Photo by Sorrasak Jar Tinyo
Artillery Row

Over my dead body

Women deserve to feel safe during surgery

At the Women’s Liberation Conference in 1978 in Birmingham, a seventh demand was added to the previous six. It was that women wanted,

  1. Freedom from intimidation by threat or use of violence or sexual coercion, regardless of marital status and an end to all laws, assumptions and institutions which perpetuate male dominance and men’s aggression towards women.

It is 44 years later and a woman has just had her life-saving operation cancelled at the last minute because she requested that only female people would provide her post-operative care in the private Princess Grace Hospital in Marylebone, London. Simplified, her request meant that she rejected her body being seen or handled by male nurses during her aftercare when she would be at her most vulnerable. She is a survivor of men’s sexual violence. Her demand not to be touched by men is utterly, and unquestionably, reasonable and proportionate. 

The woman needed a complex and specialist procedure to treat a colorectal illness threatening her life. She made some simple demands which all women would expect to be able to make. She wanted her right to single sex hospital accommodation and single sex aftercare. She also refused to subscribe to pronoun use and said she would only use language referring to her healthcare which referred to her sex and not her “gender identity”.

He entered the room without knocking and held her gaze

When attending her pre-operation procedures, and in a state of undress, a man opened the door. He was wearing a wig and lipstick. He maintained eye contact with the woman. This part of her story, documented here by @ripx4nutmeg, chills me the most. A man, dressed as a woman, perhaps having heard about her requests to the hospital that she not be cared for by men exactly like him men identifying as women entered the room without knocking and held her gaze. The entitlement, the violation of a woman’s privacy and dignity, the determination of this act, is symbolic of all that is insidious in the transgender movement. Women must not say no to these men. If women do, they will be put back in their place and in this case that place is outside a hospital to suffer further ill-health and possibly death. 

Returning to that demand of 1978, this man was indeed “perpetuating male dominance and male aggression towards women” in entering a room where a woman had specifically requested, according to her rights, that he would not be allowed. 

The hospital cancelled her planned operation on the grounds that “we do not share your beliefs and are not able to adhere to your requests and we have therefore decided that we will not proceed with your surgery”. 

Those beliefs, the beliefs of many women in the UK, are that men can’t change sex, that women in a state of undress don’t want to be seen by men and that women who have suffered sexual assault do not have to submit to their intimate care being provided by men. What this hospital is saying is, “if you don’t believe that men are women, then we won’t bother saving your life”.

In an outstanding act of cruelty and gaslighting, she was also told that the male staff members who are identifying as women, who might have access to her body without her permission, would be protected from harm by her. “HCA is committed to protecting our staff from unacceptable distress and we believe the cornerstone of good patient care is based on mutual respect and trust.”

Women who don’t believe as they do are seen as the aggressors

The emotional manipulation carefully concealed in their passive aggressive statement of moral superiority is astounding. The patient’s distress at potentially having her body handled by a man is dismissed in favour of his supposed “right” to handle her. Why would a man be distressed by a female sexual violence survivor saying no to him? Wouldn’t any reasonable man try to understand this? Of course, he would, but transgender activists and the men they enable are not reasonable or honourable men. They have pushed the boundaries of gender identity to the point that women who don’t believe as they do are seen as the aggressors. 

The mention of “mutual respect and trust” is particularly offensive. Women who have had their bodies sexually violated by one man have no obligation to trust any other man simply because an organisation thinks they should. That trust might never be possible for them and there is nothing flawed in a woman who won’t or can’t. The flaw here is male violence against women. Only that.

The shocking realisation that women cannot say no to a man accessing their body when they need intimate care post-operatively should send ripples of terror throughout women of the UK. The man in the lipstick and wig can wear what he wants — that isn’t the problem here — but it seems that what he wanted was to upset a woman. Why did he enter? Why did he not avert his eyes? Because he didn’t want to, and the hospital wasn’t going to stop him. Instead, he and other trans-identifying men, will be protected by HCA Healthcare UK as he crosses the boundaries more women expect to be able to establish as female in-patients. 

The terrible realisation women need to face as a result of this case is that we are now in a world where large institutions, healthcare providers and others including our politicians, believe that men are now women and have the right to touch your body or allow you to die if you won’t let them. 

Over my dead body. 

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