Peter Tatchell doesn’t “understand what the fuss is about”

In deciding on the title for this post, I was spoilt for choice of goofy quotes delivered by Peter Tatchell on Talk Radio a couple of nights ago, during his discussion with Kellie-Jay Keen, aka Posie Parker. In the end, I plumped for the above extraordinary and revealing admission from Tatchell because it highlights the question his appearance on the show must surely have raised in many minds:

Why on earth was this bloke invited to speak about “trans rights”?

When Kellie-Jay observed that they “couldn’t find a member of the trans community to speak this evening” and rather sweetly expressed her gratitude to Peter for agreeing to do so, she earned a swift rebuke from the show’s host, Kevin O’Sullivan:

That’s not a fair thing to say, we thought long and hard how to do this.

All the more surprising then that Tatchell was invited instead of a trans person who could at least speak for him or herself, if not for all trans people.

The discussion – which can currently be heard here, starting at about 20:05 – was inspired by Kellie-Jay having been in touch the previous evening to complain about the participation of men like Laurel Hubbard in women’s events at the Olympics. I can’t fault anything Kellie-Jay said during the show and it was all the more frustrating that she got just seven and a half minutes in total to make her excellent points, while Tatchell got a full two minutes longer to make his bad ones.

The “fuss” that Tatchell doesn’t understand is about being required to call men ‘she’ and ‘her’ because they demand it. His admission was particularly irritating given that the show kicked off with an argument from Kellie-Jay that, while a man should have the right to make whatever body alterations he likes, once we start calling a man ‘she’, it becomes more difficult to argue that ‘she’ can’t access women’s spaces and sports. Her point was ignored by Tatchell who repeatedly asserted the need to respect trans people while disregarding the right of people to refuse to go along with a falsehood.

Tatchell’s case for respecting people’s preferred pronouns is that he doesn’t find it a problem. Well, why would he? He is entirely unaffected by how the obscuring of language contributes to the erosion of women’s boundaries.

I don’t find it a problem to acknowledge someone’s chosen gender identity. It’s what they feel they are. They deserve respect and equal rights.

Chosen gender identity?

Tatchell was not asked to explain what he understands by gender and it might have been interesting to hear how he would have avoided the question knowing – as he must – that it’s a concept based on sexist stereotypes. But surely the whole point about transgenderism is that they have no choice about their gender identity? I’d wager that if JKR called gender identity a choice, she’d be invited to suck hundreds more dicks by the vile misogynists of the gender cult.

The ideology promoted by gender extremists holds that gender identity trumps biology in determining what someone is. By referring to it as “what they feel they are” and a choice that must be respected, Tatchell simultaneously nails his colours to the mast and shoots himself in the foot. Why should the feelings of men be prioritised over the feelings of women who don’t want them in our spaces? Why should their wish to be referred to as women override our distaste for doing so?

That is a question I wish I’d put to District Judge Kenneth Grant while I had the chance but perhaps Tatchell could give us his reasoning?

Of course, in order to do so, he would have to acknowledge that what lies at the heart of the conflict between gender critics and gender ideologues is a conflict over what they call “trans rights” and rights that – as Kellie-Jay stated – women fought long and hard for. But that is something Tatchell appears to be wilfully and determinedly blind to.

I don’t see the evidence that women’s rights are being eroded.

I suppose if you keep eyes closed, ears plugged and sing la la la at the top of your voice whenever anyone offers any such evidence, you will remain blissfully unaware and be able to make that claim with a straight face. But that claim is effectively an admission that you have never read an article, essay or a book written by any one of a number of brilliant women who’ve spelt it out in considerable detail.

From Tatchell, it’s also an admission that he doesn’t see the displacement of women in sports by men – which was, after all, why the discussion he was taking part in was happening in the first place – as an erosion of women’s rights. I won’t bother addressing his outlandish defence of men in women’s sports here because I’m saving it for a new video I am planning to make – one in my Awful Arguments series. Kellie-Jay dismissed it out of hand and quite right too.

Instead of taking the opportunity to ask for examples of the evidence he claims not to have seen, Tatchell said that a friend of his works in a women’s centre in which staff and users voted to accept trans-identifying men and “there’d never been a problem”.

I am so tired of this absurd and fallacious reasoning that the cultists resort to every time the issue of men in women’s spaces is raised. He repeated it when asked about toilets.

Transwomen have been using women’s toilets for decades without a problem. It is a completely concocted fear and scaremongering, a demonisation of a particular community.

What does Tatchell call a problem?

In a video I made last year, I asked the same question of those who make this claim of countries who have introduced gender self-ID:

How can you possibly know what happens in the public toilets of let’s say Argentina, or any other country with gender self-id? And what do you mean by something ‘bad’? What do you call a problem? Are women feeling uncomfortable or inhibited or nervous or frightened a problem? Not as far as the trans ideologues are concerned. They just don’t care.

As for sexual assaults, surely Tatchell knows that most go unreported wherever they take place. The ten-year-old victim of transgender Katie Dolatowski in a supermarket Ladies toilet was an exception. Did she and the 12-year-old he filmed in another supermarket Ladies toilet “concoct” his abuse of them?

Having vehemently denied that any such abuse takes place at all, Tatchell goes on to concede that,

There have been a small number of examples of transwomen who have done bad things – a tiny unrepresentative minority. We would never demonise the Muslim community because of terrorists. We don’t generalise in that way about Muslims or about black people or gay people or anybody else. But some people do demonise trans people on the basis of what a handful have done.

