Transgender activists are using public money to radically reshape society behind the scenes while trying to silence all dissent
The coalition now known as Trans Equality Together launched last Monday with the stated aim of ensuring “trans and non-binary people are equal, safe and valued”.
By Thursday, it had secured the signatures of such august bodies as the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Amnesty Ireland and the National Women’s Council on a letter denouncing RTÉ for daring to host a debate on Liveline with women who refuse to bend to the notion that anyone with a penis must be automatically accepted as a woman if they say they are one.
Liveline’s crime was simply to allow women to ask why the subjective feelings of one group of people must always take precedence over theirs.
For that, RTÉ was accused of questioning the right of trans people to “exist”, and the organisers of Dublin Pride severed ties with the broadcaster after accusing it of “stok(ing) the flames of anti-trans rhetoric”. That in turn prompted the Oireachtas Media and Culture Committee to summon RTÉ bosses to come in and explain themselves.
As over-reach and over-reactions go, that takes some beating.
When she interviewed Peter Woods, head of RTÉ Radio 1, even an experienced journalist such as Drivetime’s Sarah McInerney kept bringing up people who had been “hurt” by the discussion, as if it was the job of a broadcaster to avoid difficult subjects for fear of upsetting anyone.
Certainly, no one seems to mind hurting the feelings of women fighting to preserve female-only spaces such as women’s prisons and sport.
She also suggested “there’s an editorial line at which you say ‘that’s not an acceptable issue to debate’. For example, whether or not black people are equal to white people”.
To suggest this was in any way equivalent to what was being discussed on Liveline was absurd.
A closer analogy would be to ask what the response of self-styled progressives would be if white people started to claim they were black, before demanding that everyone accept they are black and denouncing anyone who says otherwise as a bigot, backed by the biggest human rights organisations in the country.
That would rightly be seen by most reasonable people as appropriating the experience of black people. It’s no different, or better, when it’s women whose identity is commandeered.
Trans activists hate it when the comparison with race is turned back on them, arguing that it’s entirely different for a man to identify as a woman than for a white person to identity as black. Obviously, though, they are unable to explain the difference.
The idea that race is immutable and gender a matter of choice is merely an article of faith; but we are being asked to accept it as fact or be pilloried for promoting hate speech.
For now, RTÉ seems to be holding firm. Woods backed Liveline and insisted on Drivetime that “we exist to debate controversial issues”.
The test will be whether RTÉ continues to offer a space to discuss the issue, or, having tested the waters and had their toes nipped by ideological piranhas, quietly sidelines it.
It’s in that silence that activists prefer to operate, as they did when soliciting politicians before the 2015 Gender Recognition Act, which gave people the right to self-identify as any or no gender without question.
TDs and senators didn’t wake up one day and decide independently that self-identification was an urgent matter of human rights. They had been lobbied relentlessly for years by the same activists who are now demanding that their opponents be barred from the airwaves. This sort of thing goes on, under the radar, all the time, but most people don’t know about it until it’s too late to protest.
Last week, the women’s rights organisation known as The Countess launched a new campaign against certain sections of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill.
The bill seeks, among other things, to replace the word “woman” in legislation with “person”. This is presented as minor tinkering to be more inclusive; but its effect will be to radically change the language in which contentious issues can be discussed at all.
If women are not free to outline their concerns about these attempts at erasure on the national broadcaster, what does free speech mean?
At the same time, free speech, while important, is only one part of the problem. It’s also vital not to shy away from the deeper issue of what the promulgation of a radical trans ideology is doing to young people to whom these fashionable theories about gender are presented as factually irrefutable.
A video from the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation offering advice to staff members on how to deal with primary school pupils who identify as the opposite sex asserts, as if it were a fact, that “boys can change into girls and girls can change into boys” and goes on to say that “once the pupils understood the concept” they would quickly stop questioning it.
It’s likely that most parents are blissfully unaware this is being taught to their children by teachers who are themselves being influenced behind closed doors by trans activists funded by cartloads of public money.
A growing number of children are being deliberately encouraged to “question” their gender, breeding confusion and psychological distress in many and setting themselves in some cases on course for a lifetime of medical intervention, the implications of which they cannot possibly understand.
The US-based World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has even recommended that children as young as 14 should be allowed to go ahead with irreversible medical procedures such as cross-sex hormones, and for girls to have breast removal surgery at 15, a move described by one consultant psychiatrist in the field as asking doctors to “abandon their clinical responsibility and submit to an ideological agenda which is harmful to children.”
WPATH’s “standards of care” are promoted by the Trans Equality Network Ireland (Teni), which received €263,000 from the HSE in 2020 alone, money it uses to lobby politicians and media and “work in educational settings to promote awareness and visibility of trans issues”.
Teni is, naturally, part of the new Trans Equality Together coalition. Yet when anyone tries to raise concerns about this interlinked network of influence, they are shut down by manipulative appeals to emotion.
Most would agree the rights and needs of people who are trans should be accommodated. Thankfully, they already are. There is no part of the law in Ireland that is not enjoyed equally by trans people.
However, their further demands must not be steamrollered through in a way that curbs the rights and needs of women and dangerously confuses and damages vulnerable children.