Yesterday I was very much enjoying listening to an item on Woman’s Hour about a book I read and blurbed entitled ‘The Politicisation of Mumsnet’. During the discussion, author Sarah Pedersen eloquently explained how increasing numbers of Mumsnet members are finding a voice on the forum, discussing issues like childcare, party politics and feminist campaigning. That was until the presenter, Jane Garvey, brought up the Gender Recognition Act and asked Pedersen how the debate was playing out on the site. In response, Pedersen mentioned the groups most active in campaigning to maintain women’s sex-based rights on the site: Women’s Place UK, FILIA and Fair Play for Women.
Before Pedersen could finish her sentence, Garvey interjected with: “Which are groups that some people have described, in some circumstances, as transphobic”.
There is nothing transphobic about any of these groups. They campaign to maintain women-only spaces and facilities such as domestic violence refuges and prisons, which I call fighting for women’s human rights.
Repeating unfounded and libellous claims of ‘transphobia’ against feminist organisations is despicable. Perhaps next time Stonewall is mentioned on the programme, the presenter will interject with a reminder that some feminists consider the organisation to be misogynistic?
It is well known that there are sections of the BBC that does not treat the bitter battle around transgender ideology as impartially as it claims to. As Dame Jenni Murray revealed the day after retiring from the programme last month, she was carpeted for suggesting that there was a difference between sex and gender in 2017. Thereafter, she was banned from leading any discussion on the topic.
As I have previously reported, I have been informed by a number of BBC staffers that its LGBT forum, which is dominated by trans-identified members, has a huge amount of influence at the corporation. This results in a culture of fear, with some senior staff treading carefully to avoid complaints from them.
There is little doubt in my mind that the BBC, far from being impartial about the trans issue, has taken a pro-trans ideology stance in order to avoid bullying and vilification. Recently, for example, senior management requested that all staff use pronouns on their BBC email signatures.
So why don’t similarly controversial subjects face the same kind of on-air caveating? On Monday there was an item about egg freezing, but I didn’t notice any qualification from the presenter about the ethics of the process, including the argument that it amounts to the commercial exploitation of women.
Moreover, the item before the Mumsnet discussion was about a group of singing nuns: I find Catholicism problematic as a secular feminist, but didn’t expect to hear my point of view being aired by the presenter, and nor was it.
Feminism, namely women standing up for our rights, is not ‘hateful’ and recycling baseless slander is not in keeping with BBC values. It is time for the BBC to address this fact.