Supposedly the most persecuted

Lionel Shriver on the incendiary tuber:

When conceiving Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, Helen Joyce anticipated a rough ride. Sure enough, an initially interested literary agent who considered her proposal “well-argued”, “persuasive” and “timely” eventually demurred that Joyce would need an advocate to “weather the storm that publishing this book will create. I am sorry to say that I am not that person.”

One sceptical British editor wrote, “Debate over trans issues is incredibly polarised and siloed, and if we are going to torch our own credentials as woke members in good standing we would prefer to do it for a book that has some chance of selling.”

Oops. The book is selling like crazy. It’s doing so despite the best efforts of bookshops to sandbag it.

Unlike Ryan Anderson’s similarly “radioactive” When Harry Became Sally, Joyce’s terrifying book is still available on Amazon. But would-be book buyers object on Twitter that their local Waterstones shops are suppressing sales. The shops stock one or two copies at most — often shelved in bizarre locations like media studies or stashed under the counter. Customers are obliged to special-order or told that the print run was puny (a lie; warehouses have never run short of a book already in its third printing).

Mainstream broadcasters such as the BBC have spurned interviews. Intelligence Squared, which prides itself on addressing contemporary controversies, pulled its podcast invitation on the day of recording.

It’s funny how anti-feminist books never got this kind of treatment. Not really “funny,” more like disgusting.

Of all ostensibly “marginalised” groups, trans people are supposedly the most persecuted, though this small (if growing) cohort has received a unique degree of celebrative cultural attention for a decade, featuring in a deluge of uncritical documentaries, films, novels and television dramas. Irresistibly, too, this is a victim group that even men and white people can join.

Not only can join, but also (and this is key) damn well dominate. This is white men’s chance to be The Most Marginalized at last, and by god they’re seizing it. (White women are a very very distant second. Still women, you see – not the same kind of fun at all.)

Having documented the descent into ideological cannibalism in improbable niches like online knitting circles, Gavin Haynes coined the useful expression “purity spiral”, whereby the test of political sanctity amid a once-likeminded group grows ever stricter, until the very originators of a school of thought are eaten by their own. The French Revolution, the Salem witch trials and Mao’s cultural revolution all got sucked into purity spirals. Our so-called elite are caught up in the same take-no-prisoners, circling-the-drain self-destruction.

Couldn’t they just give all that up and focus on the climate emergency instead? That one isn’t going to disappoint them by becoming old news or too successful, so it doesn’t need any purity spiral to keep going – plus it’s a genuine emergency, plus (I can’t stress this enough) it’s real.

Virtually everyone wants transgender people treated with respect and granted their civil rights. But for activists, that’s not the goal. It’s no coincidence that the subtitles of three recent books on this lightning-rod subject — Gerard Casey’s Hidden Agender: Transgenderism’s Struggle Against Reality, Kathleen Stock’s Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism, and Joyce’s Trans — all use the same word: reality.

This is what I’m saying. Move over to climate advocacy and you’ll never run out of reality again.

10 Responses to “Supposedly the most persecuted”