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Mermaids are happy to see a man’s life destroyed


In the prophetic G K Chesterton novel The Oracle of the Dog, the protagonist Father Brown says: ‘It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense.’ These words reverberated around my mind as I read that a charity called Mermaids had called the police and reported a school teacher who was ‘misgendering’ a transgender pupil, which they believed to be a ‘hate crime’.

On what planet is that an ‘offence’ worthy of calling the police? Further, what does that say about us as a society that the individual responsible for this wasn’t charged with wasting police time?

It would be funny, frankly, if this movement, a tiny, tiny minority, was not gathering such influential momentum. About four years ago, I woke up to find that, out of nowhere, being ‘cisgendered’ was another shocking crime to add to my list, along with being straight, white and male. In a short time the whole Western world has become scared of being ‘transphobic’, and it is the militancy and callousness displayed by organisations such as Mermaids that has caused this.

They were seemingly perfectly happy to see this man’s reputation, career and even life ruined because he doesn’t subscribe to the most recent progressive cause. It is a perfectly reasonable opinion to hold that you cannot change the sex in which you were born. Further, just because an individual wants to be addressed in a certain way does not mean they have the right to be. A hallmark of adulthood is the realisation that you don’t always get what you want, but as a society we seem to disdain such stoical acceptance.

We simply cannot allow things such as ‘misgendering’ to become a ‘hate crime’. When ‘hate crimes’ and ‘hate speech’ were cooked up in the New Labour laboratory of social experimentation, conservatives rightly raised concerns about mission creep. If we’re being very charitable, they were devised with good intentions, but now we are reaping the results of criminalising what amounts to unacceptable thoughts and words.

The humorous absurdity of the situation is tempered somewhat by the fact that the government – so-called Conservative! – plans to allow people to change their sex on their birth certificate, without a doctor’s diagnosis. So in this brave new world an individual can decide to become a man or a woman, change it on their birth certificate, then you are committing a ‘hate crime’ for not going along with it.

It’s an interesting epoch we live in: internationally renowned universities want to introduce gender neutral toilets; drag queens read stories to primary school children; in America a transgender boy wins the girls’ state wrestling title for the second time. This is not a healthy society, nor is it one with a sense of clear identity.

Which brings us back to Chesterton. It’s all well and good identifying the many symptoms of the sickness, but what is the solution? If the Right is to succeed in the West there must be more than saying ‘this is madness’ to the Left’s social engineering, although it did work for Trump. At some point that will lose effectiveness and there must be ‘this would be better’, too.

The solution in my opinion is God; I believe phenomena such as transgenderism result from people trying to fill the void in their life in increasingly dramatic ways, as they also do with sex, drugs, gambling and alcohol. We must battle against organisations such as Mermaids but show to lost souls such as the young pupil in question that with God they can feel loved and accepted without needing to make such a drastic outer change. Just like St Augustine, their yearning will never end and their hearts will be restless until they rest in the Lord.

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Fionn Shiner
Fionn Shiner
Fionn Shiner is a London-based writer who has written for the Spectator, the Daily Mirror, Private Eye and more. His day job is Press and Parliamentary Officer for Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

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