Stop erasing us

Sep 24th, 2021 2:40 pm | By

God damn NPR.

The U.S. House on Friday approved a bill that Democrats say will protect a person’s access to abortion.

A WOMAN’S.

A woman’s, god damn it; if it were a man’s no bill would be needed. Say the damn word. Say our name.

Passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act to floor is a response to a Texas law that essentially bans abortion after six weeks, before most people realize they are pregnant.

WOMEN. Before most WOMEN realize they’re pregnant.

The Women’s Health Protection Act would protect a person’s ability to decide to continue or end a pregnancy and would enshrine into law health care providers’ ability to offer abortion services “prior to fetal viability” without restrictions imposed by individual states, like requiring special admitting privileges for providers or imposing waiting periods.

WOMAN’S. A WOMAN’S ability to decide to continue or end a pregnancy. It’s right there in the title of the bill so DON’T CHANGE IT. It’s about women. It’s not about men. Men don’t do this to men; people don’t do this to men. It’s only women who get bullied this way. SAY OUR NAME.

The reporter who wrote this idiotic piece is called Barbara Sprunt. Would she like us to call her Robert?



Send those imported consumer goods

Sep 24th, 2021 11:40 am | By

On the one hand, global warming is rapidly getting worse, on the other hand

Southern California is dealing with a traffic jam unlike any other, as a record number of container ships have been stuck waiting in the waters outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to unload cargo.

The bottleneck this week at America’s busiest port complex is the result of a shortage of trucks and drivers to pick up goods, coupled with an overwhelming demand for imported consumer products.

Let’s import all the things! Let’s ship stuff back and forth so that we can dump ever more carbon into the environment!

As of Wednesday, 62 container ships were waiting offshore to unload cargo, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

The backup of ships has grown since last week, when 60 ships were waiting to unload. On Sunday, there were a record 73 cargo ships waiting to enter the ports.

With the peak shipping period getting under way as the holiday shopping season approaches, in recent weeks the ports have been setting new records for ships in port almost daily. Traffic has been rising since last summer amid a pandemic-induced buying boom that created a backlog at both ports and overwhelmed the workforce, some of whom were themselves recovering from Covid.

Meanwhile, on another channel, the climate emergency gets worse every day.

“The port of Long Beach is prepared to take bold and immediate action to help the supply chain move the record cargo volumes that keep our economy moving,” said Mario Cordero, the executive director the the port.

And our planet heating.



Harsh

Sep 24th, 2021 11:18 am | By

Evil mullah promises to continue to be evil.

The Taliban will resume executions and the amputation of hands for criminals they convict, in a return to their harsh version of Islamic justice.

Which tells you everything you need to know about their religion.

In an interview with Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi – who was justice minister and head of the so-called ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice during the Taliban’s previous rule – dismissed outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, and warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan’s new rulers.

“Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi said in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Qur’an.”

Yes we will, and he can’t stop us. Unless and until his loathsome religion takes over the world, we damn well will tell them and everyone that their laws are disgusting. Fuck the Qur’an.



Audit gone wild

Sep 24th, 2021 11:09 am | By

Aw imagine going to all the trouble of an audit only to find your opponent does even better.

A partisan, Republican-instigated so-called “audit” of the 2020 election result in Arizona has confirmed that Joe Biden did indeed beat Donald Trump in Maricopa county, the state’s most populous county, according to a draft report of the review.

A month-long hand count of the 2.1m ballots cast in Maricopa county, which includes Phoenix, found that Biden actually won 360 more votes than Trump than was reported in the November election. Biden won Arizona’s 11 electoral votes on his way to getting more votes nationally than any presidential candidate in history during the election.

I think “Biden actually won 360 more votes than Trump than was reported” should read “Biden actually defeated Trump by 360 more votes than was reported.”

The investigation is the most extensive partisan effort to date to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 election and has been widely celebrated by Trump and allies who falsely believe the election is stolen.

