by Julie Bindel
Sunday, 19
December 2021
Reaction
11:06

The Scout Association apologises to Maya Forstater over ‘misgendering’

Another victory for gender critical feminists
by Julie Bindel

Trans activists are in retreat. With a number of high-profile victories won by feminists refusing to be silenced by the deafening chants of ‘trans women are women’, momentum against the trans lobby is picking up speed.

The latest example is an apology from the Scout Association apologises to Maya Forstater for two years of investigation following a complaint of “misgendering”.

Forstater, who was an Assistant Cub Scout Leader in St Albans raised safeguarding concerns in 2019 about their transgender policy, arguing that it would mean an end to autonomous spaces, including sleeping facilities, for girls.

During a Twitter argument, she had also referred to Scout Leader Gregor Murray, a man with a beard, by the pronoun “he” instead of “they”.

There was ample evidence, forwarded to the Scout Association, of Murray’s behaviour, including calling women on social media “TERFs” and “vile” and “utter scum”, and referring to lesbians who were protesting their invisibility at Pride as “utter cunts”.

Murray had, in fact, been recently suspended as a local councillor in Dundee for this behaviour.

But despite the fact that Forstater’s only ‘crime’ was to refer to a man as ‘he’ (in contrast to Murray calling women ‘cunts’), the Scout Association went ahead with a two-year investigation against her.

In a letter to the Scout Association early in the complaints process Forstater wrote that she disputed Murray’s claims, saying that they were ‘vexatious and without merit or evidence’. She added that she considered that Murray “has succeeded in using the complaints procedure of The Scouts Association as a means to harass and intimidate me.” But nevertheless — doubtless emboldened by the climate of unbridled misogyny towards women who challenge trans orthodoxy — the process continued.

As well as the stress, time, and damage to Forstater’s reputation, the investigation and accusations against her by Murray ended up adversely influencing the judge in her original employment tribunal case. Judge James Tayler chose to include as evidence the fact that she had defended her right to refer to a man as ‘he’, using it to support his judgement that her views were “not worthy of respect in a democratic society”, and had the nerve to criticise her in open court for not “seeking to accommodate Gregor Murray’s legitimate wishes”. This judgement was overturned in June this year at appeal.

The apology is another win for feminists against the trans witch hunt, but for Forstater, the battle has been fraught and arduous. “It has taken two years and countless letters and emails just to clear my name with the Scouts,” she tells me. “As soon as someone says “transphobia” organisations crumble.”

Perhaps, as more women stand up to be counted, these bullies and harassers will finally run out of steam. And maybe — just maybe — organisations like the Scouts will start to put the safety of children above the demands of trans extremists.

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Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
5 months ago

she had also referred to Scout Leader Gregor Murray, a man with a beard, by the pronoun “he” instead of “they”.”
I’m calling Scout Leader Gregor Murray “he”, and I would like to know what he is going to do about it.

Last edited 5 months ago by Drahcir Nevarc
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
5 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

He sounds like a biology denier.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
5 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

He sounds like a right b ……d.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
5 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

He sounds like a ouanker.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
5 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Most likely something underhanded and damaging – false claims against you to the neo-Fas *ist Gov. authorities, sending your boss emails with outrageous claims, and if you are a public person, slandering you to the public. You Know, the usual stuff the postmodernist terrorists do.

Michael Kellett
Michael Kellett
5 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

So am I. As far as I’m concerned, a man with a beard is a ‘he’, no matter what else he may claim. Heck, a man without a beard is a ‘he’ too.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
5 months ago

Absolutely correct.

James Joyce
James Joyce
4 months ago

Are we at the point where we must seriously argue, at considerable risk, that a man with a p***s is a man? And that a “woman” with a p***s is also a man?
We’re truly lost the plot. Personally, these people can do what they want–doesn’t affect me, doesn’t bother me that much–hey much of what I do might bother others–but I draw the line at grammatical idiocy of calling him or her “they.”
I can’t take credit for this, but it shows not only that “they” are confused about who they are, they are confused about how many there are.

