The misogyny of trans censorship

Yet another woman is being told to shut the hell up – this time Jenni Murray.

Benedict Spence


A few weeks ago, the BBC’s Reality Check published an article suggesting, contrary to all evidence, that freedom of speech was not under threat on British university campuses. One wonders if the corporation’s view is shared by its own Dame Jenni Murray, veteran broadcaster and host of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

Murray was recently invited by the Oxford University history society to discuss ‘powerful British women in history and society’. But she pulled out of the event after letters were sent to the university and published online, condemning Murray as a transphobe whose views allegedly contribute to the ‘harassment, marginalisation, discrimination and violence’ faced by trans people.

The students’ union’s LGBTQ Society and Women’s Campaign trained their fire on a Sunday Times article written by Murray in 2017. In their words, the article ‘repeatedly insinuated that transgender women and girls are not women and can only pretend to be women’.

The protesters claimed the event would leave Murray’s ‘transphobic rhetoric essentially unchallenged’. Which is ironic, given they have effectively denied themselves and their fellow students an opportunity to challenge her face to face. It is an all too common attitude these days – people would rather ignore or silence views they disagree with than defeat them through rational argument.

Murray now joins a number of prominent feminists, including Germaine Greer, Julie Bindel and Linda Bellos, who have been the targets of campus protests for having the ‘wrong’ views on transgenderism. They have found themselves on the receiving end of a younger generation of censorious feminists.

It seems this new generation of feminists are willing to silence women in order to accommodate trans activists – a group which, let’s face it, consists mainly of white, biological men; those usually seen by the left as the most privileged demographic, and those most responsible for silencing women throughout history. That the hurt feelings of biological men are being used by feminists to justify the censorship of biological women is absurd.

This sounds a lot like the thing that hampered women throughout history: patriarchy. The fact that this new assault on women is coming from within the feminist movement is a cruel irony.

Benedict Spence is a writer based in London. Follow him on Twitter: @BenedictSpence.

Picture by: Getty

Let’s cancel cancel culture

Free speech is under attack from all sides – from illiberal laws, from a stifling climate of conformity, and from a powerful, prevailing fear of being outed as a heretic online, in the workplace, or even among friends, for uttering a dissenting thought. This is why we at spiked are stepping up our fight for speech, expanding our output and remaking the case for this most foundational liberty. But to do that we need your help. spiked – unlike so many things these days – is free. We rely on our loyal readers to fund our journalism. So if you want to support us, please do consider becoming a regular donor. Even £5 per month can be a huge help. You can find out more and sign up here. Thank you! And keep speaking freely.

Donate now

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Leave a comment

You must be logged in to comment. Log in or Register now.