Interview: Could it Happen Here? Catholic Writer Contacted by UK Police for “Misgendering”

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Caroline Farrow is an accomplished Catholic commentator with regular TV appearances in the U.K. Earlier this month, police contacted her. She had been reported for using the “wrong pronoun” in reference to a far-Left activist’s “transgender child.”

On March 27 I conducted an interview with Mrs. Farrow via email.

Could you catch our readers up on how this came about?

In September 2018, I debated Susie Green, CEO of Mermaids, a lobby group which advocates for ‘transgender children’ on Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan.

Over 10 days later I sent a series of tweets criticizing her, not in relation to the debate itself but because I been made aware that she had attempted to prosecute another woman, a mother of 4, for making similar comments to mine.

Susie Green is a public figure influencing public policy who frequently references her transgender child as best practice in her advocacy. Therefore I felt strongly that the specifics of what this course of action entails should be explicitly outlined.

On the evening of Monday March 18, Surrey police rang to inform me I needed to attend the police station with an attorney, because I had ‘misgendered’ Susie Green’s child and had therefore broken the law surrounding malicious communications.

I couldn’t remember the tweets in question, but knew I had criticized Susie Green’s actions, and as the police only told me I had misgendered, I presumed that this was the nature of the offense. 

I told the police that a religious belief that sex is immutable and cannot be changed is protected under law as is my right to express it, but this fell on deaf ears.

As a result of the media outcry about this, and realizing her attempt at silencing me had backfired, Susie Green later withdrew the charges. 

How are you coping with this ordeal? What gives you the confidence to face it, and even to state, as you have, your willingness to be jailed over this?

It’s been extremely infuriating, as Susie Green publicized the ‘offending’ tweets on the BBC in order to garner sympathy and, because I was under investigation, I could not reply. She continually misrepresented the situation, and instead of dealing directly with the police kept announcing her intentions to various television stations so that neither myself nor the police knew what was going on.

The ordeal has been tough. All my family have been affected by the stress, and newspaper reporters coming to our door, and the fear of my being jailed.

When this broke, several Christian friends told me that they felt God was calling me throughout this and that I needed to be brave and strong and show resoluteness and leadership, so that’s what I have endeavored to do.

I talked to my husband some months ago and said I thought that this was going to be the hill to die on, and that I would be prepared to face jail for this belief about Male and female. He said that he would support me, even though it would be tough, because what is at stake is so vital for society.

Most of my children are too young to understand, but my teenage daughter is supportive, as she knows I would do this to secure her freedoms.

As a matter of both law and social pressure, many worry that the U.K. is developing an environment hostile to open debate. Should Catholics be concerned?

It isn’t just Catholics in the U.K. who ought to be concerned, but everyone. People are being phoned up by the police and warned if their expressed views are perceived to hurt the feelings of protected minorities. 

Expressing Catholic teaching on marriage and sex is deemed a hate crime by activists with whom the police appear to agree. We are being labelled as dangerous religious extremists, and the U.K. government has deemed the acceptance and celebration of same sex marriage a fundamental British value.

People who dare to express disagreement even in the politest, most reasonable terms are being disbarred from working for the government or in local authorities; health workers or any who accept paychecks from a public body or charity are having to stay silent if they dissent from transgender ideology.

Do you think Catholics in America could one day be faced with this kind of political and social pressure?

Hopefully your First Amendment rights will never be under threat, because your freedom of speech is enshrined into law. The U.K. does not enjoy similar protections, and the police appear to be laboring under the misapprehension that a social media post constitutes a ‘hate crime,’ and are over-extending their powers. 

That said, the Equality Act which Democrats propose in the U.S. will, if introduced, make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of ‘gender identity’, meaning that you will be forced to accept transgender men and women in changing rooms, on sports teams, in the prisons of their choice amongst natal females, and in rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters. And, crucially, women’s ability to insist that only other women perform intimate examinations or medical care, or supervise children on overnight trips, will be stripped away.

U.S. transgender activists are already exerting a lot of social pressure, with dissenters being banned from social media. 

As you move forward, what kind of support are you receiving? How can we support you?

Most of the public have been incredibly supportive, although sadly none of the U.K. bishops seem to be aware of the threat to women’s rights and children’s welfare posed by this movement. 

There’s a donate button set up on my website carolinefarrow.net if anyone would like to financially contribute, but the most important support is prayer.

The best thing to do is keep talking. Use my case as an example of how activists are attempting to stifle debate, and explain why I referred to Susie Green’s child using such seemingly strong language.

In simple terms, children are being castrated and mutilated, rendered sterile and subject to a lifetime of medical intervention with potentially life-limiting consequences.

Do whatever you can to fight the introduction of the Equality Act in the U.S., using the U.K. as an example. 

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Stephen Herreid is Managing Editor Online at CatholicVote.org, and Executive Producer and Host of the CatholicVote Radio Hour. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHerreid.

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