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BSA-GENDER-STUDY-GROUP  October 2018

BSA-GENDER-STUDY-GROUP October 2018

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Subject:

Re: Fw: Stand up for trans rights - call to action

From:

Dr Sue Robson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Dr Sue Robson <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 17 Oct 2018 08:55:45 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (416 lines)

Hi Elizabeth and Dyi

First of all, apologies. My  problem has been that I am not au-fait with the
BSA communication systems and protocols as I have not had particular reason
to utile them before. I did not realise my message to Tom Vickers about
perceived silencing (when I was  becoming frustrated by the systems) would
appear in the Gender Studies Group as my initial response had not appeared
in the Activism Forum (the latter group is seemingly actively moderated
where the other is not).

Having now got my head around how the communication systems and protocols
for the two BSA forums and now and having received your responses and
question , I am now (between caring and my day job), working on a reframed
and properly referenced/evidence response to Dr. Pearce's call for action
that I will post in both the BSA Gender Studies and Activism Forum later
today.

Thank you again for your interest and comments

Best Wishes

Sue x

-----Original Message-----
From: Ablett, Elizabeth <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent: 16 October 2018 22:34
To: [log in to unmask]; Dr Sue Robson
<[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Fw: Stand up for trans rights - call to action

Dear Dr Robson

Please be assured that your emails - and therefore your concerns - have been
received, at least by myself, a member of the BSA Gender Study group and a
recipient of their emails.

In fact, as a member of both the BSA Gender Study Group and the BSA Activism
in Sociology Group, I have received your emails more than once.

I would therefore like to refute your claim that you are being silenced, and
let you know that your views have reached a wide audience.

I certainly agree with you that the GRA consultation is an important issue.
But I would suggest that the 'oppositional politics' you so wish to avoid
might be possible with a thoughtful and sensitive reading of Dr Pearce's
original, meticulously researched, email.

It is my view, however, that 'oppositional politics', is something inherent
to the many forms of feminisms we have seen emerge over the decades, and is
therefore unavoidable. To wish it wasn't so is to silence the contribution
of those who pose a challenge to your beliefs.

I therefore hope many colleagues on this list continue to stand with our
trans brothers and sisters, and use the information provided in Dr Pearce's
excellent email to form a GRA response that is firmly in solidarity with all
trans people.

Kind regards,

Liz Ablett
Department of Sociology
University of Warwick
CV4 7AL
________________________________
From: Announcement list for the BSA Gender Study Group.
<[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Dr Sue Robson
<[log in to unmask]>
Sent: 16 October 2018 20:50:16
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Fw: Stand up for trans rights - call to action

Also Tom,

does the BSA Gender Study Group – have the same rules whereby there is no
way of responding to this call for action – do you moderate that group too?

Despite your explanation, I am feeling quite silenced here in what is a
really important issue –I would really like to have my considered and
reframed response airing.

With the GRA  consultation closing in less than 3 days, the only option open
to me seems to be to make a counter call for action – but that draws me into
the oppositional politics that I really don’t think belong in a sociological
forum

I look forwards to hearing your advice about the way forward.

Best wishes

Sue x

From: Dr Sue Robson <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: 16 October 2018 20:18
To: 'BSA ACTIVISM IN SOCIOLOGY FORUM'
<[log in to unmask]>; [log in to unmask]
<[log in to unmask]>
Subject: RE: Fw: Stand up for trans rights - call to action

Hi Tom

I have reframed my email in response to  Dr Pearce’s call for action and
tried to respond in the way that you suggest.

However, after going through the registration process – I am getting a
message “ Sorry, you are not authorized to post to the BSA-ASF-DISCUSS list
from the email address ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) you
entered in the login screen.”

Can you help me to sort this out please?

Thanks

Sue x

From: BSA ACTIVISM IN SOCIOLOGY FORUM
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:BSA-ACTIVISM-IN-SOCIO
[log in to unmask]>> On Behalf Of Tom Vickers
Sent: 16 October 2018 09:16
To:
[log in to unmask]<mailto:BSA-ACTIVISM-IN-SOCIOL
[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Fw: Stand up for trans rights - call to action

Dear ASF subscribers,

In response to a reply we have received to the email below, I want to
clarify that we have a very open editorial policy on this list and members
are free to share calls to action, event listings, and so on, without the
position they represent necessarily being shared by the ASF, BSA, or other
list members. The message below was shared by Rumana, who is a Convenor of
the ASF but was sharing this in a personal capacity. Anything posted by
Convenors acting on behalf of the ASF will be clearly labelled as such.

