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"You can't self identify"

“You can’t self identify” the #TERF’s on social media crowed last week, following the statement by Liz Truss regarding the reform of the Gender Recognition Act, ignoring the absurdity of that argument.

Has there ever been any person in the history of humankind who did not self identify? But more, is it not a strange person who wishes to hurt another human being they don’t know and who have done them no harm?

#TERF’s cry sex is biological! Well, errr … yes. I don’t know any trans person who is not acutely aware of this. Being born with a cleft palate is also biological too! So why not get that corrected if you can? Would the #TERF’s object to that?

Trans people go to the immense effort to change our lives, roles and often our bodies at great emotional upheaval and financial expense, we KNOW what we are up against. But we just want to live a life and get by, the same as everyone else. We know we risk rejection from family and friends for doing it, that it’s not an easy road to to take, and almost everyone I know who is trans takes that path of transition as the last resort. But, I believe it’s better to change oneself rather than give up and remove oneself from the world. Far too many trans people become suicide victims, more than 3 times the national average.

It’s the innate ‘gender’ that we are concerned with. How we feel, and how we prefer to present to the world. Sometimes as a trans woman this include behaviour that is recognised as more recognisably female traits and behaviour than male. Clothes, make up, our choice of friends, careers and even sexual positions and partners. But not always. I’ve met many butch trans women who would baulk at using make up or female clothing. Rather, it’s something inside.

There is no scientific measure of what it is to feel feminine or masculine. No woman knows how another woman feels, no man knows how another man experiences life. It’s like asking to describe what it feels like to have blue eyes rather green. It is individual and other people’s experiences are unknowable.

So, why should that matter to #TERF’s? Is it not the opposite of feminism to prescribe to others how they should live, dress, and love. … and to make rules for them to abide by? Ironically, they are policing gender and sex and reducing women and men to their genitals at birth.

Personally, I’ve lived, dressed, and experienced life as a woman for more years than most of the #TERF’s who would criticise my understanding of the female experience. Is my 40 years of living as female, with misogyny, awareness of male privilege, fear of sexual violence and everyday sexism to count for nothing against the experience of a 19 year old #TERF who has done a 6 week course in gender studies?

Let’s not kid ourselves, by working to frustrate self ID #TERF’s are intentionally trying to make lives harder for trans people. They WANT to put trans women in danger. They WANT their identification documents to be always an identifier of their birth, similar to a yellow star on a Jews ID card or a pink triangle on a LGBT person’s coat in Nazi Germany. The intention is clear. The mismatch of appearance and documentation will often prevent a trans person from getting a job, obtaining a tenancy of a flat, or accessing education. This is no accident, #TERF’s WANT to hurt and punish trans people for their accident of birth. Or, even if they do not believe that ‘trans’ is a thing, then they wish to punish those who identify as trans people for their preferred way of life. Whatever way you look at it, it is clearly a cruel mindset.

Thankfully, the British have always found a way to accommodate trans people, because essentially most people are kind and would rather do no harm to others. This is why we have had unofficial self ID for decades in the UK, that allows trans women and men to change their legal documents; like driving licence or passport by simply asking a member of the medical profession to provide a short letter to the authorities indicating that they are trans and wish to have their gender identity recorded in their chosen gender rather than recorded birth gender. It’s easy, and far less bother than obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate and then legally changing a birth certificate.

My advice to younger trans people: do not fret over the latest Government decision not to reform the GRA. The Tories, true to form when faced with controversy cowardly decided to pretend they had done ‘something’ in order to keep the #TERF’s quiet, but in actual fact did nothing. Self ID is still there for you, it always has been.

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