As a rule, Irish media outlets cannot comment on matters that are under consideration in Irish courts. Generally speaking, we shouldn’t comment on matters under consideration in overseas courts, either, but for this story, it is worth making an exception:

A LEADING feminist campaigner has been charged with a hate crime for posting allegedly homophobic and transphobic material on social media.

Marion Millar, from Airdrie, was charged under the Malicious Communications Act for tweets posted in 2019 and 2020, and could face two years in jail if convicted.

It is understood one tweet included a picture of a ribbon in the purple, white and green of the suffragette movement.

She is a supporter of sex-based rights for women, and opposes simplifying transgender self-identification.

Her critics claim she is a trans-exclusionary radical feminist, or Terf.

For those of you not familiar with some of the language above, a brief translation:

A trans exclusionary feminist, in simple terms, is somebody who believes that a woman is a person born with XX chromosomes, ovaries, and a vagina. In other words, they believe that the word “woman” describes a set of biological characteristics which make a person female.

Sex based rights, simply, means that they believe that the law should define womanhood in terms of biology. So, for example, they believe that a dressing room, or a public toilet, reserved for women, should be reserved for people with XX chromosomes, ovaries, and vaginas.

Transgender activists oppose these positions because they believe that a woman is somebody who identifies as a woman, regardless of what body they were born in. In other words, they believe that there is no difference at all between a man who becomes a woman, and a woman who was born a woman.

And in fact, transgender activists increasingly wish to criminalise those women who disagree that men who become women are the same as women who were born as women.

The reason for this is that they believe it is hateful and marginalising to tell somebody that they are not the gender they believe themselves to be.

Because Marion Millar does not believe that a man can become a woman just like her, she is being charged with a hate crime, for “posting transphobic material” – in other words, for saying that womanhood is biological, not something you choose.

This is, self evidently, nuts. And it is relevant to Ireland because the very same hate crime law under which Marion Millar is being prosecuted is presently being introduced in Ireland, with the support of every political party and NGO, and with minimal objection from the media. Those of us who oppose such a law have repeatedly warned that it will have a chilling effect on debate and discussion, or worse, openly facilitate the censorship of public debate.

And the issue on which Marion Millar is facing prosecution is a very important issue of public debate. For example, in Ireland, we have seen situations where violent sexual offenders who target women declare themselves to be transgender, and are then housed (albeit separated from the main population) in women’s prisons. We are having a debate at the moment about gender neutral bathrooms in schools. There is an issue about biological males competing, as women, in women’s sports.

All of these issues, regardless of your personal view on them, are matters of public discussion. One side of that discussion – the so-called “trans rights” side – would much prefer that they were not discussed at all, because they claim that any debate on these issues risks stoking fear and hatred of trans people.

But that is not how it should work. In a free society, all viewpoints should be free to be aired, and challenged, and debated. Locking people up – as Scotland is threatening to do – for holding the view of sex and gender that has been universally held for five or six millennia, is absolutely nuts.

The Scottish Government should be ashamed. And Irish politicians – at least those politicians who are not openly happy at the idea of locking up people who question the trans agenda – should be sitting up, and taking notice.