William Beard
William Beard
5 months ago

As an explorer scout leader this news is a good sign. My explorer scouts are the ground zero for the trans craze that sweeps through social media, with myself and other leaders witnessing the poisonous effect it is having on this generation of teenagers. However we are terrified to bring up these issue to a district or county level in fear of being marked down as ‘transphobic’ for pointing out the clear safeguarding issues present, or the psychological damage being inflicted on these teenagers by the deliberate obfuscation of the separate concepts of sex and gender. With any luck this admission of fault from Gillwell might be the 1st step in actually permitting a reasonable debate that can combat this extreme ideology.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
5 months ago
Reply to  William Beard

But what constitutes a ‘reasonable debate’ in this instance? A debate between whom and about what?

William Beard
William Beard
5 months ago

Fair questions we do need to address. In sequence, for me the whom would be the members of Scouting association, everyone from occasional helper through to the top commioners, hopefully enabled through consultations and discussions, with anonymity of speakers secured to prevent people from being held back from voicing their mind for fear of judgment. As to the what, it is the extent to which we should dismiss our safeguarding procedures in deference to the transgender ideology, the two of which I would hold clash.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
5 months ago
Reply to  William Beard

Hey William, you just need to prompt a few queries from parents about arrangements and parental concerns, IN WRITING, and the Scouts will have to respond to these in writing – thereby creating a legal record which can be used for future lawsuits and damages as the tide turns, and the harmful effects of these policies are acknowledged.
The Scouts will have to use lawyers to draft allowable responses, and then the inconsistencies with the provisions of the equalities act, that Stonewall seek to ignore, will be flushed out.

Last edited 5 months ago by Ian Stewart
Aleksandra Kovacevic
Aleksandra Kovacevic
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

That’s indeed how easy it would be to contribute to the fight against trans ideology, yet even that is too much effort for most. Most people prefer to let others fight for them.

Patrick Butler
Patrick Butler
5 months ago

The debate is between believers that sex can be changed—either by force of law or, even worse, by medical interventions—versus non-believers. To make this debate accessible to the public, non-believers need to stop using the obfuscatory neologisms of the believers. Terms like sex change, sex stereotypes and roles, male, female, etc. and even transvestite (one who dresses as the opposite sex) are precise, unambiguous, and understandable to all.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
5 months ago
Reply to  William Beard

Thankfully I left the Scouts before this became the new dictat, as I wouldn’t have been able to keep quiet about it.

Aleksandra Kovacevic
Aleksandra Kovacevic
4 months ago
Reply to  William Beard

Why are you ‘terrified’? As long as people like you keep quiet in public and only complain in private, or on forums like this, where there is no risk in stating your beliefs, this mad situation will continue.

We can’t wait for brave Maya’s of this world to rescue us, and wait to come out of ideological hiding only once it’s safe to do so. It’s high time for all of us to publicly show support to Maya and others like her. If we did it en masse, there’s be no consequences for any of us. It’s time to stand up to be counted.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
5 months ago

Maya Forstater has been put over the jumps for the last two years because the left has, quite deliberately and with full malice aforethought, created a situation where the process itself is the punishment. And since they, through their full spectrum dominence of all committees, quangos and advisory boards, control the initiaton of the process, they can punish anyone who doesn’t see things their way without having to worry about either due process or any consequence to themselves. I find it ironic that radical feminists are now seeing the reason why we built up the checks and balances of the formal courts system slowly over the centuries instead of just doing the usual “we know best” assumptions of leftists.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
5 months ago

Is Maya Forstater a radical feminist?

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
5 months ago

No idea. I was alluding to radical feminists in general.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

I don’t know either, but it is the question that needs to be asked. We all know how activists operate. They are provocateurs.
We may be being duped by one group of activists in their fight against another.

William Shaw
William Shaw
5 months ago

I doubt it if she’s was an Assistant Cub Scout Leader.
I don’t imagine a radical feminist would want anything to do with an organisation supporting boys.

