The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee launched yet another inquiry into Gender Recognition Act reform last week. Either they are gluttons for punishment, or this really matters to someone. This is the third time since 2015 that Westminster has asked the public what they think about gender recognition. When you add this to the two separate Scottish consultations, it becomes apparent that transgender inquiries are now an annual event.
We are in dangerous times when adults who should know better allow student politicians to play the trans card so they can act with impunity. On campuses across the country, the pink and blue flag is being used to excuse the bullying and harassment of anyone who does not adhere to gender identity ideology, and its catechism, “trans women are women”.
The heated transgender debate is aggravated by muddled language that has obfuscated discussion and clouded understanding. Dispute resolution requires clarity of thought, which in turn needs precision of language. In transgender politics, that starts by unravelling sex and gender, description and definition, and even the verbs to be and to do.
“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people.” With those words, JK Rowling threw herself into perhaps the most febrile debate in contemporary society. Even Covid-19 has not dampened the furore over transgender rights. As two world views collide, fundamental truths that previous generations thought were self-evident have been cast into doubt. What is a woman? what is a man? and how can we tell them apart?
“‘Personas menstruantes’. Estoy segura de que solía haber un nombre para estas personas”. Con estas palabras, JK Rowling se lanzó al que probablemente es el debate más febril de la sociedad contemporánea. Ni siquiera la covid-19 ha servido para atemperar el furor en torno al debate sobre los derechos de las personas transgénero. Conforme dos visiones del mundo colisionaban, algunas verdades fundamentales que generaciones anteriores consideraban indiscutibles han empezado a ponerse en duda. ¿Qué es una mujer? ¿Qué es un hombre? ¿Cómo podemos diferenciarlos?
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.
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.
Guardian columnist Owen Jones predicted last week that history will damn anti-trans zealots as it has judged those who resisted gay rights.
I’m a trans woman, so for me this is personal. Transphobic keyboard warriors have called for me to be sacked from my job as a teacher and a supposedly respectable Christian charity misgenders me deliberately on its website.
Self-declaration of legal gender is a reckless proposal that would deny trans people the opportunity to have their gender externally verified and force them to rely entirely on their own assertions. While that might work in some parts of society, it could be catastrophic for those living in hostile environments where their motives may be questioned and their claims disbelieved.
Trans rights were thrust back into mainstream politics this week when Jeremy Corbyn offered Labour Party support to government plans to reform the 2004 Gender Recognition Act.
The law is in desperate need of reform, but introducing gender identity as a protected characteristic and allowing people total freedom to self-identify their gender may not be the best way forward.