Normal concepts

May 21st, 2024 12:14 pm | By

The Times is blistering on the ERCC’s treatment of Roz Adams.

Most people will instinctively understand that Adams’ views — and actions — were wholly reasonable. For many of her colleagues, however, they were “transphobic”.

The tribunal’s verdict is scathing. “Normal concepts of natural justice” were ignored, explanations offered by staff at the centre were “a nonsense” and the investigation into Adams “should not have been launched in the first place” — it was clearly motivated by bias and the prejudice that Adams’ views were “inherently hateful”. All this led to a “completely spurious and mishandled disciplinary process” that was “somewhat reminiscent of the work of Franz Kafka”.

And what does ERCC say in response? That it has a sad.

Yet the war on Karens rages on.

Wadhwa, the judge concluded, was “the invisible hand” behind the harassment and discrimination that Adams endured. The chief executive believes that women victims of rape or sexual abuse who object to being counselled by biological males are guilty of “bigotry” and should expect to have their prejudices “challenged”.

Wadhwa is entitled to this view but others are equally at liberty to note that the interests of victims should trump gender ideology and that it is unconscionable that a rape crisis centre should privilege its own ideological certainties at the expense of the vulnerable people it is supposed to support.

The vulnerable women it is supposed to support. It’s not a dirty word.

The banner selection process

May 21st, 2024 11:30 am | By

There’s this story about University of North Carolina Asheville’s move to maintain “institutional neutrality” and the shock-horror of students at such a move. So far so predictable.

What I wonder about is how students choose which banners to defend.

Since University of North Carolina Asheville students began protesting against the war in Gaza in early May, Chancellor Kimberly van Noort has maintained that the university should avoid an official stance on the matter.

“Neither the University nor I, the chancellor, should interfere by taking an official stance,” van Noort wrote in a public update to students and faculty earlier this month. “Institutional neutrality promotes the open exchange of ideas and avoids inhibiting scholarship, creativity, and expression. Compromising this position carries great risks.”

Her adherence to institutional neutrality mirrors other universities’ stances across the country, which have experienced growing protests in the past few weeks. Institutional neutrality also has been applied to other cultural issues on campus, including the Ramsey Library display of Black Lives Matter, Cherokee land acknowledgement, and LGBTQ+ banners – and comes at a time when the university system’s Board of Governors is considering removing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion positions and offices across the system. 

What I wonder is why the library display was about Black Lives Matter, Cherokee land acknowledgement, and LGBTQ+. Only. What I wonder is why such displays are never, ever about women anymore. What I wonder is when it was decided, and who decided, that women are no longer treated or viewed as inferior or subordinate, and have instead joined the ranks of the oppressors aka the ruling class.

Senior Allie Daum said the university’s approach to the protests and removal of the banners “speaks to a very much larger issue going on with the anti-DEI policies that we’re seeing getting pushed and general changes to our institution that I find concerning because this has been a safe space for me as a queer person.”

Can women say as much? Women who don’t claim to be “a queer person”? Is calling yourself “a queer person” now the only way women can advocate for their rights?

Ein volk ein Reich ein…

May 21st, 2024 9:10 am | By
Ein volk ein Reich ein…

Today in Trump:

Donald Trump has shared a video on his Truth Social account referencing a “unified reich” if Trump wins the presidential election in November.

In the video, a narrator states: “What happens after Donald Trump wins? What’s next for America?” Meanwhile, hypothetical headlines are shown, including: “Industrial strength significantly increased … driven by the creation of a unified reich.”

Not ideology, no no, not at all

May 21st, 2024 6:37 am | By

Powerful argument from Tatchell:

Oh well then. If Peter T says so, and puts the “not” in capital letters, it has to be true. If Peter T says gender identities are a fact of life, then they must be a fact of life. If Peter T says we all have one he can’t possibly be wrong. If he says he has a gender identity then there must be a gender identity for him to have.

