Another clarification of my opinions

Social media really can be a hideous place. Intentions are deliberately misrepresented, the decency of people is flattened to the latest opinion they express, and the absolute worst is read into one’s political ‘enemies’.

I am trying to learn to ignore the trolling and the disingenuousness as we shouldn’t spend our lives engaged in petty spats. However, it is important to me that I correct and clarify assertions about me at times like this when I am being misrepresented so widely and viciously.

What I write is unlikely to convince the rabid mob who are invested and committed to the narrative that I am quite possibly the worst person in New Zealand. Nonetheless, I write this for the much larger number of people on the periphery who will see their nonsense and accept it as truth without context.

I’ll try to set out the main points of my issues with trans activism and opinions regarding trans people in general in the most brief manner possible, but I am happy to discuss this further with anyone who is willing to do so in good faith and respectfully.

First of all, I do not hate trans people in the slightest. I do not wish them ill will and I think there are definitely ways we could address the challenges they face in society to ensure they can live full and healthy lives.

My concerns lay not with gender nonconformity or with people who experience incongruity with their body. Rather it is the way in which society is dealing with these things or more specifically it is how a small number of activists are dictating how we should conceptualise sex, gender, and identity.

The two areas with which I am mainly concerned are how trans activism and its manifestation in policy and law impacts on women and the transitioning of children.

In my opinion, gender nonconformity in children is not something that should be discouraged. It should simply be accepted and allowed to be explored.

I hope to one day have a child and that child will be free to adopt the gender stereotypes associated with either sex. They are simply stereotypes after all. Whether my child wants to wear pink or blue, play with trucks or dolls, or dress up as Elsa or Spiderman is entirely up to them. And, they can mix and match all of the above on different days of the week if they want.

What I won’t do is teach my child that because they express themselves in the stereotypical way associated with the opposite sex that they are somehow “born in the wrong body”. In my view that would be regressive.

I advocate for teaching children that they ARE their bodies and their bodies are amazing. Their bodies climb trees, do cartwheels, read books, listen to music, eat yummy food, and recharge at night time. Whether they are born with a male or female body should have no effect on which toys they play with or how they express themselves.

‘Tomboys’ are not broken girls and effeminate boys aren’t defective.

The idea that wonderful individualism and challenging stereotypes should mean that a child needs to change their name, pronouns, and be put on a lifelong medical pathway is wrong in my view. These ideas are taught to children.

Big pharma used to be treated with suspicion, but trans activists are chomping at the bit to line gender nonconforming kids for medical intervention that is not reversible, which has severe side effects, and for which the kids are not capable of informed consent.

I would like to stress here that I believe adults should be free to make their own decisions regarding medical transition and I am not advocating against their right to do what they like with their bodies.

Earlier this week was Detransition Awareness Day and many detransitioners shared their experiences online. It was heartbreaking to see how many of them were transitioned as young girls and now in their 20s are faced with the reality of infertility, irreversibly altered bodies, and a whole lot of trauma. Many of them expressed that they are angry with the adults in their lives — parents, therapists, doctors — for not stopping them from “destroying” their bodies. They were kids, teens, and unable to understand the gravity of what they were deciding to do to their bodies even though they swore they did at the time.

We need to be adults for these children. Allow them to express and explore without attaching further meaning to it. Support them to appreciate their body for what it can do and love themselves for who they are.

For the small number of young people who suffer genuine incongruity or dysphoria social transition may be appropriate in their teens, but I strongly believe any medical treatment or surgery should wait until they are over 18.

Of particular concern to me is the effect paediatric transition has on young gays and lesbians. I am a lesbian myself and I worry a lot for girls like me. Whistleblowers from the UK’s largest gender clinic, The Tavistock, have told of concerns that transition has become the new gay conversion therapy. They had an internal joke that there would be no gays left at the rate they were transitioning them. Many parents, they said, preferred to have a trans daughter instead of a gay son and vice versa.

I know of a young teenaged girl who is a lesbian and is constantly told that she is really trans or nonbinary. Her mother tries to reassure her that being gender nonconforming and lesbian is absolutely fine, but school, friends, social media, and the media all communicate that someone like her is wrong and should be trans.

