Kemi Badenoch has appointed two new commissioners to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The minister “for” women and equalities continues her institutional capture of the now-misnamed EHRC.
Kunle Olulode MBE has been working against the rights of Black people. He was a commissioner on the Sewell report on Race and Ethnic Disparities, widely derided for minimising disparities and the difficulties PGM face in Britain. The Sewell report does not mention LGBT people, as if black LGBT people did not suffer discrimination.
Arif Ahmed MBE has been working against the rights of trans people. He gave evidence to the House of Commons Human Rights Joint Committee that freedom of speech meant the rights to say Trans is Bad without any consequences. Download two pdf documents. The Committee did not publish a report.
In June 2020, working with anti-trans campaigner Selina Todd, he gave evidence that the freedom of speech of “left-wing” “feminist critics of transgender ideology” was inhibited.
Trans is not an ideology, any more than gay is an ideology. Trans, like gay, is just how some people are. The ideology is of the anti-trans campaigners, denying that trans people have the needs we have, and alleging we are a threat to women and children. They should be allowed to voice these opinions, just as they should be allowed if they wish to claim Jews are a threat to women and children. Then they should suffer consequences for uttering hate-speech. Hate speech inhibits freedom of speech by suppressing the speech of minorities. However Ahmed, Todd and the first-named author of that evidence, Nigel Biggar who is a theology professor, wrote that the offensive speech should not be sanctioned. Instead, those complaining about it should suffer.
The evidence attacks Advance HE, an international higher education charity, for its trans equality policy statement, which says,
“The curriculum will be checked to ensure that it does not rely on or reinforce stereotypical assumptions about trans people, and that it contains material that positively represents trans people and trans lives.”
Ahmed is in favour of anti-trans stereotypes. He forced his Cambridge college to host a speech by discredited anti-trans campaigner Helen Joyce.
The evidence also attacks Stonewall for opposing anti-trans speakers who deny that trans people exist as the gender we say we are.
The evidence creates a false opposition between freedom of speech and equality and diversity. There is none.
I am always glad when haters share good news. Biggar et al write, “Universities are keen to sign up to Advance HE’s and Stonewall’s initiatives. Membership signals their commitment to equality and brings financial reward,” as if that were a bad thing.
Ahmed demanded that the Government refused to fund UK Research Innovation (UKRI) until it ceased to recommend membership of Stonewall Diversity Champions, and required universities to prioritise “free speech” and “academic freedom” as they defined it, over gay and trans rights.
In his further evidence in February 2021, Ahmed said students had demanded a college sack a member of staff. But, the member of staff was a porter, not an academic, and Ahmed produced no evidence he was actually sanctioned.
Ahmed complained that the Cambridge University proposed free speech policy sought the power to prohibit speaker events that threaten student welfare. Again, he wants the power to say what he likes- that I am a threat to women and children, for example- without any consequence.
He misunderstands free speech. He says people are frightened to say they supported Brexit. The only sanction they face is ridicule: Brexit has damaged the economy more than Covid.
Ahmed will join other commissioners, including the EHRC chair Kishwer Falkner, in working against trans rights. Badenoch named Alasdair Henderson deputy chairman (sic) of the Board. Henderson was a barrister involved with Keira Bell’s case against the Tavistock GIDS.
To calm me down a little, here is a photograph of a beautiful place.