Readers may be unaware that I have a new book out this week (which readers might purchase from Amazon or anywhere else where books are found). The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity came out on Tuesday with a big bash at The Spectator’s offices in London.
But the thing I was hoping for most – the thing that has made me happiest about the reception of the book – is neither the plaudits of the friendly nor the congratulations of the wise. The thing that I anticipated most eagerly were the attacks on me from what remains of ‘the gay press’.
True, I have not been kind to them in my book. The gay press had a purpose in the 1970s and ‘80s. It even had a purpose in the 1990s. But in the current decade what remains of it is a pointless, shrivelled husk. A demonstration of that unerring law about charities: which is that if a charity is set up to deal with a disease it will continue to operate even if that disease is cured. Because people’s jobs and pension packages are at stake. Many of those involved will have no other competency, and nothing else to do.
In the same way the gay press has staggered on, mainly online, long after it should have shut up shop. It ekes out an existence, with hardly any readers, paying its contributors nothing or almost nothing, trying to whip up the gays over niche issues of trans rights, and maintaining a skeleton staff paid in launch bash canapés and free items sent to them for review. Naturally they have become organs of the identity-politics movements: ridiculous, ill-thinking, ‘intersectional’ publications which, because the gay rights battle is basically won, try to whip their readers up into a rage about political issues that have nothing to do with gays.
The behaviour of Advocate and Pink News this past week has been a joy to behold. On Monday morning I went on the BBC’s Today programme. My fellow guest was the British writer Afua Hirsch who is the author of a memoir about her own upbringing, in which she describes how she managed to flee the badlands of Wimbledon only to suffer in the hood of Oxford University.
Anyhow, during the conversation I mentioned the idiotic recent case of Sam Smith. This is the pop singer who came out as gay a few years ago, came out as ‘genderqueer’ a couple of years after that and last week came out as ‘non-binary’. As I said in the Telegraph on Monday, and reiterated on the BBC, I do not believe there is any such thing as ‘non-binary’. In particular I think it is impossible to tell what the difference is between coming out as being ‘non-binary’ and simply shouting ‘Look at me’. If there is a difference then nobody (including the Smiths) has yet been able to explain it.
When this came up Afua accused me of ‘bullying’ Sam Smith. Because of course everything is about power and I am definitely in a position to bully the downtrodden, multi-millionaire crooner Sam Smith. Despite berating me for not using ‘they / them’ pronouns for Sam Smith, Afua then herself outrageously and unfortunately ‘misgendered’ Sam Smith, referring to him as ‘him’ and ‘his’. Not as easy as it looks, this woke stuff, is it?
"I don't think there is any such thing as non-binary. And I think a lot of people know that too." @DouglasKMurray debates his new book with @afuahirsch @MarthaKearney | #r4Today pic.twitter.com/FvcHmkFTgR
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) September 17, 2019
Anyhow – in the aftermath of the discussion the gay press decided to get all over this. Here’s the UK’s ‘Pink News’ headline:
‘Conservative journalist misgenders Sam Smith and says “non-binary doesn’t exist”, gets expertly shut down.’
Yeah. Take that ya big conservative bigot. As it happens I don’t think Afua ‘shut me down’, expertly or otherwise. We had what we used to call ‘a discussion’ and then went our separate ways. Neither of us – I am sure – into monastic silence.
But Pink News needs to argue otherwise in order to get more than half a dozen readers. According to them I was quickly ‘put in [my] place.’ Without making it clear where that place would be.
Meanwhile America’s leading gay news site ‘Advocate’ went with:
‘Right-wing UK writer epically schooled for misgendering Sam Smith.’
Now again, I am not sure that this is accurate. I have been schooled. Almost as well schooled as Afua. Though never ‘epically’, I fancy. And I do not think that an honest critic could say that Afua Hirsch in any way ‘epically schooled’ me in our discussion.
But the key word there is ‘honest’. And nothing about Advocate or Pink News is remotely honest. Just consider the following two facts.
In neither publication, spanning both sides of the Atlantic, did either publication tell its readers that I am gay. Indeed that I was the only gay in the studio on this occasion. Either they do not know this, or they fail to mention it because it is unhelpful for the real political nature of their argument.
But both publications do one other thing that is enormously telling. As I mentioned, in our BBC discussion Afua perpetrated precisely the mis-gendering I am being damned for doing. And how do Pink News and Advocate get around this little trouble, which risks distracting readers from their narrative of SJW epically schooling vile heteronormative cis white right wing male bigot? Why by partaking in a little white lie.
Both publications run transcripts of portions of the conversation. For their part Pink News changes my ‘he’ and ‘his’ descriptions of Sam Smith to ‘they’ and ‘them’ to protect their sensitive readers from the horror of having to read about a man being described as ‘he’. So Pink News report that I said of Smith:
‘[They] previously came out as gay, came out a bit later as genderqueer, [they] now say [they’re] non-binary, which means among other things [they] want to have plural pronouns used of [them].’
Which is not just a dishonest bastardisation of the language but a dishonest bastardisation of my language.
Advocate does the same thing from the other end, reporting that in responding to my ‘closed-minded views’ Afua had said of Smith:
‘This is somebody who has made an expression of [their] identity and how [they] want to be described and I don’t know why you feel so threatened by it.’
As it happens I followed Afua by pointing out that if I wanted to play the sort of game she and other SJWs play I would say I was threatened by it because people like Smith are ‘disappearing gay people.’ As it happens, Pink News and Advocate might be accused of doing the same thing in ‘disappearing’ me and turning the only gay man in the discussion into a right-wing homophobe who just got epically schooled by all the great heterosexuals.
In order to pretend that such a thing as ‘non-binary’ exists the leading gay publications in America and Britain have chosen to pretend that I am not gay, that I didn’t use the correct words I did and that my opponent did not use the incorrect words that she did. Which is a nice example of what I dislike about all of this. I dislike little lies because little lies tend to end up becoming big lies. A fact that the lying remnants of the gay press have just generously demonstrated.
Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds is available on Amazon.