Saturday, July 29, 2017

The modern Panopticon

Janice Turner from The Times today interviews Maria Miller, the (Conservative) Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee.

The article: "How do you solve a problem like men in women’s changing rooms, Maria?"
"Maria Miller gathers up her handbag and makes to leave: “I don’t think I’m happy about this. I think I’ve finished . . . I didn’t realise this was such a stitch-up.

I’ve been questioning Ms Miller about a report on transgender rights she produced last year as chairwoman of the women and equalities committee. ...

"The heart of the controversy is the view, espoused by Ms Miller’s report, that switching gender should instead merely be a matter of “self-definition”. A man need only “declare” that he is a woman. Your gender is what you feel it to be: there would be no requirement even to take female hormones or have surgery — about 70 per cent of trans women still have intact male genitals — or even “present” as a woman to be legally female. ...

"Furthermore, if the law changes, “gender identity” is likely to become a protected characteristic under equalities legislation: ie if you deny a person is a woman or a man when they claim to be, you are guilty of discrimination or hate crime. ...

"Take this scenario: a man enters a female communal changing area, removes his clothes while women get undressed. Now they have a right to ask him to leave. Under gender self-definition, if he said “I identify as a woman” he would be entitled to stay. This, I stress, is unlikely to be a trans woman — many who use women’s changing rooms every day with discretion and no fuss — but could be a sexual predator exploiting the loophole. (There have been a growing number of cases in the US, including a man in Seattle using women’s pool facilities claiming “the law has changed, I have a right to be here”.) Does Ms Miller not see why women fear a conflict of rights? ...

"I show her a photograph of a bearded, male-born American called Danielle Muscato who dresses in men’s suits and ties, has made no attempt to transition but nonetheless “identifies as female” and insists on living in a women’s homeless shelter. On International Women’s Day he tweeted: “Some women have penises. If you’re bothered by this, you can suck my dick.” ...

"In Toronto, Christopher Hambrook claimed to be a trans woman to access a refuge then raped residents."

These spaces carry out a risk assessment before individuals are allowed to use them and those that pose a risk to safety are not necessarily one gender.

"But 90 per cent of violent crime and 98 per cent of sexual crime is committed by men. Trans women, such as Davina Ayrton, who raped a 15-year-old girl, have been convicted of offences seldom committed by natal females. Would self-identification mean these crimes would be registered as committed by women, skewing the figures? ...

"Sport is another problematic area: self-identification could destroy women’s competitions, allowing former-men with greater musculature and testosterone to dominate. In New Zealand a weightlifter, Laurel Hubbard, has broken national records; in Canada the mountain biker Michelle Dumaresq dominated for years."

Those are already issues that professional bodies have to deal with. And again that is something which needs to be looked at in significant detail.

"I ask her about school sports. In Connecticut Andraya Yearwood, a male-bodied, moustachioed 15-year-old trans girl, has won state championships although she would have finished last in the boys’ competition. Does Ms Miller think this fair to the girl athletes?"

Well, I think it’s a bit of a difficult one to answer because boys are not going through gender reassignment when they’re at school.

"But what would you say to the girls who lost?"

It’s a very difficult one to answer . . .”

Walking along a country lane this morning I discussed this with Clare.

"This thing could run a long way. For example, I could claim to be a toddler and demand the right to join an infant play area. If someone objected that I'm a sixty six year old male, could they be open to the accusation of hate crime?"

"Don't worry," she said, "No-one can hear you here."


Would you like to know more?

The mediaeval belief that God saw all thoughts & actions was a powerful force for conformity.*

In a more secular age, it's good to know that our technology will soon step into the breach.


* Part II .. and related (SSC).


  1. Yes I read this Article too, but I hadn't realised that you would use this new law to self-define yourself as a Large Toddler...

    1. Any reference to 'Large' strikes me as being dangerously discriminatory, as well as hurting my feelings (potentially). Do take care!

    2. I concede that some Alien species would view us all as Toddlers (especially if we go in for all that hollerin'). So you get to choose what (if any) type of Toddler you consider yourself as.

      Justice on these matters will ultimately be served by the Galactic Court of Justice (like the ECJ only less fair).


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