The news that swimming’s governing body has voted to ban anyone who has gone through male puberty from competing in elite women’s events is a huge success.
It comes after years of growing frustration and humiliation for female athletes, who could not hope to match the sheer physical prowess of the growing number of male-dominated opponents competing with them.
Since the announcement, several other sports governing bodies have reported that they will follow suit. But this is more than a victory for the women’s sport, it is a victory for women everywhere.
In fact, I might even go so far as to say that it is roughly the equivalent of women winning the vote in 1928. At that time, women struggled to be heard, to have our basic rights taken seriously. We never thought we’d have to do it all over again – yet that’s exactly what happened.
Lia Thomas, pictured right, and teammates celebrate victory in the 400 yard freestyle relay at the Women’s Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships in February. Thomas has been in the center of a row on trans swimmers
Women who feel uncomfortable allowing male-bodied trans women into every intimate aspect of their lives are branded. Women who want to celebrate their sex achievements are classified as transphobes.
The irony of groups like Stonewall and others claiming to fight discrimination in my view is the equivalent of bullying an entire gender would be ridiculous, were it not so scary. But it is deadly serious.
Because while things are showing up in women’s sports, on the streets and on social media, the mood has never been worse against women who dare to make their mark.
Last weekend in Bristol, a group of feminists attending a speech on Father’s Day were abused and blacked out and shouted insults at them by masked men.
Such women are often used with the derogatory term TERF – which stands for Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminist – and the Bristol protest was no exception.
Former Olympic athlete Sharon Davis speaks in Edinburgh last week about the importance of maintaining women’s sports categories
One protester held up a sign saying: ‘TERFs can suck my d***.’ Another wrote a chilling message on the ground: ‘After Colston, TERF is next.’ In other words, if you don’t do as we say, we’ll throw you in the river – like a mob in Bristol did two years ago with a statue of slave trader Edward Colston.
Wait – didn’t they do this to women accused of witchcraft in the Middle Ages? Meanwhile, the police were strangely restrained. Maybe that’s what they teach on all those diversity courses. One thing is for sure: if that minority were a group from ethnic or religious background, those protesters would have been – rightly so – rounded up and prosecuted for hate speech.
And it’s not just a recent incident: Last month in Manchester, a woman was allegedly attacked while she was attending a free speech gathering next to a statue of feminist Emmeline Pankhurst, dressed in similar clothing. Worn by a group of trans activists.
This time, the victim claimed that the police had threatened to arrest her. JK Rowling later came out in support of her, tweeting with her usual delicious sarcasm: ‘I never thought the right side of history would include so many people intimidating and attacking women, right?’
The real question here is, how much does this have to do with trans activism, and how much is just misogyny? How many trans causes – basically a noble – have been hijacked by lowly opportunists who see it as just another way of expressing hatred for women?
And if so, you have to ask yourself why. In my view, the answer is simple: in a world where Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer says ‘What is a woman?’ Can’t even answer the question, is it any wonder these sinners feel so excited?
So yes, women win in sports. But until those with more authority speak up, women are always in fear of cowards who threaten to harm them.
Scientists say that being able to balance on one leg for ten seconds is an excellent indicator of general health. I just have one question: is it before or after my evening gin and tonic?
Queen’s text to Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky needs every last anti-tank missile he can get his hands on. But wars aren’t won through brute force alone, which is why Boris Johnson’s choice of a gift to the Ukrainian PM last weekend can be quite inspiring: a new royal biography from my colleague Robert Hardman, The Queen of Our Times. To.
Zelensky would read how, at the age of 14, Elizabeth made her first broadcast at the height of the Blitz, promising the evacuation that ‘in the end, all would be well’. As for Bravery, Hardman has written about attempts by Jim Callaghan’s government to prevent the Queen from visiting Northern Ireland during her silver jubilee in 1977, out of fear of the IRA. He insisted on leaving regardless. After the Thatcher government tried to prevent him from going to a summit in Zambia in 1979, his plane was warned of missile attacks. Still she left. And Macmillan’s government had tried to keep him away from Ghana in 1961 – with more bomb threats – but his refusal to fear was a diplomatic victory.
In fact, his entire reign has been a testament to that worn-out but important quality: keep calm and keep going.
Gary Lineker claims to have been a victim of racist abuse because of his ‘dark skin’, despite being ‘as English as they come’. I’m sorry but this sounds like me saying that I was victimized for being from Wales because someone once called me a ‘sheep-troubler’. It’s not really like a monkey making noises every time you walk up the pitch.
my sinking feeling about heels
Kate’s shoe designer says four-inch heels can make any woman a goddess. not me! If I had to lean across the grass at Ascot in stilettos like the Duchess of Cambridge, I would soon find myself drowning in the turf as if it were quicksand in the most non-goddess-like fashion.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, pictured last week wearing heels at Royal Ascot
leave the PM’s sinus alone
What’s all this absurd about leftist Boris Johnson getting priority treatment for his sinus operation? I should expect well. He is PM. He is running the country. We are in the midst of a cost of living, the country is paralyzed by attacks and the Ukraine is at war. Whatever you think about how he is handling things, we need him to be fit and well.
Happy birthday to the Duke of Cambridge, who turned 40 yesterday. I don’t have much helpful advice to give her, other than to say that if you don’t already have a pair of nose-hair clippers, I strongly suggest you get some. Trust me, you will need them.
Prince William says he found studying the Renaissance ‘amazing’ at university, but that ‘I was getting a little lethargic’ when it came to modern art.
Much of the history of art has been abstracted over the past 500 years.
Caroline Quentin Says Men Behaving Badly Will Never Be Made To Today Because It Won’t Pass The Wake Test. But the brilliance of that show was that it tackled sexism and general ladylike behavior with humor and wit—and in doing so made its point much more effectively (and entertaining) than some po-faced MeToo lectures. Gave.
Scientists have established new criteria for measuring female orgasm – and apparently groaning is not a reliable indicator. I say. The only woman in most households who is complaining is that she has failed to reload the dishwasher.
Jesse Wallace – aka Kat Slater in EastEnders – is arrested after abusing outside a Burger King. Talk about art imitating life. Still, it’s nice to know that she is just as classy in real life as she is on screen.
Jesse Wallace, pictured here as Cat Slater in a scene on the BBC soap EastEnders
I can understand that the Spanish authorities don’t want people to pee on beaches, but imposing a hefty fine – up to £650 – seems a bit crazy to relieve themselves at sea. Aside from the question of how do you identify criminals (mobile DNA testing labs?), surely a quick wad in the water is far preferable to using the same fly-infested toilet block for every sun-worshiper.
Uber was reportedly charging £27 for a three-mile trip during yesterday’s strike: quite a capitalist bonus.
I wonder how this plays with the socialist principles of Angela Renner and her fellow Labor MPs? Or is massive profiteering not an issue for them as long as it suits their agenda?
According to an NHS official, ‘less hiring is better for the environment’. So there are fewer humans, and the less likely we are to see our doctors, the fewer of us. Maybe then the environment buffs will be happy.