In Britain, Parliament is debating changing the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for Britons to legally change genders. The following letter appeared in the Morning Star, a UK socialist daily, yesterday, signed by a number of feminists:
We, the undersigned, have a variety of positions about proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. Some of us have not yet fully formed our opinions.
We are calling for action within our movement to allow debate to take place over proposed changes to the Act.
You may be aware that on April 13 this year, an activist, Tara Wood was convicted of the assault by beating of Maria MacLachlan, a 60-year-old woman who had gathered with others in order to attend a meeting at which they could discuss the potential impact on women and girls of such a change to the law.
On March 8, an incident also occurred on a Bectu picket line in which trans activists, with no connection to the industrial dispute itself, mobbed and verbally attacked a female trade union member on the basis of having recognised her as an attendee at a similar meeting.
And in late April women in Bristol looking to meet and discuss changes to the Gender Recognition Act were met with masked activists blocking entrances to the venue, and deliberately intimidating those wishing to go inside.
More recently, a meeting organised by Woman’s Place UK was targeted with a bomb threat which Hastings Police are investigating as a serious incident.
These cases are part of systematic attempts to shut down meetings organised by women at which they can discuss potential legislative changes and the impact these may have on any sex-based rights already enshrined in law.
They draw the whole of our progressive movement into disrepute.
Some trans rights activists even continue to justify the use of violence, meaning that many women are simply too frightened to attend meetings that are both public and lawful in order that they may discuss their own rights.
Other women, including ordinary women concerned for their rights, as well as those active within the trade union movement and other political campaigns, are also now anxious and fearful that they will be subjected to such attacks when engaging in any political activity, meetings, or protests.
We are sure that, whatever your view regarding the issues around the Gender Recognition Act, you will agree that it is unacceptable for women to be made scared to engage in political life.
We, the undersigned, publicly and unequivocally condemn the use of violence or tactics of intimidation on this issue.
Got it? They are saying that they don’t all agree on the proposed legislative changes, but they believe that people ought to be able to debate them without being physically assaulted or intimidated.
That’s too much for Labour’s LGBT office, which sent the following letter to signatories:
Do you understand what the LGBT Labour National Committee is saying? It wants people who signed a letter saying that the issue should be debated without violence or intimidation to take their names off the letter because it “erased the experiences of transgender people.”
In other words, it is bigoted to call for peaceful debate, free of violence and intimidation.
Insane. Absolutely insane. Why won’t people stand up to these cretins? When women — feminists! — who do get beaten or shoved around, do others not see a threat to everyone?
Meanwhile, on our slightly less insane side of the ocean, Scarlett Johansson has withdrawn from a movie in which she was to play a transgender woman (= biological man presenting as female) after trans protests. They said a woman shouldn’t play a man presenting as a woman, because HATE.
Business Insider withdrew a piece by one of its columnists, Daniella Greenbaum, who had offered the shocking, repulsive opinion that Johansson ought to be permitted to play the role, because ACTING. The columnist resigned. Her resignation letter to her boss, Nicholas Carson, who promulgated a policy saying that “culturally sensitive” columns must be reviewed first by an editor.
The problem is not confined to the college campus, where conservative speakers are being shouted down or disinvited. It’s not confined to the media, where publications and television stations and their audiences seem increasingly comfortable in liberal or conservative silos where conflicting outlooks and even conflicting information are unwelcome. It’s beginning to permeate every area where we use language — every area of life.
The only way to fight it is head on. Defend the idea that more speech is always better. The best way to put bad arguments to bed is to air them out and highlight their weaknesses. Want to eliminate “unsafe” thoughts? Turn them loose in the marketplace of ideas and debate them — don’t try to silence them.
As the definition of what constitutes offensive speech grows ever wider, more and more people who are certain that their views fall somewhere in the mainstream will find themselves backed into corners. Ultimately, even the wokest of the warriors will realize that when it comes to outrunning the predatory mob they’ve created, no space is safe.
But Carlson stressed that he was not imposing an ideological litmus test.
“To be clear: This does not mean our argument-writers should not take big swings, or that they must have opinions shared by everyone in our newsroom,” he said. “Editors are not being asked to agree with the column. Editors are not responsible for preventing a loud and upset response to the piece from within or without the newsroom. They are responsible for making sure that if a piece causes an uproar, we are comfortable saying it’s a well-argued and thoughtful opinion.”
Additionally, Carlson said all employees at Insider Inc., the parent company of Business Insider, will have access to a list of “employees who have volunteered to talk about culture and identity issues,” and that he will be soliciting volunteers from the rest of the company.
“Writers and editors can use this list to find someone to talk to as they think up, research, write, and edit opinion pieces,” Carlson said. “It is not mandatory that they do so. But we encourage it. The goal is to help all of us see around blindspots that develop due to our own particular context.”
Translation: “There is an ideological litmus test. Run your ideas by the internal woke police before you put pen to paper.”
So, to appease the trans zealots, the Labour Party’s LGBT group is demanding that left-wing feminists who signed a letter calling for open debate without fear of violence or intimidation withdraw their support for the letter. And a publication pulled a column saying a female actor should be able to play a transgender woman, and then instituted a policy chilling the speech of its columnists when they dare to treat on trans toes.
This is not going to end well.
UPDATE: A reader remarks:
Correction: The role that Johanssen was set to play was not that of a transwoman (natal male transitioned to female).
The role was that of what some would term a “butch lesbian,” though many now wish to label this person as “transman” (natal female transitioned to male).