In no way a predatory male

Jan 25th, 2023 6:52 am | By

A heart-warming tale:

A Scottish man who identifies as transgender has been found guilty of raping two women, and will be held in a women’s prison for up to a month while awaiting sentencing.

That’s nice. So sensitive, so compassionate, so generous – to the man who raped two women. It’s not so sensitive and compassionate and generous to the women in that prison, who aren’t there for raping women.

Adam Graham, 31, began identifying as a woman after he committed the sexual offenses and now goes by “Isla Bryson.” He has been referred to with feminine pronouns both in court and in UK media coverage, and court documents had charged Graham with raping the women with “her penis.”

Here he is showing off said penis:

Oddly enough women don’t wear their hair covering their faces, because they prefer to be able to see where they’re going.

During the trial, Graham was called “vulnerable,” and the defending counsel argued that the he was “in no way a predatory male.” Defending him at the High Court in Glasgow, lawyer Edward Targowski was heard comparing Graham to his victims, claiming that all three individuals involved in the case should be considered “vulnerable,” including the rapist.

It could be true that Graham is “vulnerable” in some sense or senses, but that doesn’t nullify his raping two women. Unmistakably the two women were vulnerable to him in a way that he was not vulnerable to them.

Targowski also leveraged Graham’s self-declared transgender status in his defense, as reported by The Daily Mail, and told the court: “She is transitioning from male to female gender. If you accept that evidence, that she is transitioning, that she is aiming to continue on that path to becoming female gender, that goes a long way to acquitting her of these charges.”

Excuse me??? No it doesn’t. Rape is rape even if it’s a guy called Betty who does it.


Jan 24th, 2023 4:29 pm | By

Now there’s a headline –

Pompeo dismisses Khashoggi as ‘activist’ whose murder was overblown by media

Overblown. Really. It’s no big deal for state agents to murder an activist inside an embassy by carving him up like so much roast chicken. I did not know that.

In a new book, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo derides the idea that Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist who was brutally murdered in 2018, was a journalist. Pompeo sympathizes instead with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia who was found to have ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, and defends at length the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia.

In “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love,” published Tuesday, Pompeo said Khashoggi did not deserve to die and called his killing “outrageous, unacceptable, horrific.” However, he then goes on for several more pages mocking the “disproportionate global uproar” over Khashoggi’s death, arguing that Khashoggi was an “activist,” not a journalist, whose death was “hammered” out of proportion by an overly sympathetic media.

You know what’s disproportionate? The fact that Mike Pompeo was once a secretary of state. That’s out of all proportion to his talents and learning and character.

“Just as the media spent years trying to drive a wedge between me and President Trump, they spent the ensuing weeks trying to fracture America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Pompeo wrote. “The progressive Left hates MBS, in spite of the fact that he is leading the greatest cultural reform in the kingdom’s history. He will prove to be one of the most important leaders of his time, a truly historic figure on the world stage.”

Oh is this one of those “woke” things? Is it “woke” to think Saudi Arabia is a monstrous murderous theocratic prison? Do the good patriotic Republicans think it’s cool that women have no rights in Saudi Arabia, that Raif Badawi is still not allowed to leave to be reunited with his wife and children, that domestic servants from Kenya and Vietnam are treated like vermin there?

Pompeo, who is reportedly exploring a 2024 presidential run, also pushed the claim in his book that Khashoggi was “cozy with the terrorist-supporting Muslim Brotherhood,” a charge that both Khashoggi’s family — and Khashoggi himself, when he was alive — denied repeatedly.

Stupid man. Saudi Arabia has far more in common with the Muslim Brotherhood than Khashoggi did.

In a statement Tuesday, Fred Ryan, publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, said it was “shocking and disappointing” to see Pompeo’s book “so outrageously misrepresent” Khashoggi’s life and work.

Well, it’s like this: Pompeo is a very bad man.

Not just wallpaper

Jan 24th, 2023 11:49 am | By

But what if you identify as someone who doesn’t know when she might want to re-read or browse or look for something in this book and this one and this one?

Some people treat books like totemic, magical objects. I know, I was one. About 10 years ago, my (divorced) parents moved house at around the same time, and gifted me a number of books about which they presumed I might feel sentimental, but which became a sort of albatross in my relationship. When I moved in with my husband, he had very few books, not because he is not a reader, but because he grew up in a Buddhist household, prefers an uncluttered environment and places little value on physical objects. Once he has read a book, he simply donates it or gives it away, and holds on only to the ones he is sure he will reread.

