Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Children sacrificed to appease trans lobby

From Topshop’s cave-in on changing rooms to the SNP’s guidance for schools, there is a mindless rush to appear right-on

Travis Alabanza is a performance artist who, in the tradition of Leigh Bowery, Boy George or Bowie, dresses to astonish and subvert. Blue lipstick, beard stubble, fab shoes, frocks, mad hair, attitude. What Travis isn’t, however, is a woman.

Yet when Topshop in Manchester wouldn’t allow him to try on clothes in the women’s fitting area, he exploded on Twitter: “Not letting me use the changing room I decide is shit, sort it out.” Within hours Topshop declared all customers “are free to use any fitting room located within our stores”.

Note: Topshop hasn’t built solid, separate unisex boxes as in, say, Urban Outfitters. They are just permitting men — any man — to walk into a flimsily curtained space where giggling teenage girls check out a friend’s new dress in their bras. Topshop’s female customers were baffled. Why sacrifice our privacy and safety? (When the US company Target adopted this policy, predatory men exploited it to snap photos under cubicles.) Why not create a discrete space for the few “non-binary” people like Travis to change?

Fair question. But the current trans movement is doctrinaire, uncompromising. Led by mainly older trans-women — ie born men — it won’t acknowledge women’s rights or feelings. It fights for two principles. First, “self-definition”: a person is the gender they “feel” inside, so a trans-woman “is” a woman even without physical change or while retaining male genitalia. Second, “affirmation”: everyone must acknowledge this inner gender identity. Hence the right to waltz into women’s private spaces is sacrosanct.

For months, researching the rise in referrals to gender clinics of teenage girls, I’ve been shocked at how the trans lobby, abetted by a cowed LGBT movement and deluded politicians, are prepared to sacrifice the wellbeing of children to attain those two goals.

This week the Scottish government published its transgender guidance for schools, drawn up solely by activist groups such as Mermaids. If Justine Greening implements a highly contentious women and equalities committee report, such rules will apply everywhere. On changing rooms it states: “If a learner feels uncomfortable sharing facilities with a transgender young person, they can be allowed to use a private facility . . . or to get changed after the trans young person is done.” So if a girl objects to showering with a male-bodied pupil, she must go elsewhere or wait outside. For overnight trips: “If a transgender young person is sharing a room with their peers, there is no reason for parents of the other young people to be informed.” So you have no business knowing if your daughter is sleeping alongside someone born a boy.

It recommends schools allow a child to change gender without parental consent. Moreover, if parents are not wholly behind a child’s decision: “It may be useful to approach the local authority for additional guidance”, ie report them to social services, perhaps to question custody.

As in the US, trans kids are now an industry that makes careers
This craze to expedite gender transition in children goes against all clinical advice for “watchful waiting”. The young brain evolves, children change their minds, puberty is troubling for many reasons. Yet the Scottish guidance allows no one to dispute a child’s view, maybe acquired on Reddit and Tumblr, that he or she is in “the wrong body”. Or to suggest that a child may simply be gay. The apparatus of medical transition, a hormone regime causing sterility, plus surgical removal of healthy tissue, is seen as wholly positive. PE teachers must tolerate girls using binders to strap down their hated breasts “which can lead to shortness of breath and can be painful during physical exertion” because they have “a positive impact on a young person’s mental health”.

We are being ordered to endorse a practice reminiscent of Chinese foot-binding or the Victorian tight-lacing craze where girls fainted to achieve the tiniest waist. Should we also hand out fresh razor blades so self-harm wounds don’t go sceptic? Or “affirm” anorexics’ delusions that they are fat?

In my research I heard from teachers, doctors, parents and trans-folk aghast at children being pushed towards drastic treatment before they can possibly understand how it will affect their future relationships and lives. None would speak out publicly: like Topshop, they feared being labelled transphobic.

Because how quickly we transition kids is the new measure of an enlightened society. Announcing proposals to let 12-year-olds change their legal gender, the SNP equalities secretary Angela Constance boasted that “Scotland rightly has a reputation as one of the most progressive countries in relation to LGBTI rights.” This proves the SNP is more right-on than even Corbyn Labour. Meanwhile the Tories, in a cynical pursuit of youth votes, push for legislative changes they don’t even grasp. “Being trans is not an illness,” said Theresa May recently, “and it should not be treated as such.” So why does it require surgery, drugs and lifelong patienthood?

