gsn-google gsn-google

Feminist journalist says trans women shouldn't have access to women-only spaces

Sarah Ditum, however, insists she isn't anti-trans

Feminist journalist says trans women shouldn't have access to women-only spaces
Sarah Ditum on the panel. | Photo: Twitter @VictoriaLIVE

Journalist Sarah Ditum made controversial comments about transgender women on a recent episode of the British news show Victoria Derbyshire.

Despite her comments, Ditum insists she isn’t transphobic.

Ditum appeared alongside Dr. Nichola Williams in a discussion with trans activists Rebecca Root and Clara Barker. They debated the nature of self-identifying, which eliminates a lot of beaucratic ropes around legally changing one’s gender.

The video begins with Ditum saying there are transphobic people who don’t want to discuss the violence trans women face. She then says she wants no part of that group.

However, later in the discussion, she says there’s a ‘real problem’ with self-identification because no one can question a person’s identity.

It’s not the first time people have accused Ditum of transphobia. In 2014, she was accused of empathizing with abusive parents, rather than a trans child who committed suicide.

Danger of exploitation

‘That’s a real problem because it means that there are going to be men who will exploit that. There will be men who are predatory and exploit that to gain access to spaces,’ she said.

Ditum brings up prisons and the ‘sexual predatory’ behavior of trans-identifying women harming other female prisoners.

She then says there’s a need for a ‘stronger system’ than self-identification.

However, she also fails to mention the reverse danger: the harm trans women are placed in without safe spaces corresponding to their gender identity.

A safe-guarding issue

The debate then turns to Girlguiding, a charity for girls and young women in the UK.

Williams explains: ‘Girlguides now allow boys who identify as girls to join. That means a child born male, with a penis, would be allowed to sleep overnight with girls. There is a safe-guarding issue there.’

One of the trans activist, Barker, simple responds: ‘You’re assuming that 11-year-old trans girl is a sexual predator.’

Ditum jumps in, once again bringing up exploitation. She insists the real problem is protecting girls from men wishing to exploit these safe spaces.

Both Ditum and William say they’re not transphobic, just ‘cautious’ of self-identifying trans women.

At the end of the discussion, Root perfectly makes the argument for trans women: ‘You’re tarring the whole community of trans women with the brush of one or two people who are bad people and in prison because they’ve committed a crime.’

After, Ditum tweeted she was ‘hopeful’ for more dialogue like this.

Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us .