“It’s a man, baby!” was a mistaken notion and part of comedy when uttered by fictional British spy Austin Powers in 1997. But expressing this sentiment in today’s Britain — even where it applies — can get you in big trouble, as a 38-year-old mother of two found out the hard way.
As the Daily Mail reports:
A mother was arrested in front of her children and locked up for seven hours after referring to a transgender woman as a man online.
Three officers detained Kate Scottow at her home before quizzing her at a police station about an argument with an activist on Twitter over so-called ‘deadnaming’.
The 38-year-old, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, had her photograph, DNA and fingerprints taken and remains under investigation.
More than two months after her arrest on December 1, she has had neither her mobile phone or [sic] laptop returned, which she says is hampering her studies for a Masters in forensic psychology.
Writing on online forum Mumsnet, Mrs Scottow — who has also been served with a court order that bans her from referring to her accuser as a man — claimed: ‘I was arrested in my home by three officers, with my autistic ten-year-old daughter and breastfed 20-month-old son present.
‘I was then detained for seven hours in a cell with no sanitary products (which I said I needed) before being interviewed then later released under investigation ... I was arrested for harassment and malicious communications because I called someone out and misgendered them on Twitter.’
The arrest was the result of a complaint by “transgender” activist Stephanie Hayden, a man whose name was Anthony Halliday until he changed it in accordance with his delusion of being female.
Calling him Anthony Halliday, however, is essentially illegal now in much of the Western world. British screenwriter Graham Linehan learned this last year when he became the defendant in the U.K. High Court’s first deadnaming case: Hayden sued him “for defamation and harassment after he allegedly published a series of tweets ‘deliberately misgendering’ her by using her previous male name,” reported the Telegraph.
All this is occurring while actual crime explodes in Britain and often goes unsolved. London surpassed N.Y.C. in homicides last year, and only “four per cent of robberies and three per cent of burglaries were solved in England and Wales in 2017,” as the Daily Mail informed in 2018.
Yet while the above is blamed on, in part, strained U.K. police resources, authorities still have officers available to stifle unfashionable speech. For example, RT reported in 2017 that apprehensions for “hate speech” online were up almost 900 percent in some areas since 2014, with police arresting nine people daily in the U.K. and, in 2016, 867 in London alone.
Worse still, a proposed 2017 British measure could have visited 15 years in prison on those merely viewing the wrong kind of website.
And so it continues. As the Hertfordshire Police said, defending their arrest of poor Mrs. Scottow, “We take all reports of malicious communication seriously.”
Moreover, last month, “a docker in Northern England was informed by the police in Humberside that he would be the subject of a formal investigation for tweeting out a limerick about transgender people,” reports LifeSite. “Several weeks after that, the police in Suffolk contacted a 74-year-old woman, and an officer asked her to stop tweeting comments critical of transgender ideology, and to perhaps consider deleting some of her previous social media posts.”
Note, too, that while we don’t have hate-speech laws in the United States (yet), people in our country are already facing social stigmatization and career destruction for resisting the transgender agenda.
Some will sincerely ask, however: Why not just address people as they wish? Isn’t this an imperative of politeness?
Well, aside from the burden (and impossibility) of keeping track of innumerable and often-shifting personal pronoun preferences and the latest terms du jour, there’s a more significant matter: The side defining the vocabulary of a debate, wins the debate.
As I explained last year:
I and many others are firmly convinced that a man cannot “transition,” cannot “become a female,” and that claiming otherwise is highly destructive to society. Referencing a man claiming womanhood with the pronouns “she” and “her,” however, would be a tacit acknowledgment that his claim is valid. It would not only be a violation of conscience, but would amount to mortally handicapping oneself in the debate. You may as well expect a gun-control proponent to argue while identifying himself as “anti-self-defense.”
So this isn’t just semantics. As Victor Klemperer, a German Jew who survived the Nazi era, wrote in The Language of the Third Reich (1957):
“Nazism permeated the flesh and blood of the people through single words, idioms and sentence structures which were imposed upon them in a million repetitions and taken on board mechanically and unconsciously.
“Language does not simply write and think for me, it also increasingly dictates my feelings and governs my entire spiritual being the more unquestioningly and unconsciously I abandon myself to it.... Words can be like tiny doses of arsenic; they are swallowed unnoticed, appear to have no effect, and then after a little time the toxic reaction sets in after all.” [Hat tip: Richard M. Ebeling.]
Expecting the opposing side to debate using your terminology is wholly unreasonable. Such a debate is not a debate but just the pretense thereof, a kangaroo-court version of social inquiry. It’s the demand of people who fear they’re wrong — and don’t want to let you prove it.
Photo: cupcakegill/iStock/Getty Images Plus