“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
Many of the posts on this blog have been written out of anger. This one is written more out of despair, which is why it’s been the hardest one I’ve ever had to write.
It’s about transgenderism. That will probably be enough to stop many of those who’ve read and enjoyed this blog in the past from reading any further. It appears to be a topic that skeptics don’t want to think deeply about and I can understand that – I didn’t myself for a long time. Sometimes things need to impinge on one’s personal life to make one sit up and take notice. This was the case for my husband – a respected and very active skeptic – whose interest in this topic only dates back to the events of 13 September 2017 at Speakers’ Corner.
But sometimes it’s simply a matter of having one’s eyes and mind open, seeing that harm is being done and wanting to do something about it. At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, that was what happened with me and why I became very concerned about a year ago when I was horrified by reactions to what seemed to me to be perfectly reasonable opinions expressed by Dame Jenni Murray in the Sunday Times, by seeing a local newspaper report on a fugitive convicted rapist referred to as “she” throughout and by becoming aware of a website called terf is a slur, which documented tweets made by trans activists about women who disagree with them. The hatred, the vile sexual taunts, the exhortations to assault and kill those women labelled ‘TERFs‘ for having the temerity to disagree, shocked me to the core.
Since then, I have immersed myself deeply in the subject and read everything I can get my hands on from every point of view. I’ve collected several hundred links that I’ve put on a website I’ve made called Peak Trans. One purpose of this post is to introduce that website to those who don’t already know it.
Warning: one “skeptic” who saw it today called it “TERF central”, which leads me to the main purpose of this post and that is to ask:
“What the hell is going on with skeptics?”
Helen Steel, one of the heroic McLibel Two and a Spycops abuse survivor, is being treated like shit by what appears to be a large section of the supposedly ‘anarchist community’, for want of a better term. They are offended by her having the temerity to try and protect women against bullying and intimidation by trans activists and their allies.
In solidarity with Helen, I am republishing below a statement she made about events that took place at the Anarchist Bookfair last weekend and I would urge that it is read by all those who consider themselves feminists as well as all skeptics.
Alternatively, you could continue to ring-fence trans ideology from skeptical inquiry and carry on like this. It’s up to you.
Edited to add: Here is a video of a moving talk Helen gave on 23 November 2017.
Statement on events at Anarchist Bookfair 2017 – By Helen Steel
“I was in the process of writing a longer article around the events at the Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday, but I am also trying to stay on top of the rest of my life while dealing with the horrendous bullying of people around me which is underway by some trans activists and allies. I have been traumatised by my experiences on Saturday and by events since, resulting in a lack of sleep and inability to concentrate. I wanted to complete the longer article, but as lies are being circulated by those who attacked me, I feel I have to put out a shorter statement now.
When I refer to trans activists in this statement I mean people who are activists on trans issues, I do not mean that all of them were trans, nor that they represent the views of all trans identifying people. For those who don’t know what TERF means, it is an acronym for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, but whatever its origins it is currently used as a term of abuse to dehumanise women and so excuse violence and bullying against them.
I thank everyone who is taking a stand against bullying and I urge more people to stand in solidarity too. Those trans activists and allies who are carrying out the bullying can be defeated by growing numbers of people resisting that bullying. This will facilitate a proper space for the concerns of women and trans identifying people to be discussed.
Short statement on the facts:
Edited to add: check out my new blog at Peakers’ Corner!
It’s been a couple of years since I last felt compelled to add to this blog but that has changed in the fortnight since I was a victim of assault, criminal damage and theft at Speakers’ Corner on Wednesday, 13 September. That corner of Hyde Park is, of course, historically associated with free speech. The irony that I was assaulted for filming a group of people trying hard to close down the free speech of others isn’t lost on many who’ve commented already on the incident. You’ll find a list of blogs and articles at the bottom.
And in case I forget, I’d like to thank every person who has messaged, tweeted, commented and written their support for me. You have helped me to rise above it all and stay sane. Here are three videos showing what happened from different angles.
Readers familiar with this blog may be surprised to discover that the hundreds of people who apparently think I deserved to be beaten up aren’t all homeopaths. The overwhelming majority hate me because I wanted to hear from speakers with a different view on transgenderism. The accusation – which is repeated ad nauseum by trans activists – that if we don’t see things their way, if we are concerned with the implications of the proposed legislative changes on the lives of women and girls, if we criticise any part of trans ideology, then we are responsible for causing mental health problems, suicide attempts or the violence they suffer from other people, is so patently ludicrous that it isn’t really surprising that all they can do is shout, insult, gaslight and abuse. There is simply no danger of their ever making a coherent argument that can be taken half-seriously and, at some level, I think they know this.
For those who don’t know the story, a meeting about proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act was due to be held at the New Cross Learning Centre – opposite Goldsmiths University in South East London – that evening but after a bullying campaign (documented here) by people who just can’t bear the thought of anyone saying anything that might hurt their feelings, the Centre cancelled at very short notice. Continue reading
If you leave a window of your house open when you go out, then come home to find you’ve been burgled, whose fault is it?
What if property is stolen from your car after you left it unlocked – who is to blame for the theft?
If you get roaring drunk on a night out, fall asleep on the bus home and end up at the terminus to find your wallet’s been nicked from your pocket – who is the culpable party?
In all such cases, haven’t you been a bit of an idiot?
I started this post yesterday, feeling I should write one to commemorate the anniversary of this blog, which began a year ago on International Women’s Day.
On the same day 37 years ago today, I went on my first march for women’s liberation in central London. We demanded an end to discrimination in education and the workplace, as well as contraception, abortion and nursery places for all who needed them. We protested about the demeaning way women were presented by various media and we challenged the ideology that women were responsible for the hateful way we were perceived and portrayed and for the sexual harrassment and violence visited upon us. 37 years ago, if I’d looked this far into the future, I would have expected International Women’s Day 2010 to be a day of celebration. Continue reading
The No Sharia: One Law for All campaign was launched at the House of Lords on International Human Rights Day (10 December 2008). I attended the launch and, yesterday, I marked International Women’s Day by joining several hundred protesters at the anti-Sharia demo in Trafalgar Square for a march to Red Lion Square. Continue reading