Mumsnet is a British parenting website. If you’ve visited their talk forums, maybe you’ll have seen some of the endless Mumsnet transgender debates. These discussions seem to crop up on a very regular basis and feel extremely polarised between indifference and The Simpson’s Helen Lovejoy “think of the children” hysteria.

Mumsnet Transgender Debates; Criminal Confusion

I’ve read debates positing that all transgender females are potentially cisgender criminal males. Yes, I have read the news articles about various male criminals who pretended to be transgender females in order to access vulnerable female prisoners and perpetrate further crimes. However, those criminals were… known criminals. People who weren’t exactly truthful, upstanding citizens. Deceitful reprobates with a flair for causing harm. Of course, some transgender people are criminals. There are also plenty of transgender people who are not. Likewise, there are cisgender people who are criminals and cisgender people who are law-abiding citizens. Most people, of any gender, are not criminals.

Mumsnet Transgender Debates; Girl Guides, Camps & Showers

Another gem I’ve read is that Girl Guides should exclude all transgender females on the basis that they may have genetically male body parts. Apparently, if a transgender female chooses not to have surgery (and the inherent potential complications) then they aren’t sufficiently female.

Transgender females have as much right as the next person to weigh up the pros and cons of elective surgery. There are many conditions or surgeries that could affect the physical appearance of a female body such as hysterectomies, mastectomies, or Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Just because certain body parts are generally found on female bodies doesn’t invalidate a female who doesn’t have those parts. It would be equivalent to saying you are no longer female if you have a hysterectomy.

On a lighter note, as a veteran mom of packing for many Scout trips, I can assure you that no transgender Guides will be sharing shower facilities with anyone. Scouts and Guides do not wash at camp. You send a week’s worth of carefully packed clothes and a full set of toiletries. Plus, a set of emergency clothes in case everything else gets wet or muddy. Invariably, your kid comes home in the same clothes they departed in – with a decorative layer of mud.

Mumsnet Transgender Debates; Self-identification

One of the loudest transgender issues seems to be self-identification. This allegedly causes devious male criminals to infiltrate female prisons. It may also cause males to furtively stalk vulnerable females in public toilets.

Self-identification is not a criminal issue for law-abiding citizens. It doesn’t cause harm to the general public unless done for nefarious purposes. It’s rather like changing your name. Legally, you can call yourself anything you like so long as it’s not done with the intention to defraud. So, Phoebe Buffay’s Princess Consuela Banana Hammock moniker is fine. The famous character from Friends was not intending to pass herself off as American royalty. However, if she changed her name with the intention to illegally gain a royal benefit then she would definitely be committing a crime under all British laws.

If you choose to identify as male, female, gender-fluid, or coniferous fir tree, that is up to you. (It may cause some people to identify you as barking mad. The fir tree is not a recognised gender. However, it’s not going to harm them.) In any case, despite the apparent fears, prohibiting self-identification won’t stop people who already use whichever facilities they see fit. It is perfectly normal for parents to take small children of any gender into the nearest public toilet facilities. And who isn’t sympathetic to IBS sufferers dashing to the first available loo?

Mumsnet Transgender Debates; You Are You

In summary, I believe that humans are humans regardless of ever-changing descriptors. As I tell my kids, we are all unique and special. Even identical twins have unique fingerprints. Or, as Dr Seuss put it, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.”

There is always going to be that chance that someone will make poor life choices. Maybe they’ll even turn to crime. But it’s not going to be because they call themselves Princess Consuela or identify as a particular gender. It will be because they have chosen to act in a harmful way. Life is filled with choices. Even choosing to do nothing is a choice. Choose to be kind. Choose to be you. Above all else… tell me the secret to getting any Scouts or Guides to wash so much as their faces at camp.