Trans woman Debbie Hayton faces ban for transphobia Sunday Times 22.12.19

The original article is here.

A transgender woman has been accused of transphobia for wearing a T-shirt saying she is really still a man.

Debbie Hayton, 51, a physics teacher in the Midlands, who transitioned from male to female in 2012, is facing expulsion from the LGBT committee of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) for the slogan: “Trans women are men. Get over it!”

Hayton wore the T-shirt at an event organised by Fair Play for Women, a campaign group, in July. She has undergone surgery and hormone treatment and has changed her name, but has not sought a gender recognition certificate.

If she is forced out, it would mean that even people who have struggled with gender identity and undergone reassignment surgery can be accused of transphobia for declaring a belief that an individual cannot change their birth sex.

Nicola Williams, founder of Fair Play for Women, said: “Accusations of transphobia are thrown at women so often for so little that the word has lost all meaning. When even trans people can get called transphobes, I hope people now understand how ludicrous and far-fetched these attacks have always been. The trans movement has been hijacked by gender extremists.”

The case will fuel the anger of feminists, already upset by an employment tribunal ruling last week against a woman who said sex was a biological fact and it was impossible to change it. The judge in that case said Maya Forstater, who lost her job at a think tank, the Centre for Global Development, was “absolutist in her view of sex . . . she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile degrading humiliating or offensive environment”. She is expected to appeal.

JK Rowling, the Harry Potter author, defended Forstater, saying: “Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”

In the Hayton case, 12 members of the LGBT committee sent a complaint in August to Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, a federation of unions representing 5.5m working Britons.

Nine of them, led by Maria Exall, civil partner of Angela Eagle MP, said that by wearing the T-shirt Hayton had “gone beyond discourse, and the expression of alternative viewpoints, and is now propagating hate speech against the trans community”.

They also criticised an article for the Morning Star in which Hayton wrote: “Trans women are biologically male — in fact being male is the sole qualifying criterion to be a trans woman.”

Three trans members of the committee complained that she had moved “into hate speech” as the T-shirt “denies non-binary identities and asserts the binary view of the world where male is synonymous with man and female is inextricably linked to womanhood”. One trans member, Rachel Harper, made the dispute public with a post on Twitter, swiftly deleted, urging Hayton to resign.

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, head of the laboratory of stem cell biology and developmental genetics at the Francis Crick Institute, who discovered the gene that determines sex in mammals, said: “In the UK, I think most [people] would use ‘sex’ to refer to anatomical appearance and ‘gender’ to ways of behaviour.”

To a scientist, he said, anatomy could appear male, female or somewhere in between, but a man who transitioned could be said to change sex.

Hayton’s union, the NASUWT, Hayton and the TUC declined to comment.

@NicholasHellen