Alex Massie Alex Massie

The row over Suzanne Moore is a test for the Guardian’s liberal credentials

The Guardian is a great newspaper and it remains so even if, puzzlingly, more than a fifth of its workforce – both editorial and commercial – appear to think there is something appalling about working for a newspaper.

That is the first and most glaring conclusion to be drawn from the extraordinary letter signed by 338 Guardian and Observer employees lamenting the paper’s willingness to run a column written by the great Suzanne Moore earlier this week, in which Moore argued that “we have gone through the looking-glass and are being told that sex is a construct” and that “you either protect women’s rights as sex-based or you don’t protect them at all”.

The signatories to the letter sent to Kath Viner, the paper’s editor, deplore what they deem the Guardian’s “pattern of publishing transphobic content” though, vexingly, the letter itself provides no evidence of this alleged transphobia and instead merely assumes it. According to Buzzfeed News which received a copy of the complaint – as, doubtless, was intended all along – staff at the paper were “deeply distressed” by the resignation of a transgender employee earlier this week who had, allegedly, received or overheard what are described as “anti-trans comments” from “influential editorial staff”. No details of what these remarks may have been has been furnished by Buzzfeed.

Again, according to Buzzfeed’s account, this all followed what is described as “a series of pieces that pitted trans people against women and against women’s rights”. One editorial column even had the temerity to argue that trans rights are sometimes in “collision” with more orthodox interpretations of women’s rights.

It is suggested that this is a “transphobic” position for the paper to hold though even an elementary appraisal of reality is sufficient to demonstrate that it is an obviously true interpretation of the matter.

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