Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Free Speech: Transgressions

With gay marriage now legal in America, there is also the sense among online social justice communities that trans rights are “the new civil rights frontier” (as Time magazine wrote next to a photo of Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox). Social media has acted like an accelerant on this fire: sites like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post’s LGBT section offer uplifting tales of transgender children’s achievements and famous adults coming out, alternating with occasional three-minute hates for “TERFs” (trans exclusionary radical feminists), a group who are said to be inciting violence against trans women by refusing to accept them as women. Sharing such articles has become a badge of progressive correctness. The word “TERF” is sprayed around like confetti, with very little understanding of what it means. I’ve been called a TERF, even though I think trans women are women and absolutely have a place in feminism. I think it’s become a politer way of saying “witch”...

Helen Lewis, New Statesman.

The censorship movement thrives off a sense of victimhood, the idea there are powerful forces denying them their room to speak. When journalists or debate organisers actively seek out their opinions, it is interpreted as aggression because it must be filtered through the required prism of conspiracy and suspicion.

That sense of victimhood is combined with a constant demand for political purity, whipped into a tribal frenzy by social media. Any deviation from the moral lines of the tribe is treated as harshly as possible, typically with Twitter users encouraging their followers to pile on the transgressor. The storms they create are man-made. They are not just the result of many individual decisions. Usually, they are whipped up and encouraged by a small number of prominent social media users...

Ian Dunt, Free Speech Isn't All About You, Politics.co.uk

See also Zoe Williams, Silencing Germaine Greer Will Let Prejudice Against Trans People Flourish, and Hugo Rifkind in The Times today, on l'affaire Greer, Right-on Bigots Are Their Own Worst Enemy

And Roger Scruton's A Point Of View: Why We Should Demand The Right To Be Offensive.

Yes, he's a right-wing shitbag, but often they seem to be the only people daring to speak out about this pitchfork-waving Victim Olympics nonsense.

The above quotes and citations also should not be seen as an endorsement of anything else they've written neither, obvs.

And nobody's defending Germaine Greer's odious comments, so don't be silly.

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