by Debbie Hayton
Tuesday, 19
January 2021
Reaction
10:45

Yelling ‘transphobia’ is not an argument

Activists don't want to debate a new book — they want to shut discussion down
by Debbie Hayton
Trans activists: shouting in the streets, and writing sinister tweets. Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty

If you haven’t already read Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage, you should. Shrier scrutinised the transgender craze that is ravaging the lives of teenage girls. She asked questions others avoid and talked to survivors who now regret the hasty and unwise choices they made as children; decisions that left some with mastectomy scars. The Economist listed it as a Book of the Year.

Predictably, Shrier’s book upset that militant band of transgender activists who demand affirmation despite the cost. Last weekend, their apoplexy hit the stratosphere following a review in The Irish Independent.

The self-styled Trans Writers’ Union projected their outrage across Twitter in a bizarre thread of Tweets.


They judged the review “harmful to transgender people,” and agitated that it might cause grave offence — stir up hatred even. Let’s be clear, this is a book review. The only hatred I could see emanated from Trans Writer’s Union who seemed unable to countenance any opinion different to their own.

It is tempting to dismiss the rest of their rant as petulant juvenile nonsense, but the sense of entitlement is breath-taking. This is a group that expects to be heard; it also seeks control of the narrative. After deciding that Emily Hourican — the reviewer — was not trans, they shrieked, “If the Irish Independent was at the most basic level, committed to best practice, they would have made any attempt to hire a trans writer.”

I suspect they meant someone who thinks like them. I am a trans writer — and I have already reviewed the book myself — but I came to similar conclusions as Hourican. It’s not being transgender that drives my thinking, it’s science and reason.

In an attempt to shut down debate they urged “allies and all trans people” to send a volley of letters to the editor, tactics that are also wearily familiar on this side of the Irish Sea. Why labour over counter arguments when you can scream “transphobia” instead? Last year, when the pressure group Stop Funding Hate piled onto The Spectator they tried to shame advertisers into pulling their advertising. Meanwhile, The Morning Star was forced to apologise  after publishing a political cartoon.

But these outrageous campaigns impact across society. While the Irish Independent may not yield to the bullying and harassment, how many onlookers will close their mouths before they even open them? That is the affront to democracy that should worry us all.

Join the discussion


  • Is any of those “insults” wrong? Look at the hysteria that followed a book review. A book review. Look at the hysteria that follows JK Rowling when she utters a malicious truth.

    Maybe, just maybe, life-altering regimens on adolescents is not sound medicine unless there is some fatal condition in play. Gender identity is not such a condition. What adults do is their business but when it’s 8 or 12 year olds, that’s another matter.

  • Children cannot consent.
    Children cannot consent.
    Children cannot consent.

    So why are adults making irreversible life altering decisions for them? Because they are so damn sure of the medical science? So damn sure of the psychology? So damn sure of the sociology?

    Like we were sure about lobotomies in the 50s?
    Like we were sure about Thalidomide?
    Like we were sure about Satanic Panic?
    Like we were sure about “the gays”
    Like we were sure about hysterical women.
    Like we were sure about epileptics.
    On and On and On.

    What is going on is a fanciful experiment bordering on criminal medical malpractice funded by billionaire trans people who think they know the meaning of life. (see Jennifer Natalya Pritzker)

    It is to weep.

  • It happens with 8 year olds, too, at least here. And 12 is within the realm of adolescents. Bog down in semantics all you like, it’s still children. They cannot legally get a tattoo, a drink, or cigarette, but it’s okay to engage in life-altering medical treatment?

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