Sunday, 14 June 2020

The Nasty Party earns its nickname

    If you've followed British current affairs of late you'll probably be aware that our Government is probably not experiencing its finest hour. The British Conservative Party have in their time produced some of our finest statesmen and women, yet it's safe to say that Boris Johnson and his team are not among them. Aside from a likely calamitous cliff-edge Brexit and a shambolic response to the coronavirus pandemic which has left us with one of the highest per-capita death rates in the world, their latest gambit is to mull over not only abandoning the Gender Recognition Act reforms, but to introduce so-called "women-only spaces". In other words, a bathroom bill. It's a disaster for British trans women (trans men aren't mentioned, presumably they haven't thought about beardy muscly trans guys having to go to the ladies'), and social media is full of us eyeing up other countries as escape routes.
     It's not a foregone conclusion, but given their record it seems depressingly likely. However there's still time for Brits to write to their MPs, so that's what I've done. Below you'll find my letter to Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury. If you write a letter don't copy it word for word, but feel free to take inspiration from it. MPs work on postbag size, so every letter helps.

Dear Victoria,
     I’m writing to you today in response to reports in today's Sunday papers of the Government's intentions with respect to women's safe spaces, and particularly with respect to transgender people. I am concerned that they have not thought about the likely consequences, and that as a result they might be about to make normal everyday activities a lot more hazardous for every woman in the UK, including you.
    What the underlying thought behind the proposals seems to be is that trans women present a danger that must be restricted from access, along with an obsession with genitalia that quite frankly borders on the distasteful. How any bathroom law might be policed is unclear, but will it involve inspections before entry is deemed appropriate? What criteria will be used, and how intimate will the inspection be?
    The likely result of this will be that all women will be subject to undue intrusion, and probably violence too, as any perceived deviation from the norm is jumped upon. Butch women, tall women like me or my mother, women with short hair like my sister, in fact *any* woman could be singled out. If you imagine that somehow you can "always tell", then I am afraid you may be in for a shock. Trans women are just like any other women, they come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them even look like you.
    The reality is that trans women are no threat when they use the ladies' loo, either before or after surgery. In fact they number among some of society's most vulnerable women, and should enjoy the protection of the Government rather than its disregard. When bathroom exclusion bills have been tried elsewhere in the world they have descended into chaos and achieved absolutely nothing, because a sex pest man isn't going to pretend he's a trans woman to go into the ladies' loo if he wants, he's just going to go in regardless.
    There was a time when the Conservative Party had earned the nickname of the "Nasty party", one that the former Prime Minister famously disabused in a conference speech a few years ago. Proposals such as this one feel like a return to those times, and just like the infamous Section 28 of that era they will be brought back to haunt you again and again in future decades. I urge you very strongly to do whatever you can to avoid this particular gaping trap, and firmly oppose any measures which may come of them.
Thanks,
Jenny

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