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Titania McGrath: ‘I can’t forgive Florence Nightingale for her silence on non-binary rights’

Titania McGrath: ‘I can’t forgive Florence Nightingale for her silence on non-binary rights’
Image: Lisa Graves
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How has Titania found lockdown?

I conduct most of my activism through Twitter, so lockdown has not prevented me from spreading my important message of social justice. The trick to Twitter is always to include a rainbow flag and pronouns in your bio. That way, when you’re calling your opponents evil, lowlife scumbags, trying to get them fired, or gloating if they die, everyone will know that you’re actually incredibly compassionate.

You cite the likes of Meghan Markle, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Stalin as key influencers for children growing up today. Who were your own role models growing up?

I did used to look up to Florence Nightingale, but then I found out that she never said anything in support of non-binary rights, so I have to assume that she was transphobic. As for other role models, I admire any person of colour really: Mary Seacole, Nelson Mandela, Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi. But I’m a little tired of being described as the ‘modern-day Rosa Parks’. For one thing, I wouldn’t be seen dead on public transport.

You could argue that the major activist battles of the last decade have been won – we’re all more climate conscious, there’s never been a better time in history to be a woman and there’s a renewed drive to stamp out racism wherever it’s found. So how do you see your role as an activist going forward?

My work has never been more urgent. I spend most of my time helping to overcome division by reminding white people how evil they all are. And as for feminism, I believe that there is still much work to be done. Women in 2020 are literally more oppressed than they have ever been in our nation’s history. Emmeline Pankhurst had it easy.

Your book is a guide for socially engaged parents looking raise activist children. Do you have any tips for parents wanting to educate their children on the issues of the day?

It’s really about decolonising the national curriculum. Parents should be pressurising their children’s schools into eliminating books written by straight white males. These offensive books should be burned in the playground so that the pupils can see what happens when fascists try to spread their wicked ideology. In addition, children should be encouraged to attend protests. I recently saw a girl as young as four at an Extinction Rebellion protest holding a placard which read ‘Regeneration Not Deforestation’. It’s so moving when children spontaneously come out with the things we’ve taught them to say.

Titania, you have had many run ins with Twitter over the last year, having had your account locked on several occasions. It seems your views are just too forward thinking for social media. How do you plan to respond to the latest clamp down on free speech?

I can only assume that my occasional suspensions have been due to a crypto-fascist element at Twitter. That said, I believe that social media tech giants do have a responsibility to censor all accounts that express the wrong opinions. Debate is a form of harassment. This is why I wanted to write a book for children to help cultivate the next generation of intersectional warrior queens. For we shall only achieve true diversity in our society when everyone thinks in exactly the same way as me.

My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism by Titania McGrath is published by Constable and is available now.