Julie Bindel

What Stella Creasy gets wrong about trans rights

What Stella Creasy gets wrong about trans rights
Stella Creasy (Credit: Getty images)
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Stella Creasy thinks that trans-women are women and should be treated as such. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the Labour MP said:

'Do I think some women were born with penises? Yes, but they are now women and I respect that.'

Yet what was left unspoken is the fear among those of us who were born female about what this means for women's rights.

Creasy supports self-identification because she thinks it’s 'bonkers' that a man who wishes to be legally recognised as a woman has to have the backing of two doctors. But what is 'bonkers' is the risk that single-sex spaces, such as prisons, changing rooms, hospital wards, and domestic violence refuges, could at some stage in the future be opened up to those who were born male.

By saying that 'some women were born with penises', she is perpetuating the idea that these men are trapped in the wrong body and are, in fact, women. Real women, despite the tackle, if you will.

Creasy didn't stop there. She also took a pop at JK Rowling, saying that the Harry Potter author is wrong on the subject of whether a woman can have a penis.

There was, of course, a kerfuffle about it all. Members of sterling organisations such as Woman’s Place UK, Fairplay for Women, and Sex Matters challenged the MP and offered to meet with her to explain their concerns over self ID. Will Creasy do so? She certainly ought to if she is ever to understand the legitimate concerns of women who are worried about what the march of trans rights means for them.

'As an old-fashioned feminist, I’m still fighting the patriarchy. I’m not interested in fighting amongst ourselves,' said Creasy. But if Creasy didn't intend to start a fight she has failed.

The Labour MP subsequently interpreted a tweet from JK Rowling about 'the real world consequences of redefining women to include the penised' as referring to herself. 'I'm presuming 'luxury belief' aimed at me,' she wrote. But 'luxury belief' is exactly right: Creasy poses as progressive but, for many women, her position – whether she intends it or not – is regressive to women's rights. So, no, Stella: JK Rowling isn't wrong here.

Creasy also wants to make misogyny a hate crime. She has argued that crimes targeted at women because they are women should be recorded as such 'because this is a vital step in recognising and responding to the 'harmful behaviours women experience every day on the street, in public and online.'

I am dead against this move, which may surprise those readers that know my feminism: I have railed against misogyny, in particular male violence towards women and girls, for decades, and I’m outspoken about the ways that many men express their hatred of females.

Yet part of the reason I am against this proposed legislation, aside from the fact that police would have even less time to deal with rape and domestic violence – and our prisons would be bursting at the seams – is because, under such a law, transwomen could be included as ‘women’. This means that feminists insisting that only men can possess a penis – or those accused of ‘misgendering’ – could find themselves in hot water under this legislation. A law supposedly to protect women against men’s hatred of us that risks including men as victims of women is totally bonkers. How can Creasy fight sexism when she refuses to acknowledge the full reality of biological sex?

Since co-founding the feminist law reform organisation Justice for Women in 1990, I have heard from a number of women in prison, who are usually there for defending themselves against male violence. They have told me that being locked up with other women was the safest they had felt in a long time, despite the horror of incarceration. Yet how appalling that now female prisoners are terrified when trans-identified males are locked up beside them. These fears are well-founded. If female prisoners speak out against transwomen being housed alongside them, they could be punished for being ‘transphobic’. The vast majority of these women have suffered some form of male violence, often beginning in childhood. But Creasy, in supporting self ID, risks putting the desires of men above the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable women.

In my view, Creasy is as misguided as Rowling and her ilk are correct. The women who would suffer the most under self ID would be the victims of male violence. Putting those women at further risk for the sake of appeasing trans activists is nothing short of despicable.