Sally Allen: When is a woman not a woman?

Sally Allen and her canine family

Sally and her canine family - Credit: Sally Allen

As the woke circus rumbles on, I cannot help but re-visit the JK Rowling comment about women being defined by the sector of the population that have a menstrual period.

Twitter users pointed out that many people who identify as women, such as transgender women and women who have gone through the menopause, may not get their periods, while some people who do not identify as female may still menstruate, such as trans men.

As we all know it created a storm and deluge of unpleasant hate mail for JK.

Sir Keir Starmer recently said that 'it’s not right that only a woman can have a cervix' which in the old days I would have thought was impossible, but of course is now true.

The use of words should be one of the joys of life, and it always has been for me, but now I am really confused.

I realise that it has a lot to do with my age, but surely all the name calling is so counter productive and hurtful.

Any spontaneity of thought and speech has to be removed otherwise you can end up in very hot water indeed.

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I strongly believe that we should all be able to live the best lives we can, in whichever guise we feel most comfortable, and basically be left to get on with being the best versions of ourselves we can without getting a load of hurtful abuse – in fact, live and let live.

I have personal experience of this type of unpleasantness because from my teenage years I always had hideously painful periods.

Sadly, this progressed into extreme endometriosis which culminated in my having to have a hysterectomy when I was still in my 20s.

I had always wanted to have children, but it was not to be.

Astonishingly, in the hospital ward after my surgery, I was the only one there who had not had children and was clearly at least 20 to 30 years younger than the other women.

They had all had at least one child, some of them four children, and yet they were all crying and bemoaning the fact that they couldn’t have more children.

I didn’t cry as there was nothing I could do, but I felt an overwhelming sadness.

My surgeon had my case written into medical history because of my age and the seriousness of my condition.

He then asked me if I needed to see a psychiatrist to help me deal with the loss of my womb.

I was asked how I felt – but I had no words.

How on earth did I know, I hadn’t been without one before!

Being so young, I had little understanding of the magnitude of the situation.

I had been brought up to deal with problems and get on with the cards I had been dealt, which is what I did.

The main problem and the most shockingly hurtful experiences came when the subject came up with various men, who, when hearing that I had had a hysterectomy, made comments along the lines that I was not a woman anymore!

I can’t explain how much it hurt.

Even knowing that the comments were made out of ignorance, the pain was still extremely intense.

Nobody can imagine the pain of another if you do not walk in the same skin.

Does it really matter if someone is a woman, trans, male or any other of the over 100 options now available to identify as?

Well, to a degree it does. For example, NHS advice says that trans men should have cervical screening to help prevent cervical cancer.

Personally, I think it is impossible to deny your birth gender but equally how you want to live your life is up to you.

However, I don’t want to be referred to as a person without a womb as wokism would have it.

I want to be called a woman, and feel with every molecule of my body and mind that that is exactly what I am. 

Winning a national award for Lifetime of Excellence - Business

Winning a national award for Lifetime of Excellence - Business - Credit: Sally Allen

To this end, business has been my salvation and the payback of having been a very successful minority female in a man’s world.

In life you need to turn every negative into a positive.