Category Archives: Trans issues

QotD: “Sex work is rewarding, pupils told by education providers”

Providers of sex education in schools are teaching children that prostitution is a “rewarding job” and failed to advise a 14-year-old girl having sex with a 16-year-old boy that it was illegal.

Outside organisations teaching children about sex also promote “kinks” such as being locked in a cage, flogged, caned, beaten and slapped in the face, The Times has found.

One organisation encouraged pupils to demonstrate where they like to touch themselves sexually, in a practise criticised as “sex abuse” by campaigners.

Another provider, an LGBT+ youth charity called the Proud Trust, produces resources asking children aged seven to 11 whether they are “planet boy, planet girl, planet non-binary”.

Last night campaigners said that “inclusiveness is overriding child safeguarding” and that the materials were “bordering on illegal”.

This week Rachel de Souza, the children’s commissioner, revealed that she would review sex education being taught in schools after Miriam Cates, an MP, was contacted by a parent whose nine-year-old child came home “shaking” and “white as a sheet because they’d been taught in detail about rape”.

Relationship and sex education (RSE) became compulsory in English secondary schools in 2020, with many contracting out the teaching. Since then an industry has sprung up of providers who produce resources and go into schools to teach sex education and gender issues.

Staff do not need education or child development qualifications and there is no professional register or regulation of their curriculum.

One organisation, Bish, is an online guide to sex and relationships for children aged over 14. It is written by Justin Hancock, who teaches sex education in schools and provides teacher training on sex education.

The website features a question from a 14-year-old girl having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old male. She states that she is worried about becoming pregnant because they are not using contraception and are using the “withdrawal” method. In his response Hancock, who describes himself as a freelance sex and relationships educator, said that “your risks of pregnancy are very, very low”, a statement described as “dangerously reckless” by campaigners. He also failed to mention that the relationship was illegal and advised using lubricant during anal sex.

In another post on the site, a reader wrote to say that she felt “dirty” after being coerced into having sex for money. Hancock replied: “There are many many people doing sex work who do enjoy what they do — even if they don’t necessarily enjoy the sex. It can be a really difficult job but many people find it rewarding — just like other jobs.

“This is especially true if sex workers mainly have good clients, which I don’t think you do. If you did want to continue, maybe you could get better clients?”

In a post about “kink”, Bish links to a blog that provides a list of sexual activities including using manacles and irons, whips, swinging and beating.

In a post about masturbation, parents are told: “If your kid is having trouble understanding this, or you want to explain how to touch themselves, you could get hold of some Play-Doh or plasticine and make a model of what someone’s genitals might look like. They could practice touching the models gently in a similar way to how they may touch their own.”

The Safe Schools Alliance said: “Telling children to practise masturbating on a plasticine model is child sexual abuse.”

Bish claims that more than 100,000 young people a month learn about sex from its website. The site was funded by Durex but the condom brand withdrew its sponsorship. It is not clear why. The website is now funded by donations from the public and schools pay Hancock for resource packs that he provides. Hancock says on his website that he has taught “a broad variety of RSE topics in state and independent schools”.

A full day of teaching costs £500 a day for local authority schools, £550 for academy schools and £600 for fee-paying schools.

Hancock says that his website “is not designed for classroom RSE teaching”, and that teachers should visit his training site for resources, which can be bought on his online shop.

In 2019 the government announced that schools would be given access to a £6 million RSE training and support package so that teachers in England could provide new classes on issues such as healthy relationships, safe sex and consent. Last month the website Vice reported that only £3.2 million had been taken up by schools.

A survey by the Sex Education Forum of children aged 16 and 17 last year found that 35 per cent rated the quality of their school’s RSE provision as “good” or “very good” — down six percentage points from the previous year. This was attributed to many of the basics not being covered.

The Proud Trust produced a range of resources called Alien Nation that asked primary schoolchildren aged seven to 11 whether they felt closest to “planet boy, planet girl, planet non-binary”.

