The kids are not ok

Julie Bindel had a very horrible time at York University last week.

It was a sign of the times that the group that invited me to give a talk on feminism at York was the university’s Free Speech Society. It was scheduled for February but trouble immediately materialised and both the feminist and the LGBTQ societies got it cancelled. But my hosts did not back down and, pledging to guarantee the safety of both students and speaker, rescheduled the talk. It happened last week, in an atmosphere I found both deeply disturbing and profoundly distressing. 

I heard the noise before I saw the crowd. ‘Bindel, out!’ ‘Not welcome on our campus,’ ‘Decrim(inalise) sex work now’ and the like. I could have cried. How has this mad transgender ideology so captured the female students who, just a few years ago, would have welcomed me warmly as a mentor? 

It would be understandable if the university had been swamped by neo-Nazi students, but this is the Left devouring its own. This is why we can’t have nice things.

My hands were shaking. I could not let the protesters see how sick I was feeling, so I approached some of them and tried to speak to them, but was blocked by a man who kept pushing a sign in my face: ‘Not on our campus’. 

Every time I tried to take a photograph to record what was happening to me, he would thrust the sign towards my face as though he was going to hit me with it. 

Someone waved a ‘Kiss my man boob’ placard at me. There were explicit comments about what I should do to their ‘trans dick’. Students — and a few members of staff — shouted vile things at me through megaphones. Female students turned their backs on me. It felt aggressive and hugely, horribly personal. I have reported from war zones — these were just a bunch of students. And yet it was devastating to hear them scream at me. 

Because she doesn’t think prostitution is a great career option for women, and because she doesn’t believe men can become women.

How can I answer the charges when they are so at odds with reality? I speak all over the world on the global sex trade and its harm to women and girls, including at the United Nations. I have campaigned with sex trade survivors to change the law so that women convicted of prostitution-related offences have their records expunged. 

Yet one twenty-something activist felt moved to mischaracterise my beliefs to her social media followers in this way: ‘Bindel is an advocate for the Nordic model. This is a model that criminalises sex-working individuals and denies them worker rights, which has been proven to put them at an increased risk of rape, murder, and coercion. Bindel’s whole career is founded in supporting the mass homicide of sex workers.’

Mass homicide? Of women I’ve campaigned alongside for 40 years? 


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