Belief can’t be compelled

Joanna Cherry’s statement on The Stand Comedy Club:

“In January, I accepted an invitation from The Stand to speak at an event in The Fringe this coming August. To my disappointment, and after initially backing the event, the Board of The Stand cancelled the event, citing concerns expressed by staff who were unwilling to work at it. The event has been running for four years and has a wide and diverse range of speakers, including from various political backgrounds.

I immediately required to defend my reputation. I said last week on BBC Radio Scotland:

“I’m being cancelled and no-platformed because I’m a lesbian, who holds gender-critical views that somebody’s sex is immutable.

“I’ve made those views clear over a number of years. I have never said that trans people should not have equal rights. [emphasis added]

“Because a small number of people don’t like my feminist and lesbian activism, I’m being prevented from talking about these things and others in my home city where I’m an elected politician.

“I think it says something’s gone very wrong in Scotland’s civic space.

“Small groups of activists are now dictating who can speak and what can be discussed.”

It strikes me afresh how very religiony it is. How very Inquisitiony (minus the torture and executions, to be fair). How very “you must believe what we tell you to believe, no matter how magical and impossible to believe you find it.” But we can’t. Even if you tell us to we can’t. We just can’t. It isn’t believable. We don’t want to harm or punish trans people, but we can’t believe the claims. I can’t believe Jesus was his own daddy and rose from the dead, and I can’t believe that men wearing lipstick are women.

She’s taking them to court, by the way.

“I am prepared to take whatever legal action is necessary to vindicate my right not to be misrepresented and not to be discriminated against. This is not about money. My primary goal is to have the actions of the Stand acknowledged as unlawful and to ensure the event proceeds. I have asked The Stand to apologise to me too. If they don’t agree with my reasonable requests, I intend to ask the court to decide on the issue. I hope that my actions in defending myself will give courage to everyone particularly women who wish to express views on legitimate issues of public interest. That, after all, is the very job of a politician and one of the reasons I entered politics in the first place.”

It’s really not asking much. “Don’t abuse and punish women for being unable to believe that men are women.”

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