The charity Endometriosis South Coast is now being criticized for betraying women after hiring trans woman Steph Richards as its chief executive and head of uterine health.
Critics argue that the appointment of Richards, who has reportedly clashed repeatedly with women’s rights campaigners, is “worrying and insulting to women”.
The announcement of Steph Richards by Endometriosis South Coast comes with a statement next to her picture that reads: “Isn’t it ridiculous that I reached the age of 40 before a doctor even mentioned endometriosis?”
Richards’ appointment has sparked a strong backlash from women’s rights activists. They call the appointment “a gross insult to women” and argue that Richards “will never know what it’s like to have endometriosis”.
The main argument of the critics is that trans women (biological men who identify as women) do not have, and will never be able to have, a uterus, and thus can never suffer from the disease endometriosis.
This charity is spreading lies. One in 10 WOMEN are diagnosed with endometriosis, not people. The only person they permit to use the word woman about themselves ironically is the man they appointed as their new CEO, Stephen Richards. pic.twitter.com/NazxgdltuY
— Miranda Andersen (@WandererMiranda) November 13, 2023
Defenders of the appointment, however, argue that placing Richards as CEO is no different from, say, men working as gynecologists.
The counterargument from critics, the majority of whom are women, is that male gynecologists do not claim to know what, say, uterine pain feels like for an individual, or openly push political agendas such as transgender lobbying.
Kellie-Jay Keen, founder of the feminist movement Let A Woman Speak, criticizes the rhetoric used by the charity, arguing that it “ignores women” and calling the appointment “barbaric”.
“Everyone has lost their collective mind. The losers are women with endometriosis who have to rely on a charity that does not call them ‘women’, but ‘people’, and yet calls a man a woman”, comments Kellie-Jay Keen.
The Endometriosis South Coast website states that “the vast majority of writing on endo overlooks the fact that endo is not a condition that only effects women” – a statement that has caused great confusion, since the disease can only affect women with a uterus.