Bully for him, but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to do the same. You can want to re-read a book you didn’t know you were going to want to re-read until this minute. You can want to browse a book. You can like having favorite books present in case you want to re-read or browse them. And here’s the thing about having a lot of books: they will still be there to give away when you move on to the library in the sky. You don’t have to give them away now because someone else can give them away later.

I was thinking about him the other day when I saw an internet discussion about a man who told a bookshop employee that he only owns one book at a time, buying a new one when he has read the last one and got rid of it. “The horror! How could he? I simply couldn’t!” people wrote, leading me to reflect yet again on that contemporary tendency to treat having books as a sort of identity.

That’s not necessarily what it is though. Here’s the thing about books: you can’t absorb them by reading them once and never again. If it’s a bit of fluff, that doesn’t matter much, but not all books are bits of fluff. (I hope I don’t need to present evidence for this? I think it’s rather obvious?) Take Hamlet for instance – as a book it’s a slender thing, but you can’t just whip through it and put it in the nearest Little Free Library and get all there is to get out of it. History, philosophy, law – books in those fields can’t just be gulped down like a glass of lemonade.

Sure, no doubt people can be pretentious and smug about having a lot of books, but that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to have a lot of books.


Jan 24th, 2023 11:28 am | By

So easy for him to say.

No problem?

Jan 24th, 2023 9:44 am | By


Guest post: But with fewer swears

Jan 24th, 2023 8:12 am | By

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? at Miscellany Room.

I had originally written this as a contribution to the comment thread responding to the story that Mike B mentioned here before discovering that you needed to be a paid member to post. Not wanting to pay to do that, I thought I’d post it here instead. Keep in mind this was intended for a different audience, so forgive me if it reiterates arguments and ideas I’ve made here already. But with fewer swears. The direct link to the story and its comment thread is here:

Why oppose this definition: Women are adult humans who identify as female. As I said above, is it simply an unflinching desire to defend the truth about the dictionary meaning of a word? Or is there something else you object to?

I object to men who claim to be women being put into women’s prisons. This something that is already happening. I object to men claiming to be women demanding access to women-only rape shelters. This is already happening. I object to the crimes of men claiming to be women being attributed to women, thus invalidating statistics used in policing, law enforcement and public policy. This is already happening. Why should “gender identity” (whatever that is) have any bearing on facilities, spaces, and positions allocated on the basis of sex? It shouldn’t; they are two completely different things. Yet trans identified males are demanding, and being given access to, what had once been women’s single sex spaces, all on the coat-tails of this new, non-standard definition of “woman.” This is not simply about defending the dictionary meaning of the word woman. It’s more importantly about the health, safety, and dignity of women. That hijacking and distorting language is one of the avenues through which women’s rights and safety are threatened, that is on those pushing the new definition of “woman” that includes men. “Of course transwomen are women! It’s right in the name!” Well, by such logic, sawhorses and pommel horses are horses, and I look forward with interest to their inevitable racing in the Kentucky Derby.

Language is more than just important in this discussion; it is vital. I will digress here to make a note on usage. In the interests of clarity, I do not use the term “transwoman” or “trans woman,” but “trans identified male” to refer to males who, for whatever reason, believe they are, or claim to be, women. They are not women of any kind. They never will be. If this is “transphobic,” then reality is transphobic. Trans identified males remain males however much or little they alter themselves surgically or hormonally. Keeping this fact clear makes discussion more open and honest. It makes what is at stake and what is being demanded more obvious.

Trans activists will sometimes admonish feminists for supposedly conflating “sex” and “gender,” but at other times use this very conflation to advance their cause, regardless of the cost and danger to women. Humans can’t change sex. So that’s a hard no for access to facilities segregated on the basis of sex. But somehow a male “perfoming femininty” is supposed to be given entrance to these spaces because he “identifies as” a woman. Dressing up as a woman is supposedly enough, but not even necessary. Under self identification, or “Self ID,” (which is a concept being pushed in many jurisdictions), any man, “trans” or not can claim to be a woman and gain entrance to women’s single sex spaces. This makes it harder for women to defend these spaces, as it removes the ability to prevent any man from entering, because they might “identify as” a woman. This makes it easier for predatory males to access female only spaces. The best course of action is to bar all males from such spaces, however they might “identify”. Demanding entrance to women’s spaces automatically makes any such man a risk. It’s big red flag that women are being told to ignore.

