William Hague (unwisely) enters the trans debate
The former Tory leader fails to see the importance of single-sex institutions
Only a brave or foolish man would try and instruct women on how they should organise themselves. William Hague’s foray into the transgender debate appears to put him into the latter category. The former Tory leader has suggested that some members of the Women’s Institute should “get over” their opposition to transgender people joining the organisation. Hague explained, “there are transgender people; they have changed their gender. This is part of our society now and I think large national organisations have to get over that and get used to that”.
Yes, there are transgender people — I am one of them — but I am really not sure what Hague means when he claims that we have changed our gender. Was he referring to our hairstyles or perhaps our sartorial approach to life? Maybe he thinks that it is enough to change a name and demand other people use different pronouns when referring to us? He didn’t elaborate. But one thing is clear: we cannot change our sex. Like other mammals, human beings are sexually dimorphic. Our biological development diverged before we were born, and the sex that was observed at birth cannot be changed. Hague seemed to understand that when he discussed sport:
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Going too fast, indeed. Sex matters in sport. But sex also matters in how we organise within society. Most groups are mixed sex — men and women contribute alongside each other, and however anyone classifies transgender people we are human and we should fit in somewhere.
However, organisations can and do choose to organise on a single sex basis. The WI is one of them. The National Federation of Women’s Institutes explains that membership is “for any woman who wants to join her local WI group and regularly attend meetings” [my emphasis]. If women are defined by their biological sex in sport, why not the WI? The Institute makes clear that it is “a trusted space for women of all generations to come together to share experiences and learn from each other.”
If those trusted spaces mean anything, then the boundaries must be clear. Unfortunately the present admissions policy is reported to say that anyone “who is living as a woman is welcome”, something that is hardly easy to define. A campaign has been launched to pause the admission of transgender women into local branches and with the intention of a vote being held. Quite right. This is yet another policy shift that has been made without proper understanding of the issues involved.
Hague, and the male sex generally, need to leave this matter to the women of the WI. If they wish to become a mixed-sex organisation it is for women to decide; not me and not Hague. If the WI decides to remain true to its original vision as an organisation for women — female people, that is — then transgender women should respect that decision. We can be supporters, friends and allies, but we cannot change sex.
If only Conservative politicians could stick to being conservative instead of chasing every superficially fashionable progressive idea being pushed by those who are certainly not conservative. If Women wish to exclude men who purport to be women from their organisation the conservative stand should be to support them in their preference. Those who want to change things should start their own Women and Womanly Men Institute and see how popular it is.
Conservative politicians rarely want to ‘conserve’ – and the Labour Party now contains few people who actually ‘labour’….
Or whoever previously laboured!
But then, back in the day, nurses were mainly trained on the wards now they need a university degree, I understand. Which may be why they don’t always know how to turn off the taps when removing an empty intravenous drip bag leaving blood to flow out as I found to my cost n a recent hospital stay.
Perhaps those who wish to participate in an institute whilst being trans gender could form the TGI.
And meet on Fridays.
That was genuinely funny.
I can’t help but think that it might be the trans activists, rather than actual trans people, that are causing all the grief in this debate!
I’ve known a couple of transsexuals in my life (used to work in theatre) and I suspect they would be appalled at this. However, at the moment this as a distinction without a difference.
Yes, it is the TRAs who wreck havoc – just look at New Zealand/Australia recently with the Standing for Women tour.
Hague is a weak, craven faux-conservative. What a shambolic display. Who is paying the fool to trot this nonsense out?
Spot on Hayton. This decision is up to the WI. Whatever they decide, the dissenters are free to start their own organization. Why does this have to be so hard? And why do people feel empowered to impose their will on others, or even cast judgement on an issue that has nothing to do with them?
…because infiltration of women’s organisations is the whole point…
and eventual erasure of the class: “women”.
What does ‘living as a woman’ even mean ?
If you get an answer, can you tell me.
Gossip, make up, crying a lot, playing with dolls, you know , what real girls are like
Having a ‘girly day’ according to Eddie Izzard
I lay out my answer to this above.
Trans now is not what trans was. Now it is a lifestyle choice. Now it is an ill-advised mental health prop. Now, with the internet and private chat boards, it is an autogynophiles fantasy. The explosion in the number of young girls declaring themselves trans who have co-morbid neuroses must make us think that what is real for a tiny number of people, who genuinely feel and believe they occupy the wrong physical form, is for the majority something entirely different and in the case of most teenagers a fad of puberty or a real mental illness. These are the reasons why trans has blown up and the bottom line must be to protect the rights of biological women to be an identifiable and therefore a rights-protected cohort.
“The former Tory leader fails”.
He has made public statements, well covered by legacy media, about digital ID and about AI lately too. A cynical person might suspect the influence of others.
I identify as a member of the House of Lords, and look forward to meeting William Hague there for (subsidised) lunch some day.