Aleksandra Kovacevic
Aleksandra Kovacevic
4 months ago

She isn’t, she’s just a regular woman who isn’t willing to bow to ideological pressure, or keep silent about her beliefs. (I worked with her on a project)

R MS
R MS
5 months ago

It’s good that these kinds of cases are being won, but their need to be consequences for those making these kinds of instrumentalised accusations.

chris4
chris4
5 months ago

Guides and Scouts organisations have lost their way. If anyone is in any doubt please look at Nottingham Post article featuring Monica Sulley, a Girlguide Leader in Nottinghamshire. Sorry I cannot attach it but the dominatrix outfit plus gun might give a clue as to why pronouns should be the least of their worries.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  chris4

Frankly I found the picture rather disappointing.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
5 months ago

Hopefully the new woke Puritanism is being pushed back through the courts as well as public opinion.
In the meantime the Scouts, Murray and most especially Judge James Tayler will now be recorded in the historical records as bigots that persecuted women and tried to suppress women’s rights.
I take some comfort from them knowing that.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
5 months ago

This is simply a civil war between two nasty, narcissistic groups who share the same beliefs.

The feminists who were against the trans lobby, oppose them purely because they are losing a set of privileges.

But those same feminists would use the same “no biology” arguments and the same bullying tactics to push for women’s quotas in areas like Science or IT, to argue women footballers and tennis deserve equal pay (while if course not having to compete with men) or to shut down male spaces like boy scouts.

Peter McLaughlin
Peter McLaughlin
5 months ago

Judge James Tayler.
Is this man still in his job. If so why?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
5 months ago

I am pleased to see not All Unherd Staff work Banker’s Hours, 9-5 M-F. Well done Julie, for rousing yourself up to publish in what must have been ‘Weekend’ time.

I do not know why but the Colonel taking Wing Commander Mandrake prisoner at rifle-point during the launch of the Nuclear attack against USSR in the film ‘Dr Strangeglove’ springs to mind when I hear of these sort of conflicts – Mandrake asks the Colonel what he thinks is going on and the reply is the once clever Hollywood kind – back when they made movies which were great:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUAK7t3Lf8s

Mandrake: “Colonel, I must know what you think is going on here.”

Col: “You want to know what I think?”

Mandrake “Yes.”

Colonel: “I think you are some kind of Deviant Prevert, and the General found out about your Perversions and that you are leading some kind of Mutiny of the Preverts, Now Move!”

Meanwhile the Strategic Air Command ‘B-1’ Bombers have been launched to destroy Russia by a rogue General to defend ‘Our Precious Bodily Fluids’ from being corrupted by Russian covert plan of Fluoridation of the drinking water.

Crazies and crazies, upon crazies….Siphonaptera

“Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum”

How else can one think of this societal pathology of sexual Preversions filling all Western civilizations – the story of the singer and porn destroying her life, the swimmer on the women’s team, the US Air Force now making rulings on Pronouns to conciliate the Postmodernists, and on ad infinitum….

“And remember you are going to have answer to the Coca-Cola company...” as the film clip ends… Now though it is Facebook, Youtube, Microsoft, Twitter, and Amazon you have to answer to…..

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

The apology is another win for feminists against the trans witch hunt

For some feminists surely. My understanding is that a good many younger feminists are on the trans side of the fence.
And indeed, support for the trans cause is itself an outgrowth of feminism, as are notions of multiple genders, gender fluidity and the rest.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Hmm. I thought the notion of gender fluidity in feminist thought came out of q***r theory that was heavily influenced by applied postmodernist thought. Thus feminist social constructionist thought on gender – that was binary and oppressive, became influenced by q***r theory and applied postmodern ideas, eventually regarding gender as fluid and unstable. Gender studies arose out of this shift in feminist thought. At least that is my understanding.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

OK – if you prefer, it reached the trans cause via feminist thought.
I think it would be difficult to untangle the mutual influence of feminism and queer theory. There was plenty of direct influence of post modernism on feminism
Feminism was in any case very receptive to it since it was already committed to the deconstruction of gender norms.
And as far back as de Beauvoir gender was being unhooked from biology.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Most “younger feminists “ are being suggested to try “sex work” to help them through university. And haven’t yet had babies, the biggest career killer ever!! No older women on their demos, all the older “women” are men!!!

