“That’s not how it works”

James Kirkup of The Spectator has written many articles that unquestionably parrot the propaganda of anti-trans bigots, but he reached a new low this week with the story of sniggering arsehole David Lewis.

Lewis is – or rather, was; Labour suspended him for, well, being a sniggering arsehole – standing for election as a women’s officer in his local Labour Party. Hilariously, he says he identifies as a woman “on Wednesdays, between 6.50am when my alarm goes off and around midnight when I go to bed.”

Lewis’s motive (other than look-at-me self-publicity) was to raise awareness of, you’ve guessed it, the sinister trans agenda. Unfortunately by setting out to prove how easy it is to abuse the system, he ended up demonstrating that it isn’t easy to abuse the system. This is what the internet calls a self-own.

In The Guardian, James Morton wrote a thoughtful response to the stunt.

Self-declaration is not a frivolous process. Making a false statutory declaration is a serious crime of perjury. Evidence of malicious intent, whether it be to invade women’s safe spaces or to try to make a mockery of the very real struggles that trans people face to live their lives as who they are, could rightfully lead to severe penalties including up to two years in prison.

Anti-trans campaigners who treat this process as if they can just wake up one morning and say they are a woman or a man and change nothing else about their lives are mocking not only trans people but the concept of identity itself. Identity is not some random feeling we have just on Wednesdays or Fridays, but our deeply held sense of ourselves and how we fit into the world.

…Puerile stunts, deliberate misgendering and hateful comparisons to parasites and paedophiles is not constructive discussion.

The good news is that, like shouting “penis” during televised debates, these stunts tend to backfire terribly. The vocal activism of anti-trans activists within Labour (many of whom are currently being suspended from Twitter for repeated acts of hateful and harassing conduct) has led Labour to double down on its support for trans people. On the left, some of the most radical voices are standing alongside trans people and arguing that it’s the anti-trans crowd who are hateful and dangerous. On the right, Theresa May has reaffirmed her support for Gender Recognition Act reform: “being trans is not an illness and it shouldn’t be treated as such.”

And it isn’t a lifestyle choice, either. I didn’t choose to be trans, but you can choose whether you want to treat trans people with basic human dignity or be like Kirkup and Lewis. One day even they’ll see sense: