Gender critical describes those who believe that sex is a sounder basis for law, healthcare provision, data gathering, safeguarding and sexuality than the more nebulous concept of gender identity. For example, clear medical terminology is considered important, as are exclusively single-sex facilities such as locker rooms, rape crisis centers etc. GC people range from concerned parents to feminists, as well as same-sex attracted LGB people. What all have in common is that they want a voice when policy decisions affecting them are made because they see potential conflicts of interest, particularly with transgender people who wish to be seen in law as their gender identity rather than their sex.
The reaction to GCs tends to be aggressive and disproportionate, with the accused usually deemed hateful, bigoted or inhumane. JK Rowling has endured name-calling, doxing, death threats, and has been publically denounced by former associates for asserting that women need to retain accurate language to talk about their bodies.
Others in the public eye targeted for their views on this issue are UK politicians (MP Rosie Duffield), LGB activists, and feminists (for example, the Dutch group Voorzij). UK academics have been subjected to particularly malicious treatment by colleagues and students. 2021 saw the resignation of two female academics (Kathleen Stock and Jo Phoenix) after a sustained campaign of abuse, harassment and misrepresentation of their views.
Violence and misogyny
What those named have in common is that they’re women and that their detractors have failed to provide any solid evidence of bigotry. Misinformation, unsubstantiated accusations and a reluctance to debate stand alongside threats of violence, misogyny and hyperbole in this modern-day witch-hunt.
This is why I didn’t come out and why I won’t at UM. The response to Riki Janssen’s reasoned editorial was enough, and I have no reason to expect institutional support while FEM uses the slur TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist) to describe people like me, and the UM LGBTQ+ group diminishes the contribution of gay men and lesbians to the Stonewall riots (1969 in Greenwich Village in New York) on its social media, making me doubt they would defend a same-sex attracted person like myself.
So, I’ll stay incognito for now, and continue organizing as I have since the early 1990s – beneath the radar and hoping for better times.
The name of the author is known to the editors