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Gender identity

A turning point in the battle over gender

Allison Bailey with JK Rowling, her most prominent supporter

One day, says Sonia Sodha in The Observer, we may look back and wonder how so many institutions came to be dominated by the “regressive and controversial” world view that being a woman is not a scientific fact but an “inner feeling”. Thankfully the tide seems to be turning. Last week, an employment tribunal found that the human rights barrister Allison Bailey had been “victimised” by her bosses for criticising gender ideology. She was investigated for calling out the concept of the “cotton ceiling”, the absurd view that lesbians who don’t date trans women are “transphobic”. Quite rightly, Bailey was awarded “aggravated damages”, meaning her employer behaved “particularly egregiously”.

Even worse has been the treatment of children by the NHS in the notorious Tavistock gender identity clinic, which pushes “irreversible medical treatment” that can make people infertile and potentially hamper their physical development. After an independent review, NHS England announced last week that it would close down Tavistock and replace it with new facilities offering a more holistic approach. This is obviously good news. But it is still a scandal that closing it took so long, and entailed so many expert whistleblowers being “tarnished as bigots” and “institutionally vilified” by the NHS. That’s what happens when you have “corrosive groupthink”, and individuals so keen to prove they are on the “right side of history” that they abandon their critical faculties.