James Kirkup James Kirkup

Why are the police stopping a 74-year-old tweeting about transgenderism?

Margaret Nelson is a 74-year-old woman who lives in a village in Suffolk. On Monday morning she was woken by a telephone call. It was an officer from Suffolk police. The officer wanted to speak to Mrs Nelson about her Twitter account and her blog. Mrs Nelson, a former humanist celebrant and one-time local newspaper journalist, enjoys tweeting and writing about a number of issues, including the legal and social distinctions between sex and gender. Among the statements she made on Twitter last month and which apparently concerned that police officer: ‘Gender is BS. Pass it on’. Another: ‘Gender’s fashionable nonsense. Sex is real. I’ve no reason to feel ashamed of stating the truth. The bloody annoying ones are those who use words like ‘cis’ or ‘terf’ and other BS, and relegate biological women to a ‘subset’. Sorry you believe the mythology.’ The blog, meanwhile, is mainly about death and funeral rituals: Mrs Nelson has officiated at many funerals. One of her blog posts, on 19 January 2018, challenges the statement that ‘transwomen are women’ on the grounds that a person’s proclaimed gender does not change their biological sex. Mrs Nelson wrote: ‘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.’ Mrs Nelson told me this about the call from the police: ‘The officer said she wanted to talk to me about some of the things I’d written on Twitter and my blog.

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