BUT YOU CAN’T READ THAT

In the West today, the debate over the abstract term ‘gender’ is about as toxic as it gets.

On one side there are women, keenly aware that many hard-won rights and entitlements are grounded in biological sex. Feminists who have campaigned for women’s equality have generally affirmed conventional definitions of the terms sex and gender.

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On the other side are trans activists who subscribe to more fluid ideas about sex and gender. They hold that people have an innate ‘gender identity’ which can differ from the sex they were ‘assigned’ at birth. Trans activists believe that men who identify as women and women who identify as men should have access to the rights and entitlements of the ‘gender’ they affiliate with, even if their biological characteristics would forbid such access.

We naturally resist the idea of governments censoring what we may hear, read or say. This is something which happens only in totalitarian countries such as communist states, where what can be circulated is tightly controlled so that only the official standpoint is allowed public exposure. Totalitarian regimes find censorship essential. If people are exposed to contrary ideas they may start thinking for themselves and reject the officially approved line.

We can be thankful governments in the West do not exercise an official censorship which controls what we may read. Unfortunately we have something more dangerous: privatised censorship given over to Big Tech. The power of unaccountable social media companies was demonstrated recently when Australia tried to bring Facebook to heel, and was forced to back off.

It can be argued that companies such as YouTube, Amazon and Twitter are private companies and can pick and choose which videos, books or messages they allow on their platforms. However, late last year a 16-month US congressional investigation into Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook found that the tech giants hold ‘monopoly power’ in key business segments and have abused their dominance in the marketplace. The tech giants of Silicon Valley operate a oligopoly over the modern-day public square. Social media is not only the predominant forum for political and cultural discourse: these influential platforms enable politicians to gauge the public mood and respond accordingly. They have power to shape public mood and political policy.

Last year Walt Heyer made a video expressing regret for his own transgender years. https://sexchangeregret.com/ Heyer described how his initial decision to change sex could be blamed on the general culture, pushing and enabling his mistaken desire to become a woman. YouTube deleted the video. Heyer said in a subsequent video responding to the censorship: ‘I said that children suffering from gender dysphoria should not be encouraged to try experimental hormones in surgery, and I stand by that statement.’ 

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As recently as 2010, Amazon had an unambiguous free-speech policy: ‘Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.’ Today, Amazon decides which political and social views are acceptable and which are to be censored. Several months ago, Amazon began blocking the sale of books it deemed ‘dangerous’ to LGBTQ people.

These weren’t books containing incitement physically to attack LGBTQ supporters. They were books disagreeing with the dominant narrative about homosexuality, same-sex marriage or gender dysphoria. Ideas which have been held for centuries and which are embedded in the Bible are deemed ‘hateful’ because they refuse to affirm LGBTQ behaviour. In the eyes of Big Tech you don’t have to oppose such behaviour to be considered odious: mere failure to endorse LGBTQ behaviour is labelled hateful.

The most recent book banned by Amazon, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment by Ryan Anderson, is a scholarly and thoroughly researched examination of transgender ideology. An Amazon search for Anderson’s book brings up instead Let Harry Become Sally: Responding to the Anti-Transgender Moment by Kelly R Novack. Potential purchasers are assured that $0.50 from each sale will be donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Anderson’s book is considered worthy of a ban because in it he convincingly describes how transgender ideology is advanced by mis-statements, contradictions and general avoidance of the available evidence when it does not go along with the received group-think.

This is abundantly clear in the UK. Parents are told that gender transition surgery is necessary because of high suicide rates. The evidence is just not there. Analysis of the national suicide figures reveals that suicide amongst young children in England and Wales is (thankfully) vanishingly rare, and there is no evidence that there is a high rate among trans-identified children. In teenagers there are other conditions that carry a much higher suicide risk, including anorexia, depression and autism. There is a dramatic disparity between what the transgender lobby tells us about those who identify as transgender and what the research actually showsWe’re told that children know if they are ‘born in the wrong bodies’ but anywhere from 80 to 95 per cent of children who question their gender identity eventually outgrow those feelings.

