Transphobia masquerading as anti-wokism

I get the anxiety, the fear of predatory men in skirts, the loss of feminist achievements but when an allegedly, formerly, intelligent journalist, is prepared to say: ‘you can’t help admiring Mr Galloway for his sheer gallusness – and his energy at 66‘, his regular hysterical attacks on Nicola Sturgeon start to make more sense.

I’ve countered here, dozens of ill-informed attacks on ‘Sturgeon’ by Macwhirter, in the last few years since he has apparently changed his mind on independence.

Anti-wokism is clearly the basis for his hostility to the FM, like that of lots of other old guys in politics and the media.

They’re wrong. I explained why back in February and got more flak than I often get here but here it is again:

Image result for bob dylan he not busy being born

I’ve been thinking. I used to be a sociologist. I liked the way sociology asked questions, all the time, about anything and everything. Especially, I liked the way it exposed how entrenched power differentials explain the suppression of some groups.

I often say it changed me for the better and for good.

I think I may have betrayed my younger self recently.

In the debate on the trans community supposedly trying to possess the SNP, so busy with my thing – media bias – and the rest of my life, I’ve angrily batted away other issues that seem unimportant distractions but…

Listening to Bob Dylan tonight, ‘It’s alright Ma (I’m only bleeding)‘, a favourite, I heard a line that, not for the first time, slaps me out of geriatric lethargy and conservatism –

The hollow horn plays wasted words, proves to warn that he not busy being born is busy dying.

I’d been reading about the ‘trans threat’ to the SNP and that line somehow stopped me in my tracks. I’ve largely ignored the debate or sided with radical feminists against trans arguments. I haven’t read anything. That’s bad.

What if I was wrong? What if this is just another moral panic where the deviancy of an oppressed minority is amplified and distorted to enable them to be demonised and kept down? The media as the ‘hollow horn’. I was a sociologist FFS, shouldn’t I be anticipating just that?

Anyhow, late though it was, I searched and quickly found this:

Sex wars and (trans) gender panics: Identity and body
politics in contemporary UK feminism

Sally Hines
Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, UK

This article considers how sex and gender – as conceptual categories and as a lived experience – are subject to contestation and renegotiation in the contemporary UK. Exploring gendered shifts through the lenses of identity and embodiment, the article captures key moments where certainties have been undone within feminist and transgender thought and activism. Yet such fissures resound with calls for a return to traditional understandings of the sexed body. The article pays particular attention to debates within feminism around transgender issues, and sketches out a climate of transgender moral panic whereby conservative thinkers and some feminist activists are joining forces with the aim of resurrecting gender binaries.

I’ve since read it. I agree, it is a mediated moral panic just like the one suggesting gays were paedophiles back in the 70s and 80s. The trans community with inevitably a few exceptions loved by the media are victims.

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31 thoughts on “Transphobia masquerading as anti-wokism

      1. I’m inclined to be with David Rodgers on this- it’s the arrogant assumption/ assertion of small(very) minorities that pisses us off- “You’re a binary numpty, I’m a nuanced observer of the infinite complexities of human sexuality” so what? the overlay of multi-syllabic Sociologicalese is often guff too. I’m no great fan of Orwell, particularly, but he did have a point about plain&puritan prose!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is something I admit to having struggled with. Despite, over the years, having read sociological and cultural studies texts, I find the terminology of the trans debate bewildering. To invoke Basil Bernstein, it seems to have become a code so restricted that it seems to be excluding everyone who is not in the process of coining new and increasingly nuanced terminology each day.

      My general position is that people should be able to define themselves as they wish provided such definition does not affect significantly the reasonable rights of others.

      With regard to Messrs Galloway and McWhirter, the less said the better.

      Liked by 4 people

  1. My take on Hat Man’s stance is that he is saying things that he hopes will go down well with the local population in Bately and Spen .
    I remember when he was in The House (the big Bro. One) as well as wearing a shiny red leotard imitating a cat he was intrigued with a Trans Pop Star.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Point is that sex (born with) is binary in natural world and any other gender label is just that, even if sociology professors rationalise it as something else.

    Another point is the priority given to trans issues and how they implemented from the top down in the public sphere (eg universities, political parties)

    BTW ageism is negative.

    Great blog apart from all this stuff 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Transphobia disguised as ‘being rational’. People are not binary or there would be no lesbians. And I assure you that we are. No doubt you said the same things about us and our rights. Whether it was the end of the criminisation of sodomy, the end of Section 28, or marriage equality, it is ‘forced on us from the top down, you cried. Your comment is also a clear example of how trans people are ‘othered’.

