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The heretics will not be silenced Dissident artists will never bow down to trans activists

She persists. Credit: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty


December 31, 2021   5 mins

When, just over two years ago, I published a blog and stitched a matching piece of embroidery questioning the dangers of gender identity ideology, little could I imagine that the comparatively small ripple it caused would form part of a towering, unstoppable wave that would crash over 2021.

It was a wave that meant that when I was publicly “cancelled” by the Royal Academy of Arts this summer, I was swiftly “un-cancelled” in a spectacular fashion. More importantly, it was a wave that finally smothered Stonewall’s ‘No Debate’ strategy — and dragged a conversation they had tried to avoid for so long kicking and screaming into the public sphere.

Things started to fall into place when, within a few weeks, Maya Forstater won her court case, protecting gender critical belief in law, my own story hit the headlines, and the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie published a damning essay, It Is Obscene, revealing the horrendous treatment she had been subjected to after saying that transwomen are transwomen and not women.

Of course, it was a moment that had been brewing for a long time. Many feminists had been warning about the concerning impact of gender identity ideology for years, sounding the alarm and being vilified, ridiculed and ostracised in response. No doubt, the inimitable JK Rowling’s decision to make her views on the subject known last year helped pave the way for an increasing number of women to stand up and speak out; finally, everything is out in the open.

Yet this debate is far from won. Activists often still succeed in framing it as a “trans rights issue”, rather than something that actually concerns women. Looking at the vast political capture, it’s sometimes easy to lose hope. We see the Mayor of London tweet ideological dogma such as: “Trans women are women, trans men are men, and all gender identities are valid.” We see the leader of the Labour Party say: “it’s not right to say that only women have a cervix, it shouldn’t be said”. We see MPs such as David Lammy, who has made clear that he doesn’t even know what a cervix is, state unchallenged that there are “dinosaurs hoarding rights in the Labour Party”, referring to brave women like Rosie Duffield who keep pushing back against this ideological land grab.

To be fair, that last point resulted in a new trend for wearing dino costumes at most feminist gatherings and protests, so I suppose a thank you is in order, Mr Lammy.

Yet even his buffoonery shouldn’t be laughed off — if only because it distracts from the more insidious repercussions of the transgender debate. In many institutions and companies, “preferred pronouns” are now being implemented from the top down under the guise of “diversity and inclusion”. Anybody who dares to question this may find themselves quickly under investigation for alleged “transphobia” or called a bigot and cowed into silence.

Let’s make no mistake: “preferred pronouns” aren’t, as some would have you believe, just a courtesy. They are a form of compelled speech; they ask people to no longer trust their eyes, but instead do as they are told or be ostracised. I have previously written about the parallels between the current climate and the East German Stasi under which my whole family used to live. And it is becoming clearer by the day that those comparisons were not an exaggeration.

Just look at the state of academia, where professors who dare to acknowledge the biological reality of the sexes are being de-platformed and hounded, regardless of the toll the often-aggressive behaviour has on their well-being. The use of smear campaigns and intimidating “protests”, with individuals donning balaclavas and waving smoke flares, seems to have washed over from the US and are now commonplace whenever a “heretic” has been identified and needs “dealing with”. Just ask Professors Joe Phoenix and Kathleen Stock.

That this ideology has also crept deep into the Arts, once the most tolerant of disciplines, was clearly highlighted by my attempted cancellation. It was by no means the first time an artist has been attacked and ostracised publicly for her alleged thought crimes, but it was certainly a turning point due to the involvement of the Royal Academy. The public apology and reinstatement of my work in their shop thrust into the spotlight something that has been happening quietly but constantly for quite some years now.

Petty groups like ‘Terf’s out of Art’ and ‘The White Pube’ have long bullied artists, most of whom are women, into silence. Their success is proved by the fact that many of these cases don’t make the headlines, even though they still cost these women dearly, in some cases their entire career. Meanwhile, for those who are yet to be publicly called out, there’s another chilling effect: don’t expect to be invited to give talks at universities or to create public artworks with Arts Council funding. If you’re deemed ‘unacceptable’, you’re on your own.

These silent cancellations are just as vicious as those fought out in public; perhaps even more so, because they leave their victims utterly defenceless. Being de-platformed for your views is something one can challenge. Being quietly excluded from any kind of platform and conversation altogether leaves you with nothing.

When I wrote on these pages in August about the deafening silence within the arts establishment following the attempt to cancel me, I did so with a sense of despair. It seemed to me that the blue-haired activists had won; that ‘diversity and inclusion’ now only matters as long as you repeat the mantras and toe the party line.

Things still look bleak. But after everything that has happened this year, a sense of optimism has started to creep in. That isn’t merely because the alternative is a dystopian hellscape of authoritarianism that history has seen many times before. It’s because the truth has a habit of prevailing.

What’s striking this year is the growing number of women and men who have started to say: Enough. One court case verdict follows another, holding the line against a vicious new orthodoxy that seeks to burn witches while screaming “JUST BE KIND”.

