academic and writer; co-editor, Transgender Children and Young People
Heather Brunskell-Evans is a social theorist specialising in the philosophy and politics of the sexed and gendered body. She is a trustee of FiLia, a new feminist charity, and is director of its ‘Stop Violence against Women and Girls’ section.
In a collection of essays, Transgender Children and Young People: Born in Your Own Body (2018), Heather expressed the view that children are not ‘born’ transgender, and that their welfare requires us to exercise caution in social transgendering children as well as the attempt to medically sex-transition adolescents. She discovered three things: her seemingly moderate view was so inflammatory it incurred fury from trans activists who tagged her with impunity as a TERF and transphobe; the Women’s Equality Party took away her role as spokeswoman because she couldn’t agree with its position that ‘woman’ is an overall category subdivided into ‘cis’ women and transwomen; and finally, the mantra ‘Transwomen ARE Women’ is repeatedly screamed at her by transactivists wherever she talks.
The book’s publication has been pivotal in her understanding of identity politics, of what is currently regarded as progressive, of who is authorised to speak ‘truth’ about equality and human rights and who gets to do the authorising. As such, Heather has inevitably been drawn back to the political and epistemological question: what is a woman?
Follow Heather on Twitter: @brunskellevans