While trans children are a liberal totem, 50 more are being referred to London’s Tavistock clinic every week. “If there was a 1,000 per cent rise in six years in any other field,” said one doctor, “there would be a major inquiry. Instead no one asks why.” Because trans kids are becoming, as in the US, an industry that makes careers, brings Children in Need and Lottery grants, humanitarian prizes, plaudits, MBEs; it provides a legion of photogenic young foot-soldiers to help secure older trans demands, and for the private clinics, who’ll put your 13-year-old girl on testosterone, it is a mighty cash cow. But in a decade, when our adult children turn to ask, “Why did you let me do this? Why didn’t you stop me?” we may wonder if this was progress or child abuse.


Why I want to be a stay-at-home mum: Tech executive reveals why she gave up a high-powered career to care full-time for her son in a post that will resonate with mothers everywhere

Clare Tully, 32, worked tirelessly to build a successful career, eventually landing herself a real estate executive role in a global tech company.

But when she returned to work two months after giving birth to her son, Jack, in February this year, Clare soon found herself feeling robbed of precious time with the child she had long longed for.

Writing in a blog post, Clare, from Ireland, described how she felt 'torn up with guilt' and like she was 'missing out on being his mammy'.

A few weeks ago Clare and her husband Cole took the decision that she would stop work to care full-time for their son, swapping her demanding career for life as a stay-at-home mother. 

Posting on her blog, The Tully Tales, Clare wrote honestly about her experience, revealing she did not take the decision lightly.

She described how she found her job 'challenging and interesting' but that it required 'long hours and frequent travel'.

Late-night meetings were also common as Clare, who had spent the last eight years working in California, struggled to keep up with different time zones.

'Work/Life balance is an impossible dream in most cases, but trying to juggle quality time with my family, and my job, has been a nightmare,' she continued.

She wrote: 'I have been torn up with guilt, and downright miserable at times. Mornings were spent rushing through our breakfast routine in order to get out of the house on time, and running around to make sure I had everything packed that he would need for the day.

'By the time I picked him up in the evening, there was just enough time for dinner and a few minutes of play before bed.

'I found myself wishing the week away so I could spend the weekend with him. It felt like I spent all my time handing him off to others, and I was missing out on being his mammy.'

Returning from a recent three-day business trip, Clare made the decision to quit and had her last week at work earlier this month.

She added that while she is looking forward to the next chapter, she understands it will be demanding in its own way.

'Staying at home with your child is hard work, with no breaks, and no paid holidays,' she wrote. 'I won’t even be able to pee alone... I’m nervous about throwing caution to the wind and taking a career break, not to mention going down to a single income.'

However ultimately she wants to be there to spend more time with her child. She added: 'We waited a long time for our little man, and the baby years are so short.

'So goodbye to meetings and overflowing inboxes, and hello to 24/7 nappy changing, mammy and baby groups and cuddles.'


UK: ‘Pestminster’: feminism’s double standards

Why working-class victims of real sexual abuse are ignored

Earlier this year, following a testimony from one woman and one girl, police uncovered a gang of rapists and child abusers in Newcastle. Seventeen men, convicted under Operation Sanctuary, were routinely raping young women, and girls as young as 14. They plied their victims with alcohol and drugs before assaulting them.

This month, several MPs have been demoted or suspended pending investigations for allegedly touching the knees of journalists or researchers, and for making ‘lewd’ comments and texting women to ask them out for drinks.

Which of these things got more media coverage? The rape of working-class women or the inconveniencing of middle-class women with a hand on the leg or an unwanted text? The latter, of course. The ‘Pestminster’ scandal has dominated media coverage for two weeks now. For more than a month the press has obsessed over which celebrities and actresses were allegedly mistreated by Harvey Weinstein. And the #MeToo hashtag has been trending for weeks, designed to raise awareness about sexual harassment.

In contrast, the revelation that girls in the north of England had been raped on a terrifying scale was news for around a week. Some of the coverage was cautious and embarrassed. Don’t focus too much on the men’s backgrounds, commentators warned (the men were largely of Pakistani origin). It was a similar situation when the abuse and rape of working-class girls in Rotherham and then Rochdale was uncovered. Operation Stovewood, Operation Clover and Operation Sanctuary, all investigations of the sexual exploitation of young women or girls in northern towns, have now largely been forgotten.

In these cases, vulnerable women and girls were drugged, threatened and raped. When they looked for help, their stories were either ignored or dragged out by the local authorities – even, in one instance, when DNA evidence proved there was a case to investigate. The wilful ignorance of the police in these cases has now been criticised by many, and was dramatised in the BBC series, Three Girls.