So now they’re stuck with it.

Regardless of what the report says, Republican efforts to conduct similar reviews are underway. Republicans in both the Wisconsin and Pennsylvania legislatures are moving forward with similar investigations into the 2020 race. And on Thursday, Trump called for a review of the 2020 race in Texas, a state he carried in 2020 by nearly six points. Experts worry that the reviews suggest a new normal, where the losers of elections simply refuse to accept the results.

That would be bad.



People who menstruate

Sep 24th, 2021 9:43 am | By

She’s a senior editor at The Lancet. Her review starts well –

The silence, shame, and stigma surrounding menstruation are increasingly being challenged from various cultural domains…In some settings, period poverty, combined with shame and insufficient knowledge about menstruation, can lead to missing school, thus threatening girls’ education. From among a new wave of activists stepping up to address this issue came director Rayka Zehtabchi and producer Melissa Berton’s Oscar-winning documentary film, Period. End of Sentence. (2018), which follows a group of young women in an Indian village as they learn how to operate a machine that makes low-cost sanitary pads, empowering the women economically and challenging stigmas.

What a relief. Some people still manage to say the words “girls” and “women” when talking about subjects like menstruation.

And on the heels of that documentary is a new book by Anita Diamant, Period. End of Sentence. A New Chapter in the Fight for Menstrual Justice (2021). Weaving together reclaimed traditions with personal accounts from menstruators around the world, Diamant shows just how much our stories matter.

Oh damn. I spoke too soon. That’s the very first paragraph, so…

 Taking a historical approach felt like a natural step for the Vagina Museum, according to its director, Florence Schechter. “One of the questions that we always get at the Vagina Museum is ‘what did people do in the past with their periods?’”, she told me.

People? Why would she say people?

It’s not a nitpick by the way. Menstruation is one of the aspects of being female that cause disadvantage, ostracism, disgust, fear, violence.

Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected—for example, the paucity in understanding of endometriosis and the way women’s pain has been seen as more likely to have an emotional or psychological cause, a hangover from centuries of theorising about hysteria.

Is “bodies with vaginas” there an evasion or an emphasis? Since it goes on to say “women’s pain” it could be emphasis rather than evasion, or it could be some of each.

Menstruation is a difficult topic to collate museum objects around, but although the exhibition depends heavily on text, objects are also displayed that help create a rich experience and reveal how people who menstruate have dealt with their periods at different times.

If it had been people, though, the whole subject would be radically different. It’s because it was only women who did that menstruation was seen as dangerous, witchy, toxic.

Punctuating the display are various artworks: enormous custom-made menstrual cups and tampons, complete with red sequins that glitter as if in defiance of the centuries of negativity; standing in front of them felt like a celebration.

What about that negativity though? Who was the target of it? Was it people? Was it men? No. Who then?

The final paragraph kind of contradicts some of the rest of the review.

The lockdown confinement has highlighted the importance of physical places like museums. This exhibition is particularly special in its focus on gendered histories, the medical visibility of women’s bodies, and the cultural movement against menstrual shame and period poverty.

I wonder if the concealing language was forced on her.

Updating to add: But the Lancet chose one of the “people” versions for the pull-quote.



Unless they’re terfs eh OJ?

Sep 24th, 2021 8:58 am | By

Why would anyone get Owen Jones onto a tv news show to talk about violence against women? Of all people? Owen Jones doesn’t give a rat’s ass about women. He’s one of the throwers-overboard, like Keir Starmer and the rest of them.



In specific circumstances

Sep 24th, 2021 8:48 am | By

Selina Todd says Labour should be the party for women but these days isn’t so much.

But recently it hasn’t been clear that a future Labour government would define women in a way that makes sense to anyone with a basic grasp of biology, let alone advance their equality.

