If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.A post I wrote over a year ago, Death doesn't misgender. You die as you were born, attracted the ire of transgender activists who'd presumably found it through my Twitter profile while they were taking exception to what I'd written there. On February 4th I had a phone call from a woman police officer who told me there'd been complaints about the blog post and some tweets, including one that read "Gender is BS". During a brief conversation we established that I'd done nothing illegal and had no intention of self-censoring to avoid upsetting whoever had complained, and we left it at that. Then I tweeted about it, and things went mad. Fellow gender critics shared my tweet, which attracted a lot more followers (from a couple of hundred to over four thousand), and I had another phone call, this time from James Kirkup, who writes for The Spectator, among other publications. He wrote about it. Subsequently the story was shared in various other newspapers, in the UK and abroad, and in podcasts and on ITV regional news. And it was all because of a very brief, non-threatening phone call. The publicity resulted in a call from a Detective Chief Superintendent, who rang to apologise and tell me that they'd "got it wrong". I've seen no reason to tweet any differently since then, and several people, including a professional pathologist, agreed that my blog post was entirely accurate; you do die as the same sex as you were born.
I got off lightly. Some police forces appear to have had "training", which is more like indoctrination, from organisations who give the impression that they're experts, but aren't. They're pressure groups staffed by people without any appropriate professional qualifications. West Yorkshire, Humberside, Liverpool and Sussex police have all had visits from these people. Some have apparently been motivated by a small minority of transgender officers, maybe even only one or two. Consequently they've acted as conduits for complaints from trans activists who spend a lot of time trawling through the Internet on the lookout for anything to complain about. As the law on so-called hate crime is rather woolly it's relatively easy to make an allegation of "causing distress" - one of the indications of a "hate incident" - and they do. So while I was let off with the suggestion that I might be more careful, in other words not upset anyone, others haven't been so fortunate. Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka Posie Parker, Harry Miller, Graham Linehan and Caroline Farrow, to name but four, have all been bothered by the police over this. Death threats have been made, as well as complaints.
One benefit of the hoo-ha, as far as I'm concerned, is that I've met some lovely people online, feminists and allies, who mostly have a healthy sense of humour and of the ridiculous as well as being angry about the absurdity. It's struck me that transgender activists seem to lack a sense of humour and are generally unhappy people, which is sad.
I was going to write about transgenderism and what's wrong with it on my other blog, but no point in that when others have done so much better than I. A comprehensive account by Helen Joyce is one of the best. It's a long read, but worth it.
My next post here will be about dead-naming, as I thought it appropriate in a blog about death. Watch this space.