Trans ideology has taken over Shakespeare’s Globe

My former employer dismissed my concerns about women’s spaces and child safeguarding.

Zoe Cairns

Topics Culture Identity Politics UK

Towards the end of 2022, I finally accepted something I have always known about myself – I identify as a queen. Not a drag queen, an actual queen. A literal monarch. I was working at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. It was here, after countless training sessions on ‘trans inclusivity’ and ‘gender affirmation’, that this revelation came to me.

In summer 2022, the Globe staged a controversial production, I, Joan, which ‘reimagined’ Joan of Arc as nonbinary. To prepare us as staff to tackle the thorny topic of gender identity, we received training from a trans lobby group called Gendered Intelligence. This organisation works closely with disgraced trans-youth charity Mermaids (currently under investigation by the Charity Commission) and had previously advised the now defunct Tavistock gender-identity clinic.

During these training sessions, Gendered Intelligence told us to ‘remove unnecessary gender divisions’ by making toilets gender neutral and to keep a child’s trans identity secret from their parents, which might come up during one of the workshops the Globe runs for schoolchildren. Obviously, this goes against basic safeguarding principles (and the new government guidance on trans issues for schools agrees). This was particularly concerning given that the theatre welcomes thousands of children every year.

Soon after these sessions, signs went up on the toilets, declaring them all to be ‘gender neutral’. Neither staff nor customers were consulted about this. To make matters worse, sanitary bins were not provided in what were previously the men’s toilets, rendering them effectively useless to women.

This goes against health-and-safety requirements. If women cannot depend on finding adequate sanitary provision, they will avoid going out in public. This is one step towards reinstating the ‘urinary leash’ that historically kept women at home. Perhaps the Globe is taking its mission to preserve the past a little too seriously.

Fearing rebuke, the majority of staff members kept their reservations quiet, while privately expressing annoyance and concern. But I had had enough. I wanted to know why we were making our building less accessible to half the population, despite our constant paeans to inclusivity and diversity. In countless emails to Globe management, I cited studies, data and resources to support my position. I stressed that I didn’t wish to exclude anyone at all, I only wanted to ensure safety and fairness for everyone. In response, I was dismissed and called ‘patronising’.

Instead of addressing my concerns, management seemed to delight in provoking and insulting anyone who spoke out against trans orthodoxy. In 2022, the Globe’s official X account posted a poem calling gender-critical women ‘bitches’. And at one point during I, Joan, Joan of Arc herself tells the audience that: ‘Women are worried about the wrong things; Twitter and toilets.’

Even more on the nose, the programme for the show contained an article that claimed that the real-life Joan ‘died for the right to crossdress’. It also declared ‘death before detransition’. This is particularly offensive, given the growing number of detransitioners who deeply regret undergoing gender-reassignment treatments.

None of this felt very warm and inclusive to me. But maybe I was missing something? I dutifully attended more of the Globe’s gender-identity training, and finally began uncovering my new identity.

During these sessions we learned all about gender self-identification – the idea that you can declare to the world that you are whatever gender you like, and everyone must affirm you. We were shown a clip of former Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon speaking about her (ultimately unsuccessful) plans to introduce self-ID laws in Scotland.

Intrigued by this, I did some research and read about the infamous case of violent double-rapist Adam Graham. In early 2023, Adam conveniently started calling himself ‘Isla Bryson’ to avoid being sent to a men’s prison in Scotland. Astonishingly, it worked. He was housed in a female estate, albeit briefly.

When the Globe offered staff the chance to have our ‘preferred pronouns’ printed on our passes, I finally felt confident enough to express my true identity. Now that I was armed with this new knowledge about the alleged importance of self-ID, it was the time to come out as a queen. After all, in a world where you can be anything, why not be monarch of the realm? Especially knowing that anyone who refused to comply will be silenced and shunned.

With some trepidation, I ‘came out’ at work. I asked for my pronouns – ‘Her Majesty / Her Highness’ – to be printed on my staff pass to make me feel validated and affirmed. There was instant pushback, but I was prepared.

I was told that ‘queen’ is not a gender. But, I protested, that goes against the assertions of transgender writer Kate Bornstein, who claims anything can be a gender. Bornstein’s book is recommended on the Globe’s own website. Surely, we should be practising what we preach? If we advocate for self-ID and say we should believe that people are what they say they are, then why should I be the exception? By the trans activists’ own twisted logic, refusing to affirm my royal identity made them bigots.

Sadly, I was not given my pronoun-bedazzled staff pass (something about ‘majesty’ being an adjective and not a pronoun), and I left the Globe shortly after. I did learn a few things from this incident, though.

My battle with the Globe’s management opened my eyes to the brave new world we seem to be living in. Raising concerns about women’s rights and child safeguarding is viewed as trouble-making. Refusing to play along with outrageous lies makes you a ‘bigot’. Speaking out against trans orthodoxy can get you cancelled and risk your career.

But this episode also laid bare the hypocrisy of trans activists. If ‘Isla Bryson’ can be sent to a female prison just by saying he’s a woman, why couldn’t I have the divine right to rule just by saying I am a queen? It’s time we confronted this absurd ideology with its own nonsensical logic.

Zoe Cairns worked at the Globe until May 2023. She is writing under a pseudonym.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Culture Identity Politics UK


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