Oh alas, he is simply too nuanced for this hard world

Jolyon Maugham has returned to the fray.

A friend asks why I speak on the rare conflicts between trans and natal women’s rights: twitter is not a space for nuance, she says, and you persuade no-one.

But when we abandon a space to absolutists we allow stances to harden, and progress and resolution become tougher still.

Oh, he’s the one doing nuance, is he.

This was the nuance:

How the simple joy of sport can transcend fear and hate. Wonderful reporting.

That was the “nuanced” tweet linking to the BBC’s ridiculous and insulting article on the huge man who is playing rugby on a women’s team, the article that laughed at the danger that he would injure some unfortunate woman. Where exactly is the nuance in “wonderful reporting”?

As for absolutists…absolutist about what? Not wanting men to force their way onto women’s teams or into women’s competitions, thus endangering them and depriving them of opportunities to play and compete? We should compromise on that, should we? Just give up that whole women’s sport thing because women are the co-operative sex? Is that the nuance we’re missing?

Poor Mister Nuance, he’s having a struggle.

So, despite all the abuse I receive – the complaints to my Chambers, the tagging of my family members, the demands I be removed from advisory boards – I will continue to argue for tolerance and respect for the rights and dignities of both trans and natal men and women.

But which rights? The rights for men to take places on women’s teams and in women’s competitions? But then what about women’s rights?

It’s not always possible to argue for both, because some of the putative rights that trans women claim are in tension with rights women have fought hard to attain for decades.

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