      Human beings, sex, sexuality, and gender are not in face ‘binary’ but enormously complex.


      1. “Your comment is also a clear example of how trans people are ‘othered’.
        I didn’t read it that way at all. Perhaps that’s because I (as, I presume, David Rogers) view through the lens of a binary bodied heterosexual who “identifies” as being in a correctly assigned body. ie ‘binary’. Coming from a different angle, I can see how you might be sensitive to different nuances, which may or may not be there.

        In fact I thought he was basically saying much the same as you – that anything but acknowledgement of body type is a label. (Though he did forget hermaphrodite, so even that isn’t straightforward).

        In terms of his comment about trans issues being implemented (rather than forced, as you read it), surely there does have to be some legislation put in place to deal with any behaviour which goes against the well-being of the population as a whole – cheating, rape etc. This isn’t ‘othering’ it’s admitting that, like every other element of society, some people are going to indulge in damaging behaviour.

        As you say, that’s complex, which is probably why ScotGov has shelved the bill for later discussion. IMNSHO, it is a legal question, but it shouldn’t be a political one. Perhaps everybody – but especially the pro-Indies – should do the same? Time enough to work out how to deal fairly with all citizens of our new nation when we’ve achieved that new, independent nation.

        Human beings, sex, sexuality, and gender are not in face ‘binary’ but enormously complex.”
        I agree wholeheartedly. FWIW, my own attitude is as follows:
        I am first and foremost a human being.

        Sex: Most human babies emerge either with ‘external bits’ or without them. For ease of recognition. those with are called male, those without, female. In the English language, young ones are called boys or girls respectively, adult ones men or women ditto.

        I realise that some people wish to be non-binary. Inelegantly put, but not because I have a problem with it at any level. They have a perfect right to do so without comment from anybody else. If anything, I find it a sad indictment on society that it feels the need to comment.

        Bit more complex
        Sexuality: At it’s most simplistic, any person in any body-shape may be attracted to the opposite type, their own type, both or neither. Everyone should have the same rights to do so – and also the same obligation not to force their views on anybody else.

        Again, we assign names to the different types – as, indeed, you did yourself. It’s easier. If I think of it at all, I’d define a lesbian as a binary woman who preferred other women. For me, the clue would be in the name homo (the same) sexual. I don’t, however, pretend to have kept up with current terminology, so any offence is completely unintentional.

        Self-Identity: This is really tricky and I suspect that many people are like me – they just can’t get their head around what it means. I don’t understand the criteria of identity being used.

        Apart from physical attributes and processes, I genuinely can’t think of a single talent, emotion, desire, ambition, character trait etc which is only applicable to one sex. I risked getting my head bitten off by my committedly feminist daughter by mentioning this. She said neither could she, nor her friends of any sexuality or gender – assigned or otherwise.

        In fact, the conclusion we drew was that the whole thing is dictated by society, which forces its current definitions on all and sundry. What D Rodgers called a label.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. The “Cat in a Hat” is surely the proper heir to the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, without the charm, wit and harmlessness of (Lord) David Sutch.
    A New Policy for every locale and every occasion could be The Cat’s catchphrase.

    Macwhirter paints Galloway as a “man of the left”, but does not bother to explain how or why Gorgeous George Galloway is often surrounded by, or appears to be funded by, shadowy figures from the right.
    He lives in London: no, no–he lives in the Midlands: no, no– he lives in Scotland. Now its back to living in London.
    Who pays for his houses, his never-ending campaigns and politiking?

    Nope; I like my politics fairly simple. Straight answers to straight questions. Why he supports independence for Ireland, but not Scotland.
    G.G.G weaving webs with words, to avoid answers, sticks in my gorge.

    His career is littered by accusations, mostly from previously close colleagues than from opponents, and when those closest to you trust you least, then that should be a warning to us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Galloway is obviously after a job that pays well. He’s a busted flush but won’t admit it, sad really. He has lost the plot, if he ever had it anyway.

    The whole gender issue is a classic divide and conquer tactic. They used to use religion, then sport (I know they still do) and of course men vs women, now it’s all about attacking the whole idea of difference, while managing to undermine womens’ rights, ( and in fact gay rights) which were hard fought for and even cost lives.

    Perfect, doing a fantastic job for the powerful, when really, it’s about rights, human rights where no one section of society should be discrimated against, for who they are or want to be. No section of society should have their rights reduced or removed for the sake of any other section of society, that to me is the crux of the matter. Rights for all, as long as it means equality and that no one else’s rights are at risk. The fact the BritNats keep this whole thing going tells us all we need to know, it’s designed to divide people, especially those who are otherwise supportive of the SNP.

