Cotton ceiling tweet

The tribunal had a very interesting discussion today on the cotton ceiling and whether or not it’s coercive to call lesbians “exclusionary” for not wanting to have sex with men who claim to be women (aka “trans women” in the jargon). Ben Cooper questions CM (Cathryn McGahey QC) for a long time; it feels like shoveling very heavy wet snow.

One tweet and the rest as dialogue, with some punctuation and other tweaks for clarity which the tweeter doesn’t have time to include.

BC: go to page 767, just follow through the substance of the claimant’s response, she is explaining the basis of her tweet. CM: yes BC: she then provides part of the material you had at the time that identifies ‘overcoming the cotton ceiling’.

CM: overcoming the reluctance of lesbians to have sex with trans individuals. BC: AB goes on to explain cotton ceiling. CM: I always understood that. BC: reading out AB’s explanation that requiring lesbians to have sex with a man (trans) or shaming them is coercive 11454.

BC: let’s break it down. If there is a basis to describe what’s going on as coercive then the tweets are reasonable. CM: it’s important to understand what happens or happened at the workshop. There is nothing in the material put out by PP Toronto that advocates coercion.

BC: that is your conclusion about the material. Let’s take it in stages. Do you agree with me that coercion does not involve physical action? That coercion can be emotional, social etc. CM: Yes. I’m not giving my opinion on the content of the workshop. Absent any detailed information, there are many possibilities, and coercion is one of them but not a necessary conclusion. BC: shaming can be a form of coercion. CM: that’s fact specific, it may be. I’ve seen nothing to suggest that shaming is part of the workshop.

It’s enough to make you scream. A “workshop” about “the cotton ceiling” i.e. lesbian underpants i.e. lesbians not having sex with men who identify as women. That’s a grotesque thing to have a “workshop” about in the first place, and of course it’s coercive. Calling it “the cotton ceiling” is calling it an unfair arbitrary anti-equality injustice for lesbians not to have sex with men who identify as women. Lesbians don’t have to have sex with anyone they don’t want to have sex with. Yes of course it’s coercive to have “workshops” about how to convince lesbians to stop deciding for themselves which people they want to have sex with.

BC: lets explore that. In the bottom right – this is part of the material the claimant provided, it explains ‘cotton ceiling’, refers to underwear. Ultimately, transwomen are accept[ed] in many ways but not sexually. Can you accept that the meaning of ‘cotton ceiling’ is referring to getting into lesbians’ knickers? CM: yes, that is clear. BC: connection to glass ceiling implies discrimination. CM: yes, lesbians don’t want to have sex with transwomen. Discussion glass ceiling workshops. It’s wrong to say that because there is fear the workshop is advocating coercion. BC: the difference is that no reasonable person holds the view that women shouldn’t rise up the corporate ladder. CM: yes. But some men are prejudiced against women. BC: The difference is – it is not a matter of prejudice for lesbians to be same sex attracted. CM: do not understand the question. What are you getting at? BC: In relation to the glass ceiling. AH: complaining about BC question refrain from characterising earlier answers. EJ: you are trying to put a view about cotton ceiling and glass ceiling. And witness not understanding. Do you want a break to work on it. BC: No. I may simply not be able to express it. No one disputes that women should be able to rise up the corporate ladder and break the glass ceiling. But lesbians are defined by being attracted to other women. Hence, the cotton ceiling. CM: I now see your point. BC: you can see why lesbians are deeply offended by lesbians being told their same sex attraction is discriminatory.

You’d think, but no. Huh? Discriminatory?

CM: I don’t see how the workshop is discriminatory? BC: Overcoming the cotton ceiling is coercive. CM: I don’t see that the workshop is necessarily coercive. We have no information about the contents of that workshop. AB’s opinion that it must be coercive is not substantiated.

[shouting] The very existence of the workshop is coercive! The way a workshop titled “Why do women think they get to say no to sex with me?” would be coercive.

Skipping a couple of repetitions of the pattern “You see it now?” “No, what mean?” to include yet more repetitions of the pattern.

BC: inherent in the workshop is that sexual barriers that transwomen want to overcome are rooted in transmisogny and transphobia. AB’s claim – it is inherently coercive to label lesbians as transphobic for failing to have sex with transwomen.

CM: I don’t see the coercion. It is appalling to coerce or shame anyone into sex. I don’t see that in the workshop. BC: this workshop on its face is labelling lesbians as transphobic and trying to coerce them.

CM: back to South Africa rugby world cup. CM: the point I am making is no evidence of coercion. BC: the workshop is sexually and socially coercive. CM: I’m not saying that is acceptable for the workshop to say that to any individual lesbian. But we don’t know what the workshop is about. I have no knowledge and no personal interest. I was looking from a professional standards point. AB did not have a basis for this tweet, cannot substantiate and there may be a problem here. Not trying to express a view on the merits of the workshop.

BC: still believe workshop is inherently coercive. CM: No, it is similar to South Africa attempting to racially integrate society. Morning break.

NO! No no no no no no no. It is not like that. That’s the whole point. Pushing lesbians to fuck men who call themselves women is not like South Africa’s attempting racial integration of society.

I could never be a lawyer, I’d be having a tantrum five minutes in.

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