Activists are calling for the UK Labour Party to drop MP Rosie Duffield, alleging transphobia, following an interview she gave about a previous wave of online attacks sparked by her comment that people “with a cervix” are women.
In an interview with the Times published on Monday, Duffield said that she has been attacked online and even received death threats since tweeting in August that “only women have a cervix” – a reference to a much-ridiculed CNN story about “individuals with a cervix.”
“You could take that as a joke and think it’s just some silly boy behind his keyboard, but it’s pretty sinister,” she said, discussing the threats she has received. It has gotten so bad, she added, that it has started to make her feel scared walking down the street.
The MP called the seeming inevitability of backlash on certain topics “dystopian,” comparing it to Gilead, the fictional Christian fundamentalist society in Margaret Atwood’s novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, where “women aren’t allowed to ask questions or proffer alternative ideas.”
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Some activists have even been calling on Labour leadership to deselect Duffield as a party MP.
The politician noted that her views on transphobia became an even more contentious issue online than the fact that she opposed Brexit, for which she was also reviled by UK Conservatives.
“I regularly talk to people who don’t agree with me on things like abortion or Brexit. We have civilised conversations,” Duffield said, adding: “I’m not being cancelled or threatened with a noose [over those topics], so why is this particular issue so toxic?”
Duffield said she feels that the extreme online backlash to her trans comments is designed to silence her and that party leader Keir Starmer “doesn’t want to shine too much light” on the issue, preferring to avoid the topic instead.
“I feel like my female mouth is being well and truly closed without ever actually having been opened.”
It would appear the MP was on point when describing the controversial nature of discourse around trans issues online. Her name quickly became a trending topic on UK Twitter on Monday after the interview was published.
Some commenters accused Duffield of “playing the victim,” and once again “suggested” she should be expelled from the Labour Party. Some likened her to author JK Rowling, similarly notorious in online activist circles for her allegedly trans-exclusionary beliefs.
Maybe if Rosie Duffield could stop playing the victim for a second
— Elliott G🌹 (@c4prihun) October 12, 2020
Rosie Duffield MP who has used her position of power and influence to attack the rights of trans people is the latest disgusting example of punching down and then claiming the victim.
Don't mainstrean her hate. @Keir_Starmer please remove the whip.
— Jess for Young Labour Chair (@JessicaLBarnard) October 12, 2020
For the record, not saying Rosie Duffield SHOULD be expelled from the Labour Party.
Mean, if we had a say, would probably suggest that.
Just would like @UKLabour to do SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Release a statement, do an investigation, at least have someone call it what it is.
— What The Trans!? (@WhatTheTrans) October 12, 2020
Are Rosie Duffield and JK Rowling fighting for some sort of Queen TERF crown that I don't know about?#TransRightsAreHumanRights
— Aimee 🌹 (@Sedentary_Pos) October 12, 2020
On the other hand, Duffield had many supporters who commended her “courage” in “speaking out” and condemned online attacks against the MP as “violent misogyny.”
“Duffield has received death threats on social media and has started to feel scared walking down the street. ‘There was a picture of a mocked-up hanging . . . and someone had put, ‘I wish I could photoshop Rosie Duffield into this.’” Violent misogyny is unacceptable. https://t.co/QVjJIJY4sW
— 👻 Spectre Outrider 👻 (@ClaireShrugged) October 12, 2020
A brilliant interview with my courageous friend Rosie Duffield MP @RosieDuffield1 who speaks out against misogyny, social media trolling and the silencing of women.https://t.co/kBgwYpY49k
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) October 12, 2020
One commenter even suggested that the fierce backlash Duffield’s interview received was illustrative of exactly the point she was trying to make about women’s voices being silenced. “Thanks to all the nuggets proving her point today,” they tweeted.
Re: Rosie Duffield, thanks to all the nuggets proving her point today. We live in a world where misogyny is seen as increasingly acceptable; especially to those on the left and faux liberals. You are betraying women and girls.
— Ugly_bag_of_mostly_water (@winston_smith3) October 12, 2020
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