Party activists and prominent MPs claim that men’s exclusion from women’s changing rooms, hospital wards and sports is ‘transphobic’. Labour backbencher Rosie Duffield’s support for women’s sex-based rights provoked threats. The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, remained silent.

By doing so he reminded women for the billionth time that we will be thrown overboard the instant the sea gets a little rough.

Until now. This week, Starmer’s spokesman announced that Labour will ‘support the implementation of the Equality Act, including the single-sex exemption which allows the provision of women-only spaces’…

Starmer clearly hopes this announcement will keep those on both sides of this debate quiet. His spokesman later clarified that Labour would only support single sex provisions for women ‘in specific circumstances.’

Why? Why do women have to be policed this way? Why do women’s needs and wants come second to other people’s? Why are women treated as the dominant and privileged party in these disputes? When was it decided that women are the oppressors and men are the oppressed?

Ignoring sex doesn’t make sex-based discrimination and harassment go away, it just prevents you from dealing with it. Keir Starmer should reclaim Labour’s history of standing up for women’s rights. Otherwise the spectre of Jo Swinson — who was unable to define ‘woman’ on BBC Radio 4’s Today show , and shortly afterwards lost her seat and her leadership of the Liberal Democrats — may return to haunt him.

Also, otherwise he’s a sexist asshole.



Priss nixes chat

Sep 23rd, 2021 4:18 pm | By

Good bit of No thanks Choss, aka lèse-majesté:

Channel 4 News has turned down an interview with the Prince of Wales after refusing to sign a “draconian” contract with a string of demands including the pre-vetting of all questions and right to control editing.

They don’t half think well of themselves, do they, the royals.

The extremely tight level of control and censorship has not stopped some outlets from broadcasting interviews: Sky News ran an interview late last month covering topics including global warming

Why talk to Choss about global warming though? There are thousands of people who know more about it, so why talk to the son of the daughter of the son of the yadda yadda yadda just because he’s famous and rich?

Channel 4 News felt that it could not conduct an interview under such terms, which included a 15-page contract full of limitations and restrictions. It cancelled an interview with Prince Charles that was due to be conducted by Jon Snow on Sunday at the British ambassador’s residence in Paris, on the eve of the Paris climate change talks.

Silly idea anyway. He’s just a royal. He can use his position to draw attention to the problem, that’s sensible enough, but the detail work should be by people who really know something.

The contractual stipulations surrounding Prince Charles were first made public by the Independent, which cited clauses in the contract such as: if the interviewer goes off script, Clarence House staff present have the right to “intervene and halt filming”.

Diddums is so fragile he has to have staff present?



Labour women

Sep 23rd, 2021 3:46 pm | By

Labour shenanigans tonight:



The ACLU does know how to talk about women

Sep 23rd, 2021 1:28 pm | By

The ACLU website, surprisingly, has a section for women’s rights.

A look back at history shows that women have made great strides in the fight for equality, including women’s suffrage and inroads in equal opportunity in the workplace and education. 

Despite the tremendous progress made in the struggle for gender equality, women still face violence, discrimination, and institutional barriers to equal participation in society. 

Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project pushes for change and systemic reform in institutions that perpetuate discrimination against women, focusing its work in the areas of employment, violence against women, and education.  

I wonder if they’ll be updating the wording.

In the employment realm, laws and workplace policies that exclude women from certain job sectors and allow them to be forced out of the workplace when they become pregnant or return to work after having a baby cause persistent disparities in women’s income, wealth, and economic security. 

Notice what that doesn’t say. It doesn’t say “laws and workplace policies that exclude people from certain job sectors and allow them to be forced out of the workplace when they become pregnant or return to work after having a baby cause persistent disparities in people’s income, wealth, and economic security.” It’s interesting that the ACLU as a whole is allowed to talk about women but the Twitter account is not.

Survivors of gender-based violence face discrimination when police, schools, landlords, and other institutions fail to adequately address and prevent violence and also when laws and policies penalize them, impeding the ability of women and girls to live safely and with dignity.

