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How pasta made me a Terf After my friend was attacked, I can no longer keep silent

"I'm Jo" (John Phillips/Getty Images)

"I'm Jo" (John Phillips/Getty Images)


June 9, 2022   4 mins

The other week, my wife kicked me out of the house. She wanted to chat with her Mum for the evening. So rather than get under her feet, I went to a do organised by the Israeli Embassy and then decided to take myself out to dinner with a book. What greater pleasure is there than eating alone in a great Italian restaurant with a nice glass of Chianti? Absolute heaven. And my friend James runs one of the best. Il Portico is the oldest family-run Italian in town. The rabbit and venison are to die for — James shoots it himself. Now, I’m no restaurant critic so I won’t go on about how great the food is, but Time Out called it the “legendary Il Portico”
 Bear with me, this isn’t about food.

So I truck up to Il Portico with my book and, very irritatingly, it is full. Then I try James’s sister restaurant Pino next door. Also full. James spots me and apologises. It’s booked out for a fundraiser for Ukraine, he explains. As I turn and begin to walk out, slightly disconsolate, my friend Suzanne Moore — old mates from The Guardian days — gets up to say hi. “Stay,” she insists. Well, there is only one seat left. I don’t know anyone. But I sit down as invited. “Hello,” says the woman opposite. “I’m Jo”.

We chatted about politics and class. What a strange night. Later, after too many Chiantis, I pay silly money to have a rescued parrot in Sumatra named after my wife in the auction. I don’t care. It’s all for Ukraine. We raised £18,500 that evening.

A few days later, James had his restaurant windows smashed in. Then he starts to get a succession of one-star online reviews, complaining that the restaurant is not welcoming to trans people. “A supporter of transphobia and the food is dry to boot,” says one. Then, when these are taken down by Google, a load more reviews appear saying the food is rubbish and the place is dirty. Google won’t take these down because, who knows, they might be genuine reviews. Trust me, the food is delicious and the place is spotless. But the people who want to bring down James’s restaurant have worked out how to play the game. All this because J.K. Rowling sat at one of his tables and ate his pasta.

I haven’t written about the trans issue before for two reasons. First, because I know two people who have transitioned and, as a pastor, my first responsibility is to love them. In both cases, I believe that transitioning was the right thing for them to do and that they are more authentic human beings, more reconciled with who they are, for having done so. Both are, I believe, much happier now. And I certainly wouldn’t want to say anything that might hurt them.

And second, because I am a cis white middle-class middle-aged man, and I have always thought this is a subject on which I ought to mind my privilege and simply shut up. But when your friend gets his windows smashed in, you can’t just sit on the sidelines and say nothing. Suddenly, the sidelines feel like cowardice. In retrospect, silence was my privileged position.

My own view, for what it is worth, is that under late capitalism we have come to accord the very idea of choice more power that it does or indeed should have. In the world of virtual reality, you can be whatever or whomever you choose. But in the real world, choosing to be something doesn’t make it so. The idea that the world is fundamentally malleable by our choices is to imagine a world in which human beings are at the centre and in control of everything, a world in which everything can be bent to our will.

Religious people can’t possibly agree with this. I believe in limits, in the givenness of some things. And, it seems to me, biological sex is one of them. I find the use of medical technology to transgress these limits to be Faustian in its hubris. Others will say all this better than me. The only reason I mention it is because it has become an issue about standing up to be counted. James’s smashed windows made it about that. This is not a column about sexual politics — it is about bullying, pure and simple.

Because some transactivists now behave as though anything they can do for the cause is justified, however cruel: get people sacked, ruin their businesses, be vile to others online. The public sphere is becoming so unpleasant, so full of vitriol and accusation, that many of us just put on our tin hats and retreat from the conversation. To be honest, I have been quite content that my privilege has, until now, encouraged me to think that the best thing for me to do is to sit this one out and say nothing. I have been hiding behind this terribly convenient self-denying ordinance, leaving the likes of J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Moore to take all the heat, my courage being a few pathetic “likes” on Twitter.

This is where I stand. Of course, I will use your preferred pronouns. It is a basic matter of politeness to call people how they would like to be called. And I can see that some people live with an enormous tension between their given sex and the way they have come to think of themselves. My default response is to affirm these decisions, precisely because I haven’t had to face such emotionally complex issues and I thought it best to listen more than to speak. But this, of course, can be yet another alibi for keeping quiet while others take bucketloads of online shit.

But I do believe that there is a stubbornness to reality that cannot be overcome simply through an act of choice. And if that makes me a Terf, then so be it.


Giles Fraser is a journalist, broadcaster and Vicar of St Anne’s, Kew.

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N Forster
N Forster
2 years ago

“
 because I am a cis white middle-class middle-aged man, and I have always thought this is a subject on which I ought to mind my privilege and simply shut up”
Oh dear Giles, you’ve fallen for this rubbish hook line and sinker haven’t you?
The concept of “privilege” is a tool, the purpose of which is the transferral of power from one group to another. From the majority to a minority of activists. The hierarchy of privilege and the concept of intersectional oppression deliberately ignores the universal nature of suffering in order to silence whole sections of society who might object to radical takeover.
Everyone suffers, regardless of their position in life. Everyone is subject to ageing, craving, sickness, loss and death. 
Referring to yourself as “cis” means accepting the activist delineation of humans into those who are worth listening to and those not. It’s wiser not to accept the prefix at all. You’re not “cis”, you’re a man. A “trans woman” is also a man but who perceives himself to be a woman. Likewise a trans man is a woman who perceives herself as a man. A non binary person is a man or a woman who perceives themselves as neither. None of these new terms are needed. It’s best not to buy into them.
Giles, by buying into these notions you’ve done precisely what activists want – you’ve silenced yourself, until now at least. You took yourself out of the equation leaving others to do the fighting. It’s made you doubt your own thinking, and to give a free pass to those who do not wish you or the majority well. 
Giles, you’re a well intentioned chap, but maybe now you’ll give these matters more serious thought.
Reality matters.

Last edited 2 years ago by N Forster
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

Thanks for educating Giles.

N Forster
N Forster
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Someone needs to…

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

But someone who says “
 because I am a cis white middle-class middle-aged man, and I have always thought this is a subject on which I ought to mind my privilege and simply shut up” should not be listened to.
The worm my have turned on this single issue but it is still a worm on all other issues. It speaks volumes about the modern C of E

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

I have no idea what you mean by that attack on Giles Fraser, even if you do yourself, but you should either be specific on the issues you disagree with him on, or (better) decide that your comment has nothing to do with the article. Third – dispense with the ad-hominem attacks, which is always good practice. Giles Fraser through his writings has made shown abundantly clearly that he is hardly typical of the modern Church of England. I don’t agree with him on a lot – but so what? The fact that Giles Fraser now has real life experience of appalling bullying by some of these obnoxious characters is probably rather more educative than loads of people decrying (or indeed approving) his views on a forum.
The ability of the ‘anti-woke’ to endlessly alienate potential allies is a wonder – we recently had to put up with an attack on ALL Indian-Americans and Hispanics for example! No wonder the Left have so far been winning the culture wars hands down.
I can see from the comments below that many of us just prefer to live in an echo chamber with the same sentiments, albeit ones I largely agree with, repeated ad nauseam.
We could also I think all usefully actually DO something rather than endlessly whining about it. Jordan Petersen’s advice!

