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St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, IndianaShutterstock

(LifeSiteNews) — On November 1, 2023, the Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland informed the feminists that a man can, in fact, become a woman. In the case of For Women Scotland v. the Scottish Ministers on the meaning of “sex” in the Equality Act, the court ruled that men cannot simply identify as women—but that if they obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) that declares them to be a woman, then they can access to women’s facilities. The decision, ironically, was touted as a compromise—men don’t get to simply “self-identify” as “transwomen” and then gain access to women’s spaces; women must accept “transwomen” who undergo the government process of having their sex changed (which is not possible, but which the court clearly accepts as valid).

Indeed, the past few months have highlighted, once again, the extent to which women are battling elite institutions over the very definition of “woman.” If gender is fluid, after all, sex-based legal protections are essentially a misnomer. The consequences of this are obvious to anyone in possession of common sense, and I have been covering them for several years in this space almost weekly.

Sage Steele, for example, is the former co-host of the 12 noon SportsCenter on ESPN who had frequently hosted SportsCenter on the Road from the Super Bowl, the Masters, and NBA Countdown. She is now alleging that ESPN told her to shut her mouth on her “Lia” Thomas commentary. Thomas, you may recall, is a male swimmer who identified as female and morphed into a champion overnight as a result, winning a 2022 national championship in the women’s 500-yard event. Thomas is male in every way, and his presence in female changerooms swiftly became a source of outrage and controversy.

Steele recently appeared on the “Gaines for Girls” podcast with Riley Gaines, a former Kentucky swimmer who competed against Thomas and gained national prominence when she became one of the few girls to publicly speak out against what she and the others were enduring. “I was asked to stop tweeting about it,” Steele told Gaines. “I was asked to stop doing anything, saying anything about it on social media because I was offending others at the company. I made sure I sent up another tweet that night after I received that email because I was like, no. And it’s, let’s stop living in this lie. And once again, oh, you’re going to … silence me.”

Steele, like many other women, found her red line. “But I literally said, this is the hill I will die on 100 percent because it’s facts,” she stated. “This is not even my opinion about a vaccine mandate or whatever, these are facts. This is science, this is biology. This is all of the things. Come at me. Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me to stop supporting women. Go ahead, tell me.”

There is evidence, however, that people are getting fed up – and that pushback to the transgender agenda is increasingly effective. Unherd, for example, published an article titled “Are the police finally standing up for gender-critical feminists?” on December 15, noting that feminists have consistently faced arrest for publicly dissenting from transgender ideology. An excerpt:

Earlier this week, the Conservative MP for Redditch, Rachel Maclean, revealed she had been reported to the police for refusing to pretend that a man in a wig is a woman. In the world certain activists would like us to inhabit, telling the truth about someone’s sex is now so grave an offence that it apparently merits the involvement of the law.

In what appears to be an outbreak of common sense, West Mercia police have confirmed receiving a complaint but said it is not being treated as a crime. Perhaps the police have taken note of a statement by the Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, that Stonewall does not make the law in this country. But in the Britain of 2023, the fact that they have stood up for Maclean remains a surprise — and an exception. Because it comes after years in which police have pandered to the claims of trans activists, granting them exceptionality in what should be a free debate.

Last month officers from Northumbria police asked a woman to attend an interview in Newcastle after she posted gender-critical comments on X, threatening to arrest her if she didn’t come voluntarily. One of the posts she was questioned about was a “daily reminder that transwomen are men” and a duty solicitor advised her about the wisdom of “curtailing” such sentiments in future. The woman, who is a football fan, has had her membership of Newcastle United suspended while she is being investigated.

Another recent example of successful pushback is the decision of St. Mary’s College, an all-female Catholic university in South Bend, Indiana, to reverse its policy to accept male students who identify as “transgender.” In November, university president Katie Conboy sent out an email noting that students whose “sex is female or who consistently live and identify as women” would be considered for admission. The email was made public and hit national headlines; Indiana Bishop Kevin Rhoades called on the board to “reject ideologies of gender that contradict the authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church”; on December 21, the board complied.

In a joint letter to the Saint Mary’s College community, Conboy and the president of the board admitted that it had become “increasingly clear … that the position we took is not shared by all members of our community. Some worried that this was much more than a policy decision: they felt it was a dilution of our mission or even a threat to our Catholic identity. As this last month unfolded, we lost people’s trust and unintentionally created division where we had hoped for unity. For this, we are deeply sorry.” LGBT activists accused Saint Mary’s of caving, but it seems very unlikely that this policy will be reintroduced. The cultural pressure of the LGBT movement was met by the pressure of fed-up opponents of gender ideology, and the dissidents won.

This is an encouraging trend, and one we hope will continue into 2024. It is also a reminder that the LGBT movement’s influence must be countered by a response from a coalition of the sane – because that is the only way to stop their long march through the institutions.

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.