“It’s not my fight,” I told myself for a long time. I’m not a woman, I’m not a trans-woman, I’m not a feminist, or a lawyer, or a human rights campaigner, or a biologist, sociologist, politician or anything, really.
I’m just a bloke, and me, and the millions of others who are just blokes are a long way from the argument about what the definition of a woman is. We’ll remain a long way from it as well, because…well, ultimately because it will be a billion years before the top hit for “lesbian” on Pornhub delivers a video of two people with beards and penises going at it.
Last night I was lucky enough to attend a Woman’s Place UK meeting. I mainly sat quietly at the back, trying not to be too penis-ey, hoping that nobody would shout, “Sit down, this isn’t for you!” at me during the many standing ovations. It was an amazing event.
The solidarity, the sisterhood, the anger and frustration that what is being asked is not support for, or acceptance of, trans people, but a flat out denial of facts and reason and complicity in the trampling of women’s rights.
I arrived at the event with women who were worrying about protests, milkshakes, and violence and left with a crowd who would fight an army for women who don’t want to cause a fuss, or upset a powerful lobby, or seem un-progressive, women who don’t know they need feminism…yet.
As just a bloke this was the first time I’ve seen feminism up-close and visceral, and it’s incredible. The women who spoke were powerful and funny, sad and angry, strongly bound together, yet feeling isolated. They imparted to me – a man whose knowledge of the history of feminism can be summed up as, “Something, something, something, Page 3,” – a sense of just how long and hard the struggle has been to make women a class whose thoughts, beliefs, actions and very essence aren’t defined by men, and of how insidious and, frequently, effective the shaming and bullying of women for defining themselves has been.
And I found myself wondering how to stop men thinking, “This isn’t my fight”. We could sit by, nobody is ever going to make us actually act like trans-women are women. If we’re happy that our lesbian porn will always have multiple fannies and no willies then we could let everything else slide.
That would be easy…and an admission that the most man-hating, Page-3-bashing caricature of a feminist ever had pegged us exactly right. That we have no thoughts beyond those that begin and end with our dicks. If we’re going to make the effort to show that we’re also creatures with brains then inherent in that is we must defend ourselves from accepting nonsense and dogma because it’s easy and convenient, without worrying about who gets thrown under the bus.
If we can’t say that trans-women are not women, that it is physically impossible to change sex, that biology is not a fantasy and that gender-politics is harmful then we’ve lost something. We’ve lost what should be the most important 6 inches of our body – those between our ears.
I saw inspiring women last night, but I also saw plenty of empty seats, where men could have been. No to speak, not to lead, not to be woke feminists, but to show our support and show women that they don’t have to stand alone on this.
This isn’t my fight. I’m not a feminist…but I’ve seen those who are, and who are willing to risk everything to win their fight, and I want to be on their side because, fuck me, they’re the real women with balls.