“I’d rather you did some real police work.”
Jordan Peterson came to the defense of an elderly feminist on Monday after police warned her about a blog post she wrote asserting that transgender activists are delusional when it comes to gender.
Margaret Nelson, a 74-year-old resident of Suffolk County, got the “trigger warning” via an early morning phone call from local police. By her account and theirs, the purpose of the call was to alert her that they were gets complaints about her online activity.
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According to Nelson, they were particularly concerned with a Jan. 19 tract in which she noted that sex is biological and immutable. Those “irritable transgender people and their chum” who vilify defenders of these facts hold an “absurd” and “nonsensical” ideology, Nelson said.
She went out of her way to acknowledge that gender is real, too. But she said that unlike biology ― which she morbidly invoked with repeated references to corpses ― it is always a construct of a particular society. Trans people, she pointed out, are lucky to live in “relatively liberal societies” like Britain, where they are free to “express themselves as they please.”
What Nelson objected to was trans activists’ claims to moral superiority over people like her who believe in science and seek to protect “women’s hard won rights.”
“We are entitled to our safe spaces, to representation in women’s organisations, including political ones, to prizes and awards specifically for women, and to compete on equal terms in athletics and sports where male physical strength and size would put us at a disadvantage. And there are very good reasons why there are separate prisons for men or women, and no good reasons to change this.”
“So, in conclusion,” she wrote, “you die as you were born, whichever sex that was. That’s a fact.”
Nelson, a former teacher and journalist, wrote the blog post as a followup to a Twitter debate about proposed changes to the UK Gender Recognition Act, which would let anyone legally change their gender without surgery, thereby giving such avowals precedence over biological gender. She opposed the reforms.
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After getting the warning call from the police on Monday, Nelson politely reported the experience to Twitter, sparking a conflagration in the culture wars. It was the usual back and forth, except that it got big enough so that Nelson was making repeated appearances and statements in the British press.
She told the Ipswitch Star that police had told her to “tone down” her blogging.
What a way to start the day! 2 early cold callers, one saying they're from the "call-blocking department", and a policewoman to tell me my online activity has caused offense to "transgenders", though she agreed a blog post wasn't untrue. Whoever's been offended tracked me down!
— Margaret Nelson (@Flashmaggie) February 4, 2019
When the police sought to downplay their call to Nelson, she riposted with a list of online attacks by trans activists against trans-critical feminists like herself.
Sorry you've been inundated as a result of my tweet. Maybe your colleagues will think twice before raising that sort of awareness again. Many of us are very well aware of what transgender activists think about us. This website covers it. https://t.co/CoaA5V1Kyr
— Margaret Nelson (@Flashmaggie) February 4, 2019
Then, well after the sun had set on grey Suffolk County, Peterson brought his blinding intellect and his more than 1 million Twitter followers to bear on behalf of Nelson. The clinical psychologist ― who rose to international fame and infamy for protesting regulation of his speech about transgender people in his native Canada ―suggested that the Suffolk Police focus on actual crimes rather than the thought variety.
How about you go raise your awareness about crime and let your damn citizens say what they think? https://t.co/dftoAOd6kV
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) February 4, 2019
Rapper Cardi B might have deemed it a “dog walking.”
The following day, the police issued a full-throated apology and promised to change their ways.
Over the last 24 hours there has been a social media debate over the way we handled a complaint about a blog. Today we have issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/jtOvIftHth
— Suffolk Police (@SuffolkPolice) February 5, 2019
The Suffolk Police were not the first British law enforcers to get involved in regulating speech. A few months ago, the South Yorkshire Police encouraged civilians to report “non-crime hate incidents” that “feel like crimes.”
Last month, a British dockworker was investigated for 20 minutes by a police officer for retweeting a rowdy limerick about trans women being men.
“We need you to check your thinking,” the police constable told the docker.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the newly empowered Democrats are also pushing legislation on behalf of trans people.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced on Monday that she will promote legislation to protect trans soldiers, as well as bring a trans Navy lieutenant commander to the State of the Union address. She said the bill was a response to President Donald Trump’s “cruel” ban on trans service members, which was revived last month by the Supreme Court.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to use her new House majority to advance the Equality Act, a bill that would codify protections against LGBT discrimination, including special guarantees for trans people to be regarded in federal spaces according to their self-identified gender rather than their biological sex.
However, not everyone has gotten on board. A number of “trans-exclusionary radical feminists,” as they are derogatorily called on the left, last week sought to block the Equality Act by aligning with conservatives and in one case ambushing a transgender woman who was advocating for the bill on Capitol Hill.
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