Our open letter criticising her leadership at the Society of Authors provoked a rebuttal. Here’s our response:
I am so pleased this is being taken up by you and your colleagues. I am the mother of an autistic 17yo girls who has been on the Tavistock waiting list for 5 years, and offered no counselling or support in the interim because the affirmative approach is enshrined in schools, social services, GP practices and CAHMS - even though, privately, all those we deal with disagree with the approach, especially in my child’s case. I cannot speak out for fear of being labelled transphobic. To complicate issues, I am about to start a PhD in creative writing (including writing a novel) on the theme of ‘representations of mothers and motherhood in domestic noir crime fiction’, and even my supervisor worries that we will not be allowed to used terms such as ‘mother’ or ‘motherhood’ in my final dissertation. I cannot speak up publicly as to do so risks alienating a child who has yet to realise they cannot changed sex and that gender ideology is a poisonous cult that may, ultimately, harm them. It puts my future employability within the academic arena at risk as I may not be hired in academia as a ‘gender atheist’. But, lastly, I have two novels I have almost completed as part of my MA, for which I have received distinctions and encouragement to submit to agents. I cannot risk tainting my reputation by vocalising my opinion that, whilst I firmly believe all persons who have transitioned medically and who qualify for a GRC should be offered compassion, protection and the freedom to live their lives safely, I also know that biological sex is immutable and that a balance needs to be achieved between ensuring the rights of transitioning/transitioned individuals against those of biological women. That I cannot expect the SoA or other bodies to support me should I imply my position on this - or other issues - at any point is an insidious erosion of my right to speak freely as I know I have no safety net, no support and no protection should I become the target of bullies and receive threats. The SoA’s conduct, its refusal to condemn the tweets and conduct of its Management Ctee Chairperson, has just proved that we do not have free speech, regardless of the laws which are supposed to protect us.
As a writer and literature worker, I believe that everyone involved in the industry should enjoy the freedom to express themselves creatively and feel able freely to debate matters of social and cultural concern. I think disagreement is a sign of a healthy democracy - and should not be readily ascribed to hatred, fear or be seen as evidence of a need for some kind of 're-education.' The chair of the organisation that represents all authors officially, needs to enjoy the confidence of a broad spectrum of writers. They must also be willing to advocate actively on behalf of those whose views differ from their own.
Bravo. As a recently and permanently booted from Twitter for using the word dude sort of homo: solidarity. Your work and voice is so important.
It's laughable that Harris and the SoA think that being suspended or banned from Twitter is proof of anything bad.
Great letter Julie. I have shared it on the Local Standing for Women’s twitter page
“Twitter does not list “sex” among its protected characteristics, and has frequently suspended and banned users, most of them women, for simply asserting that sex is real, or referring to a person’s sex in situations where sex, not gender identity, is relevant, such as sport.”
Just another thing to point out—sex is a protected class in the United States where the company is based. I think someone can make an argument that this would qualify as sex-based discrimination.
Thank you. That's all ... thank you.
Worth a read… ‘A Manifesto for Humans: On Art, Writing, and Life.’ By Con She https://con-she.com/2022/08/16/a-manifesto-for-humans-on-art-writing-and-life/
I am the father of two young adults: a son who is a he/him and a daughter who is a confused emotional wreck. She was in a committed relationship with a young man who, two years into their courtship, decided to 'transition'. My daughter stuck with him/her for a further three years before being dumped hard. Her own sense of identity remains shattered.
I agree with your robust defence of your open letter and agree there has been a muddle at the top of SoA between personal views and the views that should be standard for a tremendous organisation.