I don’t want to see a generation of gays and lesbians who have been treated like medical experiments and have to live with lifelong medical issues and a whole lot of trauma.

I could go on, but I’ll leave this topic there. I hope that I have conveyed that I have nothing but love for gender nonconforming kids and it is this love and concern that causes me to challenge the narratives being pushed by adults. HEY TEACHER, LEAVE THEM KIDS ALONE.

Now, women. Difficult women like me — the ones who say “no” and question things — have found ourselves branded as the very worst in society: “TERFs”.

One only need look at the treatment JK Rowling has received for expressing empathy for trans people, but refusing to go along with the narrative of trans activists, to see the degree of hate there is for us difficult women.

Again, I will reiterate that there is nothing wrong with gender nonconformity. It seems it was more accepted in the 70s than it is now, but we should be working to get back that freedom for adults and children.

However, there is a great deal of misogyny in trans activism. It is women who are being pushed out of our own spaces, losing out on our own opportunities, and being parodied in a highly sexualised manner.

We are now called “bleeders” or “people with uteruses” and are being written out of our own lives. This is grossly misogynistic especially when compared to the virtually untouched language of men’s health and experiences.

The idea that being a woman is reduced simply to ‘opting in’ is highly misogynistic. High heels, false nails, short skirts, and a ditzy affect do not make a woman. That is not to say a male should not be free to dress this way, it is simply to question why this should make him a woman. It is appropriative, is it not? It flattens womanhood to a highly feminised and sexualised aesthetic.

There seems to be a perception that by demanding the retention of single-sex spaces women are accusing all transwomen of being dangerous predators. This perception is not accurate. It should not be difficult to understand as the existence of single-sex spaces does not indicate that we believe every man is a threat; as a society we have simply understood that the minority of men who are predators are enough of a threat to warrant the separation of spaces. It is also about privacy. For some women — particularly religious women — sharing spaces with males (even if they identify as women) is not an option and without single-sex spaces they have to exclude themselves from public facilities.

Women are simply saying “no” to losing our spaces, opportunities, and the language to describe ourselves.

The narrative that there is no difference between the physical abilities of the sexes and so sport should be based on self-identity rather than sex is patently ridiculous. The activists and elites who promote this rubbish should know that the majority of the population know they are lying. It is observably false and this kind of lie propels the mistrust that people have in media, Government, and authorities. Lia Thomas is a glaring example currently.

The issue that makes me proper angry is the way lesbians and gays have been redefined. Rather than homosexual — same-sex attracted — activists have pushed the narrative that we are SAME-GENDER attracted. This is significant because it has resulted in lesbians being told that any heterosexual male who simply declares himself a woman is a lesbian.

We are told that if we are willing to use strap-ons then we should be willing to sleep with transwomen (the majority of which have not had surgery). Heterosexual sex is now considered lesbian sex if the person with the penis says he is a woman. It is Orwellian.

We are told that we can’t say we wouldn’t like “lesbian sex” with a penis if we haven’t tried it. A familiar narrative that straight men used to say to lesbians before most of them learnt it isn’t acceptable. Well, here is a work around.

This also means that spaces that used to be exclusively for women who are attracted to women, are very rarely female-only nowadays. To criticise this is unacceptable because women are not allowed to say “no”. Lesbians are not allowed to say “no”. If we do, we are to be excluded from polite society.

Everything that I have written here is about the way in which activists have dictated how we as a society should deal with gender nonconformity. It is about the narratives that are not to be argued with because to do so is “bigotry”.

Gender nonconforming children and trans adults should be free to live their best lives like everyone else. Their rights should be protected and advocated for just as everyone else.

It is my hope that eventually we will be able to have some honest and open conversations about how to protect children and women’s rights while ensuring trans people are not disadvantaged. The conversation has been all one-way traffic thus far.

I restate my offer here to discuss this in good faith if anyone would like to do so. I would rather answer for myself than have beardy internet bros using me as an opportunity to be a sanctioned misogynist.

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Like good faith disagreements & principled people. Dislike disingenuousness & Foucault. Care about women’s rights & democracy. Opinions my own ⚢

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Ani O’Brien

Ani O’Brien

Like good faith disagreements & principled people. Dislike disingenuousness & Foucault. Care about women’s rights & democracy. Opinions my own ⚢

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