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
John Dee
John Dee
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I can see from the comments below that many of us just prefer to live in an echo chamber…

And yet, you don’t think it right for someone to criticise or disagree with Giles?

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  John Dee

Excellent riposte to a fool.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Mr Fraser clearly doesn’t get it and probably never will.

Sitting on the sidelines on the trans nonsense is only now cowardice, because an issue has affected someone close to him?

Until now, like so many, he’s lied to himself and made excuses for his cowardice. But I’ll bet he supported lockdowns, masks and vaccine coercion all the way. I’ll bet he *believes* in the “Climate Emergency”, in BLM, etc.

As a church rector, has he never heard of Martin Niemoller?

The disaster now facing this country rests squarely on the shoulders of Mr Fraser and his ilk. You reap what you sow.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

That’s a bit much.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago

Giles may have been attracted to Christianity ( he wasn’t born into it) because he , and others, came to see Jesus as a victim of colonialism and social justice warrior of his day .
Apparently some migrants ,for example the Old Testament Jews claiming the promised land and boat people landing in dinghies , have God’s blessing and others are wicked colonialists .
He even has a radical interpretation of the Tribute Money passage in the Bible ( see his article Why Bishops Should Be Political) and has justified the practice of publicly baptising Muslims for the sole purpose of giving them reasons to avoid extradition ,by claiming the photographs would make it too dangerous for them to be returned home .

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan Osband
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Not all of the C of E fortunately.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.

– George Orwell

Michael James
Michael James
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

The woke crowd must have read Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and thought it was a handbook or budding totalitarians, not a warning.

Last edited 2 years ago by Michael James
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael James

hear hear!

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael James

Winston Smith’s job was to edit old issues of newspapers, books, etc, to remove items that didn’t conform to the current party line and to replace them with versions that did. Does that seem familiar? Rewriting history and cancelling anyone associated however remotely with slavery, or the empire, is also stock in trade for todays budding totalitarians.

Shooter Six
Shooter Six
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Bingo.

Andrea ...
Andrea ...
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

Thank you, as I was reading I was composing in my mind what transpired you had already eloquently written.

One point:
“A “trans woman” is also a man but who perceives himself to be a woman. Likewise a trans *woman* is a woman who perceives herself as a man.”

I think a *wo* too many
has slipped in 😀

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrea ...
N Forster
N Forster
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea ...

Ta. Fixed it.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

It is disconcerting that it’s taken this long for Giles to realise that stating facts is not bullying, however trying to destroy peoples livelihoods is.

There is a distinct lack of backbone in today’s society that we feel this need to coddle adults with trigger warnings and special treatment. These people need to get a grip.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lindsay S
Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

The thrust of the article is about bullying and aggression and in the patronising tone of your comment you too are falling into a trap. I like the article because it reflects what many are thinking and doing. Being simply aggressively tribal about the topic as many of the other comments are is not helpful. I generally agree that much talk around transgender issues is silly and naive but it will pass and we can accommodate those that genuinely feel uncomfortable. Of course everybody needs to be something so many jump on the band wagon and fight the cause. It was an alien topic to me but having had discussions with friends very for or against you can get a feel for the nuance. I feel very male but what if I didn’t? (resist the temptation to crack a joke unless it’s properly funny).And that is probably a reality for some. But the sooner we all remember that we have to share the world with many others and accept it the better.

Last edited 2 years ago by Kevin Ludbrook
Charles Lewis
Charles Lewis
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

‘It will pass’. So naive! It will only pass if we stand up to their paedophobic, gynecophobic assaults on our society — on chlldren and women and all. If we don’t, they will achieve their aim of so weakening it that they will be free to replace it with one of their own choosing.

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lewis

Time will tell. Sounds a little hysterical to me. Children and women and all – OMG..I guess ‘all’ is the inclusive bit.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

And your response sounds wilfully naĂŻve to me.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lewis

Yes, but endlessly making the same points to people who all agree with you on UnHerd isn’t actually fighting back….

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

No but it confirms to ourselves where we stand to start with.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Lewis

One can only fight error with truth and that might be a long battle. We know some things are wrong but most of us do not have the ability to verbalise it properly in an acceptable way.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

“But the sooner we all remember that we have to share the world with many others and accept it the better.”
ï»żTell that to the blue-hairs.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Craven
Clare Gibb
Clare Gibb
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Genuine question – why are they called “blue hairs”? I have seen this loads and I don’t understand the etymology.

gabrielle sinclair
gabrielle sinclair
2 years ago
Reply to  Clare Gibb

The observation that many of the woke youth have dyed their hair blue.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago

Thanks.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I don’t mind the blue hair. It tells me what kind of people to avoid.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

It is true. I see this on the streets where I chat to youth where it appears blue hair seems to be a rebellion against normal.

Amanda Lothian
Amanda Lothian
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

as is often the case with these symbols it’s not actually rebellion at all, it’s conformity with the tribe. Show me a blue hair and I’ll tell you what they think about everything.

Jane Hewland
Jane Hewland
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

I have no idea what it means to “feel” male or female. Sex isn’t about feeling. It’s about possession of one or another set chromosomes which dictate bodies with one or another set of sexual characteristics. The only point of there being men and woman at all is reproduction. To state what ought to be the blindingly obvious a female body is designed to gestate, give birth to and then nurture infants. Of course there are many women who don’t want to. Or sadly cannot. And there are a tiny minority where the machinery goes haywire and the result is physically indeterminate. But individuals then categorised by their bodies as male or female have a wide range of personalities. They don’t fit stereotypes. I am a mother and grandmother, and what used to be called straight when I was young enough to care. But I love sport and tech and argument and ideas and being in charge. I have no interest in clothes, don’t wear make up and haven’t put on a skirt except for special occasions in years. According to today’s craziness, all that would be enough to make me a man. Or perhaps non binary. Nonsense. I’m a woman. If a man wants to wear a dress, put on make up, have sex however and with whomever (provided both consent), that’s fine by me. Doesn’t make him a woman and it never will. People are going to look back on all this in 100 years as we look back at those who burnt witches – some kind of mass psychosis.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

Sex isn’t about feeling. It’s about possession of one or another set chromosomes …
Yes and no. Chromosomes determine which developmental pathway the foetus will go down – the pathway to male sex development or female sex development.
The sex of an organism is defined by which phenotype and the structures – hormonal and anatomical etc – that support the production of large immotile gametes (female) and small motile gametes (male).
And there are a tiny minority where the machinery goes haywire and the result is physically indeterminate.
Actually, no. If you are referring to intersex conditions (DSDs), sex can be determined via their phenotypic structures even – when incomplete.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
2 years ago

I agree with your definition of “sex”. The problem with our common use of language is the frequent confusion between the words “sex” and “gender”, by both the media and some governments.
Sex is hormonal and anatomical, as you say, but gender is not. Gender is mental and emotional. It is a bit of an oversimplification, but to reduce the semantic confusion we could say that your sex is what you have between your legs while your gender is what you have between your ears.

