Features

Sorry, Kellie Maloney, but to be a woman you must first be a girl

23 August 2014

9:00 AM

23 August 2014

9:00 AM

Anybody with an ounce of compassion would have been doffing caps in recent days to Frank Maloney — as, indeed, absolutely everybody with an ounce of compassion vigorously and noisily was. His announcement that he is undergoing a sex change has been met by plaudits from far and wide, notably from within the muscularly male world of boxing in which he made his name and from where his former client, Lennox Lewis, has led the cheerleading. Quite right, too. Maloney’s appalling, sometimes suicidal misery of half a century is beyond imagination; his eventual admission to his beloved wife was heartbreaking to read and his courage, now, in going public — albeit forced by the threat of media exposure — is admirable.

But… oh yes, there is a but. As news reporters and commentators dutifully swivelled overnight to refer to the retired promoter as ‘she’, Maloney explained that, ‘I wasn’t born into the right body. I have always known I was a woman.’ With every other due respect, Maloney has never been a woman. Nor — surgery, chemicals, counselling and coaching notwithstanding — will he ever be a woman. He might wish it to be so; he might feel it to be so; nevertheless, wishes and feelings do not make it so.

Yoan Pablo Hernandez v Firat Arslan - IBF Cruiserweight World Championship
Kellie Maloney … Photo: Getty

We have developed, by and large, an admirably liberal stance on transsexuals — certainly when compared with our collective take on other poor souls who would prefer their bodies to be other than they are. We give short shrift to sufferers of Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID, also known as amputee identity disorder). This is a very real and recognised condition, an extreme body dysmorphia where people are so certain that they should not have been born with, say, two arms or legs that they will go to such lengths as laying an offending limb before an approaching train. Yet when, in the 1990s, a surgeon in Scotland was prepared to give two BIID patients the relief for which they begged, he was firmly stopped in his tracks. For some inexplicable reason, I find I do not lose sleep over this.

I do, however, lose sleep over the equally short shrift afforded to another group of people unhappy with their bodies, which is to say those who would sincerely prefer that those bodies be dead; just think of Tony Nicklinson, who was paralysed from the neck down and campaigned for years to be allowed to die, and we’ll leave it there.


So, in spite of the unpleasant ribaldry that many transsexuals are forced to endure from idiots, by comparison they do not have it that badly. If they have a preference for frocks over trousers, lipsticks over moustaches, rounded bosoms over six packs and the comforting flow of oestrogen rather than beastly testosterone dominating their hormones, then so be it. I am not suggesting it is easy or painless — emotionally or physically — but in the end, and increasingly, they may find the peace they seek by effecting these changes. Amen to that.

David Price v Tony Thompson - International Heavyweight Fight
…and as Frank Photo: Getty

It is only the last step on this path that I cannot take with them: when they leap with joy and alacrity to call themselves ‘women’. Our differences thus boil down to as small and as enormous a thing as terminology.

No matter the miraculous advances in medicine and technology, a woman is born, not made. You cannot be a woman unless you were a girl first. You cannot be a woman unless you came into the world as a female, destined to be treated and differentiated as such — both for good and bad — then lived through years of childhood, prepubescence, puberty, sexual development and the consequent effects on brain and heart.

It has been put to me that, for heaven’s sake, this is quibbling: if someone sees themselves as a woman (or, as the jargon has it, ‘identifies’ as a woman) then, really, what skin off my nose to welcome them to the fold and, come to that, to the ladies loo? They have a point — especially about the loo, which bothers me not a jot. Nonetheless, the claim to womanhood by those who were not born to it does essentially demean those who were; the defining of a woman solely by her sexual organs and by what you see when she is or is not dressed is the province of Page Three girls, not of those proud of their sex and proud, sometimes, of surviving the years of trials it may have brought.

This applies, by the way, to both sexes: should a bold, male soldier be felled by an IED in Afghanistan and left without legs or gentlemanly tackle between them, would we then declare that he is no longer a man? Obviously not. It is widely understood that a fellow in such a predicament who cries that he ‘feels’ himself to be no longer ‘a real man’ will be hastily reassured by all who love him and all who treat him that he was made to be a man from the moment he was conceived and he will die as one, too.

By the same token, I can no more shrug off my formative years and experiences than can Frank Maloney, now to be called Kellie. I can no more forget pregnancy and childbirth than, I imagine, he (or she, if I must) can forget the conception and fathering of three children; more than sex, more than body shape, more than clothing — and certainly more than wishes or feelings — it is these things that define us. Irrevocably so.

We do not ever need anyone else to go through the misery Maloney suffered, and I would be the first to advocate more funding to rescue more people from that wretched hinterland. What we do need, however, is another word. I quite like ‘transsexual’, suggesting as it does some crossing of mind and body; someone cleverer than I am could no doubt come up with something better. But as long as the newly created Kellie carries that irksome, dangling little y chromosome, whatever the word is, it is not ‘woman’.

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Show comments
  • DTNorth

    Such ignorant binary thinking.

    • tjamesjones

      actually perhaps that’s you DT. This article says there’s man, woman, and men-who-would-prefer-to-be-women. It accepts all 3 which means it’s at least tertiary thinking.

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        Oh do one you silly doof !!

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      I couldn’t agree more , but I have spelled it out to Carol Sarler at some length above.

  • Dave

    You are, of course, entitled to your poisonous, small-minded and disrespectful opinion.

    • Get over yourself, you poisonous, small minded disrespectful opinionated person. What, you? Yes. funny how the liberals always think they are so wonderful. More fantasy, like gender politics in general.

      • Perhaps that comment should have been addressed to the author of this article as it is well suited to what she actually wrote

  • jesseventura2

    Bloody brilliant Carol even Julie Burchill would agree?

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      It isn’t brilliant it is un-researched twaddle !!

  • Lib

    I’m assuming Carol Sarler is not a transsexual woman, and by that reasoning has no idea what it is like to be a transsexual woman. I find it hard to understand on what basis she feels she is entitled to write an article like this. And it is blatantly transphobic; every time she says how sympathetic she is with Kellie Maloney is overrided by the fact she puts the word woman in apostrophes, and only refers to Maloney as a she “if [she] must”.
    It may be hard for Carol Sarler to understand, but maybe she should at least try before writing inflammatory articles like this. It does not make your life any harder if Kellie Maloney is woman, but it makes her life a hell of a lot harder if people refuse to acknowledge it.

    • He’s a man in a dress, and in time with some bits removed and rearranged. Just like the victim of an IED who’s been rebuilt. Sue me.

      • Lib

        Yes that’s true – if you see gender as a purely physical thing. But I think we both know it is more than that. This article makes it clear, it is a “crossing of the mind and body”. Is the body more important than the mind? Just because it’s something we can see, something we can understand? It’s a very superficial way to live.
        I don’t think you can compare IED victims with transsexuals. I don’t think you know what it’s like to be either. Hell, neither do I. Maybe it would be good to hear from some people who actually have clue what their talking about before we continue to discuss this.

        • Transsexuals are no more than people confused, tormented, and persecuted within. What they need is not drugs, nor surgeries, but an understanding of why they dislike themselves or feel alienated from their own gender.

          • Lauren Voswinkel

            Nope… neurochemical imbalance. Brain structures of men and women do vary, and respond to different concentrations of hormones in order to function properly. Give a cis person cross-hormone treatments and they will descend into the same suicidal depression that plagues most trans people (read about Alan Turing and the circumstances surrounding his suicide). For a trans person? It helps alleviate that depression more so than any combination of antidepressant and/or therapy could ever hope to achieve.

            The explorations of the origins of the discomfort you are talking about are completely ambiguous and heinously nebulous with relation to social histories. There is no common link, socially speaking, as there is for say, bipolar disorder (typically people who experience bipolar disorder have a break event), or disassociative identity disorder and PTSD (traumatic past events of sufficient severity). However, almost universally, cross hormone treatment helps ENORMOUSLY. Occam’s Razor would suggest this evidence to have a neurochemical origin…

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            Hey Lauren !! You have been reading some seriously correct
            information well done !! I can only stae the opposite for InRusselShadows.

          • InvestigativeReport

            In what percentage of the population does this occur? It is so miniscule, I can’t believe it has become a national debate.

            As the author points out, If a person wants their arm chopped off, they are still considered weird, but if they want their ‘third-leg’ chopped off, some consider them heroic worthy of an award.

            Sick is sick, regardless of which member you’d like to dismember.

            Bolting breasts to a man is like putting lip stick on a pig, it doesn’t change what you started with.