The Forstater ruling has cemented the protection of “gender critical belief” in law. The charity LGB Alliance has now firmly established itself as a much-needed alternative to Stonewall. Grassroots organisations such as FiLiA, FairPlayForWomen and Women’s Place UK provide support and resources to a vast and growing number of gender-critical women who have found their voice. And for everybody who dares speak out regardless of the consequences, there are many more waiting in the folds, preparing for their moment to be brave.

Fortunately, in my own case sanity prevailed and, like a monsoon rain, the stains my detractors tried to smear me with have washed right off, leaving me free to continue to create work without censorship, encouraged by a rapidly growing number of patrons and supporters. And I am not alone: despite great efforts to the contrary, heretical artists are finding new ways to exhibit work and bypass gatekeepers.

That is the lesson of the past year. Finally, the tide is turning. We have not been silenced; let alone defeated. So to those art students with a firm grasp on reality who may feel a bit hopeless: don’t be afraid. Come on in, the water’s fine.


Jess De Wahls is an embroidery artist based in London. Buy her work here.

JessDeWahls

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Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

George Orwell summarised tyranny in 1984 as the official imposition of a lie. The more obvious the better.
What can be a more obvious lie than that a man can become a woman by claiming to be so. Every salesman knows that once you have got the potential customer saying yes the sale is nearly in the bag. Once you get agreement to one obvious lie resistance to more lies is much easier to achieve.
So of course those who want to sell you lies or half-truths want you to accept the obvious lie. Governments and corporates are obvious beneficiaries unless we continue to point out that the Emperor has no clothes however strongly we are urged to see him not naked but splendidly besuited.

David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

So well put.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

See my other comment re clarification.
But half truths of this kind have been in circulation for donkeys years, and trans activists are less aggressive in pushing them than feminists were.
Indeed, the tactics used by trans activists and so similar to those used by feminists – indeed they are so “feminine” – that they provide perhaps the most compelling evidence that trans women really are women 🙂

michellefranklin8
michellefranklin8
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

The threats women receive from TRAs seem very similar to the usual masculine threats – threats of rape and violence. TERF is a slur.com shows the very common, masculine insults such as “choke on my girld*ck”, punch TERFs, etc. And I have never witnessed feminists engaging in this behavior. They tend to commit the terrible sin of calling transwomen “he”.
If misgendering is such an extreme act of violence, maybe the TRA’s should simply misgender people back twice.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago

Apart from the cute, common tactic of categorising threats of rape violence as “usual masculine threats” (because in feminist land men commonly go around threatening women with rape)

The primary weapon used by the trans lobby to get their way isn’t threats – it’s the reverse. It’s claiming victimhood, and painting anyone who opposes their views (no matter if in a rational and civilised manner) as an evil bigot who is out to harm them.

Sound familiar? Not tactics used by men, it’s the feminist playbook.

David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago

I’ve been a man for all of my 56 years, and I’ve never met a man who has threatened to rape a woman. Not even in jest. So I don’t know what you mean by the “usual masculine threats.” That is a disgusting calumny.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Batlle
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago

While the situation is half disgusting, half ridiculous for those impacted (rapists being housed with women, or a “trans woman” being put in charge of a helpline for rape victims)

It is also a rather hilarious illustration of an aggressive, unscrupulous group being hoist by their own petatd.
I genuinely laughed out at the line: many institutions and companies, “preferred pronouns” are now being implemented from the top down under the guise of “diversity and inclusion”.

Who was it that weaponised diversity and inclusion for their own benefit? Those awful, “misogynistic” White and Asian men was it?

And also that utterly stupid, obnoxious tool called “no biological differences”

I think of those till worker females who claimed equal pay as some man toiling in a warehouse (though of course the ladies wouldn’t actually apply for warehouse Jobs of course)
Or the pack that claimed women tennis players and footballers were to be considered equal to men, or forcing boy scouts to admit girls, or forcing I’ll qualified women to the army, police, fire brigade…

The list is endless, all in the principle that biology was just a patriarchal conspiracy.

And as soon as this trans idiocy is put back in the box (hopefully) the upper class feminist women, who are squealing about how men can’t be women, will be back to their old tricks.
With no shame, contrition or wisdom.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Hoist by their own petard isn’t in it. They started it with their predilections for extremist feminiser theory and anti-child social policy. What goes around comes around.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I think your comment hits the spot. Extreme feminism is for the upper class and that is why it can’t fight the trans nonsense. If all working class women were extreme feminists we wouldn’t even be talking about it.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

If these idiots tried entering women’s bathrooms in working class neighborhoods or working environments, this problem would meet an abrupt and nasty solution from their point of view!

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Bingo!