Ignore that little voice in your head that keeps telling you it’s all mere assertion.

The relationship

May 21st, 2024 6:16 am | By

Well here’s an interesting new angle on the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre hijacking.

Some of the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre trustees were very recent or current Edinburgh Uni students at the time of their appointment (that’s how experienced their team of trustees has been). One of the trustees, in particular, was an Edinburgh University Students’ Association sabbatical officer at the time when I was hounded out of my role as a trustee of the Students’ Association for my gender critical views. These are people who don’t give a damn whose careers they destroy; in fact, I firmly believe they get a kick out of it.

Let’s be clear, this isn’t a rape crisis centre. It’s a political activist project – not dissimilar to the students’ union that feels them trustees – and it is aimed at making one central point…”trans women are women”.

The whole thing is run by student activists and it is an embarrassment.

And there’s more!

And @EdUniStudents is the same Students’ Association that sent me, as one of their trustees at the time, an email containing this discriminatory statement. See screenshot.

(The redacted name is the name of the org’s President at the time – I don’t know why I am doing her the respect of removing her name – and the email was sent to me by the org’s Chief Executive.)

Imagine putting your discrimination in writing in this way. That’s how sure these people are that they, and only they, are right on these issues.

John Knox would be proud.

Guest post: Getting out of the multi-dimensional corner we’ve painted ourselves into

May 20th, 2024 4:40 pm | By

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? on The scale of the future problem.

All those people wringing their hands over this don’t want to have to admit that the logical solution is to allow young immigrants from countries with more people than they can support period. But we must prevent the influx of the “wrong” people by encouraging more of the “right people” to breed. The demographic upheavals of declining and aging populations are going to be a rough phase for societies to go through, but we managed to get through the upside of the hump of increasing populations. Unfortunately the cost of that was our current crises of climate instability and loss of biodiversity, both of which were exacerbated by the existence of more humans. We’re in uncharted cultural territory; the recent explosion of human numbers and power have given us no tools or trasditions at hand to fall back on. We’ve blown past the millenia-old cultural wisdom instilled by generations of humans living in smaller numbers, closer to the local conditions which dictated and limited the numbers of humans that could be supported sustainably over long periods of time. Local overuse resulted in local displacement, competition, or extinction of both human and other-than-human populations. Our “local” is now planetary, and the displacement, competition and extinctns our activities produce are global. Maybe this was inevitable. Maybe not. It’s always been easier to discount the needs of a future yet to come in exchange for the boon that’s in front of us at the present moment. Whether or not it was something we could have avoided or prevented, here we are, like it or not.

The unprecedented explosion of human numbers was powered, quite literally, by the equally unprecedented, massive, one-time injection of fossil fuels, which offered a huge boost in quality and ease of life that would have otherwise been impossible. But much, if not most, of that expansion and boost was completely unplanned and unregulated. Upon learning (again) that there is (still) no free lunch, such wild abandon, free-for-all, unfetttered, every-corporation-for-itself anarchy, will not serve us to escape the long term consequences of our short term “success.” Getting out of the multi-dimensional corner we’ve painted ourselves into is going to take a lot more care, skill, and planning than was on display when we blindly got ourselves into it. We’ve seen how the short-term greed of energy companies prevented timely implementation of measures to counter the CO2 crisis that their own researchers predicted and warned about decades ago. We can’t afford to let the same kind of vested interests dictate the degree and shape of the solutions we will need to get out of the crisis they helped magnify.

Having fewer humans in total reduces our footprint and pressure on the biogeophysical resources and services that all species rely upon. Certainly the issues of fewer younger people supporting more older people are real, but figuring out a way through this rough patch without birthing more humans, and allowing the movement of those who are already here, is the better solution. Over the long run, things will work themselves out. It might not be easy or simple, but “easy” and “simple” (as well as profitable for some) is what helped create much of this problem in the first place. Surely we’re clever enough to come up with something safer that is workable?