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

It’s really interesting the argument that is never made in relation to this issue. That private spaces are segregated so as to avoid people being in a state of undress in the presence of those who are likely to look on them with desire.
The argument is never made, of course, because it would call into question the acceptability of gay men and lesbians sharing private spaces with their respective objects of desire.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I have no problem with a lesbian looking at me as a person of desire. I have shared change rooms with lesbians for many decades and no lesbian has tried to stick their (scary word according to Unherd moderation) into me. But fact is that no lesbian has ever even made a pass a me, despite me working in an environment chock full of lesbians.

Last edited 5 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

Which is all very interesting, but has nothing to do with my point.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
5 months ago

Where is this environment chock full of lesbians? – just asking for a friend.

R MS
R MS
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

The argument is never made because it is wrong.
98% of sex offences are committed by men and 90% of those are committed against women.
The reason why every culture the world everywhere has and always has separated changing etc facilities for women rests (1) on those numbers, which mean risk is massively reduced even if not entirely eliminated (it never can be) and (2) that men and women are hard wired to recognise the other sex and can do so with a very high degree of accuracy, making such separation practical.
Your proposed alternative fails both those common sense criteria.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  R MS

You’ve missed my point.
I don’t think that for most people in the west this was considered as primarily a safety issue. It is a privacy issue.
Most people do not want to be seen naked by unchosen members of the opposite sex precisely because this means that they are potentially objects of desire for those people. There is a clear taboo on being naked in front of the opposite sex.
JB and others are avoiding making this argument – the one that jumps immediately to most peoples minds – because they would be open to being tarred with the same brush.

Last edited 5 months ago by David Morley
Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
5 months ago

The tide is ebbing for wokeness as commonsense makes a comeback.

chris4
chris4
5 months ago

G

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

For anyone who is interested in seeing some of the opposing arguments cogently expressed, the following is worth a read: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244020927029
I was impressed with the following, which parallels the argument for excluding all trans women from female toilets etc.

Consider jobs in which workers come into contact with children. We know that, statistically, men are much more likely to be sexually predatory toward children. We also know that it is difficult to tell in advance which men will offend (at least if they do not yet have relevant convictions). Finally, we know that some men who come into contact with children in their work will offend against them. Yet we do not exclude all men from working with children, even if using gender as a watershed would prevent those offenses.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I’m not convinced that the quoted argument is treating like with like.

In the case above, the question is assessing the (small) probability that a man in a job involving contact with children might commit a criminal offence against them.

By contrast, consider the case of a trans-woman entering a women-only space (eg the changing room at a gymnasium). In this case, much of the problem is that the mere presence of a male body – irrespective of whether the person is a trans-woman – is likely to be enough to unsettle and alarm the other users.

In other words, it is not necessarily about the possibility of any criminal offence being committed. I would say that women generally don’t want the presence of any male body in their changing area, whether that body’s owner is trans or otherwise.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

First of all, it is precisely the argument from safety that is being made by feminists.
Second, if it’s not danger, then what is the issue. Apart from some vague aversion to “any male body”. Why the aversion?

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

You mean sex. Gender is social stereotypes. Nearly half of the men in gaol for sexual crimes are identifying as women…

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

‘Work’ isn’t like changing rooms.

Andrea Re
Andrea Re
5 months ago

I am not clear about what happened here.
She is a Scout leader in St. Albans, while the other guy is a Dundee councillor also involved with the scouts.
What is the connection between the two and in what way is the Scout association involved?

Anyway, when in cubs my daughter shared a tent with boys (after seeking permission from us) and everyone was fine with it. At that age (8,5 to 10,5) it hardly matters.