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Correct but working class females to begin with are practically excluded from the sorts of advantage (senior jobs in the law, public sector, charity sector, ‘education’, financial services) upper class women regard as entitlement.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Look on the bright side. This nonsense is drawing an awful lot of fire that would otherwise be directed as cis het white middle class men. Enjoy having a breather while it lasts.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I agree with what you say but the ramifications of this trans activism for all of us, especially children, means we should support anyone who speaks out against it, even if they are feminists who partly caused it in the first place.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I think the opposite is true. It’s the radical feminists who destroyed family life and who have made child rearing a dirty word.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

I think Marxism and Capitalism are as much to blame. Obviously individuals including radical feminists have made terrible choices, but to some extent they are mere products of their time. After all, government policies are driven by a business model, read the introduction to the Equality Act 2010 if you don’t believe me.
I agree it is difficult to support people who have foolishly pushed an agenda that is so destructive and nihilistic, but we all make mistakes and I prefer to give them a hand in this situation.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

There is nothing to be gained from supporting a tiny minority of anti-trans feminists while the movement as a whole continues its war on traditional family life and structures and embraces selfishness and nihilism.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

If we support Harry Miller, it would not make sense to not support Jess De Wahls, Kathleen Stock etc.
By calling them “anti-trans feminists” you are adopting trans activists own aggressive language, which has no basis in fact as none of these women are anti-trans.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

By all means support anti-trans feminists if they adopt policy positions that support traditional, nuclear family structures and the roles of females in that, but not unconditionally.

Last edited 2 years ago by David McDowell
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

What do you do about MP’s like Diane Abbott who says your sex is not what you were born with but what you choose? She is never voted out even for statements that are obviously untrue. The real damage is to children who are told this.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Well said, I agree.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Of course the unintended consequence is that supermarkets have now started putting men on the tills, often men who would find it difficult finding other employment, and so depriving women of job opportunities

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

You do know all this Trans insanity is just a canary in the coal mine, actually merely one of a great flock of them, all keeled over and on their backs due to the deadly gasses seeping into the system, that they are supposed to be alerting us to. But still the miners are forced to go down and work in it…..although obviously not a long term plan.

No, we need to look at the prone canaries and say – need to do something about that, Bring in the big fans, bring in a breath of fresh air….Bring in a healthy working society again.

Restore the Man and Wife with children Family. The ones who have children they care for by hard work at productive jobs. Make schools teach thinking and give the basis to understand life and choices and work instead of sick and twisted agenda. Stop Student Debt – the most pernicious thing ever foisted on society. Students finally qualified and working need to be spending their money an the mortgage of their family house, and their children – not debt which destroys the healthy, and Necessary, formation of families.

Healthy families is ALL to society! Society dies unless each citizen is thought their greatest responsibility is to work hard, to bring up children to be contributing members of society – and teach the children that is their job in turn. Paying mothers to be single is pathological, excepting reasons making that necessary. It takes the manhood of the Males who become anti social and self destructive drones, and brings up less than optimal families.

Let us hope the Trans war against society is a tipping point, where society says we need to get back and find sanity, and that all is the health of family and children. That is what society succeeds or fails by, Family. Morality, Duty, Work, Charity, Patriotism.

Christine Hankinson
Christine Hankinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Past golden-age fantasy. Of course some babies got lost in the bath water but so many were saved:
90% kids doomed to secondary moderns where there was no possibility of qualifications nor even school libraries?
5% totally funded already privileged kids to go to university. It certainly was great for the upper middle class and believers of such a flawed category.
Elitism, and patriarchal beliefs still with us but now there are ways out for those from the less fortunate sex and backgrounds that were affected by poor education and poverty. 
where most of our talent lies. Of course the old school men weep for their previous entitlement. And as for gender ideology and self ID? It’s confusion and ignorance and dangerous. Gender studies (mainly gay men) destroyed womens studies 30 years ago. In academia. As soon as women start to look as though they are not the second sex there is a male revolt.
I’m a woman and I’m fed up with it. And that makes me a heretic, as Jess so ably explains.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

Does your post say anything or offer ideas? I can see that you’re fed up with something but I’m not sure what.

Christine Hankinson
Christine Hankinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I was responding to the poster. Pointing out that his views are delusional, putting the other side to that biased class it history. Are you feeling OK? Fed up with something?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Something in the past I think. Today most go to universities but it appears that most are taught a lot of marxism which they express when they get out apart from the sensible few of course.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

The past wasn’t a golden age, but perhaps we can lament a present that might have been. A single living wage, for example, or affordable housing, so that a young family of sensible child rearing age could actually afford to bring up a family in reasonable conditions.

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
2 years ago

I was one of three children of a single mother family – my mother worked hard all of her life to make sure that we could advance as far as we have done – if it had n’t been for the grant I got in 1971 to allow me to go to college I would never have been able to afford to go despite having worked every summer holiday after leaving school and also while I was at college. there were lots of other working class northerners just like me being given the same advantage,

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Your last sentence is spot on however it must also be acknowledged that the feminisers who complain about the trannies are guilty of undermining all of those virtues.

Last edited 2 years ago by David McDowell
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

A lot of people would agree with you and that includes me. But I’m not sure how you would get there. Going back 100 years, men were dominant and went to work whilst the women got pregnant and looked after the kids. This meant standard routines, mealtimes, days out as a family.

Today women have to be equal so they must have careers. Carers look after the children. Working hours vary. There is no stable base, no routine which makes family life so important. And that is the crux of the matter – family life was a bit boring. Why would people go back to it?

