I am a 64 year old mother of two daughters and I have one grandchild. In 1985 I sued my father for the 12 years of his sexual assaults during my childhood. I lost that lawsuit because of the statute of limitations which said I only had 3 years from the time I reached age 18 to sue him in civil court for damages. So I went to the Vermont legislature and asked them to change the laws about child sexual abuse. Finally, in 2003 the Vermont State Legislature changed the statute of limitations to 40 years. I have been working in the field of domestic violence for 40 years as a victim advocate.
In 2013 I moved to Iowa City and lived for a year with my daughter in the River City Housing Collective. There were men and women living in that community who chose to “identify” as the opposite sex. Before every business meeting we were required to go around and introduce ourselves and state our “preferred pronouns.” I was fine with this and didn’t see any problem with it. I considered myself a tolerant and progressive person.
But then I joined a local arts group. There was a very male, completely unaltered man in the group who called himself by a woman’s name and who everyone referred to as “she.” I went along with this and said nothing because I didn’t want to be considered intolerant. But then I received an email from the group asking for help with an art project for a girls’ summer camp. The email said, “Trans Welcome.” This stopped me in my tracks. I thought this was odd because the message that would be given to the girls is that bodies do not matter, only the self-image you decide you want to have. If a girl does not enjoy being a member of the gender that has less power, doesn’t like her female body and it’s needs and vulnerabilities, then all she has to do is to decide to become a man and go get herself sterilized by (untested for long term consequences on children) puberty blockers and male hormones and have radical surgeries to change her body so that it appears to be male.
When I was a girl there was nothing I wanted more than to become a boy and escape my father’s sexual assaults. I am still “gender dysphoric” at age 64 because of the unfair treatment I have endured all of my life for the crime of being born with a vulva, clitoris, ovaries, uterus and breasts. But I am not delusional and I know that changing my appearance will not change my chromosomes or my socialization into being a rape target and toilet cleaner. You need to understand that gender identity ideology does nothing to change the power dynamic that keeps women in chains. I was not paid less all my life because of my feminine identity. I was paid less because I have a woman’s body, – I AM a woman’s body, I am not separate from my body. I was not raped and battered and harassed by people who identify as male. I was raped by males with male bodies and XY chromosomes who were socialized into misogyny and male entitlement.
I decided to attend a group at RVAP in 2014 for survivors of sexual abuse. It was a group for women. I found it helpful…until I received an email that informed me that I would have to accept males who identify as female in the group. No-one asked me if this was acceptable. No-one was interested in my feelings or my experience or my research about the harm that transgender ideology is doing to children. i was being forced to accept that a person who was born with a penis and was socialized into male privilege is really a woman if he says he is. It was a very rapey move on the part of RVAP to shove this directive down my throat.
Now the City Council of Iowa City is poised to enshrine the female erasing policy that is gender identity ideology into law. And so I have to speak out before all of the rights of women that I have worked to establish over the past 40 years are brushed aside in favor of privileged, entitled males with a psychosexual disorder.
You have made a grave mistake by positing personality traits and people’s imaginary identities over the bodies of actual living, breathing, bleeding, birthing, breastfeeding, rape-targeted, underpaid, women. I am writing to you now because of the language you used in the recent What About Me(n) conference. You are pushing a religious belief when you say that this was about those who “identify” as male. There is no magical transubstantiation that takes place when a person decides to present him or herself as the opposite sex. It is an idea in someone’s mind that has zero basis in physical reality. I have not been oppressed by male ‘identities.” Male identities did not rape my female identity. Stop this patriarchal mindfucking. Stop denying the reality of women’s bodies and women’s experience.
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