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Artillery Row

History will judge us on gender

How can the modern world tolerate such absurdity?

The debate on sex and gender only took off for the general public in the last few years, and I feel for them, I really do. 

Your average Josephine woke up one day and out of nowhere, gender identity ideology had already changed the policy at her local swimming pool — preventing her from accessing her favourite women only sessions; and despite her concerns the kids’ school were insisting it was fine to let teenage boys in her daughter’s toilet’s, changing rooms, and sports. 

Then she turned around one day, and everyone at work was talking about pronouns. After a quick reminder of basic grammar on google, Josephine realised she must have missed the memo on the new work policy which insisted she told colleagues, all the time, something blindingly obvious to everyone with eyes in their head — that she was a woman. 

On top of that Trevor from accounts was to be referred to as they/them, and Bob from comms was a better woman than she’d ever been. With seemingly remarkable regularity Bob had started popping up next to her in the women’s toilet’s giving her tips on makeup, and HRT, and asking her where she bought her bras. 

Lots of Josephines are just starting to wake up to the nightmare that has been forced on us, and as is always the way with the silent majority, they are quite cross about it. For those of us who have been aware of this safeguarding hell hole for some time, it makes life an awful lot easier. Public consciousness is the route to changing bad policy, and I often hear women hopefully declaring that the tide is turning. 

It’s true of course, significant gains have been made in legal cases that re-establish reality, but in essence we are stuck on one basic argument, and because of that we are still spending inordinate amounts of time arguing fact versus fiction with the truth dodgers. If we could clearly define in law and policy a fact known for over two billion years — that sex is biologically determined — we could all just get back to work, and life, and stop having to deal with this utter nonsense.   

I sometimes wonder how historians will view our time. If I was asked right now to create a time capsule, mine would include a few carefully organised files giving examples of “the woman question” being tested: 

In file one we have Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre (ERCC) (run by a man, who says he is a woman). ERCC are in court for an employment tribunal under allegations of constructive dismissal from a female member of staff. Amongst other issues, the staff member was allegedly disciplined for questioning the organisation’s position not to inform a 60-year-old woman, who requested female only support, that a man worked at the centre. It is also alleged that ERCC did not agree with reassuring the victim that the non-binary worker who had been assigned to support her, was indeed female. 

Allegedly the policy at ERCC is also not to refer any women to Beira’s Place, the one service in Edinburgh that is guaranteed to be female only. Triggered ERCC staff (poor babies) apparently meet online for wellbeing de-briefs about the trauma of Beira’s Place daring to exist in the first place.

For a dash of light entertainment, I’ll include the comments from the ERCC trustee (clearly not the fizziest can in the fridge), who proudly declared in court that you need to be qualified (quite in what she doesn’t say) to determine whether a female employee using they/them pronouns has a sex or not…

Not to be outdone, the umbrella organisation Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS), pitched up and spectacularly executed the very same gaslighting tactics it should protect women from. In a quick about turn RCS attempted to create distance between themselves and the very policies that landed their friends in court. 

Unfortunately, the internet is unforgiving, and everyone knows RCS have been pushing this inherently anti-woman policy agenda from the start. Despite their new claim to support female only spaces, there are receipts of them telling a distressed group of female victims that they have no legal right to a single sex space at all. The fact that some women in the movement have their grubby fingers all over the wilful destruction of decades worth of feminist work, is one of the most depressing and rage-inducing aspects of the story so far.  

File two includes a research report, written by Matilda Gosling for Sex Matters, which details the silencing of leaders in the women’s sector. Professionals who work with women who have been tortured, raped, prostituted, controlled, and abused in the worst ways by men, are silenced and bullied (sometimes from their own colleagues) if they try and place the agent of these crimes in one box. 

Despite the fact that we don’t know the violent men from non-violent ones, and we know through decades of experience, data, and general common sense, that female victims want a space to heal away from men — the current culture in the women’s sector is that everyone can know that men are men, but in certain circumstances it is apparently completely unacceptable to say so out loud. 

Some funders and commissioners clearly neglect their duty under discrimination laws and adopt various versions of “Stonewall Law”. This inevitably leads to a mish mash of mixed sex/non-specialist provision, serving no specific group of victim/survivors well, least of all women. 

The last file in the capsule is labelled “political miscellaneous”. It contains the story of Labour candidate Laura Pascal who was running for Hackney council in London. Laura was doing well in her campaign but with just a week to go it was discovered that she had said “bad and terrible things” — along the lines of “men can’t be women”. Of course, the Labour Party vultures circled and suspended her. To get back into the race Laura had to apologise (one imagines with her hands tied to her toes hanging over the Thames on a ducking stool). Of course, the election result for Labour was a monumental loss — to the Tories.

Surely his/herstory, or should I say they/themstory, will judge us? 

Surely his/herstory, or should I say they/themstory, will judge us? They will probably laugh at the utter absurdity of so many people seriously denying reality, and the rest of us having to scream blue murder for years about facts and biology. 

More likely, though, they will find it stomach-churningly unfunny. Especially reading the stories of how so called “feminists” worked with, and on behalf of men, and welcomed them into rape crisis centres, refuges, and women’s prisons, then for good measure scooped up a chunk of other basic rights that affected the average Josephine and her kids. 

Future generations will undoubtedly feel shocked and ashamed of these stories, but more importantly they’ll probably wonder why the changes came in slow creeping tides, rather than an almighty tsunami.   

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