Sex and Gender

The gender debate is getting nastier

What is shocking is that other adults have caved into this bullying, even perpetuating it themselves.

Elaine Miller is one of the grown-ups. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, with a specialism in pelvic health. She also jokes about it. Her comedy show, Viva Your Vulva: The Hole Story is currently playing at the Edinburgh Fringe. It’s a good one: the production has won awards and a five-star review. Miller is forthright – her audiences are warned about ‘strong language and swearing’ – but her performance is more than mere entertainment. In Miller’s words,

“The aim of the show is that the audience leave knowing what a pelvic floor is, what it does and where to take theirs if they think it is a bit broken. It is evidence based, and so counts as CPD – possibly the funniest thing about it.”

Elaine Miller

The aim of the show is that the audience leave knowing what a pelvic floor is, what it does and where to take theirs if they think it is a bit broken. It is evidence based, and so counts as CPD – possibly the funniest thing about it.

Surely her ‘laugh while you learn’ approach is something we could all support, even if her comedy is not our style? Not according to the LGBTQIA+ brigade, apparently. Miller claims that she has been subjected to abuse – even ‘spat at on the street’ – while her posters have been obscured by rainbow stickers, presumably to limit attendance.

Miller’s crime, it seems, is to promote women’s health. That is the health of human people with female bodies. While she has been clear that includes trans men and (certain) non-binary individuals, she does not mention trans women like me because we are ‘not relevant to the topic of female biological anatomy’. Quite right! We have male anatomy, even those of us who have had surgery to modify it.

But to the gender identity ideologues, this is heresy. To them trans women are women, and those who think differently can be subjected to all kinds of abuse, presumably in an attempt to shut them up. It is juvenile behaviour; Miller described it as ‘very like high school’, and she is right. She told The Spectator

“I am a mother and I have dealt with toddlers and teenagers, and this is very familiar. It is intolerant, bad behaviour.”

Elaine Miller

Children can and do behave badly. As a teacher, my job is to educate young people to listen to other opinions and respect them even if they personally disagree with them.

What is shocking is that other adults have caved into this bullying, even perpetuating it themselves. Miller reported that she has been shunned by fellow comics and staff, some of whom she has worked with for years. This is far more than social media defriending. As Miller told the Scottish Daily Express, ‘It’s the strangest thing for grown… adults. I go into a room and they turn their back on me. This is not appropriate behaviour from an adult.’

It isn’t. But, sadly, exposing the behaviour does not make it stop. It will only stop when those adults become sufficiently self-aware to recognise it and do better. Perhaps it is mere coincidence that Miller’s experience has happened in Edinburgh, but Scotland is home to an SNP government that seems to have made a habit of avoiding inconvenient truths about biology.

It was Nicola Sturgeon’s government that passed the Gender Representation on Public Boards Bill, that enshrined in law the concept of processes that people can undergo, ‘for the purpose of becoming female.’ The country of a government that seems determined to reform the Gender Recognition Act to allow anyone over the age of 16 to self-identify as a woman, whatever the impact on women’s sex-based rights and boundaries.

Joanna Cherry, the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West plans to be in the audience on Sunday evening. If Sturgeon is genuinely clueless about what it means to be female, then maybe she should also book a seat and listen to what Miller has to say.

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and journalist.

* This article was first published by The Spectator on 19 August 2022: The gender debate is getting nastier.

By Debbie Hayton

Physics teacher and trade unionist.

3 replies on “The gender debate is getting nastier”

The abuse and threats are, of course, reprehensible, but I see it as encouraging that trans criticism is becoming a mainstay of modern comedy. It’ll probably have more effect on public opinion than all the academic papers, political discussions, educators blog posts and social media influencers put together. One reason is that comedians are a tough lot, happy to get heckled and turn the heckling around – on stage, and maybe off. It’s unfortunate, but probably what forms most people’s opinion on such matters is “Who is being ridiculed? Which sector of society are we taking the piss out of these days for being brainless eejits? Cuz I’m not one of them.”


For years I have heard about how school children play awful shunning games with each other. But to see that behavior moving into adults is very distressing. I keep saying in these comments that things are not as bad in the United States, but that may be my impression only because I am no longer in the work force. Apparently, in grade schools, colleges, universities, non-profit organizations and other liberal institutions, everyone feels intimidated and people are being shunned because they don’t have the same ideas. But the ideas in transgender ideology are so bizarre that I don’t know why it’s the people who believe in them who do the shunning, and not the other way around.

As long as I’m posting a comment, I’d like to relate something else. I saw a spokesperson from an organization called the Human Rights Campaign on the news, so I looked the person up to send him an email. That took me to their web site, of course. This organization supposedly works against all kinds of discrimination, yet they don’t mention women anywhere. Well, they do use the word “women” on their site, but only when it is coupled with “trans”, as in “trans women”. On every page they mention “LGBTQ+” people, but regular women, not a peep. I don’t even think they are interested in helping the LGB portion of LGBTQ+ people — for them, it is all about the TQ+ people. You would think that TQ+ people represented 40% of the population instead of the 1-2% they actually represent.


Well stated. Women have been cancelled. This is the true toxic masculinity movement. It just hides behind rainbows and unicorns. I do agree that people should be allowed to be who they feel they are and I am prepared to respect that. But they need to respect my full right to be proud to be a biological woman because that’s what I am.

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