There is something wrong when respected members of the Left feel the need to adopt pseudonyms to write a pamphlet about gender identity politics. But if you read the Morning Star, or were at the London Anarchist Bookfair, or go on Twitter you will know that there is an intense and sometimes violent debate going on over gender identity.
This pamphlet – in a considered and rational way – tries to calm down the anger and open up the debate. The author, Green Goude, begins by reminding us that “Men are fine, women are fine. Every body is fine, every body is perfect”. She argues that it is the society we live in, and the nature of patriarchy, which has created the oppression of women by men as a class.
Goude, a veteran of the socialist feminist movement, sees the backlash against feminism by capitalism and the reversal of the gains made by the feminist movement as the background to the growth of interest in transitioning by young people.
She challenges the notion that transitioning can transfer someone into the opposite sex. And that, whilst respecting and supporting the rights of individuals’ to do so, that for male to trans people (MTTs) who have been raised as a male with all the privileges over women is “an ideology with no basis in fact, which is not believed or adhered to by many MTTs.”
Goude calls for a more respectful debate of the issues of gender, supporting individual’s right to play around with issues of identity, but being aware that this is a key issue when for example collecting statistics or on policies on prisons, sports and in challenging ingrained discrimination against women in public.
The answer, as Goude rightly acknowledges, is for there to be more debate and discussion around these issues whilst recognising that, although people have every right to identify however they like, this cannot mean allowing personal preference and the expression of personality to be given the same status, rights and recognition as biological sex. Otherwise, as she comments, “we undo in one fell swoop all the gains women have made and still need to make in our male-dominated society.”
Goude’s pamphlet is a challenge to the silencing of feminists who have questioned challenged trans ideology. As Goude counsels “Any silencing only benefits a misogynist, homophobic and patriarchal society, and we will all be the losers.”
Buy the pamphlet (only £2.50 free p&p in UK) and follow the debate here