In the West, the lesbian and gay community is living in a time when our rights and identities are suffering the worst assault since the late 1960s. Appallingly, the new assault is coming from the homophobic LGBT+ lobby: a bullying and blinkered movement obsessed with extreme gender ideology that has hijacked the historical lesbian and gay rights movement and is using it as a Trojan horse to destroy the rights of same-sex sexually-oriented people. Rights that have been won at great cost to generations of lesbian and gay activists. Even our history is now being falsified and revised to fit the gender-above-all narrative of the LGBT+ colonisers. The statues of our movement are being defaced with slur-graffiti and are being pulled over by a mantra-chanting mob.
The historical lesbian and gay movement will not be going down without a fight, however; and the hope-filled eyes of our movement’s supporters worldwide, as well as of those supporting women’s sex-based rights and protections and child safeguarding, are currently fixed on what is happening in Britain. Our country is today regarded as the powerhouse and beating heart of the fight against extreme gender totalitarianism. Our colleagues abroad, in other Western countries where the ideological capture is even deeper and more entrenched than it is here, are taking their inspiration from British activists’ courage, determination and resourcefulness; and whenever we have a minor victory here, it resonates with our brothers and sisters abroad who are planning or engaged in their own similar battles.
Our country is today regarded as the powerhouse and beating heart of the fight against extreme gender totalitarianism.
In Britain, feminists and lesbian activists remain at the forefront of the campaign against gender extremism, with the theoretical groundwork having been laid by feminist intellectuals and where there is a degree of synergy, determination and sheer diligence among campaigners that parallels the other crucial occasions over the past 50 years where lesbian and feminist activists intervened so powerfully and effectively during times of crisis.
The first was the campaign for an equal age of consent for gay men, in which lesbians and feminists were passionately involved, even though they personally were not victims of an unequal age of consent. (Heterosexual women had an age of consent of 16, and astonishingly, there was no age of consent at all for lesbian sex at the time.) The second was the committed and powerful intervention by feminists and lesbian activists to support the beleaguered gay male community during the HIV pandemic and the AIDS crisis. The third was the vigorous lesbian and feminist engagement in the campaign against the Conservative government’s “Section 28” legislation that aimed to prevent the “promotion” of homosexuality by local authorities, which included state schools. The interventions were bold and memorable, and included lesbian activists invading a BBC news studio during a live broadcast and abseiling into the House of Lords on a washing line. The current LGBT+ lobby crisis endangers women and girls even more than it does men and boys, and it is heartening to see an increasing number of men becoming politicised and joining the women-led struggle against it.
This all looks encouragingly like the Government is beginning to find its spine and to stand up to the cultural ideology of critical theory that informs extreme gender identity politics.
Recently, there seem to have been some tangible successes with regard to the battle against the homophobic LGBT+ lobby in the UK: welcome green shoots of progress that feel as though they augur well for the future and offer the promise of much more to come. The Queen’s Speech on Tuesday 11 May did, as expected, signal a commitment to ban “conversion therapy”, though the Government’s advice allayed fears that the legislation would satisfy the LGBT+ lobby’s demand for a law that would act as a tool to criminalise professionals who reject the “affirmation” model of therapy for people who report themselves to be transgender, or who are suffering from gender dysphoria: a model that leads to the medical transitioning of lesbian and gay children, and others, who have been brainwashed and groomed into believing they are transgender. For lesbian and gay children, self-identification as “transgender” asserts the implication they are simply heterosexual but in the wrong body – a false belief that will provide some comfort to homophobic parents and also to many psyches that have internalised homophobia and are struggling against acceptance of their lesbian or gay identity.
Furthermore, the Government has stated: “We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, and does not have unintended consequences … We will ensure medical professionals, religious leaders, teachers and parents can continue to be able to have open and honest conversations with people.” This all looks encouragingly like the Government is beginning to find its spine and to stand up to the cultural ideology of critical theory that informs extreme gender identity politics. The LGBT+ lobby, of course, is very unhappy that its hopes to impose a Brave New World of medically transitioned children and criminalised psychotherapists is not going to plan in Britain.
The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will introduce the prospect of fines for universities that fail to protect legitimate free speech on university campuses, imposing new obligations on university administrations and also on student unions.
Not only that, but the Queen’s Speech also contained a promise to protect free speech at universities. The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will introduce the prospect of fines for universities that fail to protect legitimate free speech on university campuses, imposing new obligations on university administrations and also on student unions. The Office for Students – England’s regulator for higher education – will have the authority to fine institutions for free speech breaches, and academics, students and visiting speakers will be able to seek compensation for any financial loss resulting from such a breach. This is obviously very good news for gender-critical speakers who currently experience an extreme gender mob trying to no-platform them when they try to speak in defence of lesbian and gay, women’s and children’s rights in the face of LGBT+ lobby ideology. There are often attempts to no-platform gender-critical people even when they are speaking on a completely unrelated topic. Just as the homophobic LGBT+ lobby attempts to erase the very identity of lesbian and gay people by redefining us as “same-gender attracted” when our sexual orientation is emphatically same-sex attracted, it is also trying to erase gender critical people completely from the public square: whether as speakers, as employees, as businesspeople, or as parents trying to protect their children from serious, irreversible harm.
Secretary of State for Communities, Robert Jenrick, has committed to amending building regulations and planning guidance in order to make separate female and male toilets and changing rooms obligatory in new buildings or those in a state of development.
Even more recently, we heard that the Secretary of State for Communities, Robert Jenrick, has committed to amending building regulations and planning guidance in order to make separate female and male toilets and changing rooms obligatory in new buildings or those in a state of development. Toilets and changing rooms are, of course, one of the fronts on which extreme gender ideology fights. So that is another spoke in the wheel for an LGBT+ lobby that is as committed to eviscerating women’s sex-based rights and protections at least as much as it is to erasing LGB rights and children’s rights. The Secretary of State has decided that buildings that also have a unisex toilet provision will need to provide completely self-contained cubicles that include washbasins. The Telegraph has reported that, according to a Parliamentary “insider”, the Government’s response will “address misconceptions that removing sex-specific toilets are a requirement of equality legislation,” and “The proposals will also bring building rules in line with existing statutory requirements for mixed sex toilet provision in schools.”
Quite apart from developments in the Government that indicate the LGBT+ lobby’s attempts to colonise the Conservative Party hierarchy are not going to plan, many of us will be aware of other recent positive developments that signal the gender critical fightback is clearly gaining traction. Particularly heartening developments include the burgeoning number of gender-critical people willing to speak out on social media and indeed other media, including under their own names; the excellent new books and pamphlets being published; the new discussions and presentations on YouTube; the new documentaries that have been released and are currently in production; the formidable teams spearheading legal opposition, with the ability of the gender-critical movement to raise very large sums of money to fight these cases; and the willingness of people to work in a spirit of comradeship and solidarity across party political groupings. It feels, at least to me, as though there will be no going back. Our rights have been won as a result of decades of blood, sweat and tears. We did not allow bigotry, ignorance and viciousness to overcome us during previous times in our movement, and we have absolutely no intention of doing so today. While activists in Britain set this campaign in motion and continue to work towards a critical mass of active public support, gender-critical people in the rest of the world are watching and waiting with hopeful expectation.
Gary Powell is a gay man and has been active in gay politics since 1980. He is the Research Fellow for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at the Bow Group and the European Special Consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.