I recently sat rivetted in the Gielgud Theatre watching Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible (1953). The play is a dramatised account of the 17th century witch trials in Salem, USA. The respectable folk of Salem cast the first stone against innocent people because they had good reason to deflect scrutiny from their private lives. Others who were not central protagonists joined in because they were petrified of the mob hysteria. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of the 1950s McCarthyite era in the USA when the Government accused people of being communists and then persecuted them. It has stood the test of time and has equal resonance with the transgender body politics of the 21st Century: accusers are self-righteous critical social justice warriors (backed by the Government and civil institutions) and the witches are ‘transphobes’.

The writer, broadcaster and comic Andrew Doyle describes the faithful adherents of the postmodern, non-theistic faith in transgender identity as the New Puritans. Under the guise of protecting the human rights of women and children, non-believers are accused of cunningly hiding our true devilish nature, which is the desire for trans genocide. Like the witches of yore, when we protest our innocence, this is taken as further evidence of guilt. We are no longer strung from trees but expunged by other means – the refusal to debate with us, the denial of platforms from which to speak to others, impugning us professionally, bringing lawsuits against us, depriving us of livelihoods, and so on.

In the world of celebrity, those who do not express unequivocal adherence to the new faith often cringingly ‘confess’ to the sin of unwitting transphobia. The most recent example is the singer Róisín Murphy. Predictably, her fulsome apology to her LGBT fans for comments on Facebook about the need to protect vulnerable children and the harm of puberty blockers has not appeased the zealots. Her record label has declared it will no longer promote and market her forthcoming album and is “in touch with various organisations about how best to use proceeds in support of combating transphobic hate in solidarity with the community”.

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Iron Will

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