“However, organisations can and choose to organise on a single sex basis”
Actually not so. Even the Boy Scouts are open to the female sex (though not vice versa for Girl Guides).
Tbf I think it’s more a case that the Boy Scouts do fun stuff that most kids want to do and the girl guides so boring stuff that nobody wants to do.
“organisations can and choose to organise on a single sex basis.”
Not anymore. Not in Britain or America at least.
“the male sex generally, need to leave this matter to the women of the WI”
You can’t lie the trans insanity on men. All evidence indicates that it is university women who are the primary drivers of this lunacy.
I thought the primary drivers were US billionaires.
Unfortunately Girl Guides do permit trans girls (i.e. boys) to join. This is an extract taken from the ‘supporting trans members’ page of the GG website.
“As a girl-only organisation with a trans-inclusive Equality and diversity policy, we treat trans girls and women according to the gender they have transitioned, or are proposing to transition, to. Meaning trans girls and trans women are welcome to be a part of our great charity.”
Bonkers. It is theoretically allowing cocks into the hen coop. Hens offer no threat to cocks so scouts can afford to be ‘progressive’.
Both organisations should stand up for their sex and allow effeminate boys and Tom boys without fear or favour. It’s part of growing up. Let the scouts offer knitting badges and the girls one for knots. Just get rid of the gender stereotypes and stay true to the biological sex of the child. That is progressive not pandering to cliches.
I belonged to st john’s as a child my children the woodcraft folk. Both mixed sex organisations but they knew when to separate like camping etc. it wasn’t conflicted
Debbie says of the WI and other single-sex organisations ‘If they wish to become a mixed-sex organisation it is for women to decide’. Quite so. But shouldn’t this apply equally to single-sex male organisations? And why can my daughter join the cubs while my son is excluded from the brownies?
Mr Hague says ‘there are some areas where there’s been a danger of going too fast. Competitive sport is one of them’. I guess he’s referring to the slow bicycle race?
William Hague. Conservative my foot.
Thank you Debbie. As usual cool calm collected and correct.
I don’t know what happened to William Hague. He was never a great politician (which is not necessarily a negative) but he used to be a true believer in conservative outlook and solutions. But as the years have passed, his pronouncements have become progressively more vague and drippy. What does he stand for any more? It’s not even as if he’s become a socialist – if he suddenly went all Corbyn, that might at least be interesting. He’s just become … well I’m not sure. It sounds like his contribution to the trans debate is about as confused and shrug-inducing as his other recent interventions.
The entire public sector and its vast network of contractors have come to treat gender self-identification as already the law entirely since 2015. Go back to 2010, and the concept itself was unheard of. Margaret Thatcher was last depicted on British television, for the first time in quite a while, in December’s Prince Andrew: The Musical, the title of which spoke for itself, and in which she was played by one Baga Chipz, a drag queen. Well, of course. Gender self-identification is the inexorable logic of the self-made man or the self-made woman, and a figure comparable to Thatcher, emerging in the Britain of the 2020s, would be assumed to be a transwoman, just as Thatcher herself emerged in the Britain of everything from Danny La Rue and d**k Emery to David Bowie and The Rocky Horror Show. In a generation’s time, everyone will be saying out loud that Tony Blair had always been as androgynous as Thatcher was. Leo Abse wrote eye-opening books on both of them.
“Hague, and the male sex generally, need to leave this matter to the women of the WI.” indeed he/they do. But, since when did that mean they should not express an opinion on the matter. This sounds like the Chinese government who, every time someone expresses an opinion, accuses them of ‘interference’. It is nothing of the kind.
Unfortunately the present admissions policy is reported to say that anyone “who is living as a woman is welcome”, something that is hardly easy to define.
Why? A woman is an adult human female. A man is an adult human male. A man who identifies as a woman and therefore lives a woman, is also a male who identifies as a female and lives as a female.
The question is, how can a male live as a female if he is not female? Because to be female is to exist as, to live as, a female. In other words how can someone be an adult human female – a woman, and yet not live as an adult human female – a woman?
In my view this is logically and actually impossible. Therefore I maintain ‘who is living as a woman’ is the correct metric for determining admission.
How you interpret it has absolutely no relevance to the problems that may be caused by it for women that want to belong to a single sex organisation.
My point is not about interpretation per se, but about definition that informs an interpretation. Hayton reports anyone who is living as a woman is welcome. And then says that is something that is hardly easy to define. Well, in my view it is easy to define, as I lay out, if the ‘it’ is living as a woman.
I maintain that if there is a problem caused by the anyone who is living as a woman metric, then that is because the problem is a consequence of an incorrect understanding of what a woman is and dodgy reasoning regarding what living as something entails.
From the moment I first saw him opening his mouth as a precocious 16-year old at the Conservative Party conference of the day, I’ve been praying for Hague to shut it!
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