Last edited 5 months ago by Andrea Re
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Re

What I don’t understand is why, if parents want their daughters to be separate from boys, they don’t put them in the Brownies (which are still girls only I believe). The other aspect is there may be boys and their parents who’d prefer a male only environment, and that’s what Cubs used to be. Girls at least have a same sex option in the Guide movement, whereas boys were robbed of it when Scouts became mixed.

Claire D
Claire D
5 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Thank you for saying this, it’s exactly what I thought from reading both the article and this comment.
It simply does not make any sense to be asserting that boys and girls are just the same and can be mixed up together, at the same time as arguing male and female are different sexes and should be treated differently under certain circumstances, that is when feminists say so.
No wonder children are confused.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

I’m pretty certain the scouts used to be exclusively male, and the guides exclusively female.
So who put pressure on the scouts to open their doors to girls? Not feminists by any chance?

Claire D
Claire D
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Indeed, the Scouts were exclusively for boys until 1976 when girls were allowed into the 16+ Venture Scouts. This was expanded to all levels in 1991, optional initially but compulsory since 2007. New recruits are now over 70% girls. A female takeover taking place.
Meanwhile Girl Guides remains exclusively for girls, except for trans of course.
I think that’s incredibly sad, for boys in particular, no wonder there’s some rage seething about. It would have been better to increase the age range of the Guides and hold occasional events involving both Guides and Scouts together.

Last edited 5 months ago by Claire D
David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

The date is perhaps significant. At the time I remember pressure being exerted by university student feminists to stop any groups or clubs being exclusively male.
The rugby club was a particular target.
I confess I supported this at the time.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I remember the feminist push against all male spaces and can’t resist a wry smile when I see contemporary feminists advocate for separation again.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

When it suits them that is!

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
5 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

There used to be a Guide version of the age 16+Venture Scouts – I think it was also called Venture (I should know as I was a member!). It doesn’t surprise me that there’s female takeover of the Scout version. Boys want and need all male spaces, and will melt away when the female membership reaches a certain point.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
4 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Coming rather late to this but the lack of male only spaces for boys even before puberty is indeed sad. My son signed up to a judo class at school when aged about 6 or 7 which I thought he would greatly enjoy but he gave it in as soon as he worked out it was more like non-contact ballet as girls had signed up.
The Masons is one of the few male only organisations that has stuck to its guns in admitting only men. If you are a woman and want to be a Mason you have to join the Lady Masons.

Andrea Re
Andrea Re
5 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

TBH, at the outset we didn’t know what the difference was. We came across the scout group and went there. There was no pre-planning.
Said that, I have since learnt that guides finish early, reason why everyone ends up at scouts anyway when they about 14.
Also scouts do more camping, unlike guides (here, at least).

PS
No idea why the downvotes.

Last edited 5 months ago by Andrea Re
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Re

No idea why the downvotes either, Andrea. I certainly didn’t contribute.
Re the difference between the Scout and Guide movements, perhaps the Guides feel they have to differentiate themselves from the Scouts now they’re in competition with them for female members.

Last edited 5 months ago by Judy Englander
David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Re

I don’t quite understand the down votes either. In my experience it happens on here when you make a reasonable, valid even common sense point which runs against the general grain of received opinion.
Upvote from me though.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
5 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Same with Oxbridge colleges. If you want to attend an all-female college, Cambridge still has three. If you want to attend an all-female college, you can’t.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
5 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I think you mean all-male in the second sentence, Jon, but I get your point.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
5 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Brownies and Rainbows have thrown out women who disagreed with the TWAW stance. Neither are now single sex.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Re

The connection between the two is that they argued on Twitter.

Andrea Re
Andrea Re
5 months ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I gather that, but what has that got to do with the scouts association?

William Beard
William Beard
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Re

Scout leaders can be suspended for our behaviour on social media, if we are seen to be violating the principles of Scouting in our social media presence then we will be removed from our position. In this current climate the misgendering of an individual is perceived as gross offence and thus potential grounds for dismissal.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Re

What age is puberty now???