(by JL)

Saturday 20th July - A Letter to Andy Burnham

Feminist campaign group, WPUK, published a letter written by Cathy Devine (an academic whose research work specialises in human rights legislation) to Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester.

Cathy Divine was responding to a letter, to which Burnham is a signatory, that urges the Government to speed up legislation allowing people to declare their own 'gender'. ('Gender' is in quotes because no two people can agree on what it means...closest thing to a consensus is that it's some sort of 'soul' that tells you whether you like wearing lipstick).  

That letter was also signed by other Labour mayors, Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London), Dan Jarvis (Mayor of Sheffield) and Steve Rotherham (Mayor of Liverpool).

In her letter Cathy Devine points out the difference between someone who is 'Transsexual' and someone who is 'Transgender'. Under Stonewall's own guidelines, the word 'Transgender' has such a broad definition that it can be applied to anyone who is non-gender-conforming, including, for instance, straight men wearing eyeshadow.

The 2004 Gender Recognition Act was drawn up to cater for around 5000 transsexual people but it is estimated there are around 500 000 people who currently identify as transgender.  

Cathy Devine wrote:

"Changing the definition of people who can be legally recognised as the opposite sex and increasing the numbers 100-fold will obviously have impacts on the protected characteristic of sex... My concern with your letter is that nowhere do you recognise the knock-on effect for girls and women’s rights or even indicate that you have consulted with female constituents in Greater Manchester. The optics of four male mayors and the male CEO of the LGBT Foundation discounting any impacts on girls and women’s rights is really worrying for Labour."

Sunday 21st July - Children Misled at Gender Clinic

Writing in The Sunday Times Andrew Gilligan described how medical staff from GIDS, Britain's only children's gender clinic, are coming forward to express alarm over the treatment dysphoric children are receiving.

Clinicians are raising concerns about the early affirmation model, whereby puberty blockers are prescribed to children before exploring other potential sources of their distress. Families are assured that puberty blockers are fully reversible when, in reality, there is little research about their long-term effects because of the chilling effect caused by the climate of fear surrounding trans issues.

More on this in a moment.

Sunday 21st July - Sex Offender Housed in Women's Prison (Again)

Dublin Live ran a story about a convicted sex offender who is being held in a women's prison.

The prisoner was remanded at the prison in Dublin after he was convicted of ten counts of sexual assault and one count of cruelty against a child.

The prisoner is currently 'transitioning from male to female' which is all you need to say to be housed with a group of women who are statistically likely to have already been the victims of violent abuse.

Once again, that's TEN counts of sexual assault. TEN.

He is in a WOMEN'S PRISON.

Monday 22nd July - The Case For Women's Sports

The Guardian ran an article by Sean Ingle about what anyone with a working consciousness would call the destruction of women's sports. In it, he says that Olympic Committee policies on the inclusion of transwomen create an “intolerable unfairness”.

"This debate must be had. No longer can men tell women, such as Martina Navratilova, that when they stick up for a separate women’s sport category that they are ignorant or prejudiced. Such comments carry a pungent whiff of misogyny from the bad old days – when women were told to know their place, and kept on the margins of sport."

Monday 22nd July - Puberty Blockers Study Investigated

The slow motion scandal of puberty blockers continued on Newsnight.

The Tavistock has lowered the age at which puberty blockers may be prescribed and the drugs are now available to children as young as eleven. The 2011 study on which this decision was partly based is now under investigation by The Health Research Authority.

The clinic asserts that the sample used was too small to derive meaningful conclusions and the full findings of the study were not published. However, Michael Biggs, associate professor of sociology at Oxford University, provided Newsnight with a series of documents about the research which he had obtained through freedom of information requests.

It seems that the Tavistock's board was provided with initial data for 30 of the 44 young people on the study in 2015. This data demonstrated that, after a year on puberty blockers, there was a significant increase in subjects answering the statement "I deliberately try to hurt or kill myself".

Monday 22nd July - Home Office Omits Women in Hate Crime Round-Up

The UK Home Office twitter account outlined the protected groups against whom offences will be considered 'hate crimes'.

Every week two women are murdered by their current or former male partner.

Yet there is no place for women on a list of victims of hate crime.

Tuesday 23rd July - Allegations Against Jonathan Yaniv

The Post Millennial published the story of Jessica Rumpel, a young woman who is speaking out about Jonathan Yaniv engaging in inappropriate online sexual behaviour towards her when she was 14 and 15.

Yaniv initially made contact with Rumpel through social media site Ask.FM and then added her to the private messenger application, Kik (which is known to law enforcers for its lax safeguarding and popularity with predators).

