Julia Hartley-Brewer debates pronouns after Labour reveal plans to 'toughen up' sentencing guidelines for trans abuse

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Julia Hartley-Brewer has debated the use of gender pronouns with a non-binary broadcaster after Labour reveals their plans to 'toughen up' on sentencing guidelines for trans abuse.

Julia was joined by commentator and activist Shivani Dave to discuss the use of sepcific gender pronouns for non-binary and trans people.

It was recently revealed by the Mail on Sunday that deliberately calling someone by the wrong gender pronouns could become a hate crime punishable by imprisonment under a Labour government.

The decision means that transphobic abuse would be punishable by the same amount of prison time, two years, as assault and harassment motivated by hatred on the grounds of race or religion.

In the debate on TalkTV, Julia argued: "Do you think it's okay for me to say I don't want to do that (refer to someone as they/them) I find it offensive to be asked to misuse language in that way, as I view it"

Dave responded: "I mean, we can debate all day back and forth about the use of gender neutral pronouns as a singular or plural of a pronoun, you've got academic scholars literate people involved in language and to much greater depth than me who will say that using they them as a singular pronoun is in fact entirely inappropriate way to use that word.

"If you don't want to do it that's fine."

The pair continued on to discuss Labours commitment to crack down on transphobic abuse as a hate crime.

Dave said: "On your point about the LGBT hate crimes and the want from labour to issue those punishments in the same way that they word for hate crimes of regarding race or religion, would you not think that hate crimes of any variety should be given the same level of treatment?"

Julia commented: "I suppose for me, then that's about what we describe as a hate crime. I consider it to be unacceptable to expect me to use incorrect grammar and to tell a lie, a biological lie.

"My view on that is as protected as your right to say this is what I prefer, a few years ago I would have out of a matter of courtesy used your preferred pronouns and I have done so in the past with other trans guests as well. And yet, now I feel very differently about it."

Continuing the debate, the duo discussed reports of rising hate crimes against LGBTQ+ members and what hate crimes can actually be classified as.

Julia said: "I think from someone saying, with all due respect, I don't accept that men can become women and women can become a man, I don't believe that people are non binary other than those who are the tiny, tiny percentage of people who are born with both sets of genitals.

"Therefore, I don't want to play along with that. But that's not hate, is it?"

Dave concluded: "You can do what you want to do."