So, Hadrian’s Wall stops transphobia, too?

I’ve been bewildered by the rapid spread of transphobia across the UK — I know it seems bad everywhere, but it seems to have been caught by more politicians and celebrities and even skeptics in the southern part of the country. I suspect social media is partly to blame, but then, a country that elected Boris Johnson has got some deeper issues, too (the US elected Trump, and I won’t deny the depth of our problems).

So it’s nice to see that Scotland is staying sane. At least, the part that elected Nicola Sturgeon.

Is this another sign of the rifts breaking the UK? How is Wales feeling nowadays? Are we going to have to drop the “U” and just call the place “K” someday?


  1. says

    I’m told by trans friends in Scotland that in many ways it’s even worse than in England, sadly.

    Sturgeon’s declaration comes in the wake of galloping transphobia being loudly advocated by SNP MSPs. So it’s good that she states this – but now she has to make it stick.

  2. Trevor Sloughter says

    Yeah, I moved to Glasgow in 2015, and the reason Sturgeon had to make this message is many senior figures in the SNP are extremely transphobic and very active about it. The exodus from the SNP was spurred on by revelations about SNP MP Joanna Cherry, which turned into a big fight.

    It’s true that in some respects the Scottish government does more for trans rights than England, but it’s also true that transphobia is rabid across all the parties, and that the pro-Indy movement suffers many a TERF.

    Let’s see if Sturgeon takes this seriously, but she needs to call out and even expel members, including MPs and MSPs, if she actually wants to have an impact.

    I’d say “fingers crossed” but I’m also writing my local MSPs about it and supporting local activist groups so… trying to do a bit more than just cross my fingers. But they are also crossed.

  3. redwood says

    I thought that the new name would be FUK (Former United Kingdom). Somehow, that has a nice ring to it.

  4. ajbjasus says

    That’s more on the front foot than Corbyns attempts on anti semitism, but there are issues on the SNP, and I can’t even begin to unravel all that business with Salmond.

  5. oldmanxman says


    I know it’s not so important but hey, I’m pedantic! UK is short for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Scotland and England and Wales being “Great Britain” in the title. Note Wales has been part of England for so long and it has the same laws/legal system, that the ‘creation’ of GB in 1707 only really referred to England and Scotland. “UK” originally included British claims on the entirety of the Island of Ireland with the UK then being “Great Britain and Ireland” with the change to it’s present meaning following Irish independence (‘part-independence’ if you prefer)

    So the loss of Scotland (and/or Wales) from the Country would serve to reduce the UK to being ‘England and Northern Ireland’ or even ‘England and Wales and Northern Ireland’ – the only way to lose the “United” would be if NI went its own way (increasing likely following the Brexit settlement).

    Not really important in the light of the UK-wide transphobia being highlighted here but to bring it back – we can’t dead-name the UK until it loses its union with NI and, since referring to people (not countries) how THEY want costs me sod-all, it would be the height of impoliteness to do otherwise.

    You can tell this is a biology site as the spell-check keeps offering “transpiration” for “transphobia”


    BTW: while the Isle of Man isn’t in the UK we’ve got the same problems as the rest of the British Isles when it comes to accepting people as they are.

  6. mvdwege says


    The way I read it Joanna Cherry has been a pain in Sturgeon’s neck for a while now; she is indeed the loud and outspoken point figure of the TERFs in Scotland, and more or less the acceptable female stand-in for Alex Salmond for the misogynists in the independence movement who can’t stand Nicola Sturgeon (while at the same time, of course, loudly proclaiming that it’s the opposition to Cherry that is the real misogynists).

    This summer Cherry suffered a defeat when it was ruled that she could not stand as a Member of Scottish Parliament without immediately giving up her seat in Westminster. There was some skullduggery about strict vs. lenient readings of the eligibility rules, and she lost. I saw that as a first step by Sturgeon to manoeuvre Cherry out of the way.

    Her recent combined antisemitic/transphobic outburst cost her even more support. Sturgeon is, depending on how you look at (un)fortunately a canny but slow chess player, so I see this video as another move in marginalising Cherry. It won’t surprise me to see Cherry gone before the elections.

    The only problem is that Cherry still has some credit for the work she admittedly did do for the cause of independence. And for some people that outweights her TERFiness. Sturgeon has a nasty needle to thread there.

  7. fergl says

    Oldmanxman@7, how on earth can Wales be part of England? There is a border between them. Wales can be part of Great Britain or the Uk but not England. BTW the Great in Great Britain meant greater or larger, not super.

