Sauce for the goose is more sauce for the goose

James Kirkup points out that Women get treated far worse than men in Labour’s transgender debate.

[I]f general run-of-the-mill Twitter is angry and stupid, gender-identity Twitter is angry and stupid on steroids. Simply liking the ‘wrong’ bit of content on Twitter can have you branded a transphobic witch and burned at the electronic stake, at least if you’re a woman. No one, or more accurately, no woman, is safe from the online inquisition’s charges of transphobia. You might think that JK Rowling was about as insulated as a person can be from online vitriol, since she’s lovely, kind, thoughtful, the creator of the world’s most popular wizard – and a billionaire. But you’d be wrong, because even JK has had her turn in the ducking stool (by the witch-finders at Pink News) for the heinous crime of ‘liking’ tweets that said Bad Things and, in one case, linking to a column by Janice Turner of the Times who is, of course, a Very Bad Person because, well, she has some weird idea that women should be listened to and children protected or something. The cow.

There’s also follow-crime – following someone already Disapproved by the people in charge of disapproving the people they disapprove. Never mind that you can “like” tweets for all sorts of reasons, never mind that the same goes double for following – just charge ahead and abuse anyone who “likes” a tweet by someone who follows someone who forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste tube.

Consider Ann Henderson for instance.

Henderson is a Scottish trade unionist and community worker who is currently serving as rector of Edinburgh University, elected by staff and students to chair the university’s governing body. She is also a Labour member from the left-wing/Momentum bit of the party that leaves a lot of Jewish people thinking hard about packing a bag and heading to the airport to buy a one-way ticket out of Britain.

In October the Edinburgh University student newspaper accused her of “transphobia.”


She retweeted about a meeting organised by A Woman’s Place UK, a feminist group largely run by left-wing women who organise public meetings to discuss changes to gender recognition laws to make it easier for men to change their legal gender and be recognised as women. The group worries such changes will undermine the legal and social standing of women, where ‘women’ is taken to mean ‘adult human females’.

But of course, in the looking-glass world of transgenderism, MPs talking to women about the law isn’t OK. It’s awful and transphobic, and so is anyone (or at least, any woman) with even the flimsiest association with such an event. So the mere fact of Ann Henderson sharing a tweet about that event with her 1,200 or so followers was enough to bring down condemnation from the university Labour Club, the Students’ Association and merit coverage in Scotland’s national press. Henderson has also been criticised by Lily Madigan, a transgender Labour activist and women’s officer, for the earlier offence of following WPUK on Twitter. How dare she, etc etc.

Just retweeting about the event, remember.

So far so normal, by the dysfunctional standards of the gender debate, where ‘woman gets shouted at for having opinion’ is the equivalent of ‘dog bites man’. But now Henderson has a new job. She was this week elected chair of the Labour Party National Executive Committee’s equalities sub-committee.

This, according to LGBT Labour, a party group, is an outrage. ‘We are appalled by the election of Ann Henderson to the chair of the Labour Party NEC equalities sub-committee given her history of sharing material that has been described as transphobic,’ the group said, in a statement (on Twitter, natch) first reported by LabourList.

Ahhhh will you look at that now, that careful ass-covering by means of “has been described as.” So agent-free passive voice, so conveniently vague, so meaningless, so idiotic, and yet so useful for insulating oneself from accusations of bullying or libel. The material has been described as transphobic; we couldn’t possibly comment – except to make a public attack on Ann Henderson for retweeting it.

But hey, she’s a woman, so she has it coming.

In September, according to the group, a [male] Labour MP did indeed meet a Woman’s Place UK and listened to their concerns about gender law reform and Labour’s policies. The MP’s name is John McDonnell and he is the Shadow Chancellor.

And if LGBT Labour or any of the other activists seeking to burn Ann Henderson for nothing more than a retweet have condemned him for outrageous transphobia, I can find no evidence of their outrage.

In short, a woman taps ‘RT’ once and is condemned. A man does rather more than that and nothing happens. Make of that what you will, but always remember: the gender debate is all about equality.

Which is to say, it’s eye-wateringly misogynist, and proud of it.

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