This is a bizarre comment because, as Tatchell knows full well, people do demonise Muslims, black people and gay people on the basis of what a small number have done. But when it comes to trans people this analogy is useless because nobody is demonising all trans people. Literally nobody is saying all trans-identifying men are predatory or violent; this is a deliberate misrepresentation of the argument. As Kellie-Jay put it:

We are not saying a specific group of men present a specific threat to women, we are saying that all men proportionately pose the same risk to women.

She also pointed out how beautifully Tatchell and O’Sullivan had illustrated her point about how the choice of language we use obscures the reality of what we are talking about. Indeed they had and it is also extraordinary how a man merely has to claim a different gender identity for people to suspend their critical thinking faculties and forget that he is still a man and may – like any other man – come from a good or bad place.

Having conceded that some – albeit a “tiny, unrepresentative minority” – come from a bad place, what is Tatchell’s solution?

The way to deal with that is to identify the bad ones and make sure they don’t have access. If a transwoman has a history of violence they shouldn’t have access to women’s spaces unless there is clear evidence they have reformed and are no longer a danger.

Leaving aside what “clear evidence that they have reformed” might look like, how are we supposed to know which ones are the bad ones and how do we stop them from entering our toilets, changing rooms and women’s centres? It was clear that Tatchell, insofar as he was thinking at all at this point, had stopped thinking about those spaces but had switched to the easy-to-concede cases like Stephen Wood aka Karen White – a convicted rapist who was sent to a women’s prison where he raped more women. Kellie-Jay’s point about it not just being about sexual assault but about our dignity and privacy fell on deaf ears.

Tatchell’s most jaw-dropping gaffe came while he was still banging on about pronouns:

People wouldn’t do this to black people. If black people wanted to be called a certain term, most of us would respect that language. I think trans is a bit different – but not that different.

Say what?? Kellie-Jay responded with the obvious point that,

When you compare trans rights to black rights, it would be like we had to say black people are white so the comparison is rather obscene and moderately racist.

She gets extra kudos for the sheer brass neck needed to say the last bit and I was surprised that Tatchell was wise enough to let that one go. Of course, if he’d defended himself against the charge of racism, he would surely have had to concede the obvious point that the Civil Rights Movement and every anti-racist struggle anywhere in the world has never been about black people wanting to be accepted as something other than what they are and was never about depriving other people of their rights. But that is what the gender lobby is all about, much as they might deny it.

The most annoying canard Tatchell brought up was the one about the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s/70s.

Back then the WLM had a different set of ideas and said that biology is not destiny – in other words, that a woman’s biology should not pre-determine her life chances and opportunities but now some feminists seem to be saying that biology is destiny, that if you are born biologically a male, that is all that counts. The fact that you feel and act and live your life as a woman – as a trans woman – that is irrelevant – so really those original ideas have been turned on their head.

Bullshit. Of course “a woman’s biology should not pre-determine her life chances and opportunities” – no feminist of any stripe thinks that. But the fact remains that it is on the basis of our biology that we are oppressed. Kellie-Jay mentioned a few poignant examples out of dozens she could have given.

Can there be any better evidence of Tatchell’s flat refusal to listen to what the women’s rights campaigners of today are saying? Some of us were active in the WLM back then and not one of us would have accepted that a man actually is a woman just because he claims to feel like one and “lives his life as a woman”, whatever that is supposed to mean.

What does it mean?

Obviously, men do not menstruate, get pregnant, give birth, breastfeed and go through menopause – so apart from those bodily functions that are related to our role in reproduction, how exactly do men and women live differently from each other in the wealthy liberal democracies of today?

What we have in common, insists Tatchell, is that trans-identifying men suffer from “high levels of misogyny, rape and domestic violence” too and, for that reason, we should be uniting and fighting these things together.

Given that most trans-identifying men are heterosexual, I’ll take Tatchell’s word on the extent to which such men become victims of those male-typical crimes with a pinch of salt. But as long as women are being targeted by trans activists with hate, abuse, intimidation, cancelling and violence and as long as so few trans people and allies are calling that behaviour out, there can be no hope of our uniting and fighting anything.

We, after all, didn’t choose to be what we are and we can’t identify out of it.

 

Published 06.08.21

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4 Responses to Peter Tatchell doesn’t “understand what the fuss is about”

  • Thanks very much Maria for that acute analysis of Peter T’s contribution (I haven’t seen the video). You’ve given me several points that I shall use in discussions with a couple of self-declared feminist women friends, although the discussions have got so difficult that one of them has just informed me she had already deleted all my emails from a gender critical position. So I’ve one such friend left tho’ it’s hanging by a thread. I’ve been a lifelong admirer of Peter — his courage, his articulacy, his compassion. I’ve donated occasionally to his fund over the years, most recently (and I subsequently regretted it) following that fascinating film of him interviewed by Ian McKellen. I did note however that he incorrectly referred several times to the origins of the gay rights movement as ‘LGBT’. I just about forgave him that at the time but have reluctantly concluded that on the trans issues he’s totally lost it. He seems to have lost his usual critical faculties and I really can’t explain why. As prof Stock so insightfully pointed out in her recent wonderful book, many people are living immersed in a fiction. A sort of mass hypnosis. Thanks again for that lucid post.

    • I will never forget Peter Tatchell outing a priest ( years ago). Not for Peter Tatchell to do. So as far as I’m concerned, he’s always been a nasty piece of work.

    • It seems curious anyone would be a lifelong admirer of a man who advocates for sexual relationships between adults and children. I recommend a look at Safe Schools Alliance UK’s information on Tatchell. They also have a link to the interview with Tatchell on RT News, where Tatchell advises it is in the best interests of school girls to have to share changing rooms with boys, in order to become comfortable with their own bodies.

      • Very few of us knew this much about Tatchell until a few years ago. But we do now.

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