            If you want a pair of tits, knock yourself out. Please stop wasting my time and money on this micro percentage of the human population.

            Personally, if I did ever get breast implants, I would never leave the house. I’d stay home and play with my boobs all day.

          • Alice Cochrane

            The conflict is not so much internal, the conflict is with peer expectations, which is external. This in turn creates inner turmoil.
            They say little Johnny is a boy, should act and dress and behave like a boy, little Johnny doesn’t want to, little Johnny wants the girly things and to be called Joanna. Little Johnny gets bullied mercilessly at school. Teachers call mum into the school, take a negative view of ‘Johnny’s’ behaviour.. and so on.

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            Sometimes little Johnny wants to be called Tamsin !!

          • DOROTHYHERSELF

            The answer to little Johnny’s problem, is for gender to not be imposed on him or on anyone else. Little Johnny should be allowed to wear skirts, like pink, play with dolls and have mainly girls as friends and still be recognised as the sweet little boy he is. Gender is a socially constructed nonsense and should be abolished so that little Johnny can be himself without feeling he has to mutilate his body to express himself.

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            Another WPATH member !!

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            Judging by your previous comments I’d say that you are confused, tormented and perscecuted within ,otherwise why are you on here spouting all your self loathing and slurry.

        • Leeze Lawrence

          I agree whole heartedly, so please feel free to ask away.

        • Tamsin Mc Cormick

          You will do well . You have a brain that can actually process actual thought. You also have the facility to recognise your own lack of knowledge which means that you will seek the knowledge you need. I am a transssexual woman and I know what I am talking about..Full details at Transgender.com

        • I am a trans woman, and the reason why I transitioned was because I found out there is scientific evidence that proves I was born with a female brain. They found a difference in the brains of men and women, and trans people were found to have the brains of their gender identity. This is why I always mentally felt female, and it was all something I was born with and have no control over. I do have control over matching my brain to my body, and since I have, life has been 100x better for me.

          The author was pretty transphobic, and thinks that we are making it up, that I am just “pretending” to be female. I was a girl before I was a woman, mentally. Just in a male body. Now, with the hormones, that have changed many things about my body, I am mostly female.

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        Youshould join WPATH as you clearly have the necessary credentials.

    • Stop Blaming Women

      LOL. BY YOUR OWN LOGIC, a man is not a woman and by that reasoning has no idea what it feels like to be a woman. The End.

      • Lib

        Alright fair enough. But is it really that hard for you to accept? Does gender reassignment really scare you so much? You know what scares me? Ebola. The Israel-Palestine conflict. America’s institutional racism. There are issues far more pressing than a little pronoun switching and I wish that everyone could move past their prejudices and actually focus on what’s important.

        • Why do you care if someone doesn’t agree with you? Why not just let them be? By your own admission you live in fear and are scared by many things that either impact your life in no way or you can do nothing about; so, go live in that wasteland and be consumed by it. How do you have the time to bother with what constitutes masculinity and femininity when you could have just experienced some institutional racism?

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            You care if someone disagrees with you otherwise why are you on here pumping your slurry all over the place ?

        • InvestigativeReport

          “America’s institutional racism”? Really? You have your head inserted very far up your fake vagina.

      • Gwangi

        So therefore by the same taken a woman has NO idea what it is to be a man – therefore, how can a mother be allowed to impose her decisions on her son or to make the decision to circumcise her baby boy then? That is what happens, y’know, yet as you surely must agree, a woman has no idea what it feels like to be a boy or to be built like one eh?

        • Elizabeth

          Men also impose circumcision on their sons… and daughters.

          In Canada, boys were circumcised as a matter of routine until a policy change in the late 1990s. The doctors, often male, would suggest it to prevent phimosis, and to lower the risk of infections such as balanitis/balanoposthitis, UTI’s, herpes, and HPV (thus reducing the chances of passing it to a partner – and HPV is known to cause cervical, penile, and anal cancer), amongs other things.

          In other words, I don’t understand what your point is about circumcision. It’s not like women ran a campaign to force it on men.

      • Vanessa Ray

        Shut up TERF

    • Lisa Werner

      Why oh why an we not disagree without people getting butthurt? Why can cis women not state what they feel? We are natural born women. Yes. Women. I get it, the TG folks want heard. Well, I am not the TG world’s enemy because I interject a thought or two that counter’s their wishes. We have just as much rights to speak. This isn’t an attack on TG people. Can we stop making it into that?
      The author is saying, from her standpoint, that it really bothers some us to hear genetically born men saying they are a woman..when the entire growth and development – culturally, socially, physically, mentally – everything that shapes us as a woman, is skipped. I am more than a vagina, high heels, lipstick and an identification.
      Genders and cultural peer groups share experiences.. Women experience things such as puberty, aching and sensitive developing breasts, that gut wrenching first time your period starts and you were unprepared – maybe in new white jeans, Endless bits and pieces of things and moments are so much more than the feminine tone the wriggle walk, the pretty clothes.
      It is a rite of passage, a bond that cannot be belatedly assumed. Just like there are a myriad of things that make a boy become a ‘man’. There are indefinable experiences that we share, as a gender. Someone transitioning can never be like me, because they did not experience what me and other cis women have.
      Like one person said, if a true Caucasian (and let’s not get into ‘well, if you have one drop’ and all of that stuff that hearken back to Jim Crow days) decided he is not white, he is black..then I say good luck forcing the world to go along with that. One can listen to the music, talk the slang, but there is a endless flow of cultural things and such that the white pretender will never get correct or fake. And rightly so.
      I support people finding happiness. I respect that thy have right to express themselves, freely. I can even empathize with the suffering due identifying as something that you weren’t born as. But don’t dismiss what makes me what I am while you try to find your happiness. You are not a woman. You will never define what makes a woman a woman, if you were not born one.

  • Thanks for calling a spade ‘a spade’ Carol. We live in a day when what allegedly goes on in our heads is allowed to trump anything else in the real world, and it’s just nonsense. Even so-called gender dysphoria can have other diagnoses and treatments, but psycho-babble trendiness fostered by the liberal left is pretending reality can be whatever you want it to be, and all of reality must bend over backwards to accomodate redefinitions left right and centre. As you can see, they are already chomping at the bit to denounce you.

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      People who call a spade a spade seldome know the difference between a spade and a shovel and more often call a shovel a spade. OR put it another way they just get things wrong and end up looking stupid .

    • Barry David

      yeah and once science allows people to go from xx to xy or xy to xx what then? For me at that point their will be no more room for sophistry like this, also if we are to allow transexuals working uteruses once the science allows, the same must be offered to cis men who dont want a vagina or an XX chromosme change but do want to become closer to their sisters (not family lol) and do want to experience a pregnancy and being able to bring a life into the world, if it is ethical for one (the transexuals, as I believe it is) it is ethical for another (the cis men who would love to nuture a baby in a womb without being a female in chromosomes or genitalia)

  • Mike Barnes

    “You cannot be a woman unless you came into the world as a female, destined to be treated and differentiated as such — both for good and bad — then lived through years of childhood, prepubescence, puberty, sexual development and the consequent effects on brain and heart.”

    —-

    So if a young girl has a particularly troubled childhood, no friends, no boyfriend she’s not a real woman?

    A woman who has never had sex or never had children is not a real women either?

    • LOL. How are “childhood, prepubescence, puberty, sexual development…” necessarily tied to the things you mention? Why do you assume such? You are limiting her words when the author makes no such limitations.

    • Jenn Anderson

      Mike, try and keep up. Nobody said anything like that. ‘So, a woman isn’t a woman if she’s an avocado????’

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        They did actually but they didn’t realise it !!

  • wycombewanderer

    To be a woman requires an X and a Y chromosome.

    Frank maloney doesn’t possess a single Y chromosome, he never has and he never will.

    • Titty O’Shea

      To be female requires two X chromosomes; to be male requires an X and a Y chromosome. Kellie Maloney certainly has a Y chromosome

      • Alice Cochrane

        Oh yeah, that’s from the Adam & Eve not Adam & Steve school of thought.

        • Titty O’Shea

          Not really, no. Sex and gender are two different things. Sex is the biological fact, gender is the social construct. No amount of gender reassignment surgery or hormone treatments will remove Kellie Maloney’s Y chromosome

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            If gender is only a social construct, what does that make you ?

