, politics and law, in order to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible and to counter the superficial and misleading arguments of transphobes.
  
2. Attrition – On the front line of the war against trans people, the enemy consists of significant numbers of individual transphobes, who use social media to spread their hate and lies.  Most are ageing, and the youth of the day are overwhelmingly trans-inclusive.  The current insipid Terfs, Maya Forstater, Jane Clare Jones, Kathleen Stock, Julie Bindel, etc, will fade and die away, like their predecessors, Germaine Greer and Janice Raymond, to name just two, courtesy of trans people’s greatest ally, Old Father Time:
 
Patience shall reward the meek, and they shall inherit the earth. 
  
3. Concentration of Force – Trans people are a tiny minority, less than 1% of the population, so when they are under attack by a particular transphobe, they must rally and concentrate their support in a coordinated manner to counter-attack, for example on social media.
 
“Concentration of force requires the decisive, synchronised application of effort and resource at the critical point in time and space to achieve the commander’s intent” 
 
4. Offensive action:
 
 “It is through offensive action that a commander seeks to gain an advantage, sustain momentum and seize and retain the initiative. Defensive operations that do not include offensive action are often unsuccessful and rarely tactically decisive. ”  
  
The trans students of Sussex University exemplified this principle by offensively campaigning for the removal of transphobic academic Professor Kathleen Stock, and she eventually relented and resigned on 28 Oct 21. (This despite her being supported by the University and that they tried to suppress the student's views and opinions with threats of punishment).
 
GoodLawProject and Mermaids charity are taking the fight to LGB Alliance in 2022 in a legal challenge to their charity status.
 
5. Force Multiplier – The law is on the side of trans people, specifically the Equalities Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.  These are powerful force multipliers that should be deployed to the advantage of a trans person if the tactical situation so dictates, for example, if being deliberately misgendered in a public place, or harassed or victimised.  If necessary, call the police and report a transphobic hate incident or crime, or in a place of work or a shop, report the incident to the management.
 
CODE OF CONDUCT
 
The British Army is one of the most respected fighting forces in the world and this is derived from the strict moral code that is indoctrinated into each and every soldier, specifically: Courage, Discipline, Respect for others, Integrity, Loyalty, and Selfless commitment[5].
 
To achieve and maintain the respect of the ordinary people within society the trans activist must follow a similar code of conduct, the principles of which are set out below:
 
1. Courage – The history of trans-people's lives over the years is documented with stories of verbal and physical abuse, including actual bodily harm and murder.  It takes great courage for anyone to present themselves in a public situation in clothes and other attributes that are counter to the prevailing culture, but all trans people must summon the strength from within their living souls to present their gender identity as they feel comfortable, despite the obvious hostility they may face.
 
2. Discipline.  Maintain impeccable standards in a confrontational situation, such as an anti-trans demonstration. It is easy to get angry, aggressive and counter-confrontational with transphobes, but this just aggravates the situation and fuels the fire, and bystanders will witness an unpleasant exchange, which will not warm them to the trans person.  The transphobe will then use this confrontation out of context on their social media, to the detriment of trans people.
 
3. Selfless Commitment – The trans battlefield consists of the streets and public institutions of the country and it is here trans-people must gain and maintain popular support.  This means being more than just a neutral person. A trans-person has to counter-balance anti-trans negativity by doing something significantly and overtly positive and morally superior, adding extra value to the community; for example, doing unpaid community work, volunteering to help with extra-curricular activities at work, or working for a charity.  Or it could be as simple as being a charming and cheerful person to meet in the pub or café.  Remember the trans activist mantra:
 
Disarm By Charm
 
4. Minimum force – Whenever a trans-person is in a confrontational situation, for example experiencing transphobic comments or abuse in a social or domestic setting, whether in a café, shop, place of work or in confronting transphobes, trans activists should use minimal force to achieve their aim, including defending against a hostile act or hostile aim.
 
5. Respect for Others.  Respect for others means treating people decently, even if they are offensive and confrontational.  The most disarming course of action is to use charm and humour.  Both the transphobe and bystanders will respect your constraint, your respect for them, and your attempt to defuse the situation by an exchange of pleasantries rather than obscenities. Remember the ABC of trans-confrontations:
 
Always Be Cool
  
6.  Visibility – Fundamentally the more trans-people are seen in public, whether in the high street, at public gatherings like sports and music events, in places of work and play, the quicker and more likely that trans lives will become normalised in Western Society. We live in a fair, tolerant and liberal society and it is these qualities of the community that will eventually mean full acceptance of trans-people.
 
CONCLUSION AND SUMMARY
 
Trans people have existed in Western Liberal Democratic societies, and the democratic process has accepted their human right to live with respect and dignity and without fear of abuse, ridicule, victimisation or harassment.  For many years, they were treated as a medical aberration, but from the 1980's and into the early 21st century, a cultural change took place.  With the advent of the internet and equality laws, trans people are now an integrated and generally respected element of natural human variation, just like gay people.
 
However, there are still political and religious groups, and individuals, who oppose the existence of trans-people and who are actively and aggressively pursuing the elimination of trans people from society, using a variety of weapons, including the power of media and misinformation.  All trans-people must organise and coordinate their counter-offensive using well-founded principles of confrontation of hostile forces.
 
The Principles of Trans-Activism and Code of Conduct utilise the knowledge, wisdom and experience of one of the most effective and respected fighting forces in the world, the British Army.  It is only through similar strategies, tactics, principles and codes of conduct that the small trans community of the UK will be able to maximise their fighting power and be an effective and offensive cultural force with whom to be reckoned.
 
Together and United, we WILL defeat the transphobes
 
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu
[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/605298/Army_Field_Manual__AFM__A5_Master_ADP_Interactive_Gov_Web.pdf
[3] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/605298/Army_Field_Manual__AFM__A5_Master_ADP_Interactive_Gov_Web.pdf
[4] https://goodlawproject.org/
[5] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/605298/Army_Field_Manual__AFM__A5_Master_ADP_Interactive_Gov_Web.pdf
[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/605298/Army_Field_Manual__AFM__A5_Master_ADP_Interactive_Gov_Web.pdf

 


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