The silencing of Graham Linehan

Twitter has the power to control debate in society. That is real political power. Maybe the time has come to hold them to account?

You may not have heard of Graham Linehan but you will be familiar with his work. Linehan is the creator of Father Ted and the IT Crowd, among other comedy shows. And in the wake of the attacks against JK Rowling, he is the latest high-profile person to have been targeted by the mob for speaking out on the issue of transgenderism. Continue reading “The silencing of Graham Linehan”

Trans people don’t lack rights

This is a debate we need to enter. We need to engage constructively with other groups, and campaign for long-term solutions that accommodate us in society without compromising the rights of women and children. Then we really will be able to live our best lives with confidence and security.

Gender recognition is the ultimate political hot potato. Three years after Justine Greening — the then Equalities Minister — announced a public consultation on changes to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, and two years after the public were finally asked for their views, we are still far from resolution. As the months passed, many assumed that the Government had kicked it into the long grass, if not the primeval forest.

The consultation itself came and went a year later in 2018 amid fervent campaigns by transgender activists eager to allow legal gender changes on demand, and women’s groups concerned that their boundaries would be rendered meaningless as a result. If men can identify as women — for whatever reason they might choose — how can they be kept out? It is naïve to rely on the argument that “men wouldn’t do that, would they?” Spaces such as changing rooms are most often cited, but also at risk are prisons, hospital wards, reserved places on committees and boards, scholarships and, indeed, every sex-based protection.

For the past two years, the hot potato never went cold — on the contrary, it ignited a social media inferno. The furore surrounding JK Rowling — condemned as a transphobe for reclaiming the word woman to describe her sex — is remarkable only because she is a public figure.

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How dare the Body Shop tell JK Rowling what to think

Men also have a responsibility to speak out when they see women being abused and belittled. We owe it to women; we owe it to ourselves; we need to put our own house in order.

For nearly a week now, the mob has had JK Rowling in its sights. Her crimes against trans ideology seemed relatively minor but like some authoritarian quasi-religious cult, trans rights activism demands total compliance to its dogma.

Following a series of courageous tweets last Saturday in which the children’s author defended biology and reclaimed the word ‘woman’ to describe those now seemingly called ‘people who menstruate‘, her critics went berserk.

To readers about to switch off from yet another dose of transgender nonsense comes a warning. Coffee House readers may pride themselves in knowing that biological sex is real and, no, we can’t change it. But too many people have stayed silent for too long. Continue reading “How dare the Body Shop tell JK Rowling what to think”

Hungary offers a lesson in crying wolf on ‘transphobia’

We would be wise as a society to take note of this sooner rather than later. If social liberals don’t take action, social conservatives will.

Transphobia is a word thrown around far too easily. But Hungary’s move to end legal recognition of trans people really is something to worry about. While Britain has been embroiled in a heated debate over proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, which allows people to change their legal gender on the production of medical reports and a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, in Hungary, Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz government has swept such rights away. Continue reading “Hungary offers a lesson in crying wolf on ‘transphobia’”

JK Rowling fell foul of transgender thought police

Magic belongs in Harry Potter, not in real life. As Rowling herself said in December, “we can live our best life in peace and security” but we can’t change sex, and this hounding of women must stop.

Covid-19 has put many things on hold, but not the transgender thought police. JK Rowling had been in their sights since Christmas when she tweeted her support for Maya Forstater, who had lost her job at a think tank after questioning whether trans women were women (spoiler: we are not — we are the other sex).

When the children’s author accidentally tweeted the contents of her clipboard last Friday the thought police reached new levels of apoplexy. Not for anything Rowling had said: the tweet was swiftly deleted and an explanation given. She was condemned for what she had been reading. Continue reading “JK Rowling fell foul of transgender thought police”

Why is the United Nations trying to police our language on gender?

Removing the words to describe sexist discrimination does not improve the conditions for women, it merely removes their ability to describe the problem.

George Orwell popularised the word ‘thoughtcrime’, but he also wrote extensively about the destruction of language. This week, the United Nations has been playing that worrying game, of meddling with what people say.

‘What you say matters’, the UN wrote in a tweet. ‘Help create a more equal world by using gender-neutral language if you’re unsure about someone’s gender or are referring to a group,’ its Twitter account urged, telling people to substitute words like ‘mankind’ for ‘humankind’, ‘maiden name’ for ‘family name’ and ‘businessman’ for ‘representative’.

There is nothing bad, of course, about trying not to offend people. But there is something deeply troubling about adapting language in a way that dilutes meaning. And is it really the UN’s place to try and police what people say? Continue reading “Why is the United Nations trying to police our language on gender?”

Freddy McConnell and the mother of fights

While the ‘woman’ debate has pitched a small minority of transgender people against a rather larger group of women, the ‘mother’ debate pitches one individual against another.

Coronavirus has closed schools, grounded planes and even delayed the start of the cricket county championship, but it has not shut down the transgender debate. This often toxic and divisive issue has proved to be one of the hardiest items in the news agenda in recent years. And even a pandemic has done little to limit the exposure.

Birth certificates are the latest topic to provoke fury. But now there is a difference. While the discussion up to now has broadly surrounded the documents of transgender people, the Court of Appeal has just upheld a ruling about the documents of their children. Continue reading “Freddy McConnell and the mother of fights”

Defend me or expel me

I am not a woman nor am I LGB, but I am transsexual. And all three groups face oppression and opposition in society and we are stronger when we find common cause.

This is the transcript of a speech I gave at the Defend me or expel me rally organised by the Labour Women’s Declaration in London on 9 March 2020.

 The event had been called to support Woman’s Place UK and the LGB Alliance. Both organisations had been denounced as transphobic and trans-exclusionist by the self-styled Labour Campaign for Trans Rights (LCTR). Shockingly the LCTR had been supported by Labour Members of Parliament, including contenders for the leadership of the party. Continue reading “Defend me or expel me”

Bringing Trans People Together

Grace and compassion between political opponents are therefore crucial, but too often in short supply – particularly on social media platforms where much of the debate takes place.

As Covid-19 spread across every continent, the world changed in ways that we could not have anticipated as recently as Christmas. “Self-isolation” and “social distancing” have entered the lexicon and taken root in my mind to such an extent that video clips of people breaking the two-metre rule seem to belong to another age, like old silent movies. These are – to use an overworked expression – unprecedented times.

But trans people have been living in unprecedented times that go back further than Christmas. While previously we were largely ignored by politicians and the media – apart from occasional salacious and often unwelcome feature articles – trans issues have been high in the news agenda for the past three years. That has not always been a blessing. Continue reading “Bringing Trans People Together”

La identidad de género es una patraña

La identidad de género es una mera suposición: es el supuesto de que la identidad de género existe. Este razonamiento no solo es orwelliano, sino digno de Lewis Carroll… y su lugar es la papelera.

Las afirmaciones «las mujeres trans son mujeres» y «los hombres trans son hombres» han de estar compitiendo por erigirse como la frase definitoria de nuestros tiempos. En poco más de cinco años, el tema transgénero ha irrumpido con tal fuerza en la conciencia colectiva que el aún joven Día Internacional de la Visibilidad Transgénero parece ya anacrónico. Quizá deberíamos de remplazarlo por el Día del Discernimiento, porque, si bien las personas transgénero (como yo, por ejemplo) nos hemos vuelto bastante visibles, las razones por las que somos transgénero siguen ocultas en la sombra. Continue reading “La identidad de género es una patraña”