…the real question is why are people so vexed and insistent about this? If you admit that people can change genders, why fixate on “but not sexes.” I don’t buy that it’s just about defending the truth. People who defend the idea that sex is malleable are not more confused about any of the “facts” than their detractors are.

This question works just as well in the opposite direction. People so keenly interested in breaking down the concept of sex, in redefining “woman’ in such a way that it includes men (while, curiously there is nowhere near the equivalent pressure and insistence on redefining “man” ) seem to have an intense interest in allowing men to have access to women’s spaces, positions and facilities. That seems to be the whole point behind all of these efforts to redefine “woman.” Women are certainly the ones being asked to stand down, step aside and pay the price by letting men in. If humans can’t change sex, then yes, those who see sex as “malleable” are confused about the facts, and one is left to question why they are so insistent on defending something that isn’t so.

Being female is a condition of material reality, not something you can “identify” into if you are not female to start with. A man can no more become a woman through “identifying” as one than I can become an invertebrate, or made of antimatter, by “identifying”. My identification and wishful thinking matters not a bit to the universe. I will remain a vertebrate made of ordinary matter for the rest of my life, however fiercely I may “identify.”

It’s interesting that some of the same people who object to Rachel Dolezal’s claim to be Black furiously deny that her imposture has any parallel with the claims of trans identified males, even though unlike sex, racial identity can be a “spectrum” depending on one’s parentage. Whatever one may think of the utility of the concept of “race,” people of diverse ethnic and geographic origins have children all the time, and they can exhibit a wide range of features that one might attribute to “racial” markers: skin colour, blood types, hair types, eye colour, etc. Without further investigation (and the testimony of her family), it could have been the case that Dolezal was of African American heritage. There is no way that a trans identified male is in any way female. The embarassing thing about the Dolezal/trans comparison is that trans claims are less credible, that is to say impossible. Yet rejecting Dolezal’s claim, while accepting those of men claiming to be women, like swimming cheat Wil(Lia)m Thomas, is supposedly “progressive.”

In humans, sex is binary and immutible. The existence of people with disorders of sexual development (or, less accurately “intersex”) does not change this. Sex is not a “spectrum;” there is no third sex, no intermediate between sperm and ova. Certainly there is a small number of individuals with conditions of sexual development that represent edge cases, but those people are still male or female. Most DSDs are specific to one sex or the other. Their existence does not suddenly render the concepts of male and female useless and incoherent, any more than dawn and twilight invalidates the concepts of day and night. The cursory nod to so-called “intersex” conditions is simply a way to justify the appropriation of the DSD concept and terminolgy of “assigned (sex) at birth,” as if doctors and midwives attending births have to guess at a newborn’s sex, decide arbitrarily, or flip a coin and write down M or F based solely on heads or tails.

The only reason I can see is that people want to pretend that it’s just a “natural biological fact” that people can’t do whatever thing they want to do, when what they mean is “don’t do that” or “its wrong to do that.” People want you to call a blastocyst a baby because they want to make abortion illegal. People who call BLM protestors “thugs” do so because they oppose BLM. If that’s not you, then what is your reason? I think you could pick a better fight.

This isn’t the winning argument you think it is.

I’ll accept that those who are so keen to change the definition of “woman” to include men want to use this new, idiosyncratic, and counterintuitive definition to do something that the customary, standard one would prohibit, things that would normally be met with “don’t do that,” or “it’s wrong to do that.” So what is it that men want to do in women’s single-sex spaces? It’s a hell of a lot more than “just go pee.” Male sex offenders aren’t suddenly discovering they’re “trans” just to go pee. Mediocre male athletes aren’t jumping to women’s leagues just to “go pee.” This deliberate trivialization and minimization of trans identified males’ demand to “just go pee” hides the real, brutal cost that women are already paying for accepting these newly-minted “women” who are men into their spaces. This is not accidental. The issue is much more than “bathroom bills,” but women’s real, legitimate concerns are brushed aside as outdated prudery, or vindictive bigotry. Attempts to fight against opportunistic distortion of language is painted as pettifogging bookishness. It’s just one little word: woman. How does expanding the meaning of one little word hurt anybody? I’ll tell you how. How can women defend their rights in law if the law doesn’t know what a woman is?

A word that seems to have a simple meaning

Jan 24th, 2023 7:47 am | By

Steven Gimbel and Gwydion Suilebhan at 3 Quarks Daily tell us how stooooooopid people who think women are adult human females are.

