“I didn’t understand what the trans movement meant when I first heard of it. I thought that it aligned with what I’d been arguing for years, that we should all just be allowed to wear what we like, like what we like, and still get respect and dignity, regardless of whether we conformed to stereotypes or not. 

It took me a while to start seeing the bigger picture. That it wasn’t about respect and dignity. It was about validation, and the demands for that validation seemed to encroach ever further on systems we have in place for navigating through the world; bathrooms, sports, prisons, changing rooms, safeguarding, language.  The language went from seemingly polite, benign exchanges to vicious and deliberate erasing of women’s experiences. 

When talking about FGM is deemed transphobic, when talking about childbirth, abortion access, breasts, periods, sex-selective abortion and female infanticide are all deemed transphobic, when we can neither name our bodies, what happens to our bodies, nor our experience of the assault, or damage that happens to us as a result of those bodies, then we can no longer fight oppression, we can no longer work to make things better for future generations. That realisation woke me up to the fact that the movement itself is not benign, even if many of the young people caught up in it are. 

The fact that actual harm will be done to some of these children in the name of progress is not something I can ignore. The fact that safeguarding risks on every level are ignored and loudly brushed to one side, is not something I can ignore. 

And so I started speaking up. Joining my voice with many of those excellent women who’s lucid and clear arguments helped me understand the bigger picture I had been missing, and made me look proactively for how I could take practical steps to put that safeguarding back in place”.

Chair of Governors and Mother, 40, Manchester