The apparent rise of right wing populism worldwide is going to make it more difficult to avoid the efforts of xenophobic nationalists of all stripes to bolster numbers of the “right people” within their borders. The erosion of women’s reproductive rights will undoubtedly increase under this international natalist campaign.

Guest post: The obvious answer never occurs to them

May 20th, 2024 4:34 pm | By

Originally a comment by iknklast on The scale of the future problem.

The obvious answer never occurs to them. I’ve had this conversation with a lot of people, and it’s hard to get them to understand. If we destroy the earth, the economy won’t matter, will it?

Since the economy is man-made and the environment is evolved (and orders of magnitude more complicated than the most complicated economic system or corporate hierarchy), it makes sense to make changes to the economy that do not rely on constant growth, and can handle population declines.

I talk to people who think it doesn’t matter if we have forests and deer and birds and insects anymore. What the flying fuck do they think we rely on to survive? Even couching it in strictly human terms, forgetting all the arguments about aesthetics and morality and so forth, it is simply ignorant and foolhardy to contemplate the world without an environment. A world with a destroyed environment would be a world we couldn’t live in.

It’s the same thing for the goofs that think we need to get all the chemicals out of the environment. The environment IS chemicals. We are chemicals. Our food is chemicals. Our water is chemicals. Go learn a little bit of science, then maybe come back and lecture me on how things work. If you really educate yourself, you’ll learn enough not to lecture me.

The environment is so much a tangled, interwoven system that we can’t change one thing without changing something else, something we may not be aware of. We can fix one thing while breaking another, especially using the blunt tools we usually use. Fix emissions! But don’t worry about endangered species; we can continue destroying habitats, we just need to do it in cars that burn clean.

And then there is the other trope, which I despise. “Don’t point out problems if you don’t have the solution!” WTF? Sorry, nope. If someone sees a problem, they should point it out. Someone else may have the solution. Maybe no one has the solution, but if we work together we will find it. Maybe I do have the solution but no one will listen because it isn’t what they want to hear.

So many but not enough

May 20th, 2024 11:36 am | By

Aw diddums did the huge boy face a lot of boos for cheating a girl out of a win?

He stole a state championship on Saturday.

Note: he’s not a “trans athlete” or a “trans teen.” He’s a trans girl, i.e, a boy.

The scale of the future problem

May 20th, 2024 11:24 am | By

The BBC asks

How should countries deal with falling birth rates?

However, the scale of the future problem is immense. For a country in the developed world to increase or maintain its population it needs a birth rate of 2.1 children per woman on average. This is known as the “replacement rate”.

But why the concern about falling birth rates? The economic problems they can cause are significant, as countries face the impact of both aging and declining populations, and a smaller workforce in relation to the number of pensioners.

For example – where will a nation’s economic growth come from if companies cannot recruit enough workers? And how can a smaller workforce afford to pay for the pensions of a much larger retired population? Those are questions that make government economists wince.

Yes but what about that other thing? You know the one. What about all the wildfires and droughts and floods and massive hurricanes and killer heatwaves? What about the crop failures and famines? What about the inevitable resource wars?

Does it really make sense to resist population decline when we know that the future populations are going to be dealing with all that only much worse?

Which toxic culture war?

May 20th, 2024 10:16 am | By

The Telegraph on Patrick Harvie:

The Scottish Greens have been accused of prioritising ideology over protecting children after the party again refused to endorse an expert report into gender healthcare.

Patrick Harvie, who until last month was a Scottish government minister, claimed that a Holyrood motion welcoming the Cass review and recognising it as a “valid scientific document” was not “supportable” by his party.

The Green co-leader also promised that his party would “oppose the toxic culture war” even if the Greens were “left alone in Scottish politics” in standing up for transgender rights.

In standing up for purported trans rights at the expense of women’s rights.

All other parties, including the SNP, endorsed Hilary Cass’s report at Holyrood. However, all seven Green MSPs voted against the motion, with Mr Harvie claiming that transgender people were having their “very existence refuted”.