The ACLU should study its own page.

Under Current Issues we get Pregnancy and Parenting Discrimination. Again, no move to replace “women” with “people.”

Firing women because they are pregnant, or treating pregnant workers worse than other workers who are also temporarily unable to perform some aspects of a job, has been illegal since 1978, when Congress enacted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. But employers still do it, and, unfortunately, some courts have upheld these practices when employers come up with a “pregnancy-blind” reason to leave pregnant workers out in the cold. When women are pushed out of the workplace, they lose important income and benefits, contributing to a gender wealth gap between men and women. After they give birth, women workers are the targets of discrimination if they need to pump breast milk to remain on the job. The ACLU has long fought back against these discriminatory practices in the courts and legislatures.

They do say “pregnant workers” twice but they say “women” four times so I’ll not gripe.



Not with the fried jalapeños

Sep 23rd, 2021 12:10 pm | By

Texas Freedom:

Natalie Wester and her husband were waiting for their appetizer to arrive when the server came to their table, not with the fried jalapeños, but an ultimatum.

Take your masks off or get out.

On Sept. 10, the couple left their 4-month-old son, Austin, with his maternal grandmother and went to Hang Time Sports Grill & Bar in Rowlett, Tex., a Dallas suburb — a rare night out for the young parents, Wester told The Washington Post…

]T]hey got kicked out in what Wester called a “bizarre” incident because they chose to wear masks to protect Austin, who has cystic fibrosis and is immunocompromised. The restaurant bans customers from wearing masks as part of its dress code, something owner Tom Blackmer said is his right as someone who purchased and has invested in a private business.

Except that it’s not a dress code, it’s a medical issue.

After they made their way into the restaurant, Wester and her husband, 25-year-old Jose Lopez, put the masks back on, met some friends and ordered drinks and an appetizer.

About 30 minutes later, their server came over and sat next to Wester. She told her that the manager had sent her “because I am nicer than he is. … But this is political and I need you to take your masks off.”

But this is not political, it’s simply made political by fanatical I can do whatever I wanters.

Wester and Lopez left the restaurant.



Online resale tips and vaccine denialism

Sep 23rd, 2021 11:51 am | By

Oops.

Two Alabama YouTubers who became known for online resale tips and vaccine denialism have both died of COVID-19. Tristan Graham succumbed to the virus three weeks ago in Huntsville, and Dusty Graham died Thursday, according to the GoFundMe page operated by their children. In one of the final videos on their now-deleted channel, “We are ALIVE and still Reselling on eBay,” the couple discussed why they would never get immunized. Dusty said, “I’ve got my own passport. It’s called the ‘Bill of Rights.’ I think this will be all behind us in a couple of years.” The couple blogged under the moniker “Alabama Pickers” about the best ways to resell secondhand items on eBay.

They encouraged other people to be Covid “skeptics.” That’s not a good thing to do.



In a dream

Sep 23rd, 2021 11:30 am | By

Even shamans aren’t safe.

A Sri Lankan shaman who touted a potion which he said would protect people against Covid-19 has died with the disease, his family says.

Of the disease rather than with it, I think. The disease unfortunately is not dead at all.

Eliyantha White treated sports stars and top politicians with the potion, which he said came to him in a dream.

The sports stars and top politicians must be pretty dim. Medicine via dream is not really the way to go.

His potion was publicly endorsed by Sri Lanka’s former health minister, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, who subsequently spent two weeks in intensive care with Covid.

Former health minister endorses dream-based potion to prevent lethal disease. Shouldn’t health ministers know better than that?



Some [people]

Sep 23rd, 2021 10:45 am | By

It’s annoying having to agree with the Federalist and disagree with the ACLU but it happens, especially when the ACLU has been hypnotized by the gender fanatics.

The American Civil Liberties Union erased women this week when it tweeted an altered quote from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, removing the words “women,” “her,” and “she” from the quotation. 