  8. cartomancer says

    I have to say I have no idea where all this transphobia in Britain comes from. Which is strange, given that I like to think I have at least some insight into how the people in my country got the way they are. I suppose my own circles are very small (I know five people!), and tend towards the tolerant and the lgbt friendly (two of those people are gay and four of them voted for Jeremy Corbyn!), but still, you’d think there would be some broad cultural factors I’d be aware of. But no.

    I’m not going out to find a transphobe to ask though.

  9. voidhawk says

    Transphobia is sadly endemic in even progressive parties. We in the English and Welsh Green Party have been fighting running battles with TERFs for a few years now. I’ve known activists who’ve left the party because they didn’t feel it was safe for them.

  10. lumipuna says


    So the loss of Scotland (and/or Wales) from the Country would serve to reduce the UK to being ‘England and Northern Ireland’ or even ‘England and Wales and Northern Ireland’ – the only way to lose the “United” would be if NI went its own way (increasing likely following the Brexit settlement).

    I suppose if the UK were reduced to the area of historical England, but with England and Wales framed as equal constituents, it could be called the Untied Kingdom.

  11. Trevor Sloughter says

    @mvdwege You’re right about Cherry, I sort of conflated her with issues in some local Indy and SNP groups, which I shouldn’t have. Thanks for pointing that out. To be clear, I think Cherry personally may find her power waning, but as she goes she and others are kicking up a storm of transphobia that will bring that “debate” to the top. There’s a lot of SNP members at the lower levels who are all-in on TERFdom looking for any “culture war” excuse to get attention.

    But that said, I think you’re right Sturgeon is more canny and has a better sense of the game than I gave her credit for. Still, after several years here and settling in with the inclusive and lefty side of Indy, my cautious optimism has been replaced with just caution. Though I have to reiterate how recently I moved here, so I can’t claim fluency in Scottish politics either, I mostly do what I can to listen to my friends and colleagues who care about (and are affected by) this issue, but my own lens is definitely more restricted.

  12. Rob Grigjanis says

    fergl @9: Wales was annexed to the Kingdom of England in the 16th century. In 1707, the kingdoms of England (including Wales) and Scotland were united to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain. There has been a National Assembly with limited powers since 1999, and everyone these days refers to Wales as a country. So it’s complicated. Then there’s the rugby and the football…

  13. vole says

    This preoccupation with transphobia in the UK is getting tiresome. USA please first sort out your own issues with Trump, racism, gun mania, school shootings, healthcare, insane TV evangelists, anti-vaxers, climate change deniers, insurrection and the preservation of democracy (for a start). Motes and beams, people, motes and beams.

  14. mvdwege says


    I’m by no means an expert on Scottish politics either, but I do follow it, because I like Scotland; the fact that they are the only country in the world where the Nationalists are run of the mill centre-left Social Democrats tells you a lot about the country and culture.

    If Independence ever becomes reality in my lifetime, I seriously do think of migrating.

    And yes, I understand your feelings of caution. It does feel that some people are trying to use the divisions on the GRA to blow up the SNP, and Nicola Sturgeon’s poker face can be very frustrating in the light of this. I’ve seen enough of her to think she has a plan to handle all this, but alas, she is not giving anything away. And she’s not perfect, so this might just indeed be something that blows up in a very ugly fashion.

  15. says

    @vole 16
    The US and UK can act as critics of one another’s transphobes and transphobia.

    I acknowledge that it is necessary to pair that with criticism of our transphobes, criticism that includes outsider perspectives that spot things in-group biases can lead us to miss. (Repeat with lots of other bigotries).

  16. mnb0 says

    @7 oldmanxman: There is yet another option. UK might mean “United Kingdom of Scotland and Northern-Ireland. The rest will become KEW – Kingdom of England and Wales. Matter of perspective.

  17. Trevor Sloughter says

    One thing I noticed when I first moved here is the SNP’s broad umbrella has meant that for all that it has a lot of centre-lefties, it also has a lot of righties and they account for a petty important chunk of the party too. Here in Glesga it’s a bit of a better mixture, but the unfortunate reality is that, however much I align myself with the cause of independence, a single-issue party will inevitably put that single issue ahead of other rather important issues. Plus, a lot of the SNP’s centre-left policies seem to come from the necessity of being slightly left of centre to justify getting certain powers back from Westminster, I am cautious that the right-wing of the party won’t surge in power (not necessarily support) post-independence.