No, that’s wrong. Nobody is saying that people who call themselves trans don’t exist. What gender-atheists don’t believe in is the magic of being in The Wrong Body.

Guest post: The insufferable pomposity

May 20th, 2024 10:07 am | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on For some survivors.

A couple of things that struck me about the ruling (well, more the factual background laid out than the ruling itself):

1. How incredibly mild Adams’ “heresy” was. She wasn’t a “terf,” she wasn’t refusing to use people’s preferred names and pronouns, etc. Basically, a victim asked whether the person referred to as “AB” — who was using a male-sounding name and had recently declared themselves nonbinary — was a man. Adams merely forwarded the request to her superiors with her suggested response and requested guidance, then expressed reservations about giving her superiors’ proposed response that the center doesn’t employ men because, aside from the whole question of whether one considers the CEO to be a man, some nonbinary people claim to have at least a partial male identity.

2. The insufferable pomposity of AB. This is someone who works in a place which relies on a specific statutory exemption to sex discrimination laws, meaning that it can and does reserve certain positions for women only, and acknowledges that victims may want to work with someone of a particular gender. AB then announces to the team that they are nonbinary and will be using a male-sounding name going forward. When this predictably leads to a confused inquiry from a victim about whether AB is a man, AB responds to Adams’ quite gentle and polite discussion with a declaration that AB has been “humiliated” and cannot interact with Adams any more. There’s a strong implication in the judgment that AB was probably advised by the CEO to react this way to create a pretext for going after Adams, but even if AB’s professed reaction was genuine, it’s so pathetic. I’m nonbinary and it’s very important that you all know and acknowledge that. Oh, a rape victim is confused and thinks that I might be a man because I’m using a man’s name and presenting ambiguously? Fuck them, and fuck you for being concerned about it. I’m humiliated that you even raised the question!

What he would describe as “white feminist imperialism”

May 20th, 2024 8:57 am | By

Men are the only true women and the only real feminists.

For some survivors

May 20th, 2024 7:56 am | By

The BBC has belatedly managed to find its glasses long enough to report on the ERCC ruling.

A woman who worked at a rape crisis centre was unfairly constructively dismissed for believing that those using the service should be able to know the sex of staff, a tribunal has found. It also found that Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre had unlawfully discriminated against Roz Adams, saying that management had conducted a “heresy hunt” against her.

Sandy Brindley, chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said “We believe that it is important that survivors can make informed choices about the services they can access at rape crisis centres. We know it is important for some survivors to have a choice over the sex or gender of their worker.”

Some?? Come on. It’s pretty much all. Why would a woman ever want to talk to a man she doesn’t know about her being raped?

The judgment said that the centre’s chief executive officer Mridul Wadhwa, who is a trans woman, appeared to believe that Ms Adams was transphobic. It said that Ms Wadhwa was “the invisible hand behind everything that had taken place.”

And you know…Wadhwa was known to be a horror show before all this. Inevitably, given the contempt for women it took for him to seek and accept the job. It was an insult and an act of sadism toward women all along to put him in that job.

The judge said the disciplinary process used against Ms Adams was “reminiscent of the work of Franz Kafka” – the 20th Century writer whose works are often characterised by nightmarish and confusing situations. The tribunal found that Ms Adams resigned as she “could have absolutely no confidence going forward that the respondents would comply with their obligation of trust and confidence towards her.”

Apart from that it was a lovely place to work.

Saddened by the outcome

May 20th, 2024 5:43 am | By

Oh puh-leeze.

Statement from Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre Board of Directors

We are saddened by the outcome of the Tribunal. We will now take time to reflect on the written judgement.

We strive to provide a safe accessible and inclusive service and are committed to improving continuously.

No you don’t. If you did you would never have put a man who pretends to be a woman in charge.

