The same rights as others

Maya Forstater notes how confused about human rights some core human rights organizations are:

Stonewall was set up to defend the rights of gay and lesbian (and later bisexual) people. Its charitable objects are to promote human rights as set out in the Human Rights Act, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are the laws which protect everyone’s rights. But in 2015 it adopted the “trans rights” cause and since then has been enthusiastic about ignoring and undermining women’s rights.

Stonewall has called for ‘gender identity’ to replace ‘gender reassignment’ (the idea of transition) as a protected characteristic in equality law and to “remove exemptions, such as access to single-sex spaces”. In other words it has argued for women to be denied female-only spaces to wash, change or use the toilet at work, in school, hospitals or public places (as well as female-only specialist services like women’s refuges, hostels and prisons).

It has surprised quite a few women how quickly and easily, in fact eagerly, much of the left has simply dumped women’s rights overboard, as if we and we alone were sinking the ship.

Stonewall has explicitly refused to acknowledge a conflict between trans rights and women’s rights.

Stonewall argued to do so “would imply that we do not believe that trans people deserve the same rights as others.”

But that’s bullshit. The rights that trans activists demand are not the same rights as others, they’re new and peculiar versions of “rights” that require stomping other people’s rights into the mud. Trans “rights” are such items as the “right” to be validated as who you say you are, which of course can’t be a right because it would license fraud and theft and every kind of absurdity. Another claimed trans “right” is the right to force other people to treat you as what you are not, which again is a “right” that is in tension with the rights of other people to trust their own senses and judgement.

None of these human rights experts say what they mean by “trans rights”. And the weird thing about their responses is that conflicts of rights are commonplace. They are part of the human rights framework, and human rights experts all know this.

That makes sense, because trans activists seem to be experts in nothing but trans activism.

When there is a conflict of rights we don’t normally throw up our hands and say that no one must speak of it. It might have to go to courts to decide, but we can also talk in more general terms about what the rights are and how organisations can balance everyone’s rights. This is the role of human rights organisations and official bodies like the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

It used to be. Now it’s all decided by trans activists. That is their right.

When Stonewall first included transgender people in its mandate it talked about “trans equality”. Trans people have equal human rights with everyone else. I agree with Stonewall on this. But more recently the call mutated into a demand for “trans rights”. Stonewall, Amnesty and Liberty never quite spell out what “trans rights” are. But their idea seems to include:

The “right” to compel others to pretend to share your belief that you are a member of the opposite sex

The “right” to share intimate spaces with members of the opposite sex without their consent.

Of course these are not “rights”. They are demands.

Peremptory demands, backed up with threats and ostracism.

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