Readings: Identity politics

How did we get here? – Tara Henley | Substack | January 18, 2022

But there’s also something deeper going on here, something quite revealing. The ideas expressed — ableism, safetyism, trigger warnings — aim to be as inclusive as possible. But the philosophy behind them originated in elite institutions. In both conception and dissemination, they are actually anything but inclusive.
Most people I’ve interviewed, and talked to socially, have no idea where all of this came from, and no understanding of how it’s gained such traction. The question for most people seems to be: Why have such extreme ideas spread?

Opinion: Why I Attended the FiLiA Conference in Portsmouth – Rosy Bremer | Star & Crescent | November 8, 2021

I took a look at FiLiA’s website and saw that the organisation worked with women and girls from all over the world on all sorts of issues to which I could relate. Women from the Global South are particularly well represented, and as some of the least powerful, least represented women on Earth, they are the women I find most interesting and their experiences do resonate with me. FiLiA seemed to be quite active on climate change too and to involve women in action on climate change is something I can get behind 100%. Surely we should all be making it easier for women to meet up and chat about saving the world, not making it harder.

Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb – Zoë Playdon | November 3, 2021

Zoë Playdon is the author of the new book The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes and the Unwritten History of the Trans Experience. It focuses on a landmark legal case in the UK. Playdon is the Emeritus Professor of Medical Humanities at the University of London.

The hounding of Kathleen Stock – Timandra Harkness | Unherd | October 13, 2021

It is, of course, important to defend the right to protest, though harassment and intimidation of individuals — as experienced by Stock — clearly goes beyond the free expression of dissent. Freedom of speech, after all, is important precisely because it underpins all other freedoms: without being able to say what you think, freedom of thought is impossible. In Professor Stock’s words, which I read out on her behalf: “Young people are frightened to say what they think. In a weird reversal of the suffragette motto “deeds not words”, on campus and in middle-class life more generally there is an intense corrective emphasis on words not deeds.”

Judith Butler’s toxic nonsense – Gareth Roberts | Unherd | September 12, 2021

It is a glorious racket, and you can’t help admiring it. I like to picture Judith as a snake-oil purveyor on a travelling show in the days of the pioneering Wild West, sat in the wagon after the sell, in a box-coat and a tall hat, lighting a cigar with a ten-dollar bill and having a good chuckle with the missus at the dumb rubes in the crowd. “Honey pie, those bozos sucked it up!” There’s something very funny about seeing bourgeois idiots being taken for schmucks and grandly fleeced. “Good for you gal!” you want to shout.

The belief system doesn’t add up – Josephine Bartosch | The Critic | August/September 2021

Imagine waking-up to discover oneself living in a theocracy; in workplaces and even when chatting with friends it becomes obligatory to signal one’s belief. Kids are subjected to indoctrination sessions at school. The national broadcaster schedules regular religious programmes, and the police, civil service and courts pay a tithe to faith leaders.
Citizens who ask questions are socially shunned, becoming legitimate targets for violence and hatred; some find themselves in police cells and at risk of having their children taken into care. The only respite can be found on small corners of the internet, spaces where dangerous apostates meet, renegade sites such as Mumsnet.
This isn’t the plot of some hackneyed dystopian novel — this is today’s world as described by Helen Joyce in Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality.

The Gender Identity Industry, Transhumanism and Posthumanism – Jennifer Bilek | The 11th Hour | February 21/May 25, 2021

People who understand the oppressive structure of corporate capitalism, who’ve been fighting its colonizing ravages at myriad fronts for the past two generations, are turning a blind eye to world governments, multi-national corporations, Big Banks, Big Tech and Big Pharma investments in the narrative of “wrong heads in wrong bodies” and the idea that men can be women. Likewise, no one is asking why they are investing in changing our language and our laws, disappearing women’s rights, supporting the drugging and mutilation of children and why the largest international law firm in the world is invested in the legal construction of “transgender children.”

Doing better in arguments about sex, gender, and trans rights – Sophie Allen, Jane Clare Jones, Holly Lawford-Smith, Mary Leng, Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, Kathleen Stock | Medium | May 23, 2019

We’re a group of gender-critical and radical feminist academic philosophers. In our work, some of us argue that women, by definition, are adult human females. On this view, since no trans woman is an adult human female, no trans woman is correctly categorised as a woman. The rest of us are currently agnostic between i) exclusively taking the former position, and ii) also taking a position that says that there is an additional, meaningful sense of ‘woman’, understood as applying to those who occupy a certain feminine social role, on the basis of perceived membership of the female sex category. Unlike i), ii) entails that a limited number of trans women count as women, in at least one sense. Still, ii) entails that many trans women aren’t correctly categorised as women, since many trans women don’t occupy a feminine social role on the basis of perceived membership of the female sex category.

As a trans woman, this is the unity I want to see – Kristina Jayne Harrison | Counterfire | March 15, 2018

One ‘right’ we don’t have is to distort or ignore biology to insist we belong to a category from which our genes and our socialisation irrevocably exclude us. I can never experience female biology or all those related issues which have been at the heart of the discrimination and struggles women face. Neither can I ever know the profound and foundational experience of girlhood socialisation which forms the mental and emotional prism through which adult women synthesise their experiences.