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Sexists in gay armour

The feminist fix: If transwomen are women, why do so many men listen to them?

Artillery Row

“Sexists in gay armour” is the tenth article in Julie Bindel’s online column for The Critic, “The feminist fix”, which explores feminism’s answer to today’s challenges. The ninth article, on ending the amnesty for male slobs, can be read here.

What do Brian Paddick, Owen Jones and Patrick Strudwick have in common? All lecture women on the trans issue, and all are gay men. I can name several others known for haranguing feminists on the topic, such as the Scottish actor David Paisley, and shamed GP Adrian Harrop. I can already hear the cries of “homophobia” from the blue-fringed brigade, but I draw this connection in order to explore why so many gay men use their sexual identity as armour in the war over trans ideology, despite, unlike women, having no skin in the game.

When I was a young lesbian during the late 1970s and 80s, hanging out in gay nightclubs, I would encounter ultra-camp men referring to themselves and each other as “she” and “her”. It was not a trans thing, more like a sexist joke. “Oooooh! Look at her!” could be heard over the loud disco music when one of the boys saw a man they fancied. They would adopt female names for each other (“Judy is having a good time tonight”) and would routinely refer to actual women that hung out with them as “fag hags”, a deeply cruel and misogynistic term. Pretty much every gay club had its resident drag queen whose repertoire would often involve the most woman-hating jokes imaginable.

These men thought they had a right to appropriate what they saw as our behaviour and appearance for their own amusement.

Despite facing their own oppression, gay men felt women were at the bottom of the pile

To these men, despite the fact that they faced their own oppression for being gay, women were at the bottom of the pile. This attitude was laid bare during the 1970s, when lesbians walked out en masse on the Gay Liberation Front, deciding to fight for their rights independently, because they had become so fed up with men setting the agenda, talking over them in meetings and not listening to their concerns.

How little has changed.

Take Brian Paddick as one example. The former senior Metropolitan police officer, now Lib Dem politician sitting in the House of Lords, has previously spoken out about how the brutal anti-gay culture within the police service affected his life and career. But in recent years, Paddick appears to have taken it upon himself to tell feminists we are wrong to be concerned about the likes of Barbie Kardashian and Karen White being placed in the women’s prison estate.

On the eve of a debate in the House of Lords on whether prisons should be single sex, Paddick tweeted:  “All prisoners are risk-assessed and placed into an appropriate prison. End of story.”

That’s us told then. Except it is far from the end of the story for the numerous women sexually assaulted by trans identifying males in prison. How dare these men decide on prison policy that affects females?

I take serious exception to men telling me women in jail are in no danger from trans-identified men with fully intact genitalia

There is nothing new about men speaking on behalf of women, or even telling us we are wrong about matters that only apply to the female sex, but in recent years mansplaining has become such a problem that we even had to invent a term for it. But as someone who has campaigned against male violence and the criminal justice system for decades, I take serious exception to men telling me that women in jail are in no danger from trans identified men with fully intact genitalia. I wonder how many of these Owen Jones types have been inside a women’s prison. I have, on numerous occasion, visiting women who have ended up inside as a direct or indirect consequence of male violence. Incarcerated women are already justifiably fearful of male prison guards, and sexual assault by male staff. Many have told me they are terrified whenever a trans (male) prisoner is admitted, but dare not say so lest they are accused of transphobia.

Over half of women within the female prison estate have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence, often from a very young age and throughout their lives. Credible evidence confirms that gender identity does not overrule sex based offending patterns. Violent male offenders should not be in women’s prisons, and in reality, transwomen are no more vulnerable in male prisons than young, camp, gay men. Should we put anyone other than 6-foot tall, macho muscle men in with women, just in case?

The cynic in me wonders why so many gay men are rapt when listening to transwomen, when they have little or no concern for the myriad of issues adversely affecting females. I can count on one hand the number of gay men actively campaigning to end male violence against women, despite the fact that lesbians have a long history of supporting gay men through the AIDS crisis and in campaigns against police targeting. Not only do most gay men do nothing at all to end the tyranny of male violence and support women, lesbian or not, so many are actively making things worse by chanting the “trans women are women” mantra at us when we talk about the safeguarding issues resulting from the erosion of women- and girl-only spaces and facilities.

I have been forced to conclude that those gay men most vocal against feminists when it comes to transgender ideology do not care a jot about women; rather, they are taking the opportunity to keep us in our place. As I have often asked, if transwomen are women, why do so many men listen to them? The feminist fix for the problem of gay misogynists is to challenge it, however much they scream “homophobe” and “bigot”. It is a ploy to silence us, and as much as these men use their sexuality as a human shield, we should lay the truth bare.

Julie Bindel’s latest book, Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation (Constable, Robinson), was published on 2 September 2021.

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