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In defence of Róisín Murphy

Róisín Murphy was forced to issue an anguished apology. Credit: Getty

September 2, 2023 - 5:00pm

The words that sent Irish singer-songwriter Róisín Murphy’s career up in flames hardly live up to the charge. “Please don’t call me a TERF, please don’t keep using that word against women I beg you!” Murphy wrote. “Puberty blockers are fucked, absolutely desolate, Big Pharma laughing all the way to the bank. Little mixed-up kids are vulnerable and need to be protected, that’s just true.”

It’s worth mentioning that Murphy’s words were also private, posted to her personal Facebook page, where someone the singer likely trusted decided to take a screenshot and turn a private disagreement into front-page news. 

Murphy is hardly alone in her fears. The long-term effects of tampering with human development in this way are unknown — something even advocates must acknowledge. Serious questions remain, such as whether puberty blockers ‘lock’ children into a trans identity that may have otherwise resolved in self-acceptance — just as the vast majority of cases of childhood gender dysphoria resolved before clinicians started intervening to block puberty. 

There are a wide range of known and unknown risks at play. Known risks include loss of bone density and the uncomfortable fact that when a child goes from puberty blockers to opposite-sex hormones he or she will be rendered infertile. Unknown risks include possible effects on brain development. Right now, the answer is: nobody knows. But there is plenty of cause for concern — no bigotry required. As the gap between public understanding and medical practice closes, ever more people will find themselves sharing Murphy’s concerns. 

But it is the very reasonableness of Murphy’s concerns that condemned her. In the same week that two other musical legends — Alice Cooper and Carlos Santana — made public statements critical of transgender ideology, it’s Murphy who pays the steepest price for comments she never intended to make public. 

Murphy issued an anguished apology, in which she begged her fans to understand that her “concern was out of love for all of us.” Murphy promised that she would “now completely bow out of this conversation, adding that she was not “in the slightest bit interested in turning it into ANY kind of ‘campaign,’ because campaigning is not what I do”. 

But her apology didn’t spare her. Activists decided to make an example of Murphy, in order to terrify anyone with similarly reasonable concerns into silence. Even in private, one cannot speak without fear — which is to say, even in private, one cannot speak freely. 

Amid the cancelled gigs and public condemnations, the true shape of Murphy’s punishment is coming into view. Not only will her words be turned against her, but her music, too — her life’s work. Forget music as “one of the greatest tools we can use to create a culture of tolerance.” 

Whatever cannot be taken away will be poisoned: her record label will donate the proceeds of her latest album to the very cause Murphy warned about. Thus, this musical artist will be made into a vessel of views she does not hold: if her album sells, then her own work will fund what Murphy clearly sees as the medical abuse of vulnerable children. If the album doesn’t sell, she drowns, her cancellation complete. 

The NKVD or the Scientologists would be proud of such a thorough unpersonning. But any open, liberal society must balk.


Eliza Mondegreen is a graduate student in psychiatry and the author of Writing Behavior on Substack.

elizamondegreen

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Ewen Mac
Ewen Mac
10 months ago

If we had a functioning media and politicians who didn’t shit themselves at the prospect of upsetting gender ideologues, then it wouldn’t be left up to a comedy writer, a children’s fantasy author – and now a pop singer – to point out that a dumb, dangerous ideology, is both dumb and dangerous.
This garbage could be shut down in days if the media and political establishment admitted that biological reality is still reality, but they’re scared of the New Priests. The “adults in the room” are scared to behave as adults.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Ewen Mac

I don’t understand how the will and opinion of the vast majority of voters is subverted by such a tiny fraction of the population?

“Puberty blockers are fracked, absolutely desolate, Big Pharma laughing all the way to the bank. Little mixed-up kids are vulnerable and need to be protected, that’s just true.”

What percentage of the population finds this statement offensive? Maybe 20%, probably much less. All of this is driven by an elite faction of NGOs and activists.

When politicians ignore the will of voters and defer to special interests, most of which are at least partially funded by the govt, that’s when democracy begins to unravel.

