How could you possibly decide?

Sex Matters live-tweeted another judicial hearing on whether or not men can force themselves on women. R is respondent, J is judge.

R: it may be justified to exclude trans people, but that question would have to be asked 

The proportionality test will always depend on the particular facts. How could you possibly decide that every women’s refuge and every women’s changing room must always exclude transwomen? 

Well that’s easy. You could decide it the way you decide that every women’s refuge and every women’s changing room must always exclude men, because that’s what calling them women’s refuges and changing rooms means. If you don’t exclude men then they’re not women’s any more. We already know that women need their own changing rooms (and toilets) for their own safety as well as privacy, and that they need their own refuges for the same reason.

It cannot be the case that you must exclude transwomen from women’s changing rooms. 

The Commission states that there must be strong reasons not to treat someone according to their acquired gender.

J: this means fully physically indistinguishable?

R: yes. Post-operative transexuals are indistinguishable from women, hence there should be strong reasons to treat them differently. 

No, they’re not.

Anyway “indistinguishable from” isn’t the issue. Men don’t rape or spy on women because they “appear” male, they do it because they want to rape or spy on women, for reasons to do with sex and aggression and their unfortunate entanglement with each other. Disguising men as women doesn’t change that in the slightest. Fiddling with hormones maybe does change it some, but women have no way to know the hormone histories of men in their shelters and changing rooms.

J: would that also entail that refusing admission to a woman’s hostel would also need to be exceptional? Or does it mean that the situation itself is exceptional?

R: that the situation itself is exceptional. You have to balance detriment to one group against the other. 

No you don’t. You don’t have to slice and dice all rights so that all groups get to have some of them. Women’s rights are women’s rights, and no we don’t have to share some of them with men until we achieve “balance.” The “group” in question is an invented group that’s based on a lot of absurd counter-factual claims, and no they don’t get to help themselves to half of our rights.

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