Harry Giles

When I wrote to the Observer to complain about Julie Burchill’s transphobic tirade, I said that I thought it should be condemned and apologised for, but not that it should be removed. I argued that it ought to stand as a testament to the kind of hatred trans* people face – a position I’m wary about, as I speak as a cisgendered person. But there was another reason: I knew that if it was removed, the next day I would have to face a series of really stupid articles from other newspaper columnists talking nonsense about freedom of speech.

Some years ago, I was a philosophy student. I still like keeping in touch with philosophy, even though I’ve given it up for even less practical and lucrative pursuits (viz., the arts). Having studied philosophy intensively tends to give you a certain mindset when reading intellectual arguments: patient, pedantic, and with…

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