11 April 2022

Has extreme trans ideology finally ‘peaked’?


No one I’ve asked is quite sure how the word ‘peak’ – a noun usually meaning the top or the highest point of an object like a mountain – came to also denote a verb signalling the time when someone realises that Stonewall-esque extreme trans ideology is a denial of reality. 

For some the word has been chosen because people have reached the other side of a movement they once believed in – they got to the peak and went over it. For others, perhaps, it merges peak nonsense with feeling piqued about it. 

How could people not be angry when we are told biology isn’t real, sex is ‘assigned at birth’ and that what is in a man’s head – some fluid stereotypical idea of womanhood – makes him exactly the same as someone who has had periods and misogyny all of her life? 

Last week on Twitter the writer Jane Harris asked her followers: ‘What peaked you?’

For many, including Jane herself, it was the moment Pips Bunce, a gender fluid male who dressed as a woman on certain days of the week was included on a Financial Times list naming ‘100 influential women’. For others it was the time when a teenage trans woman, Lily Madigan, stood to be a Labour Women’s officer and all the women who complained were forced out of the party.

There was also the bullying of Jenni Murray, the long-time host of Woman’s Hour who felt forced out of the BBC for saying ‘trans women shouldn’t call themselves real women’; the uproar over trans athletes Rachel McKinnon and Lia Thomas; the treatment of JK Rowling;  the women who had lost their jobs. The list went on and on.

People are slowly realising that this movement is not about being considerate to trans people, as we all want to be. Rather, in its insistent denial of basic biological facts it has contributed to the breaching of single sex spaces designed for women – whether that meant sex offenders being allowed in female prisons or male-bodied athletes swimming against girls.

And even though they were often told they were stupid, bad or bigoted – often by bearded men – it didn’t stop them thinking that it was wrong. 

Why women fought against this is obvious to me. Why bearded men have a problem with it is less so. JK Rowling has named them ‘beardsplainers’, retweeting an exchange where I’d sent a Beardsplainer an article on why the Holocaust should not be appropriated for everything we feel is bad, including transphobia. He told me I should read the article I’d sent him about the appropriation of the Holocaust – an article I had written myself.

Why is it so often bearded men? Bearded Telegraph columnist Michael Deacon submits that well-developed facial hair often signifies a male ‘left-wing self righteousness’.

One of the funniest bearded man discussion happened a few weeks ago on Twitter when three North American journalists pondered why Blighty had been so resistant to the extremism of the trans movement – or, as one of them put it: ‘I am continually perplexed by the Anglophone divergence on transphobia. Why is there so much more TERF representation in the UK elite than in their US and Canadian peers?’. His fellow beards wondered whether it was Mumsnet. Or maybe the NHS.

The answer is probably both and more. The starting point, though, is that some of things we are being told we have to believe are completely bonkers. Places like Mumsnet and other forms of social media simply mean we have a way of talking to each other – even secretly, if we must.

And because we are all invested in the NHS because we pay for it, we are keen to know that young girls aren’t having their boobs lopped off after just three meetings with a psychiatrist. Then there is also just the fact that we have some pretty amazing feminists who have already ensured things like maternity pay and abortion rights so we aren’t fighting for those things too like our cousins across the pond still are. 

There is more, of course, but the reason I am talking about ‘peaked’ is that this week it feels like Britain – especially our Government – turned a corner on this issue. Why? Partially because there is are local elections looming and three women’s groups launched a campaign called, ‘Respect my sex if you want my x’

Labour may still be tying itself up in knots over whether women can have a penis but Boris Johnson remains aware that women make up the majority of the voting public and they want to know that their rights are being protected.

At the same time, our equalities body, the EHRC steadfastly maintained that there are times when single sex spaces need to be maintained. Elsewhere, British Cycling is reworking its trans policy after a mutiny at the idea of a trans woman competing against natal women and Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said wards should remain single sex.

The sadly ironic thing is that by demanding that we all must accede to the extremes of the gender ideology – male-bodied athletes in female sports, insisting anyone who says they are a woman must have full access to female spaces – the movement has done nothing to help people it purports to be fighting for. In fact, very often it sees bearded men talking over trans women, such as Caitlyn Jenner, who doesn’t believe trans women should be competing in sport against women and even labelling her a transphobe.

By ‘peaking’ so many people this movement have shot themselves in the foot.

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Nicole Lampert is a freelance journalist.

Columns are the author's own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of CapX.