Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Archive for the ‘Gay Rights’ Category

Gender ‘Debate’: J.K Rowling Receives Death Threats.

with 29 comments

JK Rowling's address posted on Twitter by trans activists | News | The Times

JK Rowling has accused three people who campaign on transgender matters of posting a photo of her Edinburgh address on Twitter.

BBC

The author, who has been criticised for her views on trans issues, has reported the matter to police.

Police Scotland said they had been made aware and inquiries were ongoing.

In a now deleted social media post, one of the group said the photo had been removed after they had received “threatening” messages online.

In her own Twitter thread, Rowling said the image depicted the three activists in front of her home, “carefully positioning themselves to ensure” the address was visible.

She said: “I want to say a massive thank you to everybody who reported the image to @TwitterSupport. Your kindness and decency made all the difference to my family and me.

“I implore those people who retweeted the image with the address still visible, even if they did so in condemnation of these people’s actions, to delete it.”

Rowling sparked controversy in June 2020 for posting tweets which took issue with the phrase “people who menstruate” – she objected to the avoidance of the use of the word “women”.

In a lengthy blog post, the writer of the Harry Potter books said her interest in trans issues stemmed from being a survivor of abuse and having concerns around single-sex spaces.

Critics said her views “diminished the identity” of trans people, while stars from the Harry Potter films, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, distanced themselves from her comments.

*****

Some people make light of people standing outside somebody’s home to protest against them.

The first thing I thought of when I saw this story a few days ago was this:

Iglesias, who has since left the leadership of Podemos and politics, was targeted by the far right. The man organising the daily protest outside his house was Miguel Ángel Frontera, an ultra right activist and a sympathiser and voter for the far-right party Vox.

Frontera even took video recordings on his mobile of the inside of the residence:

There have of course been worse cases of harassment outside people’s homes, in the Basque Country, not to mention the North of Ireland.

The principle though, of protesting against somebody at their own address, the one where they live, is a very bad one. As can be seen, it can be used by all kinds of political forces.

The opponents of Rowling respond:

Anybody who wants to read what Rowling actually thinks on the issues should begin here.

J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues. (2020)

(Extracts from a long piece).

This isn’t an easy piece to write, for reasons that will shortly become clear, but I know it’s time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity. I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity.

For people who don’t know: last December I tweeted my support for Maya Forstater, a tax specialist who’d lost her job for what were deemed ‘transphobic’ tweets. She took her case to an employment tribunal, asking the judge to rule on whether a philosophical belief that sex is determined by biology is protected in law. Judge Tayler ruled that it wasn’t.

My interest in trans issues pre-dated Maya’s case by almost two years, during which I followed the debate around the concept of gender identity closely. I’ve met trans people, and read sundry books, blogs and articles by trans people, gender specialists, intersex people, psychologists, safeguarding experts, social workers and doctors, and followed the discourse online and in traditional media. On one level, my interest in this issue has been professional, because I’m writing a crime series, set in the present day, and my fictional female detective is of an age to be interested in, and affected by, these issues herself, but on another, it’s intensely personal, as I’m about to explain.

……

It would be so much easier to tweet the approved hashtags – because of course trans rights are human rights and of course trans lives matter – scoop up the woke cookies and bask in a virtue-signalling afterglow. There’s joy, relief and safety in conformity. As Simone de Beauvoir also wrote, “… without a doubt it is more comfortable to endure blind bondage than to work for one’s liberation; the dead, too, are better suited to the earth than the living.”

Written by Andrew Coates

November 23, 2021 at 12:13 pm

Gender-Neutral Pronouns and the Gender Debate.

with 7 comments

Gender Neutral Pronouns | OK2BME

In Johnathan Rée’s illuminating work, Witcraft, The Invention of Philosophy in English (2019) he recounts the contribution of a 16th century English clergyman, Ralph Lever. The cleric objected to the use of Latinate and Greek words in English wit and speechcraft. In place of these “inkhorne terms” than nobody could understand, the maxim “every proposition is either an affirmation or a negation” should be, “every simple shesay..is either a yeasay or a naysay.” Made up of “true and auncient English” it would replace the language making a “mingle mangle” of our “native speache”. Logic and Dialectic would give way to the “self-explanatory term Witcraft”. As for “the latine worde, called a Conclusion. I call it an Endsaye, bicause it is a saying that maketh an ende of a reason.” (The arte of reason, rightly termed, witcraft, teaching a perfect way to argue and dispute. Made by Raphe Leuer. Seene and allowed according to the order appointed in the Queenes Maiesties iniunctions. 1573,

Alas, Lever’s vocabulary never caught on.