          • Titty O’Shea

            A male human being. But “man-ness” is a social construct

      • NicolaW

        Y chromosome, male DNA can be found in SOME female brains

        The reason is not obvious but quite simple biology 🙂

        “Children live on in their mothers’ brains for decades, and not just as memories”

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        Another person with “the power” to determine chromosomes without any medical evidence or equipment whatsoever. You need to present a paper.

        • Titty O’Shea

          I can no more determine chromosomes than you can, but the strongest likelihood is that Kellie has a Y chromosome. Because if she had two X chromosomes, she’d have been born female. And she wasn’t. The confusion of biological sex and gender does nobody any good.

    • justejudexultionis

      Who cares? Do you define people by their chromosomes?

      • Stop Blaming Women

        We define their sex category, not their personhood. Funny how sex is the only category liberals can’t wrap their heads around as 1) existing, 2) influencing social experience, but 3) not limiting humanity.

      • cxc

        Science does.

        Science is cold justejudexultionis and it doesn’t care about your feelings. You believe the world is flat? I’ve got news for you mate, it’s not. Science says so.

        No one here is being transphobic. “Kellie” could easily have waited until he had the operation to start living as a woman but instead chose to put on a wig and wear a dress whilst still as a man. This is something that will still be mocked. It’s the political correctness we’re mocking.

        • Tamsin Mc Cormick

          She is not a man you total moron !!

        • Kylie Michelle Fraser

          “Kellie” could easily have waited until he had the operation to start living as a woman but instead chose to put on a wig and wear a dress whilst still as a man.”

          nope. get your facts straight. to GET the surgery, one must live for anywhere from 15 years to 2 years in their gender identity. if she had “lived a a man” (as we say presented male) she never would be approved for the surgery.

          “How long will the process take?

          There is a two year Real Life Experience (RLE) of living in the reassigned gender role at the GIC for people who want to have genital reconstruction surgery (GRS). This is dated from the start of full-time gender role transition after which they can be assessed for referral for GRS. The RLE includes at least a year in some form of agreed occupational activities.”

          http://www.wlmht.nhs.uk/gi/gender-identity-clinic/frequently-asked-questions/

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      That is amazing !! To be able to give a detailed chromosome analysis of some one from their appearance on a TV show or a picture perhaps !!
      You should write a paper on how you do that and present it to the BMA

  • lauren

    Anyone half decent will do the polite thing and treat transsexual men as a woman
    in a social setting while not perceiving them as such. The transwoman in
    question will only find out how people really perceive her when she starts
    looking for a romantic partner. When it comes to romance most people want the
    real thing and finding out you’re not considered ‘ the real thing’ when you’ve
    been let to believe otherwise out of politeness (or politcal correctness) must really hurt bad. Better to
    come terms with reality i.m.o.. Unless you start brainwashing people they will
    not really believe a man is a woman because he feels that way. Especially if he still looks like a man in a woman’s outfit.

    • Stop Blaming Women

      Too bad lesbians are already being labeled bigots for not wanting to have sex w/ someone who has a penis but considers that penis female.

      • cxc

        Too true. However that won’t stop the politically correct crowd from disagreeing with you.

        The LGBT crowd need to sort their own problems out. Much Biphobia and transphobia comes from within the LGBT community itself ironically.

        I ain’t got no problem with trans people. I’ve got a problem with political correctness and some idiot on the web telling me that I have to call a man with a willy wearing a wig a “woman” because of his feelings. Perhaps he shouldn’t dress up as something he knows people will laugh at until he’s had the operation. Life is cruel but my heart goes out to my relatives in Syria rather than some man in a dress being paid £400,000 to be in Big Brother. First world problems Lauren.

    • How would not perceiving me as not a woman be the decent thing to do?

      Also…how am I not the “real thing?” Am I less than a person to you?

      • Lola Guin

        Not less of a person, just less of a woman. You’ll never be a woman. You have XY chromosomes. You are a male with a very strong delusion. You aren’t less of a person though. You just have NO idea what it’s like to be a woman and you never will.

        • I don’t need to defend my womanhood from you, any more than you need to defend yours to me.

          You don’t alter the world and how it is. I live, feel, love, hate, fuck, and, one day, will die as a woman. Your bigotry and limited understanding of what it means to be a woman will never change that.

          Maybe you should really sit down and consider that maybe being a woman is deeper and more profound than owning a vagina.

          • Sai Sharad

            *facepalm* oh that emotional appeal…

          • Lola’s reply was filled with emotional appeal.

            What’s your point?

          • Sai Sharad

            i was talking about you. and that a call for emotional appeal cannot change reality.

        • Vanessa Ray

          TERFs galore on this page.

  • justejudexultionis

    This is actually an incredibly stupid and bigoted article and misses the point entirely.

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      I agree .I know better that some but who is listening – apart from me ?

  • Damaris Tighe

    Great article. Couldn’t agree more – I’m heartily fed up with this nonsense.

    But isn’t it part of the wider trend towards putting subjectivity on a pedestal – that if a person feels something to be so, then it must be taken seriously? Why do we have to pander to whim-worshipping to the extent that the truth on birth certificates has to be altered?

    Of course, they never do become women because the operation isn’t complete. They just have the external appearance. So the objective reality – dare I say it – is different. But are we at all interested in objective reality rather than appearances & wishing it to be so? The same phenomenon in politics is obvious.

    • Jess Rose

      Does it matter which school of thought these concepts are rooted in? Whilst it may be right to query whether deconstruction is still or ever was a properly useful form of analysis, we are here discussing something that arguably transcends scholarly analysis, as it is rooted in human feeling. Human feeling; an abstract concept that not even Aristotle, let alone a bunch of people commenting on a Spectator thread, could properly pin down. I would argue that we are all guilty of putting our own subjectivities on pedestals; we construct an image of ourselves and ask for that image to be accepted by others. Why should there be an argument? Why shouldn’t ones image be ‘taken seriously’? Are we so lacking in empathy that we cannot embrace the idea that someone may ‘feel’ differently to the way society perceives them? Besides, its wrong to think that this is entirely rooted in visuality, I repeat; I think it has much more to do with intangible ‘feeling’. By the way, not all transpeople undergo surgery, so you are right, it doesn’t ‘need’ a physical operation, but I am pleased that the option is there for people who feel it does. At NO expense of the tax payer, I might add.

      • Damaris Tighe

        There has to be an argument because this stuff is another brick in the Orwellian wall of newspeak & thought-scrambling. The ideology that obscures the objective difference between a male & a female, & re-writes history to boot, also obscures objective moral & political differences, as I pointed out.

        Just as we are enjoined to chant ‘we are all Hamas now’, as if they’re a nice mutual-aid society, & call Israelis N*zis, we’re also enjoined to pretend a man is a woman. Black is white & white is black. War is peace.

        • Jess Rose

          The examples you offer are not comparable. Whilst the question of whether Hamas is a ‘nice mutual-aid society’ may be debatable, the question of an individual’s gender is fixed, by the individual in question. If one claims that they are a woman, then they are one. It is not about pretending, nor is it about reversed truths. It would be a lie for a man with a cock to proclaim, ‘I don’t have a cock’, but if you listen with some care you’ll notice that this is not what trans.people are saying. Grow up and understand that this transcends genitalia.

          • BobH2003

            “If someone claims they are a woman, then they are one.”
            Go away, look in a mirror, and say that again without laughing!
            Is there any wonder the nation is in such a state when people get away with such drivel.
            I suggest that you grow up.

          • Damaris Tighe

            The comment you quote is (directly or indirectly) the product of a fourth rate polytechnic sorry university education.

          • Jess Rose

            Directly. Proudly, my university education has equipped me with an adequate socio-cultural awareness of and empathy for those whose gendered identities are perhaps more complex than my own. I am, as such, capable of grasping the fact that there is more to a person that a cunt or a cock and balls, while you seem sadly stuck in some God-awful Freudian phallic-stage nightmare.

          • Damaris Tighe

            My case rests m’lud.

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            Oh do piss off you moron !!

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            And which 4th rate Polytechnic did you attend.?

          • Damaris Tighe

            LSE & University College London.

          • Reisu (Wise Master)

            I’m white on the outside, but black on the inside, nigga. Also, I’m a japanese slim man. I may be slightly overweight but I identify myself as slim, so I am as such! So, from a white, British, overweight male; I’m now a black japanese, slim man. All because I said so.

        • Tamsin Mc Cormick

          More twaddle I’m afraid !!

