Last September the ACLU posted a quote from the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg talking about gender equality. Only the ACLU had decided Ginsburg’s actual quote wasn’t quite woke enough for modern tastes so they replaced the pronouns and removed the word “woman.”
With Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, we lost a champion for abortion and gender equality. And on the anniversary of her death, the fight to protect abortion access is more urgent than ever. pic.twitter.com/vIKadIHouN
— ACLU (@ACLU) September 18, 2021
Yesterday the London Times reported that the BBC went one step further than the ACLU. According to the report, the news outlet replaced the pronouns in a victim’s quote in order to avoid having her statement misgender her alleged rapist.
The BBC changed the testimony of a rape victim after a debate over the pronouns of her transgender attacker, The Times has learnt.
The woman referred to her alleged rapist as “him” but insiders said that her words were changed to avoid “misgendering” the abuser in an article on the corporation’s website.
The BBC article replaced every reference to “he” or “him” with “they” or “them”. A source said the quote was the subject of heated debate prior to publication. Some journalists argued that the quote should remain intact, while others said it should reflect the trans woman’s preferred she/her pronouns.
Another reported a trans woman physically forcing her to have sex after they went on a date.
“[They] threatened to out me as a terf and risk my job if I refused to sleep with [them],” she wrote. “I was too young to argue and had been brainwashed by queer theory so [they were] a ‘woman’ even if every fibre of my being was screaming throughout so I agreed to go home with [them]. [They] used physical force when I changed my mind upon seeing [their] penis and raped me.”
The reason for the altered quote didn’t even occur to me at the time, but in retrospect it’s obvious that they aren’t just replacing the attacker’s name. So what the (alleged) victim actually said was “He used physical force when I changed my mind upon seeing his penis and raped me.” But that sort of blunt talk wasn’t acceptable to the BBC.
Angela Wild, co-founder of lesbian campaign group Get The L Out, told the Times the BBC was wrong to amend the quotes.
She said: ‘It’s really unethical and disrespectful to the victim. It’s a form of gaslighting for a woman who has already been through sexual violence.’
Apart from this one quote, the article in question was heavily criticized by people on the left. There were more than 20,000 complaints about it and the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit issues a finding that forced a change in the story’s headline. However, the ECU also rejected some of the complaints which were essentially arguing the story should never have been published because it was transphobic.
…some complainants offered an analogy between racist or homophobic views and the inclusion of views they considered transphobic, pointing out that due impartiality does not require representation of the racist or homophobic viewpoints when race or sexual orientation are the subject of news coverage. The Head of the ECU considered these analogies unhelpful because of the extent to which there remains controversy about what constitutes a transphobic view, the controversy itself reflecting the extent to which it is argued that claims by or on behalf of trans people conflict with claims by or on behalf of other groups which have suffered prejudice, disadvantage or victimisation. He therefore did not accept that the inclusion of the contributions objected to could not be justified in terms of due impartiality – though how far impartiality was in fact at issue here is a question considered below.
Anyway, the battle over trans issues in the UK continues to mirror the one here in the US, with claims of transphobia and attempts to silence disagreement becoming the norm for activists on the left.
Andrew Sullivan was interviewed about this general topic (not the BBC story in particular) just yesterday by Megyn Kelly. “The trouble is the intimidation of those of us who stick up for being gay or lesbian—who are same sex attracted not same gender attracted—has rendered this debate skewed,” he said. He added, “I am now told by super-woke lefty LGBTQIA blah RWXYZ plus people that I should be attracted to someone who has a vagina. The last person who told me that was a priest. These people are puritans.”