The Gender Recognition Act

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Steven.
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Nov 11 2017 21:51
The Gender Recognition Act

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rat wrote:
What's the current communist analysis on the history of the Gender Recognition Act and the Gender Recognition Act Consultation? What motivates the State to modify the laws on gender recognition?
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comrade_emma
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Nov 11 2017 21:53

It was introduced to comply with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. I don't think there is something grand behind it, if gender dysphoria is recognized, is it really that odd that a trans persons gender identity should be recognized as well.

I would assume the change happens because of pressure from trans people and LGBTQ groups because everyone knows how horrible the process of actually getting to change your legal gender is since you have to prove that you are trans enough for a panel.

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Steven.
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Nov 11 2017 22:03

Yeah, basically it seems the government has just given in to pressure from LGBTQ (and particular trans) campaigners to simplify and de-medicalise the process

Quote:
The current law requires trans people to pass a number of bureaucratic hurdles, wait two years and to submit to medical tests in order to change their legal gender, but Mr Corbyn backed trans campaigners in calling for a ‘self-declaration’ system which would eliminate many of the obstacles.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/07/23/review-of-gender-recognition-laws-announced-after-calls-from-jeremy-corbyn/

ajjohnstone
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Nov 12 2017 04:39

http://www.dw.com/en/opinion-germanys-decision-on-the-third-gender-is-long-overdue/a-41305803

Mike Harman
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Nov 12 2017 09:11

There's some more background here: https://humanrights.brightblue.org.uk/blog-1/2016/4/15/the-gender-recognition-act-recognising-transgender-people

We got accused on the bookfair thread of 'uncritical support' and neoliberalism. People should actually approach this critically but not for the reasons that terfs are.

Rather than opposing a reform that's going to remove a two year, highly distressing, and pathologised process it'd be more useful to look at what will be left unchanged.

It's likely this is not going to affect the treatment that LGBT asylum seekers get from the home office at all:
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/10/25/prime-minister-theresa-may-challenged-over-deportation-of-lgbt-asylum-seekers/

Similar issues in Germany:

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/08/07/germany-is-rejecting-lgbt-asylum-seekers-who-face-severe-violence-if-deported/

People are having to prove their sexuality to panels (to the point of being asked to provide film of themselves having sex) and told they'll probably won't be attacked if they're not out in the countries they're being deported to.

We covered one case here: https://libcom.org/news/lgbt-refugee-wins-legal-battle-stay-uk-11082017 but Patricia Simeon has just been detained in Sheffield https://www.change.org/p/amber-rudd-mp-urgent-end-the-detention-of-patricia-simeon

Pink News, which ran those articles in October about deportations also invited Theresa May to their awards ceremony in the same month: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/10/18/prime-minister-theresa-may-addresses-pinknews-awards/

Also not sure what the implications for hormone therapy are, found a reddit discussion from 2015 saying waiting times for a GIC referral are 18 months. Did see something saying it could make access to puberty blockers a bit more open, there's been a lot of media scaremongering about this usually not even referring to the drugs as puberty blockers but as 'sex changes'. Not clear on what the status with that is though.

There's a risk that more mainstream LGBT publications like pink news take reforms like this to mean May is LGBT-friendly and ignore all the other attacks going on (as some did with gay marriage), but this is not what people opposing the bill like David Davies are worried about.

Fleur
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Nov 12 2017 13:03

Maybe someone who is opposed to the GRA could explain what they find problematic about it?

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rat
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Nov 13 2017 21:43

Rights can be granted and rights can be taken away again.

What's the exchange?

I guess there are different factions and tendencies operating within any state but how will the current modern democratic state gain from these modifications to gender recognition?
What's in it for the capitalists?

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Serge Forward
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Nov 13 2017 22:25

I dunno, rat. The 1967 Sexual Offences Act, the 1975 Equal Pay and Sex Discrimination Acts, the 1976 Race Relations Act: all would have benefited the capitalists in some way or other (probably summat to do with the eventual smoother running of this exploitative system) but it would still have benefited women, BAME people and gay and bisexual men far more in the day-to-day. There's not always a straightforward quid pro quo, y'know.

Likewise with the Gender Recognition Act... yes, the capitalists will certainly find some way to benefit from this but the main beneficiaries for now are undoubtedly trans people.

Comments about the government just giving in to pressure... I'm not so sure about that as no one was threatening to bring aspects of the system crashing down. The most you can say is probably it's a 'no skin off the government's nose' type of response to such pressure.

