I was talking to a male Party colleague.
It was a social thing, really, but the subject came up
and this guy happened to be there.
He admitted he didn't knew much about it.
He didn't even know the terminology.
He didn't know what cis gender was
or the requirements of the current GRA.
I expected maybe not complete understanding
but surely a sympathetic hearing.
We were comrades, weren't we, after all?
We shared the same ideals.
But I was wrong about this man.
He rounded on me fiercely.
WHY couldn't a man be a woman -
if he had a strong 'feeling' - in spite of his penis -
that this was in truth what he was?
These people, they are oppressed, he blustered.
Women are oppressed, I responded.
How can it be right to safeguard
the position of one oppressed minority
via the erasure of the legal category 'women' -
and by taking away without consultation
women's hard won rights?
It's a matter of policy, my comrade insisted.
But he couldn't tell me when this had happened.
What about the promise that 'impact assessment'
for all legislation would be made?
Policies have to be formulated, surely?
When was the membership consulted?
I am a member. I don't recall that happening.
Wasn't it worth mentioning at least?
Exactly when did the party in its infinite wisdom
overrule the facts of human biology?
What about democracy? Wasn't this a test?
He said that all he knew for sure was
'trans women are women'.
How this came about, however,
it really wasn't up to him to say.
If you women don't like it then it's up to you, he said.
You'll have to fight for your rights like in the old days.
He meant it, too. It's OK for the Party
to pull the rug out from under us -
and OK for some men to hang on to their genitals
but call themselves women instead.
© Abigail Elizabeth Ottley
Abigail Elizabeth Ottley writes poetry and short fiction from her home in Penzance where the sea air and beautiful scenery keep her mostly on the right side of sanity.