    That said, it does highlight the fundamental difference between the two kinds of nationalism. Scotland is an existing nation that lacks autonomy, its nationalism seeks to strengthen its democratic powers. Nationalism in country that are already autonomous, however, has to imagine oppressors that don’t exist. I’d argue this is why “nationalist” movements in other countries aren’t inherently right-wing either. Right-wing Catalonian nationalists exist, for sure, but the major independence movements there also lean left (tho, again, it’s complicated).

    Anyways you should move to Scotland anyway, it’s already lovely, and we can all join the push for IndyRef2: 2 Indy 2 Ref ;P

  18. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Are we going to have to drop the “U” and just call the place “K” someday?

    Previously United Kingdom of England. :P

  19. garnetstar says

    vole@16 is right, in that usually the US is the number one top bigot country in the world on almost every issue.

    But, that is why it is so puzzling to me that the UK seems to have pulled ahead of the US in this one area? How did they sneak in and take one of our gold medals? Bigotry, including transphobia, is probably pretty global, but the UK seems to have pulled ahead of the pack, even though the US is certainly still trying hard.

    All of the commenters above who live there or know any reasons for this, I’d be glad to hear what your thoughts or speculations on why this issue are. (The US obviously needs to up its game in this area to get our #1 bigot status back.) But, as cartomancer @10 says, you may be as completely puzzled.

  20. mailliw says

    @7 OldManxMan

    I know it’s not so important but hey, I’m pedantic!

    If we are going to be pedantic, I should also point out that Hadrians wall is not at the border between England and Scotland. I was born north of the wall and I am definitely English by birth (though if the Scots want to take me in, I’ll be more than happy).

  21. acroyear says

    I’ve also noted that degree to which Trans seems the line-that-can’t-be-crossed for so many, even for those who are liberal on so many other causes.

    As for Wales? Welsh-speaking or not? Welsh speakers are generally more left-leaning, and most were remainers (the EU was giving cultural stipends to help preserve the language, stipends the Tories have no intention of maintaining now that they control the budget). English speakers tend to be more conservative and insular, much the same as most of the rest of rural England, and those voted to leave.

    As Wales is a split country (Cardiff and the Welsh speakers on one side, the large rural English-speaking culture on the other), there’s not quite the common voice one might seem to find coming from Scotland.

    That said, Scotland is in a similar split – the cities and the Gaelic highlands tend to be left-leaning. The lowlands, borders, and the more English highlands like around Aberdeen tend to be more right-leaning. As the Liberal Democrat party shrunk in importance in the last general, you can see the voting for labor v tory – the tories took much of the Eastern highlands, Labor took the western.

    And in that, you’re seeing another American thing make its way over to the UK: the consolidation of all conservative concerns into one party, under a winner-take-all mindset driven by a very effective conservative media machine, leads to a consolidation of everybody else under a big tent party that can’t organize.

  22. sarah00 says

    Just in case people aren’t aware, the reason for Sturgeon’s statement is that trans rights are in the news once again because Humza Yousaf, the Justice minister, submitted an amendment to his proposed Hate Crime and Public Order bill, which specifically excludes transphobia from the definition of “hate speech”. Pink News reports that:

    The amendment would prevent charges for cases where people’s views solely construe “criticism of matters relating to transgender identity”, which is defined as “identity as a female-to-male transgender person, male-to-female transgender person, a non-binary person, a person who cross-dresses”.

  23. cartomancer says

    If I had to guess – and this is just a guess – why transphobia has found such a fertile soil in British right-wing, tabloid-reading spaces, I would probably look at one aspect of our national character in particular: we have a deeply ingrained cultural antipathy towards openness, honesty and being your authentic self in public.

    I would guess that trans people offend a certain strain of British reservedness so thoroughly because they are being open, honest and authentic in ways we all would secretly like to be but feel we mustn’t because it’s against the whole point of being British. They are in touch with their feelings and willing to talk about it. They are not willing to just go along with and not complain about a system that hurts them for the sake of appearances. That this authenticity takes on a sex-related character makes it doubly problematic, because we still have a culture that treats sex in any context (both gender and intercourse) as an overwhelmingly private business you just don’t talk about in public. There is an unspoken assumption, I believe, that people should feel ashamed of having non-standard sexual and gender impulses, and should keep them quiet so everyone else doesn’t have to engage with them.