It also asks: “Which planet were you sent to as a baby” and “What would your ideal planet be like?”. Its website states that the resource was funded by Cheshire West and Chester council. The charity Educate & Celebrate, founded by Elly Barnes, a teacher, promoted a book called Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?, which tells the story of Kit, a 12-year-old girl who is being medically transitioned to live as a boy.

Resources on their website include lesson plans for children aged seven to 11 that suggest pupils “create a gender neutral character” that they can share with the rest of the class.

Teachers should encourage them to “refrain from saying he or she” and “introduce gender neutral pronouns and language, eg They, Zie and Mx”. The group says that its methods have been adopted by “hundreds of schools”.

Last month Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, a former director of public prosecutions, said that providers were preventing parents from viewing teaching resources, citing commercial confidentiality.

Tanya Carter, spokeswoman for Safe Schools Alliance and an early years practitioner, said: “We are very much in favour of sex education but it should be for the benefit of children — learning about rights, how to protect themselves, and how to get help if someone is abusing them. It should not be about promoting prostitution and abuse to already vulnerable children.

“We don’t think Bish or Justin Hancock should be anywhere near children because he clearly doesn’t understand child protection. It’s completely indefensible what he’s been promoting to children and some of it is verging on a criminal offence.”

Hancock declined to comment. The other providers did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for Cheshire West and Chester council said: “The Alien Nation book aimed to support teachers and schools to explain gender identity and gender variance. Lesson plans were created by the Proud Trust to accompany the book, which could be used by schools if they wished.

“The council will always take on board comments and will share these with the Proud Trust in relation to the Alien Nation book. The support pack is not available on the council’s website.”

Case study
A mother was reported to social services after she objected to the way her children were being taught about sex and gender at school (Charlotte Wace writes).

The woman said that she wanted her six daughters, four of whom are foster children, “to know they have [a] right to safe spaces based on biological sex and equality in sport”. She wrote to the school after being told that two of the girls, aged 12 and 13, were due to have lessons on sex and gender, and asked to see material used in the lessons in advance.

It amounted to “indoctrination”, she claimed in her letter, and she asked the school to add “some scientific balance”.

She was summoned to a meeting with social workers, an educational adviser and the member of school staff who had alerted the authorities. It was decided that a social worker would speak to the mother. The social worker summarised that they, along with other social workers, held “no concerns” relating to the mother’s care of the children and that no further action was required.

The woman has started legal action against the teacher who made the complaint and is suing for defamation.

The school has declined to comment.

(Source)

QotD: “‘Sex positive’ sex education is harming children”

Most parents approach children’s questions about sex with careful thought. We know that our period chat, puberty Q&A, our bleakly vital guidance on sexting and porn won’t just affect their present happiness and bodily ease, but future relationships too. We entrust schools to make up for our shortfalls or embarrassment, to further our conversations with sensitivity and fact.

We’d expect RSHE (relationships, sex and health education) lessons to be conducted by trained teachers, schooled in biology, alert to pornified and misleading internet content. We’d hope our kids learn not just where babies come from but that sexuality is diverse, that sex isn’t just about problems, like STIs and abortion, but a source of joy.

Instead your child may be taught by the School of Sexuality Education which asked kids to Google then draw masturbating animals. Or the Proud Trust, whose dice game asks 13-year-olds to speculate how various body parts and objects will pleasure their anus. Or Diversity Role Models, which promoted the message beloved of paedophiles: “Love has no age limit.”

Because any organisation can now teach RSHE, including activist groups with political agendas. Staff don’t need education or child development qualifications. There is no professional register or regulation of their curriculum. The Department for Education (DfE) says it is a school’s responsibility to oversee lesson content but many don’t have time, often entrusting outside speakers to address classes with no teacher present. And if parents demand to see teaching resources, groups often cite copyright law and refuse.

