Dear Jenni Murray, you’re not helping…

We live in uncertain times. Back in 2015, the so-called “year of trans”, transgender people including myself were finally becoming more accepted by society. So much so that those who’d previously been frightened of presenting in their true gender began to come out of the closet. Referals to gender clinics soared. Fast-forward to 2017, it’s all going wrong and, Jenni Murray, you’re not helping.All the progress leading up to 2015 is being undone. Last year, we had Brexit, and then The bloody Donald got elected in America. Hate was winning hand over fist and poor old Love didn’t stand a chance.

And it wasn’t just immigrants who were singled out for abuse but any minority – whether Muslim, gay, transgender or whatever other little box you want to file “different” people away in.

Dame Jenni Murray

And you might expect such behaviour from far-right idiots, the type who’d elect one of the most dangerous men on the planet to be the leader of the free world.

But in recent weeks, I’m hearing more and more hatred towards trans people – and not from the far right either.

On Sunday, Dame Jenni Murray, the host of Radio 4 show Woman’s Hour, wrote a column slating transwomen, in the Sunday Times. The headline comes out with that old chestnut that transwomen aren’t “real women”.

She then suggests that transwomen can never be “real women” because they could experience male privilege before they transition.

Damehood? Any privilege there? Just saying…

She defines cis women as “natural-born women” and says she is concerned “for the impact this question of what constitutes ‘a real woman’ will have on sexual politics. And for who has the right to be included in gatherings or organisations that are defined as single sex”.

But she says at the outset that she’s not a TERF. It amazes me how many feminists deny being a TERF (bearing in mind that the TE stands for Trans Exclusionary) and yet want to exclude transwomen from “women-only spaces”. Sorry, ladies, you’re TERFs, whether you like it or not.

In terms of politics, follow some of the trans community on social media. We have strong feminist views and we express them day in, day out. We’re fighting for feminism – it’s just that maybe we’re more inclusive than you.

Not all trans people consider themselves to be feminists – but (very sadly) neither do far too many ciswomen. Everyone should be a feminist, including men.

Dame Jenni goes on to criticise the Rev Carol Stone and broadcaster India Willoughby (both trans) before saying hairy legs are “dirty” on a woman.

Well, you wouldn’t catch me with hairy pins or pits either, but surely being a feminist means you wear what you want and, if you want body hair, let it grow!

The cartoon alongside Dame Jenni Murray’s column in the Sunday Times

She goes on: “Your sex, male or female, is what you’re born with and determines whether you’ll provide the sperm or the eggs in the reproductive process.”

Can’t argue with that – but so what? Sex and gender are two different things. And as I wrote a few days back, women born without reproductive organs are still “real women”.

I can’t imagine that any woman with Rokitansky Syndrome (born with an underdeveloped or absent womb, cervix and upper vagina) would be described as an “unreal woman” by Dame Jenni.

So how come transwomen seem to be fair game for such nasty slurs?

These people have lived their whole lives in the body of the opposite gender, until they get help to correct it. Imagine how you’d feel, Dame Jenni, if you were a man, but you got given the female body you have now.

Imagine how you’d feel if you were born a woman – but instead of your female body, you ended up with a male one. No breasts, no vulva for you. But here’s a penis and a receding hairline. OK with that?

What would you do? Would you seek treatment as a teenager to have your body reflect your true gender? But wait, even that’s taboo now, isn’t it?!

Or would you wait, and wait, living a lie, as so many of us do, just because we can’t face the abuse and hatred from bigots?

Think before you make such hurtful comments about trans people again. We didn’t get the “privilege” of getting the right body at birth, like you did.

So we have to make agonising choices – and all too often that involves suicide because the hatred towards us from good old Society is too strong.

When you write poisonous words, you’re fuelling that bigotry and hatred, and you’re treating transwomen like second-class citizens.


7 thoughts on “Dear Jenni Murray, you’re not helping…

  1. You are a human who is deserving of respect. There is nothing wrong with being transgender. You should not be discriminated against. However, honestly, she is not wrong. Your experience is very different from the experiences of people who have lived as girls and then women. The biology is different. It really can’t be seen as the same. Again, you should be supported as a transgender person. But I hope you can see her side as well. I think she is being honest and truthful…but sadly that is controversial.


    • Hi Chris, I’m not a transwoman – I’m transfeminine non-binary. I don’t have the same level of gender dysphoria, thankfully, that most transwomen have.

      So the biology is different – that does not give this woman the right to label all transwomen as fake. Can’t you see how much hate and fear that’s causing? If not, just look at the transwomen’s Twitter accounts over the past 48 hours.

      All she’s done is cause untiold anxiety. She wouldn’t have a pop at gay, lesbian or bisexual people, saying they’re not “real men” or “real women” just because they happen to fancy people of the opposite gender. So why is it OK to have a nasty pop at transwomen? It’s not – it’s that simple.

      Liked by 1 person

    • i think its controversial because its conflating “being supported as a transgender woman” with “being supported as ‘not a real woman'”

      “if-by-trans you mean the beautiful but dysphoric, the need for hrt, the right to change your name and clothes, then by all i means i support it!”

      “but if-by-trans you mean those who wish to be accepted as the gender they identify as, those who deserve inclusion in groups of women, and those who are not discriminated against as some kind of third gender of my own labelling on their behalf, then by all means i am against it! (but im not a terf.)”

      Liked by 1 person

    • How does Jenni Murray, or anyone else know what other people’s experiences are like? By definition, personal experience can only be experienced by one person. You cannot possibly know that one persons experiences are “very different” from another’s. You just can’t. We all experience life in a unique that is personal to us, so to try and say “you grew up male so your experience must have been different” is not something you can possibly claim to know. And as for support for transgender women, all we asking for is support from other women. So for a woman to say “Sorry, you’re not one of us. Fight your own battles” is just a huge kick in the teeth. Be proud? How? When we’re rejected by both sexes? Trans people, as minorities go, are a fucking small minority. We’re even a minority within the LGTB community, never mind society at large, and we have to fight alone? Can we not join together to fight for equal rights for ourselves and all women alongside them? All we are asking for is that people do us the courtesy of treating us according to our gender identity. Is that so much to ask? Use appropriate pronouns. I was out at the weekend with some friends (“real” women, as Jenni would call them) and some bloke referred to me as “young man”. I was utterly destroyed by that one remark, and it took “real” woman to reassure me, telling me “As far as I’m concerned, you’re a woman”. That’s is how we should be treated. We’re women, not something other. Just women. By the way, have you noticed that support for Jenni Murray has come from all the ultra right wing hate bloggers like James Delingpole? Interesting that, isn’t it? You can tell a lot about a person by the company she keeps.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I often wonder where women like Jenni Murray place woman who either through nature or operational no longer have or never had the items that she and others insist make a woman a woman and the reason why woman who are trans wil never be women in their eyes. If the truth be told there plenty of woman out there who hide (may be the wrong word) in plain sight and those of the TERF agenda would never know they were AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth) and that does not even look at the issue of FTM

    I am a support of the Transgender movement being someone who grew in the 50’s and 60’s in the U.K. where the opportunities for someone who has Trans feelings were next to nil but wish you and all those other who can fulfill the opportunities to be there true selves.

    Liked by 1 person

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