Now then, Rosie Duffield. And this whole sad, sad issue. Which, online at least (but offline too) is pitting one group of people who are oppressed (trans people) against another, larger group of people who've been continually oppressed. Women.
If there isn't room in the Labour Party for both women and trans people - if both women and trans people don't feel welcome, or that they're being heard and understood - then something is wrong. VERY wrong.

Just as something is VERY wrong on this platform over all of this.
An awful lot of people, naturally, are bewildered onlookers. People who don't have a bone of hate in their bodies - but who don't understand how everything they were taught at school about male and female biology and sex was apparently wrong... because other people say so.
People who don't understand why, apparently, they're supposed to reclassify as 'cisgender' when their gender - their identity - is their business and theirs alone.

Women who are scared. Horribly scared. Their fears are real and in all too many cases, based on lived experience.
I think most men have no idea whatsoever just how many women:

- Have been raped
- Have been sexually assaulted
- Have come close to being sexually assaulted
- Have been victims of domestic violence

I'd like to think we can all empathise with the horrendous trauma that causes.
But I still don't think we understand. Nor do we understand the fear women experience on a daily basis: walking home alone in the dark (which I, as a man, take for granted); even the radar they need to distinguish good men from toxic men.
Only a few years ago, it would've been unthinkable, utterly unthinkable, for some on the left to call those pleading for women's safe spaces to be kept separate and based on female sex and ideology "bigots" or "dogwhistlers" or "haters".

Or to pile on them for doing so.
But yes, it's complicated, VERY complicated. Because trans people have rights too - and trans rights, like women's rights, are human rights.

The level of abuse which trans people suffer is disgusting and shameful. Most of us don't understand and will probably never do so.
How are we going to ensure:

- Safe spaces for women
- Safe spaces for trans people

How are we going to ensure that rights for one group does not take away rights from another group? Because that is the fear of the latter group... and it's a real fear.
When engaging with those fears - based on the lived experience of half the population - here's what you don't do.

- You don't shout them down
- You don't try to cancel them
- You don't call them 'bigots' or 'transphobes'
- You listen to them

Just as you listen to trans people.
Instead, what we've got - on an extraordinarily serious, sensitive issue which demands both justice and compassion - is something along the lines of an online war. In which nobody wins, everybody loses. In which people are terrified to speak out.

What kind of left is that?
Last year, I watched in horror as all sorts of profoundly good, humane, caring people were abused relentlessly on here for the crime of supporting a profoundly good, caring, humane man.

It was disgusting.
Now, I watch in horror as perfectly decent, reasonable people are abused relentlessly on here for the crime of... speaking out about women's fears. It's also disgusting. The level of unreason in this whole discussion is a complete disaster.
By the way: Rosie Duffield, quite categorically, should NOT have responded as she did on here. She was stupid and thoughtless.

But then: most people on here have no idea what it's like to be bullied and bombarded with abuse relentlessly, as she has been.
She's a 'transphobe', for liking a tweet? Joseph McCarthy, eat your heart out.

She's received death threats on here. DEATH THREATS. Can you imagine what that must be like? Death threats, for standing up (as she sees it) for women everywhere?
She's also suffered domestic abuse. I mean: what would she know about abuse and the dangers which women encounter all the time given her own lived experience of such horrors?

A woman who's suffered domestic abuse and gets death threats is... the enemy now? You what?
Far too many people seem to view all this as some kind of pecking order. Just as there's no hierarchy of racism, there's also no hierarchy of abuse. Trans people suffer abuse AND women suffer abuse.

If we don't have solidarity with both, I have no idea what we're in politics for
When any minority seeks to advance its cause - to defeat oppression and achieve real equality - you know what it needs? Allies. Lots of them. Allies among the historical majority.

This summer was a huge breakthrough for Black Lives Matter: because the majority supports it.
Previously, too many among that (privileged, oblivious) majority turned its ear away. Assumed that BLM was 'too radical' or 'too extreme'.

Then they watched a Black man being murdered in broad daylight on the streets of America by a grinning police officer. Which changed history
Now, there has to be something really wrong with you if you still somehow believe that people of colour aren't daily being oppressed. Because they are. And the watching world knows it.

The trans community needs allies too. Plenty of them.
If you take the basic statement: "Trans rights are human rights", you'll find, I'm quite sure, that the vast majority of British people support it.

But if you then add "but plenty of women think this means they'll lose their women-only safe spaces and places of refuge...."?
What you have to do, if you're serious about this, is to listen to point 2 and engage with it. Instead, those who make it are just shouted down instantly - as a VERY VERY complex issue is treated like it's binary. "Us v them - if you're not with us, you're against us". Nonsense.
Moreover: perfectly ordinary, completely reasonable people see a picture like this and are appalled. For entirely rational reasons.
They're appalled at something like this too. Also for entirely rational reasons.

Both those images above are NOT OK. It's a bit like someone saying "the sky is blue" and being told it somehow isn't.

And yet... trans people MUST be included in sport. Of course they must. So how are we going to do it?
Do I think World Rugby are transphobic for appreciating that the dangers of their sport mean they have to be especially cautious? No. I think they're trying to protect the health and safety of their players.

Do I think the RFU is 'anti-woman' for wanting more evidence? Nope.
Both organisations are dealing with a profoundly complex issue on which there are no easy answers. Yet both get absolutely excoriated by one side or the other instantly. It's appalling.

