The bizarre stories of censorship and bullying by trans activists frequently made baffling reading. But the spectacle of Miranda Yardley, a self-identified transsexual, ending up in the dock for apparent ‘transphobia’ (all at the behest of a non-trans person) really takes the biscuit. An author would struggle to pitch such an incredible scenario at a publisher but, to quote Mark Twain, truth is stranger than fiction. Our post-truth world is off the scale.
The story started with a social media spat between Yardley and a campaigner called Helen Islan. Yardley is a transsexual with a strong view on gender politics: namely that male people cannot become female people just because they want to. Most people would probably agree with that but in the looking glass world of Twitter such views are verboten (hence why Miranda was booted from the platform in 2018).
Islan is a self-proclaimed trans ally who seeks to defend the rights of trans people. While that might sound a noble aim (trans people continue to face disproportionate abuse just for wanting to live their lives in peace), the term has become increasingly politicised: in fact most allies spend their time focusing on attacking anyone (women’s groups in particular) who suggests that the issue of transgenderism might more complicated than allowing anyone who feels female to be legally treated as such. Islan has also been closely connected with Mermaids UK, a charity that recently secured half a million pounds of lottery money to expand its services for children and teenagers who feel at odds with their birth gender.
In April last year, Islan complained about Yardley to West Yorkshire Police. This constabulary has a record of investigating potential transphobic hate crime with enthusiasm. While trans people like me really do appreciate efforts to stamp out the intimidation and abuse we face on the street, West Yorkshire Police take an enthusiastic interest in political disputes between campaigners.