B Starek
B Starek
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You lost me at ‘Man and Wife…’.
I am one of those strange beings – a female, who never wanted to marry or have children, and didn’t. Still, I’m a very decent person and good productive citizen, I don’t believe I have derelicted my ‘biological duty’ in any way, and I attend to my many, many wonderful grand nieces and nephews. Stick to what you know mate, because you really don’t know women…

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
2 years ago
Reply to  B Starek

Galeti Tavas was sticking to what he knows, that families are the bedrock of society – y’know … big picture … millions of people – not individuals like you and me. Descriptions of his reasoned conclusion as fantasy, elitism, patriarchal, delusional, dominant, biased, boring, etc are amongst the ‘prone canaries’ he metaphorized.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  B Starek

Does any man?

David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago
Reply to  B Starek

You are able to attend to your many wonderful grand nieces and nephews because some other woman attended to her biological duties.

John Snowball
John Snowball
2 years ago
Reply to  David Batlle

……. and she is able to have that pleasure without the responsibilities that their actual parents have taken on. She comes across as an extraordinarily selfish woman.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  John Snowball

It is not just the woke that that are quick to harshly judge on the basis of some single opinion that does not chime with their world view.
Both the spinster and confirmed bachelor have a perfectly honourable place in society. The human race will not die because B Stark does not wish to breed.
You know nothing profound regarding her circumstances or character from the simple fact that she does not wish to have a husband or children. My wife has a number of female friends who have not married or had children and while for some it may be because they aren’t willing to face the compromises and inconvenience of marriage and children this does not apply to all and many are extraordinarily generous and unselfish.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jeremy Bray
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Such as Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul the Apostle. Hardly selfish people.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Well said Jeremy. I remember John Major banging on about ‘Back To Basics’ and family life, etc…. it just doesn’t suit everyone. There will always be those who feel the need to ‘bludgeon’ rather than pursuade, (or accommodate the legitimate choices of others).

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  John Snowball

Disgraceful comment. How can it be selfish to *not* have kids? It’s not like we’re running out of them anytime soon.

Fred Bloggs
Fred Bloggs
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Depends which kids.
Demographics is destiny, after all.

Last edited 2 years ago by Fred Bloggs
michellefranklin8
michellefranklin8
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

There is a bit of the vibe of chastising white women for not having enough children that matches the attitudes of actual, real world white supremacists. There’s nothing particularly selfless about following one’s evolutionary programming. Most of the childless men and women I know are helping other family members with their children or working in low paying non-profit type social work jobs where they are able to extend the very needed helping energy to the many families that are struggling to make ends meet.
I don’t necessarily think it’s a great and magnanimous thing to create a life that needs and to meet its needs, vs. Helping others beyond those who share 50% of our genetics. I think it’s great when high functioning people have a manageable number of children too. But it can be argued that it’s inherently selfish at the genetic level to contribute to the genetically similar.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago

…and by that argument the multitudes of Han Chinese, for example, are “inherently selfish at the genetic level” for contributing “to the genetically similar.” That’s quite an indictment.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Well said Cheryl.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  David Batlle

That is unfair, cruel and wrong anyway. Even the scriptures confirm that there are exceptions to the calling of marriage as good as that is.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  B Starek

I agree it is a choice that it should be entirely free to make. I can think of plenty of people who *shouldn’t* be parents but their choice is apparently more acceptable. If Greta and her ilk were truly serious about climate change they’d address the elephant in the room – 3 to 7 billion population growth in less than 50 years.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Excellent point! I have been saying that since Greta became a thing. Greta and her ilk can Let’s Go Brandon! The world will not be “saved” if I take one fewer flight; the world might be saved if there were far, far fewer people on the planet.
Where are the environmentalists? When people come in contact with animals–expanding into the forest/jungle–the animals always lose.
Yet not a word from the girl with the microphone.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I think GW is a great deception along with other deceptions in our age. Part of the One world thing.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  B Starek

Of course not everyone has the calling of marriage. We have to accept that.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Only students who can afford it, whose degrees actually resulted in a higher wage, ever pay back their student debt. Apprenticeships Ard the way to go. Real hands-on work experience, plus pay, and time for study. We don’t need any more Gender Studies or Colonial Poetry graduates.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Only 25% of student loans are repaid (House of Commons Library-Student Loans Statistics)

michellefranklin8
michellefranklin8
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I would hope that the many positive Traditional values can be combined with the positives of the Post-modern/Progressive movement.
The anti-male and anti-white sentiment is awful of course and needs to go.
And the truth needs to be valued, including the reality of evolved, sex-based behavioral tendencies, while also allowing for men and women who are exceptions and don’t fit the mold to have freedom to live their lives how they wish also. I hope we can include the positives of both value systems and stop the back and forth us vs them dualistic Pong game. Transcend and include the best pieces or all developmental stages and worldviews.
After the beating and denigration white men and masculinity have been subject to it is understandable to feel fed up and push back but if both sides can cooperate it will be much better than pushing the pendulum back with such force, despite how naturally satisfying that is.

