She stated she would not be comfortable

Fran Cowles has written a piece explaining that she did not no-platform Peter Tatchell.

In an email to the event organiser, I personally declined an invitation to attend the ‘Re-Radicalising Queers’ event held at Canterbury Christ Church University on 15 February, where Peter would be giving the keynote address and sitting on the panel. I stated that I would not be comfortable, as I believe that Peter has not always acted in the best interests of trans, Muslim and Black communities, who experience disproportionate levels of discrimination and marginalisation within the LGBT movement and wider society. In addition, I provided the evidence which informed my opinion.

She doesn’t make clear why she felt it necessary to explain at all, rather than just declining or saying she couldn’t. But let’s assume she was right to feel it necessary, and look at what she said. Her explanation for not attending the event was that she believes that Peter has not always acted in the best interests of trans, Muslim and Black communities.

But who does always act in the best interests of anyone? How can we even know what that is? Why is failure to act in the best interests of various groups (they’re not “communities”) a reason to shun someone? Maybe she just thought that would be the most professional-seeming way of wording it, but to me it just exposes the extreme flimsiness and pettiness of her putative reason. I think what she means is that she’s heard that Tatchell isn’t a perfect “ally” to everyone in the universe, coupled with the fact that she thinks it’s the job of the left to shun everyone found to be not perfect.

It’s pathetic, childish stuff, and a very weak excuse for trashing Peter.

She goes on to do more of that.

Peter has arguably used questionable tactics in the past to achieve his aims, and, at times, used his public profile to advocate political positions which are not in the best interests of those he claims to represent. In my case, he has used his platform – which is considerably larger than mine – to denounce me as an LGBT activist purely because I do not wish to engage with him and do not agree with some of his views and tactics.

I don’t think Fran Cowling knows for sure what political positions are in the best interests of the people Peter advocates for (as opposed to claiming to represent, as Cowling snidely puts it). I don’t think her apparent certainty on the subject is a good reason for her to trash people who have risked a lot in advocating for a despised minority.

And that last bit is dishonest, because Peter has said very clearly that he went public because she trashed him to other people, not at all because he she doesn’t wish to engage with her him. She’s a bit of a coward as well as dim.

And then there’s a lot of paint-by-numbers garbage, all to justify demonizing him yet again for signing that letter last year defending freedom of speech. If that’s the left of tomorrow, it’s sad.

Edited to correct absent-minded transposition.

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