I wish I could have been in Dublin, my native city, on Saturday afternoon, standing shoulder to shoulder with the terfs.

Published: 19 September 2023

I could have paid homage in person to Graham Linehan, a Dublin-born comedian with the heart of a lion, who was loudly applauded for his few words at the Let Women Speak rally in Merrion Square.

Those of you who have managed to avoid the culture wars need to know that TERF is an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, which is what bullying gender ideologues scream at people who insist that it’s a biological fact that you’re born a man or a woman, and like it or not, that’s what you will remain throughout your life.

Like most terfs, male and female, while I’m sympathetic to people who believe they were born in the wrong body and have no problem with them dressing accordingly or changing their names, I know of the harm being done to brainwashed children by a pernicious ideology that tells them gender identity overrides sex and that anyone who says otherwise is an evil bigot.

In addition, as Linehan pointed out on Saturday, insane self-ID legislation that allows men to call themselves women at will enables misogynistic, predatory men to declare themselves female in order to gain access to women-only spaces like refuges and prisons or use their muscle to dominate their sports. And as he also said, on top of that the Republic of Ireland is going ahead with a profoundly stupid and dangerous hate law that will close down criticism.

If you doubt that, consider this newspaper quote from a teenage transgender student reacting to a speech at the counter rally in Dublin by the women’s rights activist Posie Parker.

“These people have … caused damage to me and other trans people,” she said. “…we are here to show that … is not going to be allowed. We’re not going to just allow them to continue on spewing … on social media or on the streets.”

She was part of a protest that tried to drown out all the speakers by using loudspeakers, sirens, chanting and disco music. Some carried a poster saying ‘No TERFs in our City’.

As Linehan pointed out, that is fascism.

If his name means nothing to you, Father Ted will: Graham Linehan was co-creator of that legendary sitcom which brought joy to both sides of our sectarian divide. His The IT Crowd won an international Emmy, though a decade ago an episode which saw a man who had discovered his girlfriend was transgender getting into a fight with her brought humourless trans activists down on him.

Horrified that children were being encouraged to take puberty-blockers, cross-sex hormones and then undergo surgery to remove breasts, penises and other sex-related bits of their bodies, Linehan came out loudly against trans ideology.

Pilloried and misrepresented as a transphobe, he refused to be silenced, cowardly media bosses and others in his industry boycotted him, he was banned from Twitter until Elon Musk reinstated him, and his career crashed. The production company that had produced Father Ted cancelled the Ted musical he’d been working on for three years and his marriage collapsed under the strain. But he carried on campaigning.

His memoir Tough Crowd: How I Made And Lost A Career In Comedy, is not yet published, but responding to attempts to destroy Richard Ayoade (IT Crowd star) and TV presenter Jonathan Ross for their heretical praise of it, pre-orders now make it a best-seller.

Shocked at seeing the mob try to destroy the singer Róisín Murphy for tweeting her opposition to puberty blockers being prescribed for “little mixed-up kids”, the best-selling Irish author John Boyne, who had once denounced Linehan as “someone masking intolerance by promoting himself as a champion of women,” wrote last week. “Without equivocation, without excuses, and without evasion: you were right, I was wrong, and I apologise.”

The BBC 6 Music channel, which had cancelled 10 hours of Murphy’s shows, while happily playing a song which includes the lyrics “kick terfs all day, don’t break a sweat”, have now seen her topping the music charts as BBC management writhe in embarrassment.

Graham Linehan deserves the gratitude and support of right-thinking people for standing up to the misogynistic extremists waging war on women and free speech.

Buy his book.

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