Last edited 2 years ago by michellefranklin8
J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

So to those art students with a firm grasp on reality who may feel a bit hopeless: don’t be afraid. Come on in, the water’s fine.
Well said, Jess de Wahls, and encouraging to read.
Meanwhile, down here in the bowels of corporate America, progressivism is alive and flourishing. Diversity training is the order of the day and all personal pronouns are welcome.
Of course, the captains of industry are great sniffers of air. They’re always checking for the first, faint whiff of change, and if the tide turns against the woke, and there’s no financial advantage to be gained from supporting them, then progressivism will disappear overnight in our corporations and heaven help the naĂŻve employee who questions the change.
We live in hope.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Unfortunately I don’t see this happening because the woke have done what religion used to do and co-opted the definitions of ‘good’ for themselves. Humans generally like to be liked by their tribe and considered ‘good’.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Yes, this is a real problem in the US. Seemingly “good” people threw up BLM signs in their yards because they wanted to be liked and considered good, yet they had no idea that BLM is a communist organization whose stated goal is to destroy America and destroy the family.
Yet in their zeal to be liked/loved/accepted, the BLM signs bloomed like wildflowers. I actually know some of these people….

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I know. It is disgraceful. How are children going to get their handle on truth with this going on.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Good is now called evil and evil good.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I think it is pathetic that these big companies pander to the woke. My estimation of them has dropped to rock bottom. They used to have common sense but now they are bringing the toilet into the boardroom and exposing themselves.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

Let’s make no mistake: “preferred pronouns” aren’t, as some would have you believe, just a courtesy. They are a form of compelled speech; they ask people to no longer trust their eyes, but instead do as they are told or be ostracised. I have previously written about the parallels between the current climate and the East German Stasi under which my whole family used to live. And it is becoming clearer by the day that those comparisons were not an exaggeration.
Really smart piece, really smart girl! VERY well said! I remember her talk with Freddie–scary then, scary now.
But it’s time for a swim, and I’m feeling a bit girly today, so I think I’ll compete against the women–bet I’ll do well! Although this focuses primarily on art–of course, Jess is an artist–the fight against this insanity seems to be really gaining with the American swimmer who was the 1,189th best male swimmer, but it looks like he will be the best female swimmer of all time! Guess what? The other girls are not happy that their considerable accomplishments are wiped away by a dude who is not even a footnote in male swimming, and they seem to have the microphone. You go, girls!
UnHerd readers should keep an eye on this, as the (real) girls are going down fighting!

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

You are right that the absurdity of having a bloke who clams to be woman who proceeds to officially smash all women’s sporting accomplishments without provoking a riot by women shows how brainwashed we/they have become. Of course, it all originates with the basic idea that the best of women’s sporting achievement must be rewarded the same as the best of men’s sporting achievement even if it is not as good. It’s all about equality/equity.
Would it not be more honest to abolish separate sport for men an women.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Perhaps, but I doubt the women would share your enthusiasm.
Also, none of these girls are saying that the swimmer dude (dudette?) can’t do whatever he or she wants in personal life, no one is saying that the person should be abused or mistreated. Their only “demand” is that they compete against “women” who have not experienced male puberty.
Seems reasonable.

David Bell
David Bell
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

If the dudette swimmer is scheduled to compete why don’t the real women all boycott the event?

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Actually, they were thinking of doing this, but there are many moving parts to such a decision. First, the (real) girls want to compete–FAIRLY. Second, scholarships and other things are in play. Two girls spoke to the press–anonymously–and the uni warned all the rest.
There was talk of obvious “false starts” to show that the system is rigged and as a form of protest. I support the girls–they’re in a tough spot.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I agree that the girls have been put in a difficult position. The fact that scholarship are added to the mix makes things more fraught. Personally, I don’t know why being able to swim relatively fast should have anything to do with whether a scholarship is awarded or not, but this is probably a minority view.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Because not all women would do it. There would be some that would jump at the chance of a silver or bronze while they could.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

But isn’t “experiencing male puberty” anyway a tactic used by the Patriarchy to maintain their dominance and oppression over women? And therefore shouldn’t The Science devise a way to neutralise male puberty to achieve equity? Surely there is a Gender Studies/Women’s Studies thesis somewhere promoting this concept, which will then leak from academia into the world at large.

Last edited 2 years ago by Douglas McNeish
James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

Yes. 100% correct. Waiting for that dissertation, which will enlighten us all!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Sounds horrific.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Have you ever played hockey against a team including two WRNS Officers. Apart from being outplayed (they were playing hockey at school while I was playing Rugger) I’ve never collected so many bruises in such a short time especially in a certain area. Nowadays I am just a spectator and (Call me a dirty old man) would rather watch premier division/national ladies soccer rather than the male ‘prima donnas’ and divers in men’s soccer. Far less dirty tricks more real sport but I wouldn’t want to play against them.

