[BBC Sounds] Helen Lewis has left the chat

I’ve really enjoyed this radio4 series about internet culture and the impact that messaging apps have had on our lives/politics.

Each episode is a half hour with different themes: WhatsApp groups, Politicians using WhatsApp, Slack, Chatbots/AI, Discord leakers, Telegram in Russia.

Probably would say the first half is more UK-specific but the show does a good job of making the later episodes relevant, thought provoking.


She’s a transphobic piece of shit who abuses the concept of intersectionality to claim eternal victimhood for middle-class white women. Empty-brained narcissist.


This programme is actually about technology instead of trans issues.




Her fairly normal opinions about trans inclusion in sports or whatever aren’t relevant to the topic being discussed


I didn’t say they were. But people should be aware of who they are giving their clicks to.


I guess since the thread has been derailed might as ask - is this summation of her problematic behaviour accurate?

She’s not exactly JK Rowling.

Being against trans inclusion in sports puts her in line with almost every sports governing body. There’s a legitimate concern about inclusion on both sides in terms of representation of both women and transwomen in sports, so no resolution is possible that will keep both parties satisfied.

Additionally voicing skepticism about puberty blockers is exactly what the NHS has been doing in recent months.

It looks to me like she’s been singled out for being a centre left journalist who has opinions which deviate slightly from what she’s “supposed” to think. Also it was weird of you to bring up her race in the original comment - her being a white woman is orthogonal to the criticism you are making of her.


She’s very similar to JK Rowling, even if Jordan Peterson is as far as she’s got in her adventures with the far right so far.

You have an incorrect mental timeline on sports inclusion. Some sporting bodies have recently begun to introduce bans under pressure from conservative politicians desperate to distract the people they are pickpocketing. The stronger trend is for inclusion, because two years on gender-affirming hormones eliminates all the advantages a trans woman might have apart from extra height for those who went through a male puberty because they weren’t lucky enough to get puberty blockers early enough.

Laurel Hubbard: First transgender athlete to compete at Olympics

The 43-year-old became eligible to compete at the Olympics when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2015 changed its rules allowing transgender athletes to compete as a woman if their testosterone levels are below a certain threshold.

(Feel free to look up Hubbard’s performances before and after transition.)

One of the big tells with Lewis is her scare-mongering about trans women in women’s prisons. It has long been the case in the UK that women who are considered too violent to be housed in a women’s prison have been sent to men’s prisons. This applies to all women, cis and trans, and obviously includes trans women who have committed violent crimes against other women. People like Lewis seize on very rare instances where errors have been made to cause alarm and distress. Of course, they ignore the fates of trans women who have mistakenly been housed in men’s prisons without any of the protective segregation cis women in men’s prisons receive.

Also it was weird of you to bring up her race in the original comment - her being a white woman is orthogonal to the criticism you are making of her.

No idea why you think race and class are not relevant in a comment about her abuse of intersectionality. If you don’t understand, dictionaires exist.


Appreciate the detailed reply.

I kind of agree that the physical differences can be worked around in certain sports but I think I need to defer to the governmental bodies in most cases since they will have the best overview for what is relevant in that sport.

Do agree with the Rowling-esque fear mongering with cherry-picked examples being problematic. You see bigots do that for racism, homophobia, etc.

WRT the race comment, I’ve not read her book(s) so I was not aware that she endorsed intersectionality. If she does then your comment makes sense and your original point went over my head!

Was a mistake to go into the weeds on this topic to be honest. My original point was more that you can disagree with someone on one topic without it invalidating everything else they have to say. For example it’s a textbook ad hominen to claim something like, “David Hume is wrong about the existence of God because he was a racist” or similar.


As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s about who you want to benefit from your clicks. Pirate her books and articles if you want to know what she has to say (but honestly, it’s not much so probs don’t bother).

HeartyBeast avatar

You can have a nuance debate about trans-inclusion in women’s sports without having to label the person you disagree with “a transphobic piece of shit”. It’s a complex issue that deserves better

JoBo, (edited )

She has used her considerable platform to make trans lives worse in many ways, not just with regard to sport.

Because she is a transphobic piece of shit, you see.

HeartyBeast avatar

Wikipedia’s section, for anyone interested:

In 2012, Lewis coined what she herself referred to as "Lewis's Law": "the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism".[29] In January 2013, Lewis edited a week of articles dedicated to transgender issues in the New Statesman, featuring articles by transgender and non-binary writers including Juliet Jacques, Jane Fae and Sky Yarlett. In the introduction, she wrote: "For anyone interested in equality, it should be obvious that trans people are subject to harassment simply for the way they express their gender identity."[30]
While supporting transgender people's right to freedom from harassment and abuse,[31] in July 2017, Lewis wrote about her concerns that gender self-identification would make rape shelters unsafe for women and would lead to an increase in sexual assaults in women's changing rooms, writing: "In this climate, who would challenge someone with a beard exposing their penis in a women's changing room?"[32][33]
In response to criticism for those comments, Lewis said "I've had two tedious years of being abused online as a transphobe and a 'TERF' or 'trans-exclusionary radical feminist'—despite my belief that trans women are women, and trans men are men—because I have expressed concerns about self-ID and its impact on single-sex spaces".[34] In November 2020, game developer Ubisoft removed two in-game podcasts from Watch Dogs: Legion that featured Lewis due to the comments.[35][36][37]

@NickwithaC@lemmy.world avatar

You really can’t it’s been a settled issue for a long time.

Trans women get shit for the possibility of testosterone improving their performance but the science shows they actually have less testosterone than some of the cis women they’re competing against. This is thanks to the puberty blockers the government just decided that kids can’t have access to. Transphobia begets transphobia.

HeartyBeast avatar

As I say, it’s a complex issue. Different people transition at different ages, with affects on development. Some may have taken puberty blockers at a young age, others may have transitioned later in life having gone through puberty, with accompanying musculature.

People are a diverse bunch, it wouldn’t surprise me if some trans women may have less testosterone than some cisgender women. You’re saying that “science shows they [all?] actually have less testosterone than some of the cis women they’re competing against” - I’d be interested in seeing the studies you are thinking of.

@ladfrombrad@lemdro.id avatar


lol, I thought you were inferring that she had literally left the building but I’ll fix that typo for ya



Whoops! Thanks for catching that. Will update the link if I can.

Edit: updated. My phone copy/paste had inserted HTML special characters for some reason lol.

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