Yesterday I received a message from an amazing women, 'A.,' who reached out to me, concerned that my recent battles on social media were maybe getting me down. She is perceptive. Yes, this past few weeks have taken their toll on me - and I can only imagine this comes as good news to those who made it their mission to make things tough for me. I have taken a position on the so-called gender debate many people really do not like. While I have my reservations about some of the content of gender theory, I am unwilling to stay quiet while perfectly innocent transgender people are subjected to the most appalling abuse from people who believe they are defending women's rights.
The apologia pro vita sua is an apologetic — a formal defence or justification of a theory or doctrine. The article I was sharing with Rosa was a defence of my position. I was explaining why I have taken the position I have on this debate, and that is that I do not accept the biological essentialism of the gender critical people and nor do I uncritically endorse everything about gender theory. What I am against is hatred and bigotry. I stand by this apologia.
The proposition is that the Scottish National Party — the party in government in Scotland, headed by Nicola Sturgeon — has been captured by an ‘entryist cabal’ which aims to push through policies which advance the objectives of a gender or trans ideology, and that the Scottish government is doing this in full knowledge that such legislation will be detrimental to the health and wellbeing — and to the lives — of women and girls. We see, especially on social media, a preponderance of this particular vocabulary (which we discussed in the last article).
The anti-gender movement has by innovation and borrowing manufactured its own in-speak, a language and vocabulary that at once fosters among its members a sense of belonging and provides them with a particular phraseology by which to communicate and articulate the ideas of the movement. This, of course, is useful to the observer in that it permits us to identify strands of thought which are native to the group, inherited from the wider group or groups from which it emerged, and those that it borrows or shares with other groups which are influencing it.
This theatre of the culture war is global, but in Scotland it poses a unique and particular problem within the political discourse of the independence movement. As an internal dialectic of radical feminism, the opposing factions of the debate — the conversation in toto — constitutes, albeit fractured, a discourse or a Weltanschauung of its own; the worldview of modern radical feminism. This conversation, however, is happening largely within one constituent element of the Scottish independence movement (which is in itself a discrete Weltanschauung).
Foucault, often viewed as the father of the Queer Theory which underpins the issues around gender we now grapple with, didn’t believe in anything as mundane as actual lemonade seas, he didn’t believe in any sort of objective reality at all. No, if you think the sea is made of lemonade — then, for you, the sea is lemonade. This atomised and idiosyncratic truth is actually all that matters, and anyone telling you that it’s nonsense is oppressing you by forcing their own version of reality on you.
Wings Over Scotland has 53,000 followers on Twitter. That is a phenomenal social media reach, made all the more important in the context of a bitter ideological and constitutional struggle in which we still do not have a pro-independence media a fraction of the size of the BBC and with a fraction of its reach and influence. Taking down the largest and most popular pro-independence website from Twitter is a monumental tactical blunder, and it will cost the next independence referendum campaign dearly online.
Yet, we have such an éminence grise. Dumfries and Galloway MSP Joan McAlpine exploded on social media last night when one “Jordon, Duke of Edinburgh” – the partner of Alyn Smith, allegedly – revealed to his Twitter followers the full details of a Scottish government announcement to Holyrood scheduled for tomorrow. Like my hypothetical example above, he had all the details; the position of the government, details of the consultation process and the working group, and the timeline of the bill going before parliament.