Robin White has contributed to Prospect Magazine alongside philosopher Kathleen Stock responding to seven propositions—ranging from single-sex spaces to puberty blockers for children.
“The conflict over trans rights has become one of the most fraught debates of our time. The stakes are incredibly high: JK Rowling and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are just two of the women who have found themselves subject to vicious attacks for saying things that others believe are beyond the pale. Some trans people feel careless use of language serves to increase stigma and transphobia. At the heart of the dispute is a disagreement between those who think someone’s gender identity—whether they identify as a man or a woman, regardless of their biological sex—should always take precedence in single-sex services, sports and spaces; and others who believe biological sex cannot be altogether replaced by gender identity.
On one side of the argument, trans activists claim it is hateful to say being a woman is anything more than a question of someone’s self-declared identity. On the other, some feminists argue that to reduce womanhood purely to this is to minimise the fact women have always been oppressed at least partly on the basis of their sex, and that differences between males and females are relevant to things like prisons and sports. The polarised tone in which this debate is often conducted makes it more difficult to make sense of what’s actually at stake. Here, we bring you two perspectives from opposing sides of the debate in the hope of illuminating points of contention as well as areas of agreement.”
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William Meade (Senior Clerk)