No Conflict, They SAid

In Australia and around the world, legislation is being introduced that replaces sex with gender identity. Advocates insist that there is no conflict of interests. But governments are not collecting data on the impacts of this legislative change. We're worried about the impacts on women of men using women-only spaces, including but not limited to: changing rooms, fitting rooms, bathrooms, shelters, rape and domestic violence refuges, gyms, spas, sports, schools, accommodations, hospital wards, shortlists, prizes, quotas, political groups, prisons, clubs, events, festivals, dating apps, and language. If we can't collect data, we can at least collect stories. Please tell us how your use of women-only spaces has been impacted. All stories will be published anonymously. If you know of other women who have been impacted, please encourage them to tell their stories too.

This site is run from Melbourne, Australia by members of the LGB Alliance Australia.

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  • @ConflictSaid
  • anonymous woman

As a child, I spent several months in a domestic violence shelter with my mother and sibling.

Even though the fence around the shelter was too high to see over or jump over - even though the address of the shelter was a secret from the public and even the women staying there - I remember my mother begging for a room with no windows.

At that point, there weren't many things my father did not stoop to, to remind us he could do whatever he wanted.

The possibility that he could send one of his friends to the shelter "identifying as a woman" would have absolutely deterred my mother from using its services.

And I don't doubt he would have done it. He and his friends would have found it hilarious.

If this had happened in the present day, he could have come to them before we could, naming my mother as his abuser, making her ineligible for its services.

These shelters are badly funded places - full of tired, traumatized, raped, beaten, women. Bruises still fresh and visible on many.

Like my mom, so many were there with small children, toddlers, infants. Some of the women were pregnant.

Tensions can run very high. Everyone is stressed.

No one wants to be there, but it's the only option left.

The only comfort we had in that windowless room was that there was finally no way for him to reach us.

No men allowed, no exceptions.

Once you open the door to one man who identifies as a woman, you open the door to any man who says he is as a woman.

If you cannot define "woman" you cannot protect women.

#unitedstates #domesticviolenceshelter #domesticviolence #safety #shelters #definitionofwoman

I was a member of Melbourne's Women's Circus when in April 2000 a 'transwoman' wrote and asked if he could join the Women's Circus. The circus was formed in 1990 in order to work with women who had suffered from sexual abuse or rape (Liebmann et al., 1997). I joined in 1994. Circus is a place of physical and emotional trust. There is bodily intimacy in balances, in double aerials acts. There is one balance in which the flyer puts her head between the legs of the base; there are aerials movements that involve hands between thighs or on breasts. This takes trust. Over the next six months, his application was talked about by members of the circus. To my knowledge no other applicant was ever accorded this privilege. It was a privilege because in the past, membership was either accepted or denied. In his case there were clear boundaries for denying it. He was not a woman who had been subjected to sexual abuse or rape. The issue of boundaries was raised, to which I answered in an open letter:

• Women living outside of the state of Victoria are not permitted to join. • Women under the age of 18 are not permitted to join.

Is the boundary 'woman' any less difficult to define than these rather arbitrary boundaries which are already in place?

I also suggested that he be asked to withdraw his application. It took more than a year for this to happen. In the meantime, the circus was divided. Six months later, with the issue unresolved, I decided that I could not continue or be part of the end-of-year show. In late September 2000, I wrote the following in another open letter.

"Since speaking out about the transgender issue in April I have felt extremely isolated. I know a number of women feel like I do, some have said so and I appreciate that. Almost no one else, with the exception of the Dialogue Action Group women, has discussed the issue with me. I no longer feel the trust I have always felt in other women of the circus, partly because I do not know any longer what you think (I except from this about eight women who have said what they think including those whose view is the opposite of mine). For several weeks after that initial meeting in April I felt like an alien walking into the Women’s Circus space, and though this feeling has lessened over time it has not gone away. I feel that for the most part I have hit a wall of silence ... I have always thought the Women’s Circus a most marvellous organisation. Inspiring. Dedicated. Irreverent. Fun. But I now have another series of words to add to the list. Disillusionment. Sadness. Anguish.

The result of my Discussion Paper on the circus was that a significant number of women over 40 years of age (another target group for admission to the circus) felt so uncomfortable that they left and never returned. I did return a year later after he withdrew his application, but the 2001 show was to be my last. I was punished by exclusion; on at least one occasion my contribution of a show text was rejected without explanation. I had contributed many songs, poems and scripts during my eight years in the Women's Circus. I no longer felt welcome in a place where previously I had felt at home; I had felt trusted and able to trust others. I had lost an entire community, friends and a fabulous way of keeping fit.

#australia #melbourne #womenscircus #circus #womenssport #sport #physicalcontact #trust

  • anonymous woman

I started a new sport a few years ago, taking up martial arts gym membership. There I struck up a friendship with the gym's top fighter. This guy had won lots of fights & seemed eager to support my new learning endeavour. He was a typical athlete in presentation, hegemonic & hyper masculine.

The relationship quickly moved from friendship to romantic. One day he intentionally punched me & I started crying asking " why"? He said it was because he was frustrated due to his gender identity confusion. I wanted to help & support him. I did not leave despite knowing it was a warning sign. I felt sorry for him & wanted to help. This was the beginning of many months domestic violence. The relationship culminated in stalking, sexual assault & non-lethal strangulation.

He eventually recieved a short prison term for his offending against me. I have PTSD as a result.

This person is a highly celebrated sports person, currently openly 'trans' & uses trans identity to control victims. Since leaving this relationship I have heard stories from a number of his victims, biological women. These women are plied with the same story as part of grooming for abuse.

#australia #genderidentity #grooming #domesticviolence #maleviolence #sexualassault #violence #control #thisneverhappens