England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Four anti-trans myths busted!

Last year, we saw record numbers of transphobic hate crimes, which reflects the toxic rhetoric promoted by the political establishment and the media. This divisive strategy aims to pit working class people against each other, deflecting blame onto the most oppressed. Trans people face disproportionate levels of discrimination and violence fueled by widespread myths. Here we debunk just a few of these myths.

By Sara Guardiola, Socialist Alternative Merseyside 


 

Myth one: “Biology doesn’t work that way. You’re either male or female.” 

It is simply not true that gender and biology are the same. We all have a strong inherent sense of who we are, and biology is often totally irrelevant to this.

But even so, contrary to popular belief, biology is not as simplistic as previously thought. Intersex people, comprising approximately 2% of the population, defy traditional classifications of ‘male’ and ‘female’, anatomically, hormonally and genetically.

For example, chromosomes and hormones are commonly believed to be determining factors of biology. That is, if you have XY chromosomes and have high levels of testosterone you’re male, and if you have XX chromosomes and high levels of oestrogen you’re female. But the reality is more complex than that. Intersex individuals may exhibit various chromosomal variations. And cases like that of Caster Semenya, the South African runner barred from competition due to naturally high testosterone levels, underscore the spectrum of hormone levels in human bodies.

If we understand that every foetus contains structures that are capable of developing into either male or female it’s easier to imagine that not just gender but biology can also present itself in a spectrum because even biology is far more complex than a strict male-female binary.

Myth two: “Trans women pose a threat to cis women’s safety, spaces and rights” 

The idea that trans rights conflict with women’s rights is a reflection of an unfair capitalist society, where resources are underfunded, privatised and we are told they are ‘limited’.

There’s no evidence to suggest that trans women endanger cisgender women in shared spaces. Instead, we should focus on addressing systemic issues like gender-based violence and inadequate support services for survivors, the latter of which is the result of funding cuts by the government. A united struggle of people of all genders and the whole working class for these kinds of services is in all of our interests.

Myth three: “Children are too young to decide. Let children be children.” 

Many trans children have a strong sense of gender identity from an early age, yet face huge obstacles, like years-long waiting lists, in accessing gender-affirming care. Such delays can exacerbate mental health issues and contribute to higher risks of self-harm and suicide.

This is why Socialist Alternative calls for massive emergency funding and an end to privatisation of the NHS, to allow for comprehensive support, resources and free, widely accessible gender-affirming healthcare. We also need to end the medical ‘gatekeeping’ model of trans healthcare which commits trans people to sitting on waiting lists for years on end.

Myth four: “We should focus on class struggle instead of trans issues.” 

Fighting for trans rights is not at odds with class struggle. Trans people are also part of the working class, therefore campaigning around trans rights is a working class issue. This is why trade unions need to campaign against all manifestations of discrimination in our workplaces, schools, at home and in society and take a clear stance in solidarity with trans people. This means going beyond just making statements in support of trans rights, but organising action – strikes, demonstrations, occupations and protests around demands for trans-inclusive public healthcare, council housing, and the services that working class people of all genders need. 

In wider society, trans people face the brunt of attacks. Their stigmatisation is one of the key pillars of this capitalist system, which relies on oppression, division and exploitation. We stand for a multi-gendered, multi-racial working class struggle to end this brutal capitalist system, and for a socialist future. 

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