RSHE teaching, as Miriam Cates, a Tory MP and former biology teacher, noted in her Westminster Hall debate on Thursday, is “a wild west”. Indeed it is a deregulated, privatised, quintessentially Conservative mess.

The government’s response to criticism about inadequate sex education was to make it mandatory from September 2020 for both primary and secondary pupils. The DfE advocates a “programme tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of the pupils”. But instead of providing funds to recruit or train RSHE specialists, it left schools often to outsource lessons to groups, some newly formed to win these lucrative contracts. Since then many parents have voiced concerns. First at the inappropriately sexualised content of lessons for young children: 11-year-olds asked to work out from a list if they are straight, gay or bisexual; ten-year-olds told to discuss masturbation in pairs. Compelling pre-pubescent children to talk about explicit material with adults transgresses their natural shyness and is a safeguarding red flag.

Many groups brand themselves “sex positive”, a confusing term which doesn’t mean “relationships are great” but that no sexual practice is off-limits and the sex industry, specifically pornography, is wholly liberating. BISH Training’s website entry on “rough sex” dismisses the notion that online porn is responsible for a rise in choking, hair-pulling and spitting as “annoying”. Although 60 British women have died of strangulation during sex, BISH simply tells young people to go slow “at first”.

Reading RSHE groups’ online material, and most is hidden from public scrutiny, none addresses the fact that boys and girls are fed different sexual scripts from increasingly violent mainstream porn. Those being choked, violently penetrated in multiple orifices are rarely male. Yet there is no feminist critique or much focus on female pleasure.

Such teaching is supposed to uphold the 2010 Equality Act in which sex is a protected characteristic, yet much of it blurs biology. The Sex Education Forum divides us into “menstruaters” and “non-menstruaters”. Just Like Us states that sex can be changed. Amaze suggests boys who wear nail varnish and girls who like weightlifting could be trans.

Researching my report on the Tavistock child gender service, I spoke with parents of girls on the autistic spectrum who’d always felt like misfits but after listening to outside speakers at school assemblies or RSHE classes now believed they were boys. Gender ideology, with no basis in science or fact, is being pushed in schools, as Cates says, “with religious fervour”.

In its carelessness and cheap-skatery, the government has enabled teaching that is well out of step with public opinion. More In Common polling of 5,000 people found that while 64 per cent of us are happy for schools to teach that some children have two dads or mums, only 31 per cent believe primary schools should teach about trans identity. Parents know it is confusing, unscientific and predicated upon gender stereotypes.

The government’s present hands-off policy also leaves schools vulnerable when challenged by homophobic religious groups, as in Birmingham when extreme Islamists stirred up parents to oppose teaching about gay parents. Head teachers then said they’d have welcomed more prescriptive government guidance so parents could hold elected politicians, not individual schools, to account.

At Thursday’s debate, the chastened schools minister Robin Walker noted that parents should have ready access to all RSHE teaching materials and said the equality and human rights commission is working out guidance on how gender identity should be taught in schools. Such lessons must include evidence of social contagion, the harms of puberty blockers, warning about irreversible treatment and the experience of a growing number of “detransitioners”.

But the government needs to go further, with a register of outside groups and close monitoring of misleading materials. It should also teach critical thinking, so children can evaluate the porn-suffused culture in which they live. There’s no point parents putting such care into how we teach children about sex if the government gives none at all.

Janice Turner

Jeffrey Epstein Was A Pimp Like Any Other

Part of the reason that Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of girls and women fascinates is that he belonged to such a remote, rarefied world. Private jets, princes, billionaires, the daughter of a media magnate to act as his madam. For those who would like to believe that the powerful and wealthy exist in a state of ultimate corruption, here is ample material.

But the truth is that beyond the vulgar surface glitz and the celebrity names, grooming and trafficking is always only grooming and trafficking. Always only rape. Swap Mar-a-Lago for a care home. Swap the Lolita Express for a minicab rank. Swap the private island for a grey industrial estate. The differences are superficial. The underlying exploitation of female bodies is much the same.

