Anti-trans hate groups in the UK have been rallying around the slogan “Woman : Adult Human Female”. It all began in 2018 when the government began its consultation into reforming the Gender Recognition Act. Seems simple, right? It’s just the definition of the word Woman from Google. But it’s being used in a most sinister way.
To understand the intention behind the slogan, we need to talk about the Gender Recognition Act.
What is the Gender Recognition Act?
The Gender Recognition Act was first brought into law in 2004. At the time it was groudbreaking. It’s purpose was to allow trans people to correct the gender on their birth certificates. That is essentially all it was for. In terms of legal protection of trans people, the Equalities Act is far more important.
So it was great at the time, but that was 15 years ago, and society’s understanding of trans identities has come a long way. In hindsight, law makers are beginning to realise that the system that was put in place for trans people to update their birth certificate is convoluted, expensive, ineffective, and not fit for purpose. Countries all over the world have put in place far better systems and the UK has been left in their dust. We were once trailblazers, but now we just want to catch up.
What is being proposed for the new Gender Recognition Act is to allow trans people to update their gender on their birth certificates by something similar to a statutory declaration, which will streamline the process and remove one of the humiliating layers of gate-keeping that’s involved in many people’s transition.
There are other things we would like changed. At the moment there is no legal recognition of non-binary people at all, so we would like that to be included. By the government’s survey of LGBT people last year, over 7000 of the 14,000 trans respondents identify as non-binary. If the new Gender Recognition Act doesn’t include non-binary people, then it is falling very very short of its purpose.
It’s important to note that binary trans people can already update all their other identification, including passports, driver’s license, and even NHS records without the need of the Gender Recognition Act. It is only birth certificates where the GRA applies.
Why Do Anti-Trans Hate Groups Hate The GRA?
Really, they just hate trans women. And only trans women. Trans men and non-binary people are very rarely mentioned by them.
They believe that being a woman is entirely about their reproductive ability. This is a concept known as bioessentialism. They believe that woman are oppressed due to their genital configuration.
This is a really bizarre concept coming from groups who like to think of themselves as feminists. Reducing what it means to be a woman down to genitalia isn’t feminism; it’s misogyny. Plain and simple. We are so much more than walking wombs.
What brings all women together under feminism is our struggle against misogyny in a patriarchal society. Reproductive rights are a part of that, certainly, but by no means is that the only struggle we have.
Anyway, they don’t want trans women to have any legal recognition or protection at all, let alone what little recognition we have at present. They would rather the Gender Recognition Act be scrapped than for trans women to have even the slightest improvement in their quality of life. Even at the cost of all other trans people.
They make false claims that the reform of the Gender Recognition Act will allow trans women into women only spaces like public toilets and women’s refuges. However, these rights are afforded to trans people by the Equalities Act 2010 which has nothing to do with the GRA. It’s just transphobic fear-mongering similar to the moral panic of the 80s against gay people.
Ok, So What Were You Saying About That Slogan?
“Woman : Adult Human Female”
It seems so innocuous. But think about the intent of it. The message the hate groups are trying to put across is that to be a woman, your sex must be female. There is a distinction between gender and sex. It’s kinda messy, since the idea of “biological sex” isn’t as black and white as many people believe. To put it simply, sex is what you are assigned at birth based on a quick glance between your legs, gender is what you are. Maybe you are a man, and you were correctly assumed to be male at birth. Then you’re a cisgender man. But if you are a woman, and the doctor miscategorized you as male at birth, then you are a transgender woman.
It’s messy. I agree. And that’s one reason why the slogan is so often misconstrued as a positive message. Many people would say trans women are adult human females so this is a message of inclusion.
Their message is very clear, both in their writings and at their demonstrations. They refer to trans women and “male-bodied people” who are “performing femininity”. They believe very strongly that trans women can not be women and to accept them as such puts women, and the concept of womanhood at risk. This is the message behind their slogan.
Going back to the Gender Recognition Act briefly, many countries in the world already have a system in place similar to the one we want for the UK. Ireland, our closest neighbor, has allowed trans people to self declare their gender since 2015 and all the apocalyptic prophecies of the hate groups have failed to materialise. Society has carried on, except trans people can now correct their gender a little bit easier.
So again, remember the intent of their message! Someone could say “Nice glasses!” which sounds like a lovely compliment, but no, those glasses are terrible and you are being cruelly mocked for them.