Last edited 2 years ago by Doug Pingel
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

I think you make my case for me. Given the right sport played at the right level women are perfectly capable of competing in a mixed team. One of my sons played rugger when he was 11 or 12 on a team with a girl player whose tactical sense was much better than the lads and she was a superb tackler.
Any woman swimmer who swims competitively is likely to out swim me but it will be absurd if all the women’s swimming and track records are held not by women but by trans-women. Would it not be more honest to have mixed swimming and track sessions and simply record the best men, women, and trans swimmers separately. This is the way it is done with City Marathons as far as men and women are concerned. Women don’t compete in a separate category in riding events where there is no substantial advantage to male strength.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

A prepubescent boy of 11 or 12 is not a man of 25

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Indeed, and I did say the right sport at the right level.
The basic problem is not with amateur sport but professional sport. If you are just competing for glory there are plenty of sports that could perfectly safely be played by mixed teams. However, most sports today are dominated by paid professional athletes for prize money or sponsorship etc. or in colleges bursaries are the prize and in those situations it is important that a level playing field prevails. In those circumstances the participation of trans women is clearly unfair to female participants.
I am afraid I regret the passing of amateur sport but I have no doubt I am in the minority there.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I would just ignore the trans athletes resuts. They should compete withing their sex.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

You were only outplayed because they had been doing it longer.

How do women’s teams make out when they play against men of similar experience?

Several national women’s soccer sides have been annihilated by teams of 15 year boys.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Taking the knee killed soccer for me. Much prefer rugger now.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Me too, but while we’re on the subject would you mind quarantining “taking the knee” inside quote marks where this ridiculous phrase belongs.

michellefranklin8
michellefranklin8
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Why not have 5 year olds and 65 year olds compete against 25 year olds while we’re at it?
There are little leagues and senior leagues and Paralympics for a reason, just like there’s women’s sports.
Maybe you’d feel better if women were allowed their own category but special prizes to remind them of their athletic inferiority? Maybe first place can be a Copper medal for the ladies?

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

My sons when they were in their early teens ran in races involving 25 year olds and 65 year old men and women and it is an excellent lesson that there is an enormous range of running abilities that is not directly correlated to age.
Of course I have no objection if people want to compete directly against people of a similar age or sex. I had a friend who travelled the world at 60 competing in senior triathlon events. The problem here is that we seem to have a situation where men purporting to be women are competing in events where their superior strength gives them an unfair advantage and this can only be to the detriment of the women taking part if they intended to compete against other women.
I don’t know why You think I would want to remind women of their inferior athletic ability. Taking part in a race involving both men and women particularly one involving a range of ages reminds us all that there is a range of athletic abilities in all sexes and ages. Why should a woman be concerned with the idea that top male athletes on the whole run faster than top women? I don’t think any sensible woman would need reminding of this fact. Why introduce emotionally loaded words like inferior to describe this natural phenomenon?
I can confirm I feel no stinging sense of inferiority that Paula Radcliffe could outrun me even in my prime. It is just a fact.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

Perhaps something to match their shoes?

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Then all of the genders (is it 23 according to Stonewall?) could compete.- not just “men” and “women.”

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Just like that? It would certainly cancel women’s sport and bow down to the transgender.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Who believes it apart from those of similar ilk? I certainly do not admire the men competing in women’s sports. Surey the lie is obvious.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
2 years ago

I suspect that Jess won her battle because when it was publcised many Friends of the Royal Academy (myself included) cancelled our subscriptions. When I called the Friends Office to do so it took a week to get through because, the operator told me, they had been overwhelmed by the number of people wanting to leave. More importantly, the speed and completeness of the RA’s retreat on the issue well illustrates that this is nothing to do with any principle on their part (contrary to their original pompous declaration when removing Jess’s work from display): its all about being terrified at being on the wrong side of the mob, and money of course.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

And some of us bought her work too.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago

There is a continuing fundamental fallacy within progressive thought. The idea that all people are born as ‘blank slates’. That is all people are born ‘naturally equal’ – thus anyone who feels they are a victim can blame other people for their oppression, and also hope that others will lift them back up to where they should have been.

Unfortunately the fallacy has been disproved, over and over. There is no Blank Slate. There is variation of ability and characteristics between people at birth. Societies may (and perhaps should) make some difference later but biology cannot be disregarded.

So declaring that you can choose your gender must trump the biology of sex if the Blank Slate and its implicit equality is to be defended. After all if your progressive beliefs were seen to rest on a fallacy…

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

So declaring that you can choose your gender must trump the biology of sex 

Feminists, of course, have claimed for years that you can choose your own gender. Specifically they have claimed that you can choose not to be your “own” gender. Indeed the history of feminism since the 70s is the history of attempts to do just that. Often, ironically, by adopting masculine styles of dress, mannerisms, and even values.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
2 years ago

I assume, although it is not often spelled out, that all this ‘trans’ aggro is coming from men who purport to be women, rather than the other way about.

Kathryn Allegro
Kathryn Allegro
2 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Right. There are don’t seem to be many female-to-male trans people demanding to be let into men’s lock rooms, prisons or sports. Wonder why?

David Shepherd
David Shepherd
2 years ago

Possibly because transmen and woman in men’s toilets etc is not in anyway threatening and usually is a cause for amusement. I have been in a men’s public toilet when a woman has come in with a comment along the lines of ‘sorry boys, I’m desperate’. It is not a problem.

