There are more of us than you think

Suzanne Moore says some things in the wake of the disinviting of Selina Todd:

The radical insight of feminism is that gender is a social construct – that girls and women are not fated to be feminine, that boys and men don’t have to be masculine. But we have gone through the looking-glass and are being told that sex is a construct. It is said that sex is merely assigned at birth, rather than being a material fact – actually, though, sex is recognisable in the womb (which is what enables foetal sex selection). Sex is not a feeling. Female is a biological classification that applies to all living species. If you produce large immobile gametes, you are female. Even if you are a frog. This is not complicated, nor is there a spectrum, although there are small numbers of intersex people who should absolutely be supported.

Female oppression is innately connected to our ability to reproduce. Women have made progress by talking about biology, menstruation, childbirth and menopause. We won’t now have our bodies or voices written out of the script. The materiality of having a female body may mean rape or it may mean childbirth – but we still seek liberation from gender. In some transgender ideology, we are told the opposite: gender is material and therefore can be possessed by whoever claims it, and it is sex as a category that is a social construction. Thus, sex-based rights, protected in law, can be done away with.

And that would be bad. Doing away with women’s sex-based rights would be bad, because we need them.

I know from personal experience the consequences of being deemed transphobic by an invisible committee on social media. It has meant death and rape threats for me and my children, and police involvement. I also know that the most vicious stuff takes place online and not in real life. Still, I can’t stand by. As Roman Polanski was being rewarded for his latest film at the César awards, Todd was being silenced.

Always gotta get back at Mommy, right?

If the idea of women organising autonomously is transphobic you are walking into a cul-de-sac, which absolutely traps people in boxes that benefit the patriarchy. Because there is nothing the patriarchy fears more than women who no longer rely on male authority. We revert to a society where women have to be chaperoned, not trusted to make decisions about their own reality. Meanwhile, men-only spaces are how half the establishment operates and no one considers that to be transphobic. None of this discussion is about men giving up space for trans men; it is always about what women must accept.

Which is all the more ironic given the fact that women are no threat to men but men are a threat to women. Trans men aren’t going to be raping men if they share their locker rooms; we can’t state the obverse so confidently; yet it’s women who face all the bullying. It makes no kind of sense.

Women have the right to call out the violent men who rape. We have the right to speak and organise without being told that speech is itself dangerous. You can tell me to “die in a ditch, terf” all you like, as many have for years, but I self-identify as a woman who won’t go down quietly.

There are more of us than you think.

And we’re pushing back.

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