A 74-year-old retired journalist faced a grilling from police in England after she posted online comments such as, “Sex is real.”
She also ended up receiving an apology.
According to the U.K.’s Christian Institute, police questioned her because of her comments on transgenderism.
Margaret Nelson wrote in a post online: “Gender’s fashionable nonsense. Sex is real. I’ve no reason to feel ashamed of stating the truth.”
Also, she reasoned that if a transgender person’s body was given a post-mortem examination, “his or her sex would also be obvious to a student or pathologist.”
“Not the sex that he or she chose to present as, but his or her natal sex; the sex that he or she was born with,” she wrote.
Even when a body has been buried for a very long time, a person’s sex is still identifiable, using DNA or bone structure as “clear proof,” she said.
Nelson said she soon heard from officers “policing” people’s opinions.
“The officer said she wanted to talk to me about some of the things that I’d written on Twitter and my blog,” she told James Kirkup of the Spectator. “She said that some of the things that I’d written could have upset or offended transgender people. So could I please stop writing things like that and perhaps I could remove those posts and tweets?
“I asked the officer if she agreed that free speech was important. She said it was. I said that in that case, she’d understand that I wouldn’t be removing the posts or stopping saying the things I think.”
Kirkup asked, “Are some people or organizations deliberately and vexatiously exploiting some police forces’ stance on this issue to instigate police action against people who say things they do not like?
“Could such police actions exert a chilling effect on the expression of opinion on transgender issues? Isn’t it possible that some people will now think ‘I’d best not say what I think about sex and gender, or the police might get involved’?”
Nelson’s encounter with Suffolk police ended happily, however.
Officers conceded they had misjudged her posts after someone complained.
“We accept we made a misjudgment in following up a complaint regarding the blog,” a police statement said. “As a result of this we will be reviewing our procedures for dealing with such matters. We are sorry for any distress we may have caused in the way this issue was dealt with, and have been in contact with the woman who wrote the blog to apologize.”