Father Ted creator: I have sinned against the trans lobby The Sunday Times 09.02.20

The original article is here.

The co-creator of the hit comedy Father Ted has revealed how his outspoken stand on gender identity has cost him work. Graham Linehan, 51, said he had not won any new commissions in two years after he took up the fight against what he sees as damaging gender ideology promoted by trans activists.

Linehan said: “I think there’s just a stink around me, the stink of bigotry, you know, that has deliberately been created, by radical trans-rights activists. It has had a chilling effect.”

Linehan, who also wrote The IT Crowd, says he was impelled to become a campaigner when a feminist was beaten up by trans activists at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park. He has become a prolific user of Twitter, where he has more than 600,000 followers, in defence of women-only spaces and facilities. Linehan spoke out this weekend about the cost to his career after the LGBT publication Pink News labelled him “King of the transphobes” and accused the writer of trying to create a database of conversion therapists when he appealed on Twitter for “gender-critical therapists”.

In fact, he had been asked for advice by a friend whose eight-year-old son wants to wear a dress to his first Holy Communion. The boy’s mother spoke of her concerns that questions about his gender identity were becoming a distraction from his problems of low self-esteem and other issues.

Linehan revealed that he lost half a year’s income when his comedy masterclass in Australia was cancelled at short notice. “They said that they couldn’t afford the extra security,” he said. He also lost a commission from the estate of a famous author to write a moneyspinning farce to be a companion piece for a well-known play because the estate did not want to become “embroiled” in the trans debate.

Linehan, who is married with two children, says friends have asked him to back away from the debate to save his career. But he says he has the quiet support of many transgender people who abhor the tactics of the activists. “I don’t want it to sound like I’m a leader of anything, but, as a high-profile person in the entertainment business, I think I helped get these women heard a lot more. Feminists all over the world are now looking to the UK as the place where the resistance to all this stuff started: I do like to think I had something to do with that.”

Linehan concedes that many well-meaning people think that the debate about transgender is “like the gay issue” but says there is a fundamental difference. “The gay issue was telling people they were fine the way they were. The gender ideology . . . tells them they are in the wrong bodies and must change their bodies to fit into a sexist and homophobic society. When I first got into this conversation I would see young girls getting double mastectomies and hysterectomies and I didn’t think I’d have to talk about it long. I thought others would see this was obviously wrong, and step in.

“None of that happened. I’ve been left swinging in the wind by people who I thought were my friends. I have to keep speaking out.”