I’m on the wrong side of history. It’s a dark and lonely place.
Not right now, obviously – the sun is shining and my son is trying to get me to play Dungeons & Dragons with him – but metaphorically it’s a dark and lonely place.
I’m on the wrong side of history because I don’t believe that trans-women are women, and history, in as much as it remembers me at all, will remember that I thought that. Apparently.
In the future the mantra “Trans-women are women” will be accepted as absolutely true. Not because of any of the usual arguments, which are generally bunk, but for three unassailable reasons:
- It causes fewer waves for institutions to accept it as true than to even slightly suggest that it’s not.
- Trans-women are using point 1 to gain positions in those organisations that should be held by natal women, who would take a good old long second look at anything a man tells them is sacrosanct and absolute.
- If it’s not true then an awful lot of woke men, many with beards, are going to have to admit they’ve been screaming abuse at women for no good reason and were, in fact, wrong…actually.
Number 3’s the clincher, because any movement which would need thousands of beardy men to admit error to be overthrown is, basically, indestructible. Just look at Corbynism…or folk-music.
Which is a shame, because I suspect that most of the woke men believe that trans-women are women in much the same way as, say, I believe in world peace: it’s a nice thing to aspire to, but not something I need to have any personal involvement in. If other people could just, you know, take care of it without me having to shoulder up my rifle and go and get dug-in in Syria then that would be smashing.
I even think that, slogans aside, the woke men, the trans-women and I want pretty much the same thing. Trans-women should be free from abuse and not have to live in fear, they should be free to pick their name and have others show the decency to respect their pronouns. What surgery or drugs they choose for themselves, or choose not to have, should be entirely their private business. They should be entitled to as free and happy a life as anyone else.
I’d even say that there should be no laws banning them from women’s bathrooms or changing-rooms, because laws are harsh, black & white instruments, that are rarely the right way to arbitrate complex issues. I imagine that, for decades, men who present as women have been using women’s facilities with few confrontations, and that such a state would continue to exist, so long as nobody makes the damn-fool mistake of trying to make it a law that they can do so.
Trans-women who want to live their lives quietly, without fuss, seem to have had the terrible misfortune to find the most militant speaking for them. Pushing the debate far beyond the achievable, and then barely pausing for breath before pushing further.
Still, I’m on the wrong side of history, because I don’t believe that trans-women are women. I don’t believe they belong in women’s sports, I don’t believe they belong on women-only short-lists and I don’t believe that anybody who says that biology is irrelevant has the slightest interest in making life better for women.
Let history judge me.
In some future, where it’s unimaginable that anybody ever said that trans-women were not women, feel free to hold up the words above as those of a bigot. Let my great-great-grandchild be repulsed that her ancestor thought this way. I can only call things as they are.
And history is long, and rarely follows a straight path. Who alive in this country in 1945 would have thought the Labour party would turn its back on the Jewish people, and debate whether Churchill did more harm than good?
There are worse things to be on the wrong side of than history. I’ll take my chances.