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Preferred Pronouns Lit the Path to Covid Science Denialism


The Telegraph (UK) reported an interesting case on October 22. A woman, a victim of a previous sexual assault, went into a private hospital in London for a complex colorectal surgery. During the pre-op clinical assessment involving intimate procedures, she encountered someone she believed was a trans-woman in a blonde wig and make-up who left her feeling uncomfortable. 

The patient, who had previously refused to use preferred pronouns, requested an all-female nursing team, saying “mixed sex hospital facilities are unsafe for women.” The CEO replied the hospital “did not share her beliefs” and, because she had caused “unacceptable distress” to the staff, her operation had been cancelled.

Baroness Nicholson, chair of the parliamentary campaign group Children and Women First, has written to the Care Quality Commission calling for an investigation into the “astonishing” development that a hospital would refuse to treat a patient because of different beliefs. Meanwhile a male Muslim prisoner in the US was granted an exemption by a federal court from being strip-searched by a biologically female trans-guard because of his religious beliefs.

Between them, the two cases illustrate how culture wars are intersecting with medical and social practices. Biologically-defined sex-based rights are being pushed aside by the vague, fluid and subjective social constructs of gender identity. 

In retrospect, I wonder if the biology-denying drive to self-defined gender identity helped to pave the pathway to the anti-scientific madness of lockdowns, masks and vaccines. The no-limit trans spectrum seems to run from genuine gender confusion to fetishism, perversion, paedophilia, child abuse, misogyny and denial of female same-sex attraction in the insistence that lesbians who refuse to have sex with trans-males are transphobic and gender-critical lesbians are TERFS.

Transgender Successes as Precursor to Science-Denying Covid Policies

Many of us are still trying to puzzle out with Covid just what happened. How did we ignore science and reject data to get to where we are? Well, before Covid, the trans movement was the single most successful drive to displace science and data with ideological dogma, at least in the West. Common elements with the pandemic policy syndrome include: 

  • Elevation of feelings above facts, dogma over data;
  • Overturning all existing science, knowledge and understanding of males and females for all of history preconditioned people for throwing out a century’s experience, science and policy settings on pandemic management;
  • Technocrats and experts insisting they know best;
  • Governments being brainwashed or intimidated into conceding and changing laws accordingly;
  • The laws then being used to coerce citizens into compliance;
  • Shame being used as a key psychological tool of emotional manipulation;
  • Biologists and medical personnel, despite knowing the transgender drive was science denialism, became complicit through silence because they chose to keep their heads down;
  • The partnership with Big Tech to “fact-check,” censor and disappear contrary viewpoints;
  • The insistence that experimental interventions are safe and effective;
  • No limit to the collateral harms that are accepted as mere roadkill on the highway to social justice heaven.

The only concession is if the drive encounters another intersectional sensitivity of religion or race, like Islam or Black Lives Matter whose protests were exempt from shelter-at-home restrictions.

The precursor-cum-precondition of the gender-fluidity-driven changing social practices was the preferred pronouns initiative. Jordan Peterson was right in 2016 to reject the government diktat on pronouns untethered to biological reality. What Peterson asserted as his freedom of speech was denounced by opponents as hate speech

Language matters, for it controls the narrative. The war against women’s identity, rights, privacy and dignity is lost once you accept the science fiction of addressing a 6’6” bearded man with a functioning male organ which he will proudly display in a woman’s spa, regardless of how embarrassed and offended the Korean-American girls and women in there might feel, as “she/her.” 

At that point you have locked yourself into a lose-lose trap. How can you possibly refuse someone you call “she/her” the right to use a woman’s toilet or changeroom and compete in a women’s swimming competition?

Men Erasing Women

The idea behind the move to preferred pronouns is that everyone’s own conception of their gender identity deserves the protection of law. The unintended and perverse yet entirely predictable consequence is that the wilful suspension of biological reality with pretend facts is a threat to women. 

There is good reason to create women-only safe spaces in toilets, changerooms, refuges, crisis services, prisons and sports. Efforts to use the full force of the law to coerce and compel everyone to genuflect to biologically false facts is reminiscent of communist totalitarian systems where people must show obeisance to party diktats or risk the public humiliation of show trials, confession of errors and spells in re-education camps. 

Their intolerant and belligerent demand amounts to: pay us the respect due to us men as self-identifying women, or we will make you pay for your lack of respect.

The “preferred pronouns” culture feeds into and enables abusive men while silencing their victims. Irish teacher Enoch Burke has preferred to go to prison rather than address a trans-male student as “they” instead of “he.” J K Rowling mocks bearded males defining what a woman is. 

Too many have been cowed into silence and go along meekly with the claim that “penis holders” are really women, men can become pregnant, doctors, nurses and midwives must be trained to help men give birth, trans-males committing rapes must be documented as women rapists, and males self-identifying as women must be allowed to compete in women’s competitive sports despite decisive biological advantages in size, strength and stamina. 

Or do we really believe that US Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Australia’s former Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy don’t know the meaning of “woman?”

