Poison that well

This is a very bad and stupid piece of writing.

Earlier this month, the Seattle Public Library decided that it will allow a group of trans-exclusionary “radical feminists” (TERFs) to hold an event centered on rejecting the rights and identities of transgender people.

The first sentence, and already so bad. It wasn’t earlier this month, for a start, but more to the point, the library did not decide it will allow a group of trans-exclusionary “radical feminists” to hold an event centered on rejecting the rights and identities of transgender people. The library accepted a booking from a feminist group to discuss and defend the rights of women in the context of ever-broader demands from men who identify as women.

Following widespread objections and calls from the trans community to cancel the event, the library has responded with by-now predictable talking points about the value of, and need to protect, intellectual freedom, a response that self-professed defenders of free speech have praised.

Notice how casually the author takes it for granted that “the trans community” should be able to shut down a feminist event on demand. Notice the clumsy sarcasm about the value of intellectual freedom and the contempt for its defenders.

This conversation isn’t new — we’ve been having some version of it for years.

Not all that many years though. This fad for people to Identify As the sex they’re not and then bully everyone in sight on the strength of their new Idenninny has not been around all that long.

For TERFs, leaning on dogmatic conceptualizations of free speech has been a convenient way to push bigoted, pseudoscientific claims about gender. TERF ideology most basically characterizes trans women as men-pretending-to-be-women, allegedly to “invade” women-only spaces, assault women or otherwise exercise misogyny. These arguments rely on cherry-picked biology and function as dog whistles to stoke prejudice and trans panic. And, unsurprisingly, mainstream TERFs and free speech dogmatists are apparently all hanging out together.

The shocking thing? This person, Sam Sumpter, is a graduate student in philosophy.

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