Mark Drakeford is wrong. Transwomen are not women.

In the Senedd’s plenary session yesterday, MS Laura Anne Jones asked the First Minister to discuss the participation of trans-identifying athletes in sports.

First Minister Mark Drakeford stated:

My starting point is … that transgender women are women

Our First Minister is making clear his belief in an ideology which has no foundation in reality – biological, medical, scientific. Men cannot become women. Being a woman is not a feeling. It is not a performance, a simulacrum of femininity through the acquisition of a floral dress, a new lipstick and a collection of pink and fluffy stereotypes. Our femaleness is written in to every cell of our bodies and impacts on every aspect of our lives. We do not give permission for men to colonise that reality.

Transwomen are not women. That is the first lie.

The second lie is more disturbing because Mark Drakeford must know that is what it is.

He said “in such a potentially divisive issue, the responsibility of elected representatives is not to stand on the certainties of their own convictions, but instead to work hard to look for opportunities for dialogue, to find ways of promoting understanding rather than conflict, and to demonstrate respect rather than to look for exclusion”.

Our First Minister, and his cabinet, have not only turned down opportunities for dialogue, they have consistently excluded any voices which do not go along with Stonewall’s view of the world – now also Welsh Government’s view of the world.

Merched Cymru is a grassroots organisation committed to the sex-based rights of women. As an organisation and through our individual members we have tried on numerous occasions to meet with the First Minister and with other Welsh Government ministers and officials. We have written, provided evidence to support our view that women’s rights are under attack in Wales, and that the influence of Stonewall at the heart of government is inimical to to those rights. We have responded to consultations – on the LGBTQ+ Action Plan, on the RSE curriculum and its disinclination to ensure the safety and dignity of female pupils – and provided up-to-date research which points out the dangers of a Conversion Therapy ban that risks criminalising therapists who wish to take an holistic approach to children struggling with their gender.

We have been asking for dialogue since our inception to no avail.

We have offered to broker meetings between Mark Drakeford and his Ministers and expert organisations such as Transgender Trend (whose founder has just received the BEM for services to children); with the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine; with human rights expert Professor Rosa Freedman; with Fair Play for Women who have extensive knowledge of women’s sports and the impact of including males in the female category; and with leading gender specialists, psychologists, and former Tavistock employees.

Exclusion is the name of the game not only for Merched Cymru but for members of Labour Women’s Declaration Cymru, LGB Alliance Cymru, Lesbian Labour and Women’s Rights Network Wales. Gender critical women – those of us who know that sex is binary and immutable – remain unheard and unrepresented by Mr Drakeford’s government.

His reply to Laura Jones’ question in today’s Senedd concluded: “It’s only by dialogue and by understanding that you can reach a conclusion to the sorts of questions the member has raised”.

The insincerity is breathtaking. As is his wilful ignorance of the fact that allowing men in to women’s sports ultimately means the end of women’s sports altogether.

We do not consent.