Or rather they don’t. They tell me things, they share, they help me to understand things I didn’t know, and need to know. And that is one reason why I am here today. For I have found out so much over the last few years, a lot about people who are very close to me.
If anyone asks me how I know that the women in my life see me as a woman I only need to refer to the way they engage with me and, in many cases, the things they talk about. Most of my female friends are people I have met since beginning my transition but not all and it is above all with these friends that I have noticed the shift. I guess that periods and contraception are no things that women feel it appropriate to talk to platonic male friends about and as for endometriosis (the reason we are here today) I imagine that sufferers think that men will neither understand nor be interested. And as many of them have long struggled to get male doctors to take it seriously this is not really surprising.
So it is in the only last couple of years that I have heard about endo and learned that some close friends suffer from it. I won’t say much about endo here as there are so many personal accounts here which I would ask you to read. The issue fr me was to consider how I responded to the range of problems, and the struggles, faced by biologically female people that can, obviously never affect me. It was clear to me that what I needed to do was to show solidarity, to support hem in the ways they want to be supported, to be a loyal foot soldier in the movement, and certainly no more than that.
It was in May 2017 that I went to an anti pro-life demonstration in Birmingham. The evidently well funded pro-lifers had booked Victoria Square for a rally to be followed by what they called a Walk of Witness. The pro-choice counter demonstration occupied New Street and the police decided not to move us and directed the pro-lifers to use the back streets . This was a major tactical victory. Essentially we had stopped them marching. As we stood there chanting, 8 women in red cloaks appeared from nowhere and lay on the ground holding up coat hangers as red flares went off. It was an utterly dramatic moment.
We then marched and headed the pro-lifers off on the cathedral green. An acrimonious stand off followed and there was one chant that was ringing in my ears the following day.
“Pro life that’s a lie, you don’t care if women die.”
We stood our ground. We had made our point. This was my first experience of the fight for women’s rights as a trans woman ad it was utterly inspiring. I was angry. I am angry too that so many women suffer with endo and can’t get their problems taken seriously. That is why I am here today. In solidarity.