Welcome to our third event in the 'Replatforming Deplatformed Women' lecture series! This week we're in conversation with the wonderful @MForstater. Our Co-President Phoebe will be livetweeting the event - join in the conversation with #CamRadFems
Imogen: this talk is particularly pertinent today in light of the Polish debate on withdrawing from the Istanbul convention. We stand in solidarity with Polish women. #CamRadFems
Maya: Sex matters and it shouldn't take courage to say so. I didn't realise how controversial this would be to say, and I'm the tip of the iceberg with women who are being targeted for saying that Sex Matters. #CamRadFems
Maya: I am a feminist and had previously co-founded 'Let Toys be Toys' and had been following the debates around sex and gender occurring online, coming up to September 2018 and the government's consultation on sex self-id. #CamRadFems
Maya: I watched as women were being targeted for speaking up, and thought "They're brave, I should be brave too." #CamRadFems
Maya: What I didn't know at the time was that speaking up would set off red lights in the organisation I worked for, and lead to me losing my job. #CamRadFems
Maya: I lost my case in September 2019. The day after, @jk_rowling tweeted about me, and all hell broke loose. My story is just one of thousands of people who have been disciplined at work and who are scared to speak up. #CamRadFems
Maya: In the past three years there has been a huge fightback from grassroots organisations. We thought there should be an organisation that represented everyone. Underlying all of these concerns is the material reality of sex, and so I founded @SexMattersOrg #MayaForstater
Maya: The principle is very basic - that sex is real, that it is binary and immutable, and that it is important in law, policy and culture. #CamRadFems
Maya: Organisations are adopting Stonewall law as opposed to the actual law. #CamRadFems
Maya: Underlining this issue is democracy - how can you have laws and ideas that you can't talk about? This for me is the bottom line. #CamRadFems
Maya: In 2004 these clear laws about sex was changed through the Gender Recognition Act, thought to apply to only a small number of people. Now we're told that 500,000 people are gender variant, most of whom do not have diagnoses of GD. #CamRadFems
Maya: Underlying this is the policy capture of all of our government institutions, trained and rated by the set of organisations who are pushing this agenda. 1/4 of employees now work for organisations who are accountable to Stonewall's interpretation of the law. #CamRadFems
Maya: @SexMattersOrg aims for clarity in the law, publishing usable guidance to combat the misleading and unusable guidance coming out of lobby groups, to support people to mobilise, and to expose and challenge institutional capture. #CamRadFems
Maya: When this battle is won, and I think it will be won, we will look back and think on what it means to say that sex matters. #CamRadFems
Maya: We're very resistance to saying that sex matters above the neck. This isn't biological essentialism - we have to get beyond this dichotomy. #CamRadFems
Maya: This story that we are born in the wrong body, that sex doesn't matter, or that people can change sex just through words are just stories, and they show how vulnerable our institutions are. #CamRadFems
Q: Do you get frustrated with the narrative from some on the left that only the left should save us?
Maya: I don't think the left will save us on its own, but if that's the place people think they can make the most difference, then they should do that. #CamRadFems
Q: How have you stayed resilient? What motivates you?
Maya: Anger, and not giving in to that anger. What has disappointed me the most is how much all of this has corroded institutions meant to be in charge of safeguarding. We can't do without those institutions. #CamRadFems
This happened to me at a time of my life when I could stand up, and I couldn't see how I could back down from it. When you pull back the curtain and see how this has corroded the integrity of our organisations, you can't back down. #CamRadFems
Q: How can we investigate behavioural and cognitive sexed differences between men and women without falling into sexist and deterministic traps?
Maya: There is no mechanism by which you can have the wrong brain. It's a non-starter. #CamRadFems
Q: How can we challenge institutional capture, breaking the relationship between organisations and Stonewall?
Maya: The more that we can use and clarify the law the better. My case is going to appeal at the end of April, and we hope that that will give protection. #CamRadFems
Maya: The truth is that it is risky and if you can't afford to be cancelled or to take that risk then you do need to be careful. The more that we can use to the law to protect sex-based rights, the more people can start to speak up. #CamRadFems
Maya: One of the things that we want to start to do is to convene and connect people in different sectors. In every sector there are quietly concerned people, who don't know who the other people are. There is a larger group of people who know what sex is. #CamRadFems
Q: I fear the law will change and 'female sex' will become meaningless. Do you share that concern?
Maya: I do, but I feel we're winning more than we're losing recently. #CamRadFems
Maya: Once we bring this issue into the open, then we win. We saw this with the ONS census case, who overestimated trans activists and underestimated the power and anger of women, and that they would have to justify a completely incoherent policy. #CamRadFems
Maya: Whenever they try to quietly push gender ideology and self-ID, they are now vulnerable to this kind of challenge from women. We must expose these policies to democratic scrutiny. #CamRadFems
Q: How can we influence debates in Parliament?
Maya: We should remember that Twitter is not life, and it is not the electorate. This stuff doesn't play well on the doorstep - the idea that someone with a penis can be in a woman's space is not accepted. #CamRadFems
Maya: It is important that we mobilise and get people talking to their MPs. It's important that they hear the rational evidence, but we have to win hearts and minds by telling our stories and how this is impacting our lives. #CamRadFems
Q: What do you think the number one priority for sex matters?
Maya: We can get a long way with the current laws. It recognises the importance of sex and single sex services. The problem is that it has been misrepresented and unenforced. #CamRadFems
Maya: The single sex exemptions in the EA cover so many areas of life and are so misrepresented. They're not about risk, or safety, or defending the most vulnerable women, or having to disclose trauma. They are there for everyone. #CamRadFems
Maya: My appreciation of freedom of speech has gone way up from being found to be 'on the wrong side of history.' #CamRadFems
Maya: The extent to which gender ideology has been used to undermine safeguarding is extremely concerning. #CamRadFems
Maya: Who do we feel sympathy for when they're 'cancelled'? I think it's important to protect people's right to freedom of thought and speech, and to win these debates by winning hearts and minds through rational debate. #CamRadFems
Q: If we're going the route of challenging institutions, should we be focusing on fundamental issues like free speech to advance our aims?
Maya: If we don't have that everything else will fall. It is fundamental. #CamRadFems
Thank you to everyone for watching, and to all the women who have joined forces to make this happen! #CamRadFems
This week we're going to ask you to donate to @SexMattersOrg - sign up to the mailing list to stay informed! We also want to say a word in support of @8RosarioSanchez and her crowdfunder. Please give generously if you can. #CamRadFems
Next week we'll be speaking to the brilliant @rachelara, who'll be talking about feminist art and the politics of no platforming. We hope to see you there! Signing off - Phoebe. #CamRadFems