        • Barry David

          except you dont seem to think to realize to beat them at their own game we have to THINK LIKE THEM but DIFFERENT. You have to be a leftist, just not a rad fem or a MARXIST but instead be a libertarian socialist, instead be a guverara or a hugo chavez. Gender of male and female is far less different than we think and customs on men using makeup hair length etc change throughout time, and are not absolute truths, but as you are aware of their are some absolute truths such as murder being wrong etc. Besides once the science can change the chromosomes of a person and give fertility to trans men and women and even give cis men the chance to gestate with an overy but without breasts and a vagina, shouldnt their own moral relativism demand equality for cis men? Trust me con politicians can be caught out by their own pretard. So often the elite try to turn things in a negative direction and then it works for a bit and the change they want gets accepted by most people but then most peoples basic decency turns it in a positive direction they neither wanted nor expected…

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      There isn’t a University on the planet that teaches the utter twaddle that you are spouting here. !!

    • Barry David

      you wrote a lot of tosh up to the bit about the frankfurt school whom i dislike too, then you wrote more tosh. Gender studies are fine if done by equalists trying to break them down, not feminextermists trying to subjugate men and bring them back in a different route to conservative tactics…..

      And if they havent fathered a child their is no deceit if your being fair to your own logic? Yeah and once science allows people to go from xx to xy or xy to xx what then? For me at that point their will be no more room for sophistry like this, also if we are to allow transexuals working uteruses once the science allows, the same must be offered to cis men who dont want a vagina or an XX chromosme change but do want to become closer to their sisters (not family lol) and do want to experience a pregnancy and being able to bring a life into the world, if it is ethical for one (the transexuals, as I believe it is) it is ethical for another (the cis men who would love to nuture a baby in a womb without being a female in chromosomes or genitalia)

  • Gwangi

    A very silly article. Clearly there are individuals who are born with female brains into a male body or vice versa.

    It is THE BRAIN which is the biggest difference between male and female, not the body.

    This is proven by the tragic cases in the circumcision-worshipping USA. Mistakes do happen and then they tried in the past to bring willyless boys up to be girls. It didn’t work. The brains were still male.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1332396/Bruce-Reimer-Tragic-twin-boy-brought-girl.html

    This disproves the silly feminist theory that gender differences are all the result of social conditioning, by the way. It is innate gender difference. It is fixed.

    • Stop Blaming Women

      AH, brain sex. That’s *never* been used against women, for instance, to keep them in the home and away from education. Funny thing though: sex is about reproductive capacity. Brains don’t reproduce. The assigning of sex to personality traits that occur naturally in all humans is the problem.

      • Gwangi

        it is IRRELEVANT how any knowledge was used by anyone in the past. If it is a FACT it is a FACT – and MRI scans and REAL scientific research (as opposed to invented social theories based on prejudice and NOT biological fact) show that to be true.

        This is of course a generalisation as there is variation – what I am talking about here is TENDENCIES not absolutes – BUT the biggest generalisers of all are feminists, so I shall take no lectures from the sisterhood on that, especially as scientific fact is on my side, not theirs.

        Brains have the instincts to reproduce, silly. Not very good at this science stuff, are you? Must be a girly girl then…

        Click on the link I give and READ what happens when you try and bring an individual with a male brain up to be a girl.

        • Stop Blaming Women

          I know what happens when you bring up ANY person to be a girl: You squash her potential with bullshit like “not very good at this science stuff, are you? Must be a girly girl.” Brain sex is no less idiotic than brain race.

          • So therefore, no-one should be brought up as a girl? Have you ever been around girls? They want to do girly things, such as dance and play house. Why are they necessarily inferior if they prefer to do these things as opposed to wrestling, for instance? Also, you are misusing the epithet (in addition to assuming such behavior is normative for males instead of being an extreme case — are all males good at science? No.). Such epithets are directed at BOYS as an insult, telling them that they are not BOYS. So in short, you have woefully misunderstood nearly everything about gender, and this comes from some sort of deep-rooted anger, probably at having experienced some of the epithets personally.

          • Jenn Anderson

            Observe the douchebaggery first hand, folks. Step right up.

          • Gwangi

            Oh do stop blubbing like a girl, wallowing around in your own pity party of victimhood. I’m sure you like many use it as an excuse for failure caused by your own incompetence and idleness and lack of talent, but that won’t wash with me.

            The argument that ALL women are disadvantaged and ALL men advantaged is fallacious. As far as I can tell, people without much opportunity, money or connections are as much male as female. I know it’s your pet theory and your whole claim for unfair advantage through positive discrimination rests on it – but that does not make it a true claim.

            And these days it is BOYS who are constantly criticised, demeaned and mocked in our feminised society – just watch some TV ads to see that, or maybe listen to what some (female) teachers tell them at school (i.e. that girls and women are wonderful and boys and men evil and useless).

            Oh and I claim my prize: you made compared gender to race. BONG!

            Maybe you can ask a grown-up to show you some MRI scans which PROVE that male and female brains are 1) are structurally different and 2) are used differently by males and females. You may even want to look at the research done at Manchester University which shows average IQ in women in lower, and most with the highest IQs are men – hence males inventing everything.

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/higher/dr-paul-irwing-there-are-twice-as-many-men-as-women-with-an-iq-of-120plus-426321.html

        • Sine Nomine

          The biggest difference between musicians and non-musicians is in their brans. MRI scans don’t lie. http://portlandchamberorchestra.org/what-happens-when-the-brain-plays-a-musical-instrument/

          Have you not heard of neuroplasticity?

          • Gwangi

            Of course, but any changes are very localised and certainly cannot affect gender or secksual orientation, and gay rights campaigners would agree with that.
            In general, the brain is of a newborn is relatively fixe din its structure – it seeks patterns. BUT then of course

          • Sine Nomine

            Well, then, that proves you know very little about brain development. Seriously, you need to find out more about neuroplasticity. Start here http://gender.stanford.edu/news/2011/is-female-brain-innately-inferior especially under “Neuroscience to the rescue: The difference between being & becoming”

            They become different due to people believing in male vs female brains and treating people differently based on that.

          • NicolaW

            The suggestion that neuroplasticity can result in an absence of gender differences was dismissed by the ‘real scientific’ community decades ago!

          • NicolaW

            The suggestion that neuroplasticity can result in an absence of gender differences was dismissed by the ‘real scientific’ community decades ago!

      • Gwangi
        • That is a link to utter nonsense.

          • Gwangi

            No, it is fact, silly. Fact you don’t agree with. But fact nonetheless.
            Feminist theories of patriarchy and social conditioning. AH now THERE is UTTER NONSENSE!

      • Despite the fact that that has been used against women does not mean that the above comment is in fact, fallacious. You are also conflating sex (reproductive capacity) with characteristics of males and females; the latter is a larger set. And it’s not the assignment of traits that is the issue; the issue is that traits naturally occur in lesser or greater frequency according to gender. This is an unavoidable fact, and closing your eyes to it does not obliterate it.

        • Tamsin Mc Cormick

          “This is an unavoidable fact, and closing your eyes to it does not obliterate it.” – A bit like Transgender Syndrome then !!

    • No, this is not clear. The case you cite shows what happens when you try to bring up a male as a girl; having some things fixed at birth does not mean it is the brain that was fixed. It only means that the gender is fixed.

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        And where does your gender reside ? In a jar by the door ?

  • edithgrove

    “We have developed, by and large, an admirably liberal stance on transsexuals”

    Who is this ‘we’ you are speaking on behalf of, and addressing? It refers only to your own mistaken sense of entitlement, nothing more. What silliness the Spectator publishes in August.

  • FrankS2

    Carol Sarler’s argument is simple enough – you can’t rewrite history, including your own.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Exactly. But did you know that they ARE rewriting history by getting their birth certificates changed?

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        So if something is wrong Historically you would just leave it in that state ? Is that what you mean ?

    • Jess Rose

      Trans. people aren’t asking for a rewrite of the past, they are asking to script their own future.

      • BobH2003

        They are getting their birth certificates rewritten. That most certainly IS rewriting the past.

        • Tamsin Mc Cormick

          If the past history is incorrect it should be re-written.
          We are getting more of that in other areas as well .

          • BobH2003

            Meaning what?
            If someone has fathered children. He cannot, following a so called sex change, go back and change his birth certificate to female. That is just state sponsored deceit and should be illegal. He was born male with male chromosomes and should remain legally male -despite getting castrated and changing clothes. Facts are facts and its time we stopped pandering to the deluded.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Well said. It would make more sense, if it’s necessary, to add a sort of codicil to the birth certificate stating that the person has ‘transitioned’ (!) & when.

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            That would include you for there are none so deluded as the ill-informed. !!

