Steph's Place

8th October. GIN's Response to the Guardian

GIN's open letter to censorship


Yesterday saw a significant fight back in the censorship of those who call out the drivers of terfism and gender-critical beliefs. This is in response to those extreme right-wing "Christians" who purport the idea that trans people are an "ideology".

The phrase "gender ideology" and "trans ideology" stem from the Roman Catholic church and have been adopted by gender crits and the right-wing press such as The Times, Spectator, Telegraph and more recently, The Guardian.

The phrases particularly annoy trans folk because we have been in existence from time immemorial, and whatever happens, we will always be here. To this day no trans person actually understands what the phrases really mean. 

It's "scare" tactics - similar to that used by Nazi's in the 1930s to alienate Germans against Jewish people. 

Trans people are biology!

We are not an "idea" or "an ideal" which is the definition of an ideology. 

But while those adopted phrases disgust me, the gender-critical are pretty touchy about being called Nazi's. Many gender-crits claim they are from the left.

I can well understand their distress in being associated with Nazi's. Still, I have yet to see them call out organisations from the extreme-right, the doctrine they seem to ally, the odd exception being Julie Bindel who posted a blog in October 2020

One month ago saw the censorship by the Guardian newspaper of the thoughts of Judith Butler, the eminent American philosopher. Butler said this:

It is very appealing and sometimes quite frightening to see how trans exclusionary feminists have allied with the right-wing on gender. The anti-gender ideology movement is not opposing a specific gender but seeking to eradicate "gender" as a concept or discourse, a field study, an approach to social power. Sometimes they claim that "sex" alone has scientific standing, but other times they appeal to divine mandates for masculine domination and difference. They don't seem to mind contradicting themselves.

The terfs (trans exclusionary radical feminists) and so-called gender-critical writers have also rejected the important work in feminist philosophy of science showing how culture and nature interact (such as Karen Barad, Donna Haraway, E M Hammonds or Anne Fausto-Sterling), in favour of a regressive and spurious form of biological essentialism.

So they will not be part of a coalition that seeks to fight the anti-gender movement. The anti-gender ideology is one of the dominant strains of fascism in our times. So the Terfs will not be part of the contemporary struggle against fascism, one that requires a coalition guided by struggles against racism, nationalism, xenophobia and carceral violence, one that is mindful of the high rates of femicide throughout the world, which include high rates of attacks on trans and genderqueer people.

The anti-gender movement circulates a spectre of "gender" as a force of destruction, but they never actually read any works in gender studies. Quick and fearful conclusions take the place of considered judgements. Yes, some work on gender is difficult, and not everyone can read it, so we have to do better in reaching a broader public.

As important as it is, however, to make complex concepts available to a popular audience, it is equally important to encourage intellectual inquiry as part of public life. Unfortunately, we are living in anti-intellectual times, and neo-fascism is becoming more normalised.

Indeed strong, but very accurate words. But, words that did not reach Guardian readers because of their censorship. 

Back in July, GIN (Gender Inclusion Network) was formed by Sally Hines of Sheffield University.

Sally is a Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies and a significant contributor to the must-read book "TERF wars" which I had the pleasure to review days after publication.

GIN boasts a membership of well over one thousand people, many (but certainly not all) of whom are academics and disagree with Doctor Kathleen Stock et al.

My colleagues and I at Stephs Place are proud members of GIN (you can join simply by emailing Sally) and will do our best to assist wherever we can. So when the open letter to the Guardian was published, we were naturally very keen to sign.

You can read and sign the open letter by clicking HERE.

The British press has had a "free pass" to promote transphobia, tell lies and create fear - with the formation of GIN, who aims to hold its first major conference next year - that pass is no longer free.

Authored by Steph @PlaceSteph

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