One limitation of this list is that it is not a forum for discussion. We
host a separate list for those who wish to engage in discussion about issues
related to our aims, on Jiscmail at
BSA-ASF-DISCUSS<https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/BSA-ASF-DISCUSS>. We implemented
this some time ago, following extended discussions on this list in which it
became clear that many subscribers only wished to receive announcements. I
realise there are limitations in this approach, and some subscribers may
feel they are being denied a right of reply to posts that they strongly
disagree with, but it is the best approach we have been able to devise to
balance what different subscribers have told us they want from the list. Of
course if you wish to respond to a post to the list you can also contact
that person directly. As with everything we do, if you have suggestions for
alternative ways of doing things we would warmly welcome your suggestions
and promise to give them full consideration.

I have added some text to the footer included with every post to this list,
to try and clarify these questions (if I've set it up correctly it should
appear at the bottom of this email). This is adapted from the very useful
footer used by the BSA Gender Study Group.

If you have any concerns about this approach please feel free to contact me
about it directly.

Best wishes,

Tom Vickers
BSA Activism in Sociology Forum Co-Convenor

---

On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 2:26 PM Rumana Hashem
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
Dear all,

Please see below for your information - thought that some of you may like to
respond to the call below.

Sorry about cross-posting!
Rumana
________________________________________
From: Announcement list for the BSA Gender Study Group.
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:BSA-GENDER-STUDY-GROUP@JISCMAI
L.AC.UK>> on behalf of Ruth Pearce
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Sent: 14 October 2018 15:25
To:
[log in to unmask]<mailto:BSA-GENDER-STUDY-GROUP@JISCMAIL
.AC.UK>
Subject: Stand up for trans rights - call to action

(with apologies for cross-posting)

Dear colleagues,

The UK’s Government Equality Office is consulting on possible changes to the
Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA). Anyone can respond. The consultation link
is here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reform-of-the-gender-recognition
-act-2004.

The consultation ends at 11pm on 19 October 2018.

There has been a large backlash from people hostile to trans rights. It is
important that UK-based academics who support trans rights respond to the
consultation, ideally with reference to relevant evidence from scholarly
research. I have produced the following advice on doing so.

Background
At present, the GRA enables adults to obtain a Gender Recognition
Certificate (GRC) and change the gender on their birth certificate from
female to male, or vice-versa.

* This has consequences for the registration of sex/gender upon marriage or
civil partnership and affects some insurance and pensions.
* It is of symbolic importance for many trans people.
* Non-binary genders and trans people under the age of 18 are not
recognised.
The GRA is not relevant to legal changes of name or sex/gender marker in any
other arena.

* Trans people are already able to change their name and sex/gender marker
with organisations such as banks, schools, universities, social services,
the DVLA and NHS. No medical evidence is required for this process.
* Trans people are already able to change the sex/gender marker on their
passport with a letter from a doctor.
Trans people have criticised the GRA for being unnecessarily bureaucratic
and intrusive.

* Applicants submit evidence – including medical records, letters from
mental health specialists, and proof that they have lived in their
‘acquired’ gender for at least two years – to the Gender Recognition Panel.
* The process costs £140 (plus additional costs) and there is no right to
appeal.
* An official list of people who have changed their sex/gender in this way
is kept on a ‘gender recognition register’.
Note: I use the term ‘sex/gender’ as current UK law does not distinguish
between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’: the two are used interchangeably (I also regard
‘sex’, like ‘gender’ as a social construct, but that’s a conversation for
another time and place!)

Backlash

Since the GRA consultation was announced, numerous single-issue anti-trans
groups have emerged to oppose amendments to the GRA and argue for a wider
push back against the social recognition of trans people’s genders and
access to sexed/gendered spaces.

Anti-trans groups have spread misinformation about the GRA.

* e.g. the purpose and function of the GRA has been conflated with the
Equality Act 2010, which governs trans people’s access to sexed/gendered
public spaces.

These groups have a powerful voice in the mainstream media.

* Factually inaccurate, anti-trans news and opinion
pieces<https://www.rewriting-the-rules.com/gender/2017-review-transgender-mo
ral-panic/> are published every week in outlets such as the Times, Guardian,
Daily Mail, News Statesman and Spectator.

These groups have access to significant funding that trans groups do not.

* Tens of thousands of pounds have been spent on billboards and newspaper
adverts opposing trans rights.
* Anti-abortion American fundamentalist groups such as ‘Hands Across the
Aisle<https://nothingiseverlost.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/i-had-no-idea-we-ag
reed-on-so-much-the-christian-right-makes-new-friends/>’ and far-right
publications such as Breitbart and The Federalist have extensively
promoted<https://twitter.com/CaseyExplosion/status/1048237057779404800> the
work of ‘feminist’ anti-trans groups and shared crowdfunding pages.

