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Staffers at The Guardian object to women's rights column

338 Guardian staffers believe that the debate over trans ideology has been fully decided and that no further conversation is necessary.
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY

Staff at The Guardian penned a letter to management that they would no longer tolerate the outlet’s transphobic coverage. This was after the publication of Suzanne Moore’s on women’s right to organize. Though The Guardian has posted many articles in favor of trans ideology, the handful it has published that are in opposition to the view that men are women apparently go too far for many Guardian writers.

The letter had been signed by 338 Guardian staffers when it was sent to editor-in-chief Katharine Viner on March 6. It was in protest of the “pattern of publishing transphobic content” at the outlet. The letter referenced a fellow staffer who had quit over Moore’s article, no longer feeling safe as a transgender person in the office.

It reads: “We are also disappointed in The Guardian’s repeated decision to publish anti-trans views. We are proud to work at a newspaper which supports human rights and gives voice to people underrepresented in the media. But the pattern of publishing transphobic content has interfered with our work and cemented our reputation as a publication hostile to trans rights and trans employees.”

Viner defended her editorial decision to publish Moore’s article, stating that she would “never shy away from difficult or divisive subjects,” and criticizing staff for making the letter public.

The letter makes it clear that these 338 staffers believe that the debate over trans ideology and what constitutes a woman has been fully decided and that no further conversation is necessary. Their perspective is that women who disagree, who believe that biological sex is immutable, are fundamentally wrong about the state of nature and need to be silenced, or at least not given space in print at The Guardian.

Moore had been writing about Selina Todd, a woman’s activist who was disinvited from speaking at a women’s rights advocacy event that she had helped organize. Todd was asked to not attend because she had spoken at Woman’s Place UK, which does not advocate for trans inclusion as part of its platform. This ejection of Todd was infuriating to many women, who believe that as women’s rights are folded into the broader category of gender rights, the needs of women are being marginalized or erased.

“Female oppression is innately connected to our ability to reproduce,” Moore writes. “Women have made progress by talking about biology, menstruation, childbirth and menopause. We won’t now have our bodies or voices written out of the script. The materiality of having a female body may mean rape or it may mean childbirth – but we still seek liberation from gender. In some transgender ideology, we are told the opposite: gender is material and therefore can be possessed by whoever claims it, and it is sex as a category that is a social construction. Thus, sex-based rights, protected in law, can be done away with.”

This fight over the definition of sex and gender was once primarily about compassion, about ensuring that those individuals who wished to live according to the stereotypical dictates of the opposite sex did not suffer violence or discrimination. Trans advocacy was an ask for inclusion in the fundamental basics of human life. But this has, in many ways, morphed into a kind of trans exceptionalism where in the hierarchy of victimization, those men who wish to present as women are at the bottom of the oppression food chain.

And the people who are holding up the rights of men to squash women’s rights in favor of their own are often women who have been cowed by the ask for compassion to the point where they don’t even recognize their own distinctiveness from male bodies in dresses, or perhaps are just not willing to speak it.

The past ten years have seen a capitulation by women to the concept that a woman is simply a feeling, a try on, a costume to be co-opted. But there has been a shift in recent months as more women get wind of just what has been going on in the most progressive sectors of gender theory. Todd and Moore are two of the women who are speaking up against it, facing cancellations and mean letters are only two of the consequences we have seen.

There have been women who were arrested and tried over “transphobic tweets,” women who were punched, threatened in person and online. Yet more women keep coming out and expressing their belief that women’s sex-based rights matter. If arrests, threats, and deplatformings won’t stop women from asserting their rights, neither will letter writing campaigns.

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Libby Emmons
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