Victorian Women’s Guild Declaration
This declaration states how the Victorian Women’s Guild's (VWG) analysis of the issues around transgenderism differs from that of the conservative position.
We affirm that there are two sexes – female and male. Human beings cannot change sex; to claim otherwise denies basic science. Biological sex is apparent in every cell in our bodies. Our sex is observed – not 'assigned' - at birth. Even the 0.02% of people described as 'intersex' do not constitute a third sex.
We affirm that being a woman is not a thought or belief. Women don’t ‘live as women’ – we are women. It is our female biology that makes us women.
We know that sex is not gender, but increasingly these terms are used interchangeably, and that is to the detriment of women and girls.
It would seem to the casual observer that our stance on transgenderism is the same as the conservative position. The VWG however differs from these groups in that our analysis comes from our radical feminist framework, a respect for lesbians and a critiquing of patriarchal institutions.
We understand radical feminism as the theory and practice that places women and women’s experiences at the centre of any analysis and probes every facet of existence for women. It sees women as a class who are oppressed by men as a class, because of the power imbalances in a hetero-patriarchal society. This male control is seen in all aspects of women’s lives, both public and private.
We hold that radical feminism focuses on promoting and defending women’s sex-based rights and some of the its central issues are:
Critiquing and breaking down traditional sex based roles in private relationships as well as in public policies
Understanding that radical feminism is based on collective action for the liberation of all women, rather than being a quest for individual liberation.
Understanding all forms of sexual violence and exploitation as an expression of power
Acknowledging reproductive rights for women, including the freedom to make choices to give birth, have an abortion and use birth control
Critiquing motherhood, marriage, the nuclear family, and heterosexuality as being the only or best options for women
Critiquing institutions such as government, the military, religion and the media
We consider that opposition to trans ideology cannot be seen in isolation from the patriarchal structures that oppress women economically, socially and politically. The erasure of women and girls by trans ideology is an expression of patriarchy writ large. Alignment with parties or organisations that are critical of trans ideology, but do not oppose the patriarchal structures that oppress women gives legitimacy to policies that are contrary to women’s interests.
We agree that “women are uniquely oppressed across the planet: reproductive health and autonomy, Female Genital Mutilation, violence, rape, child marriage, no right to vote, death in childbirth, post-natal illness, denied access to education, lower wages, chemical contraception, sex trafficking, surrogacy, pornography, prostitution and objectification.” (Leeds Councillor, Sarah Field).
We condemn the reality that radical feminists who wish to talk about the erasure of women and girls by trans ideology have great difficulty in getting heard and are ignored by the mainstream media. It is unfortunate that the right wing media, such as Sky and the other Murdoch press, as well as some right wing politicians are the only ones that have given gender critical women a platform.
We are concerned, as radical feminists, that alignment with the right wing on transgender issues risks being detrimental to women’s sex based rights.
We lament that the ‘progressive’ left have betrayed women and girls by succumbing to the trans ideology. They provde no class analysis and instead they indulge in individualising the experiences of a very small group at the expense of women, thereby ignoring the collective nature of women’s oppression.
We condemn the misogyny and homophobia inherent in transgenderism
VWG is supportive of same sex relationships and, as a women’s organisation, is particularly supportive of lesbian rights.
We are concerned that LGBTI+ organisations, and their supporters, are preferencing trans rights at the expense of lesbians.
We are alarmed by the growing number of lesbians who are being pressured to undergo gender transitioning, and are being discouraged from living their lives as proud lesbian women.
We are disturbed that lesbians rights are being undermined and ignored by the LGBTI+ monolith, and that the general public, and many private and public organisations, are assuming that lesbian rights are somehow being advanced by social acceptance of the T in this mixture.
We observe that sometimes being trans is seen as a better option than being lesbian (or gay) because it reinforces conservative sex role stereotypes.
We oppose all forms of conversion therapy, including the uncritical affirmation model as it applies particularly to gender questioning children.
We affirm that ‘Gender’ describes characteristics imposed by societal or cultural norms and expectations – “girls like frilly dresses”; “boys play with trucks”, for example. Being ‘gender non-conforming’ does not mean a person is the opposite sex.
We believe lesbians, and indeed all women, have the right to safe, same sex spaces.
We distinguish ourselves from all lesbian phobic organisations and individuals, even if they challenge the dangers of trans ideology, and even if they pretend to advocate for lesbians whilst preferencing trans rights above and at the expense of women and lesbians.
We condemn the law makers for ignoring the needs and rights of women and girls. Women have had enough