When you’re discussing a topic solely on the grounds of whether or not someone is allowed to talk about something, you’re able to completely sidestep ever having to address the actual content. If you want to have a “discussion” about something, then discuss it.
But instead, these guys all stand around having a “discussion” about whether or not they’re even allowed to have discussions, despite regularly having this content-free meta-debate in front of massive audiences that critics can’t match.
It allows them to avoid ever having to actually say anything. And they know it.
It’s a typically good, well-researched and cited piece, and it goes to the heart of the problem over the so-called trans debate: it’s not a debate. One side publishes or broadcasts a constant flow of bullshit, and as soon as they’re criticised they retreat behind their cancel culture wagons.
And that’s because all of these stories “just asking questions” aren’t about trying to figure out a world where we can all exist, but what society should do about us and tous. We are not included in this discussion, and our efforts to participate in it at our smaller blogs and newsletters, etc. never gain traction. Instead, it’s, “Hey, look, a trans person tweeted an insult at me, see how unreasonable they are?”
We have a right to be a part of this conversation, and when we push back on things like publishing a glowing review of a book written by an anti-trans activist that’s filled with straight-up false information that demonstrates that the book hasn’t been fact-checked properly (see? there’s that word again, properly) and is written by someone who is friendly with the author, it’s not us saying, “OMG, you’re not allowed to write about this! OMG! Stoppppppp!” it’s us saying, “You’re not upholding even the tiniest, most minimal standards. You are letting your biases run wild and you are failing at the very concept of journalism.”
Not to mention that a year later, the author of that book (that got the glowing NYT review) would call trans people “a huge problem to a sane world,” “damaged,” and then say she wanted “reducing or keeping down the number of people who transition.”
As Sally Claire recalls her university journalism tutor saying: “If someone says it’s raining, and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out the fucking window and find out which is true.” Too many journalists would rather brick the fucking windows up so nobody can call out their incompetence and malevolence.