Charlie Rae writes to a young Labour Party member in the midst of clashes between those who support gender identity laws and those who don’t.
I know you are very young, about 7 years my junior, and therefore there is a difference in experience and understanding that I am aware of as I write you this public letter. But the thing is, that I don’t think you seem to appreciate, is that you have chosen to step into the public arena yourself. You have chosen to participate in a movement which has already successfully pushed women out of their positions in the party you are attempting to be a leader in. You have participated in what has been dubbed a “hit list” which has seen women pushed out of their party, and they have considered and starting taking up efforts for legal council in response to you. Yet, you think you’re somehow the victim, and criticizing you about this you have blanket-labeled as an “anti-trans agenda.” In this, you claim to be targeted, but you are the one who has targeted women, and you’re upset that they aren’t going to take it lying down.
I read your recent piece on Young Fabians and I felt compelled to write to you as you have felt compelled to write to the public about your perceived victimization. I felt the need because the lack of willingness to understand on your part, coupled with your arrogance in demanding the spaces, positions, and legal rights that women so long fought for, leaves me dumbfounded as to why you even think women would want to include you. If you want women to include you in anything we have built together, I couldn’t think of a worse way to go about doing it.
As you mentioned yourself in your opening line, women won the vote about 100 years ago, something you can never fully appreciate because if you had been alive at that time you would have been allowed to vote. I am confused as to why you describe “cis” women as having authority to decide about what you call transphobia in your party when your party seems quick to over-look your sneaky tactics of hit lists and getting women pushed out of positions, and the women who are getting pushed out are the ones who are having to challenge the authority that has come so quickly from the outrage transideologists like yourself express–while you proclaim “they are losing”. I am confused as to why you expect women to take this lying down, when women have already done the work, and won, the right to the position you hold, as if women can’t or wont do it again. I am baffled that you have entered the public arena as a kid, push out women who have been doing work for women since before you were born, and then act innocent and fragile when women are not kind to you or start campaigns against the work you seek to accomplish.
Lily, feminists are not debating your “right to exist”, they’re debating the impact gender identity has on women and the work they have been doing for ages. Saying you shouldn’t hold a women’s position isn’t the same thing as saying you have no right to exist, and the fact that you think these are the same thing are a reflection of your entitlement to what women have built for themselves with sweat, blood, and tears. If you can’t have it, to you, it’s as if you cannot live, so women must give it to you.
Further, you use social manipulation as a means to your ends. You wont engage in your article in a meaningful analysis of how gender identity changes and impacts laws, instead, you bring up misrepresented suicide statistics. Even in bringing up suicide statistics, you again exclude any meaningful analysis of suicide in favor of eliciting an emotional reaction from your readers, such as that suicide is contagious among teenagers, or that kids who identify as trans have high co-morbidity with other disorders such as depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. You also fail to mention that the “near half” (41%) number that you misrepresented of trans youth attempting suicide comes from a study where the authors of the study themselves “acknowledge the limitations of their study; they didn’t ask respondents about other mental-health conditions, nor whether they identified as transgender, at the time of the suicide attempt,” as reported by Debrah Soh, PhD. Nor do you seem to understand that the suicidality of a group does not determine their place in a hierarchy of oppression. Prison guards in my home country of the USA have high rates of suicidality, are they oppressed? In the ghettos of Nazi Germany, Jewish people had low rates of suicide, were they not oppressed? Even your distractions are distractions.
If you want to address the public, and you want to push these new laws and policies, then refusing to engage in a meaningful understanding of how they will cause real-life impact, not just to yourself, but to society and particularly the women you claim to represent who just won the vote around 100 years ago is not only disingenuous, it’s an outright affront on the work women have done.
I wish I wasn’t writing this. It seems crazy to me that a kid such as yourself has chosen to take up the position you have, while you claim to experience so much distress, and are so upset that you have been faced with opposition from women. If I were giving you legitimate advice it would be to step out of it and grow up a bit, and find a way to be stable and secure. But if you want to stay in your position, understand what it takes to put yourself in the arena of public ideas where, yes, women are going to and are allowed to disagree with you (disappointing, I know), and have every right to seek legal action on behalf of their own representation (which you have no qualms doing for yourself, so why should they?)