Richard M
Richard M
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“I don’t understand how the will and opinion of the vast majority of voters is subverted by such a tiny fraction of the population?”

As Ernest Hemingway put it, “Gradually, then suddenly.”

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

20%? Are there really that many deluded and hysterical fools in Britain? Whatever happened to our reputation for calm common sense?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago
Reply to  Ewen Mac

Can’t argue with that.

Richard M
Richard M
10 months ago

Murphy has nothing to apologise for and while it isn’t my place to advise her, I wish she hadn’t issued any further statement other than:

“If you really think it’s hate to be concerned that vulnerable children are being rushed into irreversible medical interventions, then you’re the sick f*ck, not me.”

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

I couldn’t have put it better. And look where her grovelling apology got her – worse than nowhere, since she’ll have lost her own self-respect in the process.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The public apology – especially regarding these issues, is no longer a pretext for forgiveness. It is now taken as a confession, which is the pretext for further condemnation.

Richard M
Richard M
10 months ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Like religious zealots throughout history they burn you at the stake for confessing to being a witch and also for refusing to confess to being a witch.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
10 months ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

I think this is called a “Kafka Trap.” Denial of the offense is taken as proof of it. Difficult as it may be, people in this situation should never apologize; it does them no good and simply gratifies their accusers.

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
10 months ago

She’s blown it, I’m afraid. She’s apologised.
There is no way back once you say anything shareable or screenshottable against this nonsense.
Andrew Doyle characterised this perfectly in his book ‘The New Puritans’. They’re worse than the originals because they retained some humility, acknowledgement of personal weakness, and forgiveness.
There is no forgiveness from the TRAs. Apologise; you look weak, drip blood in the water, and a feeding frenzy ensues; you’re eaten and eternally damned.
I ‘came out’ a few years ago as GC, and my punishment is to be invisible on Twitter, but I’m a man, and they don’t come for me much. They always come hardest for women.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

GC?

Mark Kerridge
Mark Kerridge
10 months ago

Gender Critical

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Kerridge

Thanks ! And what does that mean in English?

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
10 months ago

Biological reality; sex trumps gender.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

Every time surely?
How could it possibly be otherwise?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

They always come hardest for women
It’s no wonder their menfolk feel inadequate!

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You got me there 🙂

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
10 months ago

The behaviour of Trans-Activists is like that of a dictatorship in its dying days. It will lash out at anyone who it suspects will turn on it and take as many people as it can with it. In the last couple of years this movement has suffered some major defeats and the public perception is that it’s bonkers. Reality is catching up to them. This victory for over Murphy is equivalent to a T-34 being taken out on the streets of Berlin by the last fanatical elements of the Hitler Youth.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
10 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

I like Andrew Doyle’s take on the trans activists—they are the New Puritans. One false move and you are godless and must be shamed and exiled.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
10 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Puritanism as Satanism this time, embracing rather than accusing local women of witchcraft. Liberalism has passed through its Me, New Age and expressive stage to merge with the Californian churches of Satan.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
10 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

A fart on Thomas Putnam!

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
10 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

It is possible they are having their Ceausescu moment. The brave premier of the Canadian Province of New Brunswick recently said that this business of schools not telling parents of gender change has to stop. The usual backlash occurred, including in his own cabinet. Showing backbone he said that he was prepared to call a provincial election on this issue. That shut everyone up because we all know (and surveys have shown) that the vast majority of Canadians do not support hidden school transition. In a matter of weeks two more provinces have announced the same thing. Courage is infectious and the trans ‘consensus’ has been enforced through intimidation- not through winning people over. Once people realize they are not alone this the dam could break. But honestly we shouldn’t treat that like a resounding win – it is literally the first skirmish in a culture war.