For the last several years, elected Republicans, full of anti-trans zeal, have challenged their opponents to define the word “woman.” They aren’t really curious. They’re setting a rhetorical trap. They’re taking a word that seems to have a simple meaning, because the majority of people who identify as women resemble each other in some ways, then refusing to consider any of the people who don’t.

Yes that’s an honest account. Most people “who identify as women” are alike “in some ways” and then there are other people “who identify as women” who are not alike in those unspecified “some ways.” It’s entirely a matter of who identifies as what, and vague hand-wavey “resembling each other.” It’s squishy all the way down. It’s opinion, it’s idenniny, it’s resemblances; it’s all a matter of choice and taste and preference. It works the same way with identifying as human – most people who identify as human resemble each other in some ways, but others don’t. Clear?

They go on to explain that this is so clear, and so true, that dictionaries have taken note.

On December 13, the Cambridge Dictionary broadened their definitions of “man” and “woman” to include people who identify as either.

The original definition of “woman”: an adult female human being.

The new addition to the definition: an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.

So there! It’s in the dictionary! Take that, Republicans! Dictionaries don’t police words, they tell you how words are used, so once enough people say that men who call themselves women are women, the dictionary has to say it too, and therefore it’s true that men can be women, and we’ll police you if you don’t believe it.

In fact, the definition of the word “woman” has been considered complicated for quite some time. For more than 30 years, at least since the publication of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, people have understood those complexities.

Judith Butler doesn’t get enough recognition. All by herself she changed what the word “woman” means – she should have some kind of Nobel Prize, shouldn’t she?


Jan 23rd, 2023 5:44 pm | By

Where was I this afternoon you ask? Here.

Carkeek Park — Washington Trails Association

Not in the creek, mind you, but on a trail that accompanies it downhill to a forest/wetlands/beach park on Puget Sound . It’s easier to get to by bus than I thought, so I got to it.

There are railroad tracks between the park and the beach so there is a pedestrian overpass. Looking south from the overpass:

Best trails in Carkeek Park | AllTrails

Missing _____

Jan 23rd, 2023 11:49 am | By

Spot the difference.

Further tightened

Jan 23rd, 2023 10:40 am | By

Pakistan makes its “blasphemy” laws even worse:

Pakistan has further tightened its strict blasphemy laws by extending the punishment to those who are convicted for insulting religious figures connected to prophet Muhammad.

Of course such figures can’t be “insulted” since they died many centuries ago.

The Pakistan National Assembly unanimously passed the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill which will not only widen the ambit of the law, but increase punishment and fines for those convicted under it.

Because more religious fanaticism and sadism is always better, yeah?

In Pakistan, an insult to the prophet Muhammad or Islam carries a potential death sentence. The laws have also been used to persecute and target minority faiths and sections in the Muslim-majority country.

Under the law, those convicted of insulting the prophet’s wives, companions or close relatives will face 10 years in prison or life imprisonment, along with a fine of Rs 1m Pakistani rupees ($4,500 or £3,489). It also makes blasphemy charges a non-bailable offence.

You can’t insult them, they’re long dead!

Charlie Hebdo new cover translated and explained: Cartoonist Luz on new  Mohammed-depicting cover.

Making any member feel awkward

Jan 23rd, 2023 10:02 am | By

Lloyd R-M explains that he didn’t move to sit in front of Miriam Cates to intimidate her, no no it’s all a big misunderstanding. Almost no one believes him.

He’s so firm in his conviction that he turned off replies. The quote tweets are…skeptical.

– What a load of absolute codswallop this is.

– Another disciple of the Boris Johnson School of Political Jackanory.

– Absolute BS, this man is a disgrace


– If you want to read some bollocks, here’s some bollocks.

– What a liar!!!


The avalanche of bad press

Jan 23rd, 2023 9:33 am | By

Nicola Sturgeon gave a press conference.

Despite the minuscule audience, the First Minister’s decision to answer her many, many, MANY critics on the SNP’s Gender Reform Recognition Bill by giving a Covid-style briefing to journalists only raised more questions.

Why did she do this? Could it be the avalanche of bad press that followed her MPs and MSPs posing in front of a violently misogynistic sign in Glasgow at the weekend? Very possibly.

Is the penny finally dropping? Are people at last noticing that violent misogyny is pervasive in “trans activism”?

How naughty and tactless it was

Jan 23rd, 2023 9:01 am | By

The police are investigating.

POLICE Scotland has launched a probe after complaints about a sign at a pro-trans rally reading “Decapitate Terfs.”

