When you say some things that some people don’t like

James Kirkup wrote about the Jenni Murray denunciation yesterday:

Here we go again. Perhaps there should be a template for journalists writing about transgender issues and the treatment of women with the “wrong” opinions. The template would look something like this:

A small group of noisy, angry people, many of them male, have demanded that [Insert woman’s name] not be allowed to speak/ appear/ have a job/ do anything because [woman] once said things the small group of people didn’t like or agree with.

Really, we could use it for so many cases and so many women: Germaine Greer, Julie Bindel, Janice Turner, Posy Parker, Linda Bellos…


And a great many more, and the ranks keep growing all the time.

This comes about because last year, Murray said some things that some people didn’t like. You can read about them here but the gist was that someone who is born male and has lived as a man cannot truly become a woman by use of either surgery or makeup, because biology and socialisation are, well, real and cannot be magicked away by someone’s words or feelings.

For those remarks, Murray must, of course, be cast into the outer darkness forever; nothing should ever be heard from her again, on any subject. Never mind that the Oxford event in question is a broad one about “Powerful Women in History”. Never mind that it will see Murray be questioned about her positions and views, explaining and answering for them. The mere fact that she once said something some people didn’t like means that hosting her and allowing her to speak (about any topic) is a harmful and transphobic act, at least according to our excitable young friends at Oxford.

Literally once. It was that one Times piece. One piece, expressing one view that they consider Forbidden, and they need to do their best to get her thrown out of everything they can reach.

There’s nothing new or surprising about this, of course. It’s just part of the same old story that’s seen those women I mentioned above face attempts to make them shut up. It’s also grimly consistent with the anti-intellectual, anti-evidence approach taken by rather too many people at universities and which has been described eloquently by Prof Kathleen Stock and colleagues here.

Kirkup ended on a cheerful note, because the History Society didn’t comply, but he had to update it today after Murray canceled.

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