How do you know when it’s malicious?

Some are more equal than others:

Green and other activists for transgender rights view it as deeply offensive to deliberately use the wrong pronoun for a trans person. Doing so could be an offence under the Malicious Communications Act, which makes it a crime to send messages that are indecent or grossly offensive, threatening, or contain information which is false or believed to be false, if the purpose for sending it is to cause distress or anxiety.

People can view anything as anything; that doesn’t make it true. People can “view” something as deeply offensive when it isn’t, or when reasonable people would agree it isn’t, or when reasonable people would disagree over whether it is or isn’t, and so on. “Deeply offensive” is an opinion word, and also an emotion pump. We’re supposed to feel an extra flush of anger because of the “deeply” – the offensiveness must be at the level of blasphemy or similar.

The reality is that many activists for transgender rights have made a lot of things “deeply offensive” by shouting about them for a long time without stopping. Sometimes when people do that it’s a good thing: slavery is “deeply offensive”; genocide is “deeply offensive”; white supremacy is “deeply offensive”; rape and sexual abuse are “deeply offensive.” But other times when people create a new category of “deeply offensive” it’s not a good thing. Whether and when and in what circumstances and for what reason someone “uses the wrong pronoun for a trans person” can vary, plus of course the claim that the pronoun is “wrong” is already debatable.

With all that, and more that one could say, it’s a little dubious to accept the claim that it in fact is “deeply offensive” to use a disfavored pronoun in a world where calling women cunts is laughed off.

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