breaking news from the world of ideas

by Julie Bindel
Thursday, 23
July 2020

Once again, anti-LGBT bigotry is reflected on our screens

This week, the Turkish government launched yet another attack on gay rights

It can be tempting to believe lesbian and gay equality is widespread and accepted. But when a huge platform such as Netflix is forced to scrap an entire series because it includes a gay storyline, it is time to question that belief.

The Turkish series, ‘If Only’ was halted on the eve of filing because Turkish authorities refused the producers a filming licence when it came to light that one of the five central characters is a gay man. The ‘If Only’ screenwriter, Ece Yorenc, described the decision as “very frightening for the future.”

Government opposition to lesbian and gay rights in Turkey has grown in recent years. The Istanbul Pride march has been banned for five years in a row. Which just goes to show how influential political pressure is when it comes to the arts. ...  Continue reading

by Julie Bindel
Monday, 11
May 2020

Why are we placing high-risk trans sex offenders in women’s prisons?

It creates a dangerous environment for female inmates

Female prisoners are some of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised women on the planet. Most have suffered some type of male violence and end up in prison as a result of chaotic behaviour and substance abuse, which stems from childhood sexual abuse and neglect. Disproportionate numbers have been through the care system.

The women’s estate is the poor relative of the men’s, with far fewer resources. Why was the first dedicated wing set up to contain high-risk sex transgender offenders placed in a female rather than male prison? E Wing in Downview Prison, Surrey, was set up in the wake of the Karen White scandal. E Wing prisoners sleep and shower separately from the women but are allowed to mix with the female population during some leisure activities. Why could E Wing not have been set up in the men’s estate? ...  Continue reading

by Julie Bindel
Tuesday, 21
April 2020

Don’t let the word ‘lesbian’ go out of fashion

We fought for years to make it a word we could wear with pride

It is Lesbian Visibility Week and, as I never tire of saying, I love being a lesbian. I came out when I was 15 in 1977 and was beaten up and harassed on numerous occasions, mainly by men who took offence at me rejecting them sexually. These were hard years, but I found feminism and through that the lesbian liberation movement which demanded that women should be able to determine our own sexuality and not be forced into heterosexuality. I soon developed enormous pride in being brave enough to wear T-shirts and badges with slogans such as How Dare You Assume I Am Heterosexual? (Spoiler, nobody really did because I hardly adhered to feminine dress codes). ...  Continue reading

by Julie Bindel
Friday, 3
April 2020

The Orban decree is scary — but it’s about more than trans rights

Progressives need to unite against the Orban threat, not point the finger at feminists

Hungary is a country close to my heart. I have spent a fair bit of time there investigating violence against women and girls, including trafficking into the sex trade, baby farming and adoption scams. I have become friends with feminist campaigners there, as well as others on the progressive Left. For some years now, many small and barely funded NGOs have been stripped of the right to organise — charities that help victims of sexual assault, gypsies and travellers, asylum seekers and minorities, all of whom suffer grotesque human rights violations.

And things are about to get a whole lot worse for a lot of people as Viktor Orban plans a further clampdown on human rights. ...  Continue reading

by Julie Bindel
Thursday, 19
March 2020

The appalling treatment of Suzanne Moore

She is right to publish the names of the cowards who denounced her

I wrote my first article for The Guardian in 1996. I was a feminist campaigner against male violence and used the platform to get the message out about crucial issues such as rape, child abuse and domestic homicide.

In 2004, I switched to journalism full-time. And I always loved writing for The Guardian. But in recent years, a censorious fog has been descended over some of the sections of the paper. Over the past five years, I know of three — at least — lengthy features on the conflict between feminists and some transgender extremist views being spiked at the last minute because a commissioning editor feared a reaction from the ever-powerful trans-Taliban. ...  Continue reading

by Julie Bindel
Thursday, 20
February 2020

Stop making new laws on offensive speech

New powers designed to protect NHS staff are open to abuse

To deflect the attention away from our crumbling NHS, including the hellish conditions under which staff are currently working, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has come up with a cunning plan to protect NHS workers from racist, homophobic and sexist abuse.

Hancock has announced that from April ‘new’ protections will be in place to counter the ‘appalling abuse’ that NHS workers face. The NHS has ‘joined forces’ with the police and Crown Prosecution Service and police have been granted more powers to investigate and prosecute these cases.

I have read and re-read Hancock’s statement, and can find absolutely nothing new in it. ...  Continue reading