Last edited 10 months ago by Peter Johnson
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Politicians today are mostly cowards. Even worse, they are disconnected, stupid cowards. They rely on opinion polls to inform them about things that are blindingly obvious. They bow to the will of special interests because they have no connection to the people they represent.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I don’t even think they use polls – I think they rely too much on special interest groups. There was an interesting article a decade ago about how the Canadian Conservatives – despite enormous effort in outreach – had bungled getting the minority vote. The author concluded that the lead Minister – despite enormous personal attendance at hundreds of events- had confused the minority people who attend political events with normal people from a minority. I think that many politicians are sucked in by special interests and actually think they represent the common world view. When news of Covid started breaking and we were getting conflicting information about it – I called a friend who had family in Hong Kong and asked her to find out if we should be worried. The next day she called me and said ‘this is real.’ It struck me after that I probably had better information than the PM at that moment because I was getting a completely unfiltered view from normal people.

Rob N
Rob N
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

More a war for truth and reality than a culture war.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
10 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Quite right!

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
10 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

I agree. It is like the collapse of communism in East Germany or Romania – or of McCarthyism in 1954. Rule by fear and intimidation is very effective right up to the moment it crumbles when it can disappear in a surprisingly short period of time. I think the turning point was when Netflix refused to sack Dave Chapelle and Joe Rogan. It was comparable to CBS, the US Army and the CIA all telling McCarthy to get lost.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

McCarthy was correct. America’s establishment was riddled with communists and we’re all living with the result of upper middle class yank communists shaping the world after WWII.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
10 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Harry Truman, Dean Acheson and George Kennan were communists??

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

It may have escaped your attention that America’s subversion by communists was laid bare after the USSR’s implosion.

Margie Murphy
Margie Murphy
10 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Exactly. People seem to forget that there were reds u der the beds at every university. That’s where the rot started.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
10 months ago
Reply to  Margie Murphy

Herbert Marcus for one.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
10 months ago

Just looked up her profile – happy to smear half the voting American public and more thanhalf the British electorate as racists – then cries when the boot is on the other foot. Why is her politics that she has worn proudly on her sleeve not been mentioned? The article makes it seem she was quietly minding her own business.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.billboard.com/music/pop/roisin-murphy-interview-trump-racist-brexit-7565617/amp/

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

All that proves is that the left hate those within their own ranks who criticise the narrative more than they hate those on the centre and right. Let them eat themselves until they’re isolated and weak I say.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
10 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

The left are engaged in a purity spiral. And it’s headed downwards.

Richard M
Richard M
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Because of two things:

1. You can agree with someone on one subject while disagreeing with them on others.

2. You don’t have to agree with anything someone says to believe they have a right to say it.

Last edited 10 months ago by Richard M
Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
10 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Golly, when did I ever say she didn’t have a right to say what she did? Or that I disagreed with herI was pointing out a hypocrisy in her position that the author was unwilling to engage with.

N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

This goes to show that people of the Left-liberal worldview (as so many creative types are) will always be susceptible to moral bullying. The mere accusation that they have been unfair to some underdog or marginalised group will tarnish the air of moral leadership ‘serious’ creatives like to project. A grovelling apology naturally follows.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Thanks for that ‘research’!
I must admit I was far too idle to do any research into this obvious cretin.

Last edited 10 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

We still need to support her. We need to show people that freedoms are important for everyone and supporting them is not an ‘alt right’ issue.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Totally agree

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I agree! People reading into a factual comment more than was written. We should support her but also point out where she gone wrong in the past.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

This is what will ultimately kill the progressive movement – they run out of enemies and start eating themselves.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
10 months ago

When are militant trans-activists going to get “called out on X” (or Twitter or whatever that stupid platform is called nowadays), and live in fear of losing their jobs? They are a tiny, vindictive, insecure, bullying minority who seem to wield power way beyond their relevance.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Daria Angelova
Daria Angelova
10 months ago

I’m now exasperated with the celebrities who get into the trans discussion online and then crumble instantly into a grovelling apology when the entirely expected backlash hits. If you don’t have a backbone to stand by your views, just stay out.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
10 months ago
Reply to  Daria Angelova

Yes, it’s a bit cowardly tbh. But then again, who wants to be the victim of torch-bearing, pick-axe wielding morons?

