If you want to attack a person’s moral integrity, their very right to identify who they understand themselves to be, then simply call them a man. Especially if she was assigned female at birth, raised a girl, understands herself to be a woman, yet genetically able to produce children. Caster Semenya’s recent interview unleashed a torrent of abuse from gender critical feminists, essentially boiling down to the fact that due to her genetics she cannot inhabit or understand what it is to be a woman in the world. All of which is bullying and harassment without the slightest shred of understanding what they are actually talking about.
Much of the hysteria whipper up over Caster boils down to her winning gold medals and actually being good at her events. If she had been a middle-of-the-road runner much of the brouhaha would have quietened years ago as she faded into obscurity. Instead, Caster stood her ground, fought against the discrimination she faced, and suffered for her audacity. That her very identity is now torn apart by anonymous keyboard warriors comes down to the confected slurs and taint imagined up by the likes of Helen Joyce and Maya Forstater. Grifters such as Riley Gaines jumped on the bandwagon, and ever time you mention Caster a whole slew of abuse tumbles out of the fetid swamp they created.
How you exist in public is as much about how others invent your identity as it is how you wish to be seen. It is impossible to wholly curate your image, as every touch point with the wider world invariably leads to other people seeking to carve a version of you for themselves. This is as old as Plato and Pliny, the reality is that no self-image survives contact with the public. Caster’s self-understanding is rooted in her womanhood, and by stripping that away from her exclusionary feminists are recasting her as him in order to serve their own agenda. Namely, they seek to show that only their version of womanhood is ever good enough.
This is why it is vital to push back against such banal and pernicious attempts at rewriting a person’s identity. No-one has the inherent right to completely control how they are perceived, yet if that perception is based on lies and political machinations then it needs to be torn down. No-one has the right to bully anyone else, has the inalienable right to weaponise their personal beliefs against…