By Jonathon Van Maren
If you ever wondered what it looks like to see a once glorious nation die in pettiness and squalor, direct your gaze to the United Kingdom for a moment.
Once an Empire that ruled the waves and dominated the world, it is now a place where Catholic journalists can get persecuted for referring to a biological male as a female and the parents of autistic children can have their kids taken from their home if they refuse to believe that their child may actually be the opposite gender. Worse, it seems as if these stories—which multiply almost daily—barely make a ripple in the pond of public opinion anymore.
First, the journalist. Caroline Farrow, the mother of five children, noted on Monday that the mother of a “transgender woman”—a biological male—had reported her to the cops after she sent out some tweets supposedly “misgendering” a transgender person after an appearance on Good Morning Britain five months ago. Farrow, a broadcaster and pundit who has appeared on the BBC and Sky News, was stunned when she received a call from the police in Guildford informing her that she was expected to turn up for an interview, and that if she did not, she would be arrested. She is being investigated for the crime of misgendering a transgender person (by referring to a biological male who had not undergone sex-change surgery as someone’s “son”).
This might seem like a joke, but it is deadly serious. Police are apparently attempting to determine whether Farrow has “breached the Malicious Communications Act” by being “malicious or obscene,” and if she is found guilty, she could face a two-year prison sentence. On Twitter, Farrow pointed out that she had not even intended to misgender anyone as she usually tries to use gender-neutral pronouns to avoid offense, and that, “When I was referring to Susie Green taking her ‘son’ to Thailand [for a sex change operation] I felt he was her son because he had not undergone the operation yet. It was the whole conversation around what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. I am disgusted, appalled, and really shaken up that the police have got involved with this.”
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Susie Green, the activist who reported Farrow to the cops, runs a transgender charity called Mermaids—and it is worth noting that Britain’s first transgender hate crime trial collapsed abruptly earlier this month after another member of Mermaids accused another person of perpetrating hate crimes on Twitter. Despite this, the police announced that, “We have received an allegation on 15 October 2018 in relation to a number of tweets which were posted in October 2018. A thorough investigation is being carried out to establish whether any criminal offences have taken place. A 44-year-old woman has been asked to attend a voluntary interview in relation to the allegation as part of our ongoing investigation.” For her part, Farrow stated that, “I am not prepared to back down because I don’t see what I have done wrong.” She and her family have been targeted by vicious trolls sending vile material, threats of violence, and pornography—but the police, ironically, do not seem to be concerned when she is targeted.
Farrow’s nightmare, as Orwellian as it is, is not as terrifying as the experience recently endured by the parents of an autistic teenage boy in the UK, who were warned that their child would be removed from their care by children’s services after they objected to their son being given powerful hormone drugs to change his sex to female. After the boy declared that he felt himself to be female, doctors at a National Health Service clinic decided that he should be given puberty-blockers, but the boy’s parents decided to stop using the clinic because they were justifiably afraid of the side-effects. They also felt that their son’s gender dysphoria was connected to his autism, and that this connection had not been adequately explored. The boy then told school officials that his parents had told him he could not get further “treatment.”
A teacher from the school promptly told his parents that if they did not find “alternative accommodation” for their son, he would be removed from their home and placed into foster care. The school then reported them to children’s services as “emotionally abusive” for their refusal to be sufficiently affirmative of their son’s desire to transition genders. Social workers agreed that the boy was likely to “suffer significant harm” under his parents’ care for precisely that reason, and the boy narrowly escaped ending up in foster care when children’s services agreed that he could stay with a family friend. Eventually, he was allowed to move back in with his family. The parents, who are both “middle-class professionals,” recently approached The Mail on Sunday to describe their ordeal after other parents with similar experiences had come forward.
“I’m absolutely devastated,” the anonymous mother said. “When I saw the report that social services wrote about us and saw the words ‘emotional abuse,’ I just broke down. All we were trying to do was get him to pause and think about his actions. My biggest worry as a mum is my child gets pushed down this route, becomes a woman, goes through surgery, then gets to 25 and says, ‘I’ve made a mistake.’” Their son, who has Asperger’s and autism, had announced suddenly during an appointment with a child psychotherapist that he thought he was female although he’d never mentioned it before, thus making the parents suspicious that the claim was another one of his “autistic obsessions.” The NHS clinic, however, promptly recommended hormone blockers—and their nightmare began.
The United Kingdom has truly entered the twilight zone. Parents are having their children taken away from them because they do not want them given powerful drugs and surgeries that will irreversibly change them, and people are getting visits from the cops and being compelled to show up at the police station for tweeting—accidentally or otherwise—beliefs about gender that nearly all of humanity held scarcely a decade ago.
Listen to my interview with Abigail Shrier on her book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters: