This Thomson Reuters article on crowdfunding needed two journalists to ‘investigate’ why it is that British women are raising money to protect their sex-based rights. What did they find? Yes – that ordinary women in Britain feel that their rights are being undermined and their children placed at risk by agenda-driven lobby groups. That they feel the establishment is looking away. And that they are doing what the powerless have done since the start of the trade union movement: banding together to outmanoeuvre them.
Given the potential international audience of this article, one would have expected there to be a little more meat on this bone. The ‘investigation’ appears to have been a simple totting up of funds donated to transparent campaigns which are all accessible on the internet and repeating complaints about them. The focus is, of course, on examining crowdfunding, because that is how women have raised the cash – in the light of public scrutiny. What are these staggering donations by rabid transphobes? Reuters helpfully tells us: it’s an average of £29 each, donated by women and men who care about theirs and their children’s rights to privacy and dignity.
‘Trans demands’ campaigners are naturally worried about the success of these crowdfunding campaigns, because the way that their Stonewall-influenced organisations have presented the law is so transparently one-sided. Although each case amounts to an average of just £62,500, these small-scale crowdfunding donations have enabled the disinfectant of sunlight to shine on to trans campaigner’s demands that society should deny biology and ignore the material reality of women and girls. However, ‘hard working volunteers’ does not sound anywhere near as conspiratorially evil as a ‘globally funded hate campaign’. Women willing to put their livelihoods, homes and economic futures on the line does not sounds as threatening as a cabal of media-owning billionaires with an agenda.
No, what this article – and the unsubstantiated claims by activists like Clara Barker – does is to undermine the law. We are seeing the doubling down characteristic of those who are practiced in the use of DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender). This is a strategy designed to undermine opponents and turn the conversation away from the real problem, which is that women’s and children’s legal rights are not being enforced.
The accusation that women are attempting to “roll back” trans rights is the most DARVO suggestion of all. Women’s rights are protected by the Equality Act and yet Allison Bailey’s case shows that women still struggle to find a platform. Earlier this year she started a crowdfunder on Crowdjustice to help her sue both Stonewall and her Chambers for discriminating against her for her gender-critical beliefs and for co-founding the LGB Alliance. Crowdjustice closed it after six hours. Bailey says she is bringing the case because she has been “subjected to victimisation because of the concerns I raised about Stonewall’s actions”. When it comes to questions of access to justice, Savage and Asher-Schapiro have not done their homework.
Clara Barker might want to reconsider who the real bullies are here; tens of thousands of women working together to protect their and their daughters’ sex-based rights through crowdfunding, or a large, well-funded organisation that has achieved all it set out to achieve and is now advocating for the removal of sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act.
Thomson Reuters seems to be suggesting that freedoms are only for trans campaigners. Free speech which does not advocate or suggest actual violence is a right. Academics are protected, even if they have to be escorted to lectures for their own protection against trans activists, as Selina Todd does, at Oxford University. Let us also not forget that women have inflicted physical harm on precisely no trans women. The same cannot be said in reverse, as shown by Fair Play For Women’s analysis of violent and sexual crimes committed by transgender women.
Attempts to police thoughts and control speech undermine the social contract. The moral and political philosopher John Rawls said that the first rule of the social contract tells us that we should give one another as much freedom as we can. This includes moral liberties such as free speech and free movement. This idea was affirmed by Mr Justice Julian Knowles in the case of Miller v College of Policing and The Chief Constable of Humberside, when he upheld Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and stated that Mr Miller’s tweets formed part of legitimate debate. He observed that people do not have the right not to be offended.
It is shocking that Thomson Reuters employs journalists who suggest that these most basic freedoms are in any way hateful. It is even more concerning that it – the owner of legal databases – would interfere in the funding for an actual legal case. However the journalists themselves state that Reuters challenged GoFundMe over a crowdfunder regarding the Labour Party’s women-only shortlists. Apparently they believed that Jennifer James’ concerns about self-identifying females on the shortlists should not be published.
The only people who should decide on the merits of judicial reviews are judges. The only people who should get to advise on likely successes are lawyers.
Maya Forstater’s case is included in this article, with Savage and Asher-Schapiro presenting the case using distancing statements which blame “some” others for saying Maya is transphobic. However as they acknowledge, Forstater’s case is not at an end; she is appealing against a tribunal – the lowest level executive agency administering the law, and as we saw with Kate Scottow, low level judge’s decisions are often overturned on appeal.
The journalists also neglect to include details of the judgment in the landmark case ‘Bell and Mrs A v The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’. This is surprising given the case was crowdfunded and Bell is a de-transitioned young woman. The original claimant was Susan Evans, who was a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Tavistock.
This one-sidedness on the part of the media is precisely why women have needed to turn to crowdfunding.
Follow the money
Kacey de Groot, the trans and LGBT+ rep for the NEU is labouring under the same delusion as Barker, complaining that Safe Schools Alliance is ‘incredibly well-funded”. What Kacey is doing here is confusing having lots of cash with knowing what one is talking about. It is as possible to be effective without having a lot of money as it is to be awash with other people’s cash and be completely misguided – witness the judgment against the Tavistock. Either legislation is in your favour, or it is not.
What de Groot conveniently omits is that Stonewall received about £600,000 from the government last year and made over £3m in ‘Diversity Champion’ fees. This clearly dwarfs the contributions from hard-up women made via crowdfunding. The idea that women’s pockets are deeper than those of the activists who continually challenge our rights is risible.
Rather than Oxfordshire County Council being deterred by a disabled mum on benefits and a privacy-driven child, it is entirely possible that it Oxfordshire withdrew its trans inclusion toolkit because it did not want to bear the shame of being a local authority whose policies would be exposed as failing to safeguard children. In the light of the withdrawal of many toolkits after this solid legal challenge, de Groot’s claim that schools are “more likely to find the wrong advice” could not be more ironic.
Where is the evidence?
In the light of their biased arguments and omissions, it was expected that Rachel Savage and Avi Asher-Schapiro should stoop to using straw man arguments about those who are turning to crowdfunding and setting up organisations that challenge abusive practices.
First, they report that parents of trans pupils said campaigns seek to “block support” for their children, and then seize on ‘suicide statistics’ as a form of emotional manipulation. For the former, the very first thing children need is treatment – that is, psychological support and a thorough exploration of their circumstances. Regarding the latter, the fact is, there is little evidence that affirmation prevents suicide ideation – the statistics on trans youth suicide have been comprehensively debunked in ‘The Suicide Myth’ by Transgender Trend.
Pertinent evidence also comes from the Bell v Tavi Judicial Review and was submitted by the witnesses for the respondents, Dr Carmichael and Professor Viner. This summarised a paper in which they stated that even when prescribed puberty blockers, there was “no overall improvement in mood or psychological wellbeing using standardized psychological measures.”
Irresponsible, scare-mongering ideas do not emanate from crowdfunding mothers worried about the side effects of Lupron, prescribed for adult male sufferers of prostate cancer. They come from trans organisations that tell children that not getting their own way right now will make them kill themselves. This morally repugnant tactic must stop.