Do Not Forgive Me!

‘You might have forgiven him,’ writes Luke Morrison on Twitter to my colleague Barrhead Boy, ‘but many others including myself will not.’ Let’s not concern ourselves with who Luke Morrison is. This is a guy with a social media account who follows more people than follow him. He’s a noise box. What gets my attention is his assertion that I am not forgiven; that I stand guilty of something that requires forgiveness — that I have in some way transgressed and should feel ashamed. This makes more sense when we click into his social profile. Luke is a ‘GC Man’ and a Scottish independence supporter. Perhaps we might be generous and describe him as an ‘activist,’ but his only activity seems to be sniping at actual pro-independence activists who happen not to fall into line with his particular fetish for the far-right red pill of transphobia. GC is of course, in this context, ‘gender critical;’ the latest quasi-intellectual euphemism for transgender exclusion.

Not too long ago this was the domain of a trans exclusionary subset of second wave feminism (trans exclusionary radical feminists), but we note that Luke — and a great many others, generally men — does not describe himself as a feminist. He is simply trans exclusionary or ‘gender critical.’ This is where he feels I have failed him. By not subscribing to this dangerous idea, I have betrayed the cause of Scottish independence; I have become a traitor. For this terrible crime, at least in his imagination, people like me are dangerous and cannot be forgiven.

According to Luke, I ‘went full blown TRA and let loose a volley of misogynistic arrogant bile including monstering GC women, many of them Alba members.’ So, we may have to unpack this psychotic drivel. ‘TRA’ stands for ‘Trans Rights Activist,’ a political activist committed to advancing the rights of transgender people. He describes as misogynistic and arrogant my resistance to women [and men] — (I am an equal opportunities critic when it comes to the far-right) — who make it their mission to deny the validity of other human beings. He says I have ‘monstered’ gender critical women [and men], meaning I have robbed them of their humanity by depicting them as monsters, and that many of these people are Alba members. Right, so we can get our teeth into this now.

The Alba Party. I want to take some credit for the idea — the idea of building a supermajority for independence in the Scottish parliament — that brought Alba into existence. During the height of the pandemic lockdown, an online game of Diplomacy morphed into an online public house, ‘The Dog and Duck,’ where a number of actual pro-independence activists came together and discussed ideas for advancing the mired project of independence. This conversation turned into action with us drafting a letter to Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland. Alex reached out to us and included us in the launch of Alba. Barrhead Boy, myself, and some anonymous others had a profound influence on the course things would take. Luke Morrison was no doubt standing at his front door banging pots if he wasn’t just twiddling his thumbs.

Sadly, I did not feel I could join Alba — and for a number of reasons. It is no secret that I am an Irish Republican; I could not in good conscience join a political party operating inside the British political system, the elected members of which would be required to make an oath of allegiance to the unelected monarch of a foreign colonial power. Yet, I was — as I remain — prepared to support my friends and colleagues in their efforts to destroy Britain from within and restore Scotland’s independence. Quickly however, Alba became a hub for independence supporting members of the gender critical movement (as many gender critical movement members are unionists, and the movement creates a dangerous bridge between independentistas and unionists which serves only to undermine the independence cause in our country). Regardless of any differences of opinion on how we treat transgender people — which we shall return to shortly, gender politics (which isn’t really a thing) is divisive. The vast majority of voting Scots see the whole gender critical thing as bigotry and intolerance. Its entrenchment in Alba puts the party beyond the pale for them. The bottom line is this: We cannot construct a political party around the ideas of unifying the country for independence and dividing it over gender politics and expect to win votes. It doesn’t work.

Misogyny. Most women and feminists are not anti-trans. So calling someone a misogynist for refusing to fall into line with the Brownskirts has about as much punch as calling someone an anti-Semite for supporting the rights of Palestinians. This is nothing more than a rhetorical device deployed by people who have already lost the argument and are too stupid to know it.

But I ‘monstered’ gender critical women! I did not. I don’t monster people. I monster monstrous ideas — and I do that mercilessly. Apparently I ‘viciously smeared Marion Miller [sic].’ Wrong. I viciously smeared Marion Millar’s filthy racism and bigotry. Luke, the intellectual lightweight that he is, wants to defend Ms Millar. What he does not want to see is that Marion smeared herself. The language she used against transgender people — particularly trans women — was deplorable; it was abusive, monstering, and dehumanising. Not only this, she had a few things to say about refugees and migrants, and she certainly has no love for Muslims. She frequently took to social media to paint a picture of Muslim men as a danger to women and children — white women and children, one must assume — because, in her opinion, the Prophet Muhammed was a paedophile. Did I monster Marion Millar? Indeed I did not. I monstered her horrible ideas.

And here’s the thing: Everywhere we see this so-called ‘gender critical’ ideology — transphobia — we encounter other hatreds. Sure, not all transphobes are anti-Semites and racists, but without exception transphobia is always just one click from anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, racism, and other intolerances. Jennifer Bilek, a popular gender critical thought leader whose tweets are all over transphobic online ecosystems, has been shockingly open about her belief in a connection between ‘the Jews,’ ‘Big Pharma’ (another code for Jewish business), and ‘trans ideology.’ This is what I mean when I describe ‘GC’ as a red pill. Gender critical activists may in the main not be far-right, but this has not stopped the extreme right using this claptrap as a hook to pull angry and confused people onto the gender critical to far-right pipeline. And neither is this new. This was exactly the programme followed by the Nazis. Trans gender people were openly vilified by the Nazis in Germany as part of a project of normalising hate. It was only once the bullying of this vulnerable segment of society became acceptable that the Nazis could move on to more protected minorities such as the Jews.

Am I a TRA? I don’t know. I am a socialist. I believe all people ought to be treated with respect and dignity, and that all people ought to be given the right to be themselves and to be protected. This makes me a traitor. It would have made me a traitor in the Third Reich, and you know — I am perfectly good with that. Luke and his bampot friends imagine that I have to be forgiven because they have identified Scottish nationalism with the hatred of transgender people, and this is a recurring problem with nationalism (it’s why I am a socialist and not a nationalist). So yes, this makes me a traitor to their version of nationalism — and I am fine with that. I don’t want Luke’s forgiveness. I will never be on his side. If his nationalism wants an independent and ‘gender critical’ Scotland, then he can roll that up tight and stick it where the sun don’t shine. Given the choice between that and endless colonial captivity, I would embrace the latter. I would rather rot naked in my own excrement in a cold concrete cell without windows than watch my beloved Scotland slide into the sewer of right-wing nationalist intolerance and hatred.

In sum, what I have is this small request: Luke — a handy symbol for all such dullards, I beg you from the bottom of my heart not to forgive me. Never ever forgive me. Hate me with every bit of poisonous passion you can muster. Focus all your rage and venom on me. This may actually save the life of a transgender person whose safety and security is every moment threatened by the intolerance and fear you breathe out into the world, putrefying my beloved Scotland with your slime. Focus all your nastiness and violence on me. You will need to. Because I promise you, as a danger to the independence I am struggling for, I am not on your side. Your ideas are as great a threat to my beloved Scotland as anything London has ever brought. We are not on the same side. Don’t ever forgive me. Never ever trust me. I am an enemy. Don’t ever forget that.

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Jason Michael McCann

Jason Michael McCann

Journalist and blogger based in Dublin. Writing on politics and society. Author of the Random Public Journal. @Jeggit