The placard – which also included a drawing of a guillotine – came to prominence on social media yesterday after it featured in images and video of SNP politicians attending the rally, including MSP Kaukab Stewart, and MPs Stewart McDonald, Alison Thewliss and Kirsten Oswald. 

Especially after JK Rowling shared the image.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said he had reported the sign to the police, saying carrying it was “clearly a hate crime and a public order offence”. 

He added: “Good grief [Nicola Sturgeon], should your MP and MSP [Kirsten Oswald] and [Kaukab Stewart] really be standing under a banner with a guillotine and this the slogan ‘Decapitate Terfs’? And this is meant to be ‘progressive’?”

Sturgeon could retort that of course it’s not meant to be progressive, but the trouble with that is that violent threatening images and verbal abuse didn’t just crop up this minute with this one banner, it’s been a conspicuous part of trans “activism” for years.

Ms Oswald tweeted: “That’s a horrific sign, and it wasn’t there when I joined the demo. It most certainly doesn’t represent my views, and isn’t language I would ever use. Violent hateful language, of any kind, is unacceptable and has no place in the peaceful movement for LGBT equality and democracy.”

There you go, that’s what I’m saying. It’s absurd for her to say that, because the violent hateful language is pervasive, and it’s not possible that she doesn’t know it.

Ms Thewliss said she had not seen the sign and that if she had she would “have told the person involved how inappropriate and offensive it was, and to get rid of it.”

Yyyyyeah it’s not just “inappropriate and offensive.” It’s threatening. Granted the sign-haver didn’t have a guillotine with her, but the point is that the meaning of the sign is “we want to see you brutally executed.” Calling it inappropriate and offensive minimizes what’s so vile about it.

Family values

Jan 23rd, 2023 8:38 am | By

She really does say that – “to support our trans siblings” – like a deluded child.

Why are trans people called “our siblings” when workers, migrants, people with disabilities are not? What is it about transness that makes trans people our “siblings”?

Anyway, the cuddly warm fuzzies the word is no doubt meant to invoke is pretty thoroughly canceled by the “behead” part.

Exploding on your windshield

Jan 23rd, 2023 12:29 am | By

Just the usual – sadistic violent death threats aimed at women who defend women’s rights.

On January 19, disturbing tweets from a now-deactivated Twitter account began to circulate amongst women’s rights activists. The posts fantasized about the brutal murder of Posie Parker and her colleagues at an upcoming women’s rights demonstration in Glasgow.

The beans one.

But there’s more.

Shortly after, the user, calling himself Gaymon De Vaslayra, posted two audio clips to Twitter in which he targets Labour Member of Parliament Rosie Duffield and Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Speaking in Gaelic, the user threatens to murder Duffield with a gun at a bar, and Rowling with a hammer. While both audio clips have now been deleted along with the account, some users managed to preserve the audio clips and provide rough translations.

All because these women refuse to agree that men can be women, and refuse to be quiet about it.

Will the police do anything about it?

Nearly doubled lately

Jan 22nd, 2023 5:59 pm | By

The Times has a long piece on parents of “trans children” and the schools that encourage the children to think they’re trans while hiding the encouragement from the children’s parents. It’s grim reading.

Although the number of young people who identify as transgender in the United States remains small, it has nearly doubled in recent years, and schools have come under pressure to address the needs of those young people amid a polarized political environment where both sides warn that one wrong step could result in irreparable harm.

The fact that it’s nearly doubled in recent years should be a giant red flag.

The public school that Mrs. Bradshaw’s son attends is one of many throughout the country that allow students to socially transition — change their name, pronouns, or gender expression — without parental consent. Districts have said they want parents to be involved but must follow federal and, in some cases, state guidance meant to protect students from discrimination and violations of their privacy.

But what about protecting students from their teachers and administrators? What if they’re all caught up in a dubious but fashionable trend as opposed to a genuine epidemic of children discovering that they’re trans? What if all this is horribly dangerous and reckless and they should be being cautious instead of reckless? What if the schools are the danger instead of the parents? What then?

Schools have pointed to research that shows that inclusive policies benefit all students, which is why some education experts advise schools to use students’s preferred names and pronouns. Educators have also said they feel bound by their own morality to affirm students’ gender identities, especially in cases where students don’t feel safe coming out at home.

Why though? What if it’s morally better to reassure students that lots of people feel they don’t fit the stereotypes for their gender [or sex] and that it’s completely fine (and way cheaper and safer) to simply defy the stereotypes without going on medication or getting things cut off? What makes them so confident that “affirming” gender idennniny is the right thing to do?

