Leicestershire police claim purposely using a wrong name is a 'hate crime'.
Another police force beclowns itself over gender ideology.
The UK police force continues to beclown itself over the issue of free expression and gender ideology. It was only a few weeks ago I wrote about Sussex police issuing stern warnings about misgendering a serial child rapist. They eventually deleted their thinly veiled threats to the public and apologised.
It appears to be Leicestershire’s turn this week. In a region of the country blighted by mass religious sectarianism playing out in the streets, it’s good to know they are focussing on the important stuff:
In the above Tweet, Leicestershire police encourage you to report ‘hate crime’ and helpfully provide us with a case study via an image and caption.
In the image, we see a quote from someone called ‘Jane’ that reads:
“I get called by my previous male name on purpose, but that’s not who I am. It can be really hurtful, especially when it’s just seen as a joke”
Referring to a transgender person with their previous name is what’s known as ‘deadnaming’ within progressive circles and is generally considered a massive no no.
Of course, I am not doubting the hurt feelings of Jane when this happens—but the question remains: should the UK police be arresting and prosecuting people for the ‘crime’ of hurting feelings?
Jane should be able to live a life free of harassment and intimidation. Just like the rest of us. If strangers are following Jane down the street and shouting their old name at them—I would consider this harassment. It does however invite the question as to how strangers would know Jane’s old name though. So, Jane’s gripe implies this purposeful ‘deadnaming’ is occurring during personal interactions with people they already know.
When we talk about using people’s ‘preferred pronouns’ and avoiding ‘deadnaming’, we are essentially talking about issues of politeness and civility. And these inter-personal interactions should be worked out (or not) amongst the relevant people. It is not for the police to compel language or adherence to an ideology.
And make no mistake, this is ideological. We seem to have moved very quickly from “you should have the right to call yourself a woman” to “you should have the right of others to agree that you are a woman”. The first of those being a perfectly liberal principle—the latter an imposition of a worldview.
Furthermore, it’s not even clear how ‘deadnaming’ someone constitutes a ‘hate-crime’, even by the police’s own reality non-confirming criteria. The many questions to this end remain unanswered:
If police forces are going to issue warnings like these via their official social media channels, it is incumbent upon them to clearly explain their reasoning and the relevant law. At the time of writing this they are yet to do so. One can’t help suspect some ideologically captured social media manager may have overstepped the mark here—soon to hit that delete button and offer an apology, a la Sussex police.
If we can’t rely on the police to understand and explain the laws surrounding speech and gender ideology, how can they expect the rest of us to?
UPDATE 16th Oct 2022
I asked author Helen Joyce of ‘Sex Matters’ what she thought about this story at the Battle Of Ideas
UPDATE 18 Oct 2022:
As I predicted above, Leicestershire police have now deleted their tweets about hate crime and ‘deadnaming’ and have issued an apology of sorts:
You can read their lengthy statement in full here, but the most interesting words come from Temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon (emphasis mine):
“…the images used were stock images obtained by the team. The source of those images had been considered to be reliable and the words on the posts were provided by an experienced police staff member who has significant knowledge of the different types of hate crime people can be and have been subjected to.
"Having examined the posts I believe we as a force should have made clear that the images were stock images and that the names given were fictitious for illustration purposes. For completeness, I am also having a scenario presented checked against current national hate crime recording policy.
"As a result, we have now removed the posts and will be reviewing how we use stock images and raise awareness of hate crime going forward.”
A few quick observations in response to this statement:
It appears the examples and individuals featured in these images were completely invented, but presented to us as genuine case studies.
Why were these images disseminated to the public without ‘being checked against hate crime policy’ in the first place?
The police should not be arresting or charging people for what are essentially the hurt feelings of others. They could avoid embarrassing PR disasters such as these if they simply got on with combatting actual crime instead of attempting to police our thoughts.