N Forster
N Forster
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

Until queer theorists got hold of them, the terms sex and gender were interchangeable. By accepting that the two terms have different meanings, you start on the route to this madness.
Best not to.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

ooops, that is a far too deterministic POV. Nothing is every true, sadly, things become true through common agreement

N Forster
N Forster
2 years ago

Then don’t agree.

Steve Vowles
Steve Vowles
1 year ago

So there is no objective reality?

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

‘gender’ now has two meanings, expression and identity. It is ‘identity’ that causes the problem, the conflation with ‘sex’. If we only talked about sex and gender ‘expression’ there’d be no problem. But it’s not possible because they demand that their ‘expression’ represents who they are, their identity. Thus, also, if you reject the stereotypes, you become ‘non-binary’. You have no sex at all.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Girling

The word ‘gender’ is less emotive than ‘sex’ which is the reason why its use is heavily encouraged. It allows ideologues to circumnavigate parental alarm systems and prey on the goodness of the psychologically susceptible (usually know-it-all teenagers, young adults, and naive teachers). On a macro level it gives the state power to intervene in families, particularly those that are resistant to woke ideology: https://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-dad-jailed-6-months-after-repeatedly-exposing-transgender-son-s-identity-despite-publication-ban-1.5390847

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Thanks for that. I remember the story. As it happens, BC, Canada is where I live.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

Gender is much the same as the soul and ghosts; which is to say, human created bollocks.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 year ago

There is always one man who has to tell a woman she is wrong, and give more science than is actually needed. The prize today goes to you.

Sallie R
Sallie R
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

Perfect response. You’ve said exactly what I would like to say. Thank you.

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
2 years ago
Reply to  Sallie R

But I guess you do feel like a woman. Is there any chance that some people may be different? I’m not defending the trans cult I’m arguing against bullying and a lack of thought.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

It’s the transgender people doing the bullying, though. Most people were fine with cross-dressing and sex changes (among adults), but not when transgenderism became an activist movement seeking to recruit the young and gullible, change language, and rearrange the foundations of society.

Amanda Lothian
Amanda Lothian
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Many trans people must be horrified at the hideous behaviour that goes on in their name but isn’t committed by them at all, it’s by their ‘allies’ who must be the worst allies on earth, they make everything worse.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 year ago
Reply to  Amanda Lothian

They are. I have two friends who were bullied off social media and put of their community by transgendered people and their allies for being honest about who they are. Both transsexual. Both happy to tell people they are biological men who present as women who would have been gay men if homosexuality had not been illegal in the USA in the 60s. Their sexuality was a huge issue as they grew up 100 miles apart in the Bible Belt and had pastors for fathers. These pastors paid for their conversion. They met when they came to the UK in 1969. I met them in 1970 when my mum brought them home for tea. And we have been friends ever since.

Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

Thank you hear hear I am also very much as you describe yourself.
Joyous with it!

Kirsten Walstedt
Kirsten Walstedt
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

Exactly. How does one know one “feels like a woman” if one has nothing to compare it to?

Melanie Grieveson
Melanie Grieveson
2 years ago

Precisely; I don’t know if I feel ‘like a woman’ – I just know I feel like me.
How can I possibly know how other women feel, when I’ve never been anyone else?

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago

I bleed for 4 days (give or take a day) every month without dying. That, for me, is confirmation enough.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lindsay S
harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

So-called nonbinaries are almost certainly bisexual and definitely narcissistic.

Amanda Lothian
Amanda Lothian
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

narcissism is a co morbidity to the whole idea

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

You don’t seem to appreciate that tiny minority of freaks is trying to impose their dogma on rest of society.
Against all the evidence of science.
As if Enlightenment never happened.
For anyone familiar with communism you are one of Lenin’s useful fools.
Try to buy the rope they hang you with before it becomes more expensive…

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Not much reasoned argument there. I object to corporations bowing down to every minority so as not to cause offence but other than that it doesn’t affect me that much. It’s not the only cult we have to worry about. And I’m not sure what scientific evidence you are referring to, these might make you squirm :
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-mixed-sex-biology/
https://www.genome.gov/27557513/the-y-chromosome-beyond-gender-determination#:~:text=The%20X%20and%20Y%20chromosomes,only%20pass%20on%20X%20chromosomes).
And there are loads more if you wish to look. This is a very different thing to the cult that is developing but it is real.
And there is absolutely no need to try and be demeaning, you have no idea where I stand or what I believe. I like to listen and try and learn.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

Thanks for the links. Interesting to note my own tribal response to the first one in Scientific American.

The chap is from the University of California and started his medical career in a Parisian hospital dealing with infants with malformed genitalia. While there he “just happened to be reading a book by a chap called Michel Foucault.”

From there on I assumed a scientist trying to prove a pre formed agenda. I’m not sure I was disappointed. How did you read it?

Totally endorse your plea for intelligent debate, but I find you usually get that here even when it’s quite one sided.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

Well said – sometimes UnHerd comments fall into a self-congratulatory echo chamber. And frankly, a small minority of it does sometimes border on hate mongering and is actually racist. There was recently an attack on ALL Indian Americans and Hispanics for example. That is pretty damn stupid apart from anything else.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Thanks. I had hoped that Unherd would be a balanced forum as it’s often quoted elsewhere but sadly not, especially on topics like this. I’ve not particularly stated my beliefs (and they actually echo much of what people say here) but I had hoped to see a discussion that helps us learn. Which is the whole point of a good forum. I don’t personally know any trans people. Too many commentators here stuck on repeat, shouting and not thinking.

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Yes, you already said that further up……and please dont start trotting out “racist” – that particular epithet has been so badly overused for anyone who says anything off message about anyone non white, that it’s totally lost it’s meaning and demeaned what is actually “proper” racism……..I doubt very much that there are very many actual bigotted, ignorant, proper racists on this board…..

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I notice this too in the comments on Spectator articles. I wonder are these people lefties in disguise trying to discredit those on the other side?

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

I’m surprised you’re registering so many downvotes, you comment seems harmless.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

Can’t decide between namby or pamby.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Ludbrook

I honestly don’t know how we can “share the world” with an entire large segment of society which doesn’t believe in reality.

Matt C
Matt C
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

One of the most eloquent summaries I have ever read on the subject, thank you!

N Forster
N Forster
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt C

I have many more. Usually on the same subject…

James jamesdoolin
James jamesdoolin
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

Good comment.

Alan Henness
Alan Henness
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

N Forster said: “A “trans woman” is also a man but who perceives himself to be a woman.”
At best, we can say that a “trans woman” is a male who wishes others to perceive him as if he was a female, but we cannot know what’s in his mind about how perceives himself.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Henness

Quite right, your modification improves an already excellent comment.

N Forster
N Forster
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Henness

Good point. So a person who has a strong desire to control others.

