It is entirely true that some of these tales grow in the telling. But that we’re even willing to give credence to this story shows how far we’ve come and apparently in the wrong direction. Using the wrong – or the undesired to be more accurate – pronoun is not a hate crime. It’s not even something the police should be involved with in any capacity whatsoever. It is, rather, something that should be policed by the general societal concept of manners – and societal reaction to someone who is not well mannered.
A devout Catholic and mother of five has been asked to attend a police interview after being accused of using the wrong pronoun to describe a transgender girl. Caroline Farrow was contacted by officers from the Surrey force to inform her they were investigating an allegation that she had made transphobic comments on Twitter. Mrs Farrow is being investigated for a possible hate crime under the malicious communication act, an offence that carries a maximum two-year prison sentence. While the 44-year-old has been invited to attend the interview on a voluntary basis, she claims she has been warned that she could face arrest if she fails to attend.
All I know is that the police want to conduct a taped interview under caution because of tweets I sent “misgendering Susie Green’s daughter following a GMB interview.” That’s all I have been told. I know I haven’t ever tweeted Jackie Green directly or directed any abuse at them.
— Caroline Farrow (@CF_Farrow) 19 March 2019
So, to lay things out for the hard of thinking. To say nasty things about people is entirely legal – and should be. We even make the distinction in libel law, mere common insult isn’t libel. We also have this concept of hate crimes, not that we should perhaps. Beating someone up simply because they’re a gammon is a hate crime, it’s worse than just beating someone up. But saying nasty things about people is not a hate crime. Or at least shouldn’t be.
For we already have a system of dealing with people saying things. It’s called society. We out here listen to what people say. If they generally say nice things nicely then we think them well mannered and we treat them as such. Accord them a certain social privilege even. If they generally say nasty things, nastily, then we treat them as ill mannered and slice them out of some of society’s good things – like our society.
And that’s the way it should be. What society wishes to police as language is something to be policed by society. Not by actual uniformed police as in Plod.
What Caroline Farrow actually said here, to whom and how, is irrelevant. It’s simply not something that’s any business of the State’s in the slightest. We all can – and will – associate with Ms. Farrow as we wish or not as we wish based upon what we think of her given what she says. That’s the social punishment for overstepping societal boundaries.
All that before we even get to the basic point at issue here. Apparently she used “he” instead of “she”. And if that’s to be a crime then we’ve a certain problem with large parts of our language. Try saying, in that Kenneth Williams nasality, “Oooh, get her!” This is of course to use the wrong pronoun given any biological reality. It’s also a well understood and used phrase to mean someone up themselves. And we’re going to lock people up for it? Especially given the way is exactly describes all too many of these varied activists policing our language.
No, we’re not and we shouldn’t and the very idea is ludicrous. There are indeed these things over here that the Law, Plod and jail cells are to deal with. Then over here there’s the other 98% of life which is dealt with by us ourselves in our daily interactions with all the rest of us. You know, that thing called society. Where we judge people on their manners?