For twenty years I was employed by the the West Yorkshire Probation Service and I specialised in the assessment and risk management of male sexual offenders, both in custody and in the community.
I worked with transsexual prisoners on the Vulnerable Prisoner Unit at HMP Leeds, so I KNOW that the male estate IS fit for purpose for these men.
When I retired, I thought that my concerns with predatory male sexual offenders was over.
That was until the MOJ introduced “self identification” in women’s prisons for male prisoners.
When I heard that CONVICTED male prisoners with gender dysphoria and men with autogynephilia, (a male sexual fetish), were self Identifing as “women” and were being transferred to a female estate, I thought it was a rather unfunny joke.
When I realised that it wasn’t a joke…. I cried! I cried A LOT!
“Today’s demonstration, this protest, this outright OBJECTION to men in women’s prisons is a subject that resonates with me on a terrible, very personal level.
I’m a former inmate of HMP Styal. This occasion marks the first time I’ve returned to these grounds since I was shipped out in a sweat box 10 years ago. The conditions inside were as bleak then as they are now. Healthcare was not a priority, women were and are terribly unwell, with godawful diets and no good treatment plans. Mental health care is practically nonexistent. We’re talking about a forgotten population of the most achingly vulnerable women that society has left behind. Self harm is endemic, the statistics say that the prevalence is 5 times higher than the rates in men’s prisons – in reality this translates to the fact that the women I knew inside that didn’t self harm were a clear minority.
Many of the inmates are mothers. They miss their babies. You can hear them crying every night after lights out. The fear, pain and despondency they feel is palpable.
To herald a number of protests at women’s estates in the UK, led by Keep Prisons Single Sex, 30 women activists from:
Northern RadFem Network
Manchester Feminist Network
Women’s Rights Network
Sheffield Women of Steel
Answered the call from across the north of the country and descended onto HMP & YOI Styal with feminist banners, whistles, flags and shield-shaped placards to draw attention to the dangerous policy of allowing male convicts to self-identity as women and enter these estates.
Drink spiking is nothing new, it’s been around for some time. Even when I was a teenager, many years ago, there was an attempt to spike me twice. We are talking 1980s here. The first time, I was seventeen. My best friend (I’ll call her Kim) and I left a bar, (in those days no one ever questioned your age) and an open-top sports car pulled along-side us. Two guys shouted “hello” and asked us to jump in. I replied, with a short “no”. However, Kim reassured me, that she knew them, and all was well. We hopped in and sped off, arriving at a seafront luxury apartment just a few minutes later. Once inside, I was immediately drawn to the floor to ceiling, sliding glass doors that opened to a huge balcony. I could hear the sound of drinks being poured behind me, but I was busy gazing out across the sea, watching the flickering lights dance upon the water, completely in awe of the stunning view. “How could such young men afford such an expensive penthouse apartment, I wondered?”
Here we are, nearly a quarter of a century in to the 21st century, and here I sit as a radical feminist, fighting for the right to call myself a woman, to call myself female, to be able to say out loud ‘Only women have a cervix’. What’s the reason for this ridiculous state of affairs? Well, it’s the great trans distraction. When our oppressors put on a dress and some lipstick and class themselves as more oppressed than women, and the rest of the world, seemingly, falls in to line.
Radical feminism stands in direct opposition to the notion of gender ideology. Radical feminists are gender abolitionists. The very idea that it is the nature of the clothes that we wear that causes our oppression is way beyond insulting. For the whole of my adult life I have worn the clothing that hangs on the rails of the assumed ‘male’ half of the shop. Yet, in wearing those clothes, it’s never magically protected me from the unwanted gaze or attention of a man that sees me as a possession to be taken at his will.
How can it be then, that if a male puts on a dress and some lipstick, they are suddenly so vulnerable?
Joining the Northern RadFem Network during lockdown meant that we could not meet face to face, everything was over social media or zoom meetings. Although we all have similar feminist outlooks and ideas, all of the women involved have arrived at feminist activism in different ways. As a student in the late 80’s and early 90’s I was involved in feminist groups but later fell away from activism, maintaining my feminist roots by championing women from the background in my employment in the retail industry and later on within the Sure Start Agenda of New Labour.
My journey back to activism arose from the attacks on social media of JK Rowling and verbal attacks upon myself on Facebook by TRA’s when I posed seemingly innocent questions in my attempt to understand why it was so difficult to say the word woman in relation to menstruation; I soon became to understand that although we are told to educate ourselves the mantra of “acceptance without exception” simply means women have no right to question the ideology. We just have to submit and accept that what we are being told is the only truth, even if we know it is incorrect, even if we know that the reality of our biological sex matters in life, policy and law. Without the means to talk about ourselves in a meaningful way stops women from being able to stand up for our rights and freedoms.
NRFN relocated North of the border again for a few days in September for a VERY important date. Poor Marion Millar was up in the Sheriffs Court for daring to tweet a photo of ribbons.
Anyway, up we went again to familiar ground now. Packing of course all our lady essentials for the trip!!!!! Hateful haberdashery, seditious stickers and garments with POCKETS!!!
We were staying very close to the court happily so after a short walk on Tuesday morning we arrived at the Sheriffs Court.
Women had already started arriving with banners, placards, lots of leaflets and creative garb!. The handmaidens of For Women Scotland had arrived of course, looking wonderful in their flowing red cloaks and demure white headdresses!
Several NRFN members and other women’s rights groups have been taking to the streets, parks and city centres in recent months with their hateful haberdashery and seditious stickering, to raise awareness of the battle for women’s rights that we currently face due to trans organisations lobbying the government and organisations to change the definition of what it is to be a woman, reducing us to just a feeling, giving male bodied people access to women’s safe spaces like toilets, changing rooms, showers, domestic violence refuges, hospital wards and women’s shortlists and awards designed to help balance the inequalities women face in business and society.
Some of our stickers tell us that ‘Lesbians don’t have penises’, a statement that is so obvious it should go without saying, however trans rights activists have been teaching our young lesbians that not all women have a vagina and it is bigotry to reject a ‘lesbian’ with a penis. It is so important to get the message out loudly to reassure our young females that their sexual choices are not bigoted. Other stickers have simply stated that women are adult human females – we’re not birthing bodies, menstruators or bodies with vaginas. We’re women and that is what we should be called.
I travelled up to Glasgow with 2 other sisters from West Yorkshire. We had arranged a hotel where several of us could stay together for the whole shopping trip!
We had an enjoyable, and noisy evening but made sure that we were all tucked up nice and early for the big day ahead.
The hotel was a blur of green, white and purple, hateful haberdashery flowing through the corridors!
We finally managed to arrange our giddy selves and set off for Glasgow Green.
By the time we arrived, things were almost ready for the off. The very capable sisters of ForWomenScot had set up stall and transformed the Arch at the entry to this lovely park.. Women were everywhere, beaming, shining, some sweating it must be said because it was VERY hot!
The Green was indeed a sea of flags, placards and banners; and recognisable faces peeking through them.
On Saturday 3rd July 2021, The Northern Radfem Network allied with the Manchester Feminist Network, Make More Noise and Yes Matters UK, to march in demonstration against male violence in all its forms.
At least 74 women in the UK, have been killed by men, so far in 2021, including Sarah Everard who was murdered on 3rd March 2021.