We are fully supportive of Rape Crisis Scotland’s commissioning of an independent review of ERCC practice. This will help ensure our practices and procedures meet the highest standards as set out in the Rape Crisis National Service Standards, and that survivors receive the exceptional quality of support they deserve.

We want to reassure all survivors who are currently accessing our services and anyone seeking support that we are still here for you, and you matter to us. Our services remain unaffected by these events.

Bollocks. If you’d had any interest in Meeting the Highest Standards you wouldn’t have had a man in charge. You’re not “still” here for survivors because you were never here for survivors. ERCC was turned into a gender ideology lobby group instead of a rape crisis centre on your watch. Keep the smug empty pieties to yourselves.

Edinburgh what now?

May 20th, 2024 4:22 am | By

It appears that the BBC is ignoring the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre ruling. I searched and found only this one mention, in the category what’s in Scotland’s papers today:

Scotland’s papers: ‘Bad blood’ payout and rape centre gender row

Perfunctory at best. The main page has not a whisper about it.

Ah well, you know how it is, it’s only women.

Heresy hunters in Edinburgh

May 19th, 2024 5:51 pm | By
Heresy hunters in Edinburgh

The Times reports:

An employment judge has condemned a support service for rape victims and found that its chief executive was behind a “heresy hunt” against a ­female worker who held “gender-critical” beliefs.

Roz Adams won her claim of constructive dismissal against Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, which is funded by the Scottish government, with the ­tribunal finding that she had been ­harassed and discriminated against. Supporters of Adams condemned the “abusive management” she was forced to endure.

When she joined the rape crisis centre, Adams, 52, had at first welcomed its trans-inclusive policies, believing that everyone who had ­“suffered sexual assault is entitled to support”, the tribunal heard.

Support, yes. Support in a rape crisis centre for women, no.

However, in December 2020 she went for a walk with Maggie Chapman, a Green MSP, then the centre’s chief operating officer. The judgment states: “This was the first time that [Adams] heard what she described … as the ‘mantra’ that ‘trans women are women’. She felt concerned that there was no real definition or clarification associated with this statement. She felt it was odd.

Things became, as she put it, “eggshelly.”

Ian McFatridge, the employment judge, identified Mridul Wadhwa, a trans woman who is ERCC chief executive, as a key figure in an internal investigation that “should not have been launched in the first place”.

I hope Wadhwa will soon be out the door.

Helen Joyce, of the campaign group Sex Matters, said: “Sex-based boundaries matter for everyone, but most especially women who have experienced male violence and sexual assault. By standing up against the abusive management, Roz Adams has helped women across the UK.”

And beyond, probably.

Adams now works at Beira’s Place, a centre funded by the author JK Rowling, which ­offers a “sexual violence support ­service for women run by women”.

Cheated out of first place, opportunity, and scholarships

May 19th, 2024 5:22 pm | By

This happened:

It’s appropriate that there’s a banner saying DICK right next to the cheater’s midsection.

Get out the champagne

May 19th, 2024 3:17 pm | By




May 19th, 2024 2:58 pm | By

Yet another reason not to be captive on a giant ship with more than 4200 people.

Problems with a stomach bug spreading on a cruise ship have been going on for weeks, passengers have told the BBC. The P&O Cruises vessel Ventura left Southampton on 11 May for a two-week cruise around the Canary Islands. On Saturday, the company confirmed that “enhanced” sanitation protocols had been put in place following reports of passengers with “gastrointestinal symptoms”. However, people who travelled on Ventura in previous weeks said the illness had also been present during their cruises. 

What’s worse than being on a giant cruise ship? Being on a giant cruise ship with GI problems.

One passenger developed acute gastroenteritis, was hospitalized, and nearly died.

Marie spent six days in hospital on antibiotics before flying home on 3 May. She said she believed she had “definitely” picked up the bug on the ship but that P&O would not acknowledge it.

There are two giant cruise ships about half a mile west of me right now, soon to back out and chug away toward Alaska. I hope the wind isn’t blowing this way.