Today we have a new effort to reform our “native speache”.

What are the 78 Gender pronouns? Bob Cut.

Gender traditionally was associated with a person’s sex which was assigned to them at birth. In every societal structure, there are predefined gender-based roles, assigned to their binary genders. Binary genders such as man and woman used pronouns such as he, she. This predefined structure of gender, classified people based on their appearances, attitudes, and restricted expressions. Those who fell outside this pre-determined structure, were often outcast, dehumanized, and suffered greater misfortune in the hands of the public, and were mocked, or humiliated. In such a society, the self-expression of individuals was considered less important. Mostly it depended on how well the person behaved in conforming to these ideals, which the society had dictated.   

In a modern societal structure, however, the gender norms are much more complex and are made much more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community. It the important of building a community where everyone is accepted and are inclusive of each other without prejudice and move forward and build a better society. Even in workplaces, employers prefer using gender pronouns as a step to be more inclusive. The civil rights for LGBTQ+ commonly ensure the usage of gender pronouns, the violation of which can be considered workplace harassment. It is very important to ask someone what their preferred pronouns are and this could make them feel less intimidated and feel more comfortable in any stress-prone environment and provide a general sense of acceptance and give the comfort of a community. 

The gender-neutral language was introduced to English by feminists Casey Miller and Kate Swift. Their work was written to encourage inclusive language, as an alternative to the existing sexist language which was not inclusive to women. 

Neo Pronouns were also introduced which were used differently from the traditional gender pronouns such as he/she/they and incorporated the Spivak pronouns for gender-neutral and non-binary individuals.

These are the common gender pronouns used

SubjectObjectPossessivePossessive pronounsReflexive
(f)ae(f)aer(f)aer(f)aers(f)aerself
e/eyEmEirEirsEirself
HeHimHisHisHimself
PerPerPersPersPerself
SheHerHerHersHerself
theyThemTheirTheirsThemselves
VeVerVisVisVerself
XeXemXyrXyrsXermself
Ze/ziehirhirhirshirself

I merely add this point (familiar to many of those who have taught English to speakers of other languages),

A brief history of gender neutral pronouns

Now, in English, the word “they” is used as a gender-neutral singular pronoun – even though some critics argue that “they” should really only be used to refer to plural nouns.

But these identifiers are nothing new and have actually been used throughout the history of literature.

Examples of the singular “they” being used to describe someone features as early as 1386 in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and also in famous literary works like Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1599.

“They” and “them” were still being used by literary authors to describe people in the 17th Century too – including by Jane Austin in her 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice.

While these pronouns weren’t used historically to define people as gender neutral, ‘they’ was used to specify a role being undertaken by a person.

“You could say that somebody was say, a teacher, but you didn’t know whether that teacher was male or female,” Dr Emma Moore, a professor of linguistics at the University of Sheffield, tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

But she says it was from the 18th century onwards that people started using male pronouns when describing someone of a non-specific gender in writing and this marks the time when opinions on what pronouns should be used started to change.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 21, 2021 at 1:17 pm

The BBC Breaks With Stonewall, New Gender Row Erupts.

with 21 comments

BBC QUITS Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme | Daily Mail Online

New Row Breaking Out.

Image

BBC quits Stonewall diversity scheme over impartiality concerns. Guardian.

The BBC has quit a diversity programme run by the LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, saying it believes coverage of transgender issues should be considered an impartiality topic that requires the inclusion of critical voices.

The national broadcaster said it would no longer be a member of the Diversity Champions programme, under which the corporation paid Stonewall for ongoing advice and assessments on creating inclusive workplaces.

The BBC director general, Tim Davie, told staff it was “unquestionable” that its ongoing participation in the scheme “has led some organisations and individuals to consider that the BBC cannot be impartial when reporting on public policy debates where Stonewall is taking an active, campaigning, role”.

Jim Waterson Media editor

The BBC is fully committed to being an industry-leading employer on LGBTQ+ inclusion. We are proud of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans colleagues and we support them to have fulfilling careers at the BBC.

“Along with many other UK employers, the BBC has participated in Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme to support our objective to create a fully inclusive workplace. However, over time our participation in the Programme has led some to question whether the BBC can be impartial when reporting on public policy debates where Stonewall is taking an active role.