          • BobH2003

            Tamsin the deluded speaks out and we all laugh.
            Or perhaps Tamsin is really a bloke!!!
            Whatever, Tamsin is a part of the big delusion.
            Tamsin, whoever you are, you can only keep the deception going for so long, and some day a little child is going to scream with laughter that the emperor has no clothes.

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            You really are quite stupid aren’t you !! Good bye.

          • BobH2003

            Hey, listen to that bloke Tamsin trying to be all feminine and hurt.
            It don’t work!
            The emperor still has no clothes and one of these days the whole crowd, not just the little child, will start laughing.

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            Are you really a bloke or just a stupid one ?

          • BobH2003

            I laugh at you and the silly planet you live on because we are worlds apart.
            Being normal, I am thankfully nothing like you and your kind.

          • Tamsin Mc Cormick

            What is accepted as fact is often challenged by newer findings.
            That is called progress. And in the scenario you mention you have actually described a transsexual woman. In English Law when you are born your gender is meant to represent who you are. If at a later date it can be shown that the gender on your birth certificate is wrong then it can be changed. Chromosomes and body structure don’t always match the gender you were born with and in the case you describe a woman can be born with a fully functioning male body and that is the crux of the matter. Look at transgendercare.com for all the facts .

          • Barry David

            And if they havent fathered a child their is no deceit if your being fair to your own logic? Yeah and once science allows people to go from xx to xy or xy to xx what then? For me at that point their will be no more room for sophistry like this, also if we are to allow transexuals working uteruses once the science allows, the same must be offered to cis men who dont want a vagina or an XX chromosme change but do want to become closer to their sisters (not family lol) and do want to experience a pregnancy and being able to bring a life into the world, if it is ethical for one (the transexuals, as I believe it is) it is ethical for another (the cis men who would love to nuture a baby in a womb without being a female in chromosomes or genitalia)

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      History is re-written all the time – the parts that are wrong that is !!

    • Barry David

      yeah and once science allows people to go from xx to xy or xy to xx what then? For me at that point their will be no more room for sophistry like this, also if we are to allow transexuals working uteruses once the science allows, the same must be offered to cis men who dont want a vagina or an XX chromosme change but do want to become closer to their sisters (not family lol) and do want to experience a pregnancy and being able to bring a life into the world, if it is ethical for one (the transexuals, as I believe it is) it is ethical for another (the cis men who would love to nuture a baby in a womb without being a female in chromosomes or genitalia) .

  • Demz

    The answer is … it’s a bit more complicated than that. Think of the things that make up someone’s gender:

    There is their genetics. Most people are either XX or XY, but some are XXY, XYY or even XXXY.
    There is the genitalia. Most people are born with genitalia that match their genetics. A small but significant proportion are not.
    There is the hormonal make-up. Indeed, international women’s sport uses hormonal tests to decide eligibility.
    And there is gender identity, the gender of one’s conscious awareness.

    For the vast majority these align, and for these people it is comforting to belong to a binary gender. Where they don’t align, the genetics are immutable, while surgery and endocrinology can make big changes to someone’s body. The relationship between personal identity and the body has exercised philosophers for millennia (“cogito, ergo sum”), and gender identity sits alongside personal identity.

    Coming from a position where these all align, it is easy to take an over-simplified view of the cards Mother Nature deals out. Turning this over-simplified view into a sanctimonious diatribe is unhelpful.

    • Tom M

      That’s interesting thanks for that.
      The puzzle for me was when I saw Kellie on the television she told the interviewer (paraphrasing) that there was always a percentage of her that told her she was a woman and she had fought against that all her life.
      So presumably there is the remainder of that percentage that will be telling her that she’s a man and that will now have to be repressed.

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        You haven’t quite grasped it . She will be spending her life finding the expression of herself . There are no other repressed feelings to deal with. The hormones and the surgery are the treatments that correct most of what she has endured so far .

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      I think it is worse than unhelpful

  • Jess Rose

    Gosh, what outdated thinking. I was under the impression that gender is to be understood as independent of sex.

    ‘One is not born, but rather becomes a woman’ – Simone de Beauvoir (1949)

    • cxc

      Your wishful thinking has no place in science.

      Science is devoid of emotion. The hard fact is that “Kellie” is a man still because he still has a willy.

      Any Biologist will tell you that.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Well said. And will still be a man even if his willy is surgically removed.

        • Tamsin Mc Cormick

          You should write a paper and present it at the next WPATH convention.

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        Are you a member of WPATH – You should apply if not.

      • They won’t actually, but I only know that due to extensive years of research.

        Stop butting into conversations about transgender people, saying “Science!” and simply dropping the damn mic.

        You aren’t making any sense. You aren’t backing yourself up with any cited sources. Science isn’t on your side. Only your false sense of superiority and very real source of bigotry.

  • Kalakagatha

    If one can only be born a woman, then the question then becomes what defines being born as one, doesn’t it? That question isn’t as simple as it first seems. Is it defined by your chromosomes at birth? If so, then what are we to make of intersex disorders where, to take androgen insensitivity syndrome as an example, the individual comes out of the womb with a vagina, yet is genetically male? Is it determined by the genitals at birth? Then what of the quite frequent cases of ambiguous genitalia? Is it defined by the the sexually dimorphic brain development which occurs in the womb and is largely complete by birth? Well, then at that point you have a transsexual.

    See this is the thing which I think the author is unaware of in the case of transsexuals: there is a measurable, structural difference in their brain which occurred prior to birth. Specifically, in the case of male to female transsexuals, by the time they were born, the sexually dimorphic parts of the brain had developed to look like a typical female’s brain. Vice-versa for female to male transsexuals. In this respect, male to female transsexuals ARE born as women. There was no becoming one; by the time they were born, their brains, at least, are female.

    Now I think its perfectly acceptable to argue that the experience of womanhood is fundamentally different for that of a genetic woman and a transsexual woman. But to argue that transsexual women are not women because they were not born as one ignores the vitally important way in which they were born as women. If you would like to amend your argument to say that women must be born with both a female brain and a female body, then so be it, but don’t try to argue that when a male to female transsexual is born that they were born entirely male, because the science simply doesn’t back you up on this point.

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      Excellent . The article is certainly ill considered and badly researched.More reading required !! The Law in the UK for instance recognises that you are what your brain is: In that the body can be changed to match but the structure of the brain cannot be altered .

  • Cincinnatus

    Well at least one person in the media has the courage (and the honesty) to say that the emperor has no clothes, which in this case is the simple and obvious observation that “Kellie” Maloney is not a woman, but rather he is a man dressing as a woman.

    Over at the Guardian any comment pointing out this undeniable fact will be deleted for breaching “community standards”. Only some facts are sacred.

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      Courage and honesty are very positive qualities that don’t sit well next to uninformed opinion. The article is flawed and badly written. If you have the courage and honesty to express wrong Ideas you just end up looking like a twat !!

  • cxc

    I ain’t got no problem with transgendered people. I’ve got a problem with political correctness and some idiot on the web telling me that I have to call a man with a willy wearing a wig a “woman” because of his feelings. Perhaps he shouldn’t dress up as something he knows people will laugh at until he’s had the operation. Life is cruel but my heart goes out to my relatives in Syria rather than some man in a dress being paid £400,000 to be in Big Brother. First world problems and sick of political correctness offending people.

    “Kellie” isn’t brave for dressing up (prematurely) as a woman before his operation. The people in Syria are brave for what they’re currently going through with a rising death toll. Perhaps Kellie’s defenders should realize that there’s more important things to worry about rather than spewing their politically correct statements and anti-scientific claims that gender is non-existent.

  • Wessex Man

    I never ever in all my wildest dreams thought that there were so many sad pinkos who could be bothered to pass a comment as here on a Spectator blog! Grow up when he’s fed up of prancing around in a dress in a while and ask for a reversal operation!

    • Chiefrunningsores NPQ TSO

      ” so many sad pinkos who could be bothered to pass a comment as here on a Spectator blog”…..as you have just done!.

    • A reversal operation? Wtf are you even on about?

      First off, you can’t reverse SRS. Second off, the number of people that transition and later regret it is infinitesimally small. The rate of people that are happy they transitioned is over 99%.

      There’s almost nothing in the world with that high of a success rate.

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        Apparently Hip – replacement surgery is about equal to SRS !! I got that from a WPATH member.

