Trans activists are calling for the long-serving presenter of the BBC’s Woman’s Hour radio programme to be sacked over her alleged transphobia.
Jenni Murray, who has hosted the flagship show on Radio 4 for the past 30 years, was lambasted for suggesting in a newspaper that there are differences between cis- and transgender women.
She has reportedly been gagged by the BBC from defending herself from complaints.
Her story, published by the Sunday Times, retold various encounters with men who had transitioned into women, which she said showed that the experience of being born a woman and later becoming one are not the same.
They included a Church of England vicar who transitioned and seemed fixated only with dresses; a man who had a sex change and then reversed it seven years later,; and a transgender TV star who dismissed women’s right to dress in an unfeminine way.
She interviewed one transgender woman who said herself that – because she previously live as a man – she is now “not a real woman”, despite surgery and a new identity.
The long feature article began with the words: “Let me make something absolutely clear at the outset. I am not transphobic or anti-trans.”
It said Murray “cannot be impartial on this issue [transgenderism], and therefore cannot front the show fairly or representatively… She must be asked to resign as this show is “Women’s Hour”[sic], not “Cisgender” women’s hour, and therefore cannot have a transphobic presenter.
The dispute over the article puts Murray in the same category as Germaine Greer, who has been repeatedly attacked for her blunt dismissal of the idea that trans people can be “real women”.
The feminist icon was the subject of a petition and protests this weekend, which tried (unsuccessfully) to stop her giving a speech for International Women’s Day in Brighton, southern England.
Murray reference Greer’s stance in her article, calling her comments “unacceptably rude”.
But any nuance in her position has done little to save her from the criticism which followed.
Murray has yet to respond directly, and has stopped tweeting since the piece was published. According to the Daily Mail, BBC bosses have told her to keep away from “controversial subjects”.