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More from @camradfems

26 Oct 20
@ClareCollege must stand up against this absurd, bullying behaviour.

The description in this article of Kevin Price's tweets as "transphobic" is both ridiculous, and a precise encapsulation of what is so very wrong with the current student culture at Cambridge.
The mere recognition of a conflict between modern gender ideology and women's rights

is now politically unsayable for some young students. To the point that a man who has worked at the university for years is now thrown under the bus for daring to speak his conscience.
That there are students, most of whom have never worked a day in their lives, who are now trying to threaten the livelihood of a man who refused to toe their line politically, is truly disgusting.

But the fact that they have not been dismissed out of hand is beyond the pale.
Read 5 tweets
26 Oct 20
Solidarity and massive respect for Kevin Price, who resigned from @CamCitCo over a motion repeating the words:

"Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary individuals are non-binary.”

In his words: (1/6)
"The inclusion of the first three sentences of this motion will send a chill down the spines of the many women who believe there is a conflict of rights and who want to be able to discuss those in a calm and evidenced-based way."

We fully agree, as many women do, and commend his bravery in standing up to anti-scientific, anti-feminist, nonsensical dogmatism in a climate that demands silence and conformity.

Read 6 tweets
21 Mar 19
A significant portion of our network –and 2/4 of our exec committee– are lesbian / bisexual Cambridge students. CUSU LGBT no longer even maintains the pretence of representing us. Incidentally, however, this Q's phrasing nicely illustrates the hypocrisy of ‘gender identity’. 1/8
Women are forced either to (a) profess to have some metaphysical “womanly identity” beyond simply factually being a woman, or (b) deny they are women at all, and thereby surrender their claim to have Student Rep socs serve their interests. 2/8
Because our members recognise we do not “identify” as women any more than we “identify” as having a certain hair or eye colour, ‘gender ideology’ proponents are forced to conclude we must not be women at all, no matter our view on the subject (or the objective reality of it). 3/8
Read 8 tweets

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