It starts when the exploiter finds a person he can exploit. Sometimes, that means someone who’s already been abused: Virginia Giuffre, the Epstein victim who is currently pursuing a civil suit against Prince Andrew, has said she’d gone through “so much abuse already” before she met Epstein. Sometimes the vulnerability is love. Sammy Woodhouse, one of the victims of the Rotherham grooming scandal, believed that the man in his twenties who started raping her when she was 14 was her boyfriend.

Power is fundamental to all sexual abuse. Epstein’s power was most obvious in his money and connections, but it was also inherent to his sex. For the abusers of Woodhouse and all the other girls like her—the ones in Rotherham and Rochdale, the ones we know about and the ones we don’t—power consisted simply in being male. Their victims, being girls, were of no value. The police would look right at them in the passenger seat of an adult man’s car and ask no questions.

The fact that men as a whole have more power than women as a whole is the most unfashionable intersection. On the left, it is easy to talk about race, about sexuality, about gender identity. Sometimes, social class is even brought into the picture. But if sex is brought into the picture at all, it’s usually done dismissively. What about Maxwell? (Well, what about Maxwell? There have always been female pimps, acting for men and against other women and girls.)

White women as a group are discussed in terms of their privilege—so-called “Karens,” up to their necks in complicity. The oppression of  black women can be acknowledged, but only in terms of their race, and often as a means of undermining “white feminism.” The injunction to remember that sex is not the only axis of oppression is applied to mean that, in effect, sex is not a real axis of oppression at all.

By the time one has worked through the liturgy of all the ways a woman might have advantages over a man, any sense that women might share a common social vulnerability has long been dissolved. This has depressing consequences for almost every aspect of politics regarding women’s lives, but it has a particularly egregious effect when it comes to the discussion of sexual exploitation.

Without an understanding of men’s power in general over women in general, it becomes impossible to make sense of an Epstein, a Rotherham, a Rochdale. It is impossible to make any sense of the sex industry as a whole: it simply becomes a baffling patchwork of people (who happen to be mostly female) providing services (which happen to be sexual) to other people (who happen to be almost exclusively male). No structural forces here, just arbitrary and individual choice.

That’s if the buyers are brought into the discussion at all. Usually, conversations about the sale of sex are conversations about the people—the women—who sell it. The men simply melt away into the background, undiscussed, unmentioned, too unremarkable to draw comment; a strange, faceless inevitability. The vast majority of research on prostitution focuses on the prostituted rather than the punters.

Perhaps that’s because most research into prostitution starts from the ideological position that “sex work is work,” and so examining the character of the men who drive the industry would be an obstacle to normalising it, as the researchers want to. Buyers are not the only sources of harm against women in prostitution, but they are a significant one: the UK 2020 Femicide Census recorded the killings of 32 women involved in prostitution, 18 of whom were killed by clients. Research into men who buy sex has found they score highly for sexual aggression, and (unsurprisingly) lowly on empathy for women in prostitution.

We don’t know whether the act begets the attitude or the attitude begets the act, but it seems plausible that the influence runs both ways. What’s interesting, though, is that when such a man is brought into public view—a man like Epstein, who used girls and young women, and passed them around his friends, if not for direct financial gain then for social advantage—he is seen, rightly, with revulsion.

To exploit another person for your own pleasure is a grotesque thing to do, and a thing that can only happen under a terrible mismatch of power. We can talk about a woman’s “choice” to sell sex, but it is a choice that can be made only when a man decides to buy it. Epstein was not extraordinary. He was any pimp and any punter, and his wrongs are the wrongs of the entire trade in women.

Sarah Ditum

Declaration of Sex Based Rights

Join us in Leeds for a U.K. Launch of The Declaration of Sex Based Rights.