Yet when the Westminster sexual-harassment scandal broke, many observers described it as a watershed moment. Feminists, their heads in their hands, described parliament as a ‘toxic’ place. Something Must Be Done about our abusive MPs, they insisted. There has even been calls for politicians to undergo consent training – to stop them from touching journalists’ knees.

There is something very troubling in the different approaches to the very serious abuse of working-class women and girls and the far more minor problems faced by some political writers and researchers.

The response to the Westminster sex-pest panic has been to demand new respect for allegedly ‘vulnerable’ women in the largely middle-class ranks of political commentary and policymaking. Yet when genuinely vulnerable young women in Rotherham, Rochdale, Manchester and Newcastle needed protection, they were ignored for years and left to face more abuse. When a well-connected journalist wrote in The Times about Damian Green ‘fleetingly’ touching her knee (allegedly), an investigation was instantly opened and she was widely described as ‘brave’ and a hero for women. When Andrew Norfolk published a story about the abuse in Rotherham in 2011, it was largely ignored.

Many now talk about the need to ‘believe women’. Yet northern working-class girls weren’t believed, and many of them knew they wouldn’t be believed. The contrast in the social capital of these girls and of the journos complaining about handsy MPs is stark. So the former are forgotten, and the latter are hailed as martyrs, despite ‘suffering’ what most people would consider to be very mild creepy behaviour. It seems that for many feminists and many in the media, high-profile women being lightly touched is a bigger, more important story than working-class women being raped.

The difference between these cases is important for two reasons. First because looking back at the northern rape scandals should help confirm that the Westminster scandal really is a small, insignificant affair. No doubt there are unpleasant men in parliament. And yes, women shouldn’t have to put up with handsy old men at boozy lunches. They should tell them to get lost. But this is hardly shocking stuff. With the exception of a serious claim of rape, made by Labour activist Bex Bailey, most of the allegations coming out of ‘Pestminster’ are petty.

And secondly, contrasting these two cases helps us to understand how much feminists misuse language today. To describe well-educated professional women in the sphere of politics as ‘vulnerable’ is ridiculous. However, girls in care in the north whose abuse was ignored or overlooked really were vulnerable. Jane Merrick and Kate Maltby, journalists who have made incredibly petty accusations against MPs, aren’t brave; the northern women who persisted in bringing their serious suffering to light are brave. Sending someone a dirty text message is not ‘sexual predation’; but raping, assaulting and harassing girls as young as 14 is.

There is a powerful class dynamic to the ‘Pestminster’ scandal. What we have here are middle-class women playing the role of victims in a very unconvincing way. But real victims, if they’re working class and northern, are quickly forgotten. It is alarming that in Britain in 2017, you will get more sympathetic coverage in the broadsheet press if you’re posh and someone touches your knee than if you’re working-class and were raped for months.


Woe betide women who don’t subscribe to feminist orthodoxy

In the panic about lecherous MPs and sleazy film producers, everything from knee-touching to rape has been lumped together under the heading ‘sexual harassment’. The only purpose this term now serves is to label all men as abusers and all women as victims. A faceless but omnipotent patriarchy, feminists tell us, holds sway over women and girls. Apparently, it is men’s bad behaviour, a male sense of entitlement garnered from covert networks of privilege, even men’s stature and strength, that causes problems for women.

Feminism has long pitched men against women. But increasingly it pitches women against women, too. Women who don’t see men as problematic, who refuse to accept that ‘the patriarchy’ lies at the root of all their difficulties, are alternately pitied for suffering from internalised misogyny and loathed for betrayal. The sexual-harassment panic makes clear that there are some types of women feminists approve of – women who bravely detail their knee-touching allegations in newspaper columns, for example – while other women who refuse to join in with the pity-me stories are shamed for victim-blaming.

Earlier this week I took part in a debate about sexual harassment on Channel 4 News. Sitting alongside me was Dame Ann Leslie, one of the great reporters of the 20th century and a foreign correspondent at a time when such jobs were considered unsuitable for women. Leslie travelled the world, often alone, reporting from Moscow to Zimbabwe, from Berlin when the wall came down to South Africa when Mandela was released. Despite her age and physical frailty, her sense of humour and feistiness brought badly needed perspective to the discussion. Yes, she acknowledged, sexual harassment takes place. But she dealt with it through being fearless and fearful, once stubbing out a cigarette on someone, and shouting loudly at others.