This incident is one more example of the left’s overarching campaign to erase women by undermining and distorting our understanding of gender as a scientifically legitimate category of classification.

This is where it gets annoying. Since when has the left campaigned to erase women??? The left got a massive wake-up slap on that subject more than 50 years ago, and since then it’s been the right campaigning to maintain the gender status quo and the left campaigning to bring women out of the kitchen…until the last few years.

The altered quote follows leftists like Rep. Cori Bush using the phrase “birthing persons,” and the pro-abortion organization NARAL defending her use of the term, saying that “it’s not just cis-gender women can get pregnant and give birth.” The Biden administration even erased women when it replaced “mothers” with “birthing people” in maternal health guidance.

Also irritating to agree with National Review:

Ginsburg’s oft-stated view was that the legal right to abortion was necessary in order to give women equality with men, because men did not have to fear unwanted pregnancies. To remove the references to sex is to destroy this argument and to substitute in a completely new one.

Because men didn’t have to fear unwanted pregnancies or go through them or have their lives disrupted by them. Men didn’t have to give birth to babies they never wanted to conceive. Men could plan their lives with a sense of confidence and freedom that wasn’t fully available to women.

Most of those who have criticized the ACLU for this behavior have noted that, once again, the organization has caved to the terminally woke. And, indeed, it has. But there is another point that needs making, and that is that what the ACLU has done here represents a flat-out repudiation of the core value for which the ACLU is supposed to stand: anti-censorship.

Altering people’s speech so that it fits in with contemporary societal norms is censorship. Yes, it’s also pathetic and revisionist and Stalinist and manipulative and, sadly, wholly indicative of where the Left seems ineluctably to be headed these days. And no, it’s not the same — or as bad — as when the government does it. But it’s censorship nevertheless. For whatever reason, the ACLU is scared of offending people who believe that it is bigoted to imply that only woman can have babies. And so, in an attempt to head off their criticism, it has altered a famous quote from a famous woman who implied that only women can have babies. In doing this, it has censored her.

She didn’t so much imply it as take it for granted, as she took for granted that everyone knows what a woman is, and what laws are, and what pregnancy is, and what unwanted pregnancy is, and similar basics. There’s no need to imply what everyone already knows. (Sometimes what everyone already knows is wrong…but other times it isn’t.)

In 1861, Alexander Stephens said of the Confederacy: “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man.” Mercifully, this idea does not fit well with our modern sensibilities (or, for that matter, with the Declaration’s). Should the United Daughters of the Confederacy follow the ACLU’s lead and respond to this by redacting the parts of the sentence that give it its core meaning? Should they attempt to limit the discomfort of their members by amending the quote so that it reads:

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that [some people] [are] not equal to [other people].

And if not, why not? The claim that they’re different because one is being done “for bad” and one is being done “for good” is just special pleading. Indeed, it is worse than special pleading: It is the acceptance of the Soviet-esque idea that it is acceptable to rewrite history if it helps the cause of progress. Everyone in America should reject this. But the ACLU? They should be setting their hair alight.

Instead, they’re setting ours alight.



Is this actually harming anyone?

Sep 23rd, 2021 9:10 am | By

Pretending not to see.

“Inclusive” language forsooth – it’s not inclusive at all, it excludes women from discussion of our own rights. Altering an existing (and quite famous) quotation defending women’s rights to remove all mention of women is obvious and grotesque exclusion of women. That guys like this pretend not to see it is infuriating. (He’s not stupid; I checked. He’s not stupid, he’s doing it on purpose.)

Wtf? They removed five of her words from a 54-word passage. They systematically removed “women” and “her” from a passage about women’s rights. How could anyone get a different “impression”?

