No, inclusivity does not mean everyone has to have the same opinion as you
I’ve written before about absurdities in discussions of trans issues. How self-declared progressives came to promote violence against non-compliant women and to call sexual attraction transphobic is surely a wonder of the age.
It often seems that when progressive politics talks about diversity and inclusion, what it really means is everyone having the one, same, correct opinion on important issues.
This is endemic in trans activism, as shown by the evolution of the UK’s leading LGBT charity Stonewall, which it says:
…was founded in 1989 by people whose aim was to create a highly professional lobbying organisation to put the case for sexual orientation equality on the mainstream political agenda.
In 2015 Stonewall issued a report, setting out to be more inclusive on trans issues. One area it promised to focus on was takling “transphobia”. That word was not defined. As Stonewall noted:
Language and definitions are changing rapidly in this area and it is possible that… definition[s]… will not remain accurate after… publication
At that time, Stonewall made a political decision about who to include in their activism. Interviewed in the Guardian in 2019, their then out-going Chief Executive Ruth Hunt explained:
“There is a group of people who believe trans women are men and there is nothing that will change that. There is a group of people who believe trans women are trans women and it’s all a bit puzzling, can we have a chat about it? And there’s a group that think trans women are women and that’s the camp Stonewall supporters are in.”
This bears further examination.
Gender non-conformity is as old as (if not older than) humanity, and various cultures have recognised that with “third genders”, but no culture anywhere ever thought that any man who declared himself a woman was an actual woman until contemporary Gender Theory arose in the late 20th Century.
Thus, what Stonewall chose to represent in 2015 was an ideological view of gender that was not only new and Western but which excluded gender non-conforming people (and everyone else) who did not share that new, Western ideological belief.
In other words, Stonewall chose to be inclusive of this new ideological belief, and exclusive of anyone who questioned it.
It does not matter that you are a well-meaning Muslim immigrant, a long-time feminist or LGBT campaigner, or even transsexual — if you do not comply with the required belief that “trans women are women” in all cases without exception, you are not welcome at Stonewall, or indeed within mainstream trans activism.
This has given rise to the absurd situation where non-conforming trans women like Debbie Hayton and Miranda Yardley have faced accusations of hate speech and worse for having ideologically wrong opinions about their own biology, and where trans men like Buck Angel are regularly abused by self-declared trans activists for using terms which they have arbitrarily declared outdated.
By choosing to promote this exclusive narrative, Stonewall and other self-declared pro-trans lobbying organizations such as the publication Pink News are feeding a dangerous narrative purity spiral, where comments in support of trans people are seen as egregious attacks, and staunch pro-trans allies are hounded from social media for wrongthink.
The writer J.K. Rowling and the athlete and long-time LGB campaigner Martina Navratilova were both declared unpersons by mainstream trans activism for daring to qualify their support for trans ideology.
For Aja Romano writing in Vox magazine, J.K. Rowling’s idea that women should not lose their jobs for stating sex is real was “transphobic bullshit”.
Trans writer Cassie Brighter complained:
“Dress however you like” is code for “trans women are not women, they’re men in dresses”. “Call yourself whatever you like” is code for “you can go around calling yourself a girl, or a bird, or a penguin for all I care — but of course that’s not real.”
Even the judge in the case J. K. Rowling referred to said in his judgement:
“I conclude from … the totality of the evidence, that [the defendant] is absolutist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”
No-one should be subject to harassment, of course, and every individual should be respected: but to state that the “belief” that humans cannot change sex is “not worthy of respect in a democratic society” is truly remarkable.
No culture anywhere in all of history ever had any trouble telling apart biological men from biological women, or homosexual from heterosexual behaviour, for the purposes of sex and discrimination. To this day women, girls and same-sex attracted persons are repressed worldwide on the basis of sex. To pretend denying the reality of sex does not create an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment” for women, gays and lesbians goes beyond a legal fiction to outright Lysenkoist reality-denial.
For trans activism and allyship, however, only absolute ideological compliance will do.
More recently, long-time trans ally, wife of a trans woman and mother of a trans child Amanda Jetté Knox was hounded from Twitter by trans activists outraged that she was insufficiently supportive of trans people.
Indeed, it has become entirely routine for online trans activists and their allies to promote hatred and violence against women (and everyone else) not seen to be sufficiently supportive. These wrongthinkers, dubbed “TERFs” (once an abbreviation for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”, but now just a misogynistic term of abuse) are bizarrely called “bigots” for having different opinions. The word “bigot”, of course, literally means:
a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.
Facebook, which routinely issues bans for even criticising intolerance elsewhere, openly allows threats and the promotion of violence aimed at women labelled TERFs.
Stonewall’s Ruth Hunt interviewed by Owen Jones for the Guardian in 2018, talked of
her shock at the level of vitriol directed at transgender and non-binary people. She says the scale of abuse in the UK has contributed to high levels of self-harm, mental illness and suicidal thoughts in trans communities
But surely, it is time to consider the damage that trans activism’s own exclusive, intolerant, and bigoted message, that anyone with an even slightly different opinion should be excluded from the debate, is doing for the mental health of trans communities and their allies.
In an effort to shift the narrative on these issues, a new organisation — the LGB Alliance — was formed in 2019 with a mission to
“counteract the confusion between sex and gender which is now widespread in the public sector and elsewhere.”
Bev Jackson, a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front and spokesperson for LGB Alliance, told The Independent:
“We did not, do not, exclude trans people. Several trans people attended the meeting, one as a guest speaker. We are not attacking trans people.”
“Our group focuses on sexual orientation. This has become necessary, because lesbians in particular, and recently gay men too, are suffering from the confusion between sex and gender. Lesbians and gay men are people who are attracted to others of the same sex. I fought for their rights to be respected fifty years ago and am sad that I need to defend those rights again today.”
The group has been immediately roundly accused of “hate speech” and “transphobia” by trans activists, who worked to prevent the Alliance from gaining charitable status and even being able to raise funds.
The raging intolerance of trans activism against LGBT people with wrong opinions about themselves is also shown by Pink News’ editor Ryan Butcher’s immediate grovelling climbdown after he suggested sharing a platform with the LGB Alliance to discuss how they were a “transphobic hate group”.
In 2020, the drive for totalitarian groupthink is so strong that even discussing the possibility of other opinions is seen as “demonising” trans folks.
This situation is insane. Women and LGBT people talking about themselves and their own concerns is now considered “hate speech” and a “phobia”.
This thinking has so infiltrated institutions and public policy that the Scottish Government has recently introduced a bill that could, it seems, deem suggesting that crossdressers are not actual women worthy of seven years imprisonment.
So where do we go from here? I hope we can take time to reflect on the fact that that there are many different views in the gender debate and that any situation which leads to trans people being criminalised for having wrong opinions about themselves is ludicrous.
Inclusivity does not mean everyone has to have the same opinion as you, after all. That would be rigid ideological conformity.
What I ask you to consider, gentle reader, is who is doing the demonising…