Guest post: The only skin we inhabit is our own

May 19th, 2024 10:17 am | By

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? on That’s easy for you to say.

JKR: Please explain how a man, who by definition can’t know what it feels like to be a woman, knows he’s a woman, without recourse to regressive sex stereotypes.

This is exactly the crux of it. We’re only ever given our one, single, lonely perspective on what it is to be human. The only skin we inhabit is our own, the brain/mind we use to sense, filter, and reconstruct the world is the one inside our own head. We can’t shop around to try different existences on for size, to take test drives in other peoples’ minds or bodies. Autobiography and fiction offer imaginative sketches of others’ subjectivities, but not the experience. We don’t get blisters on our feet or suffer from dehydration from reading someone’s account of their desperate trek across the Sahara. A map is not the territory. To put it trivially, does it make any sense to express a preference for a flavour of ice cream you can never taste? How could one claim to like it “better” than the one and only flavour you will ever have? All you can see is the apparent satisfaction of those eating it (each of whom is, like you, limited to a single flavour of their own). You can’t swap your tastebuds for theirs to declare a “winner”, to say that theirs is indeed, a better flavour than your own.

Without any possibility of a standard of comparison, there is no way that anyone can declare a stronger preference for, or affinity to, a different form of being, an existence other than the one they have always had and will always have. Within limits we can change our circumstances and our attitudes towards them, but we cannot step outside our own particular subjectivity and into anyone else’s. I can only ever know what it’s like to be me. I happen to be male, but I have no way of knowing how much of my “meness” is due to my maleness. Nor can I winnow out the effects of my heredity, or the effects of my upbringing in the time and place into which I was born. Would I still be “me” if I’d been born 700 years ago on an island in the Pacific? Probably not, but I can never know. I can never say that this “other, Pacific island, female me” is more the real me than current Canadian, male me. The arbitrary inclusion of different time, place, and sex are for effect only. I’m equally incapable of choosing a “preference” for the subjective existence of the person sitting next to me on the bus, whoever they are. We are each limited to who we are; you can learn, grow, and change, but you can’t step outside of yourself. You can only imagine doing so, but to live in a fantasy is not healthy, and ultimately, not really possible. You are inevitably bound to engage with reality at some times, at some level, even if it’s no more than what is required to meet the material needs of life and metabolism.

Every day on my way to work I see any number of people who seem to be bound to reality by little more than the needs of their physical bodies. Whether they are afflicted by mental illness, or the effects of drugs, they seem to be in a world only they can see or hear. I cannot imagine what it must be like, but from my own singular perspective, I can in this instance say I have a preference to stay where and who I am. But this is based solely on my perception of the external appearance of their behaviour and circumstances. As unlikely as it may seem to me, they may be experiencing ecstatic euphoria that makes them, for all intents and purposes, happier than I presently am. But I have no way of knowing this, not for certain. Their own circumstances are as unique to the forging of their experience of and response to the world as my own. This is not an attempt to romanticize or glamourize mental illness or drug addiction, it’s simply a matter of offering an additional perspective on the impossibility of expressing an innate preference for other states of being from which one is forever barred.

That’s not to say there’s nothing going on inside the head of someone who feels they are trapped in “the wrong body” , it’s just something other than what they are claiming, which is simply impossible. The person suffering from anorexia is suffering from something, but it has nothing to do with obesity. There’s something else going on. The distress is real, but the cause cited by the sufferer is incorrect. There is already some kind of disconnect between the body and the person’s body image; attempts to change the body to bring it into conformity with this distorted self-perception are doomed to failure. Trying to bend reality to match a mistaken impression of it is a losing proposition. Better to correct the mistake. Easier said than done, of course, but it’s easier than trying to correct reality (and forcing everyone else around you to go along for the ride).

One phenomenon that I believe is better captured better by the answer “Because I’ve known my whole life”? Sexual orientation.