(Lorelei or (@HatpinWoman on Twitter) is 32, a freelance writer and researcher and once met Sooty and Sweep. "What else...I’ve had my poetry go round the world though, if that’s of any use? It’s been published in a couple of anthologies and read on Australian radio and used for the odd wedding."
She wrote a thread that I thought was very good and I asked her for permission to reproduce it here, which was done after she made a few small edits.)
It’s a sleight of hand. Put the penny under one of the three cups. Twist them round. Pick a cup to lift. Look! Women’s right to have boundaries around who enters their spaces has vanished.
Women were mainly on board with budging-up for male-to-female transsexuals. We didn’t mind making room for people with a valid diagnosis. Those who went through a meaningful process, were reasonably evaluated for risks and were small enough in number that their presence didn’t unsettle the dynamics of female spaces or come with a laundry list of demands.
And then there was the sleight of hand.
It’s like inviting someone into your home, welcoming them, cooking for them, laughing with them and then, suddenly, a crowd of additional people turn up claiming to be their friends and start taking over. A crowd who gets frighteningly angry and abusive when you have questions about what’s happening or you don’t act like it’s all fine and you’re ok with everything they are doing.
They trash your stuff, they call you names, they intimidate you, they demand you stop speaking to people who are sitting on your sofa and banish them to the garden NOW, they eat the pudding you were lovingly saving for a friend going through a hard time and then when you try to talk to them about it they say they are too vulnerable to be held accountable for anything.
If you do call for help you are told by others you should try being kinder, as if the women who brim with kindness haven't tried that already and been treated like dirt. The others you ask for help agree that this is an uneven dispute but keep insisting that the people currently urinating on your coffee table are the victims.
And the thing is that in amongst the shouting, baying group of newcomers (whose aggression is worryingly familiar as the kind of male behaviour women know, recognise and rightly fear), you can clearly see there are some people there who are like your original guest. Trying to get on with their lives as they’re pressed into from all sides.
They just want to to get on with things, they’re not trying to rock the boat and capsize every moment of safety and every gain of equality women can claim. They just want to survive a vast and profound upheaval and to be happy. They are being swallowed up by this as well.
You can’t push through the crowd to reach them and they can’t reach you. Those few are the only ones who have turned up asking to be safe here who are actually at risk of anything. Yet they aren’t the ones threatening to cut you if you won’t speak words you don’t believe or the ones jostling you to make you give them what they want.
And what, really, can you do as you watch what meagre scraps belong to women ruined and divided up by people who don't care how many of us are intimidated, threatened or harmed, as long as they are happy? By people who don't have a splinter of compassion for us?
It’s like inviting someone over and then gatecrashers arrive, except it is so much worse.
I’m not willing to take on an increased risk of male violence, or ask my sisters to take on that increased risk, for the sake of people who don’t care that as a result of their crowd, and the political aims they are pushing, women have, for example, been punched, sexually violated in prisons and terrorised even when the terrorisers have known they are rape victims.
If someone can’t even muster up the barest margarine scraping of humanity towards the female sex over these issues, they’re dangerous to women and girls, either in their active abusing of us, their dismantling of our protections, or their passivity in the face of what is being done to us.
We are asking for a level of decency to be shown to us that does not even exceed the barest minimum. The failure to offer that to women, and to see us as being worthy of it, is the most wildly revealing thing I have ever seen. It shows just how widespread and entrenched misogyny still is.
The acceptable number of women harmed to satisfy the demands of the people currently acting as aggressors is 0.
We’ve already far exceeded that number.
All those who threaten and abuse women, or who devote their time to handwaving those behaviours, cannot seriously expect women will continue to endure it.
The party’s over. Now it’s time to clear up the mess.