Caroline Martin
Caroline Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

Thank you for putting so well what I thought

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

Excellent reply.
Everyone suffers, regardless of their position in life. Everyone is subject to ageing, craving, sickness, loss and death. 
I would like to add what I call the Axiom of Woke Marxismthere is no genuinely meaningful difference between any human beings whatsoever 
, that all such categories [of difference] are ultimately fictions 
, and that there can be (almost) no consequential effects of holding different cultural values 
, and thus any differences must be wholly the result of injustices that exist in the power dynamics between social identity groups.” I attribute this to James Lindsay of newdiscourses IIRC.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
2 years ago

True, and then we face the pretzel-logic involved in this bedrock claim of the entire social-justice worldview. They say that all differences in outcomes of “groups” (as defined by them; primarily racial and sexuality based identities) are the result of “social systems” designed to favor one group over the other.
But what is “society” and “social systems” if not “culture?”

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

Yes. Essentially it is social constructionism plus structural determinism etc. I think it determines emotive and moral responses when such differences in outcomes are perceived through that framing. Then the neo marxian critical analysis is employed and hell follows in its path.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
2 years ago

Yes! The woke seem to be all emotion and/or all power-driven so they have a sweet, sweet set-up where to dissent from their positions is to be monsterized and un-personed.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
2 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

Mm now i know where Steely Dan got their album title from…didnt know pretzel logic was a thing.

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Dunn
Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago

And there was me attributing it to Robert Lindsay of Tooting Popular Front fame


michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcia McGrail

Blimey. How far back in the day was that?

Last edited 2 years ago by michael stanwick
0 0
0 0
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

NF privilege is an honor to be shared not squandered.
Reality is proven when one is in jail.
You can pretend to be anyone or thing in the outside world.

Natalie
Natalie
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

I love you. Are you single?

N Forster
N Forster
2 years ago
Reply to  Natalie

Happily married.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

+495 likes, and counting. Sure, Unherd’s readership isn’t necessarily (or at all) representative of anything but Unherd’s readership, but this is a sign of our times. I wonder how many corporate HR departments are now having meetings about how they are going to climb down from the heights of the madness that they’ve been pushed to by a tiny minority of committed fringe activists, in which people can’t quite meet each other eyes or agree who it was, exactly, who decided that “the right thing to do” was to purge any reference to “women” from their all of their guidelines and policies and to bully everyone into proclaiming their pronouns on every email they send. And how many of them conclude vaguely, with an unspoken agreement to quietly drop it and never speak about it again.

A bit like the unspoken agreements not to officially unwind or discuss the Covid madness, which mean that we are left with arrows on floors everywhere and signage that literally everyone – even the poor folk out there in the jungle still fighting the last war in their surgical masks – ignores.

Marcus Gilchrist
Marcus Gilchrist
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

So nicely put: conjured images of shifty uncomfortable HR meetings and masked paranoids hiding in jungle redoubts.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago

I still see them in public spaces. Weary old pandemic warriors looking superciliously down at the happily unmasked populace. I wonder in which year they will finally feel safe enough to remove their masks.

Jane Stephen
Jane Stephen
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

And yet we are, nominally at least, a free country, so if people want to mask up they are free to do so. I’m not a mask wearer but will speak up for their right to do so.

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

Giles is part of woke church.
What do you expect from him?
People preferring neo Marxist dogma to teaching of Christ.
So well outlined in latest Douglas Murray book.

Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Indeed he sadly is, making false representation of Christ’s church, whilst hiding behind a thick veneer of mock Christianity. I choked on the bit where he says as a pastor, his first responsibility is
umm, hang on, I’ll try and find where in the Bible it says that a disciple’s first responsibility is to endorse obvious error
it must be here somewhere if GF says it
hang on, shall get back to you when I find it..

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcia McGrail

I noted that phrase as well, because I think actually a pastor needs to keep in mind that happieness is not always the goal, that suffering is inherent in living, and always being supportive is not pastoral. But I suspect Giles is aware of that. It is the case that sometimes, the right pastoral approach for an individual is not the same as a teaching approach, and only someone actually involved will be in a position to say what that might be The real error Giles made,it seems to me, is the idea that because he was supporting these people pastorally, he needed to be quiet about the issue in his role as a teacher and leader. It’s a mistake that seems to be made in the CofE quite a lot.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

I think Giles is coming round to this point. Slowly, but surely, kindly and thoughtfully.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

No. He’s not.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

One of the finest responses ever written.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

Spot on. #DontPlayTheRiggedGame.

Rob J
Rob J
2 years ago
Reply to  N Forster

Suffering is universal but not uniform. And it is non-uniform in predictable ways. Privilege is — or should be — a useful shorthand for advantages that tend, on average, to reduce suffering. If a 19th-century slaver had told a slave to stop moaning on the grounds that suffering was universal, the slave might reasonably have suggested that they swap places, and the slaver on refusing the swap would have been confirming (even if he didn’t admit it) his privilege. To dispute that there is such a thing as privilege, simply on the grounds that you dislike the politics of those who invoke it, is at best thoughtless and at worst downright dishonest.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  N Forster

It starts with begging for tolerance and it is ending with verbal war against normal people. These people are a small minority but large enough to cause damage in society.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  N Forster

Agree. He’s not “cis,”, and he isn’t “privileged.”

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
2 years ago

“Of course, I will use your preferred pronouns. It is a basic matter of politeness to call people how they would like to be called.“ No – it is not about politeness. It is about forcing you to claim to believe something that you know isn’t true. It is about forced obedience to someone else’s dogma. Do Terfs ask to be called Terfs? No – these rules of ‘politeness’ only apply for progressives.

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Johnson
A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

In Giles’ defence he means his friends – so that is perfectly reasonable for him to be polite and respect their wishes if he so chooses. What happens between him and his friends is his business.
Where it’s not acceptable is to force someone to use preferred pronouns. Key distinction I think.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Good point.

Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Not at all. The more ppl that endorse fantasy as ‘fact’ suck the rest of us down that clandestine rabbit hole faster than you can say ‘Alice in reality’

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcia McGrail

My niece is trans. Around friends and family, I am quite prepared to refer to my niece using male pronouns. In the presence of gender activists, I pointedly refer to my niece using female pronouns, because I will not allow them to police my language, and also because I actively want to make them as angry as possible.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I’m curious. What does she get out of being trans? I can’t help feeling that it really isn’t about being born in the ‘wrong body’, but more a desperate cry for attention and social status. I may be wrong in this case, however.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcia McGrail

Yes. #DontPlayTheRiggedGame

T Maz
T Maz
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Pronouns like he/him she/her are usually used when the person is absent, so that person does not directly hear what pronouns you are using. No need to be polite. But I refer to someone by the pronoun that I believe the listener will more readily recognize – clarity of communication.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  T Maz

An interesting perspective. My only query is that if you do not agree with the tenets of gender identity ideology but the listener is someone who does, is your use of a pronoun – that is in accord with what the listener recognises as appropriate – a validation of the view that sex is not immutable (since pronouns are also proxy classifiers)?

Amanda Lothian
Amanda Lothian
1 year ago
Reply to  T Maz

I just run a mile when somebody is telling me to lie to them

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Thank you. There has recently been a court case going on about this very issue: https://www.christian.org.uk/news/christian-professor-awarded-400000-after-refusing-to-refer-to-a-man-as-female/

Charles Lewis
Charles Lewis
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Thanks for the reference. Needs to be more widely known.

Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lewis

It would be but folks don’t want to hear the truth; only what tickles their itching ears via bbc msm etc. As for me and my family, try http://www.christian.org.uk

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcia McGrail

I once worked for an organisation that had a bit of interaction with the CI. Unfortunately as I discovered, they’re just a bunch of right wing homophobes masquerading as Christians. They specialise in scaring Christians that they’re being persecuted when in fact, they aren’t.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus
Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Could it not be that theyve seen one too many Pride float Roman Orgies as part of a “family fun day’?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Wonderful precedent that I never saw reported in the U.S.

Diane Theobald
Diane Theobald
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Thanks for the link.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I was listening to Matt Walsh, of the Daily Wire, talk about his film “What is a Woman”(I haven’t seen it as I refuse the paywall it is behind). Anyway, Walsh is bang-on, in my opinion, when he said “I cannot demand that others perceive me the way that I perceive myself. My self perception is not a joint project shared by me and the rest of human society. “

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago

What Is A Woman is definitely worth the “paywall.” Daily Wire is right wing, intelligent and thoughtful commentary with a stable of terrific communicators, and their news reporting is unbiased as far as I can tell. I think we need to support alternative media to the best of our ability. Therefore I support Daily Wire and UnHerd. I suppose you could always sign up to watch the movie and cancel after one month but I bet you would continue!

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I’ll use male/female pronouns but I refuse to use neo-pronouns (I mean, “xzy” or “fish-self!” Really?). It’s also a direct assault on the most important of individual freedoms to have governmental or institutional enforcement of pronoun usage.

Clare Gibb
Clare Gibb
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I dislike how progressive has been hijacked. I still consider myself a progressive, but not so progressive I seek to deny reality and fact.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Gibb

But unfortunately that is ultimately where progressivism leads to. Because progressivism is based on “man is the measure of all things.”

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

It’s “I”ll pretend this person doesn’t have mental health problems”..that way I can dodge their ‘victim’ bile.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

The owner of Il Portico has a lot of well-connected friends. Today he has both an article about his situation in Unherd and an interview on Triggernometry. Good for him and I hope the restaurant’s bookings double from all this publicity. Heaven help regular folk, though, who are targeted by the trans extremists but don’t have close contacts in the media to highlight their plight.

Andrea ...
Andrea ...
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Ah, that’s who it was. I saw the the preview image, but never clicked.

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Highlighting this highlights the behaviour towards everyone. This restaurant literally did nothing but take a booking and they were targeted so it shows the militant lunacy of gender ideology. If its got people on the sidelines to say “oh hang on a minute this isn’t on” then finally the cavalry might have arrived.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Eyre

I don’t think J.Bryant would disagree with you.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Eyre

Re: ‘militant lunacy of gender ideology’ – if I am not mistaken, up until recently the medical establishment characterized transgenderism as a ‘mental’ as well as physical incongruity. Seems like the mental issues loom large.

Charles Lewis
Charles Lewis
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Gender dysphoria has always been a pathology — only the activists got the craven medical profesion to disavow that. It is still evidence of a mental problem is you feel you have to change sex.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lewis

Which of course is impossible…..change gender if you believe that females always wear frocks and lipstick…..

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Reminds me of those incidents during the early Trump years where people who were identified with him were literally chased out of restaurants by people who considered themselves to be righteous and tolerant.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Of course he is well connected, and shall we say, swimming with the sharks

“booked out for a fundraiser for Ukraine”
Often goes together with
“restaurant windows smashed in. …complaining that the restaurant is not welcoming to trans people”

in a certain area, with well connected restaurant owners and well off food lovers who really, really care about certain things, there are certain risks that go with the business.

Kirsten Walstedt
Kirsten Walstedt
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

If I were anywhere near it I’d go out of my way to dine there.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago

“…Of course, I will use your preferred pronouns. It is a basic matter of politeness to call people how they would like to be called…”

Yeah, and the emperor walking around naked will insist that people acknowledge he is bedecked in full finery. But for myself, I will be the little boy who loudly proclaims “..that guy has got no strides on..”, and politeness go hang.

Paul K
Paul K
2 years ago

‘I am a cis white middle-class middle-aged man, and I have always thought this is a subject on which I ought to mind my privilege and simply shut up.’

‘Of course, I will use your preferred pronouns. It is a basic matter of politeness to call people how they would like to be called. And I can see that some people live with an enormous tension between their given sex and the way they have come to think of themselves. My default response is to affirm these decisions.’

‘I believe in limits, in the givenness of some things. And, it seems to me, biological sex is one of them. I find the use of medical technology to transgress these limits to be Faustian in its hubris.’
ï»ż
I understand and admire the desire to be careful with others, and to be kind. It’s very Christian. But it is a trap here. As you say yourself, it is also very Christian – or just very real, or very scientific come to that – to affirm the reality of limits, biology, and nature: God-given as it is.
So it is true that this is an issue around which the bullying should be resisted. But also, you can’t call yourself ‘cis’ or use ‘preferred pronouns’ to affirm ‘transition’ at the same time as cleaving to traditional understandings of what these words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ mean. This reworking of language is part of a wider attempt to rework the whole culture. The reality is that there is a massive push by a small group of radicalised, intolerant people to redefine biology itself, and to turn society upside down in doing so. The impacts of this include the kind of thing that happened to your friend’s restaurant. They also include surgery on vulnerable youngsters and massive confusion in young minds.
Tolerance and kindness at an individual level are great things – there are not enough of them around. But they have to be overridden by a commitment to truth. We can affirm that truth kindly, but affirming truth is more important than protecting feelings – as Christ demonstrated. Personally, I start by refusing to use the term ‘cis.’ I won’t let these people rewrite language for me.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul K
David B
David B
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

Societal suicide by conscience is how I have heard it referred to. There was a great essay in Tablet showing how a huge fraction of white Western liberals were by far the most outgroup-tolerant people in the USA. More usual levels of ingroup/outgroup preferences were present in every other studied grouping.
I’d find a link, but I’m in the bath…

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  David B

“a huge fraction of white Western liberals were by far the most outgroup-tolerant people in the USA.”
Douglas Murray’ research into migrants in Sweden showed that the Swedish elite that preach about inclusivity and voting for the green party were the most likely to move away when migrants appeared. They were white flight incarnate.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

Agreed. It is laughable to see all the BLM signs on the front lawns of the mini faux-mansions in the well-heeled suburbs of most large cities, where the school children, who are 98% white play lacrosse and arrive in one of 2 or 3 of their huge foreign SUV’s without bumper stickers, because that would be tacky. But if they allowed themselves to have a bumper sticker, it would be something about saving the planet. Then the driver heads to a drive through coffee shop to idle their engine for 20 minutes before being presented with their 1200 calorie “coffee”, heads back to the 6,000 square foot house with 3 A/C zones and surfs the web for more trinkets to purchase.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  David B

Are you out of the bath…?
if so, how did the essay show how a huge fraction ….?
Would be interested in a link if you can find it.

