After details emerged

The Times on that thing Literary Alliance Scotland had on its website for weeks but now says is “inappropriate” and they don’t know how it got there:

A briefing document on providing safety for trans people published by the Literary Alliance Scotland (LAS) said that “Terfs” — trans-exclusionary radical feminists, a derogatory term for women considered hostile to trans people — were joining forces with “fascists”.

It said this was a “societal issue” and urged bookshop owners not to “stay out of it”. It added: “This rise in transphobia signals a danger to all LGBTQ+ people, to reproductive rights, etc.”

Good old “etc” yeah? That can mean anything you like. Very professional, very literary.

The alliance, formed in 2015, is Scotland’s largest literary network with a membership “committed to advancing the interests of literature and languages at home and abroad”, according to its website. It says it is a “trusted, strong, collective voice” that brings together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies.

But not women who know that men are not women.

The guidance was written for LAS by Eris Young, a “queer, transgender writer of speculative fiction and non-fiction”. It was removed from the LAS website on Friday after details emerged online.

Wait what? They’re a literary alliance but they can’t manage to write their own “guidance”? They have to outsource it to an idiot? They then fail to notice how vituperative and misogynist it is?

Young asked: “How do organisations promote safety for trans people in their spaces?” In a section titled “for bookshops”, it said: “Don’t sell Terf books/platform Terf authors. Don’t expect trans booksellers to sell them. Trans people who see Terf books or ‘gender criticism’ in a bookshop will understand that the bookshop doesn’t want them there.”

That’s embarrassing. It’s also stupid and dishonest and malevolent, but for this Scotland Literary Alliance thingy it’s acutely embarrassing. It’s childish stupid sloganeering, not writing, and certainly a million miles from “Literary.”

The guidance adds: “Terfs are actively joining forces with fascists. For example, see BRAVE books, which seeks to ‘Bring Real American Values that Endure into the hearts and minds of children and their families’.”

Pssst. This is Scotland.

Other sections gave guidance for literary festival organisers and suggested that organisers “allocate resources and opportunities to trans writers in proportion to the attacks they are facing”.

Susan Dalgety and Lucy Hunter Blackburn, co-authors of The Women Who Wouldn’t Wheesht, a book about grassroots women’s rights movements, said: “We are shocked and saddened at the tone and substance of the guidance issued by the LAS. It is akin to a heresy hunt and the assertion that women are joining forces with fascists is defamatory. The alliance should withdraw the guidance immediately and apologise unreservedly.”

It should do more than that. An apology is the bare minimum.

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