A hundred and thirty darlings of the British political Left signed an open letter at the weekend decrying a “worrying pattern of intimidation and silencing” on university campuses. The response? Intimidation and attempts to silence them from the increasingly shrill and intolerant transgender lobby.
Peter Tatchell, one-time Labour candidate, now Green party member and the father of the British gay rights movement was denounced as “bigoted” and “transphobic” by the trans lobby on Twitter this weekend. Tatchell is just the latest in a growing line of iconic campaigners to receive hate mail from a small but vocal, and vicious, minority of transsexual rights campaigners.
“Sad to see that I am now THE ENEMY of some #trans people after supporting their freedom struggle for 40 years,” tweeted Tatchell, who received “100s of hate mails [sic] today falsely accusing me of being transphobic” following the publication of an open letter he put his name to in the Guardian.
The letter was written by writer and activist Beatrix Campbell to denounce “a worrying pattern of intimidation and silencing of individuals whose views are deemed ‘transphobic’ or ‘whorephobic.’” There were calls for the letter to be censored and many of the signatories encountered aggressive intimidation following publication. They included trans people.
The letter attacked the now-common misuse of “no-platforming” policies in British universities. “‘No platforming’ used to be a tactic used against self-proclaimed fascists and Holocaust-deniers,” reads the letter. “But today it is being used to prevent the expression of feminist arguments critical of the sex industry and of some demands made by trans activists. The feminists who hold these views have never advocated or engaged in violence against any group of people.
“Yet it is argued that the mere presence of anyone said to hold those views is a threat to a protected minority group’s safety.”
Intersectional feminists and the trans lobby now regard only a very narrow set of views on gender as acceptable, and somehow those who critique the sex-industry are now considered ‘hateful’ to women and transsexuals, such that yesterday’s political correctness is now quite un-PC. Many prominent feminists have found themselves falling short of the new standards: Germaine Greer, who was almost no-platformed at Cambridge University last week for her alleged “transphobia,” also signed the letter.
“I protest people who oppose the rights of trans people & sex workers but I don’t seek to deny them free speech unless they urge violence,” tweeted Peter, who has long been pro-free speech and has become an unlikely conservative hero in recent years for his strident defence of classical liberalism and his rejection of censorship.
Tatchell is opposed to the blanket ban on feminist Julie Bindel speaking in student unions and in 2010 even voiced concerns about the disgraceful prosecution of anti gay protester Dale Mcalpine. “In a democratic society, he has a right to express his point of view, even if it is misguided and wrong. Freedom of speech should only be limited or penalised in extreme circumstances, such as when a person incites violence against others,” wrote Tatchell at the time.
Tatchell has also ventured into taboo territory with his views on extremist Islam, a subject the authoritarian Left is deeply uncomfortable addressing. He told student newspaper The Tab: “These Islamist clerics are worse than the BNP – the BNP doesn’t advocate killing gay people, women who have had sex outside of marriage, and Muslims who turn away from their faith.”
Signatories of the letter have been hounded on social media over the past few days. “I’d like to tweet about your murder you f–king parasite,” wrote one anonymous tweeter to Tatchell.