    It seems very much a revival of the sort of nasty homophobic stuff you saw everywhere in the 80s and 90s in Britain. I would guess the underlying psychology is similar, and based in the same problems we have with ideas of shame, respectability and repression.

  24. sarah00 says

    @24 acroyear, Wales voted to leave the EU – 52.5% vs 47.5%.

    As to why transphobia is so rampant in the UK, I think it’s because it’s captured the left as much as the right. This article gives one suggestion for its rise,

    gender-critical feminism in the UK grew out of a toxic mix of historical imperialism and the influence of the broader skeptical movement in the early aughts — which was hyperfocused on debunking “junk science” and any idea that considered sociological and historical influence and not just biology.

    The importance of the skeptic community in the rise of transphobia is reiterated in this piece:

    The answer lies in part to the coalescence of a certain set of ideas in a very specific circle of voices in the early 21st century — voices that later went on to hold high profile positions in much of the U.K.’s print and broadcast media….

    While claiming to be the country’s foremost critical thinkers, the group was riddled with anti-humanities bias and a fetish for a certain kind of “science” that it held to reveal a set of immutable principles upon which the world was built with almost no regard whatsoever for interpretative analysis based on social or historical factors. Part of this mode of thinking was an especially reductivist biologism: the idea that there are immutable realities to be found in our DNA, and if we just paid enough attention to Science and stopped trying to split hairs and discover meaning over in the superfluous disciplines of the humanities, then everything would be much simpler. It’s precisely this kind of biological essentialism — which skirts dangerously close to eugenics — that leads people to think they can “debunk” a person’s claim to their gender identity, or that it should be subjected to rigorous testing by someone in a lab coat before we can believe the subject is who they say they are.

    This low-level transphobia simmered away until 2017 when the government launched an inquiry to inform reforms to the Gender Recognition Act. Then things came to a boil and they’ve been boiling ever since. I think the fact that UK mainstream feminism is very much a “white feminist” movement, with the most prominent voices being middle class women in nice jobs talking about middle class issues, rather than the radical feminism that seems to be much more prevalent in the US, has meant that they’ve not only been able to focus much more on these marginal issues than tackle anything meaningful*, but has meant that they’ve not seen that transwomen deserve solidarity rather than resentment.

    *just to clarify, I’m not in any way saying that transgender rights aren’t important, just that that the problems these feminists have with transgender people are scaremongering.

  25. Trevor Sloughter says

    It’s worth remembering though that a lot of the vote for Brexit in Wales came from the English. It’s true a lot of Welsh voted for Brexit too, but what tilted the region as a whole appears to have been (it’s indeed tough to say for sure, let me be clear on that) the places that had the highest percentage of English residents.

    Not that we should discount other reasons they may have voted (receiving EU money and actually understanding the benefits it brings are very different things, especially if you’re still poor, after all) but we should also consider the impact of the English vote in Wales.

  26. Arnaud says

    Garnetstar at #22:

    “But, that is why it is so puzzling to me that the UK seems to have pulled ahead of the US in this one area?”

    They haven’t. At least 44 transgender or non-gender conforming people (many of them POC) have been killed in the US last year. In the UK? None that I could find. Previous years rarely exceed one per year.
    I am with Vole there, you guys are still operating from a moral superiority standpoint, a US exceptionalism if you will, that the past 4 years – to say nothing of the decades before that – should really have torn to shreds. To be honest it will be a long time before I am ready to be lectured on social issues by a US citizen, especially a white, male, middle class one.
    Of particular interest is the fact that in the UK gender reassignment surgery is available on the NHS (yes, I know; there are particular hurdles to pass and there is a waiting list: the waiting time was 9 months in 2018, no idea now with COVID wreaking havoc on all health systems) while in the US… well, we all know the healthcare situation in the US.
    So if you (and I am only talking to the USians here) want to help transgender people there, you may want to stop patting yourself in the back and get to work…

  27. =8)-DX says


    I suspect social media is partly to blame

    Alas, that suspicion is off. It’s very explicitly a combination of groups of terfs funded and boosted by conservative US groups and an exceedingly transphobic and hostile UK press, including nominally “leftwing” publications such as the UK guardian and the Times, but also the BBC which have ramped up a staggering number of transphobic articles, interviews with terfs, scaremongered on bathrooms, HRT, puberty blockers, run harassment campaigns, etc.

    There has been a massive and coordinated anti-trans backlash in the UK, fuelled by rightwing terf groups, transphobic celebrities (such as JKR) and an actively hostile media over the past several (5?) years.