  • Leeze Lawrence

    Have any of the people who have such concerns for my and the people of my community ever actually sat down and spoken to a transgender person or is all your ideology based on belief and text book theory. Please do feel free to speak to me with your concerns or issues on transgender. if anything you may actually learn something. if i am not what you seek, please to go to your nearest equality charity and ask to speak to someone who is transgender or non binary and they will be happy to have you understand what you do not know, instead of second guessing your theory due to lack of education or social experience.

    • Dawn Young

      Yes as a transexual do you get broody every time you see a newborn. Do you feel the tidal wave of emotion and desire sweep over you and consume you as you look at that baby and want to cuddle and hold it? As a woman I notice if I walk through a mall in skimpy clothes the heads of men turn. If I walk through the mall carrying a newborn the heads of women turn.

      • Leeze Lawrence

        The answer to that would be yes, my partner and i have been together a long time and yes children have and will always be something that is desired by myself and him. Its a human instinct to be a parent, the desire to have ones own family especially after being in a long term relationship with someone that wants it as badly as ones self.

        • Dawn Young

          I didn’t ask if you desired a family. I asked if you ever felt all mushy and broody when you saw a newborn.

          • Leeze Lawrence

            The implication is the same thing, yes, to desire children would mean exactly what you asked. i do get broody, rather often actually. Especially when friends and family seem to go through stages of having children all at the same time. its a reflection on what i miss.

  • Molly Lawrie

    Carol Sarler has given her opinion on Gender Dysphoria and next week she
    could perhaps give her opinion on the efforts of modern Physics to
    reconcile Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity.

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      It won’t be difficult for her as she does no research for her articles . They are more like creative writing or fiction , both really !!

  • Chiefrunningsores NPQ TSO


    Sorry, Kellie Maloney, but to be a woman you must first be a girl”

    You obviously do not understand!….he was a girl…in a boys body.

    Do try and understand!.

  • Lewis Hancox

    I was born female but always felt male. This doesn’t just mean I like to wear male clothing and be referred to as ‘he’ and to be seen as ‘male’. This also means I felt so uncomfortable in my body when it started to develop feminine traits that my body was betraying me and I could no longer live that way. It is a real, biological condition, in which my brain developed like a male but my body did not. There are even studies which reveal the brain of a transgender male resembles that of a biological male in white matter.
    It was a do or die situation. I needed hormones to go through the correct puberty. I needed surgery to remove the tissue that wasn’t supposed to be there. And I also wanted the world to view me as the person I felt inside .
    Now I have a loving girlfriend and a great career, I’m more ambitious and confident that I’ve ever been.
    If I hadn’t transitioned, I would still be miserable and maybe not even be around to type this.
    Have some people lost the ability to empathise and put themselves in others shoes?

    • Too many have lost empathy and sympathy.

      I was miserable for years and years. Now I’ve found the very fragile beginnings of (Dare I even say?) happiness by transitioning. And I guess asking for a modicum of respect and the right to relieve ourselves in public restrooms is “forcing people to buy into our delusions.”

  • BobH2003

    Thank God for someone with the courage to speak out against all the psycho-babble! I am sick of everyone calling men women and women men You cannot recreate history.
    I don’t care what these people claim, chromosomes tell the facts.

    • Elizabeth Maddison

      What about the cases where a baby is born that looks entirely female but turns out to have XY chromosomes? What are they? What about someone who has XXY chromosomes? It’s not always that simple.

      • Titty O’Shea

        Those people are intersex, which is totally different from transgender.

        • Elizabeth Maddison

          It’s a different medical condition, but there are overlaps in the consequences. Also, trans* is more to do with not being the gender one was originally assigned, rather than not being the gender one’s chromosomes would suggest.

          Say there are two babies, both appear to be female bodied, are registered as female and are brought up female. ‘A’ has no problem with being a girl, ‘B’ insists from the age of 5 that they’re actually a boy.

          They grow up, and neither start having periods. Tests are run, and it turns out that they are both XY.
          Both are intersex, ‘A’ is cis and ‘B’ is trans*.

          Unless one were to go with BobH2003’s contention that chromosomes tell the facts, which would mean that ‘A’ is trans* and ‘B’ is cis. But that’s not how the terms are normally used, because chromosomes are not that simple and are not normally tested at birth.

          • Titty O’Shea

            Gender is not sex. Sex is the biological fact; gender is the social construct. Being male has about as much relation to being a man has being in possession of a tongue has to being an English speaker i.e. you can be male without “feeling like a man” (whatever that means) and you can have a tongue without speaking English. I go with the Judith Butler school of thought: that gender is performative, not an innate, essential part of your being. I tend to think that if the gender binary weren’t so rigidly policed, if people were free to be who and how they wanted to be, transgender wouldn’t be an issue because there’d be no ‘gender’ to ‘trans’: boys could be as “girly” as they liked and girls could be as “boyish” as they liked.

          • Elizabeth Maddison

            Quite agreed, gender is not sex. But gender as a social construct is put onto newborns based on what their biological fact is assumed to be from a visual inspection- a.k.a. ‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’- and they tend to be treated accordingly. That’s what I meant by ‘the gender […] originally assigned’. I hope it’s improving, but when I was little about three decades ago I was encouraged to ‘sit down quietly’ when my male peers were not discouraged from running around; I was pointed towards the homemaking toys and away from toy cars, etc. Lego ‘for girls’ is a retrograde step- it wasn’t gendered when I was small, and about seven years ago I went into full-on rant mode in Hamleys toy store at the excessive genderising of toys there. I gather that they have moved away from that, though.

            I also want to see an end to gender binary policing, not least because it negatively impacts trans* people themselves. To get treatment they often have to jump through very strictly defined hoops and be hyper feminine or masculine. Jeans on cis women are fine, but when a trans* woman wears them it can be seen as a lack of commitment to their gender identity. A male trans friend of mine, at the start of his transition, commented that he still wore some of his ‘female’ clothing because he didn’t have the money to by all-new stuff- and this was seen as indicative that he was changing his mind. Ironically, he was talking about jeans and trousers as well.

            Butler’s school of thought is very appealing, but it doesn’t really work out in practice. Saying that gender is performative reinforces the gender binary- it says that one type of behaviour relates to this gender, that other type to that gender. I would rather separate behaviour from gender entirely, recognise people’s self-identification, and not worry at all about whether their preferred activities are meant to match. Butch trans lesbian mechanic who knits stuffed toys? Why not?

            Ideology has to take second place to actual lived experiences and observable phenomena, otherwise it becomes religion. A fundamentalist form, at that.

          • Titty O’Shea

            But I think Butler isn’t condoning gender performance, she’s pointing out exactly what you say: that certain performative elements are expected of one gender, certain others of the other gender. This is oppressive for all people, not just trans people but the use of words like “cis” suggest that all us non-trans folk are just fine and dandy with everything. It’s another false binary.

          • Elizabeth Maddison

            ‘Cis’ isn’t meant to suggest that ‘non-trans’ people are fine and dandy with everything, just with the ‘M’ or ‘F’ on their original birth certificate. It certainly doesn’t mean that they can’t be unhappy with what society might expect of them because of the ‘M’ or ‘F’.
            For instance- male nursery school teachers have reported that they get odd looks because of their job. The thinking seems to be ‘Why would a MAN want to work with small children? He must have some ulterior motive!!!’. This is not good.

            Nothing wrong with having a gender identity, it’s gender roles that have to go.

            I’ve been looking up Judith Butler since I last posted, and her view is apparently not quite as you described it. Here’s the full question and answer from an interview with Transadvocate-

            CW: What do you think people misrepresent most about your theories and why?

            JB: I do not read very much of those writings, so I
            cannot say. I do know that some people believe that I see gender as a “choice” rather than as an essential and firmly fixed sense of self. My view is actually not that. No matter whether one feels one’s gendered and sexed reality to be firmly fixed or less so, every person should have the right to determine the legal and linguistic terms of their embodied lives. So whether one wants to be free to live out a “hard-wired” sense of sex or a more fluid sense of gender, is less
            important than the right to be free to live it out, without discrimination, harassment, injury, pathologization or criminalization – and with full institutional and community support. That is most important in my view.
            – See more at:
            http://www.transadvocate.com/gender-performance-the-transadvocate-interviews-judith-butler_n_13652.htm#sthash.cUHO21lk.dpuf

            Looking at the rest of the interview, she doesn’t want to see the concept of gender eradicated entirely, since it’s very important to many people. Her views have developed and changed over the years, which is only to be expected. Long story short- she supports the trans* community.

          • Titty O’Shea

            I doubt she supports an essentialised view of gender stereotypes as being neurobiologically hardwired, as some trans activists do.