In effect men are once again deciding all the core rights about women. On the one hand, none of this would be possible without first denying that sex is a biological fact that cannot be subsumed under gender as a social construct. On the other, once the preferred pronoun movement is appeased in law, what defence is left against its extreme claims?

In July serial sex offender “Sally Ann” née John Stephen Dixon was convicted and jailed for 20 years for sexual assaults on boys and girls aged 7-15, before changing genders. Sussex Police described the case as a “woman convicted of historic offences against children.” 

Feminist journalist Julie Bindel wrote: “This is a MALE sex offender,” and sex is relevant to sex crimes. One mother tweeted: “No this is not a female crime.” The police threatened her with misgendering the serial paedophile as a “hate crime.” This is the same force that in 2017 warned that “feminine care“ signs on sanitary products in supermarkets breached gender equality laws. 

Echoing an earlier column from Toby Young that cops should police streets not tweets, Home Secretary Suella Braverman tweeted: “Focus on catching criminals not policing pronouns.” And oh, Dixon was sent to a women’s prison. Will a paedophile identifying as a child be sent to juvenile prison as the next stage in the evolution of this collective madness?

Consider some other recent examples:

  • The American Medical Association is asking the Justice department and Big Tech to censor, deplatform, investigate and prosecute journalists for “disinformation” if they question radical gender surgery for minors.
  • The Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital sparked outrage with a video, since deleted, that babies in the womb know they are transgender.
  • The National Education Union in the UK advocated a policy whereby a teacher who discussed sex-based women’s rights with trans colleagues would be considered to be transphobic.
  • In the UK a man was appointed to the post of “period dignity officer” but then let go in the furore following the backlash when the news became public.
  • An NHS-backed guidance on periods brushed out “women” and “girls” from its website, having earlier removed “women” on advice pages about ovarian and womb cancer.
  • In the UK a taxpayer-funded national library scheme for teenagers includes a book that describes a teenager’s breasts as “fatty lumps that need to be gone” as she fantasises about “my imaginary willy.”
  • In a California jail, one male inmate allegedly raped a woman inside a port-a-potty in the yard while another man stood guard.
  • In New Jersey, trans woman Demi née Demetrius Minor impregnated two fellow inmates before being moved to a different facility but is fighting to get back into a women’s prison. He had brutally stabbed his foster father 27 times in 2011 and his foster mother describes him as a “manipulative “psychopath” using transgenderism as a ruse to get special treatment and attention in jail.” Surely not? This never happens, right?
  • In an Orwellian exercise, UK police recorded “non-crime hate incidents” and investigated a complaint alleging a video poster was “being untoward about paedophiles.”
  • In May, a peacefully protesting feminist campaigner for sex-based women’s rights was assaulted in Manchester by balaclava-clad trans activists in yet another example of tolerant inclusivity by one side of the controversy.
  • In Wisconsin the same month, a school district opened a Title IX sexual-harassment case against 8th graders for calling a student “her” rather than “them.”
  • Gender quotas, created in the first place to redress the absence of women in the workplace, particularly in senior roles, are being filled by trans women. BBC staff protested about this change but really, what did they think would happen once the legal definition of woman was changed?

He Who Controls the Language Controls the Narrative

Yet, the media mostly fit in with the charade rather than challenge the idiocy of calling trans women “she/her,” including the Telegraph’s report of the Dixon story and the New York Post report on the Minor case. Just as they have failed to challenge the Covid narrative. 

In another case in October 2021, the BBC went so far as to change a rape victim’s quote about her attacker in order to avoid misgendering him. All the key criminal justice institutions have adopted the practice of referring to transgender rape suspects by their preferred pronouns, which of course has the effect of prioritising trans rights over victim rights and honest reporting.

‘Gender-neutral” language is neither neutral nor inclusive but anti-woman. It erases more than half of humanity as a distinct category and excludes their rights to safety, dignity and privacy. According to Medicare records, 55 “men” gave birth in Australia in 2014–15. Sall Grover, who recently had a child, is far from alone in being offended and outraged by the Medicare form that substituted “birthing parent” for “mother” – one of the loveliest and emotion-laden words in any language in the world. 

Instead we are being bombarded with a multiplying plethora of ugly and offensive terms: birthing parents 1 and 2, chestfeeders, people with the capacity to menstruate and get pregnant… I wonder, are archaeologists still classifying skeletons as male and female? And what about extending the language wars to the animal world?

The woman who objects to the invasion of her privacy by his presence in a toilet change or shower room, or to the denial of a level playing field in competitive sport, or even fears for her physical safety, is verballed and may be prosecuted as a bigot. As Zoe Strimpel says, “men don’t see women as a threat when they take their clothes down but that the reverse is not true, and for good reason.” A man who says he is a woman is praised and glorified for his “inspirational” bravery and honesty.

By the way, remember that old-fashioned “manly” virtue? Unconsciously, the wokerati have confirmed the point by putting on a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre no less, that portrays Joan of Arc as a trans – because no woman could have been that brave and soldierly – with accompanying “they/them” pronouns. As the (fictional) Titania McGrath tweeted: “A female Joan of Arc would have been too busy knitting, gossiping and shopping for shoes to fight the English.” To coin a phrase, this is “literally violence” against English language and literature. But the same theatre has also done this to Elizabeth 1, one of England’s greatest queens.