Laura Kelly
Laura Kelly
2 years ago

The info is in his book ‘The Strange Death of Europe”. A very sad and scary read.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Kelly

Thanks. I didn’t read the comment underneath thew one I was replying to.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  David B

I trust that you are not nude. For each of my daily half dozen bathings, I take particular care to array myself in white tie and tails, Zouave trousers, correspondent shoes and a monocle and top hat. Anything less is shameful and beastly and not to be countenanced.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Craven
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

Yes. Excellent observations. I have a few more.
… you can’t call yourself ‘cis’ or use ‘preferred pronouns’ to affirm ‘transition’ at the same time as cleaving to traditional understandings of what these words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ mean.
I agree. Personal pronouns are proxy identifiers but they are also classifiers. They carry a designation of the particular sex class to which the identified person belongs. Thus, using a preferred pronoun is an admittance that the pronoun has a different function – it is a means of changing the identified person from one sex class into another – it is now not a classifier but a re-classifier.
And the goal is to re classify a person into a different sex class in order that they can access the privileges and rights designated for that sex class. But in order to do that the word loses its codified, shared understanding – its meaning.
I am a cis white middle-class middle-aged man, and I have always thought this is a subject on which I ought to mind my privilege
By the very adoption of this type of language to describe himself, he has ceded the argument. The emphasis of identifying a group and then generalising what he assumes are negative, moral-political characteristics to it is a prejudice that is preventing him from seeing himself as a unique human being with self autonomy and agency to speak the truth.
And the truth is sex is biological, and language has strict codified meanings that we use to describe our perceptions and experiences of reality. To be coerced to pretend to validate the false self-perception of others, is to agree to the downstream harms that result from the false idea that perception is built on.

Charles Lewis
Charles Lewis
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

Most excellently put!!

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

Well said. Language is very important, as we see currently in the attempts to redefine the meaning of the word ‘woman’.

Amanda Lothian
Amanda Lothian
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

whoever controls language controls thought. This is why ‘cis’ is the language of our oppressors and should be as unacceptable as those names that used to be given to black people or citizens of Pakistan.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago

I had to evict one of my lodgers a couple of months ago, after she shouted at me because I was wearing a t shirt bearing the slogan “I stand with J.K.Rowling”. I don’t know what she was expecting – I explicitly told her before she moved in that I was fairly right wing, and that I believe Black Lives Matter is a racist hate group and men can’t become women.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Craven
ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

An excellent report. One must never accommodate ‘shriekers’.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

You haven’t been sued yet?

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

It seems you took nominative determinism as a personal affront 😉

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Presumably nominative determinism is the claim that the connotations of X’s name determine X’s character, e.g. if you baptise your infant with the name Pious, they will grow up pious. I’m not quite sure what bearing this has on the episode with my lodger. The bottom line is that I simply don’t tolerate being spoken to like that in my own home.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Craven
David B
David B
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I think A. Spetzari is lauding your not conforming to your surname’s expectations.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  David B

Yes – was light hearted. He is clearly not Craven

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Haha, sorry!

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

No need at all! But thanks

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

The guy’s saying that your behaviour was anything but Craven. Like being an (honest) Chief Constable by the name of Crook, a VC-winner by the name of Coward, a Miss World by the name of Pigge, a nun by the name of Tarte or a politician by the name of Worker.
So relax: it’s a compliment.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Yes you’re right, I should have realised.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Craven
Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

So what was she expecting, you sound relatively mainstream to me?

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
2 years ago

My son is a trans man, and I want to thank you for your compassion. No one hates trans people more than trans activists, or does more to promote hatred against them.
Most of the people publicly claiming to be transgender today – like most of the people publicly claiming to be “queer” – are merely seeking attention and are not transgender at all.
Most of these people are trans trenders, who do not have sex dysphoria (a painful condition that I suspect is neurological) but are simply fetishists and narcissists.
“You will know them by their fruits” is a good rule of thumb: if they’re talking about “lady d*cks” and calling women “uterus havers” they are probably trans trenders, not transgender.
Because I love my son for exactly who he is, I do not have to lie about who he is: a genetic female with sex dysphoria who needs the palliative care of medical transition to ease his pain.
My son does not have to be a genetic male or in any way the same as a genetic man to be worthy of love and acceptance.
My son does not have to erase female biology as an axis of oppression or to erase female reproductive reality to love himself and be loved by others.
But trans activists clearly think he does.
Trans activists think my son is so grossly unacceptable that the reality of who he is – a genetic female with sex dysphoria – must be erased at all costs.
Why do they hate trans people so much?
Why must they lie about trans women – hysterically attempting to erase the fact that trans women are genetically male- for trans women to be acceptable?
Why must trans women and trans men be the same as genetic women and genetic men to be accepted by society?
Genetic and biological differences between men and women are REAL, and my son is not the same as a genetic man.
Why is this important to assert?
Because under no circumstances should someone like my son ever be sent to a men’s prison. Ever. A genetic female is NOT SAFE in a men’s prison – clearly.
But the same fanatics who insist on sending genetic males with intact penises – some of whom have been convicted of violence against women – into women’s prisons are creating a situation that would be extremely dangerous for trans men.
But they clearly don’t care. Trans activism centers the interests of genetic males at the expense of genetic females; it’s the same old misogyny with a nose ring.
Thank You for not feeling the need to lie about who trans people are in order to love them.
My son is a trans man, not a man.
I love him for who he is, and I wouldn’t have him any other way.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Thanks Penny. Great to hear that my own opinion is also held by someone so close to real experience.

Ruth Conlock
Ruth Conlock
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Such a courageous stance, thank you! Do you mind me asking you how you feel calling the female who was born as your daughter, your son?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Your comment deserves 1000 upvotes.

Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Thank for your openness and kindness. I am certainly in agreement with your perception of misogyny as I have found it uncomfortable ever since this argument or debate or whatever we call it began.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

“Why do they hate trans people so much?”

Because they are activist neo-Marxist lunatics. They hate everyone.

Excellent post by the way.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Sullivan
William Morris
William Morris
2 years ago

Incidentally Giles, may I suggest you drop the term “late capitalism”? It implies a certain foreknowledge that no-one can possibly have.

Capitalism might be in its death throes, or might only just be getting started. Who can say? The use of “late” to describe it is common amongst those who merely wish it so, but are arrogant enough to think their preference inevitable.

Nothing is pre-ordained.

P B
P B
2 years ago
Reply to  William Morris

Rather than “late capitalism”, I use the phrase “consumer society”, as I think a lot of this gender nonsense is the product of an American culture that promotes the idea that we can be anything we want to be. It’s “lifestyle” versus real life. I also think that the proliferation of gender stereotypes in popular culture – from Kim Kardashian’s backside to Love Island – makes many young people feel alienated to the point where they want to opt out by identifying as non-binary.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
2 years ago
Reply to  P B

The much-mocked Prince Charles observed this years ago, when he commented that he could not understand how everybody seemed to think they had a right to any job they wished, whether or not they were qualified for it. He was vilified for arguing that people should know their place, which wasn’t the point he was making at all. In a final thrash of jubileeism, I will say that I think Charles will be a better king than people expect.

Bruce Luffman
Bruce Luffman
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

I would agree except for his silly Net Zero views

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

He was vilified for arguing that people should know their place, …
As Clint Eastwood said in one of his films “a man has got to know his limitations”.

T Maz
T Maz
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

“Charles will be a better king than people expect.”
That is an awfully low bar since Charles is widely considered a naive fool.

