My name is Christine Edie Chehade, I blog and tweet under Edie Wyatt. I want to raise some concerns about Greg Jericho.
I graduated from Griffith University with a First Class Honours in Humanities in 1994 from the Institute of Cultural Policy Studies. My thesis “Policing Culture” took a then radical, and now common approach, that uses post structuralists analysis to argue that government should be proactive in shaping the culture of populations. The idea is that we can shape cultural meaning to bring about inclusion and equity.
I now see the danger of this approach when it comes to sex and gender. By gender I mean the social and cultural meanings and stereotypes that we place on sex. By sex I mean the immutable characteristic of male and female that every human has.
My belief now, is that the legal characteristic of sex should remain with a person from birth to death, and individuals should be free to follow any expression of gender they wish including the legal recognition that they live as a “transgender” person. I hold this belief as a someone who has been subject to sexual violence and is part of a community of people who understand the vulnerabilities of the female sex. I now participate in the gender critical feminist movement, that seeks to prioritise and protect sex in law. I wrote about my experiences and concerns in Quillette and have consequently been labelled a TERF.
My concerns were highlighted today in the following story where a crime by a biological male is reported as a crime by a female. If we can’t talk about male violence against women, it becomes difficult to protect women in a variety of circumstances. This is not about the prosecution of crime, but as Grace Tame spoke about today, it is about safeguarding for women and girls. Protection of women from rape is paramount and if we can’t define ourselves, how on earth can we protect ourselves?
Mr Jericho repeatedly uses the term TERF to silence and abuse women who have similar political and scientific beliefs as myself. He does this, sometimes directly, and others by brining attraction to a “TERF” on twitter as a defacto invitation to hurl abuse at a particular woman. The ensuing abuse toward the TERF is almost always by men. Attached are some examples.
In attachment 1. We See a statement by Greg in response to a tweet by Abigail Shrier about a Biden executive order. Shrier’s position is that the EO weakens the protections on women as a sex. Greg thinks this is “horseshit”. Benjamin Law pipes in and the men agree it is the only reasonable stance to have. A woman ask why they have this stance, and Greg said that this expression of women’s rights is a shield for bigotry. I objected reasonably. I was blocked.
In attachment 2 we see Greg retweet Rebecca openly calling her a bigot and gender critical feminism “some screwed up version of feminism”. It is pointed out to him that the respondents to his tweet are mostly men. There is an observation among many gender critical feminists that men are hijacking the transgender political movement to abuse women. We see men go on to call Rebecca scum.
In example 3 Greg is calling “TERFs” conspiracy theorists and “the worst”. He then goes on, to link the TERFs with British culture, we can assume white supremacy, and then we get another link to the Murdoch press and the right wing. This is a very common narrative. That women who believe their vulnerability and rights are grounded in their biology are racist, intolerant and beholden to right wing male supremacy. I need to point out that radical feminists are often socialists (philosophical materialists). I myself am neither a radical feminist, nor am I a socialist or a “right winger”. I am, shockingly enough, an intelligent, independently minded, middle aged woman.
In example 4 we see Greg in an exchange with “Sheridan”. He again calls TERFs bigots and claims that they have a fake feminism that is just a shield for hatred of trans people. Again with no evidence.
In example 5 we have an interaction between Greg and a person I follow and have spoken to on twitter, she has permitted me to use her as an example. She said that you can feel free to contact her. This is a woman of colour, a lesbian and a sexual assault survivor, who is not at all biased against transgender people. Like most people who believe in biology, she advocates for single sex safety measures. Tom, who I believe is a postgraduate student, accuses her of being Holly Lawford-Smith. Her claims that lesbians have a clear conflict with the claims of trans activists (that lesbians should include male bodied people in the category of lesbian) are called “bullshit” to which Greg agrees 100%. We can see again, an alliance of men against a woman arguing against sex based rights. I think Greg needs to reflect on his attitude toward women, and maybe the staff at the Guardian can also think about that.
I would like to see a more diverse approach at The Guardian toward this issue. I would be happy to submit an essay with my perspective as a sexual abuse survivor, humanities graduate, feminist and woman. The perspective and concerns of feminists are particularly relevant in light of the national conversation we are having about sexual assault. The protection of women is impossible without the ability to define ourselves and talk about our unique biological characteristics and vulnerability. I think that Greg really needs to sit down on this issue, especially if The Guardian are not prepared to air the fair and reasonable perspectives of women, sexual abuse survivors, lesbians and feminists.