How it Happens — and what you can do about it

Photo: Two people working on laptops by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Trans people have good reason to fear abuse of their data by big organisations. Recent legal developments, including a beefing up of the Data Protection Act and “GDPR” appear to provide protection. But is that protection adequate? And do organisations take any real notice of the law when it comes to data processing.

Here, in the first of an occasional series written for TransActual, I look at how data gets misused, and what trans people can be doing to stop it.

A (Damn and) Blast from the Past

It starts with a tale from my history. A long time ago, as I was just beginning to transition…

On the ontology of violence in the Great War on trans

Adapted from And When Did You Last See Your Father? by William Frederick Yeames (1878): public domain

It’s summer. J K Rowling has a new book to flog. So, newspapers and social media alike are once more warming the tired old trope of “trans rights activists” abusing a harmless middle-aged author — while simultaneously ignoring the actual violence that has been enacted with ever greater ferocity this year on the bodies of real trans people.

Both sidesing? No. This is a piece about asymmetry and hypocrisy, and a commentariat that will twist the facts every which way to preserve their own victim narrative.

Bottom Line

Let’s start with a thing that shouldn’t need saying. But because it is now…

“Gender Critical” Feminists may exalt motherhood — but they are playing a dangerous game with women’s rights

Adapted from The Miraculous Lactation of Saint Bernard, by Alonso Cano ( c. 1650): Public Domain

The recent onslaught on trans people has seen self-identified feminists taking on board some dodgy politics. In bed with the far right and Christian fundamentalists, they re-assure themselves — and friends — that this is an alliance of convenience, to be ditched when the “trans menace” is eliminated.

Defining women as mothers, and going large on motherhood is quite another matter.

It is wishful thinking, that overlooks the plans these groups have for women as a class. It ignores the fact that fascism is for life — and not just for Christmas (other seasons are available).

Now read on.

That old pianist joke


A hollow victory for the anti-trans

Adapted from The Fall of Icarus by Jacob Peter Gowy (after 1644): Public Domain

Anti-trans campaigners claimed “victory” in the most recent Maya Forstater hearing. But it’s not much of a victory, and the next step is the crucial one. A lot of legal folks are betting it will be far harder than the first. As for the court of public opinion, campaigning for the right to harass one’s work colleagues is not a great look.

Last week was, on the surface, a bad week for trans people. Various media stepped up to report that a woman who had lost her job for saying trans women were not women had won her appeal, thereby…

…and it’s time to get worried

Arctic ice is melting faster than ever before: Photo by Roxanne Desgagnés on Unsplash

Cold springs are nothing new. This year, though, bad weather in the UK has been balanced by exceptionally hot weather in the Arctic. It may be an anomaly: but it’s the sort of anomaly our planet could do without.

Now I don’t want to worry you. Honest! But if you are at all concerned by climate and climate change, this Spring is a time to get worried. Very worried indeed. Scared, even.

I know: Spring has been a bit of a damp squib, UK-wise. A prolonged cold spell. Frost, still, in May. Plus, loads of wet and windy days that…

The real agenda behind all those politely worded “concerns”

Adapted from Separation of Sheep and Goats: Byzantium Mosaic (c. 6th Century): public domain

Back in the halcyon days of 2017, the UK press and media were not yet ready to pile in behind the anti-trans panic. Still, they liked the idea of “concerns”. So what, if those concerns were promoted by a bunch of politically motivated, privileged cis women far from representative of women as a whole? It sounded plausible. And concerned women made good viewing.

The problem was: they weren’t asking the next question. That was: if we do grant these concerns to be valid, what is the solution? If they had, they might not have liked the answer.

Now read on…

Reasonable concerns…

…when privileged is the thing to be?

Adapted from The Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull (1818): public domain

Gender crits have been arguing lately that rights are neither universal nor inalienable, but contingent on people behaving themselves. This may play well with a reactionary and populist press, and is music to the ears of a government that wants to rip up the Human Rights Act. In the end, though, this is about entrenched privilege for a small segment of already doing well-enough middle-class women. No more, no less.

Now read on…

Trans women, according to one gender critical giving evidence to parliament recently, should not be allowed legal gender recognition if they have committed a crime against another…

Trans folk in the UK have had a hard time of it lately, but hope is at hand…

Adapted from Night and Dawn by Evelyn de Morgan (1910–1914): public domain

Gender crits in the UK think they are winning. Certainly, they have had a few little local victories. But across the world, the picture is very different. Trans rights are coming. Those so loud, so desperate to erase us from existence are losing.

Let’s not mince words. It is a shit time to be trans and living in the UK. On the one hand, we are blessed with a supine press and media that imagines it is supporting trans people by running a new story about the “first” trans man to give birth every six months or so, or the…

A frenzy of falsehoods about vaginas and penises? It’s how trans “debate” goes nowadays. Don’t expect it to improve any time soon.

Adapted from The Victory of Truth over Heresy by Peter Paul Rubens (17th century): public domain

Debate is one thing. But when discussion of trans healthcare is regularly sidetracked by out and out falsehoods and misinformation, there can be no meaningful exchange of views. Here I tackle a couple of the worst examples that keep coming back, despite having zero basis in fact.

The abominable vagina!

Did you know that the trans vagina — or, as the medics like to call it, the “neo-vagina” — is in fact an open wound? A bloody unnatural abomination that can only be sustained by daily dilation? No. Me, neither. …

To the prosecco feminists of the UK media, transgender is the real threat

Image by Ben Sutherland released via Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

Through work with Trans Media Watch, i am all too aware that the UK press is obsessed with trans people. A mix of insomnia and curiosity led me to do some very basic research and the results are shocking.

Now read on.

It has long been a given that the obsession shown by the mainstream media with anything trans-related is unbalanced. Out of all proportion to either the numbers involved or the actual impact on society at large, i noted sourly a year or so back, as the Times monstered yet another trans campaigner. Their crime? …

jane fae

Feminist, writer, campaigner on political and sexual liberty who also knows a bit about IT, the law and policing. Not entirely serious…

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