Ofcom’s chief executive Melanie Dawes

Stonewall take another hostage

The head of Ofcom thinks it’s “extremely inappropriate” to have guests that disagree with trans activists

Artillery Row

At Fair Cop we spent 18 months helping to reveal Stonewall’s pernicious influence on public life. Last Tuesday, Ofcom’s chief executive, Melanie Dawes, managed it in a sentence.

Pink News, the blog that breaks important stories about how everyone is a bigot, homophobe and transphobe, gleefully reported Ms Dawes’ appearance before the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee. In particular, the blog noted Ms Dawes’ comment that it was “extremely inappropriate” for broadcasters to balance appearances by transgender people with activists from “anti-trans pressure groups”.

As ever, it’s worth reading the comments in full, because they reveal Melanie Dawes to be yet another hostage to Stonewall. In response to an assertion from John Nicolson MP, who sits on the DCMS Committee, that the LGB Alliance is a transphobic hate group, Dawes replied:

I think it is a very good point, and a very good example of something that we have been talking to Stonewall about, about how the broadcasters can, when they feel they need to bring balance into a debate, do it in an appropriate way, rather than in the way that you just described, which can be extremely inappropriate.

In other words, the UK’s broadcast regulator has been captured by Stonewall. Gender critics, Fair Cop among them, helped uncover the tactics used by Stonewall, Gendered Intelligence and other proponents of gender ideology to infiltrate organisations and train them in the new orthodoxy. One of our friends wrote about her experience of re-education, and the bullying that resulted when she dared to raise a question.

The BBC is the worst culprit at digging up a contrarian to contrive artificial rows

But let’s leave aside the lazy slander of calling the LGB Alliance a transphobic hate group, and ignore the fact that its founders and supporters include the founders of Stonewall and the Gay Liberation Front, who are distraught to see what Stonewall has become.

Because, in a way, Melanie Dawes is right. For years, broadcasters have invited guests from opposite poles of a debate onto their programmes to have an argument, and called it journalism. Perhaps the worst culprit is the ploddingly centrist BBC which, in its eternal search for balance, digs up a contrarian to contrive artificial rows and reduce debate to a pointless squabble

But on the great social question of our time, gender, there is no debate at all. Trans activists and their opponents each get screen time and column inches, but they’re never in the same room. The filmmaker Olly Lambert, has recounted the impossiblity of getting trans groups to take part in his documentary Trans Kids: It’s Time to Talk. Lambert said that it was easier to secure agreement from Hamas and the IDF for his film on the Middle East than it was with advocates of child transition, who would not appear unless Lambert promised to exclude critical voices.   

This is what John Nicolson was trying to do: frame opponents of gender ideology as the sort of fringe whackjobs that the BBC and other broadcasters feel they must invite as a sacrifice to the altar of Balance. It doesn’t matter that groups like Fair Play for Women, Transgender Trend, Fair Cop, and Safe Schools Alliance have won in the highest courts in the land. Smearing us all as bigots is enough to shut us up.

The hectoring, bullying intolerance from trans activists leaves editors and producers with a problem

Even so, we believe that the campaigning work of gender critical groups should disbar us from discussions, unless we are the subject of the piece. If journalists want to catch the conscience of their audience and provide a powerful counterargument, they need someone who is above the trans debate; someone who can talk about the underlying principles at stake from a position of disinterested expertise.

Yet anyone who’s paid the slightest attention to the trans debate knows this to be impossible. Sack off Graham Linehan, cancel Stephanie Davies-Arai, ban Sarah Phillimore from the building and put a professor or Member of Parliament in their place: to what end? For the trans brigade, a contrary viewpoint — no matter how balanced, how cautious it may be — is by definition transphobic.

Take the case of Andy Wightman, the MSP who resigned from the Green Party after receiving “admonishment” for attending a meeting at Edinburgh University that discussed the proposed gender recognition reforms. As reported in the Sunday Times, Mr Wightman did not speak or participate: he went to listen and ‘educate himself’ on the issue before voting on it. Such free thinking is among the worst crimes to the Witchfinder Gen(d)eral, who will find you, expel you, or force you to resign for questioning the catechism.

The hectoring, bullying intolerance from trans activists leaves editors and producers with a problem. When everything is transphobic, how do they find an impartial guest to challenge Stonewall’s lies, its fetishistic manipulation of debunked suicide statistics, and its bonkers beliefs in gender magic? If you put up any expert against Stonewall or other transgender group, if you include one sensible person who is not adversarial but merely questioning, you immediately expose the genderists and make them look peripheral and exceptionalist. 

Their only, time-worn response is to call their interlocutor a bigot or a transphobe, slurs uttered so often as to become meaningless. 

Melanie Dawes may deplore “anti-trans” groups. But in their quest to find an unbigoted expert, someone who can subject Stonewall’s claims to detailed examination yet remain untainted by accusations of transphobia, broadcasters face a long and fruitless search. Because you and I, and everyone else who refuses to say, nay believe, that transwomen are actually women: we are all bigots in Stonewall’s eyes. 

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