WDI Co-Author Doesn’t Support Dressing However You Like

In which Sheila Jeffreys says you can’t really wear what you like & there might be nothing wrong with being a transphobe

Tucker Lieberman
7 min readMay 2, 2023

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torso of a person with long hair wearing a white blazer
Pantsuit by Jupi Lu from Pixabay

2019 saw the release of the anti-transgender “Declaration of Women’s Sex-Based Rights,” co-authored by several women including Sheila Jeffreys. Despite its central objection to the concept of “gender identity,” the Declaration purports to allow exactly one right that is of interest to trans people: “the right of individuals to dress and present themselves as they choose.”

It is worth pointing out, then, that Sheila Jeffreys in fact does not believe even in this. One place to learn about this is her half-hour talk, “Womanface: The Insult of Transgenderism” (February 14, 2022). She doesn’t discuss or acknowledge the existence of trans men in this talk, by the way. She is only picking on trans women.

screenshot of Sheila Jeffreys YouTube talk, Womanface: The Insult of Transgenderism

“I think we need to move on to the next stage in our struggle against transgenderism,” she begins. “That is, moving beyond confronting individual challenges such as men entering women’s spaces, sports, and opportunities, to opposing the idea and practice of transgenderism itself.”

Sometimes people try to claim that they use the word “transgenderism” in a strict sense to discuss an ideology with which they disagree. Yet, in this opening sentence, Jeffreys explicitly assigns this term double-duty to refer to a behavior or perhaps a way of life that she believes should end.

Jeffreys: Feminists Should Be Transphobes

In the first five minutes of her talk, she refers to “men who impersonate women” or “imitate women.” She calls trans women’s identity and lives “an invention, a form of sexual fantasy for the majority of the male hobbyists who adhere to it.”

The consequences for UK women who “speak out,” she says, is that “the police will arrest them and visit their homes to raid their bookshelves,” supposedly, in one case, “confiscating an academic book critical of the transgendering of children”…

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Tucker Lieberman

Editor for Prism & Pen. Author of the novel "Most Famous Short Film of All Time." https://tuckerlieberman.com/