When Liz Truss confirmed that the government was committing itself to banning LGBT conversion therapy, there was some bemusement: is the middle of a pandemic really the time for this? The decision was announced back in May, and Truss – who serves as equalities minister – conceded that ‘many forms of the practice are already prevented under current legislation’. But this ‘new ban’, she added ‘will ensure that it is stamped out once and for all.’
At her employment tribunal, two years ago, Maya Forstater was told that her views ‘were not worthy of respect in a democratic society.’ That was after Forstater had been cancelled by the Centre for Global Development think tank, an institute that had employed her, when she was caught preaching the gospel of science and reason on the internet. Some of her colleagues grumbled about her gender critical beliefs, and Forstater’s contract was not renewed.
2020 will, of course, be remembered as the year in which Covid-19 was unleashed on the world. But it is one in which another menace – gender identity ideology – was put firmly in its place, in the UK at least.
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.