mapping out discussion with Wendy
I think we're agreed on the following points:
Trans women are women, trans men are men.- she doesn't agree with this; discussion needed
- Trans people of all types are (as much as anyone else) entitled to NHS medical treatment, under their direction, to assist with transition and maintenance.
- Actual trans women are not an enemy of cis women.
- The trans legal situation the UK is generally much better than in the US.
- Unlike the US, trans people already have full rights to be recognized as their gender identity. (This includes restrooms and so forth.)
- ...and this may be a cause of some misunderstanding when UK people talk about trans issues on social media.
- "Cis" is not a slur.
Points to be verified/discussed:
- from Wendy (paraphrased if not in quotes):
- "Biologically, you can't change sex."
- "Refusing to present in a feminine appearance makes women suspicious if a male-presenting person shows up in a space meant for women. It's what all the fighting is about." - this issue probably depends on the belief that trans women are not biologically women
- There are people posing as trans women for malicious reasons.
- One example is UK/Karen White.
- The current furor is around the question of whether to expand existing laws, to give more protections.
- Those laws are fine as they are.
- ...despite leaving loopholes for exploitation by fake trans people.
- from Woozle:
Woozle says: The Trans Crime UK web site itself is a form of anti-trans agitation. It may be valuable to have a list of examples of any given point, such as "trans people commit violent crimes", but setting aside an entire web site to draw attention to this fact distorts readers' perceptions of the problem and, even if it was created with the best of intentions, serves as a way of driving anti-trans sentiment and at least feels like a hostile move.
Wendy said: Existing laws are fine as they are.
My UK trans friends inform me that the laws are not fine as they are.
Currently, you have to prove to a panel of judges that you have been living "womanly enough" in order to get things like passport markers or birth certificates altered; this is a ridiculous and outdated requirement which even the US has been doing away with. It reinforces narrow and misogynistic ideas about what is "feminine", and makes their performance a requirement for trans women. (If nothing else, feminists should be upset about that and want to eliminate this rule.)
This requirement alone would have prevented me (had I been living in the UK) from transitioning, as I did not feel comfortable changing my clothing style due partly to the likelihood of being perceived as a "man in a dress", which has been a flashpoint of anti-trans hostility and violence in many places, and partly because it did not at that time feel authentic.
One qualification: if this is only a condition for changing legal documents, then there might be room for discussion -- but in that case, such legal documents must not themselves be a requirement for receiving any other accommodations (such as bathroom usage or NHS transition care). I question how this would be helpful, under those conditions.
The only thing I can imagine at this point that would address anti-reform concerns is if trans women entering care under a licensed specialist could obtain some sort of letter formalizing the start of their treatment, which they could present if their right to female privileges was challenged. "Fake trans" people would have to somehow fool a licensed professional in order to obtain such a document, and abuses of that could be handled much the same as abuses of any other medical privilege (e.g. access to prescription-only drugs).
We do agree that what must not change is that trans women are currently given the right to use women's bathrooms; there has apparently been considerable push to remove this protection.
Secondly: the British Association of Gender Identity Specialists, whose commentary on GRA reform was cited by Trans Crime UK only as evidence of “the ever-increasing tide of referrals of patients in prison serving long or indeterminate sentences for serious sexual offences” and concluding that there are "clear, worrying motivations for some male prisoners to transition; most alarming of which was a desire to make subsequent sexual offending very much easier", also does not think existing laws are fine as they are (emphasis mine):
In addition, we note that the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Order 2005 predate the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 2007. These pieces of legislation, alongside the move of applied psychologist accreditation to the Health and Care Professions Council from the British Psychological Society, radically increased the amount of responsibility afforded to registered Psychologists - not least that of being an Approved Mental Health Professional, which at the time of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Order 2005 was assumed to be the province of Medical Practitioners and Approved Social Workers. The law as it stands therefore fails to take all this into account - In effect it makes Psychologists legally responsible for roles it would then be illegal for them to fulfil. The Association urgently seeks to see this addressed.
They also identified several other issues with current legislation -- so it seems very clear that they do not feel it is ok as it is.
Wendy said (paraphrased): Karen White is an example of a fake trans person who is just trolling the system.
From what I've been able to tell, she's a real trans person who happens to be a criminal. I'm not going to deny her transness just because she also seems to be a terrible person; that would be just as bad as protecting an anti-trans troll who really identifies as male but pretends to be trans in order to abuse trans privileges (e.g. women's bathroom rights, presence in women's social spaces, etc.).