P B
P B
2 years ago
Reply to  T Maz

Is this the “naive fool” who, 50 years ago, warned us about plastics and pesticides, or the dehumanising effect of many modern buildings? Is this the man who decided to build a small town using local materials, based around the needs of people rather than corporations? I’d be happy to have this kind of fool as Head of State.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

He’s a useful idiot and the epitome of someone who’s not qualified for a certain job.

Dr. G McIver
Dr. G McIver
2 years ago
Reply to  P B

Oh absolutely. You’ve summed it up.

David B
David B
2 years ago
Reply to  William Morris

“Capitalism-of-late”?

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
2 years ago

Well said.
I think, what offends, is the unBritishness, of the terf war. Culturally, I think, the British have been rather relaxed about life, it allows a certain amount of muddling through, accommodation, amateurishness, acceptance of peoples quirks and peccadilloes. Not everyone gets with the program, but by and large we live and let live, we don’t take life too seriously. It is maybe what, as a country, stopped us sliding into fascism, or communism. I fear, however, that that is slowly changing, for the worse, I don’t know if it can be ascribed to ‘Americanism’ or ‘just’ the changing nature of this country’s population, but I find it rather sad that ‘we’ seem to, not only, be less accepting of ‘square’ pegs, but that those very same pegs seem to want to rub everyone else’s noses is their dirt.
“This is where I stand. Of course, I will use your preferred pronouns. It is a basic matter of politeness to call people how they would like to be called.”
I quite agree, with one exception. I will not call a ‘single’ a ‘plural’, I might fudge it, by avoiding ‘any’ pronoun at all (Is that typically British ?), but I will not pander to the inane ‘stupidity’ of calling a single person ‘they/them’, that really is just above and beyond.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

“It is maybe what, as a country, stopped us sliding into fascism, or communism”

It isn’t. It was wise leadership, and the lessons from 1,000 years of history ingrained in our traditions and our institutions – which is precisely why those traditions and institutions are now under such sustained attack.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago

“Of course, I will use your preferred pronouns. It is a basic matter of politeness to call people how they would like to be called.“
I like to be called “Grand High Poobah of the Universe” – can I expect people to politely address me as such?

Philippe W
Philippe W
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

If we can shorten it to Poo on all subsequent interactions, yes.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  Philippe W

At my age and state of health even a short Poo is welcome 🙂

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

It’s a really important wedge issue. As the culture warriors of the left attempt to bring down western civilisation through destroying all accepted moral codes, the culture warriors of the right have a duty to keep their absurdity high on the agenda.

The majority of the voting public don’t read publications like this, and have never heard of Foucault or Gramsci, but men in female public toilets, or winning female sports, can swing large numbers of votes.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Was supposed to be an answer to NT below.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

They won’t have read Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance” either.

Last edited 2 years ago by michael stanwick
Keith J
Keith J
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

You have hit the nail on the head – this is a wedge issue exploited by culture warriors with a wider agenda. As the owner of Il Portico appeared to suggest in his interview with Triggernometry, the people who smashed in his windows probably were not trans – they were activists who are not doing trans people any favours. 
It reminds me of the early 80’s when there were organisations such as the Anti Nasty League and Troops Out Movement which were essentially front organisations for the Socialist Workers Party. Other organisations such as Workers Against Racism and the Irish Freedom Movement were front organisations for the Revolutionary Communist Party. In all cases, they were not so much concerned with the stated cause – they just saw the riots of the early 80’s and the situation in the north of Ireland as being a threat to the state that they wanted to exploit.
The only difference with the situation today is that there is no obvious malevolent party behind the trans / BLM / etc. movements. Maybe there is no malevolent party – the followers of Gramsci have just infiltrated people heads.

Jane Wallace
Jane Wallace
2 years ago
Reply to  Keith J

Trans ideology is heavily funded – see journalist Jenifer Bilek. It’s not a grass roots movement and it’s not going away anytime soon.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Wallace

It. Is. Not. About. Trans. Ideology.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes. Every word.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago

Because some transactivists now behave as though anything they can do for the cause is justified, however cruel: get people sacked, ruin their businesses, be vile to others online.

No different from Black Lives Matter activists and Muslim activists making threats to suppress a film or book.

0 0
0 0
2 years ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

I agree .. it makes me think this is all a deliberate ploy to break community & society apart into smaller, pernicious & downright mean sections. It’s like all the progress of the last few centuries since the industrial revolution is slowly being reversed. The worst part is that most people are live & let live & they do not see what is happening!

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  0 0

Absolutely. It is is deliberate and brazen, and it will not stop.

Neither does it have anything to do with a single issue such as the trans nonsense.

The meticulous corruption and obfuscation of language is everywhere, but even most of those who believe themselves resistant to the woke lunacy don’t spot most of it. Certainly not Mr Fraser.

“Cis”?
“TERF”?
“Infected”?
“Case”?
“Emergency” (as in climate)?
“Denier”?
“Hate”? (as in speech, crime)?
“Institutional Racism”?

I could go on…

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
2 years ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

Or the violent folk who have been disrupting field sports for over half a century. They came for the fox hunters first…

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago

Yes. Someone who truly gets it.

Martin Niemoller must be turning in his grave.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

Or mask fanatics. Or vaccine fanatics. Or climate fanatics.

Or….

R K
R K
2 years ago

A few issues with this post.

1. It was not “privilege” that kept you silent initially; it was common decency.

2. CIS?! You’ve got to be kidding! You’re either male or female. Whether you’re homosexual or heterosexual is inconsequential.

3. Pronouns?! You’ve adopted the language and viewpoint of woke.

Lies unopposed and frequently repeated by the zealous become “truth.” Glad you wrote, but you were already on a slippery slope called acquiescence.

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
2 years ago
Reply to  R K

Agreed – cut out the virtue signaling (which is really vice signaling), Giles, and I will read more of your writing. There are some good thoughts buried deep within.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  R K

It was cowardice, as even the author himself recognises, if somewhat disingenuously.

Anton van der Merwe
Anton van der Merwe
2 years ago

This article reflects exactly my own path from being entirely supportive of all that transactivists campaigned for to being skeptical of their most extreme positions and disgusted by their behaviour. As a medical doctor with a PhD in molecular endocrinology it is easy to appreciate that they are simply ignoring reality when they claim that biological sex in not binary in humans and is fluid. This is a dangerous view from a medical perspective as biological sex has diverse health implications. It, and ignoring it or trying to change it has massive health implication which remain poorly understood.It is also illogical to view gender as being more important than and thus superseding biological sex. One can only be trans with reference to biological sex. Ignore the latter and you eliminate trans people, which seems unfair. But the most objectionable aspect of their approach is their denial that there are serious risks to females associated with ignoring biological sex (single sex spaces) and that it is inherently unfair to them as well (sex based sports categories). So much for social justice.

Last edited 2 years ago by Anton van der Merwe
Andrew F
Andrew F
2 years ago

Could you care to explain how, as a “medical doctor with PhD etc” you ever supported unscientific nonsense of transactivists?

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I believe that’s what they call “rumbled”!

