Calling Out Celebrity Supporters of Gender Self-ID

[This piece extended in many footnotes
below the line since original publication

The cast of blue-tick players is:

      • @glinner – Graham Linehan (since banned from Twitter)

– vs –

The recent round started with this Tweet, for which Glinner has got a fair bit of stick @tagging in the cast and thereby encouraging a “pile-on”, but so far none of those tagged has addressed the substantive issue(s).

When it comes to the TERF War, I’ve already said many times Glinner is on the right side of this. (Along with others like J K Rowling and Martina Navratilova). A large part of my own efforts is to rectify the fact that women’s contributions to my main agenda – cybernetics [in the original intended sense(*)] – are criminally overlooked. Self-ID has also been a long-standing topic in that space too. Identity full stop. (See latest example in the #BLM context). Self-ID is a great starting-point for all socio-political constructs, but it is always bounded by natural science. The reason it crosses my agenda so much is that so much of the business of science is itself a matter of political choice – memes, orthodox and radical. (But that’s a longer story.)

Glinner – long short story, as I’ve said many times – is on the right side of this, and has made a conscious choice to put his career on hold – maybe damage it irreparably – whilst he makes a nuisance of himself campaigning on the subject. The gloves are off, he’s breaking more than a few eggs, annoying a few in the process – shit happens.

Frankie – I’m a big fan of, for his wise political commentary wrapped-up in his immense creative and ruthless wit – the “raw truth teller”. Many positive references to Frankie in the ongoing subject matter of this blog. I’ve certainly let him know over Twitter that opinions he’s expressed on Gender Identity are uncharacteristically wrong, disappointingly so.

Billy – is a national treasure for his socialist campaigning. Like most campaigners, sometimes on the naïve side of complex reality even as his heart is always in the right place. I love him as much as anyone but again, on Gender Identity – he’s fallen for the “freedom fetish” and landed on the wrong side of this one. I’ve let him know I think so on Twitter too.

Owen – is a professionally nasty twat, but one that seems (or seemed) to be influential in the more naïve (brother Corbyn) reaches of the modern Labour party. He is young after all and suffering from the delusion that he’s a journalist. (Naturally, I’m already blocked.) Owen perpetuates and spreads the “Glinner is anti-Trans” mis-info that reinforces the TERF meme.

In fact, recent pre-Keir policy pronouncements by the Labour party – not yet corrected (Lisa Nandy?) – are a major part of the problem in the UK. Turning a complex set of socio-biological isuues into a political minefield where individual freedoms have become the weapons of choice – the rights & freedoms fetish. Misguided, like all ideology. (Another long story, much covered in this blog.)


(*) Cybernetics as in – the governance and management of the world including especially the human world. The combination of men and women in that is not only greater than the sum of the parts, in so many areas it is overlooked that the female contribution is greater than the male component. It’s been a mantra or mine since it formed a conclusion in my Master’s research in the late 80’s. I consider myself a radical feminist. Vive la différance.


Biological sex / gender is as real as anything else we consider real (*) in everyday life – a great piece from Jonah Mix – and as close to the metaphysical level of my own agenda as anything I’ve seen. (This is what trolleyology is for, though it’s an actual train in the example.)

Alice Dreger / Intersex & Gender Dysphoria – this is not a new topic for me. This post from last year gathers together my 3 or 4 most considered pieces on the topic back to 2015. And “Identity” policy in general is a long recurring theme, referenced in these older posts.


Couldn’t resist capturing these two recent tweets for posterity:


More Post Notes – 16 June 2020:

This topic rolls on at pace, with plenty of the traffic on Twitter, so I’m not doing fresh posts for every development. Obviously the JK Rowling thread got wound-up when she wrote her long considered piece, and the venomous pile-on continued not just on social media but in mainstream media too, the despicable Mail included.

The cast of blue-ticks missing the point grew to include the actual cast from several of her Harry Potter film franchise. Nothing has changed with the underlying issues. Two items resurfaced here:

“Rejecting CIS-classification” – a long-standing industrial problem for as long as I’ve been involved in ontologies based on the principles of taxonomic classification or clades. Approaching 30 years explicitly, 45 implicitly, in my case, but at least as old as the greeks. It’s related to the “I am my own grandpa” paradox, but that skips an inheritance level. The CIS problem (*) is a class that discovers a direct subclass with the same name just one level down. It arises everywhere where most experience of the class is from knowledge of a main subclass. One really is a subclass of the other, but the naming arose in isolated contexts. The conflict only arises when the contexts bump into each other. Women discover Trans “Women” are a subclass of Women – so we invent a new superclass of Womeny-things, of which Women (cis-Women) suddenly find themselves assigned to a subclass alongside trans-Women. “Trans-women are women” goes the mantra. Well I’ve got news – Hedge Sparrows are not Sparrows. Something’s always gotta give. At the very least attributes, properties, (rights, freedoms) of the original class move with them rather than being shared with the new superclass and all subclasses. Work is required to resolve – there is no magic answer, since all the classes have – non-ergodic – histories about how they came to be. It’s not that the new classes can’t be accommodated, just that which classes and superclasses inherit which properties isn’t automatic. No wonder living women reject their reclassification as cis-women. When some of those properties are individual freedoms / human rights they inevitably come into conflict and need to be resolved, neither nor both can be absolute. It’s a freedom-fetish for either to insist they’re absolute.

[(*) I should say the cis naming for not-trans is applied only by metaphorical parallel with “normal” and opposite molecular arrangements in chemistry. Normal is another word that needs rehabilitating, but that’s not a hill I’m planning to die on.]

“Nothing to do with Intersex or Dysphoria” @artymortyarty is right that the current conflict has “nothing to do with” intersex or dysphoria. Women are rejecting certain trans-women’s rights where they conflict with hard-won women’s rights. (They’re not rejecting trans-women, nor trans generally, or the fact Trans have individual human rights, notice, simply certain rights where conflict requires resolution.) The reason this issue has nothing to do with intersex or dysphoria is because the trans-women in conflict are more-or-less biologically orthodox males – who “Self-ID” as women. If they weren’t the rights in question  wouldn’t conflict. When it comes to gender, sex does matter. They’re as real as each other, but different. When it comes to resolving the whole trans / sex / gender taxonomy above the – rare – borderline cases do matter – all lives matter – but that’s not what the current Trans-activist vs TERF war is about.

It’s really just a terrible misunderstanding that needs respectful dialogue to resolve.

This piece – already linked above – says some of this better, and links to @AliceDreger in context, my “goto” on this topic. My original interest was meta – the disfigurement of science by politics and the consequences for individuals in society – the gender wars are simply a topical example, still:

Gender Dysphoria and Trans-Activism

And today 17 June 2020, Alice re-entered the fray with this simple tweet:

Thank you, Alice.

2 thoughts on “Calling Out Celebrity Supporters of Gender Self-ID”

  1. I have been avoiding public comment on this issue, precisely because of the furious polarisation it produces (even on Skeptic forums) along with industrial levels of abuse. But that’s really pretty much cowardice and self censorship. I would hate (irony…) to think that a distal fear of getting entangled in considerations about hate-speech that are having the chilling effect that they are obviously designed to produce. I’m pretty much in agreement with your position and that of many feminists who have weighed in, but will take the opportunity to follow the links and at least keep up to date.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.