Picture credit: Standing for Women

What’s so controversial about “woman — adult human female”?

Natalie Bird was expelled from the Lib Dems for a t-shirt

Artillery Row

Back in September 2021, at the time of the Liberal Democrat conference, Andrew Marr was interviewing Ed Davey on his early morning Sunday show. Andrew asked him “What is wrong with this phrase: ‘woman — adult human female?’’. Ed answered “Well, Liberal Democrats believe that trans rights are really important because trans people are some of the most discriminated against in our society today”.  Andrew Marr again asked “What’s wrong with the phrase? ‘Woman — adult human female’”. Ed: “The phrase doesn’t actually really encapsulate the debate to be honest. That’s what’s the problem with it. The issue that we have been really clear is that a trans woman is a woman, a transman is a man and that is the issue that we’re fighting on”. Andrew again repeated “What’s wrong with the phrase? ‘Woman- adult human female’”. Ed: “I’ve made it clear what our position is on trans rights...” Andrew then put my case to Ed “the reason I keep using that phrase as I’m sure you know is that one of your members, Natalie Bird, has been banned from standing as a Liberal Democrat in any circumstances for ten years because she wore a T-shirt which had that slogan on it”. 

In order to define a woman we do not need to talk about how “feminine” or how “fabulous’ we might be

It isn’t often that a highly respected journalist puts the case of a working-class single mother to a powerful politician. Of course, these days we expect politicians to struggle to answer the simplest questions, but what is so difficult about the definition of “woman”? The word “woman” comes from our Anglo-Saxon heritage.  Language represents our reality and how we perceive and interact with our world. A woman is more than just a mere body but the very portal through which our species continues.

Women are more likely to be vulnerable and to be raped, attacked and discriminated against.  We own, even in 2022, just 1 per cent of the world’s property and have very little economic power around the globe. Every month sees women shunned from their communities and literally sent into the wilderness because our bodies are undergoing painful and bloody periods which are necessary to the survival of all human life. It is the ultimate insult that after the pain and profound experience of childbirth instead of being respected and revered, women continue to suffer discrimination in the workplace and at home, as domestic violence usually starts when a woman is at her most vulnerable whilst pregnant. 

In order to define a woman we do not need to talk about how “feminine” or how “fabulous’ we might be, or whether we wear a skirt, handbag with heels, and what make of skirt, handbag and heels.  The way we dress doesn’t define women. I would encourage and support “feminine “ men to be “feminine” men but unfortunately no matter how much a man may demonstrate “femininity” this can never make him a woman. Transwomen may want to be women. But, however much they want to be, they cannot be.   

My political beliefs and philosophy are about protecting women. It is women who have been marginalised throughout society’s history.  It is women who were the property of their husband, who could be captured in war and sold as slaves, who up until the 1970s would have been refused mortgages if they applied in their own right and who were not paid the same as men, who up until the 1980s could lawfully be turned away from a bar and whose incomes had to be declared on her husband’s tax return. Who are still subject to the “sex” pay gap and whose careers are stalled due to rearing the next generation. These are the issues from which my politics and sincerely held beliefs spring from.

 Going back to Ed’s interview, I find it significant that Ed didn’t take the opportunity to talk about “women’s rights”. Instead he talked about “trans rights” when questioned about the definition of “woman”. Presumably it is because Ed Davey, and the Liberal Democrats in general, think there are no votes in women’s rights anymore. Perhaps that is because our political class is so caught up in individual rights and freedoms that it has not thought through the end result and impact that these “luxury beliefs “ will have in wider society., rather than try to present  the pressing real-world issues that we all still have, that take significantly more time, effort, energy and funding to resolve. 

I also question the authenticity of the Liberal Democrat’s position when, if it is correct that “trans people are some of the most discriminated against in our society” the Liberal Democrats consider that the best way forward is to push transpeople into the large groups of our society (men and women), when, presumably, it is the fact they are “trans” that makes them susceptible to discrimination. If you are sincerely interested in trans as a group of people, rather than simply trying to make political capital out of them, why not have accurate statistics and data that clearly separates women from the trans population, so that adequate resources and funding can be allocated to resolve issues? I believe the Liberal Democrats are simply trying to win votes from a younger demographic, who know little about the real world and are unable to see the misogynistic society we live in.

How many women’s lives are an acceptable level of collateral damage so we can continue to virtue signal?

Do the Liberal Democrats really believe that transpeople need more protection? If so on what basis? Employment laws protect them from workplace discrimination, whilst women have had to change the law to defend their Gender Critical beliefs. Social Media readily protects all forms of transpeople, who demand everybody confirm to their chosen pronouns.  And who are the Liberal Democrats fighting this issue with? I do not believe there is any significant group that does not wish for transpeople to live their best life.  

Our prisons should be for our most violent and sexual offenders only, I would feel much more comfortable if women’s crimes were dealt with in the community, instead of seeing families torn apart and children’s lives disrupted due to women’s “minor” crimes.

Similarly, women’s sports may be destroyed if women are less likely to win due to transwomen competing against them. It is difficult enough for schools to persuade teenage girls to join in PE particularly with the high levels of sexual harassment in schools.  Why would any woman train and compete at a senior level when she knows she will be physically overtaken by a man with greater power and strength? We are already seeing women excluding themselves from women’s shelters and refuges as they can’t be certain that a male will be allowed in.

Exactly how far does this have to go before we stop the nonsense? How many women’s lives are an acceptable level of collateral damage so we can continue to virtue signal?

My views and position are not without significant support in the Liberal Democrats. Whilst many are afraid to publicly voice their opinion for fear of the Lib mob, they do send me private messages in support. Previous MP and MEP Chris Davies has come out and openly supports me. He questions how a serious political party can condemn someone for silently stating a woman is an adult human female whilst pretending to remain the party of J.S Mill, who advocated for the right of every individual to express their view. He believes that science should not be swept aside by glib slogans claiming that “trans women are women without qualification of any kind at all”. 

As a society, we are long overdue a sensible and rational debate on this topic, without fear or censorship. The public conversation must shift to open, transparent and respectful debate.

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