Exactly what I was afraid of - the SNP's new definition of 'transphobia' is far too broad and in some respects vague, and is basically a shiny new toy with which one faction will try to get people from another faction suspended or expelled (or frightened into silence).— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 20, 2021
Let's be specific about exactly what is - and what is not - problematical about the definition. There are nine examples given of behaviour that supposedly constitutes transphobia, although it's stressed that even these are not exhaustive.
"1. Hate crimes such as physical or sexual assault, threatening behaviour, criminal damage of property."
Pretty much everyone will be in agreement with that section.
"2. Gender reassignment employment or service provision discrimination."
I suspect this may, in the opinion of some, conflict to some extent with women's sex-based rights.
"3. Bullying, abuse, harassment or intimidation of people for being trans or for supporting trans equality and inclusion."
This is where the problems really begin, because it's wide open to different interpretations. We've all seen people claim to be the victims of bullying or harassment "because of their support for inclusion", when in fact all that was happening was that other people were debating robustly and putting forward an alternative and perfectly legitimate point of view.
"4. Deliberately outing someone as being trans without their consent."
Obviously it's wrong to out someone against their wishes, but the question is whether this should be a disciplinary - and potentially an expulsion - offence. I can foresee some problems with that, if for example there's a dispute over whether it was known beforehand that a person was trans, and how widely known it was.
"5. Deliberately misgendering someone."
Misgendering someone is clearly bad manners, but as a disciplinary offence this is opening up a huge can of worms. There isn't a consensus on the principle of self-ID, and by extension there isn't a consensus on the boundaries of misgendering. Some people will feel that continuing to regard certain individuals as male or female is part and parcel of their legitimate opposition to self-ID, which means that their exercise of free speech will be pathologised as "transphobia" - and they may be faced with an impossible choice between self-censoring and facing suspension or expulsion.
"6. Deliberately using a trans person's previous name ('deadnaming') instead of, or alongside, their current name without their consent."
This is absolutely ridiculous. The ability to speak about others in mildly disrespectful ways is, whether we like it or not, an indispensable part of free speech. Give people lectures about courtesy if you wish, but this has no place in a disciplinary code. Do we have to ask Boris Johnson's permission before calling him "de Pfeffel"? The idea that each individual has to give express consent to the names people call them would destroy satire, just for starters.
"7. Dehumanising, prejudiced language about trans people."
Absurdly vague. Again, this could be interpreted as meaning robust disagreement with activists on social media.
"8. Accusing wider trans people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single trans person or group, or even for acts committed by people who do not identify as trans."
This will presumably be used to try to silence people who use real life examples of assault or disturbing behaviour in single-sex spaces as arguments against the principle of self-ID.
"9. Making mendacious, malicious, conspiracy-theory, or stereotypical allegations about trans people."
My guess is that people who make criticisms of "trans rights activists" collectively will be (falsely) charged with stereotyping trans people in general. And if I was to say there were concerns about entryism by identity politics activists into the SNP, and that this definition of transphobia is potentially evidence of that, hey presto, I'll be a "transphobic conspiracy theorist".
We could be entering a very dark period of McCarthyism within the SNP.
Tony Benn's five essential questions to the powerful:— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 20, 2021
1. What power have you got?
2. Where did you get it from?
3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
4. To whom are you accountable?
5. And how can we get rid of you?
I'd suggest these questions could reasonably be asked of Fiona Robertson, given that SNP members voted her out of office, and yet she still seems to wield far more power than her elected successor.https://t.co/YpEsoqEf7X— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 20, 2021