Leslie argued that feminists today ‘spend their time saying women are traumatised because some silly old drunk in parliament put his hand on her knee or something like that’. She was in no way trivialising rape or saying that when it comes to sexual harassment women should just suck it up. Rather, her point was that wailing over knee-touching makes women appear, frankly, a bit pathetic, and ‘you can’t say women are strong and empowered and then say they’re scared and they’re going to cry and all that sort of thing’.

On cue, keyboard feminists took to Twitter to bemoan Channel 4 News for providing a platform for this ‘appalling woman’. ‘WHAT DID I JUST WATCH????’, they shrieked in unison. Why, they demanded to know, was this ‘dinosaur’ ‘exhumed’ and given airtime? ‘Women reporting sexual harassment are so, so brave’, came the chorus. The director of communications for Channel 4 News fuelled the indignation: ‘Ann Leslie claims women reporting sexual violence are weak.’ In fact, Leslie’s point was that it is precisely because women are strong, powerful and capable that crying over knee-touching is so degrading.

Outrage continued over on the Huffington Post, where Leslie was described as ‘a Daily Mail journalist’. Her groundbreaking career now trivialised and ridiculed for the pleasure of the Guardian-reading classes. Contempt, prejudice and misrepresentation are all allowed because Leslie dared to veer from today’s feminist orthodoxies. This rewriting of history, this lack of respect, is far more appalling than anything Leslie did or did not say. A woman who landed a Fleet Street column at the age of 22, became the highest-paid female journalist in the UK and made such a significant impact upon journalism should be celebrated as a role model for today’s young women. But because she thinks the ‘wrong’ thing, she is a woman who is fair game for attack.

In the sexual-harassment panic, other women have met a similar fate. Anne Robinson, another veteran journalist and TV presenter, provoked outrage with her claim that modern-day women are ‘fragile’. Robinson said: ‘In the early days, 40 years ago, there were very few of us women in power and I have to say we had a much more robust attitude to men behaving badly.’ Ironically, the upset prompted by her statement proves her point.

‘The glass ceiling seems to have been shattered’, Robinson argued, ‘but running alongside that is a sort of fragility among women who aren’t able to cope with the treachery of the workplace’. For saying this, she has been branded ‘dead wrong’, ‘confused’ and someone who is engaging in ‘humble bragging’ about her own strength. ‘Because of detractors like you, Anne’, she is patronisingly informed, ‘it takes far more courage and confidence to speak out about harassment in the workplace’.

I’m sure neither Leslie nor Robinson will give a damn what today’s feminists think of them. Neither has made a virtue out of displaying her feminist credentials. But even having fought at the frontline of yesteryear’s feminist battles is not enough to protect an older generation of activists from censure.

Linda Bellos, a self-described black, Jewish, lesbian radical feminist and one-time leader of Lambeth Council, who continues to work in the field of equality, was recently disinvited from speaking at the University of Cambridge’s Beard Society. Bellos had planned to raise questions about the current direction of gender politics, including ‘some of the trans politics… which seems to assert the power of those who were previously designated male to tell lesbians, and especially lesbian feminists, what to say and what to think’.

A representative of the Beard Society replied: ‘I’m sorry but we’ve decided not to host you. I too believe in freedom of expression, however Peterhouse is as much a home as it is a college. The welfare of our students in this instance has to come first.’ In other words, Bellos’s personal achievements and political victories fighting for women’s rights and equality count for nothing if she insists on ‘raising questions’ that challenge today’s consensus.

Germaine Greer, one of the most influential feminists of the 20th century, was similarly met by protests when she tried to speak at Cardiff University in 2015. Greer was accused of transphobia. She eventually delivered her lecture under high security. Her classic work The Female Eunuch dismantles the ways in which ideas about femininity encourage women to see themselves as weak; and it seems many of today’s feminists are too weak to hear views they might not agree with.

It seems increasingly that there is one correct way to do feminism, and it involves berating those individuals whose hard-won victories helped bring about the equality we have in the workplace today. This is worse than just disrespectful – it is terrible for women more broadly. Not only do we lose the voices of great female role models and activists; we also shut down diversity and dissent. Feminism now insists upon an emotional correctness and an adherence to one set of views. Feminists now present women as victims or, at best, survivors of the patriarchy. I prefer the feistiness, idiosyncrasy, ruthless ambition and sheer fun of the now vilified previous generation.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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