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Originally published by Rebecca Reilly-Cooper at Sex and Gender: A Beginner’s Guide
We have sleepwalked into a situation where the reality of female biology is routinely denied; the lived experience and the oppression of female-bodied persons is rendered invisible and unspeakable; and women are regularly harassed, threatened and defamed as bigots for continuing to insist that female biology exists, and female biology matters. Female-only spaces are under threat, as gender identity laws are enacted in many jurisdictions, granting any person the right to enter such spaces solely on the basis of self-identification as a woman. This leads to situations such as male-bodied, male-socialised persons having a legally protected right to enter female changing rooms, and rape crisis centres coming under attack and facing legal action for refusing to employ male-bodied members of staff. Lesbian women are criticised and accused of transphobia if they refuse to consider male-bodied people who identify as women as potential sexual partners. Children…
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I’ve looked at this picture a million times and it’s one of my favourites and today I noticed something for the first time. I’m looking down. Looking down is an indicator of not being able to see or having trouble seeing. I’m about 2 1/2 and had probably just gotten that first pair of glasses. They had to specially make them because in 1956 they didn’t put glasses on little kids.
When I was leaving the Hospital after my eye surgery about 5 years after this picture, the nurse from hell told me, “Stop looking down, you walk like a blind person.” That really hurt. I was fully bandaged, both eyes and I remember thinking “but I am blind.” And for some reason her saying that just tore into my 7 year old soul. Sometimes when people say things they get written on your soul in pain and stay with you the rest of your life. I can’t tell you how much that hurt at the time and I never told my parents. I just held that bit of hurt close to my heart with all the other past hurts.
Anyway, as you can see I’m looking down at the ground and now I wonder who was leading whom? Was I leading him or was that bright golden baby leading me?