“After careful consideration, we believe it is time to step back from the Diversity Champions Programme and will also no longer participate in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.

“Being a part of the Diversity Champions Programme has never required the BBC to support the campaigns of Stonewall, nor its policy positions. As a broadcaster, we have our own values and editorial standards – these are clearly set out and published in our Editorial Guidelines. We are also governed by the Royal Charter and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. Our journalists continue, as ever, to report a full range of perspectives on stories.

“Although the BBC will not be renewing its participation in the Diversity Champions Programme, in the future we will continue to work with a range of external organisations, including Stonewall, on relevant projects to support our LGBTQ+ staff.”

In other words, the issue is that the close work with Stonewall has led “some to question” the BBC’s neutrality on the issues which Stonewall champions (read: its positions on gender on transsexuals, self-identification, gender fluidity). The BBC has by contrast, it says, never been anything other than guided by its own “values”.

Reactions from Gender Critical Feminists, Labour’s Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, and Stonewall.

This report in Variety is useful, above all because it puts the Nolan Podcast centre-stage. Having listened to the (long) series of broadcasts it is not hard to imagine the effect it would have.

The BBC has quit two controversial schemes run by Stonewall, an LGBTQ+ lobby group and charity, following an investigation by one of the corporation’s own journalists.

The public service broadcaster has now followed media regulator Ofcom and fellow broadcaster Channel 4 by withdrawing from Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme and Workplace Equality Index.

The news comes after BBC 5 Live journalist Stephen Nolan released a 10-part investigative podcast examining whether the schemes had influenced the BBC’s editorial output. Journalist David Thompson also contributed to the investigation.

In the podcast, Nolan and Thompson questioned whether the BBC was too close to Stonewall, providing numerous instances of BBC internal policy and editorial output that appeared to breach the corporation’s own impartiality guidelines, as well as the Equality Act 2010, following communication with Stonewall in connection with these schemes.

The podcast, which was the culmination of an eighteen month investigation, quickly rose to the top of the charts on both Apple and Spotify after its release last month and garnered numerous headlines as well as comments from members of parliament.

Variety also notes this,

In June, Channel 4 also announced it was pulling out of Stonewall’s diversity scheme while Ofcom quit the scheme in August.

Numerous public bodies, including the Department of Health and the U.K.’s Equality and Human Rights Commission also announced they were withdrawing from the schemes this year.

Don’t let other people think for you on the podcasts.

Pass over the highly coloured description below and look at the material itself.

Nolan Investigates: Stonewall – All ten podcasts transcribed

In October 2021 a team of BBC journalists blew the lid off the controversial lobby group Stonewall and its influence on public institutions across the UK. Eighteen months of investigative work has now been broadcast in a series of 10 podcasts.

The new evidence and personal testimony contained within this series needs to be widely shared and easily accessible to as many people as possible. So a team of volunteer supporters at Fair Play For Women have transcribed the key contents of each episode for people to read and quote from.

You can listen to the full podcast on BBC Sounds here.

Episode 1: The brief

This first episode set’s out why these podcasts are important “It’s not about the rights and wrongs of what Stonewall are doing. They’re entitled to lobby.  It’s about the process.  And is it right that in a democracy, a lobby group can have so much influence within government on government policy. And if Stonewall can have it, who else can have it?”

Episode 2: Stonewall’s Schemes and the BBC

The team introduces the Work Place Equality Index and Champion schemes. Stonewall have created a league table, and organisations around the UK are trying to climb up this league table in order to say to the public they are LGBTQ friendly. Not only are the public bodies paying a lobby group to be marked by a lobby group, but then this lobby group is also saying, well, you’re not doing well enough. Pay us some money and we’ll tell you how to get up higher next year.

Episode 3: Self-ID and Gender Identity

Stonewall is campaigning to make it a societal norm, that rather than just male and female, human beings can have lots more genders, including genderqueer, queer, non-binary, two-spirit, many others. That is controversial territory. In this episode we hear what this means from different perspectives. We hear from Ben Cohen of Pink News and Rosie Duffield MP.

Episode 4: Being non-binary in the UK

In this episode the team speaks to a non-binary person, Owen Hurcum, about gender identity and why it matters. “Some women have penises. Some men have vaginas, some non-binary people have penises, some non-binary people have vaginas, and people can change that if they feel they need to.”