    Love and solidarity to all trans and nonbinary people in the UK.


  28. chrislawson says

    Arnaud@29 — agree with you that transphobia is probably no worse in the UK than the US, but you might want to talk to someone trans about the NHS. It’s not “particular hurdles and a waiting list”. It’s an overtly transphobic process designed to intimidate trans people into abandoning surgery, with senior people in charge being infamous for publishing biased studies about how terrible and avoidable reassignment surgery is. Think of it not as an underfunded public service that would like to do more if it had the resources and more like abortion access in redneck US states where the legislators are not constitutionally allowed to outlaw abortion so instead do whatever they can to make access a cruel saga.

    Transphobia in the NHS also exerts itself in many other ways, too, with almost every trans person having horror stories about how they have been treated by staff in the system.

    This is still superior to the US, which has no public health access to reassignment surgery, but that comes down more to the US having virtually no public health system for anything.

  29. garnetstar says

    Thanks to all for your thoughts on why transphobia may seem to be more prevalent or conspicuous in the UK.

    Arnaud @29, it may be that the perception that the UK is pulling ahead of the US in transphobia is only a perception. But the statistic you cite–that there have been trans people murdered in the US year, but not the UK–isn’t very compelling as a measure of transphobia, because everyone in the US, all groups of people, are more likely to be subject to violence and murder than in a lot of other (well, European, anyway) countries.

    That’s how the US is. Random violence, people of color being murdered by police or by any white person who feels like it, not getting any sort of medical care at all and dying of that, innocent bystanders being shot, domestic partners who kill their victims, beating people up or doing a mass shooting or bombing a building because you’re angry, etc. Everyone has a higher change of dying/being murdered.

    By the time I was 40, three women whom I knew had been murdered. One was an innocent bystander killed by a stray bullet (and she was the daughter of a senator, no one is safe), two were killed by their husband/boyfriend (shot and bludgeoned, respectively). None of them was trans or a woman of color or gay or a member of a discriminated-against group. (The US also has by far the highest number of serial killers of any country.) I mean, in other countries, do people know a fair number of murder victims among their friends and personal acquaintances? It’s just pretty violent here, comparatively.

    Once I saw a cartoon showing a car driving towards a “Welcome to the USA!” banner, and under that, the sign “Trigger Warning.” Yes, literally.

  30. vole says

    As a follow-up to my post yesterday, my thoughts on the size of the mote in the UK’s eye.
    I am not aware of transphobia being a big issue over here. It may well be that I would see things differently if I were a trans person myself, or if I read the tabloid press. Trans people are still rather unusual, and I’m sure they encounter a degree of prejudice from some quarters, but in time they will be accepted, as they should be. Meanwhile they have my sympathy (which I admit doesn’t mean very much, apart from admiring the few trans students who have been brave enough to appear on University Challenge).
    On to JK Rowling and her alleged transphobia. She has set out her position on these matters in a long essay that is freely available on the web. None of the condemnations of her I’ve seen have included any quotes from this essay. The reason is that there is nothing transphobic in it. The people vilifying her either know this, or have not bothered to read the essay at all. What is happening is that her fame is being used to fuel a propaganda campaign. This kind of cynical parasitisation is easily done using social media, and our friends in the USA are highly susceptible to such manipulation. This is how you landed yourselves with Trump for a president. The fact that fewer people here in the UK have succumbed to the propaganda is a matter for pride rather than shame.
    A related matter involves issues of freedom of information and freedom of speech. A few weeks ago I read a review of a book by Abigail Shrier “Irreversible Damage – teenage girls and the transgender craze”. I have not read the book (though I suppose I may now have to!) but I have read several reviews of it. My heart goes out to the young people described in it who have embarked on gender transition, and then – when it was too late – bitterly regretted it, having had irrevocable surgery which may mean they can now never in their lives have an orgasm, either male or female. This is nothing less than genital mutilation. At least one contributor to the present discussion thread has complained about the NHS being reluctant to perform such surgery; I suggest that this reluctance is entirely proper, prudent and compassionate.
    You probably haven’t heard of this book. Amazon has been persuaded to ban promotion of it. I think the ban is a disgrace.
    I am not an activist in this area, and I have been provoked into writing about it at such length only because I have become annoyed by the parrotting of the idea that we in the UK (and JK in particular) are transphobic, which I seem to encounter every time I visit Pharyngula.

