IN your article about the current issues surrounding trans people, you said that I deleted my Twitter account because I said women should be called “people who menstruate” (Row over ‘being trans’ event, April 22). That was a misrepresentation of both the comment and the discussion it came from.

That so many people are wilfully choosing to misinterpret the comment, or outright lie about what I said, harms everyone in this febrile and unnecessarily antagonistic atmosphere. Since I have deactivated the relevant Twitter account, and the context for the now widely shared tweet is gone, this is what the context was:

Someone asked, out of pretty much nowhere on a thread about being a trans ally, “so what do you think about the term ‘menstruator’ then?” I did not bring up the term, nor would I have, since it was entirely irrelevant to the discussion. Nevertheless, after turning off almost all my notifications over the last week, this was a question directed at me which I noticed, so thought I’d answer.

READ MORE: Row over 'being trans' event to be held at Holyrood

I responded that I’m not a huge fan of the term, and prefer “people who menstruate”, but that society’s move towards inclusive language is fairly new and there’ll be some false starts.

I was answering assuming the asker knew what the term is used for, so didn’t initially clarify that, which was a mistake. So for the record –

Neither “menstruator” nor “people who menstruate” are meant as replacements for “women”. They are only used in the specific context of discussing menstruation-related issues – bathroom access, period products, health issues, stigma. Since a large group of women and girls do not menstruate, and some people who are not women do, a more inclusive term for this very specific context (to ensure that, for example, the fantastic free period products are not only available in women’s bathrooms) is really useful.

Being able to recognise that women have been fighting for decades to be able to have these conversations in public and that the stigma surrounding menstruation is rooted in misogyny is essential, and neither of those is in opposition to also recognising that there are some minor lexical changes in one specific use which ensure we don’t leave people behind.

It isn’t remotely meant to replace “women” in 99.9% of contexts, because in the vast majority of situations where we refer to women, these terms are not used because we’re not talking about menstruation. I should have known it was going to be read like that and been more careful instead of assuming people would look at the context of the conversation.

I understand why people, reading that I have decided unilaterally to replace the word “woman” with “menstruator”, would be angry. I would be too. But that isn’t true and the people who began sharing it out of context knew that.

Fiona Robertson
SNP Women’s and Equalities Officer, Aberdeen

CONVENIENTLY, recent research from Harvard University answers all of Andrew McCracken’s concerns (Letters, April 24). The study, led by a British academic, modelled what would happen to the UK if we stopped farming all animals. It found that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would all be able to sustain themselves by producing enough protein and calories if all animal farmland was converted to forest, and animal cropland used for human consumption.

READ MORE: Letters, April 23

Not only that, but we would also soak up nine years of carbon emissions, helping to combat climate change and bring us in line with the Paris Agreement. There is no need for the UK to grow any additional crops; we just need to feed them directly to people, instead of feeding them to animals and then eating their bodies. I’m inclined to believe expert research instead of people who make excuses to make themselves feel better about not eating a planet-friendly vegan diet.

Animal agriculture is always going to be unsustainable because animals eat a lot of food, and even if they just eat grass they still drink a lot of water and produce a lot of waste and methane which pollute our planet. In fact, for every 100 calories we feed to farmed animals we only get 12 calories back in the form of their milk or flesh. A 2018 Oxford University study – the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage animal farming does to the planet – found that a vegan diet is the single most effective way to reduce our environmental footprint. Even the researcher himself went vegan as he could not find a sustainable way of farming animals!

I would like to ask Andrew what his excuse is now?

Dominika Piasecka
The Vegan Society

I AM appalled at Michael Fry’s naivety concerning climate change. Of the many slogans displayed by the protesters in London this week I believe the phrase “TELL THE TRUTH” to be most pertinent to governments worldwide. Viewing film of walruses plunging to their deaths in Our Planet as a result of the disappearance of sea ice is utterly heartbreaking. Humanity will do well to resolve this problem WE HAVE CREATED.

Jane Bullock
via text

READ MORE: I am now a climate convert – but humanity isn't facing extinction