by Debbie Hayton
Wednesday, 5
May 2021
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Edinburgh University rules won’t help trans people

Not everyone wants to trumpet their gender dysphoria
by Debbie Hayton
Trans rights are human rights but we should not be treated with reverence

As part of new guidance on transgender issues, lecturers at Edinburgh University have been told to avoid using ‘microinsults’ like: ‘I wanted to be a boy when I was a child’. It’s probably a good thing that I do not teach there, since I certainly wanted to be a girl.

Transgender guidance used to be simple and effective. When I transitioned in 2012, my colleagues were advised to continue to treat me the same as before (i.e. as a human being). They did, and all was well. Certainly, we all had far too much work to do than to worry about my change of wardrobe.

But getting on with life as before is no solution for the new breed of transgender activists who seem to think that the world revolves around them. The new Edinburgh guidance restricts language — lecturers are advised to avoid using the ‘labels’ man and woman — and change their way of thinking about sex and gender, lest they upset any transgender people within this spiral arm of the Milky Way.

Of course, staff at Edinburgh have also been encouraged to wear rainbow lanyards, and put their pronouns in email signatures. But at some point, somebody needs to ask: why? Pronoun signatures are not the easy-win that our progressive allies might think they are. Not every sufferer of gender dysphoria can be out to the world. And while some people may wrap themselves in pink-and-blue flags and trumpet their identity, others are forced to hide their inner feelings. Whether they are driven by shame, guilt and fear, or they simply do not want to disrupt hurt their families, does not matter.

Had pronoun circles (declaring one’s pronouns) been the norm 20 years ago, I would have crumbled inside every time it was my turn to say “my pronouns are he and him.” What else could I have said? But the activists do not care about those people any more than they care about the rights of women or the safeguarding of children, two other groups who have been victim to this self-seeking and self-serving movement.

The biggest culprits, however, are those policymakers who have disengaged with reality and pandered to every request. Trans rights are indeed human rights — we are human beings after all — but we surely do not need to be treated with such reverence that we cannot be questioned or challenged.

It is not a micro insult to say that “you are either a man or a woman” — whatever Edinburgh university might be telling its staff. It is the truth. Transgender people have come a long way in society since we lived in fear of being ridiculed or dismissed from our jobs, but only the truth will set us free.

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Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
1 year ago

The rules are not intended to help trans-people. The rules are intended as a power grab. The issue is irrelevant. It could be a rule about what colour shoe laces people must wear. The point is to pass rules and make people obey coheres power.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
1 year ago

Confers?

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
1 year ago

Inheres … perhaps

mchulme
mchulme
1 year ago

Such an refreshing read … common sense really is the new revolution !

Kathryn Allegro
Kathryn Allegro
1 year ago
Reply to  mchulme

Debbie Hayton always writes with common sense.

Angelique Todesco-Bond
Angelique Todesco-Bond
1 year ago

Agreed, one of my favourite writers.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

When I transitioned in 2012, my colleagues were advised to continue to treat me the same as before (i.e. as a human being). They did, and all was well. Certainly, we all had far too much work to do than to worry about my change of wardrobe.
Perhaps we’ve found the problem – too many people have so little of value in their lives that they want to dictate how others go about their business. The more likely answer is that this is exactly how activism works. No matter the cause, there is no end point, no goal line, no tangible point at which victory can be declared. The activism persists for its own sake, because for some, it’s a livelihood and for others, it’s political power.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Lekas
Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I think you’re onto something there. I’d add that it also provides a sense of community, often a religious one for those that join.

Charles Brewer
Charles Brewer
1 year ago

I don’t understand why, in response to, “What are your pronouns?” the obvious answer isn’t “I”, “me”, “mine”.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Brewer

I think this is to do with saying “he/his” or ”her/hers”.
My pronouns are “Ian/Ian’s” ….
If in future I am forced by some appalling drop-down list to choose, then I’ll probably select “He/hers” 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Would it be very pedantic to point out that “Ian/Ian’s” are not pronouns? Sorry.

Jay Williamson
Jay Williamson
1 year ago

Too many young people now have too much time on their hands and this is one of the results of that. Going to University used to mean STEM courses, but now young people sign up for nonsense courses and worthless degrees because going to Uni is supposed to be the thing to do. They may sometimes surface for lectures once or twice a week, but prefer to spend most of their time as activists for this, that and the next thing. Until we say “Enough”, they will continue to force through changes to our language and way of living that the vast majority don’t want.
I’m sure most genuine trans people want to live their lives as the rest of us do, outwith the glare of publicity, but Stonewall is intent on forcing trans people in to “coming out”, just as they did with gay people and that was disastrous for many.
Good to see Caitlyn Jenner saying that she doesn’t think it’s fair for girls/women if trans females compete in female sports and she is right.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jay Williamson

the concept of ‘live and let live’ seems like a relic. Today, it’s more like ‘you will be made to care and required to cheerlead.’ No, I just want to go about my business.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
1 year ago
Reply to  Jay Williamson

“Going to University used to mean STEM courses”.
Well, actually, no. A hundred years ago in Britain, the most popular courses were Classics and Divinity. The percentage of undergraduates who read English Literature at American universities reached a high, as I recall, in the early 1960s.