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jef costello
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Nov 13 2017 23:00

There were a few making the point around the time of Cameron's election that gay marriage ws just a smokescreen for all the other vicious things that they were doing.

GRA probably won't have huge practical effects in terms of costs but will chew up huge amounts of time in the news cycle. News organisations will love it, imagine the clicks. "Sex offender ticks a box to get transferred to women's prison" They can have a big bout of hand-wringing about these poor women in danger. One of the deliberately offensive opinion piece writers will throw out a "That's equality for you, maybe women won't find prison so easy now they can be raped in the showers too". And the Guardian can point out the hypocrisy on the gleeful jokes about men being raped in prison and the phoney concern for otherwise demonised female prisoners.

We can have race as well. Weirdly enough the second one is underplayed and verges on being a sensible reaction.
Delaware considers allowing students to self-identify race and gender confidentially
White man identifies as Phillipino

gamerunknown
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Nov 13 2017 23:37

There was a similar debate in the London IWW. Basically, it was alleged that the notion that you can change any aspect of yourself was 1. individualistic and 2. neoliberal, making trans issues a ruling class concern.

Anyway, that doesn't track for a few reasons. One obvious one is that there are trans workers, one of whom underwent this high profile campaign. So, what's our response to these workers? I think the only reasonable one is support. Another interesting thing to note is that homosexuality was viewed as "bourgeois", decadent, individualistic and at times even a fascist threat, being made illegal in the Soviet Union - so a materialistic analysis of interpersonal issues can sometimes lead to quite perverse outcomes.

I've been scooped by Serge, but basically capital benefits in two ways. The first is dissension. If workers remain divided by things incidental to their productive power, they're less likely to recognise they share material interests. So things like race, sex, religion, gender, citizenship, sexuality and so forth can all be instrumentalised against workers (I think the Split Labour Market theory of the 70s makes sense, though I have been told it's a little flawed). The second is that if you're harassed and bullied by colleagues, you take time off work due to sick leave, you're less efficient and capital accumulation is impeded. Having a uniform response reduces that kind of variability. Especially if those subject to oppression self-organise outside of the state and threaten ruptures which could challenge its existence.

Edit: Also, just saw the post about Rachel Dolezal, really not sure of what to say there.

Mike Harman
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Nov 14 2017 09:42
gamerunknown wrote:
There was a similar debate in the London IWW. Basically, it was alleged that the notion that you can change any aspect of yourself was 1. individualistic and 2. neoliberal, making trans issues a ruling class concern.

Damn that sounds almost exactly like Lenin as recorded by Clara Zetkin:

Lenin wrote:
It seems to me that this superabundance of sex theories, which for the most part are mere hypotheses, and often quite arbitrary ones, stems from a personal need. It springs from the desire to justify one’s own abnormal or excessive sex life before bourgeois morality and to plead for tolerance towards oneself. This veiled respect for bourgeois morality is as repugnant to me as rooting about in all that bears on sex. No matter how rebellious and revolutionary it may be made to appear, it is in the final analysis thoroughly bourgeois. Intellectuals and others like them are particularly keen on this. There is no room for it in the Party, among the class-conscious, fighting proletariat.

https://libcom.org/library/clara-zetkin-interviews-lenin-womens-question

Zetkin's response:

Zetkin wrote:
I interposed that where private property and the bourgeois social order prevail, questions of sex and marriage gave rise to manifold problems, conflicts and suffering for women of all social classes and strata. As far as women are concerned, the war and its consequences exacerbated the existing conflicts and suffering to the utmost precisely in the sphere of sexual relations. Problems formerly concealed from women were now laid bare. To this was added the atmosphere of incipient revolution. The world of old emotions and thoughts was cracking up. Former social connections were loosening and breaking. The makings of new relations between people were appearing. Interest in the relevant problems was an expression of the need for enlightenment and a new orientation. It was also a reaction against the distortions and hypocrisy of bourgeois society. Knowledge of the modifications of the forms of marriage and family that took place in the course of history, and of their dependence on economics, would serve to rid the minds of working women of their preconceived idea of the eternity of bourgeois society. The critically historical attitude to this had to lead to an unrelenting analysis of bourgeois society, an exposure of its essence and its consequences, including the branding of false sex morality. All roads led to Rome. Every truly Marxist analysis of an important part of the ideological superstructure of society, of an outstanding social phenomenon, had to lead to an analysis of bourgeois society and its foundation, private property. It should lead to the conclusion that “Carthage must be destroyed”.