These groups claim to represent feminism.

* They
wrongly<https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13178-018-0335-z> argue
that gender recognition poses a threat to women’s rights.
* Trans women are often represented as potential or actual sexual predators.
* Trans men and non-binary people often are represented as tragic or
deluded.
* By contrast, numerous groups who work with vulnerable women (e.g. Scottish
Women’s
Aid<https://www.engender.org.uk/content/publications/Scottish-Womens-Sector-
response-to-the-consultation-on-proposed-changes-to-the-Gender-Recognition-A
ct.pdf>) have supported trans affirming reforms to gender recognition.

These groups are encouraging their supporters to respond to the GRA
consultation.

* This happened in response to a similar consultation by the Scottish
government. While in that instance most respondents supported extending
trans rights, thousands of anti-trans responses were also submitted.

Responding to the consultation as academics As academics, it is important
that we support good governance grounded in empirical evidence and the
principles of equality and equity for all. As feminists and/or LGBTQ+
people, it is important that we recognise that current attacks on trans
rights echo and are linked to similar attacks on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.
In responding to the consultation:
Concisely reference scholarly evidence where possible.

* Assert your own expertise where relevant.
* In the linked PDF below, I have used in-text citations for brevity.
However, Government bodies tend to prefer links or full-reference footnotes,
so please bear this in mind.
Ensure your response to each question makes sense as a stand-alone comment.

* Don’t build an argument across the entirety of your consultation response
or cross-reference your previous answers.
* Consultation responses will be analysed on a question-by-question basis.
Responses from organisations are given more weight by the government.

* If it is possible to submit a response on behalf of your department,
school, centre, professional organisation or academic special interest
group, please do so in addition to your personal response.
If you have limited time and energy just responding to the tick-box
questions will make a difference.
Please share this information with your colleagues to ensure a large,
evidence-based trans-positive response to the consultation.

Resources

Here are two documents I have produced to help you and your colleagues in
responding to the consultation.

GRA consultation – suggested starting points for responding to consultation
questions<https://transactivist.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/gra-consultation
-suggested-starting-point.pdf>
This document includes information on each consultation question, including
relevant evidence and citations that you might want to use in your
submission.

GRA consultation – a guide for feminist and LGBT+
academics<https://transactivist.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/gra-consultation
-a-guide-for-feminist-and-lgbt-academics.pdf>
This document includes the full content of this blog post plus the suggested
starting points for responding to consultation questions.

For guides to the consultation from non-academic organisations, see:
Amnesty
International<https://www.amnesty.org.uk/have-your-say-gender-recognition-ac
t>
LGBT Foundation<https://lgbt.foundation/gra>
Mermaids<https://www.mermaidsuk.org.uk/assets/media/Mermaids%20Guidance%20Pa
ck_Responding%20to%20the%20GRA%20Consultation.pdf>
Stonewall<https://www.stonewall.org.uk/gender-recognition-act>
National Union of
Students<https://nusdigital.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/document/documents/43
614/9d6f51dba8993b819565ea229abf31e5/GRA_consultation_guidance.pdf?AWSAccess
KeyId=AKIAJKEA56ZWKFU6MHNQ&Expires=1539348311&Signature=4c4tnsm2bawgJrw%2Feu
qpXqNztGI%3D>

Thank you very much for your time.

In solidarity,

Ruth

Dr Ruth Pearce
Research Fellow
School of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Leeds
http://ruthpearce.net<http://ruthpearce.net/>

My monograph “Understanding Trans Health” is out now:
https://ruthpearce.net/understanding-trans-health/

Read about the Trans Pregnancy Project:
https://transpregnancy.leeds.ac.uk/


The BSA Gender Study Group mailing list is for the exchange of ideas and
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posted to the list do not necessarily represent the views of the convenors
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represent the views of the convenors or association. Unless Convenors
specify they are posting in their capacity as a Convenor, their posts should
be treated in a personal capacity. We encourage respectful communication on
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The BSA Gender Study Group mailing list is for the exchange of ideas and
information related to any aspect of Gender Studies and scholarship. We do
not undertake editorial control of postings; viewpoints and information
posted to the list do not necessarily represent the views of the convenors
or association. We encourage respectful communication on the list and ask
that questions related to specific postings be directed to the appropriate
party.

The BSA Gender Study Group mailing list is for the exchange of ideas and information related to any aspect of Gender Studies and scholarship. We do not undertake editorial control of postings; viewpoints and information posted to the list do not necessarily represent the views of the convenors or association. We encourage respectful communication on the list and ask that questions related to specific postings be directed to the appropriate party.

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