Last edited 1 year ago by Basil Chamberlain
Mark Preston
Mark Preston
1 year ago

‘Trans rights are indeed human rights’ – sounds lovely but I’d love it for the author of this article to actually explain what they mean by this. They could start by being specific about what ‘rights’ precisely.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/human-rights/human-rights-act
Trans Activists trample over many of these for anyone they label as “Transphobes”. The literal meaning of the suffix -phobe is fear of, but it is often used in the context of hatred of and as the antonym for -phile. All the activists actually achieve is to turn ordinary people who are largely apathetic about the issue into -phobes, mostly of the literal variety in that they become afraid to have anything to do with trans people in case they end up being persecuted for not using the currently in vogue words.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
1 year ago

 “I would have crumbled inside every time it was my turn to say “my pronouns are he and him.” What else could I have said? “
You could have said “I’m not woke.”

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
1 year ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I hope I didn’t come across as snarky. This is a good article.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I would probably answer that question with “whatever you wish them to be ….”

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I think the point is rather than saying what she would have wanted to say, she would have felt forced to say what it was acceptable to / expected by the questioner for her to say, thereby forcing her to deny her inner feelings / beliefs rather than expose them when she did not feel comfortable doing so. It would have been far better for her not to be asked and therefore not to have to say anything.
There is a lot of merit in don’t ask, don’t tell for all of us, as most of the woke issues would evaporate as the non issues they really are anyway. Hence why the woke activists demand the opposite – it is all self serving for the activists and has nothing to do with actually caring about the people impacted.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
1 year ago

Debbie I love you. I supported many trans males and females in my last place of work for over ten years, and made and indeed still have many great friends from that time. Rarely do you hear a trans person speak as sensibly or as candidly as yourself. I get sick to the back teeth of everyone in authority/government/education etc’ pandering, bowing and scraping as if trans people are all some kind of revered gods or goddesses that need to be constantly appeased. Like you say: you are HUMAN. One of my girls (and if anyone takes offence at that line, just get over yourself) once said to me: “Andy, I’m not trans, I’m not a bloke; I’m a human being; I’m a woman nothing else; and I don’t want nor need treating in any way other than any other woman would be treated” Power to your elbow Debbie old girl – and, like all your other articles I’ve read on here – once again very well said!

Andrea Re
Andrea Re
1 year ago

I didn’t understand this passage: ” avoid using ‘microinsults’ like: ‘I wanted to be a boy when I was a child’. ”

What is the insult here? Who should be doing the talking?

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrea Re
Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrea Re

Nor did I. I think it is because the concept of being a boy or girl, that is, knowing and affirming your sex (even if you would prefer the other one) is forbidden now. You are supposed to be like Dawn Butler MP, who declared that babies do not have a defined sex at birth ( despite having some children herself, which appear to have been raised in quite distinct categories ).

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Niobe Hunter

Every baby I have ever seen either has a willy or a fanny. Indeed if you ask at the ultra sound they will show you what they look like 12 weeks or so after conception. Indeed every cell in their body has the appropriate X & Y chromosomes which were responsible for creating that willy or fanny. The other natural characteristics those genes create should be allowed to manifest themselves naturally during the formative years. Treating children in an unnatural way is child abuse.
What people decide to do with their willies / fannies when they grow up is entirely their own business, as long as they are not using them to offend / hurt other people.
MPs who don’t subscribe to these basic principles really should not be MPs, who are supposed to represent the people of their constituency, not some twisted minority agenda which has no basis in biological reality.

Wil Harper
Wil Harper
1 year ago

Thank you for this article, as an older transexual I do crumble inside every time I have to suffer the ordeal of the sodding pronoun circle. I haven’t come out at work solely because I know they will daub me in rainbow glitter and insist on displays of ally ship. I also find that I can’t actually speak openly about gender and sex issues, not even my own. I’ve been banned from groups for saying that I’ personally’ wasn’t at all upset by JK Rowling views. Note I didn’t say that I doubted others reaction (although I admitted I couldn’t exactly see what she’d said that was apparently so awful). I simply asserted that I wasn’t upset in any way.
I’ve also narrowly escaped a workplace verbal wanting because I pointed out that male bodies are inherently different to female bodies.

There is so much puff and thunder in all of this is seems harder and harder to have a simple, pragmatic conversation.

Today someone asked me what my pronouns were. I actually responded by asking them why they wanted to know. They said they needed to know how to talk about me. The simple concept of using my name seemed to escape them.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
1 year ago

Universities have transformed themselves into secular churches that produce the woke religion and its fanatics. Diversity task-forces are the new inquisition.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brian Dorsley
Kirsten Walstedt
Kirsten Walstedt
1 year ago

My fundamental confusion about the pronouns issue is that I was always taught that it’s rude to refer to someone in the third person when they are in the same room with you. Don’t British people say, “Who’s ‘she’? The cat’s mother?” So who is ‘ze’, the cat’s mother?

Last edited 1 year ago by Kirsten Walstedt
Wil Harper
Wil Harper
1 year ago

Agreed. See my comment above. If you know my name then it’s ridiculously easy, and considerably more polite to say ‘Will wants to speak’. It also avoids the confusion that non personal pronouns can endenger ‘he wants to speak’ who?

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
1 year ago

Is not the use of the term ‘gender dysphoria’ in itself a micro-aggression?

Stephen Day
Stephen Day
1 year ago

We are all stuck with the sex assigned to us shortly after conception (even those of us who are intersex) but if you feel the need to live as the opposite sex then that is fine. But please don’t try to convince the world that gender can be reassigned after birth. Chromosomes are fixed I’m afraid.