Loose Women’s India Willoughby: Unless you are transitioning, stay out of the ladies

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Loose Women panelist and ITV newsreader India Willoughby says only actual trans women should use women’s bathrooms.

Things have become really scary for women like me over the last six months or so, and there’s something that needs saying on Trans Visibility Day.

It’s all too easy at the moment for someone to claim transgender rights who isn’t actually transgender. And it’s making life dangerous. Soon, someone is going to get seriously hurt.

Unless you are transitioning, stay out of the ladies. Pulling on a frock as and when the mood takes doesn’t cut it. You don’t have a God-given right to go into female-only spaces.

That might make some dressers cross, but it’s the truth. As much for your own safety as that of transgender women. The word has been hijacked. The last few weeks have been ridiculous. A sex-offender on the run who dresses now and again described by cops as ‘transgender’. A white woman claiming to be black who says her struggle is identical to that of transgender women.

No, no, no.

I’m fed up of being expected to bite my lip out of solidarity, while arguments rage about why men who dress up should have all the rights of transgender women. They shouldn’t. Transgender has become a horrible, vague word that makes no distinction between someone with a medical condition requiring intervention, and a bloke who likes to frock-up once a week.

There’s a world of difference – but it no longer gets mentioned. Presumably because everyone is walking around on tip-toes. This trans free-for-all is playing into the hands of people like Jenni Murray and Germaine Greer – who use the ‘men in dresses’ myth to spread their poison, and encourage derision of women like me.

And yes, I am only worried about women like me. What they have said in recent times hs been a disgrace – effectively condoning the treatment of transgender women as second-class citizens. It’s been verging on demonization.

On Thursday, a transgender woman in Bedfordshire was confronted by the pub landlord when she tried to use the toilets. Resulting in an embarrassing confrontation for all concerned. Luckily, it didn’t turn nasty. I sympathise with both parties, because they’re both victims of the degrading whirl-pool that Murray and Greer whip up. And I fear there is plenty more to come.

In a few weeks, “She-devil” author Fay Weldon releases her new book, featuring a transgender character. Weldon is firmly from the Greer and Murray school of thinking, so expect another wave of derision. Why these individuals are so vile to transgender women is beyond me – but what used to be called transvestites are not helping.

To be clear, this isn’t a piece about turning transvestites into boogey-men. I wish I had been one. It would have saved me a lot of hassle, stress and a trip to hospital. Being a transvestite isn’t wrong or dangerous – but please, don’t say you need the same rights and access to certain areas that a transgender woman does.

This week, a guy dressed as drag legend Divine sent me a video, saying Jenni Murray was right – a transgender person cannot be a ‘real’ woman. He himself defines as transgender, even though he openly admits to being a man who doesn’t want to be a woman, and goes to the office every day in a suit. He put his occasional dressing on a par with my permanent state of being. Which is bonkers.

I’m a woman. I’ve had to walk through fire to put things right, risking everything along the way. As do other transgender women. What is Divine risking? No wonder most people are scratching their heads thinking the hell is going on. Being a transgender woman is not a game.

When Divine and co are safely back in their suits and ties at work having expressed their girly-side for half and hour, it’s transgender women who are living with the image they’ve left behind that trans is close to a pass-time, and something not to be treated seriously.

Transgender women around the world are currently under attack over the most basic of human rights. From being allowed to use the toilet to accessing medical care. To having specific protections in law. It’s transgender women who get trolled and threatened by radical feminists – fuelled by misconceptions which the likes of Murray and Greer deliberately connect to transvestite men.

If we all define transgender as being the same as transvestite, why should legislators or the general public be sympathetic to transgender needs? Or protections?
I’m fed up about being polite about it, because the consequence of not spelling out the difference could have a direct impact on my life. Tough love.

So on Trans Visibility Day, I want some ‘trans’ people to do the exact opposite. For all of our sakes.

India Willoughby is a panelist on Loose Women and she tweets @IndiaWilloughby.

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