Brackets commonly denote a minor change for reasons of clarity or accuracy, they don’t commonly denote swapping multiple words that change the meaning to its opposite. No newspaper or magazine editor would countenance that kind of “changing a word in a quote” unless it were introduced with “consider how the passage would look altered thus” or similar. So yes it fucking is a misquote, because it’s radically different from what RBG said.



Living within brackets

Sep 23rd, 2021 8:22 am | By

I’m not the only one (we’re not the only ones) in a towering rage.

That, what Victoria said. That’s what I meant by the strangled yowl “without ‘woman’ IT MAKES NO SENSE.” If you remove “woman” wtf are you even talking about? Just random incidents floating past, not systematic subordination of a specific category of people.



They used to know who she was

Sep 22nd, 2021 4:21 pm | By

Oh gosh look what have we here, why it’s an article at the ACLU about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s role as the founding director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. The WOMEN’S Rights Project. Not the People’s Rights Project, not the Everybody’s Rights Project, not the I Don’t See Color Or Sex Project, but the WOMEN’S Rights Project. But fast forward a year (the article is only a year old) and we get some moronic “activist” actually deleting her words and replacing them with words that pretend women don’t exist.

The article is by Aryeh Neier, former Executive Director of the ACLU, and it’s about RBG as head of the new Women’s Rights Project. WOMEN’S.

Half a century ago, in October 1970, I became the executive director of the ACLU. I had a wish list, and foremost on the list was the establishment of a Women’s Rights Project.

I had been involved in a few women’s rights cases in my previous post as director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. My wife, who was a young corporate executive at a time when not many women held such posts, encountered discrimination against women on a regular basis. Most importantly, a feminist movement had been reborn in the late 1960s, and I wanted the ACLU to be part of it and to contribute expertise in litigation.

Fast forward 50 years and the ACLU is determinedly removing the word “women” from its press statements. They should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

I heard that the New Jersey ACLU had secured the volunteer assistance of a professor at Rutgers Law School who had done excellent work. Her name was Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I called her to arrange an interview.

Ruth impressed me when I met her, but what really captivated me was the quality of her written work. Her legal pleadings and briefs were powerfully argued and beautifully written, and the dominant theme that emerged from them was that women and men should not be limited by sexual stereotypes. Men could be nurturing parents and caregivers, women could be breadwinners, and both were entitled to equal treatment.

Without the ACLU job maybe she wouldn’t have been in the running for the Supreme Court, maybe Bill Clinton wouldn’t have thought of her. Yet now they’re removing the word “women” when they quote her.



Without “woman” IT MAKES NO SENSE

Sep 22nd, 2021 3:45 pm | By

This is fucking outrageous.

You see what they did there? They rewrote her words!

The words are from her testimony to the Judiciary Committee when she was nominated to the Supreme Court. They’re her words, not the ACLU’s words, and the fact that she’s talking about women in them is very very central to their meaning and importance and role in history. The ACLU has some fucking gall “correcting” them. I feel like sending them an invoice on behalf of every woman who ever donated to them – pay it all back you fucks.

Also – check it out: the Georgia ACLU managed to quote her own words in April 2019, without feeling entitled to remove the words “women” and “her” and “she” from them.

May be an image of ‎1 person and ‎text that says '‎The decision whether or not to bear a child is essential to a woman's life, to her well-being and dignity. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices. JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG PHOTO.e. ACLU the h ۔ tates Georgia‎'‎‎

I wish I could throw a bunch of rotting potatoes at whatever twerp at the ACLU did this. If it’s Chase Strangio I hope he gets fired.



Little or no follow-up

Sep 22nd, 2021 2:44 pm | By

The familiar story

Mecklenburg County [North Carolina] District Attorney Spencer Merriweather said he will not order an outside review of reported rapes and sexual assaults at Myers Park High School by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation.

Merriweather, through a spokeswoman, refused to answer questions about whether he had confidence that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department appropriately investigated six reported cases of rape and sexual assault that have been detailed in WBTV investigations.