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
2 years ago

I don’t think that we will entirly get out of this mess, especially in places like Scotland or Canada where the government is tuuly captured, untol the medical and scientific community begin to clearly speak out about this. Too many regular people who support it have been taken in by the support of medical bodies or articles published by organizations they trust, like National Geographic.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
2 years ago

Don’t describe yourself as a cis man, Giles. That’s playing their game. You’re a man, full stop.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

#DontPlayTheRiggedGame

Nell Larkin
Nell Larkin
2 years ago

When people believe that because they are a “cis white middle-aged man” their “privilege” negates their right to an opinion on trans issues, then they have become part of the problem of shutting down peaceful debate and free speech on trans issues. Why did you wait for an act of violence against a man who hosted JK Rowling before you felt compelled to voice your opinion? Your outrage is long over due.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Nell Larkin

He’s not outraged. He’s virtue signalling.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

I see Il Portico (where I haven’t eaten but will now, if I can get a booking) is in Kensington High Street. This must have more CCTV cameras per square foot than just about anywhere in the country, and it’s surely likely that the window smashers were caught on film. As well as criminal damage, the act must come into the category of ‘hate crime’ (dread term). I look forward to hearing it denounced by Mayor Khan and seeing the Met pursue the perpetrators with the utmost vigour…

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew D
Alison Wren
Alison Wren
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

You’re joking, surely Andrew. The met is utterly captured to the extent that not only do they have men who claim to be women in their ranks, they even have a “gender-fluid” off iced who has two different warrant cards for the days when he “feels like a man” to the days when he”feels like a woman”. He is of course allowed to intimately search women on his “woman days”……how did we ever get to this abomination towards women!!!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Can you provide a link? It might well be true, but it is too good a story to repeat without references.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
2 years ago

“because I am a cis white middle-class middle-aged man”. And that’s when I stop reading.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

“Terf” in the headline usually does it for me, and the Giles Fraser byline is always skippable. Still, one can count on the comments to be lively.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago

 Still, one can count on the comments to be lively.
More than lively. I would say many of the comments are very well articulated and thought out.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago

Often more so than the articles.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago

True. More grist for the mill.

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly
2 years ago

Some people chose their pronouns. I choose my adjectives. I am a “natural-born man”, “natural man” or, preferably, simply “man”. Do not ever insult me by calling me a “cis man”

Annie Doherty
Annie Doherty
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Kelly

Just ‘man’ will do, surely?

Daria Angelova
Daria Angelova
2 years ago

My problem with the preferred pronouns is that they’ve gone way beyond politeness and into unconditional adherence. It doesn’t matter if the person in question is your sweet and gentle trans friend, or a serial killer of children who doesn’t warrant any politeness. The dogma dictates that you still must use their preferred pronouns – because if you don’t, you reveal that you’ve never really bought into another person’s preferred fictional reality. Furthermore, everyone must scold and police whoever steps out of line and doesn’t use the preferred pronouns, even if the person that’s being discussed is not actually around.

Oh and don’t forget the made-up neo-pronouns like “zir” and “kittenself”.

Last edited 2 years ago by Daria Angelova
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Daria Angelova

IMO it was always about coercion. Inclusion (from EDI) has that built in as a consequence.

Non Serviam
Non Serviam
2 years ago

The west is experiencing its very own version of China’s Cultural Revolution, complete with denounciation rallies. The aggressive, mouth frothing fervour that transactivists demand that all parrot their beliefs and those that won’t must be destroyed, in every sense of the word is so very similar to the collective insanity that was seen in Chinese youths of the Red Guard that it’s virtually a photocopied version, just coloured in differently and given a modern twist for the reboot.

The fact that they can’t recognise this in themselves either speaks to their lack of historical knowledge, or their lack of self critique. It would be sad, if only it didn’t present itself in the form of their being some of the most disgusting bullies I have ever seen in my life.

I remember, back in the day, you could just disagree with someone, rather than calling for the death of anyone who doesn’t parrot the same nonsense.

abert48 0
abert48 0
2 years ago
Reply to  Non Serviam

Spot on. The analogy with the Chinese cultural revolution is one I find entirely appropriate and one I’ve been using for the past few years. And yet few seem to sense the danger of such a phenomenon for society at large. One of the reasons may be that in our present day we are so inundated by narcissism and impatience with “limits” that anything goes–all you have to do is to say that it is so.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
2 years ago

Giles, I have long been a fan of yours. Having been fighting the advance of transideology (please note, the ideology not the victims of same) since 2017 when I decided to retire from teaching biology rather than agree that girls can be boys I welcome your realisation that this ISN’T about “being kind”. As a faithful church-goer I have been appalled by the recent “Living in Love and Faith” course which conspicuously failed to even mention lesbians (who have been the canaries in the coal mine in this fight) or take into account ANY views from the many womens organisations who see clearly the detriment to women of adopting this ideology. Ask your wife how she feels about being called a “uterus-haver”, or your mother-in-law being presented with a man in a nurses uniform to perform her intimate care???

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 years ago

You have started on the journey, Giles, and you will get to full Terfdom in the end.
You have, however, made a very fundamental and important point. If people profess to believe in an all-powerful God who created everything, isn’t it rather arrogant and contradictory to assert that, in their case, He got it wrong and put them in the wrong body? If the Church believes in an all-powerful Creator, how can it even contemplate supporting transgenderism?

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
2 years ago

Well, to be fair, god did have to try out quite a few prototypes – hominids and hominins, up to Home Neanderthalensis, – before he got it right. Perhaps when he got to us he just thought ‘good enough will do’, without ironing out all the potential wrinkles.

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
2 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

What makes you think he was unhappy with them?

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 years ago

But many churches including CofE stopped believing and preaching gospel many years ago.
Why should we be surprised that Giles, like his Archbishop, promotes and believes in neo Marxist woke dogma of transgender nonse, BLM etc?

Bill Oetjen
Bill Oetjen
2 years ago

No one is “trans.”
No one is “cis.”
Using terms from the cult’s Lexicon of Lies gaslights everyone around you and normalizes the lies.
Why would you do that?

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill Oetjen

Precisely.

Last edited 2 years ago by michael stanwick
John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill Oetjen

Because he’s virtue signalling. And lying to himself, as all sanctimonious fools do.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Sullivan
Ruth Conlock
Ruth Conlock
2 years ago

Because Unheard bravely publishes articles by people like Kathleen Stock who was hounded out of her job by rabid transactivist students and shamefully not defended by her employers. Because ‘trans issues’ are causing the biggest roll back in women’s sex based rights for at least a generation to the extent that politicians can’t say what a woman is anymore and people are called bigots for even asking the question. Because woman are being sexually assaulted by make convicted sex offenders who say they’re women to get transferred to the female estate. Because women’s sport is under clear and present danger from sporting bodies allowing men to compete with women. Because children are being taught anti science bullshit to ‘trans the gay away’ and put on lifelong experimental ‘puberty blockers and hormones and having irreversible surgery under gender ideology. Because lesbians are being told they have to accept ‘ladydique’ or they’re bigots. I could go on……maybe you don’t think these issues are important? Gender ideology is having real life consequences for millions of people, if you don’t think it affects you, you’re wrong, and it certainly has major consequences for your children, sisters, mother and female/lesbian/gay friends!

Alan Girling