Academic, author and activist Dr. Sheila Jeffreys, sociologist and author Dr. Heather Brunskell-Evans, and lawyer and legal academic Maureen O’Hara will be presenting The Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights, for the first time in the U.K.

The meeting will be Chaired by Sarah Field, Leeds City Councillor for Garforth.

The Declaration re-affirms that women’s human rights are based upon sex.

Our panellists will speak about how the idea of ‘gender identity’ is eroding the notion and practice of women’s rights.

‘Gender identity’ is increasingly being used in an official capacity – for example the ability to change your ‘gender marker’ on the Leeds City Council website, with no checks or documentation.

They’ll explore how the official adoption of gender, as opposed to sex, endangers the rights of women and girl children to safety and dignity, and leads to discrimination against women in areas such as political representation, freedom of speech and association, sports and culture.

Join with women around the world to make a stand to defend our sex based rights, as laid out in the 1979 U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), ratified by the U.K. in 1986.

Sat, May 25, 2019, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM BST, tickets available here

QotD: “London porn festival goes into hiding after feminist protests”

A pornography festival in London this weekend has been forced to relocate after protests.

Faced with the prospect of a picket, organisers of the London porn film festival, which describes itself as “celebrating queer, feminist, radical and experimental porn”, pulled screenings from the Horse Hospital, an arts venue in Bloomsbury. The three-day event will instead be held at a new location disclosed only to ticket holders.

Multiple complaints about the festival were made to Camden council. Local authorities have the power to permit screenings of uncertificated films.

Despite the festival’s progressive intentions, feminist organisations branded it demeaning. Janice Williams, chair of the activist group Object, said the films on show promoted “degradation and oppression”. Rude Jude, one of the festival’s organisers, disagreed. “This is the next step on from the moral panic and the rightwing conservative groups that protested this kind of thing before … Britain likes to think of itself as a place tolerant of queer people, but when queer people assert ourselves, we’re attacked.”

The festival programme includes screenings titled Soft Tender Tuff Bois, described as a “love letter to all genderqueer and transmasculine people”, and The Kinks Are All Right, which takes the theme of “seductive humiliation”.

Rude Jude said the festival was staged as a response to 2014 legislation that extended pornography laws to films streamed over the internet: “It banned so many queer acts. It banned the depiction of female ejaculation, caning, breast play, flogging. These things are part of queer sexuality. The festival was formed as a protest.”

The coordinators of a separate pressure group, Women Against Pornography, said: “Feminist pornography is an oxymoron … feminism is not about individualistic wishes or desires, it is about liberating all women from the oppression of males. This can never be achieved by being tied up in a bed or by telling women that torture will make them free.” Women Against Pornography cited “security reasons” for not wanting to reveal their names.

In a letter to Camden council, Williams singled out a festival strand titled Sex Work Is Work, the online description for which included the hashtag #necrophilia. Williams claimed the festival was to show extreme pornographic images and pornography that is “likely to result in serious injury” to the performers. The hashtag has since been removed from the festival site.

[…]

In a series of Twitter posts, the festival claimed transphobia underlay the attack on the event. Women Against Pornography refute the accusation: “In the letters we sent there was no mention of transgenderism. However, if transgenderism is apparently so closely linked with pornography then that’s not a very good advert for it. As radical feminists we are gender critical, although this didn’t form part of our criticism of the festival.”

The Horse Hospital, which does not receive public money, is known for its grassroots art programming and has hosted the festival since its inception. “We’re in a difficult position here. We’re always up against it with somebody,” said director Roger Burton.

Full article here

QotD: “Puberty blockers exacerbated gender dysphoria. Yet the study has been used to justify rolling out this drug regime to several hundred children aged under 16.”

An Oxford University professor has accused the NHS’s only specialised clinic for transgender children of suppressing negative results while undertaking experimental treatment on adolescents.

Dr Michael Biggs, an associate professor at Oxford’s Department of Sociology claims the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) has been giving puberty blocking hormones to children, without robust evidence as to the long-term effects.

