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Caroline Farrow

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UK police investigate transgender pronoun complaints, raising free speech concerns

Caroline Farrow

LONDON, England, February 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Members of the public in the United Kingdom are facing investigation by the police and criminal charges if they dare to challenge gender ideology on social media.

The week before last, Harry Miller, 53, a plant and machinery dealer and married father of four, reported on Twitter that he had been contacted by Humberside Police at his workplace. The police cited a series of 30 tweets which were deemed to be potentially “offensive.” Amongst them was a limerick written by a feminist which questioned whether transgender “women” are biological women.

Although the police force admitted that no crime had been committed, Police Constable Mansoor Gul informed Miller that his tweets would be officially logged as a “hate incident” and insisted on referring to the “victim,” telling Miller that “we need to check your thinking.”

Miller’s social media account contained no details pertaining to either his full identity or his place of work, but Humberside police still tracked him down to his business because the complainant had alleged that Miller’s comments made his workplace “unsafe for transgender employees.” PC Gul warned Miller that he needed to watch his words more carefully, for he risked being fired by the company for hate speech. Miller is, in fact, the owner of his firm.  

Over his Twitter account, Harry Miller reported that the policeman had spent over 20 minutes giving him a sound talking to. Miller noted incredulously that the officer “read me a limerick. Honestly, a cop read me a limerick over the phone.”

After Miller pointed out that he had not written the limerick, the policeman replied that Miller had “liked and promoted it.” He then informed Miller that, “I’ve been on a course and what you need to understand is that you can have a foetus with a female brain that grows male body parts and that’s what a transgender person is.”

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, PC Gul confirmed that he had spoken to Mr. Miller for 20 minutes and made the comment about the fetus, stating that he had “learned it on a training course [run] by a transgender person last summer.”

Gul defended his position, saying, “Although none of the tweets were criminal, I said to Mr. Miller that the limerick is the kind of thing that upsets the transgender community. I warned him that if it escalates we will have to take further action. If someone comes forward and says: ‘I’m the victim of a hate incident and it’s really upsetting me,’ then we have to investigate.”

The Chief Constable of Humberside Police, Scott Young, defended this officer’s actions, saying that “the actions taken by the individual and his comments around transgender caused someone distress.”

“The correct decision was made to record the incident as a hate incident and to proportionately progress by making contact with the individual concerned to discuss the actions taken on social media,” the Chief Constable continued.

“There is evidence to show that hate incidents are already under-reported with people feeling they won’t be taken seriously and not having confidence in the police.”

‘It’s designed to intimidate.’

Harry Miller remains defiant over his tweets criticizing proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Act that would allow males into currently female-only spaces. Miller intends to challenge Humberside police over their actions.

“I’m not in any kind of mood to let it go,” Miller told LifeSiteNews. “They are not in possession of 30 transphobic tweets. How can [they] be, when there is no workable definition of transphobia? That a high-ranking officer has claimed this is simply unacceptable. It’s designed to intimidate.”

In a similar incident last week, Suffolk police telephoned 74-year-old Margaret Nelson to tell her that some people had found offensive a blog post she had written in January 2018. Mrs. Nelson is a humanist celebrant and former journalist who writes a blog about death rituals. In a post entitled “Death does not misgender,” Nelson stated the following:

“If a transgender person’s body was dissected, either for medical education or a post-mortem examination, his or her sex would also be obvious to a student or pathologist. Not the sex that he or she chose to present as, but his or her natal sex; the sex that he or she was born with. Even when a body has been buried for a very long time, so that there is no soft tissue left, only bone, it is still possible to identify the sex. DNA and characteristics such as the shape of the pelvis will be clear proof of the sex of the corpse.”

Nelson told the Spectator that “the officer said she wanted to talk to me about some of the things I’d written on Twitter and my blog. She said that some of the things that I’d written could have upset or offended transgender people. So could I please stop writing things like that and perhaps I could remove those posts and tweets?”

“I asked the officer if she agreed that free speech was important,” Nelson continued.

“She said it was. I said that in that case, she’d understand that I wouldn’t be removing the posts or stopping saying the things I think. She accepted that, and that was the end of the conversation.”

Nelson has confirmed that her blog post was written last year and told LifeSiteNews that transgender rights activists have been “trawling through” her tweets. She explained that they had seen the link to her blog on her profile and added that she “hasn’t blogged much for a while.”

Suffolk police initially defended their actions, saying that they had called Mrs. Nelson in order to raise awareness of the complaints. However, they later admitted that they had made a mistake.

“We accept we made a misjudgement in following up a complaint regarding the blog,” said a spokesman.

“As a result of this we will be reviewing our procedures for dealing with such matters. We are sorry for any distress we may have caused in the way this issue was dealt with, and have been in contact with the woman who wrote the blog to apologise.”

Suffolk police are not the only constabulary to back down. In 2016, London’s Metropolitan Police was forced to pay £2,750 after breaching data protection laws by publicly outing a Twitter user’s private details and falsely accusing the user of an LGBT-related “hate crime.”

A growing number of people, including celebrities, being interrogated

These are not isolated cases. A growing number of people are finding themselves subject to police charges should they dare to tweet any criticism of the transgender movement, as an army of activists relentlessly scour social media to report any posts they find offensive.

Kellie-Jay Keen Minshull a.k.a. “Posie Parker” of Standing for Women, a group fighting for biological women’s rights, was twice interrogated by police because of her public criticisms of Susie Green, head of the controversial transgender charity Mermaids.

Green, a public figure who frequently appears on British television to describe how she took her son for full sex reassignment surgery in Thailand on his sixteenth birthday, claims that Keen-Minshull’s comments about her advocacy for cross-sex hormones and surgery for minors amount to “harassment.” Keen-Minshull, a mother of four, is still waiting to hear whether or not she will face charges.

Graham Linehan, creator of the comedy TV show Father Ted, was also visited by police after a transgender blogger complained about his Twitter comments.  

In another incident, a mother of two was arrested at her home by three uniformed officers following complaints by the same transgender blogger about her social media activity.  

The mother, Kate Scottow, was arrested in front of her 10-year-old autistic child and wrenched away from her breastfeeding infant. She was kept in a jail cell for over seven hours where, despite being on her monthly cycle, she was denied sanitary products.

Scottow has reported that as a result of this incident, both she and her children experience trauma every time someone comes to the door. Her entire family is on tenterhooks to hear if she will be charged.

Feminist activists Linda Bellos and Venice Allen were subject to a private prosecution by a transgender activist after live-streaming a meeting discussing the Gender Recognition Act on Facebook, a case which was eventually thrown out of court. A popular blogger who believes that men cannot be women is also due to appear in court in March, following allegations about comments and behavior on social media.

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