Supporters of transgender ideology have to rely on the coercive power of book banning and personal abuse to silence opposition to their cause. Enlisting corporations such as Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter has been effective.

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The process of learning the best way to care for those with gender dysphoria has been hijacked by ideology, not led by evidence. The most helpful therapies do not try chemically or surgically to remake the body to conform with thoughts and feelings, but rather attempt to help people find healthy ways to manage their tension and move toward accepting the reality of their bodily selves. We should be tolerant, indeed loving, toward those struggling with their gender identity, but also be aware of the harm done to many, particularly to children, when transgender identity is normalised. Big Tech’s banning of books, videos or messages does nothing to further healthy debate.

13 thoughts on “BUT YOU CAN’T READ THAT

  1. Well said, and a necessary article because public platforms are now so powerful, people are becoming increasingly nervous about making any comments on this vexed question. Fifteen years ago a professor at a Bible college I attended flagged up the way ‘gender’ was being used as a word, when what was really meant was ‘sex’ (male or female sex). To get everyone thinking male or female gender was part of a hidden agenda, which is now open. We see what is happening but those who see are being squashed by those powerful groups; silenced. Expect their wrath to be visited on you and this site!

    1. Looking at how language is used to sugar coat or disguise actions and positions is instructive. Instead of admitting that they are ‘Pro-Abortion’ activists describe themselves as ‘Pro-Choice’ which is much nicer although less accurate as the only choice they are concerned with pushing is abortion. There are numerous instances of this happening – perhaps material for a later post.

  2. “ Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.”

    I, too. Thanks for writing.

  3. There’s not a single sentence in the article that shouldn’t be too blindingly obvious even to need saying.
    Not good, that every point now has to be fought for.

    Thanks for standing in the breach, Campbell.

    1. The utter defiance of really which is involved in the progressive movement is astounding. Simple facts have to be distorted, reinterpreted and denied, all to support the indefensible.

  4. You define a “debate” you believe is taking place, as follows, lamenting what you see as that debate’s toxicity:

    66

    On one side there are women, keenly aware that many hard-won rights and entitlements are grounded in biological sex. Feminists who have campaigned for women’s equality have generally affirmed conventional definitions of the terms sex and gender.

    On the other side are trans activists who subscribe to more fluid ideas about sex and gender. They hold that people have an innate ‘gender identity’ which can differ from the sex they were ‘assigned’ at birth. Trans activists believe that men who identify as women and women who identify as men should have access to the rights and entitlements of the ‘gender’ they affiliate with, even if their biological characteristics would forbid such access.

    99

    I am excluded from this hypothetical debate on which you are commenting, by the contrived way in the contrived way in which you have defined that debate, because I am not what you would call a trans activist, but nor am I in any sense a woman, or a Feminist in any relevant sense. I am like an Israeli reading news of the Iran-Iraq war.

    And yet, for a brief period of British history, straddling 2004 and 2005, when the Christian Institute had crashed its ricketty bandwagon with only three wheels, on which it had never wanted me, and Lord Tebbit and Baroness O’Cathain had walked away from defeat in the House of Lords, I became, by the default of others, more-or-less the foremost remaining opponent of transgenderism in the UK. I was left as the only man still standing, sword in hand, standing alone against an evil that few others seemed able to see clearly at the stage, or now for that matter.

    The toxic belief that you have plucked out of the air and are now preaching, is that transgenderism needs a “debate” in which the two sides are transgenderism and feminism, rather than transgenderism and not transgenderism. You have defined opposition to transgenderism, something in which you and others (including feminists) showed no interest in 2004 and 2005, as quintessentially a girl thing, an aspect of Feminism, nothing to do with you and (particularly hurtful) nothing to do with me either, a debate of which men and non-Feminist women are mere spectators, able only to lament its toxicity.

    God give me grace to leave it at that for now.

