Joanna Cherry

Joanna Cherry is a transphobe, attempting to spread hate and fear against trans people, and particularly trans women.

She tweeted a photo of Pride-marchers, who have signs reading “Fuck TERFs” and “No more TERFs”, writing, “It makes me very sad. #Pride was never about #Hate. I marched on my first #Pride in London 30 years ago. It was diverse. Inclusive. This #misogyny is destroying our movement.” It was reported in indy100. Objecting to TERFs is not misogyny, because it is opposing harmful action: TERFs are identified by the harmful things they say and do.

The next bit is quoted from a Times article. The Times has a paywall, and is a transphobic publication, so I will not link it. The article is from 23 November 2019. I found the article text elsewhere, but only quoted by transphobes.

“I am a lesbian and have been out for 30 years, and came out at a time when people were losing their jobs as a result of being gay, and when there weren’t equal rights for gay people.

“I also come at it as a feminist, and I have never said that I was not in favour of trans rights. In my former life as an advocate I worked for three years as a specialist sex crimes prosecutor, and prosecuted for rape, sexual offences and a large number of historical sex abuse cases.

“So I have good reason to understand the vulnerability of women and girls to sex abuse from male-bodied individuals — from men.”

She refers to “male-bodied individuals” because she includes trans women. Claiming that trans rights and trans recognition makes women “vulnerable” is directly transphobic. Even when we are “male-bodied”, by which she may mean we have not for whatever reason had GRS, we are not specifically a threat to women. Trans people exist. Transition is our way to be ourselves. She attempts to make people fear us.

At best, she has fellow-feeling with a particular group, vulnerable cis women victims of sex crimes, and utter indifference to another vulnerable group, trans women. But what she communicates and encourages is active hatred of trans women, whom she portrays as a threat.

She has signed the “SNP Women’s Pledge”. Bizarrely, the text of this document is not on the SNP women’s pledge website, but it came out around the same time as the Labour Women’s Pledge and had similar wording. I copied and critiqued it.

Cherry claimed she was “raising concerns” about the Scottish Gender Recognition Bill, but “had faced significant abuse online”. Please do not abuse her. Trans-excluders screenshot and circulate images calling her a “cunt” in order to foment hate against trans people. However, online and off there is a vast amount of hate, abuse and transphobia. Cherry selectively cites a few people abusing transphobes while speaking to encourage transphobia.

Then there’s this tweet, claiming that “standing up for women’s rights” draws abuse as a TERF. No, she’s abused as a TERF for trying to exclude trans people, not for “standing up for women’s rights”. Trans recognition improves women’s rights: it reduces the enforcement of gender stereotypes, and makes society more free.

Cherry used the International Women’s Day debate in Parliament to attack trans people.

Here’s her interview for Trans rights is the first thing discussed. It’s all in code, but clearly transphobic. She opposed the entirely reasonable Scots Gender Recognition Bill as “rushing into changing the definition of male and female”. That is an attack on trans recognition. Cis women are still women. No men are going to be called women. Only trans women will be recognised.

“I believe in trans rights,” she says. I hate her for those words. She supports hatred and exclusion, and wants to redefine trans rights to mean that exclusion is required.

“A small minority within the LGBT-plus movement …have tried to shut down debate by calling any feminists who speak up for women as transphobes. And they do it to bully and intimidate. And I won’t be bullied or intimidated and I will always stick up for women.” Well, let’s see. “Feminists who speak up for women”- transphobes demanding trans exclusion. The code is simple to crack. No-one would call them transphobes if they were feminists, speaking up for women.

Then she goes into great length writing about legal cases on sex abuse. That’s a lead-up to “the importance of sex-based rights”. “Sex-based”- women’s spaces where trans women are excluded. To claim that sex abuse is a reason to exclude trans women is to claim that trans women should be feared as potential sex abusers. So, because of Joanna Cherry, I might get abused in the street as a potential sex abuser. That is completely terrifying. Many people think any violence against sex abusers is justified. Cherry incites violence against me, in reasonable-sounding, coded language.

I don’t know how to legislate against hate speech against trans people. I do know that Scottish legislation is terribly, flabbily, unclearly drafted, apparently more for rhetorical flourish or virtue-signalling than to achieve a particular result. Cherry, as a QC, should see that. This tweet praises an amendment to the hate crime bill saying “behaviour or material is not to be taken to be threatening or abusive solely on the basis that it involves or includes discussion or criticism of matters relating to transgender identity”.

The amendment is so completely vague as to make no defence to any transphobia which might conceivably be prosecuted. I can’t imagine a case in which the amendment made a material difference to whether someone was prosecuted or convicted or not. But some people might think it makes it harder to prosecute hate against trans people, and so Cherry is pleased.

People are leaving the SNP because Cherry speaks hate in coded language, and praises transphobes. Nicola Sturgeon is sad that young people are leaving. Well, she should discipline Joanna Cherry, and tell her to support trans rights: that means supporting self-declaration. Ideally, the SNP should withdraw the whip.

1 February: I am pleased to report that she has been sacked from the SNP Westminster front bench. Thanks to City Cycling Edinburgh for letting me know.

9 February: her New Statesman article was her standard hate. It never mentions trans women. Trans women are to be ignored as well as excluded, and any suggestion that we are not is “McCarthyism”. Instead it mentions “adult human females”, performative histrionics, witch trials, lesbians as an “afterthought” in LGBT+, a twitter campaign of lies, a psychotherapist who happens to be Irish supporting her (good to see Irish feminists are still for trans rights, if that is the most significant feminist she can find there) and, of course, free speech and human rights (hers, not ours). We are to be ghosted.

2 thoughts on “Joanna Cherry

  1. I understand that the SNP are planning to adopt a definition of Transphobia ~ just like the LibDems ~ hopefully they will then use it to discipline and expel these vile transphobes


    • I don’t want a definition of transphobia, I want an acceptable view of trans people. Cherry talks in code because she wants to evade discipline. I would say that the party view of trans people should include that trans is a way of being and not a choice, that it is not an illness (as ICD11 recognises) so there can be no “diagnosis”, and only self-declaration shows who is trans. Then trans women are entitled to be accepted as women and in women’s spaces unless they as individuals do something justifying expulsion. Just because Karen White should not be in the general population of a women’s prison does not mean I should be excluded from any women’s space.

      Cherry’s use of coded speech is clever, though. She hates trans women and wants us expelled, but proving that to justify disciplinary action could be difficult. She is a QC. “Advocate” is the Scots term more or less equivalent to “barrister”.


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