“I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.”
The transphobic and whorephobic streak of the Guardian/Observer/whatever continued this weekend, when over a hundred people signed an open letter condemning the “censorship” of transphobic and whorephobic feminists. The death throes of this kind of feminism are becoming more apparent every day, and when ideologies die like this, the few dogmatic followers left try to claim that people not tolerating their bigotry are “censoring” them.
Of course, of the three examples they’ve given, they’re all complete bullshit. Kate Smurthwaite wasn’t censored by Goldsmiths FemSoc; the Comedy Society cancelled her gig when she only sold eight tickets. Neither was Germaine Greer censored; her event went ahead with nary an interruption, while Cambridge University’s LGBT+ Society hosted a pro-trans event in response. And, of course, they bring up Julie Bindel’s no platforming by the NUS LGBT and Women’s Campaigns. I’ve long been critical of the political approach of No Platform, believing it to always end up being used against us. Still, under the safety approach of No Platform, Julie “threatened to shoot trans women for getting safer sex work policy past Lib Dem Conference” Bindel shouldn’t be given a platform.
Sarah Brown, Zoe O’Connell, and Natacha Kennedy, to name three people, have blogged in response to the letter’s frankly bizarre claims. In particular, there’s a common theme among the three women exposing the logical disconnect that these people with newspaper columns are writing to newspapers to protest their being censored by… people with placards and Twitter accounts? And indeed, these people are making a huge mistake in confusing freedom of speech with freedom of association and freedom from consequences. A university union or a newspaper isn’t obliged to give someone a platform. And if Rupert Read wanted to not be criticised by his prospective constituents for his political views, he shouldn’t be a candidate for political office. They probably know that; as Sarah’s already said, “those who signed [the letter] and have a history of transphobia and whorephobia know what they’re doing and are being deeply cynical here”.
With all that out-of-the-way, I’m going to focus on today’s post by “Terry MacDonald” from the bastion of transphobia and whorephobia and formerly left-liberal publication New Statesman, titled “Are you now or have you ever been a TERF?”
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