By Jonathon Van Maren
It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid becoming numb to the insanity gripping our society. Exhibit A is a story published recently in the Daily Mail, in which a professor has discovered that her views are transphobic:
A university economics lecturer has been accused of transphobia by feminist and LGBT students over a tweet in which she said ‘only female people menstruate’. Furious undergraduates at the University of Exeter condemned Dr Eva Poen accusing her of ‘openly singling out trans people’ in the posts.
The row erupted when Dr Poen responded to a tweet by Twitter user which read: ‘Not everyone who menstruates is female. Not everyone who is female menstruates. Let’s shift our language.’ The lecturer, who strongly denies accusations of transphobia, wrote back: ‘Only female people menstruate. Only female people go through menopause.’
Pause here for a moment, and read that again. Consider the fact that the phrase “only female people menstruate” is considered controversial—so controversial that it makes the news. We’ve lost our minds. More:
In another criticised tweet, in response to the insurance company Aviva promoting LGBT+ inclusion in sports, Dr Poen wrote: ‘Let’s keep female sports for FEMALE PEOPLE. Stay in your lane, Aviva. We don’t tell you how to do insurance; it would be great if you could stop telling women to give up their hard earned place in society. Women’s sport is not yours to give away.’
The university’s LGBTQ+ society condemned the comments. Adam Deloit, the society’s transgender representative, said: ‘Dr Poen is openly singling out trans people. There’s one transphobic tweet after another – she’s very public about her opinions. It’s a constant bashing of trans people.’
Deloit, 22, who identifies as non-binary, claimed the lecturer’s comments are an ‘attack on trans people’. The second-year history student said: ‘What she is doing isn’t a debate. It’s constant harassment and discrimination. I don’t think anyone who sees her tweets can say that they are not an attack on trans people.’
‘She can try to define us out of our existence, but we are still here. The fact the university tolerates her is really frustrating,’ Deloit, who identifies as they, added. A spokeswoman for the university’s Feminist society said: ‘It’s shocking that a lecturer at the University of Exeter would feel so comfortable saying such transphobic comments publicly. Dr Poen is a person who is in regular contact with students. If there are transgender and non-binary people in her lectures who are having to interact with someone who holds these transphobic views – it is very distressing for those communities.
‘The university must investigate the allegations thoroughly and look at it from, if nothing else, a well-being standpoint for groups of students within that community.’
A couple of things should be noticed here.
First, telling somebody that they can identify as whatever they want to but that this self-identification does not necessarily reflect physical reality is not defining anyone “out of existence.” If I say I’m a chicken, and you say I’m not a chicken, you are not saying I do not exist. You are simply saying that I am not a chicken. So when somebody claims to be “non-binary,” and someone like Douglas Murray notes that being “non-binary” is not a thing, he is not saying that the person claiming to be “non-binary” doesn’t exist. He is saying that the person’s claims strain credulity. This is pretty simple stuff, but these accusations of being “defined out of existence” are leveled to give a whiff of violence to genuine disagreement and assist in shutting down intellectual opponents.
Secondly (as usual) debate is not an option. The very idea that an exchange of views should take place is referred to as dangerous, and dire warnings about the safety of trans students are given. (It must be pointed out that if transgender and “non-binary” students are as fragile as their defenders make them out to be, they are rather proving the point of those who say that gender dysphoria is a form of mental illness.) The mere fact that the university “tolerates” this professor’s views is called “frustrating,” and the authorities are called upon to make this inconvenient person go away.
They can’t win the argument, so they’re trying desperately to win the power.