Dutch Self identification-law is dangerous for the rights of women

Allowing people to decide for themselves whether they are male or female affects the rights of women in sports, in prisons, toilets and shelters, Caroline Franssen argues. She is against this proposed amendment to the Transgender Act.

Minister Sander Dekker, responsible for legal protection, intends to amend the Transgender Act for a second time. He wants everyone to be free to determine their own gender from now on, without the previously required doctor’s statement.
Once it was only possible to change your gender on your birth certificate if you were sterilized and “operated”. These requirements were already removed from the law in 2014. Dekker now also wants to delete the doctor’s statement. It seems a nice solution for transgender people. But the consequence is a fundamental violation of women’s rights.

I do understand that people can feel uncomfortable with their sex and prefer to live the role of the opposite sex. However, that does nót change their gender. Emile Ratelband (Dutch TV personality) was not allowed to change his age on his passport because he “felt younger”. Why should the “feeling of a man who feels like a woman mentally” outweigh material reality?

Privacy and security

There are good reasons to refuse people with men’s bodies (and XY chromosomes) access to women’s toilets, women’s changing rooms, women’s shelters, women’s prisons and women’s sports. These facilities offer girls and women privacy and security. Women have made efforts to create these rights and facilities, such as publicly accessible women’s toilets.

The specialized shelter after domestic violence and the special care facilities after rape worked because women committed to it. Financing such institutions is still not self-evident. In sports women’s competitions came about because women wanted their own competition and fought for the opportunity. Because previously, in the mixed competition, men won. The growth into a top athlete is only possible for a woman within the women’s competition.

Not all men are attackers or rapists, yet separate facilities offer a little more security. It is not possible for women to see from the outside whether this “man in a dress” is dangerous or innocent, had sex-changing surgery or not and perhaps is only struggling with his gender without being any danger at all.

A scandalous amendment proposition

Cross-border behavior becomes more and more public and many incidents are reported worldwide in all institutions for women where trans-identified men (not always operated, so with fully a functioning penis) are admitted. In more and more women’s sports, a “trans woman” is on stage instead of a biological woman.

I consider it outrageous that the minister is abolishing women’s protection to gratify the wishes of a very small part of the population. He chooses to grant fundamental rights, despite all risks, based only on a “feeling”. As a result, everyone, including a rapist already in jail, can say that he is a woman. And from that moment on, nobody can protect women against him anymore and “she” has the right to be placed in the women’s prison.

The minister puts aside privacy and security and the right to fair competition for women. This new law is a careless proposition. The minister forgets his obligation to consider the fundamental rights of more than 50 percent of the population by introducing new laws just because he wants to satisfy the wishes of less than 1 percent of the population. This law must be stopped.

Caroline Fransen LLM, supporterr of the rights and safety of women and girls.

On Twitter: CoachCaroline

This article was published in the Ditch national newspaper Trouw on the 28 of january 2020