The world turned upside down for trans activism

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“When people show you who they are,” Maya Angelou said, “believe them the first time.” This hard-earned lesson usually carries the weight of common law for the ruthless left. You could even call it the moral foundation or axiom of cancellation culture. So be it.

Last Saturday in my hometown of Brighton, Carly May Kavanagh, a social worker for Brighton MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, was filmed with an ally mocking a man who brought his baby with him to a women’s rights rally called ‘Let Women Speak’. In the now viral video, Kavanagh and her friend, who were protesting the event, tell the man that he is “not a feminist”, but a fascist, a real fascist, and that he is clearly raising his child to be one. , too.

The father’s crime was to have supported the idea that biological sex is real – a view now apparently considered a form of “bio-fascism” by trans rights activists. After all, as Kavanagh reminds the father, with an admirable understanding of these basic facts, “it’s 2022.” And such opinions in our time are “disgusting.” The man, to his credit, seems remarkably unprovoked.

It’s hard to know which ideology, in this scenario, was more meaningless: feminism or fascism? I think the latter.

Certainly, I can’t believe that people like Germaine Greer or Simone de Beauvoir would feel very comfortable lending their support to the two women here, or rather discovering that fourth-wave “intersectional” feminism had brought us to this stage. If this confrontation were to be projected into the 1960s, it might initially encourage them to see that women still stick to The Man – or at least a – Man. And once they heard that this event called for giving voice to women, they would have been delighted to see two women doing this! Great!

But once they learned to turn the sound on, they would then be crushed by the realization that the two women in this scene are making fun of each other. versus the rally calling for the amplification of their own sex.

It’s not an entirely hypothetical scenario, of course. Greer lived long enough to be denounced by young feminists as a reactionary figure, supposedly twisted by hatred. Her view that transgender women are “not women” is well known.

De Beauvoir, on the other hand, is credited with igniting the sidelines of gender self-identification decades ago, with her observation that no one is born a woman, but rather one “become” a woman. woman, during the negotiation of a life with society. Yet she would have no idea of ​​the more recent ramifications of this idea and would surely be surprised to learn who is now able to call herself a woman. Once that was explained to her – and she managed to close her jaw and catch her breath – it was unlikely that her opinion would deviate much from Greer’s.

After all, the man in this encounter is literally taking on his share of the parenting burden and supporting the idea that women should be heard. He seems as likely to have Simone’s seminal work on his bookshelf as he does his own seminal work on his chest. He might even have read it.

But, again, if Benito Mussolini had been told that fascism was alive and well in 21st century Britain, and then shown this man and his baby as proof, I think he would have felt like the butt of a cruel joke.

Mussolini would surely hope to find a more solid example of his vengeful agendas, his plans for restoring national pride, his all-conquering doctrines of unity, energy and purity, than such a miserly individual. The man accused of being a fascist is all in a lumberjack shirt and no lumberjack. He patiently bears not only the weight of an infant, but also the weight of the sarcastic invectives of two women laughing without fear (on which The Duke would surely expect him to wield some natural authority).

But then, depending on your favorite Alice trilogy, we’ve been through the looking glass, down the rabbit hole, or down the Shit creek for quite some time now. Nothing is what it seems, or what it identifies as.

Kavanagh did not, despite what you may have heard on social media, call the baby a fascist. Although I must say that if she had called the baby a fascist, I probably would have had a little more sympathy for her.

Although I want to see the provocation, there is no doubt that babies box to be tyrants, even if they rarely have the sense of organization that distinguishes the true fascist from the wannabe LARP. And being notoriously prone to demand instant gratification of their every appetite, they are ill-equipped to exercise the self-discipline demanded by the martial traditions of fascism.

But no. What Kavanagh questioned was the wisdom, as she saw it, of the man’s intention to raise the baby to be a “fascist”, to indulge in the filth of consider biological sex as fundamental to femininity.

She did not suggest that the baby itself had already succumbed. Perhaps she was setting the stage for a private conversation with the little guy – a place of re-education, where they could share a plan to help him escape his certain fate. So she has this in her defense.

Perhaps the most chilling thing about this encounter is the fact that she never seems to “lose her mind.” She seems perfectly in control as she growls at a father, over his baby’s head, that he’s a fascist and hurting his son. This, I have to say, is a little off.

You could attribute it to the heat of the moment. And she has since apologized. At least to some extent. She apologized for how her actions could now be used against her friends in the trans movement. She didn’t apologize to the father, the baby or society at large, but for behavior that she fears is all too easy to portray as somehow typical or representative of activism. trans rights as a whole. For the rather simple reason that it is indeed representative.

Still, I don’t want to see her fired or otherwise disciplined. This magazine, and the current author, are absolutely clear about our position on cancel culture. Were Again this. Tweeting archeology, taking jokes out of context, viewing someone’s political views as disqualifying them from pursuing an apolitical career – all of these are examples of bad tendencies in modern life.

I’m not asking that she lose her job. I just want it to be remembered. To be properly connected. To appear in the ledger, in indissoluble black ink. Because this kind of base and venal behavior keeps repeating itself over and over again, at rallies and protests across the country and on social media. And yet, for many observers, what we are dealing with is still not fully understood.

It’s always on the same side, this poison. It still comes with the same barely concealed fondness for the distress it causes. And yet, somehow, the prevailing view is that it is those who are “gender sensitive”, the so-called TERFs, who are the problem. And these are the ones who spit contempt on women and their husbands and their babies who are the good guys.

The idea is still in play, one way or another, that it is “adult human women” and their male allies who seethe with hatred, bigotry and spite. And it is those who wear black outfits and face masks who issue death threats to beloved children’s authors, burn books and smash the windows of establishments supposed to house their enemies, who are all that stands between us and fascism.

On the other side of the mirror, indeed.

Simon Evans is a dope columnist and humorist. He is currently on tour with his show, Devil’s work. You can buy tickets here.

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