Debbie Hayton

There is no transgender debate

It has descended into a shouting match

There is no transgender debate
(The Women Coventry/Twitter)
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Anyone still talking about ‘two sides in the transgender debate’ needs to look at the footage from Bristol yesterday. Actually, there was no debate. What happened was one group of people (mainly men) intimidating a second group of people (mainly women). The video is terrifying.

If you couldn’t catch what was said through their masks, here is my transcript:

Go, get in the sea. Die out. You’re dinosaurs. Dinosaurs. Fossils. You’re going to die out (x5). You are ancient history. You are fossils. You are dinosaurs. You have failed (x2). Your ideas have failed. Get in the sea. Get in the sea like Colston. Go home. Get in the sea.

The reference to Edward Colston’s statue – pushed into Bristol harbour two years ago by an out-of-control mob – was chilling. But Colston died in 1721. This time the suggested target was the living. Specifically, a group of women who wanted to meet on College Green in central Bristol to discuss women’s rights.

The protesters’ motivations felt like pure misogyny: when the two men had run out of blood-curdling threats, the masked bandit finished tellingly with, ‘look after your kids’. But this was was no naive young student, this was a fully grown man unleashing his fury on women. Behind him, the mob chanted ‘trans rights are human rights’, as if those ends justified whatever means – however vile.

And the police watched on as all this happened. In a statement, Avon and Somerset police said, ‘Earlier today, officers facilitated around 150 people’s right to protest in Bristol city centre… The right to protest is a fundamental democratic right and we are pleased to have been able to facilitate both these demonstrations.’

No, there was only one demonstration, protest, exercise in brutal intimidation – call it what you like. On the other side of the police line, the women just wanted to talk. Standing for Women who organised the event said:

Standing for Women organised a women’s free speech event ‘Let Women Speak’, not a protest or a rally. It’s an event aimed at combatting the silencing of women’s voices on the erasure of our rights, our spaces and our language posed by the totalitarian transgender promoting ideologues.

I spoke to Bo Novak who had travelled from Wiltshire for the event. Describing the protestors as ‘anarcho-bully boys’, she told me:

They so reminded me of the Socialist Workers party I endured through my younger activist days, as well as Militant, back in the day. Just abusive angry men using a cause… They did everything possible within the law to intimidate women. There was a lot of squaring up to police, there was a lot of shouting, there was a lot of pointing, and screaming and chanting. At one point they just had their megaphone on a drone – high-pitched feedback – so that nothing could be heard.

The silencing of women’s voices, indeed. The cause these men are using is transgender rights. My rights, in other words. It seems that they think by invoking trans rights they can do exactly as they please.

This needs to stop. The mob can never be appeased. For too long politicians and policymakers have prevaricated. Maybe they don’t understand what is going on. Well, they need to learn quickly, and not from the likes of Stonewall. The ideology that those groups have been pushing has got us into this mess. To get out of it we need to restore some common sense. It’s not difficult. There are two sexes – and that has been the case for around a billion years. The two sexes are different in our species and sometimes they need separate provision.

Some people struggle with their sex and their sexed bodies. In recent years we have become more accepting of those people, while medical advances have made it possible for people to change their bodies so that they can be more comfortable with them. But neither hormone therapy nor surgery can change anyone’s sex. Whatever I might have done to my body should give me no extra rights to impose on women. Nor should it give these so-called allies any rights to impose themselves on women either.