It comes after the governor of the clinic based in London with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust resigned last month in protest at its “blinkered” response to doctors who had raised the alarm about “woefully inadequate” care. There is also another centre in Leeds.

Declaring the trial a success, the clinic has continued to treat over a thousand children with the hormones but Dr Biggs’ research suggests that after a year of treatment “a significant increase” was found in patients who had been born female self-reporting to staff that they “deliberately try to hurt or kill myself”.

Parents also reported “a significant increase in behavioural and emotional problems” and a “significant decrease in physical wellbeing” in children born female, he claims. According to his research, there was no positive impact on “the experience of gender dysphoria”, the diagnosis given to those who are described as feeling intensely uncomfortable with their biological sex.

Parents did report their children suffering less “internalising behavioural problems”, however.

Dr Biggs said: “Puberty blockers exacerbated gender dysphoria. Yet the study has been used to justify rolling out this drug regime to several hundred children aged under 16.”

His findings are derived from a 2015 report to the directors of the Trust and an abstract from a presentation to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health in 2015 by Dr Polly Carmichael, the director of GIDS – based on the first 44 children to have been treated.

Full results of the trial remain unpublished.

In announcing the study in 2011, the Trust said treatment with the hormones – known as Gonadatropin-Releasing Hormone agonists or GnRHa – was reversible. Yet a Freedom of Information request to the NHS Health Research Authority showed the study’s own research protocol stated: “It is not clear what the long-term effects of early suppression may be on bone development, height, sex organ development and body shape and their reversibility if treatment is stopped during pubertal development”. In an interview with the Guardian in 2015, Dr Carmichael admitted: “Nothing is completely reversible.”

By acting on the pituitary gland, the drugs prevent the release of chemical signals which stimulate the production of estrogen and testosterone, halting the changes of puberty caused by these sex hormones.

In a four-year period, 61 children were recruited, with puberty blockers administered to 50 aged between 10 and 16. By 2017, 800 patients under the age of 18 had been enrolled on the trial, including 230 under 14, according to the professor’s research published on the website of Transgender Trend, an organisation that campaigns for policies regarding children who identify as transgender to be based on scientific and clinical evidence. According to the BBC, 300 prescriptions were issued last year.

Before 2010, the clinic prescribed blockers to over 16s only. But Dr Biggs claims the clinic’s caution was opposed by Mermaids, a charity that supports children who identify as trans and their families and the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES), whose purpose is to improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people.

Full article here

QotD: “The case against Miranda Yardley is over. The judge said there was no evidence”

Debbie Hayton on twitter

QotD: “The royal college for family doctors has scrapped a course it says is making its members uneasy”

The professional body for family doctors has dropped a course provided by a transgender activist charity because GPs felt it pushed them to guide patients towards gender reassignment.

The course on gender variance, which the Royal College of General Practitioners had hosted on its website since 2015, has been withdrawn.

The college’s decision represents a significant response by the medical establishment at a time of growing disquiet about the surging number of children who are transitioning.

Dr Jonathan Leach, honorary secretary, said the online module, developed and paid for by the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (Gires) “risked creating unrealistic expectations for patients regarding the role of the GP in initiating treatment”.

He added: “We understand that access to specialist gender reassignment services in the NHS is inadequate, and that this is incredibly frustrating for trans patients and their families.

“But GPs should not have to bear the brunt of poor access to specialist services by being put in a position where they are being asked to prescribe treatment that they are not trained to prescribe or monitor safely without expert support.”

Gires said it developed the course to help GPs assessing young trans people and adults. Gires paid the college £7,837 to host the course on its website.

But the two fell out after the college made changes to the course without informing Gires. The college objected to the charity Mermaids, which supports transgender children and their families, being recommended for referrals, saying: “Delete Mermaids from the list of people to use for support and just use Gires. Mermaids have become very controversial.”