If people want to talk about Dolezal, I think that should be a separate thread.

mn8
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Nov 14 2017 23:16

It is a kinda laissez-faire approach to the matter, so capital might give into pressure if it isn't clearly relevant. It can seem see similar to their their stance on governmental things!

Mike Harman
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Nov 15 2017 21:22
jef costello wrote:
We can have race as well. Weirdly enough the second one is underplayed and verges on being a sensible reaction.
Delaware considers allowing students to self-identify race and gender confidentially
White man identifies as Phillipino

The second one is a bit more complicated. Turns out many of these articles and the commentary failed to mention Ja Du is a trans woman (seemingly not strict about gender pronouns, but considering transition), and they've just been reporting a 'white man' with no qualification or acknowledgement of this at all. So they're taking the 'trans racialism' more seriously than them being transgender. This article isn't great, but it explains a bit what's going on https://www.dailydot.com/irl/ja-du-transgender-transracial/

Mike Harman
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Nov 16 2017 11:39

http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-0a02-Entire-CLP-leadership-quits-amid-claims-of-transphobia#.Wg12mEycZo7

THE entire leadership of a constituency Labour Party (CLP) in Sussex has resigned in a bitter row over allegations of transphobia.
...

"We are living with the constant threat of accusations of transphobia."

Accusations of transphobia are definitely the worst thing that can happen to anyone, much worse than, I dunno, experiencing transphobia.

Also:

They said the regional office’s failure to deal with the allegations has damaged the party’s ability to function effectively with officers’ time being tied up with internal disciplinary matters “instead of fighting the Tories.”

As far as I can tell reading between the lines, people kept on proposing anti-GRA motions for discussion, while others criticised this as transphobic. So surely the people tying up the time are those proposing the motions on the GRA - if they didn't propose the motions, that time could be spent actually 'fight[ing] the tories' (whatever that's supposed to mean for a CLP).

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jef costello
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Nov 16 2017 15:39
Mike Harman wrote:
The second one is a bit more complicated. Turns out many of these articles and the commentary failed to mention Ja Du is a trans woman (seemingly not strict about gender pronouns, but considering transition), and they've just been reporting a 'white man' with no qualification or acknowledgement of this at all. So they're taking the 'trans racialism' more seriously than them being transgender. This article isn't great, but it explains a bit what's going on https://www.dailydot.com/irl/ja-du-transgender-transracial/

I did wonder about that, I wasn't sure if the subtext was that Ja Du was gay or trans. I think the transracialism is much more likely to earn a click than transgender, so that might explain the focus, don't really know.

Mike Harman
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Nov 20 2017 22:40

edit - see comment below this one, this is two different CLPs not the same one

The CLP women's officer election was won by a trans woman a few days ago, reported by the Times today: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/trans-teenager-lily-madigan-voted-in-as-a-labour-women-s-officer-mwchkhzq8

This came into my feed because Guardian journo Hadley Freeman decided to promote the Times article on Trans Day of Remembrance (framing someone resigning from a one-year-term elected position then not winning an election as being 'sacked' and 'losing their job') and a few people pointed out the coincidence.

The women's officer who resigned has just been added to this Cambridge event with Helen Steel:

https://twitter.com/Womans_Place_UK/status/931961221028417536

satawal
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Nov 21 2017 08:51

Ok, hoping this is the only time in my life I clarify something on Libcom re internal local labour party politics following posts of links to a tory newspaper and a stalinist newspaper, but anyway…

There seems to be some on-line confusion in discussion of these events re the places and people involved, not helped by article in The Times being behind a paywall. I’m localish to one of the areas so…

The Constituency Labour Party (CLP) officers who resigned on-mass (mentioned in The Morning Star) are in the in Bexhill CLP in Sussex. The CLP where Lily Madigan has just become the women’s officer is Rochester in Kent. These are in no-way the same CLP’s. Bexhill is on the South Coast in Sussex, Rochester is about 1 and half hours drive away in Kent, north of the Thames.

Mike Harman
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Nov 21 2017 10:45

@satawal thanks, I got confused by twitter discussion then reproduced the mistakes here...

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Nov 21 2017 11:35

Just think it's worth noting that the anarchist Bookfair collective supporter who posted a load of complete lies about us on that thread, saying that libcom completely banned any discussion of the Gender Recognition Act, and also implied that the GRA was terrible, has not said a single word about it on this thread…

I'm not even stirring, I would genuinely like to know what the "anarchists"/"feminists" or whoever are opposed to this Act's problems with it are.