  31. kingoftown says

    The United Kingdom wouldn’t necessarily cease to exist when Scotland becomes independant, unification of the crown and political union aren’t the same. Scotland would need to break the act of union by forming a separate Kingdom of Scotland (could be the same monarch, just separate title) or become a republic. Sadly republican sentiment isn’t that high in Scotland but I imagine they probably will give the queen the new title. Don’t know if that would require a coronation though, I would hope they wouldn’t waste money like that.

  32. kingoftown says

    Scotland could be like Canada for example, have the queen be head of state but without a separate title. In that case the queen would be still queen of the (nominally) United Kingdom.

  33. John Morales says


    On to JK Rowling and her alleged transphobia. She has set out her position on these matters in a long essay that is freely available on the web. None of the condemnations of her I’ve seen have included any quotes from this essay.

    Your ignorance is duly noted.

    Here, for you, from Natalie Wynn (Contrapoints): J.K. Rowling.

    Fairly explicit.

  34. vole says

    Sorry, but I’m not prepared to listen to 90 minutes of this rambling. Do you have anything coherent to put forward?

  35. tinkerer says

    Shorter vole:
    “I haven’t noticed a problem so there’s nothing to worry about. Stop talking about it, everything’s fine.”

  36. tinkerer says

    I just watched Contrapoint’s video on J.K.Rowling. Been meaning to for a while so thanks for the reminder, John Morales.

    vole, you really should watch it if you are genuine in wanting to know why Rowling is being criticised. It’s not only coherent, it’s comprehensive. Natalie addresses Rowling’s essay in detail and also references Abigail Shrier’s book. She is actually very sympathetic towards Rowling and explains in detail what’s wrong with the things she says. Basically it’s everything you say you want. Refusing to watch it says a lot about you, none of it good.

  37. KG says

    It’s true that in some respects the Scottish government does more for trans rights than England, but it’s also true that transphobia is rabid across all the parties – Trevor Sloughter@2

    Well, a lot of those who recently left the SNP over the issue have joined my party, the Scottish Green Party. Here are a couple of quotes from the relevant section of our Policy Reference Document (which our MSPs are mandated to follow):

    The Scottish Green Party believes Scotland should be a welcoming and
    safe country for LGBTI+ people. We believe in the right of all
    individuals to live free from harassment, discrimination or
    persecution relating to sexual orientation, gender identity or any
    lawful sexual activity between consenting adults. We acknowledge
    that while significant steps have been taken towards LGBTI+ equality
    in Scotland, including the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland)
    Act 2014, there are still many ways in which LGBTI+ people may face
    discrimination and inequality in society. We recognise that such
    discrimination and inequality particularly affects certain groups
    within the LGBTI+ community, such as trans people, those with any
    minority gender identity, intersex people, and bisexual people.

    We acknowledge that some people, including those who are nonbinary
    or intersex, identify as neither male nor female. We support
    legal recognition of this, such as appropriate options on legal
    documents such as passports. We support the right for transpeople to
    legally self-determine their own agenda [sic – I think that should be “gender” – I’ll bring it to the attention of the relevant committee!] without the need for third party approval.

    Most leadership positions within the party are two-person, of whom at least one must be non-male-identifying – they can identify as women, or as non-binary. There’s a recent podcast on trans rights from one of our co-leaders and a trans woman who is one of our candidates at the Holyrood election here.

    Certainly there is still transphobia within the party, but the party’s position is one of zero tolerance for transphobia as well as for all other forms of bigotry. One of our six MSPs, Andy Wightman, recently left the party (adn refused to resign his seat, as all our MSP candidates agree to do if they leave the party) due to his transphobia: he voted in accordance with party policy on a motion (Amendement 28 to the Forensic Services Bill) where only our MSPs and those of the Liberal Democrats opposed a change which had no legal consequences but was put forward by SNP transphobes as a dog-whistle to their supporters (it replaced the word “gender” with the word “sex” in a clause about individual’s right to be examined by a doctor of their choice). The SNP leadership originally opposed this amendment, but caved in to avoid a visible split. This issue was a trigger for many trans people and their allies leaving the SNP.

    Funny how comments dismissing transphobia as a serious problem almost invariably exemplify the problem they’re dismissing! And yes, I had heard of the book, despite your pretence that mention of it’s very existence has been suppressed.

  38. KG says

    Incidentally, Trevor Sloughter, the SGP is well to the left of either the SNP or Labour (I’d say to the left of Labour of the Corbyn era).

  39. says

    @vole 34
    So people pointing out JKR’s transphobia are liars just because you said so? I can make up shit about you now?