Kathryn Allegro
Kathryn Allegro
2 years ago
Reply to  David Shepherd

You’re right but I think that’s only part of the story. Among other things, I suspect that there are many more m-to-f’s than f-to-m’s. And they’re more obvious; it’s very hard for a male to appear convincingly as a female whereas a woman in the right clothes and with the right amount of swagger can be fairly credible as a small guy, for a while at least.

David B
David B
2 years ago

Or a year, in Norah Vincent’s case.

Last edited 2 years ago by David B
David Bell
David Bell
2 years ago

Thailand’s ‘Ladyboys’ are pretty convincing. (An observation, not personal confirmation!)

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

Actually there has been a huge increase in f-to-m’s that has meant they far exceed the number of m-to-f’s.
There is speculation that it’s young girls, feeling vulnerable for various reasons (especially when physically maturing), feeling they need to adopt male characteristics to succeed in life as well as potential lesbian teenagers seeking a more ‘accepted’, apparently heterosexual, lifestyle.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Stewart
Tim Knight
Tim Knight
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

The first part of your sentence is correct, there has been a huge increase in f to m but in a specific group. Teenagers often with Autism. I think globally however there are still a higher number of m to f.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

It’s also down to the presence of an opposition group to give it publicity and create conflict – so called TERFs. There is no such group opposing f-m transsexuals.
Forgive my cynicism, and flippancy – but a group of feminists with form in man hating have now turned their attention to men in frocks. Which is why some of them (Eg JB) insist on referring to trans activists as mens rights activists.

Andy Griffiths
Andy Griffiths
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

There’s an obvious answer as to why there isn’t an equivalent group opposing f-m transsexuals – women are not a physical threat to men. A woman now identifying as male isn’t going to compete and win in male sports. They’re unlikely to want to be housed in male prisons. And I’ve yet to hear of any transsexual born female going into a male bathroom and sexually assaulting a man.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Nah the trans people seem to be wanting acceptance and a quiet life. It’s the virtue signalling fascist activists (that we’re now calling ‘progressives’ on Unherd I believe) that are being incredibly aggressive.

Peter LR
Peter LR
2 years ago

The connection of ‘buffoonery’ and David Lammy utterances is entirely justified yet bewilderingly ironic: how could someone intelligent enough to have an education at Harvard make so many ridiculous statements? I presume it is the consequence of today’s grandstanding politics whereby outbursts are made primarily for a social media audience. And his reward is a shadow front bench post in Parliament! Shall we ever see any common sense politicians giving leadership?

Christine Hankinson
Christine Hankinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

It was such a shame when he came out with that sexist crap. However many men who are left wing anti racists are still bullet proof sexist:
‘after the revolution my dear, let’s get our priorities right your turn will come
and if some men want to pretend they are women where’s the harm? We’re egalitarian and inclusive’
Starmer, Davey all the same. We are being massively betrayed by the left which we always thought was home, a home that is now derelict.

David Bell
David Bell
2 years ago

Speak for yourself. The Left was never my home.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

So how are you different to the trans brigade?

Last edited 2 years ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

Yeah the left seem to hate women generally.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

Have you seen who gets into Harvard? Intelligence has little to do with it.

Peter LR
Peter LR
2 years ago

Allison, it did make me wonder!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

I wonder what qualified him to get a place at Harvard?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

Well, look at him. There’s your answer.

Joy Bailey
Joy Bailey
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

How the hell did he get in to Harvard? My dog did better on Mastermind. (Always worth another watch ).

Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
2 years ago

Every one of these Activist organizations seem to follow a similar path. They begin with some reasonable premise but quickly move from there to the unreasonable to the ridiculous and the absurd. Somewhere in there a tipping point is reached and the whole scam comes tumbling down. Here in the states, it seems to be the college male swimmer who decided to join the women’s team as a trans. He immediately shattered the school swim records in the women’s events by absurd amounts. This finally tipped women into action and the backlash has begun. The fight is on for women’s sports, may the real women win. Every women’s record in Track and Field can be broken by a High School male athlete, if they don’t think this could happen, just stay silent and watch.

Tim Knight
Tim Knight
2 years ago

As a consequence of your stand Jess I, a middle aged man in lycia, have one of your patches ironed onto my cycling shorts.
I’m not sure I’m your intended market, but I love it.

David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago

Whenever you hear a Leftist saying, Just be Kind, run. It’s about to get ugly.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

The beginning of Bk4 of my heroic couplet satire, The Wokeiad by Richard Craven:-
Behold the monstrous regiment of woke,
Science’s nemesis and but of joke.
Past waddles a brigade of scowling smurfs,
With cardboard signs excoriating TERFs.
The sunlight bounces off each azure scalp
And dandruff glitters like a Switzer alp.
Above white knee socks, fat and dimpled thighs
Betray the sacrifice of untold pies.
Hotpants which emphasise the camel toe.
The Adam’s apple and the beard’s shadow. 10
Over each fraying belt the blubber juts,
In porcine face the lipsticked gob tut-tuts.
The cheesecloth working shirt with rolled-up sleeves,
The animosity, the petty peeves.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Richard! You need two Ts in that sort of butt.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

I know, but it’s the only way I can sidestep the censors.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Richard. My old proof-reading training kicked in at “but” so I said that you need 2 Ts in that sort of….. My original message is “awaiting for approval”. Someone needs their B…. kicking. Why they have put two ** in the word I know not.