    It’s not going to be left alone for people to intelligently discuss the issues. My feeling is that extremism has been deliberately introduced, to ensure division, and it has and is working. I had a really good trans friend until I voiced my opinion that women’s spaces should be absolutely safe, and that men who specifically and with no questions asked, self id, should not be allowed into those womens’ spaces.
    I just find the whole thing very depressing, and that’s the last I want to say on this.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Macwhirter swings which ever way the popular opinion dictates. He also appears to imagine that all opposition to gender ideology comes from the regressive right.

    John, the simple fact is, you don’t appear to appreciate that forcing the law to support the material fantasy that humans can change their biological sex, is simply not compatible with open democracy. As it is incompatible with medical science, Peircean biosemiotics, and a respect for Natural law.



  6. To put that another way John, I trust the Royal Town Planning Institute’s judgement on this issue over yours, and they felt it essential I understand why a gender-critical approach to law and policy is vital to the science of sustainability. Btw, an intersectional lens does not deny liberal science and biological reality, though a neo-liberal lens does.

    Climate change through the lens of intersectionality


  7. Good summary, “I’ve since read it. I agree, it is a mediated moral panic just like the one suggesting gays were paedophiles back in the 70s and 80s”.
    I’d tend to agree, all this huffing and puffing over legislation which has never even reached the debate stage is unique to Scotland. Equally shelved in London, there is nothing like the furore (and no disrespect intended) a very few seem intent of kicking up in Scotland. Every civilised country is attempting to remedy previous flaws in legislation, in the UK it’s been politically weaponised.

    As to McWhirters assertions Galloway has given Starmer a wake-up call, more likely the response will be “It’s Sunday, go back to sleep…”
    And the Galloway Circus will move on to the next complete vindication….


  8. Sorry, but I need to correct my opening statement, as it’s not what I meant to say. I think missing lunch and fear of getting banned led to a breakdown in my own logic. What I meant to say was that Macwhirter does appear to blow hot and cold, but he at least recognises opposition to gender ideology doesn’t only come from the radical-right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mine neither it seems. I was just trying to calmly point out that there is plenty of evidence that women’s voices are being shut down on this issue and that it is not just a moral panic. But then, I am a woman i.e. adult, human female, and it seems only men get to speak on this issue.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Only men get to speak on this issue?’ You’re free to say all you want here.

        ‘Women’s voices are being shut down?’ Not all women think the same on this?

        ‘Not just a moral panic?’ Yes, nothing is just anything.


  9. John, if you want to support democracy and the rule-of-law, stop defending the colonisation of Scots law with neo-liberal ideology. Gender ideology privileges the performative over the real, which is the leanest description I can offer of the Neo-liberal ethos. Have you studied much law, or what about the science of sustainability? If I’ve not maid myself sufficiently clear yet, I’m trained to defend women’s access to democracy from gender ideology.

    His Feminist Facade: The Neoliberal Co-option of the Feminist


  10. John, it’s the legal right of biological women to define their own legal identity autonomously from the will of man. They have long done this, and the definition does not include biological males. Enabling the self-identification of “sex”, undoes this legal settlement. Scotland’s ‘democracy’ will not stand a chance if it if we further empower the radical-right.

    ‘Neoliberal feminism’: Legitimising the gendered moral project of austerity

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As someone else wrote elsewhere:
    “Questioning and doubting what’s going on these days does not make you “anti” anything. Nor does it make you a conspiracy theorist. Actually, questioning is, and should be, the place of reason. The fact that questioning has become taboo should, in fact, send a chill up everyone’s spine.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. John, I’m still wondering what happened to the post I added on Wednesday 30th. Was it “something I said”?

    I’m also wondering why you chose to re-post, three times, the Mhairi Black video.


    1. He still hasn’t published my original post either pointing out that there is quite a lot of evidence now of women being harassed, shut down, intimidated and even arrested for their gender critical views i.e. believing that biology is real and that humans are a sexually dimorphic species, male and female. Dismissing and silencing women’s concerns about the rapid erosion of their sex-based rights with “it’s a moral panic” feels like the new “calm down dear” with the misogyny thinly disguised.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Apologies for being a bit late in responding to this. I am not transphobic. I am not a ‘TERF’, although some might label me as such for questioning some aspects of trans ideology and the extension of trans rights at the expense of women’s. I just ask you to do this; have a look at the faces here, take in the names and the crimes, and ponder the fact that these are recorded as crimes committed by women:

    Liked by 1 person

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