The announcement of Liz Truss to "protect single sex spaces" at the end of April sent shockwaves through the ts, trans, non-binary and intersex communities in the UK. The announcement heralded the end of life changing treatment for trans children, forcing them to endure changes during puberty which are permanent, distressing, and to many, disfiguring. It also made adults feel very unsafe, and lacking in any detail or clarity, did nothing but promote anxiety.
Our latest poll of our members at transiness revealed a 0% confidence in the current government. n=41
Since then many enquiries have been made by trans people, through direct messages, on social media and through their MP's, being met with a stony silence. The government promised to make their intent clear "by summer", leaving ts, trans, intersex and non-binary people unsure of how their lives are going to be impacted. Such delays, intentional or not, have contributed not only to huge anxiety for people, but also a sense of dread. Legislating that transitioned women and people use toilets and changing facilities of their birth assigned sex would be a cruel and unusual punishment. 97% of trans, TS and intersex people have had some form of HRT or reconstructive surgery to fit in with the binary model of sex, or in order to align their gender identity to their physical bodies. Forcing such people to use such facilities would make everyone unsafe. Trans women being forced to use men's facilities, when at least 50% are survivors of sexual violence would be tortuous. Trans men in women's facilities would open the door to any cisgender man claiming to be trans in order to access women's spaces. This is a problem, not only for trans people, but for society as a whole. There were no exemptions mentioned in the announcement, people are left in the dark about the actual details, causing considerable distress to minority people, but it should also be a source of anxiety to cisgender people.
Our twitter poll had 108 respondents who identified as trans, with only 2 people having confidence in the government.
It follows articles in the tabloids, reportedly from MP's and government ministers referring to "male bodied" people (whatever this means). Are you "male bodied" when you grow a beard? Can "male bodied" people have a vagina? The problem the government has is both with definitions, and on drawing a line between what is considered "male" and what is considered "female". As trans, ts, non-binary and intersex people, we know this line is just an illusion. There is a dual, bell shaped curve of distribution in phenotypical sex, and sexing bodies and people who have taken HRT or had surgery is complex, and often people get it wrong. How is the government intending on policing such changes? How will these changes impact the lives of everyone? What we do know is that Liz Truss has taken a line from anti-trans extremists, and, as such, has invested herself in the myopic view of cis-supremacists who don't think through their exterminationist theories, other than the obvious exclusion of trans people from society. Scratch the surface of any exclusionary ideology, and you will find very little content apart from a superficial thread of: hatred of a minority group. As she will find, there are no easy answers to the complexities of gender, something that seasoned trans, intersex, ts and non-binary people know so well from personal experience, and by listening to others. Whichever way Truss turns from here must be made with clarity. How we divide our society will determine how we police it - and from there there must be legislature to support it. She will face economic pressures and sanctions from human rights groups, including the UN, if she chooses policies which are draconian - such measures which are suggested by cis supremacists. As a government facing the biggest economic downturn in a century, this won't go down too well.