Many advocates for L.G.B.T.Q. youth counter that parents should stop scapegoating schools and instead ask themselves why they don’t believe their children.

Stop right there. Shut up. This isn’t about LGB youth. It’s about T youth, which is a different thing, and a worse thing, a more destructive thing, a more crackpot and harmful and stupid thing. The T should stop leaning on the LGB to prop up its deranged ideology.

They said ensuring that schools provide enough support for transgender students is more crucial than ever, given the rise of legislation that blocks their access to bathrooms, sports and gender-affirming care.

The legislation doesn’t “block their access to bathrooms and sports.” It denies their access to the bathrooms and sports of the other sex, especially those of girls.

More tomorrow.

A comparison

Jan 22nd, 2023 12:07 pm | By

A quotable:

Some say “sex is socially constructed,” because societies attach expectations, stereotypes, and roles to the sexes.

But this is like saying that astrologers built the stars, by attaching strange ideas to them.

Tomas Bogardus

Their “frustration”

Jan 22nd, 2023 12:01 pm | By

The Independent reports Sam Smith’s ridiculous pretense that he cares about the absence of women.

Sam Smith has shared their “frustration” about the treatment of women at the Brit Awards.

Whose frustration? Women’s? Of course he doesn’t share it, because he’s not the one being treated that way.

Or is it supposed to mean his frustration? Which is part of the problem with the non-binary they/them: it creates pointless confusion.

The Telegraph also chimes in. It too dutifully uses the specialty pronouns.

Smith has been nominated in the song of the year category for their collaboration with German singer-songwriter Kim Petras on the viral hit Unholy.

They will face tough competition for the award from a host of talent including Burns for her song Go, Style for megahit As It Was and Dave for his track Starlight. Smith and Petras will also be performing during the awards ceremony, which is being held in February at London’s The O2 arena.

There’s another ambiguity. Is the “they” who will face tough competition Smith and Petras? Or is it just Smith? You can’t tell. But the rest of the sentence is also a mess so whatever. Clarity is for terfs, or something.

Women warned at the time

Jan 22nd, 2023 11:33 am | By

Sam Smith agitates to make an award “gender-neutral” and when he succeeds he pretends to have a sad about the women.

Smith’s popularity is remarkable — 30 million more monthly listeners on Spotify than Adele — and the recent, riotous single Unholy feels like a statement. As does the new album, Gloria, which blends house, gospel and a blast of choral to create music of release, with lyrics steeped in “queer history”. Unholy earned Smith a Grammy nomination for the first time since that debut and is also up for best song at the Brit awards.

Ah, the Brits. The one step forwards, two steps back awards show. Smith will have to wait until next year’s ceremony to score a nod for best artist with Gloria — the first time the singer will be eligible for the gender-neutral prizes introduced last year, merging the best female and best male into an overall best artist category.

Yet the 2023 awards ceremony being held next month is already a nightmare. No women are up for best artist. Indeed, just 42 per cent of the nominations are for female artists. What’s this got to do with Smith? In 2021 the star called for the awards to be “reflective” and so became the figurehead for a landmark change, the Brits becoming the first big UK awards to become gender neutral.

And because he’s a man, it didn’t occur to him that gender-neutral will mean overlooking women, because it always does.

Women warned at the time that the change risked marginalising female artists. And so it has come to pass. Before the award went gender neutral, five women used to enjoy the spotlight in the annual race to become best female artist. This year the spotlight is basically on Harry Styles, Stormzy and George Ezra, without a woman in view.

Neutral isn’t always neutral.

“It is a shame,” Smith agrees. The singer looks genuinely bewildered that women have been forgotten, despite the bear trap the Brit jurors have walked into being so obvious. 

Thus demonstrating that he’s not gender-neutral at all, he’s a man, and typically oblivious to the ways women are ignored and overlooked and filtered out.

“It’s incredibly frustrating,” Smith says with a sigh. “It feels like it should be easy to do. [The Brits] just have to celebrate everyone because this is not just about artists getting awards. Awards are for kids watching on TV, thinking, ‘I can make music like this.’ When I was young, if I’d seen more queer people at these awards it would have lit my heart. Awards are there to inspire.”

Right. See also: women. Awards are for girl kids watching on TV, thinking “I can make music like this” as well as boy kids. If there are few or no awards for women, girls watching won’t be thinking that.


Jan 22nd, 2023 9:57 am | By

It really is quite astonishing – not in a good way – how accepted this stuff is.