Julie Fucking Bindel and No Platform
Soho Skeptics is a group of people organising interesting talks and debates under a Skeptics banner in Soho. Their next event is entitled The Battle Over Gender and features Gia Milovich, Adrian Dalton, Bethany Black and… Julie Fucking Bindel.
Insults, threats and abuse have been hurled between trans activists and radical feminists for the past few years. The general public knows little if anything about the raging war between them; not the reasons for the hostilities nor the extent of the damage. Neither side is innocent.
The battle is about an idea: Gender. What is it? Is it socially constructed? Is it an innate male or female self that exists separately from one’s biological sex? Most importantly, who will get to define it? Also, are trans* activists biological essentialists? Or is it the radical feminists who are the biological essentialists? What the hell is biological essentialism anyway? And finally, can we just agree that we all hate Richard Littlejohn and get on with getting on?
Soho Skeptics is going to attempt to find some common ground in a night of personal stories, discussion and comedy.
The advertising hit Twitter yesterday and, unsurprisingly, some people were pissed.
Julie Fucking Bindel invited to discuss gender. What were they thinking?
Julie Fucking Bindel at an event means that the space is not a safe space for many people (and I would include myself in that). In her writing she has consistently shown herself to be transphobic, biphobic as well as viewing sexuality itself as a political choice.
Some of the people I follow were repeating the no-platform mantra. While I detest Julie Bindel, I also detest no-platform. I don't think they work except in very, very limited circumstances, and outside of those circumstances, I believe the freedom of speech and the duty of opponents to shout and humiliate are more important. Demanding no platform suggests that you are scared of them, produces a set of gatekeepers to public opinion we should all be trying to avoid creating and, in the majority of cases, gives them the ability to whine on unchallenged on the platforms they do have about how badly they've been treated making us look like the aggressor (warning link contains unfiltered Julie Fucking Bindel).
So, yeah, I'm not going to be calling for no- platform against Julie Fucking Bindel.
What I am going to do is hope that the other people on the panel (who I don't know well enough to judge) can show up Julie Fucking Bindel for the bigot she is and send her home thoroughly humiliated and that good can come out this and that people who don't feel threatened by the presence of Julie Fucking Bindel will see that even the idea of debating whether people's gender identities should be respected is a disgusting position to start from. I am going to hope that they are so disgusted by her view they start to challenge it where they see it.
And then I'm going to hope that Skeptics groups leave off on arguing about whether people's gender identities deserve respect for a very long time and don't ever mention Julie Fucking Bindel as a source of anything other than anguish and pain ever again.