            I will never use the word “cis” to describe myself. It’s silly, divisive and I really don’t need to define myself in contrast to someone else. I am not UNsupportive of the trans “community” (don’t even get me started on the notion of “community”), just those transwomen among them who bully and threaten women and other trans people in order to shut them up.

          • Elizabeth Maddison

            I don’t believe that ANYONE believes that stereotypes are neurobiologically hardwired. Stereotypes are cultural, not biological.

            Latin prefixes are silly? Have you told chemists that? ‘Cis’ is a term in its own right. Describing yourself as ‘not-trans’ is defining yourself in terms of someone else.

            IF there are trans women who are doing what you say, THEN they are behaving badly. But all the bullying and threatening I’ve seen has been from the TERFs, who make a habit of monstering trans activists and then pointed to angry responses as proof of violent tendencies. Telling people who are constantly verbally abusing you to ‘Piss off’ or ‘Get f***ed’ is NOT bullying.

            What’s a better word than ‘community’, then, to describe a group of people with shared experiences and/or requirements? I hear lots of people moan about the word, but never hear anyone offer a viable alternative.

          • Titty O’Shea

            Cis is silly applied to a person. And yes, some trans activists insist they were women from birth and cite some gender stereotypical behaviour as evidence of their “female brain”. It’s nonsense.

            You’ve used the term TERF. That is a term of abuse solely reserved for women. I think this discussion is at an end. Bye bye.

          • Elizabeth Maddison

            If it’s silly to use the term ‘Cis’ then it’s silly to use the term ‘Trans’, but you use that.

            TERF was never intended as a term of abuse. It’s just an acronym that stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, and was coined by a Radical Feminist to distinguish between those that do and do not exclude trans* people.
            I know that it has been used abusively, but any word can be used abusively. I have had ‘lesbian’ shouted at me as a term of abuse, and by definition it is a term that is reserved for women, but that doesn’t mean that ‘lesbian’ is inherently abusive.
            If there are any male RadFems out there who exclude trans people, they also would be TERFs.

            Are you prepared to continue the conversation, or leave it there, having taken exception to the use of a descriptive term to refer to those who have a long history of being actually abusive? Because that’s one heck of a place to throw in the towel- getting offended on behalf of those who use the vilest language and behaviour towards trans* women.

            Possibly last thing- if someone doesn’t want to be called a Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, the solution is simple- don’t exclude trans* people.

          • Meeshell Fooko

            TERF is overloaded with negative associations. Vile, bullying people ganging up on women who dare to have a different opinion. I have very little respect for anyone using it, or for those who mischaracterise a woman’s disagreement as “abuse”

          • Elizabeth Maddison

            Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists give themselves negative associations when they are vile, bullying people. And promulgating the idea that trans* women are men who want to get into women’s toilets and changing rooms in order to assault cis women and girls is not a ‘different opinion’, it is not ‘disagreement’, it is a dangerous lie.

            Look up Julie Burchill’s Observer article, look up the abuse the politician Sarah Brown has been on the receiving end of, and decide if that’s just disagreement or actual abuse.

          • Meeshell Fooko

            I’ve seen them both before. Burchill’s article is a response to vicious abuse started by transwomen against a fellow female journalist. People shouldn’t dish it out if they can’t take it.

          • Sai Sharad

            gender being a social construct is feminist garbage. you have the science on your side elizabeth!

  • Tamsin Mc Cormick

    “With every other due respect, Maloney has never been a woman. Nor —
    surgery, chemicals, counselling and coaching notwithstanding — will he
    ever be a woman. He might wish it to be so; he might feel it to be so;
    nevertheless, wishes and feelings do not make it so.” This section of your diatribe shows that you have done little or no research on the topic of Transsexual Syndrome. You have merely expressed your opinion based on your knowledge to date . That is not good enough. !! To be as direct as I can I will refer to Kellie’s particular case. When she was born she was born female because what makes a person male or female is the brain they are born with not the body they are born with.That is why the law allows a person to change his or her birth certificate. This is because Transsexual persons cannot be identified at birth (yet) . She doesn’t THINK she is a woman ; she doesn’t WANT to be a woman. SHE IS A WOMAN. This leaves her with two problems. Her body isn’t female and you don’t understand the syndrome that has been both well documented and explained for several decades. However if you have a true interest you will find all the information on this syndrome here :- Transgendercare.com.

    • Upright Man

      You, sir, are kidding yourself. The law kids you too. A person is not their brain, nor their thoughts. Nor, indeed, are they their body. Humanity is far more complex.
      Gender, however, is a scientific observation made at birth (or before). Someone who disagrees with the observation, based on wishes, is mistaken.

      • Lewis Hancox

        There are also scientific studies that reveal the brain of a transgender person resembles that of the sex they feel they are in white matter. White matter is partly responsible for how our brain relates to our physical body.
        Would you argue that a person with clinical depression merely CHOOSES to be depressed?
        Also, have you considered intersex people? Proving that gender isn’t always black and white.

        • Upright Man

          I agree that gender isn’t always black and white (male and female) but that doesn’t mean that it’s not observable and definite.
          And regarding the person with so-called clinical depression, yes I would argue that it is their choice. External things can make a person miserable, but to dwell on this misery is quite clearly a choice.

          • Elizabeth Maddison

            You don’t know anything about the difference between gender and sex, and you don’t know anything about clinical depression…. is your real name Jon Snow, by any chance?

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        Well I wouldn’t trust your observations !! You haven’t observed that my name is Female !! Doof .

        • Upright Man

          Lol.

      • Or as it has traditionally been called, ‘sex’, ‘gender’ being like grammar in its arbitrary allocation.

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        I disagree as you are clearly not more complex than you appear to be.

  • The world is mad. Simply mad. And so is the perverse self-love we sometimes find in it, that monstrously demands to be made monsters of. And then asks for respect for that monstrosity. Well, mine is withheld.

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      Do one !!

      • Nice to hear from the mad side, once again. Not that we doubted you.

        • Tamsin Mc Cormick

          Do another one !!

  • Fae Queen

    We all know super-macho men and super-fem women and all the ranges in between. But somewhere in the middle are a whole range of folk with various genetic differences that can cause mis-gendering at birth.
    Growing up’s hard enough, but I can only imagine the added pain of being raised as something you know you’re not.
    It’s impossible for kids to express that. By the time they’re teens it must be hell. They ‘do the right thing’ because everyone and everything they’ve known has told them it’s right. They’re like aliens if they don’t.
    When should they decide to break through and speak up? God, I’m glad I never had that to think about.
    Good luck Kellie – and your family.

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      Hey !!- They are like aliens if they do.- There is no escape , It is like your real body was stolen without your knowledge. Your whole life is Sci-Fi until you find the facts and a good counsellor (controller/mentor) who guides you through the whole thing . It is just a great pity for your family or spouse as their life becomes SCi-Fi when yours becomes reality. But after all the treatments you are in with a chance of a life better lived and just hope that your head is in a better place to deal with all the new problems. Yes Good luck Kellie you will need that . But it looks like you have some good friends which is all important.

  • NicolaW

    The male Y Chromosome has a role in brain function and has a direct influence on neural masculinisation, the influence is not just via indirect male gonadal hormone production, but much more so at a molecular level.

    Just for fun, I will also mention that although us females have no Y chromosomes at birth, we may acquire some later on, from a male foetus 😉

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      “Facts !! I don’t want facts all you do with facts is prove things and show people how wrong they are.I just want to believe the rubbish that’s in my head, even if i don’t know how it got there. ” I think I am mis-quoting some one

      but that describes a fair number of the people on here !! Thanks Nicola

  • Tim Reed

    There is a motivation in this article that remains, perhaps deliberately, unspoken by the author.

    That is – the tribal, zero sum nature of modern feminism.

    The Ms. Sarler has another kind of binary thinking driving her disdain for the person she has decided to target – the oppressed class vs the oppressor class. As a modern feminist, she sees a Patriarchal world in which women are subjugated and exploited for the benefit of men. In their supposed struggle for ‘equality’, any ground ceded to males is territory taken from females.

    This is what she resents in the transformation of a man into a woman. She sees an imposter, seeking to join the ranks of the oppressed class. We’ve seen this before with various feminists’ attitudes to trans people, who in the end want nothing more than to live their lives their own way, and who are harming no one.

    In the eyes of modern feminists, trans people are not harmless. They represent a threat to that feminist binary, and an encroachment on ‘our territory’.

