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OPINION: Aisle be there for you

June 2024

Tania Sturt

The idea of ‘hands across the aisle’ has this noble feel about it. It's an apt expression that tries to encapsulate the notion of opposing groups making tentative motions of conciliation for the purpose of a unified goal. A joining together to fight a common cause, a letting down of barriers and a humble nod of acknowledgement that ‘yeah, we don’t all believe in the same things but we can sure agree on this’. Heart warming, really.

Certainly in the heat of the moment it makes a good deal of sense. Combining resources, knowledge, experience, collaborating on the strategies to achieve a common end goal - what could go wrong? 

When the term was first used in the gender critical movement it tended to reference the idea of the gender identity and gender critical crowds reaching some sort of ability to co-exist. This never really happened in reality. We had too much of the  “we just want to pee” around the public bathroom type of discourse, not to mention the petulant squeal of “no debate!” whenever any questions, rhetorical or otherwise, were lobbied across the twittersphere.

However, times are a-changing. Hands across the aisle also now refers to the radical right (the dreaded Neo-Nazis that follow Kellie-Jay phantom-like around the world at least in the minds of shit-stirring journalists) and the religious right (as is anyone’s Destiny - amiright?) collaborating with the earnest, single minded gender critical women’s groups. Their common ground is of course the fight against a harmful, nonsensical ideology that appears to prey on the vulnerability of children, fill them with fake science facts and encourage them to see their bodies as a mistake; the only way out of their misery being a lifetime of cross sex hormones and surgery. The children are the key. 

It certainly isn’t women, who are equally being attacked by attempts at erasure and removal of sex based rights. And don’t make me laugh, it definitely isn’t about the LGB community who has had their community decimated and appropriated in an abstract version of the genocide that the genderites keep banging on about. Unfortunately for the gals and the dykes, the measure of support over the gender identity ideology battle is fairly one dimensional from the radical religious right.

And that's where I start to see the twitch of a red flag. Like it or not, women’s rights are inextricably linked with GC activism. Not least of which, the lesbian feminists who were at the forefront of the movement - they sounded the alarm, albeit largely unheard for some time. 

The attacks on women have been extraordinarily hostile. Someone with more education than I would be able to elaborate on a deeper level, but basically it has been and still is a toxic bloodbath where the idea of a woman has been consistently attacked from all sides, mainly formed by a deep desire to enforce a systemic subjugation of women in order to utilise them for the benefit of men and their sexual inclinations. Of course that is nothing new in history but the ferocity and speed of this ideology is astounding. The fact this is overtly state sanctioned is horrifying. Those who believe the radical religious right would not have some stake in that intended subjugation are being naive given the history of major religions around the world and their relationships with women's places in society. Naivety has no place in a social change movement, particularly when in a defensive position. 

To align with groups or individuals that fundamentally work against the broader view, with values which can never align, has its pitfalls. The radical/religious right are fundamentally opposed to homosexuality. There's no way around that. Sure, they may say the right words if directly challenged but I’m not the only one who has seen the rise in homophobia in the gender critical sphere over recent times. It’s often accompanied by some suspiciously short sighted attitudes which can only stem from a desire to return to the 1950s and the stringent sex stereotypes which were prevalent in those days. When a gender critical woman promotes the idea that all sex and relationship education should be removed from schools and teens should never be subjected to the concept of heterosexual or homosexual sexual activity, I believe we may have taken a wrong turn somewhere, probably back there where the Harley is parked up.

Does it shock anyone that those 1950s stereotypes which are making a sneaky traditional comeback are the other side of the coin from the genderites attempts to bring back those same 1950s stereotypes in the form of “I’m a woman because I like vacuuming - never mind the todger” school of thought? 

Frankly, that's not a coin I want in my currency.

I’m not intending this to be an attack on those who choose to reach their hands out across that increasingly complex aisle. It does take many hands to the wheel to effect change; there are resources to be combined and support to be offered and received. Potentially this will ensure progress in a way that couldn’t be achieved otherwise. I don’t have the right to inflict my values on others though it certainly doesn’t prevent others from inflicting their values on to me, I note. You do you. And I accept maybe I’m wrong and maybe my mental image is my own personal nightmare which won’t come to fruition. My mental image of the Final Days in whatever form it takes, is where we all turn and look back at the aisle we’ve all journeyed down and see the collateral damage (of the existence of collateral damage I am sure): the detransitioners nursing broken, pain-filled bodies, the burnt out activists nursing broken relationships, damaged careers and exhausted minds, and the hopefully shame-faced public servants that shoved this shit down the public’s throats, shuffling their feet and studiously avoiding each other’s eyes. I see the lesbians and gays struggling to stand and preparing to fight for their rights again. And I turn to look ahead and see the radical religious right stepping over the collateral damage, buoyed by the out-reached arms of support across that aisle, sending their women off to the kitchen to make them a damn sandwich.



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