    This is not an invitation forn you to try to bring up a transphobia clam, if you were here in good faith you would not be making simple accusations.

  40. Silentbob says

    @34 vole

    I am not aware of transphobia being a big issue over here. It may well be that I would see things differently if I were a trans person myself

    Hahahahahaha… ya think?

    None of the condemnations of her I’ve seen have included any quotes from this essay. The reason is that there is nothing transphobic in it.

    See this is the problem when you decide to start shooting your mouth off about things of which you are entirely ignorant. Here dickhead.

    You probably haven’t heard of this book.


    I have become annoyed by the parrotting of the idea that we in the UK (and JK in particular) are transphobic

    Well sorry nationalist, but other people including plenty in the UK are utterly disgusted at your notorious transphobia, and there is no obligation whatsoever to turn a blind eye.

    If you’re pissed off by your reputation, complain to the (Murdoch owned) Times which runs one to two anti-trans scaremongering stories a day.

  41. vole says

    Brony @43 Just inviting people to justify the claims of transphobia against JKR, which no-one has attempted to do – apart from an insulting attempt to fob me off with with a 90 minute video. I found the start of it very poor, and am disinclined to invest that much of my time on the strength of assurances that it gets better. A simple statement of the case in words would have been a lot more useful. Perhaps a transcript is available. As it is, the lack of response is noted. As is the questioning of my good faith, and the ritual accusation of transphobia against me.
    I only visit here from time to time, but I have been doing so for quite a few years now. Broadly speaking, I’m on your side. I thought you were all better than this.

  42. John Morales says


    Just inviting people to justify the claims of transphobia against JKR, which no-one has attempted to do – apart from an insulting attempt to fob me off with with a 90 minute video.

    No. I quoted you: “None of the condemnations of her I’ve seen have included any quotes from this essay.”

    I pointed you to a specific example that met your criteria.
    That you haven’t seen such, therefore, is not to say that they don’t exist, but rather that you have chosen not to see.

    BTW, I know damn well you were JAQing, since any halfway competent web search yields thousands of results that match your specific requirements.

    (Whence your claim of “good faith”?)

  43. Silentbob says

    @48 naturalistguy

    Your joking, right? Your link goes to a bog-standard transphobic TERF apologetic with all the usual irrational propaganda.

    (1.) “Cotton-ceiling” conspiracy theory.
    This is the transphobic trope that – simply by existing – trans people are “pressuring” gay people into being attracted to people of the same sex, thus turning them straight! As if that doesn’t sound batshit enough, consider there are like, what?, 20 straight people for every gay person? So the net effect of trans people should be to turn twenty times and many straight people gay, even if we bought into this nonsense. It’s a transparent attempt to demonise trans people.

    (2.) “describing women like we are walking bodily functions”
    This is a deliberate misrepresentation of inclusive language. Healthcare providers, when talking about specific body parts, will say for example, “people with a cervix” should have a pap smear. The point is not everyone with a cervix is a woman, there are also trans masc and non binary people. The whole point is that the people so described are not all woman; for propaganda value TERFs pretend these are insulting terms for women.

    (3). Casual Racism – “A woman from another land… may not know she has a cervix”
    This is a “clutching at straws” excuse TERFs have devised for refusing to acknowledge trans and non-binary people exist: “stupid foreigners will get confused”.

    (4.) Cherry picking of rare examples of trans criminals.
    Statistically, whether in a prison of a public toilet, cis women are orders of magnitude more likely to be assaulted by a cis woman than a trans woman. That’s just a fact.

    (5.) A load of old cobblers about “transvestic fetishism”

    How are we to tell the difference between the bearded man and the bearded transwoman? Between the transitioning transsexual and the sexually motivated creep in the wig who is taking advantage of policies so lax one might as well fling open all the doors, take off the locks and write “predators this way” in flashing lights while thoughtfully supplying some kind of helpful arrow.

    Honestly, do I even need to address this? This is as raw as transphobia gets. Out of the realm of histrionic fantasy, and back in the real world, study after study has shown no correlation whatsoever between trans rights and sexual assault.

    (6.) DARVO
    Stands for deny, attack, reverse victim and offender. Originally a term to describe a typical pattern of abusive behaviour in relationships, it’s been recognised as typical of bigots as well. Here opposition to transphobia is represented as hostility towards women. Meanwhile back in reality, every poll shows a) mostly women support trans rights, b) most women support trans rights (two different but equally true facts). If opposition to transphobia is misogynistic, then it is mostly women, and most women, who are misogynists. Not a very credible claim.