Last edited 2 years ago by Doug Pingel
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Exactly Doug, that was my problem.

Last edited 2 years ago by Drahcir Nevarc
David Bell
David Bell
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Does bu.. (an Americanism) stem from the container used to water horses?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Interesting question, to which I’m afraid I don’t know the answer.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

‘Above white knee socks, fat and dimpled thighs
Betray the sacrifice of untold pies.’

Laughing here, that’s fantastic

Last edited 2 years ago by Hersch Schneider
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

Thanks, I’m glad it raised a chuckle.

William Cameron
William Cameron
2 years ago

The Data exposes this fraudulent posturing. Most of the people wanting to have access to Ladies private areas are men claiming to be trans. There are very few women claiming to be men wanting access to mens changing rooms and hospital wards.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

The fact that what is considered normal is now considered ‘gender critical’ as if it is some dissident theory, avd can lose people jobs and even get them referred to the police, simply astounds me. I cannot wrap my head around it, the speed and ferocity with which this ideology has captured our institutions. Is it simply the case that the long march just hit a critical mass that suddenly snowballed? Or is it more strange that it has been allowed to do so almost entirely unchallenged?

Christopher Elletson
Christopher Elletson
2 years ago

Excellent! The fight-back gains ground.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

Just to clarify a bit: trans women do not deny that there is a difference between themselves and biological women – rather, they conceptualise it differently. In their jargon, biological women are cis women. Trans women do not claim to be cis.
The difference between trans activists and their (feminist) opponents is that they believe trans women should be classified as a kind of woman. Their opponents believe that they should be classified as a kind of man.
Trans activists believe that women are made, not born.
Feminists believed the same thing until the whole trans issue broke.
TERFs are generally only biological realists as far as it suits them. And that isn’t actually very far.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Absolutely right

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Thankyou, helpful.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

When Jess de Wahls was, “cancelled, by the RA I wrote a letter protesting that art was one thing and personal beliefs another.
Clearly, my letter was one of enough to shock the RA. The reply admitted that they had not thought through the implications of their actions and were changing course fast.
I suppose, I could have replied, that what they meant was that they had lost their moral compass. Pity I didn’t.

patrick macaskie
patrick macaskie
2 years ago

we have to be glad JK and de Wahls have joined battle…..and hope they have the intellectual honesty to reassess and challenge feminist over-reach. The feminists have sought to control the debate in numerous areas of ethics and they enforce a version of history that suits their narrative, with the same ruthlessness that we see in the trans community. If you pre-load the young with a highly developed set of answers you stunt their development. The feminists are now discovering how scary it gets when these teenagers, who understand nothing about power, grow up a bit and start to throw their weight around. Some of the tactics used to radicalise the young (and turn them against their parents) resemble those used by ISIS with the likes of Shamima Begum.
George Orwell, the most succinct enemy of tyranny, was a communist until he spent time working with them in Barcelona. perhaps these more recent converts will be our most effective defenders.

Marsha Dunstan
Marsha Dunstan
2 years ago

Thank you, Jess De Wahls, for standing up to the gender bullies. And thank you, Unherd, for giving her a platform (along with other women of intelligence, commonsense and compassion, such as Kathleen Stock, Julie Bindle, Sarah Ditum and Mary Harrington). Happy New Year to you all.

Last edited 2 years ago by Marsha Dunstan
John Hicks
John Hicks
2 years ago

From “shreds and patches” you “charm our willing ears”, Jess de Wahls. Thanks you do, whilst exposing the impaired group think of others.

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago

You could start by not allowing the activists to dictate what language we use i.e. we should desist from using the terminology “gender critical’

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago

… after saying that transwomen are transwomen and not women.
In my view this is the only tenable position. If ‘woman’ is defined as an adult human female where female is the signifier of the biological substrate. The law is quite clear on this matter – sex is biology.
… Many feminists had been warning about the concerning impact of gender identity ideology for years,… 
Perhaps it would have been helpful to highlight whether “many feminists” included intersectional feminists? And also Jordan Peterson highlighted this gender ideology issue and brought significant publicity to it.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago

Thank you

Jonathan Sidaway
Jonathan Sidaway
2 years ago

Thanks for this. I did a portrait of an imaginary trans person a few years ago. The thing was, it was nothing to do with all this verbalizing from one side of the row or the other: it came out of the drawing. The drawing is the idea, not some positioning in one direction or the other in the kulcha wars. (And I am gender-critical – incidentally.) The purely visual imagination will always beat the would-be oppressor when they try to trample the visual arts.

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
2 years ago

Thank you for the summary of optimism.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
2 years ago

Bravo Jess De Wahls! I will look out for your work. Thankyou.