[Marxism] Open Letter In Support Of Trans Labour Members

John Edmundson johnedmundson4 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 28 21:02:13 MDT 2019

On Tue, Oct 29, 2019 at 3:02 PM DW via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>

>   [So...this is my first tippytoe into this debate, something I've avoided
> as it is impossible to have a calm rational debate about this, it seems, at
> least on the left. Ergo, my own ignorance around these questions will
> remain as such since no one can discuss it with me or others who are trying
> to figure it all out.--David W.]

I certainly  know where you're coming from there. This list should be a
place where such a civil discussion should be able to be held.

> John wrote the following:  "
> So concern about trans women having unfettered access to women's spaces is
> patently *not* about transphobia, but about male violence - exactly the
> reason such female only spaces were established in the first place."
> Yeah...no it wasn't and it's both historically and anthropologically so
> much BS to say that.

I was thinking of rape crisis centres when I made that point. Apologies for
being unclear about that. Obviously places like huts to keep women apart
during menstruation weren't what I was thinking about and are not an issue
for trans activists either as far as I know . . .

> Where I live in the Bay Area womens
> washrooms are going away replaced by non-gender specific ones in public.

So you, a *man*, think it is good that "*womens* washrooms are going away
replaced by non-gender specific ones". Hmmm, I just don't see why women
should be being expected to give their spaces up yet be de-platformed or
threatened for questioning whether that is the way forward.

> Like the single non-gender bathroom and washrooms we find at small
> businesses (and that have always been found there) separating out washrooms
> and bathrooms was a function of KEEPING women separate from men for the
> obvious religious/cultural reasons and had zero to do with women spaces as
> "safe spaces".

Washrooms etc, yes. Evidently the first incarnation of that was in Paris
(maybe the great exhibition?) and was seen as a curiosity. I used to think
the best option was to go for unisex but my wife pointed me to evidence
that unisex facilities are higher risk for male assaults on women, even
though obviously it is possible for men to assault women in women's toilets
etc also. She also pointed out that sometimes women really want that space,
such as when they have a heavy period to deal with, or even to get away
from unwanted attention. I've rethought my view on that.

> I've always felt the washroom/bathroom (as opposed to the changing room or
> locker room...a related but quite different issue) was a silly argument in
> terms of transwomen (or for transmen) who, for all appearances, are the sex
> they identify and whose outward appearance is what they choose...as wholly
> irrelevant to the trans rights issue anyway as trans people for centuries
> have used bathroom of their choice and no one is the wiser.

I won't argue with you on that. I think the current demand for this is all
about asserting a political point - that trans women are women - rather
than something that really needs to change. No one asks for ID now and
won't where self ID is enacted.

> Only the right
> wing has ever raised this as something to go after trans folks for. They
> lose every time in these arguments for that very reason. I believe in safe
> spaces for women *when they chose to assert this*.

My problem is that right now, "when they [do] chose to assert this", they
are dismissed as transphobes, threatened with sexual violence etc by people
who simultaneously claim to also be women themselves.

> The issue is trickier
> when we are talking what substantiates a trans person and what is "merely"
> *just* a self-declaration of same. THAT is a huge issue (locker rooms --
> also a prudery issue I should add -- and women's sports). I'll await more
> discussion on those if it comes up.

I don't think the changing room thing is just a prudery issue - women who
have been subjected to sexual violence in the past are not simply being
prudish in wanting a place to undress where they won't be subject to men
looking at them. It does surprise me though how many women I know who used
to fight tooth and nail for women's spaces at universities etc, who now
tell me they have no problem with mixed gender changing rooms. I suspect
they don't believe they will ever have to face it in reality.

Another issue of course is the "cotton ceiling", where lesbians who won't
have sex with trans women with penises are condemned as transphobic. All
power to those lesbians I say, but they are demonised by this movement. I
just can't see the liberation in this. How is this not a distorted kind of
"men's rights movement"?

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