    Behind the contempt and scorn lies a deeply unpleasant, bigoted tribalism that is the hallmark of much of modern feminist thinking, and yet they claim to represent the only true movement for ‘equality’. This cannot be the case as long a your movement is motivated by a vindictive zero sum mentality.

    • Elizabeth Maddison

      Tim- you’re not totally wrong, but your analysis covers only one subset of feminism- Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. There are many other feminists, including a large number of RadFems, who actively welcome trans* women to the club.
      My feminism is not zero sum, it is intersectional and has room for everyone. I and others like me find the TERFs to be a prime example of ‘Get off my side, you’re making it look stupid’.

    • Tim, I am transgender and most feminists are supportive (I know because I belong to an active feminist group). There is a hard core sub group of radical feminists who are trans exclusionary because our existence negates their theories – so they seek to deny us our existence (they think that calling us men will actually do that lol). Any rational person, after proposing a theory, and then finding the theory doesn’t fit the facts, will go back and examine that theory, not seek to wipe out the extraneous data points that disprove their theory – that is just bad science.
      They (with no scientific training whatsoever) will refute the findings of experts in their field – again because those facts don’t fit their ‘theory’. They are today’s equivalent of the flat-earthers.
      But please don’t make the mistake of grouping all feminists (including radical feminists) with this tiny sub-group of trans exclusionary radical feminist, because that is incorrect.

  • Elizabeth Maddison

    I don’t like the idea of someone being defined purely by their organs either- but are you aware that not all trans* people opt for any form of surgery, let alone ‘bottom’ surgery? It’s very important for some people, but not at all for others.

    Your hypothetical soldier is of course still a man- and Kellie Maloney isn’t, for exactly the same reason. ‘Kit off’ appearance is not relevant in those cases.

    Chromosomes don’t always help either- some babies are born looking entirely female, are brought up female- turns out they have XY chromosomes. There’s even been at least one case where someone with that type of intersex condition went through standard female puberty and gave birth.

    It’s a complex topic and one that most people don’t need to deal with on a regular basis, but it hurts no-one to afford those who are dealing with it the respect of using their preferred pronoun and name.

  • Ignorant, arrogant, callous and proud of it *slow handclap*.

    There’s so much wrong, so many factual errors (deliberate omissions?) that’s it’s hard to know where to start with the corrections.

    However, it seems clear that Carol Sarler is insufficiently comfortable with her own gender identity.

    • Good grief, what planet are you on? Apparently you didn’t read the article. The writer actually has a sex (I don’t use ‘gender’, it’s a weasel Lefty word to be used abusively and dishonestly). That’s the whole point. Sex is given by nature. The people that want it otherwise are nuts.

      • “Good grief, what planet are you on? ”

        The planet of actually knowing what I’m talking about, dear.

        “Apparently you didn’t read the article.”

        UNpleasant as it was, I did.

        “The writer actually has a sex”

        I’m sure they do. However, I don’t go around asking people what they have in their underwear. His or her gender is not evident, as Carol can be either masculine or feminine,

        “(I don’t use ‘gender’, it’s a weasel Lefty word to be used abusively and dishonestly). ”

        And that’s your agenda declared. You automatically shut out anything that don’t sit comfortably with your ideas and declare it “Lefty”. Sorry, but some trans people also vote Lib Dem or Conservative. Nor does being left-wing mean you’re dishonest and abusive. Studies have shown people who vote Left tend to have more empathy, though.

        “That’s the whole point. Sex is given by nature. The people that want it otherwise are nuts.”

        I’m sure the all those scientists who have found evidence to the contrary will be delighted to bow to your opinion on the matter.

        Look, you may not like the facts, but facts they are: some people’s brains and bodies don’t match up. Forcing them to live in what is, for them, the wrong social gender is traumatic in the extreme, especially in a society where gender roles are so polarised. Up to 80% of trans people have attempted or contemplated suicide because of this.

  • LarryInIowa

    Say you’ve spent the whole of your life thinking you should have been born a lion or a great ape and, but for the unfortunate intervention of chance, you came into the world in a human body. Does the government have a responsibility to make it so? Does society have a duty to treat you as if it were so? If I spent my life believing I was actually part of the royal family, cheated out of my rightful place, does Britain have a responsibility to make it so?

  • Leeze Lawrence

    some people on here are so backward it saddens me, The UK has always stood for equality and for the fact that the UK is one of the most equal countries in the world when it comes to diversity, to read these then it just shows how far we have to go.

    Ignorance is bliss to those who sit back and watch and say nothing, for you who speak up and are the backward few then it s you that saddens me, you sadden me that your life hasn’t been so full with different people in your life that you feel the need to impose your pathetic opinions on the minority of people that want to wish her well. to those that sadden me who feel that she is using up your tax and NHS to go forward with her transition. (small reminder that she’s probably paid more tax than you could in a lifetime due to her previous job) so yes it saddens me that you that likes to criticise haven’t thought your argument before emptying your rubbish onto this comment section, yes you. sad sad sad.

  • Shlomo_Karmdown

    So Carol Sarler, let me put this question to you. If a bloke whispers in your ear ‘I feel like a woman’, do you show him your understanding?

  • Emilia

    I had every sympathy with Kellie until she announced that she was going into Big Brother, which is surely no better than a freak show; so if she considers herself a freak, how are we supposed to react? I don’t suppose anyone thought of her like that until she joined the circus.

  • Well, here we go again. Write an article about crazy people and all the other crazy people show up. Why do I bother? Perhaps to show the flag for all the sane ones.

  • Tom Hastings

    “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman” – Simone de Beauvoir, 1949. “A woman is born, not made.” – Carol Sarler, 2014. This is the most transphobic and reductive opinion piece I have read since Julie Bindel. How dare the author compare the transexual community to amputees, or to euthanasia… In no way does “I am a woman” necessarily insist on a binary that is reducible to an essence. This article is morally atrocious and dangerous and the editor should be sacked. #TRANSPHOBIA

    • Sai Sharad

      i think the existence of transgenders obliterates feminist theory. Especially that lie of ‘gender being a social construct’.

      • Tamsin Mc Cormick

        What women are is not a social construct – The way they are treated is !!
        Feminists are all about equality of treatment and oportunity no real argument about gender identity is ever used. You really need to know more of the topics you wish to comment on – don’t you think ?

        • Sai Sharad

          Are you saying that the current trend of feminism is not spreading this ‘message’ of gender being a social construct?

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve got trans and genderqueer friends, but this is still the best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFBOQzSk14c

  • Can’t make judgement on this particular case, but this column is sleazy and inconsequential. Some little twerp calling shame on a troubled and lonely individual. Just go away, “Carol,” or whatever your birth name was.

  • Dani

    I’m a bit late to this but hey ho. I’m a trans female and I’m happy :). I wasn’t happy before and now I am, so you lot can argue till the end of time with your pointless, petty little point scoring tactics. And morons like the OP can waffle on showing their complete ignorance till the cows come home.

    I’M HAPPY 🙂 See? That’s what counts, that people who were unhappy can change their lives.

    • Tamsin Mc Cormick

      Oh well said that girl !!

  • Well here’s the thing, it has been found that there is a dimorphism in the brains of humans, aka, women and men have slightly different brains. They also discovered that trans women, for example, were born with the brain that is in closer resemblance to their “gender identity”, aka they were BORN with a FEMALE brain. So, they were girls before they were women, mentally, just with male bodies. This is why the assumed “liberal stance” you talk about, is based on the scientific truths that there is a cause of Gender Dyspohoria, and these people are not making it up that they are mentally one gender or the other, they actually are mentally that gender.

  • Cindy Louise H

    looks one sided this editor keeps banging on about stuff it has no idea about aprt from making its own trashy opinion that to be honest is black and white. I sometimes wonder where they drag these editors from because its obvious they cannot research but just shove their biased opinions onto people. I suggest to the editor who wrote this to go back to university and rather than partying would it be better to go and actually learn how to research before having snide digs at the unknown

  • Barry David

    yeah and once since allows people to go from xx to xy or xy to xx what then? For me at that point their will be no more room for sophistry like this, also if we are to allow transexuals working uteruses once the science allows, the same must be offered to cis men who dont want a vagina or an XX chromosme change but do want to become closer to their sisters (not family lol) and do want to experience a pregnancy and being able to bring a life into the world, if it is ethical for one (the transexuals, as I believe it is) it is ethical for another (the cis men who would love to nuture a baby in a womb without being a female in chromosomes or genitalia)

  • Bigot

  • Jenny Gutiérrez

    Wonderful article and I fully agree!!

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