The Trans Debate Is Argument Over Truth, not Rights

Let’s be clear: the debate on trans language is an argument over truth and science versus lies and dogma, not an argument about human rights. On October 21, the BBC informed us that “Italy’s far-right leader Giorgia Meloni has formally accepted the job of forming the next government.” 

Has it ever described Biden as far-left? See, language matters. Far-left extremist ideologues are described as “progressives,” even though often “far-left extremist regressives” fits them better. (Isn’t it interesting – my computer spell checker just flagged regressives but not progressives, thereby making my point.) Similarly, “gender-affirming” sounds not just innocuous but actually positive, whereas “female genital mutilation?” 

What exactly is the difference between the latter and gender-changing surgery? On second thoughts, strike that question – I don’t really wish to know.

Preferred pronouns are the poster child for the woke movement that’s seldom right but always certain. Associated Press guidance instructs journalists to elevate feelings of gender identity above facts on sex; that is, to lie. In a telling encounter at a Senate hearing in July that was almost a parody, a smug and condescending Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges accused Senator Josh Hawley of transphobia because he asked her if by “people with a capacity for pregnancy” she meant women. She did not even have the intelligence to grasp Hawley’s meaning when, in response to her suggestion that he could learn a lot from attending her seminar, he replied: “I’ve learnt a lot from this exchange.”

Goodwill gestures can have harmful and dangerous consequences. Toronto Police put up a missing persons poster of Isobella Degrace, a 27-year old trans male with a goatee, prioritising ID politics over the biological woman’s safety. Another good example of an unintended consequence comes from Scotland. A 66-year old male blood donor Leslie Sinclair, who has given blood for nearly 50 years, was turned away this year because he refused to answer a pre-donation question on his pregnancy status

I don’t know about you, dear reader. But if I was being prepped for a major surgery, my confidence in the team responsible for my health and well-being in the operating theatre would be deeply shaken if they started asking me if I was pregnant or still menstruating.

Pressure groups have morphed from protecting and promoting minority rights to micromanaging majority behaviour. To fight for trans feelings is to actively undermine the actual hard-won rights of women and girls. The end result is the trans tail wags the “heteronormative” dog. 

In the US, 80-year old Julie Jaman heard a man’s voice while she was showering at a YMCA pool. She “saw a man in a woman’s bathing suit watching maybe four or five little girls pulling down their suits in order to use the toilet.” She told him to “get out” and complained to the manager who called the police on Jaman and banned her from the pool.

In a remarkable article in The Spectator on December 2, 2019, James Kirkup wrote about lobbying advice to trans activists by an international law firm on how to change the law to allow gender transition by children without parental consent. 

Among the recommendations drawn from best practice successes in several countries: get ahead of the public agenda by publishing legislative proposals before the government develops its own; on an issue for which winning public support is difficult, hide it behind the “veil of protection” of a more popular cause like marriage equality; and avoid or limit press exposure. 

Sound familiar?

Tanveer Ahmed, an Australian psychiatrist who visits prisons, notes that sex is the biggest predictor of criminality, with males making up over 80 percent of offenders and over 90 percent of sex offenders. The evidence is overwhelming, he writes, “that biological males who identify as trans women retain male patterns of criminality including a much higher risk of committing acts of sexual violence in jails.” How many victims will it take before authorities move to protect women prisoners from manipulative and abusive male predators? How many children will be sacrificed on the altar of the brutal trans ideology before the medical profession comes to its senses and calls a halt to unnecessary, unproven and risky treatment, asks Jordan Peterson?

Taking Back Control

In the US, outraged parents are wresting back control from ideological extremists who have captured school boards, even if, remarkably, the Biden administration threatens to send the FBI against these domestic terrorists. In the UK, in addition to some high profile court cases, outfits like Stonewall, Tavistock transgender clinic and trans charity Mermaids have suffered major setbacks after coming under public scrutiny in recent months. 

On October 23 the NHS England cautioned doctors not to encourage children under 18 to change names and pronouns, saying most who believe they are transgender are just going through a “phase.” Internationally, the swimming world’s governing body FINA banned trans women from competing in women’s elite races if they have gone through any part of the male puberty process.

Women are no longer prepared to shut up and put up. Instead, increasing numbers have stopped being a good girl and are making their voice count. A cross-party group of female British politicians has decided to launch a biology policy unit to stop gender ideology “compromising” children’s and women’s rights. They fear that “scientific fact and reality have become the victim of an ideological revolution.”

This too sounds familiar in the context of Covid policies. Politicians around the world should form a cross-national group of lawmakers to launch an epidemiology policy unit to combat health bureaucrats’ monopoly on pandemic policy development and implementation.

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Ramesh Thakur

    Ramesh Thakur, a Brownstone Institute Senior Scholar, is a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, and emeritus professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

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