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Liveline: ‘my daughter called transphobic for refusing to date boy who changed gender’ 

A furious debate has continued on RTÉ’s Liveline as women say that the removal of the word woman from legislation dealing with maternity and birth is part of a shift that is ‘dehumanizing’ women and ‘reducing them to a bodily function’. 

One dad told Joe Duffy that his young daughter, who was a lesbian, was told by a young man – who said he identified as female – that she was ‘transphobic’ for not wanting to date him.

“She was called transphobic and bigoted for this,” the man told Joe Duffy. He added that the removal of the word ‘woman’ meant that there was now no longer was a word to describe an ‘adult female human’.

Callers said that they strongly objected to descriptions of women as ‘people with a cervix ‘or as ‘gestators’ or ‘menstruators’ – and clashed with those arguing that language needed to be changed to make it inclusive.

One man argued that if a person who was biologically female wanted to identify as a male, then it didn’t make sense to want to get pregnant and give birth as that was something women did.

Women are becoming a “sub-section of their own sex” by being described as ‘cisgender’ he said, highlighting the use of the label by transgender activists for women who are born female.

He also argued that men who had a gender recognition certificate could enter the changing room in his daughter’s gym and walk around naked.

However, another caller said they believed the term ‘woman’ should be removed from the Maternity Act saying: “I personally identify as gender-fluid non-binary, and use they/them pronouns … I feel like it’s so important that people who don’t identify as women are given the same respect that other people who are able to give birth are.”

Caitríona said she was “assigned ‘female’ at birth but I now don’t identify as a woman, but I don’t feel like it’s a disservice to women to take ‘woman’ out of that legislation”.

During the robust debate that claim was described as “scientific illiteracy” and a caller named Brian insisted that sex was ‘observed and not assigned’. He also said that female-only spaces such as rape shelters were being threatened by the move to change language.

“A man who wears a dress and wears lipstick is not expanding what it is to be a woman, he is expanding what it means to be a man,” he said. “Only women can be a woman,” he said.

When Caitríona said that a woman is anyone who identifies as a woman, Brian said that this was a “circular definition” and described it as “meaningless”.

On Twitter, many responding to the debate agreed that the word ‘woman’ was now being redefined in a meaningless way.


The debate grew especially heated after Joe Duffy asked ‘what was the harm’ in the proposed changes. “Why does it bother other people,” he asked, saying that was the view of those seeking more diversity of language.

“Imagine you are a sex abuse victim and you are incarcerated for a small petty crime, like shoplifting, and you find out that in the cell next to you in a sex offender. How do you think you’ll sleep that night having that trauma being brought back to you? Imagine you are a rape survivor and you want to go to a rape crisis clinic and the person who turns up to do your counselling is a male who identifies as a woman. How will that make you feel?” Brian responded.

“They are a woman,” Caitríona interjected. “At least address them by how they identify.”

“Ok so, we are getting to the crux of the insanity here, we are talking about a rape victim here and apparently the real problem is that we not calling the person doing the counselling the right gender,” Brian said. “We are forgetting about the victims here, the real victims.”

“Do you not think my daughter has the right to undress in her changing room in the gym without a biological male exposing his penis to her, yes or no?” he asked.




Last week, the same programme also lit up with women slamming the National Women’s Council for what they saw as the organisation’s failure to support women.

Women who were denied admittance to the AGM of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) told Liveline that they were barred from attending because they wanted to ask questions regarding the organisation’s stance on erasing the word ‘woman’ from legislation and replacing it with ‘gender-neutral’ language as a result of pressure from transgender activists.

“We had got tickets online, it was a public event,” Sandra Adams from the campaign group The Countess told Joe Duffy. She said that at the registration desk, she was asked if she was in any organisation and when she said she was with The Countess she was denied admittance – as were other women from her group, and women who said they wanted to ask “specific questions”.

Ms Adams said that she and other women wanted to ask the NWCI where they stood on the removal of the word ‘woman’ from the maternity act. She and others say that the word woman is now in danger of having no real meaning and that has serious consequences for women.

The issue had been raised by Independent Senator Sharon Keogan who told the Senate recently that the government is about to “erase” all mention of women and mothers in proposed legislation which will also amend legislation on maternity leave.

“It is a biological reality that women are the only people who can conceive and gestate and give birth,” Ms Adams said on Liveline. “We need that word [women] in order for women to organise in our interests.”

“Does the National Women’s Council support removing the word women  – surely they don’t if they call themselves the National Women’s Council?” Duffy asked.

Adams responded: “Apparently it is dangerous – we are not a feeling or an identity, we are a biological reality.”

The NWCI has repeatedly clashed with women’s groups on the issue of biological realities and what is seen as the ‘erasure of women’ in pursuit of advancing transgender ideology.

The HSE has also been criticised for its use of terms like ‘people with a cervix’ in relation to services critical for women’s health.


The Irish Council for Civil Liberties lashed out at Liveline for hosting the discussion tweeting that: “In the context of increasing transphobic and homophobic attacks, this #liveline conversation is incredibly irresponsible. We stand with trans people today and every day. The fight for equality continues.”

Many women disagreed, with one saying: “In my opinion your tweet is highly irresponsible. You may find this hard to take but there was a very balanced discussion on both sides on @joeliveline. It was respectful and informative. Maybe you want neither of these?”



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