Since the appearance of the RepealTheGRA website in 2020, I have wondered how many of the newly formed ‘gender-critical’ organisations undermine the longer-term goals of those classified as taking a gender abolitionist stance. The position of those committed to repealing the GRA is in direct conflict with groups advocating for a middle ground that posits trans ideology as something worthy of specialist treatment. Groups such as SexMatters, Fair Play For Women, and TransgenderTrend are all heavily reliant on the existence of transgenderism to survive. For example, if the GRA is repealed, how will the concept of trans be categorised?
SexMatters as a group would be redundant pretty quickly because there would be no men trying to claim rights to womanhood. If we get the ideology out of the schools and take an abolitionist stance, then TransgenderTrend will be on the scrap heap too. It needs to be noted that another group, Safe Schools Alliance UK, does not have the same problem. Despite being established as a direct result of concerns regarding trans ideology in schools, SSAUK has chosen a neutral name that embodies the group’s purpose. If trans-ideology is eliminated from schools, SSAUK can move on to other problems affecting the kids’ safety without declaring a widening in their remit. They’re not reliant on the existence of transgenderism.
A group’s dependence on the existence of an ideology can be seen in how they frame their arguments. Too much adherence to the ideologists’ language and an outright reluctance to call bullshit when needed can be seen as an absolute guarantee they need the ideology to exist in some form or other. It is easy to see the difference if we look at single-issue campaigns with remit-specific names. Campaign groups such as ‘We can’t consent to this‘ and Stop Surrogacy Now UK strongly oppose the practice they’re committed to ending. Neither group is advocating for a continuation of things as they are. The message in both instances is this practice is harmful and needs to stop.
More recently, many women have drawn a firmer line. They refuse point-blank to be drawn into even the outer edges of the ideology. Those women have likely recognised that to give the proverbial inch means to provide the miles and miles some men will inevitably take if they sniff weakness in the boundaries of women and children. These women face an uphill battle to be taken as seriously as the blue-tick feminists and often have excessive shit flung at them for daring to state the obvious. Attacks from professional feminists and those fronting the dominant groups have been especially underhand because the hardliners have called out bad practice on ‘our side of the fence’. Too many women still fail to see that we’re not all on the same side simply because we don’t want blokes in the ladies’ toilets. Those who wish for emancipation from gender norms are not on the same side as those who take the standpoint of being gender critical. Those who stand as gender critical don’t often want to see an end to the politicisation of gender ideology – they’re looking for reforms at a push but not a repeal of the GRA 2004.
A recent article by Jennifer Bilek resonated with these thoughts I’d been mulling over. Bilek is questioning whether some parents are too heavily invested in sustaining the ideology because it has become part of their personal identity. The issue is these parents will often jump to the defence of organisations that are also invested in sustaining an ideology that others are standing against. Some of Bilek’s comments really stood out for me.
‘I started to notice these organizations are now becoming a hindrance to real political action that might change the landscape for parents and for women‘. I agree but would also argue these organisations were problematic from the outset, predominantly because they adhered to aspects that underpin the entire ideology.
‘Parents would not tolerate dissent from their narrative and the organizations buffering them from the public’. It’s the old dissent from the narrative that triggers; language is vital, and I’ll never be able to stress that enough.
I agree only partially with Bilek when she says these organisations ‘have been helpful in getting information to parents‘, because I see a significant problem. If these groups are glued to critical aspects of a damaging ideology, any information they give out is likely to be heavily tainted. These groups may succeed in supplanting existing organisations, but what good are they? They’re simply watering the ideology down from what I’ve seen. There is still the adherence to the idea that some children will benefit from medicalisation. Are we supposed to be grateful they’re only advocating for a tiny minority to go on puberty blockers and hormones?
Another quote, ‘These organizations, whether they realize it or not are becoming part of the gender industry, supporting the medicalization of children‘. I’d argue that they are already a part of the gender industry supporting the medicalising of children. If they insist that transgenderism is a ‘special’ group and that some children will need medicalising, they give weight to the ideology. It’s the same with SexMatters and FPFW. Neither group is calling for a repeal of the GRA despite claims that it isn’t possible to change sex.
Why support the legal fiction that holds up the ideology?
Maybe there is a cross-over here, and it’s not just parents of kids with so-called ROGD that are invested in maintaining an identity. Although, I question whether it’s more a case of projecting an image with those heading the newly-formed organisations. Maybe that’s why there is so much hostility towards the women who dare to criticise the self-appointed leaders? Lisa Muggeridge talked about how injury to identity can evoke some pretty adverse reactions. I could be wrong, but I am sure she linked it to narcissism. Whatever the case, it is never appropriate for organisations or their representatives to be above critique.