Trans Wars Part Three

by Michael Patrick O'Leary

A shorter version of this article was published in Ceylon Today on October 20, 2021.

Many years ago, I laughed at veteran (now late and lamented) comedian and scriptwriter Barry Cryer when he said, “I’m a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.” That is not funny anymore as hairy men with penises accuse women with vaginas of being bigots because they won’t have lesbian sex with them. A group of aggressive males who claim to be women but have not surrendered their appendages are attempting to create a hierarchy within the term “woman” and to push females lower in it.

Sexual Fetishism

What does it mean for a chap born with gonads to self-identify as a woman if he does not surrender his gonads? Many self-identifiers say they always felt uncomfortable being a man. Does that mean that they want to dress up as a woman? That’s no problem. A gang of people like that gather at the end of my street most evenings and I say good luck to them. There was in living memory a clear distinction between transvestites and transexuals. If a gonadal man wants to dress up as a girl, who cares? Except possibly his wife. A work colleague of mine was found hanging, dressed in stockings and suspenders, in the attic by his wife. An auto-erotic procedure that went fatally wrong. That trivial sensual pleasure must have been ruinous for the family.

Ray Blanchard is adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He served on the American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV Subcommittee on Gender Identity Disorders. Blanchard coined the term Autogynephilia, derived from Greek for “love of oneself as a woman”. As Blanchard put it: “a male’s propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a female.” Blanchard categorized trans women into two groups: homosexual transsexuals who are attracted exclusively to men, and who seek sex reassignment surgery because they are feminine in both behavior and appearance; and autogynephilic transsexuals who are sexually aroused at the idea of having a female body. Other terms for such cross-gender fantasies and behaviours include automonosexuality, eonism, and sexo-aesthetic inversion.

Women’s Spaces

Back in 1988, I was amused rather than alarmed when Prunella Scales (Sybil from Fawlty Towers) rushed into the Gents’ toilet at the Phoenix Theatre while I was relieving myself before going to see Dustin Hoffman in The Merchant of Venice. That’s the play with the pound of flesh; I’m not boasting. I understood that Ms Scales was too impatient to join the lengthy queue at the Ladies’. If I were a born lady with a uterus, I would imagine I would be very alarmed if I were going to relieve myself at the Labour Party conference and a huge creature dressed as a woman invaded the space of the Ladies’ toilet. Yet the person calling themself Patricia Josephine Hannah-Wood complained to the entire conference about being abused in the ladies’ toilet by ‘cis women’. Hannah-Wood had the gall to make comparisons between that experience and that of a young female teacher who had been brutally murdered by a man that week.

Another Labour councillor, Lindsay Broadwell, who identifies as a ‘cis lesbian’ but is in fact male, also played the victim, claiming that he had been aggressively challenged in the women’s toilets simply for being a butch woman. Broadwell is muscular and 6’2”.

Another (former) Labour official, Lily Madigan, in 2019 tweeted stories of sexual harassment and assaults. Soon afterwards several young women came forward to accuse him/her/them/it of inappropriate sexual behaviour

Helen Joyce writes: “The overwhelming majority of violence, sexual assault and harassment suffered by female people has been perpetrated by male ones. Single-sex spaces exist for these reasons, not to prop up privilege or pander to prejudice.”

I find the terminology imposed by the self-identifying bullies quite obnoxious. The sneering use of the term “cis-woman” makes it clear that they do not really like proper women let alone want to be one. Real women seem to be the enemy and those who claim to protect and advocate for real women are betraying them by supporting promiscuous equality.

Women’s Sports

A few years ago, the presence of a male-to-female (MTF) transgender athlete in women’s competitions would have alarmed athletes, coaches and fans, but they might have been consoled by the extreme rarity of such cases. That is no longer the case. The transgender issue is showing up at every level of every sport more and more often.

Olympic swimmer, Sharron Davies argued that transgender athletes who were born male had a physical advantage over cisgendered women. “Michael Phelps has size 15 feet; your average female swimmer has size six,” she said. “If someone is a good swimmer and they decide they want to transition to being a female, none of our girls would stand a chance.”

While in his teens, New Zealander Gavin Hubbard, set national records in junior weightlifting competitions.  He transitioned to female in 2012 and underwent hormone therapy and took the name Laurel Hubbard. Hubbard won two gold medals and a silver medal in the 2019 Pacific Games. Hubbard is 6-foot-1 and weighs 287 pounds.

Men who have gone through puberty before transitioning have an unfair physical advantage over women who were born women and remained women. In contact sports like boxing and rugby, the physical advantage could prove lethal. The male skull is designed to take more impact but nonetheless head injuries in male American footballers and in rugby players worldwide have become a major cause of concern. In 2020, World Rugby’s transgender working group produced a 38-page draft document in which it was calculated that increased injury risk for typical players with female characteristics when tackled by a typical player with male characteristics was between 20% and 30%.

Transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon told BBC Sport she estimated she has received more than 100,000 hate messages on Twitter since she won her UCI Masters Track World Championship title in October. Fellow cyclist Jen Wagner-Assali, who finished third, called it “unfair” and called on cycling’s international governing body to change its rules. Rachel McKinnon said Sharron Davies was a “transphobe” and was “sharing hate speech”.

Feminist and Gay Revolutions

Helen Joyce raises the issue that some parents who are keen to change by surgery or drugs the gender of their children might be motivated by a fear of homosexuality. In days gone by a boy who liked to play girly games might later discover that he was gay all along and come out of the closet with all his male gadgets intact and have a fulfilling life. Joyce observes that a “generation ago, progressives campaigned for schools to crack down on taunts about gay boys being girls; now, the bullies are presented as right.” In 2019, some staff at the Tavistock Clinic raised concerns that some parents were trying to fast-track children’s transition for this reason. Two clinicians said that “there was a dark joke among staff that soon ‘there would be no gay people left.’”

Joyce describes the case of Kimberly Shappley, a conservative Christian in Texas who was disturbed by her son Joseph’s effeminate behaviour. The parents tried prayer and when that failed they tried physical violence but Joseph continued to insist, “I’m a girl’. Eventually, Shappley allowed her child to transition at the age of four. “I now have a happy, healthy, outgoing, loving, beautiful, sweet little girl who loves Jesus and loves her brothers.”

A really disturbing aspect is that organisations that one would expect to defend the rights of gays and women are actually protecting the bullies and painting them as the victims. Pink News, an organ ostensibly in the business of protecting gay rights, praised the government of Pakistan for funding sex-change surgery for gay males. Radical Islamists believe that homosexuality is an indication of a female brain. Out with the knives! There is plenty of evidence that gay men in Pakistan and Iran are tortured, beaten and executed and many unwillingly have the surgery rather than risk other penalties.

Is Change Coming?

Louise Perry discussed in the New Statesman the books by Helen Joyce and Kathleen Stock that I wrote about in my previous articles. She senses that there is a shift in public opinion and media attitudes to the bullying by transactivists. “What was once taboo has become mainstream, with each person and publication in the respectability chain emboldened by the outspokenness of the one before them.” JK Rowling has been roundly abused for speaking the truth but she has also attracted support. Graham Linehan was the co-author of the two funniest shows ever on TV. These days he is mainly known as a hate figure to transactivists because he disseminates good sense on his blog, The Glinner Update. He is spreading the message. Linehan has likened the use of puberty blockers to Nazi Eugenics programmes. In 2020, he was suspended from Twitter for “repeated violations” of the rules. Linehan said his views had lost him work and disrupted his marriage. He has not let all this and testicular cancer stop his fight for justice and common sense.

There are a number of channels, particularly Triggernomatry, on YouTube which provide opportunities for open discussion without the threat of fascistic cancelling.

Comedian Dave Chappelle has been called a transphobe. Chappelle told a story about striking up a friendship with a transgender woman who he claimed was “laughing the hardest” at his jokes about transgender people. That woman was Daphne Dorman. When Chappelle was lambasted as a transphobe, Dorman tweeted that he was nothing of the kind and was her friend. She was hounded in turn; then jumped to her death off a tower block. Chappelle’s views about self-identifying are far more in step with public opinion than his critics. As the Lexington column in the Economist remarked, “if the unpopularity of their views is rarely off-putting to the Twitterati, good luck to them taking on an African-American superstar. “

In her book, Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, Helen Joyce writes about the concept of gender self-identification, “The label is a misnomer. It is actually about requiring others to identify you as a member of the sex you proclaim.” Joyce notes that a judicial review in the UK in late 2020 addressed the issue of whether children can truly consent to puberty blockers. The answer was no. Joyce’s book has been sent to all UK MPs. Kathleen Stock has been bullied and her livelihood threatened but her book, Material Girls, has been sent all UK MPs. News just in: Kathleen Stock has been hounded from her job at Sussex University. Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Penistone has published a very sensible article in the right-wing Daily Telegraph.

Can we hope that the madness can be contained? I leave the last word to Helen Joyce: “liberal, secular society can accommodate many subjective belief systems, even mutually contradictory ones. What it must never do is impose one group’s beliefs on everyone else.

There are many informative discussions on YouTube.There are a number of channels, particularly Triggernomatry, on YouTube which provide opportunities for open discussion without the threat of fascistic cancelling.