I like men.  Having said that I do not trust them.  That comes from being a woman. As a girl at primary school I escaped from a group of boy bullies by hanging out in the girls toilets until they got bored and sought out other prey. My childhood freedom of running wild in the countryside came to a juddering halt when I reached my teens and found my solitude was constantly interrupted by the mysterious appearance of men who had no business being there. Growing up in a peasant culture where women are treated as crap I ran the gauntlet of male abuse not every time I left the house, (you know, to go to school or buy groceries) but so often I had to psych myself up to go out the door.  If I was feeling a bit low I tried to postpone the outing.  Being low seemed to act as a magnet to the sex pests and I didn’t need more abuse to make me feel worse. I found I couldn’t select a seat on my own on a bus because too often men would deliberately ignore other empty seats but choose to sit beside me and then play the leg spreading game.  Trapped by the window there was no way to move away.  Old men would sit in the seat behind and their fingers would start feeling my bum through the gap in the seat.  So I would choose a woman to sit beside instead even when there were empty seats.  Going to the cinema on my own, even choosing an aisle seat, a man sitting elsewhere spotting me on my own would move to sit beside me.  I would move, then he would follow.  At an early job an assistant manager gave the rest of the staff the afternoon off and then spent the afternoon chasing me round the desks a la Benny Hill.  I was forced to pack in a job I liked and was good at and then forced to lie when subsequent interviewers asked why I had left my last job. I was raped while working for a charity by a respectable, married middle class man.  And on and on.  I think you get the picture. It could be summed up in the expression “All’s fair in love and war”.  In other words a rather large number of men view sex as a morality-free zone.  That they are entitled to do anything they want providing they can get away with it. Everywhere there are women or girls, especially on their own, they are viewed as a sexual opportunity. There are so many male sexual predators because most men are heterosexual.

Against this background how do you think I feel about the right of any man to declare himself a woman and enter any space which was previously reserved only for women?

Note I said man.  I am not talking about transgenders.  But let’s talk about transgenders as any time a woman raises the issue that she feels her safety is being jeopardized by the right of transgenders to access women’s space, who have not yet had the op, is drowned out by shouts of trans-phobia.

How many transgenders have you met in your life?  Not many I suspect. I am now a pensioner and in the course of nearly 70 years I have met one, perhaps two. The percentage of transgenders in the population is guesstimated at about 1%. To put this tiny number in context it is also thought that only about 5% of women are lesbian. One transgender, perhaps two, is a very small sample to arrive at much of a conclusion about what transgenders are like. However the transgender I met when I was about 20 had a profound effect on me. I was socializing and it so happened that the group was largely male. When I entered the room a man from the other side of the room made a bee-line for me.  Initially I was alarmed for in the sexist seventies men largely ignored women unless they had a sexual interest.  So I tensed expecting more sexual abuse. But that was not why he had sought me out. S/he had seen a woman in a mainly male gathering and wanted to talk – woman to woman. I was stunned. I have never been so confused in my life. My eyes were telling me that it was a man standing before me but everything else, all my senses were screaming – this is a woman. What do I mean by other senses? Good question. I cannot define it but I think we all to a greater or lesser extent “sense” or read strangers. Perhaps it is an instinctive thing to identify threat. Women in particular are sensitive to a man’s atmosphere or aura. They need their feeling that this man is safe or this man seems a bit dodgy to channel their social interactions. With most men there is always a sense of latent threat.  Yes, even with men you do trust and would never hurt you.  My father was the gentlest of all people, not only men.  My husband never hurt me and viewed protecting me as a life goal.  But even with good men, who you do trust rationally there is always that underlying instinctive fear. The reason most women feel relaxed with gay men is that they sense that the threat does not exist. My danger radar was telling me that this person was absolutely no threat to me whatsoever. Startled, but oddly reassured I listened while “she” talked about her experience of being born in the wrong body. Now I had figured out I wasn’t dealing with a man her matronly, motherly appearance was overwhelming.  I have met broody women, and she was right at the top of that category. I listened as she expressed her distress that she would never have children. Her distress was a tsunami of emotion that I had never experienced before, nor since. And I realised something else. Like gay men, transgenders of all people born in a male body represent the least threat to women and children’s safety.

So how has the transgender issue become a threat to women and women’s safety?

WARNING  You may find this paragraph contains material that you will find disturbing. Back in those militant feminist 60’/70’s I came across some feminist graffiti.  The sketch showed the bulge in the male trousers.  The words said “Disarm them”. Vulgar and offensive as this is it makes a valid point. Perhaps even more valid than the ongoing debate over the rights of American citizens to own guns.  Not every person who owns a gun in America intends to shoot someone with it.  The vast majority will never be used and are only held for self-defence.  Their existence deters attack. But are male genitals innocent and innocuous when large numbers of men in all societies and throughout history have used them as a weapon against women? Men cannot claim that their weaponised genitals have a self-defensive character.  They are used for pleasure, to generate young, and as a weapon against women, children and other men. Not all men who use their genitals as a weapon are “disarmed”. This ambiguity in the role of male genitals is a situation which men have brought about, and the results of that situation is something which all women and girls have to live with. Not all men are rapists, but all men are going equipped.

The debate of transgender rights and women’s rights stalls over the issue of whether a man or transgender is packing male genitals when he or she enters women’s space. Leaving aside the strange insensitivity of true transgenders to women’s chronic fear for their own safety, while they transition but have not yet had the op, numbers matter here. Probably less than 1% of the population are transgender.  Most of them represent no threat at all to women’s safety. On the other hand half the population are male, and most are heterosexual. Male sexual predators do not operate on the basis of outing themselves as rapists/stalkers/wife beaters/pimps/murderers/pimps/peeping toms/frotteurs/paedophiles/kidnappers/bullies.  In addition there are sundry criminals who target women’s handbags, particularly old women. Of course in a civilised society where the right of women to safety and being protected from sexual attack was properly upheld, where every woman could feel because it was a fact that such predators were systematically excised from the general populace for the protection of women and  child victims – what I have said almost amounts to a sour joke – that is not the society we live in.  No such society exists anywhere in the world.

The issue is not about the right of transgenders to be accepted as belonging to the gender they feel they belong to.  It is solely about the transgender platform being used to open up access to women of all ages and children, to criminal, heterosexual, male predators. For every transgender how many male sexual predators are there?  Is the ratio 1:50: 1:100; 1:?  ? Who now have access to women’s toilets and changing rooms. From here on it will be seen as perfectly normal for boys to go into girls toilets and men into women’s changing rooms. They cannot be challenged because they can declare as transgender. The predators now have what they have always wanted.  Being able to access women and children everywhere they are, and the ability to blend in and not be noticed.

And what does this do to the public perception of transgenders? Now this inoffensive and largely invisible group are being scapegoated as public enemy number one. They are being used.  Like all of us they are being screwed. The huge collage of sexual predators are now the kings of the castle and all the rest of us dirty rascals. Access to women and children has been entirely opened up, enabled by our political and legal elites. Who are they working for I wonder. Across the country, across the Western world, pimps, rapists, stalkers, voyeurs, paedophiles  must be rubbing their hands with glee, sizing up their expanded criminal horizons, raising their champagne glasses to our ruling elite for enlarging their sexual, criminal and profitable opportunities, public attention directed away from them while transgenders get the blame.