    1. I will leave it up to the readers to judge the accuracy of your complaint and your claim to be the only person concerned about the rise of transgender ideology.

      1. My “complaint” is about your miscasting of the “toxic” debate as one that is between Transgenderism and Feminism. You did this in the two paragraphs you wrote yourself, which I quoted in full, 100% accurately. There is therefore nothing that needs to be judged about the “accuracy” or otherwise of my complaint. I didn’t misquote you at all.

        I didn’t make any “claim” (as you put it) “to be the only person concerned about the rise of transgender ideology”.

        You made a claim in the two paragraphs I impugn setting out what you call the two “sides” of the “debate”. To all practical intents and purposes, you claimed that the only concern about transgender ideology being debated and worthy of debate is the feminist concern.

        It is a matter of historical record, though, that I was (so far as I know) the only person who was doing anything practical to try to stop the implementation of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, during (I said) the “brief period” of a year-and-a-half or so, which began when the Act was enacted on 1st July 2004 and which continued until 19th December 2005 when I applied to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the judgment in the court case I had brought, The Queen (on the application of Allman) v Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs [2005] EWHC 1910 (Admin). Very few whom I approached for moral support and publicity supported me at all. Nevertheless, during 2005, I stood for Parliament three times, vainly hoping to attract some publicity to a debate that hadn’t yet become audible.

        It doesn’t much matter now who did what in 2004 and 2005. My complaint was against your portrayal yesterday (which I quoted accurately) of the necessary and never-ending debate about transgenderism as a (toxic) Feminism v Transgenderism debate. This portrayal not only airbrushes out of the picture everything I did in 2004 and 2005, which had nothing to do with Feminism, but also what the Christian Institute, Lord Tebbit and Lady O’Cathain did, better publicised. Your misunderstanding of what the two sides of the debate needed would be encourages those who do not support Feminism to refrain from opposing Transgenderism for the much stronger, non-Feminist reasons for opposing it that seem not to have occurred to you yet. That is what I found so disappointing about your piece, and David Robertson’s the day before, as I have told him.

      2. It is indisputable that the focus of the transgender debate today is the conflict between trans-activists and and feminists.

        That you think that you did not receive adequate recognition for your stance sixteen years ago is unfortunate. However, we are dealing with 2021 not 2005

      3. I am trying to make this conversation about issues, rather than individuals. What needs “recognition” isn’t the messenger in 2005 (me), it is the unheaded message that didn’t get through then and which, by the sound of it, still hasn’t got through yet to enough people or the right (and “anointed”) people, not even to you. The message, that is, as to what was and is and ever shall be most wrong with transgenderism. What was most wrong with transgenderism in 2005, remains what’s wrong with transgenderism in 2021. It has precious little to do with feminism.

        If you are “dealing with 2021”, by putting faith in the present “toxic” squabble between toxic feminism and toxic transgenderism as a promising development, you are getting excited about nothing of eternal importance. Embracing feminism isn’t going to help anybody to fight transgenderism. The 2021 bandwagon you’ve jumped on will grind to a halt and be abandoned and forgotten. What I said in 2005 needs to be said again, possibly by a gifted leader who has never heard of me, who am not a leader, somebody who discerns correctly the spirit of transgenderism and (if I may say so) the spirit of feminism.

        It would be a great comfort to me on my eventual deathbed if my 2005 message gained the recognition it has not so far. It makes no difference to me whether or not I gain the recognition of those who carry on the fight *effectively* (for a change) after I have gone. I’ve done the groundwork. Please don’t let that go to waste.

        Stop gender fraud!
        https://johnallmanuk.wordpress.com/2017/07/08/gra/

        God be with you.

  5. Seems like both of you are laying bricks in the foundation of what should be a growing movement to resist the popular denial of reality. Neither one of you is doing or has done it perfectly or entirely successfully, but kudos to both of you for standing up in the conversation. You two and others who wake up and join the conversation will refine it, strengthen it. Let’s not quibble among ourselves and focus on the issue itself. Thanks to both of you for your work.

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