During their conversation, Jessica says that Yaniv entertained his menstruation fetish, indulged a fantasy that he has periods and asked her to send photographs of her used feminine hygiene products. Eventually Yaniv's conversation became more overtly sexual with him making lascivious suggestions to her about her body and her age.

Wednesday 24th June - More Allegations Against Jonathan Yaniv

Following the piece in The Post Millennial, another young woman came forward to say that she had suffered online abuse from Jonathan Yaniv.

Louise explains how she discovered that Yaniv, then aged 26, was running the Facebook account of a music group comprised of 6 young Italian girls. He was responding to questions and comments from the group's fans, most of whom were teenage girls. She called him out over something he'd translated into French and this appears to have been the catalyst for his vendetta against her.

"At that point, the insults and the harassing messages started pouring in."

Louise says that Yaniv doxxed her, shared her private messages with 100s of people, groomed a 12 year old girl to hack a friend's social media account and harassed her online almost every day. She also states that he harassed and abused girls as young as 12, calling one a whore and sending photographs of his genitals to others.

Sports expert, Dr Antonia Lee, examined the International Olympic Committee's rules on transgender participation in a blog post on Medium. She expresses her belief that the 2015 IOC guidelines are unscientific and wholly without evidence.

In view of the numbers of late-transitioning transwomen such as Laurel Hubbard beating women much younger than themselves in sporting competitions, she contacted some of the IOC members responsible for those 2015 guidelines to find out if their position had changed.

Only one of the people she contacted actually responded. None of her questions were answered and the reply was brief; “IOC is presently revising the regulations. Please wait and see or contact the IOC directly”.

"I’ve yet to meet anyone who understands sport and who reads this 2015 IOC Consensus document who is not left incredulous. Where’s the science? Where’s the critical thinking and reasoning? Where’s the claimed ‘guarantee of fair play’? I’m certainly baffled. It looks to me like — and for whatever reason — an IOC panel comprising 20 people (mainly men) seemed to think that on what appears to be quite nonsensical evidence, they could give away women’s rights to fair competition, thereby ruining sport for 50% of society."

Thursday 25th July - More Litigation News from Canada

Another Canadian transwoman is filing a human rights complaint against a beauty salon.

Kristen McKay tried to make nail and make-up appointments with Carrie's Esthetic Salon in Charlottetown. When the owner, Carrie MacFadyen, refused, McKay filed a human rights complaint with Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission. And then contacted the media.

In a written statement, Ms MacFayden stated that she had no issue with a customer who is transgender and would have no hesitation in accepting their custom, providing that she felt safe with them. As she is the sole beautician at the salon, she is alone with any client she treats.

She explained that she had often seen McKay sitting or standing around on the street where she parks her car. When McKay then appeared at her place of work, she felt uneasy and refused to make the appointments based purely on the grounds of personal safety.

Actor James Dreyfus was the subject of a targeted and vitriolic attack in response to an audiobook production company announcing a new Dr Who story featuring Dreyfus as The Master.

This provided a snarling circle of witchfinders with an excuse to indulge in the usual hyperbole, insinuation and character assassinations.

Of course, none of the Twitter users attacking Dreyfus were able to present any evidence of this alleged transphobia. Their main problem with his behaviour seems to be his support of women's sex-based rights.

James was a founding signatory to a petition to Stonewall which called upon the organisation to reconsider it's blanket upholding of 'gender identity' over biological sex. Many of the other founding signatories to this petition are gay men and lesbians-- Beatrix Campbell, Jonathan Best, Simon Edge-- and the comments from many gay men and women express dismay at the direction Stonewall has taken under Ruth Hunt.

Gay men and women have every right to challenge the replacing of biological sex with 'gender identity' as it undermines the very concept of homosexuality and will affect the rights, spaces and organisations of those who are same-sex attracted. If you are trying to silence and smear those gay men and women, then it is time to ask yourself whether you are, in fact, the baddies.

Friday 26th July - The Yaniv Case Must Be Answered in Scotland

Writing in The Herald Catriona Stewart highlights the issues at the heart of the Yaniv case and explains how they encapsulate the concerns of feminists over the Scottish government's intentions regarding self-ID legislation.

She points out that when the waters are muddied around a clear definition of "Woman" it is practically impossible to legislate in cases such as this. In order for Scotland to avoid situations such as the one currently unfolding in Canada, the Scottish government must explain how the Equality Law will be applied alongside the proposed self-ID legislation.

"Wouldn't it be useful, instead of sloganeering and calling women c****, for politicians and charities to give explicit, detailed answers to questions being asked? The only way to allay fears is to tackle them head-on."

Quite! See you next week.