The six women who reported their cases to both police and administrators said they had little or no follow-up from police. In one case, WBTV has confirmed, a CMPD school resource officer assigned to Myers Park didn’t even fill out a police report detailing the reported rape.

Maybe the police had good reasons in all six cases…but the statistics on rape prosecutions are horrifying. Only a tiny percent go to trial and only a tiny percent of those result in convictions. Do we think they’re all just a little misunderstanding?

[O]ne former local prosecutor, who now works in private practice as a criminal defense attorney, questioned why CMPD didn’t take basic steps to investigate the reported rapes and sexual assaults, including having the students participate in a forensic interview.

“There’s trained social workers. There are trained interviewers that are meant not to lead the alleged victims down a path of saying certain things happened but, at the same time, acknowledging the complications with talking to a sexual assault victim, or somebody that’s reporting that,” Jeremy Smith, the former local prosecutor said.

Yes but rape is hard to prosecute so…we don’t.

Smith said that, in his time as a prosecutor, sexual assault cases were among the toughest cases to charge and required extensive investigation by police.

“It sounds like, here, it never got past step one,” he said.

Oh well, it’s only girls.

H/t Rob



The desire to make certain views unchallengeable

Sep 22nd, 2021 11:30 am | By

Helen Dale reviews Helen Joyce’s Trans:

Trans people are, after all, a small proportion of the population, whose individual cases are riddled with complexities. And yet we’re currently being offered striking and simplistic narratives that must be upheld if one is to be considered among the morally meritorious. It’s why I don’t want to write about trans issues with the same enthusiasm I did about Brexit. If you’re interested in intellectual history, constitutional law, and parliamentary procedure, then Brexit was like Christmas morning. Apart from certain Continuity Remain conspiracists and Leaverish swear-bears – both easily avoided – the arguments for and against were finely balanced. 

Trans isn’t like that. One ‘side’ is clearly right; the other ‘side’ is clearly wrong. Yet it’s the side that punches through wrong and comes out near Young Earth Creationism that, until recently, held the upper hand in local controversies and still does in the United States.

Like Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds, Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage, and Kathleen Stock’s Material GirlsTrans brings out what happens when people gain social approbation by endorsing ‘high status’ narratives. Much of this status enhancement turns on believing a mental illness requiring treatment (gender dysphoria) and the behaviour attaching to it (gender non-conformity and bodily discomfort) amount to a human rights claim requiring public and legal affirmation.

Affirmation and, more intensely, validation. We have to “validate” the delusion, on pain of shunning and punishment.

The desire to make certain views unchallengeable means disagreements – especially those covered widely in the press – must be pathologised. Misrepresentation is rife, with criticism and debate offered by dissentients given implications that weren’t there and weren’t intended. This moves to catastrophising, whereby expressing any doubt is characterised in ways that invoke extinction. Stop Trans Genocide MMA fighter McLaughlan’s shirt read last Saturday. The classic catastrophising in trans activism is ‘you are erasing my/our/their existence’. 

Helen notes that the four books have different appeals, which she spells out for us so that we can pick just one. Murray and Stock both have a dry wit, she tells us.

If, however, you look to grasp the extent to which gender identity ideology, both academic and popular, bears comparison with the worst sort of pseudoscience, then Joyce is your pick. I suspect Richard Dawkins endorsed Trans because, as is his wont, he spotted a quasi-religious movement whose ultimate target is not Labour’s all-women shortlists or women’s sports or even feminism as a political ideology, but Charles Darwin and evolutionary biology and beyond that the scientific method itself.

I think it’s simpler and more basic than that. I think Dawkins, like so many of us, does not like being ordered to “validate” a lie. I’ve always liked this about him, though the liking was a bit occluded during the Elevatorgate era. I think it’s not limited to evolution or even science but to the much broader category of bullshit. We (those of us who do) think it’s bullshit, and shouting won’t make us stop thinking so.