Episode 5 – A gender clinic insider speaks out

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. An in-depth interview with consultant Psychiatrist Dr David Bell about the treatment of children with gender dysphoria. “We’re at risk of taking the things at the manifest or surface level and acting too quickly on what is being said. And therefore in danger of doing irreversible damage to a child who might have desisted, and that’s very, very important”.

Episode 6 – Is Government Too Close to Stonewall?

In this episode the team sets out the evidence showing how governments and civil servants across the UK have been influenced by Stonewall.

Episode 7 – Lobbying and the Law

Stonewall’s advice to employers is to go above and beyond the law. The team presents the evidence that Stonewall are giving advice based how they want the law to be, and not as the law stands.

Episode 8 – The Debate

Not all trans people think the same! In this episode we hear a discussion between two trans people with very different views on sex and gender identity; non-binary Owen Hurcum and transsexual Debbie Hayton. “I’m still as male as I was when I was born. It’s simply the surgery has helped me become more comfortable with my own body. That’s the only thing that changed”. 

Episode 9 – How close was Ofcom to Stonewall?

The team cast serious doubts over the impartiality of OfCom. In this episode we hear the evidence that shows how OfCom has cited its own judgements on BBC broadcasts to impress Stonewall in an attempt to climb its equality league table.

Episode 10 – Is the BBC too close to Stonewall?

And finally we discover the extent of policy capture within the BBC. We hear what its been like from an ex-BBC employee and how Stonewall has influenced editorial content through the BBC style guide. “when I queried this stuff, I was told that the BBC kind of checked this with Stonewall and Stonewall were fine. They were fine with it, and therefore the BBC was fine with it.”

Update Julie Bindel:

When the BBC announced today that, “After careful consideration, we believe it is time to step back from the Diversity Champions Programme and will also no longer participate in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index,” sighs of relief could be heard around the corporation. Many lesbians, feminists and gay men had become sick and tired of the dominance of transgender ideology, and increased pressure to use pronouns on email sign offs and capitulate to various demands of the handful of transgender staff whilst being expected to side-line their own needs had become intolerable.

When Ruth Hunt was applying for the role of CEO of Stonewall in 2014, she requested a meeting with me. I was a little surprised and perplexed: I have never been a fan of Stonewall, and had written a book, published that same year in which I criticised the organisation for focusing on wealthy, white gay men bleating about ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’. I considered Stonewall to be a gay men’s rights movement, in which lesbians barely featured. I could never have imagined at that time how much worse it was to become.

During our meeting, which was perfectly pleasant, Hunt explained to me that she had “no intention” of Stonewall becoming a LGBT organisation, and was planning to, if she got the job, help support transgender organisations to autonomously fight for their rights by accessing funding and giving advice and mentoring.

Fast forward a few weeks, and, as soon as she was in post, Hunt held a meeting with several trans activists during which she apologised about my nomination for Journalist of the Year in 2008, at which there was a huge protest by trans activists on the grounds that I am seen as a transphobic bigot.

I am not suggesting that Hunt misled me during our meeting when she said Stonewall would remain focussed on sexual orientation and identity as opposed to gender, but I wonder if she allowed herself to be ‘persuaded’ by the individuals in that meeting that to exclude the T would bring trouble to her door.  This was in the context of brewing animosity about the unreasonable demands being put forward by some trans activists, and the trans rights movement was well on the march.

Whatever happened in that meeting that led to Stonewall changing direction. It soon adopted intransigent, strong-arm tactics. Its “No Debate!” catchphrase and the uncompromising, dictatorial mantra, “Trans women are women” alienated lesbians and gay men. They felt pushed aside by trans activists who argued that same-sex attraction was transphobic bigotry, and that lesbians can have penises. Gay men and lesbians began to turn against the organisation, feeling betrayed.

At the same time, as well as having no advocacy from an organisation that had supposed to be about protecting the rights of same-sex attracted people, Stonewall captured massive institutions that played a huge part in our lives, including the BBC, the NHS, the Office for National Statistics, the Crown Prosecution Service, much of the Police Service, and a number of workplaces including local authorities.

In extricating itself from Stonewall today, has the BBC, a treasured institution, lead the way for other public bodies to follow suit? No other lobbying organisation, particularly ones that refuses to even discuss differences of opinion on matters of public importance, should ever get that close again.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2021 at 9:57 am