Daria Angelova
Daria Angelova
10 months ago

Hence my point: don’t get involved in the first place. You simply end up doing more damage with your apologies that embolden the bullies further.

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
10 months ago

I don’t suppose the loss of a record company that nobody has heard of will make too much of a difference to Murphy, who is a pretty decent indie artist. (I watch her on YouTube now and again.) Cancellation of gigs, on the other hand, may do.
There was a time when artists were permitted to tell us what we didn’t necessarily wish to hear. [Often it was a lot worse than sheer common sense…]

Last edited 10 months ago by Gerry Quinn
Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
10 months ago

That’s an evil move by the record label.

How many militant trans activists are there in the world? Would the label really have suffered if it hadn’t acted?

I wager most fans would sympathise with Murphy. We need to start punishing illiberal corporations.

On that note, everyone should close their accounts with NatWest.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

No backbone.

Shelagh Graham
Shelagh Graham
10 months ago

Roisin Murphy is yet another victim of the lunacy that is raging around us at the moment. Please will those who are supposed to be leading us drop this ridiculous pretence of agreeing with these dangerous gender ideologues and get their act together to blow them out of the water before they do even more harm to the young and/or distressed.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
10 months ago

But her apology didn’t spare her.

A neat summation of the whole spirit of our age. Apologising is the worst thing you can do because it recognises guilt and tells the red guards that they are succeeding, which only increases the blood lust. Simply ignore them. Their power is a paper tiger made real only by the fear of employers/publishers etc that these mobs represent ‘the public, when they are fringe oddballs. The sooner everyone realises it the better.

R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago

It always bemuses me when they apologise. At that point just double down, because on this issue there is never forgiveness.

Margie Murphy
Margie Murphy
10 months ago

She herself is of the left. A example of the left eating its own. Its why she so abjectly apologised. She shouldn’t have. I don’t enjoy this feeding frenzy but if this opens her eyes to the true nature of that culture to which she has attached herself it might be a good thing. Her apology only emboldens the mob. A pity she didn’t tell them take a flying F and watch them slowly start to wither. Because that is what it will take.

Marko Bee
Marko Bee
10 months ago

Lest we forget, we were warned:
“The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”

So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.”

Political chaos is connected with the decay of language… one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.”

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.”
And, perhaps the most pertinent quote of all:
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

Bruce Buteau
Bruce Buteau
10 months ago

Three guidelines that I’ve followed for the past 74 years.
1. Question everything.
2. Learn something.
3. Answer nothing.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

What a typically Irish tale.
You put your complete trust in someone and they turn out to be a Black and Tan!

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
10 months ago

Alteration of teenage bodies through the advice of clinicians is the surprising evil that has replaced the blood-lust of Islamic State.
Largely generational again – 20-something militants, willing 30-something (plastic) surgeons – it ushers in the consolidation of an all-encompassing (immanent?) Internet Society this decade.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
10 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

One upon a time, homosexual men were made to take libido-reducing medication to “cure” them of their affliction. Nowadays, we view that, correctly, as abhorrent, but we silently condone puberty-blockers being given to young girls, confused about their sexuality, or just caught up in social-media hysteria at a vulnerable time in their lives.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
10 months ago

It’s said that the new Queer activists of this revolutionary persuasion hate ordinary gay men and lesbian women, as well as girls and women.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
10 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

They are just self-loathing misanthropists, and are the ones most in need of therapy. Or maybe there is a drug they can be given to make them more easy-going and thoughtful?

Last edited 10 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
10 months ago

Billy doesn’t seem to grasp the irony of him, or indeed most of the commenters on this thread, labelling anyone else as a misanthropist.
Self awareness really isn’t your thing, is it?

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
10 months ago

Where is the irony? I’m not a misanthropist, unless it means a dislike of charlatans and bullies.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago

If you want to see a good discussion on this area, check out this
discussion on “The Illogicality of Transgender Theory”:
https://youtu.be/ThAhHhVNcAE