However. there's something else too. Something I find increasingly disturbing.
I don't think most women would EVER attack other women in the way we see on here. Do women send death threats, rape threats or violent pornography to other women?

No. Toxic men do. What I see on here from the most extreme tweeters are the epitome of toxic male bullying.
No wonder that's frightening to so many women. It should be. It's hideous. And naturally, it also makes them suspicious.

The misogyny I see on here every day should never, ever be at the heart of a campaign such as this. But it is. Unconscionable.
And I promise you: that misogyny, that palpable hatred, will lose allies from the trans community. Allies it desperately needs.

I bet most trans people see all these threats made 'in their name' and despair. And oppose such behaviour totally,
We also have a renowned Guardian journalist (who I massively admire) acting as though it's somehow shameful for the Labour Party or any Labour MP to speak up for... half the population of the UK?!

But of course: his lived experience matters too. Hugely.
His lived experience as a minority, who has faced the most horrific abuse and actual violence just because of his sexuality. Naturally, that draws him towards supporting other minorities - and so it should.

But good heavens: we have to be able to do better than this.
I want to listen to women and listen to trans people. I'm speaking from a position of privilege: as a white male.

I'll never understand it all perfectly because I'm neither a woman nor a trans person - but I'll always try. I'm not the enemy of either 'side' here.
But that we have 'sides' at all - if ever people should be natural allies, it's women and trans people - shows just how wrong this has gone.

Nobody wins from this. No-one. We all lose instead.
PS. There's a TERRIBLE typo above. Dreadful. Embarrassing. 😳

It should say ".... pleading for women's safe spaces to be kept separate and based on female sex and BIOLOGY".

FFS Shaun. 🤦‍♂️

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More from @shaunjlawson

17 Oct
At his very successful town hall, Joe Biden was asked whether the Democrats will pack the Supreme Court if he wins the Presidency and they win the Senate.

You might've expected him to dodge the question outright. He didn't. What he said instead was very interesting.
Basically, he's giving the Republicans enough rope to hang themselves with. The unseemly, cynical haste with which they're rushing through the nomination of someone bought and paid for by the (not) Christian (not) right will be used by Biden as justification to pack the court.
He's not said that yet, of course. He said he was waiting to see what happens (ie. whether Barrett is confirmed) - but will make his position clear before election day.

What will that position be? "We will not allow the Affordable Care Act or Roe v Wade to be struck down".
Read 17 tweets
16 Oct
Here's what a credible media would be asking the Prime Minister:

- Why did you lie to the British people at the election? How was that election legitimate given you won it because of that lie?

- Why have you ignored your own scientific experts? How many will die as a result?
- Why are you imposing massive fines on ordinary people while your advisor gets away with it?

- Why did your advisor avoid council tax?

- Why have you spent billions of public money on a track and trace system that doesn't work and is run by your cronies in the private sector?
- The polls suggest Joe Biden is heading for a landslide victory. He's already said he won't give the UK a free trade deal if we have no deal with the EU. What are you going to do about that?

- Do you think a nation of 67m is more powerful than one of 330m and a bloc of 445m?
Read 4 tweets
16 Oct
From my book last year.

Where was the media? What the hell was it doing?
Seriously. How can you spend an entire referendum campaign ignoring anything that actually matters and obsessing with everything that doesn't - and then spend the shambolic years afterwards doing the exact same thing, again?
In the campaign, there was:

- No mention of the impact on Northern Ireland
- Nonsense that we could be like 'Switzerland' or 'Norway'
- No mention of what a customs union even was
- No mention that we can't have tariff-free access AND leave the single market
Read 5 tweets
15 Oct
This is very very good.…
This resonated in particular:

Since 2008 the number of American men under 30 reporting no sex has nearly tripled... [in an] increasingly winner-takes-all sexual marketplace generated by the retreat of monogamous norms and an increasingly polygynous, app-dominated hookup culture"
"While it’s important not to slip into victim-blaming rhetoric that sees the problem as women’s sexual freedom, the challenges facing unattractive, low-status men seem hardly to register on Bates’s radar".

Indeed. And it's not just a challenge there either. It's emotional too.
Read 11 tweets
15 Oct
This is a really interesting discussion. Kudos to both Grace and Aaron for that. 👍

But there are questions and doubts in my head. Aaron refers to the first one here: is there some limit we face in terms of debt, or isn't there?
There isn't if you control the world's reserve currency, like the US. There probably hasn't been while the UK economy was a safe haven from the euro, and one of the four or five strongest economies in the world.

But now? After the disaster of austerity and with No Deal Brexit?
Grace talks about power relations. Ratings agencies have absurd, unaccountable amounts of power... but won't the UK automatically face problems, big ones, if the agencies downgrade us?

At a much much lower level, Uruguay would be screwed without its investment grade rating.
Read 27 tweets
14 Oct
Christ, this is flawed. You see: I'd have done what Aaron would've done. But we're both wrong. VERY wrong.

What happens to children when you remove all daily structure and social contact from their lives?

What happens to children whose parents don't have internet access?
What happens to children when you spend THIS length of time making them feel afraid of everything?

What happens to children whose parents can't magically keep them homeschooled over this length of time?
What happens to parents who can't work because their children are never at school?

How can the left - THE LEFT! - be this oblivious to what would happen to poorer children if none of them went to school until a vaccine had been distributed?
Read 12 tweets

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