(LifeSiteNews) – We’ve all heard a lot about “transphobic bullying” these last few years, with everything from “misgendering” to disagreement with the tenets of gender ideology being recast as triggers for transgender suicidal ideation in order to strongarm everyone into silence.
We hear much less of this sort of bullying—the hostile demands of activists, educators, and gatekeepers that everyone either agree with the aims of the transgender agenda or keep their mouths shut.
The latest example of this was described in the Daily Mail by John James, a teacher at a private Home Counties school in the U.K. where a girl was forced to leave after expressing her views on gender ideology. An 18-year-old girl in sixth form asked a visiting baroness from the House of Lords sceptical questions about gender ideology, noting her view that biological sex is real.
This, James noted, resulted in her being “surrounded and shouted at by a group of fellow sixth formers in a incident that forced her to leave the school”:
It was probably naïve of the girl not to realise that to disagree, however respectfully, with transgender ideology is not allowed in much of our education system today. To question its basic tenets is heresy and heretics need to be exposed, attacked and got rid of. Even if they are such notable figures as J.K.Rowling. These tenets sometimes include the trans language that women are ‘uterus havers’, ‘people with vaginas’, or ‘chest-feeders’. And the concept that the birth sex of male and female is a myth.
After daring to challenge the baroness, who had joined a sixth form transgender rights’ discussion, up to 60 other pupils gathered round the girl and verbally attacked her. They screamed abuse so loudly that she ran away from them to escape, before collapsing unable to breathe properly with the shock of it all. By the next day, tales about the incident spread down to lower years. I was told by one of my younger pupils during an individual lesson that a sixth form girl had been saying horrible transphobic things…
Otherwise perfectly nice and agreeable sixth formers had colluded and congregated to show they were on the moral high ground, the ‘right side of history’. Any waverers got the clearest message about what would happen to them if they didn’t conform. Initially, the girl won support from the sixth form head. But after sustained pressure from the attackers, this teacher changed her position.
She publicly apologised for not providing a ‘safe space’ for them. In a pronouncement to her pupils (which I believe was written or approved by senior management) she said hate speech in the school was unacceptable.
The girl who dared to ask questions was then asked to work by herself in the school’s library “for her own safety,” and her right to free speech was dismissed. The head—someone who presumably should have defended her brutally bullied student—told the girl that she had to side with the mob, and in as many words, too: “How can the testimony of an entire group of other students be wrong? I have to support them, too.”
This girl was not a student with rights of her own. She was seen as a problem to be dealt with. When James asked the school administration how the girl was doing, he writes, “I had a strong sense that I was committing some kind of crime by even posing the question.”
James was asked why he wanted to know; told she was “no longer in the system”; that the “matter had been dealt with” and that furthermore “we’re not talking about it.” The girl had questioned the school’s orthodoxy; she’d been mobbed; she was gone. There was nothing more to discuss.
When James asked other teachers in “the staff canteen” what they thought, he “was met with stony silence and furtive glances…It was as if I had asked: ‘Hands up all those who voted for Brexit.’” One teacher told him in a hushed tone later on: “You can think what you like, but be careful of the pronouns you use.” In short: You can think whatever you want, but make sure what you say reflects the tenets of gender ideology—or else. As James put it:
Who of us, working in education, can afford to be accused of cruelty towards, or a lack of care and compassion for, the growing phenomenon of the ‘transgender’ child? Schools can also be made to feel guilty if they are not accredited ‘champions’ of Stonewall, the leading transgender rights’ lobby organisation. My school is one that has signed up for this, although the trans ideology would have found its way in anyway…
We, as teachers, are now walking around on eggshells. Speak the truth and you are an evil transphobe. Don’t speak the truth and you are living what many secretly feel is a lie. Groups such as Mermaids like to advise us of our ‘duty of care’ when dealing with the transgender issue in our schools…
If an ideology is telling a 13-year-old girl, who is all over the place over ‘Who Am I?’ and ‘Do You Love Me?’, that it’s fine to take puberty blockers and have your breasts removed, then it seems pretty sinister to me. Especially if it had nothing whatsoever to do with compassion and concern for children. No reasonable person can deny that racism, sexism, homophobia, issues with Islam and Islamophobia and, yes, transphobia are real and sensitive moral and social concerns. But woke is a form of toxic ideology that seems to be actually feeding off these issues.
James is right, and hopefully his decision to go public will help. The girl forced to leave her own school is studying for her A-level exams at home, and is still stunned by what happened. “How can they sit so smugly with themselves when my whole life has been turned upside down?” she asked plaintively.
Her mother, too, is shaken by the way ideology can hijack the mind: “We were sad to think that after all these years in the school, she left and nobody even batted an eyelid. We are still picking up the pieces.”
We’ll be picking up the pieces for years to come.