Full article here

QotD: “Maria Miller called me a fake feminist over gender self-ID. Now she says I was right all along”

One of the really, truly, enormously irritating things about writing on “women’s issues” is that people often think you’re talking a load of cobblers – because you’re a woman talking about women, so, duh, partisan – without looking into the subject at all. You get laughed at, called hysterical, accused of making a fuss about nothing.

Then, sometimes, the issue gets wider traction, or someone properly looks into it. And then they discover something incredible. Hang on, this is a big deal! Why didn’t anyone tell us?

I’m used to this happening from, say, lofty columnists who find it all very amusing that politicians go on Mumsnet and talk about their favourite biscuits. (Forgetting that they usually get grilled pretty hard about other issues too, and that “mothers” is a group that encompasses four out of five women by the end of their lives.) But really, I expected better from the chair of the bloody Women & Equalities Select Committee.

Maria Miller has today accused the government of “mishandling” its approach to transgender issues, saying that many trans people cannot access healthcare, which is a bigger issue than being able to self-define your gender. (Currently, the gender recognition certificate process involves two years living “in role” and a medical diagnosis of dysphoria, although it’s easier to just change your passport and other documents.) Service provision, she says, “seems to have been somewhat eclipsed by an announcement by the government on the Gender Recognition Act – that was one of our recommendations, but only one of 33”. Reform of the Gender Recognition Act of 2004 “was not the most pressing issue for trans people that we met as part of the inquiry”. She is now advising ministers to “focus in one getting their services right first and foremost, and also be clear that there is no threat to single-sex services, they are clearly protected in law”.

Well, now. This is a stunning rebuke to… Maria Miller of 2017, who said the only backlash to her report was from “individuals purporting to be feminists”.

As I wrote when the report was released, Miller dismissed feminist concerns “about the erosion of single-sex provision in, say, rape shelters as ‘extraordinary’ bigotry; the Tory dinosaurs weren’t getting upset about it, after all. An alternative explanation is that those dinosaurs don’t give a tuppenny toss about rape shelters either way”.

[…]

It is still shocking to me that Miller could be so little versed in feminism that she could sign off a report advising a change to the Equality Act, replacing “gender reassignment” with “gender identity” as a protected characteristic, without realising the profound public policy implications of that change. At a stroke, she advised changing our concept of gender from something that is partially socially constructed – how you are treated – to entirely a matter of internal essence. She entered the realm of metaphysics, asserting that everyone has a gender identity, something which no instrument can measure. That isn’t the kind of thing you can casually toss out in paragraph 4.108 and expect everyone to nod through, unless you have no idea what you’re proposing.

Helen Lewis, read the full article here.

I will let Janice Turner have the last word here:

QotD: “Trigger warnings OK but no-platforming may be illegal, universities warned”

Consistently no-platforming people could have a chilling effect on free speech on university campuses and should not take place, according to government guidance.

While student unions are free to choose whether or not to invite individual speakers, placing blanket bans on groups that hold a particular political view is likely to breach English and Welsh free speech laws, according to the guidance released on Saturday.

“Free speech is a value integral to the independence and innovation that embodies the higher education sector in the UK, fuelling academic thought and challenging injustice,” said the universities minister, Chris Skidmore.

The release of the guidance, which was drawn up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), with help from the National Union of Students, the Home Office and a host of other bodies, comes amid a growing debate over free speech on campuses.

While it makes clear that a student union choosing not to invite a speaker because of their views is permissible, it says they should not ban such people from using their facilities altogether. And universities must not allow student complaints to censor course content. Exceptions are made for speech that breaks the law, including stirring up racial or religious hatred.

It reads: “Any decision about speakers and events should seek to promote and protect the right to freedom of expression.”

The guidance makes clear that people have the right to protest against speakers within the law. But it adds: “Protest should not be allowed to shut down debate or infringe the rights of others.”

Full article here