    My advice is be more critical and read more widely. You’ve been duped by transphobic propaganda.

  44. says

    You came here with that “… there is nothing transphobic in it…” bullshit. That is a conclusion.

    Either you engaged with existing claims and discovered they were not transphobic or you did not. Since you did not imeadiately go to why a particular claim was wrong I figured you came here to make people try to prove something to you when you came here.

    Fuck no.

  45. KG says

    Broadly speaking, I’m on your side. – vole@45

    That’s not something you can decide unilaterally.

  46. says


    You probably haven’t heard of this book. Amazon has been persuaded to ban promotion of it. I think the ban is a disgrace.

    You’re a funny one, aren’t you?
    Yes, I have heard about it. Also, if I type it into Google, the first four sponsored hits are ads by Amazon and Audible, which makes your claim that it’s been banned a pretty bold claim to say the least.
    Also, gender critters claiming that we reduce cis women to their bodily functions when they are the ones going on and on about women being defined as uterus and ovaries is pretty rich.
    We are the ones who see women as being much more than a set of physical properties. We are a rich and diverse group of people whose issues will overlap but also diverge and sometimes be opposed to one another’s.

  47. mvdwege says

    And what do you know? The SNP demoted Joanna Cherry from her front bench position today (and she is mad). So yep, that video by Nicola Sturgeon was a clear warning shot.

  48. KG says

    The situation inside the SNP appears to be quite complicated – I haven’t followed it closely myself. The leadership has backed off its previous intention of legislating for trans rights to self-define, and has also moved sharply right on economic issues in the last couple of years, with the “Growth Commission” report, which envisaged a decade of austerity and sticking with the £ sterling after independence. It is also mired in a fight with ex-leader Alec Salmond, who was charged with numerous sexual offences but acquited last year, and also won a court case against the Scottish Government led by his successor and one-time friend Nicola Sturgeon over its enquiry into his conduct. (Actually at his criminal trial one offence was found “Not Proven”, which means: “We think you did it but we’re not sure enough to convict you”, and the things Salmond admitted in the course of his defence should have been enough to see him disgraced.) Anyhow, at the party’s recent internal elections, the leadership suffered bruising defeats from three sides (which in some cases overlapped): from transphobes, from anti-neoliberals, and from Salmondites. At the same time, the party is high in the polls due to Scottish loathing of Johnson and perceived good performance in the pandemic (actually not very good, but better than the UK Government’s), and expects to get an overall majority in the election to the Scottish Parliament in May. Here, and here are articles by leftish SNP supporters of trans rights.

  49. KG says

    Sturgeon has now appealed to those who have recently left the SNP over the leadership’s truckling to transphobes to come back, and has announced that the party will work on a definition of transphobia. There must have been quite a loss of trans and allied members for her to risk drawing attention to the party’s internal ructions in this way! I hear quite a few have joined my own party, the Scottish Greens (which has a very strong stance in support of trans rights), but I don’t have actual numbers.

  50. mvdwege says


    I have a high opinion of Sturgeon as a politician, but I think she let her instincts lead her astray here. It’s obvious she was banking on Cherry’s remaining credit as a major voice for independence to overlook her transphobic statements outside official SNP business, but I think those pushing that change in GRA policy (and I’m quite sure that at least internally Cherry was leading that charge) and the fallout of Cherry not just being a transphobe but an antisemite in public was the last straw.

    Sometimes the fact that she plays close to the vest makes it hard to judge whether she had a plan, or was surprised and is going with the flow. But it appears that the decision has been made that the transphobes are a small enough minority that they will be sidelined; if they’re in favour of independence, where else are they going to go? Certainly not the Greens. And if their independence support is conditional on bigotry, they’re a PR liability.

    As for austerity, I haven’t followed that debate, but it seems plausible that some reorgansition of government finances after Independence is inevitable; and that might make the right-wing of the SNP’s push for austerity measures at least understandable (if still wrong, IMO). Note that in that they are not very different from the mainstream social democratic parties in Europe, they have the same centrist (aka relatively right-wing) factions. We’ll see what happens when they publish their election manifesto.

    As for Salmond: his glib, oily ‘used-car-salesman’ style makes it quite believable to me that he transgressed some boundaries. Obviously not far enough for legal proof, but he is fast becoming radioactive in the Independence movement, from what I can see.