JENNI MURRAY: I won't be silenced by a hate mob that says I should die

JENNI MURRAY: I won’t be silenced by a hate mob that says I should die

  • Jenni Murray offers her support to two women awaiting a high court decision
  • She reveals she made an early prediction about Charles and Diana’s wedding
  • Finds the humour in seeing Tom Cruise drive round Rome in a Fiat 500

This week two extraordinarily courageous women are awaiting a decision from the High Court. They hope three senior judges will put a stop to the prescription of puberty-blocking medication to children who say they want to change their gender.

They are Mrs A — on behalf of her 16-year-old daughter, who has Asperger syndrome — and Keira Bell, a young woman of 23 given the drugs when she was 16.

A tomboy, Keira had read online about the possibility of transitioning to be a boy. She had three one-hour appointments, started taking a puberty blocker called GnRH, and then in due course moved on to male hormones.

Jenni Murray (pictured) said she was one of the earliest people to state her belief that the difference between sex and gender matters

She later had a double mastectomy, but has now ‘detransitioned’ to live as a woman. ‘I made a brash decision as a teenager trying to find confidence and happiness,’ she has said. ‘Now the rest of my life will be negatively affected.’

Keira’s treatment has left her with a deep voice, facial hair and impaired sexual function.

She and Mrs A are suing the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), where Keira had treatment and Mrs A’s daughter is on the waiting list.

The question the High Court must consider is whether any child has the capacity to consent to puberty blockers, said by advocates to be a mere ‘pause button’. The truth is there’s been little research into the long-term implications of these drugs, especially in children, and they may forever change sexual function and even fertility.

Two women are currently waiting on a high court decision over whether judges will prevent the prescription of puberty-blocking medication to children who say they want to change their gender

I call these women courageous because they have stepped into the quagmire that envelops anyone who dares to question the rise of trans ideology. It’s a quagmire with which I am familiar. I was one of the first to state publicly my belief that the difference between sex and gender matters, that women need to have their own safe spaces.

Equally, a trans woman deserves respect and freedom from bullying.

For this, I have been trolled and threatened with hideous violence. It’s terrifying to be told you should die, that strangers want you sacked. The emotional toll has been, at times, quite overwhelming.

There are so many stories of women bullied and even kicked out of jobs for voicing similar opinions.

SHOULDER PADS ARE BACK IN 

I couldn’t believe it when they were sent down the Paris catwalks, but now that the Duchess of Cambridge has worn them, it’s clear shoulder pads are back in.

Kate, whom I consider a fashion icon, appeared this week in true 1980s Dynasty style. Hooray, I say.

The advantage of pads is that a broader shoulder means the illusion of a more slender waist.

They’re also a tough look for tough times. In the 1980s, most jackets were made fitted with pads, but I also bought them separately and slipped them into a T-shirt or a sweater. 

I wasn’t quite Joan Collins, but they made me feel powerful.

The writer J.K. Rowling was criticised even by the young actors she and her Harry Potter books turned into wealthy stars. Why?

She had tweeted, in response to an article about ‘people who menstruate’: ‘People who menstruate? I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’

For that, like me, she was labelled a TERF (a trans-exclusionary radical feminist). And yet I am not prepared to stop talking about this. It’s an issue that needs to be discussed without anyone fearing losing their livelihood or their life. That goes for those on the other side of the argument too. Debate is vital; young lives are at stake.

Above all, it’s the children that must concern us most, whether that’s Keira Bell, Mrs A’s daughter or others, who are referred by the Tavistock for puberty-blockers, a quarter of whom last year, as mentioned in court, were children under 14. The youngest was ten. Is a ten-year-old mature enough to make a decision that could alter her body and the rest of her life?

The court has yet to give its answer. But it has demanded evidence and insisted upon ‘facts, not spin’. What a relief to have this played out in court where it’s evidence and facts that matter, rather than the hysteria of the internet, where no one listens to anyone else. We must wait for the judges’ response. 

How Di grumbled to me about life in the spotlight 

I can’t wait for the next series of The Crown, covering the period with which I’m most familiar, when Shy Di (played by Emma Corrin) came onto the scene.

Not so shy, was what I decided when I went to Highgrove to interview her husband about the Duchy of Cornwall and meet her first-born son, William.

I tried to make conversation with Diana while Charles and William were being filmed in the garden.

How tough was she finding the constant attention, I asked her? ‘What do you think?’ she fired back.

After meeting Princess Diana (pictured is Emma Corrin who plays her in the latest season of The Crown), Jenni Murray says she predicted that Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles would not last

She rather grumpily took her boy back to the nursery and Prince Charles invited the crew for a drink, spilling his tomato juice on the white carpet. 

He rubbed it vigorously with the sole of his shoe. ‘Please don’t tell my wife,’ he said. 

‘Not sure this will last,’ thought I.

The most accurate prediction I’ve ever made.

Watch out tom! those tiny cars are impossible 

I never expected to see the movie hard man Tom Cruise tootling around Rome in a tiny, vintage Fiat 500 (pictured).

It’s exactly like the first car I ever bought, which had such a dodgy gearbox, it couldn’t tackle a significant hill.

Tom Cruise drove Mission Impossible co-star Hayley Atwell around Rome in a Fiat 500

Trying to find a space in a multi-storey car park presented a challenge. If I needed to mount a ramp, I got out and pushed it — a Mission almost Impossible.

Co-star Hayley Atwell found it amusing as Tom drove her around the Mission Impossible 7 set.

Take care, Tom, I know you’re strong and good at stunts, but you’re only little! Get the film’s bigwigs to buy you a decent car. 

How dare they deny us oldies mammograms?

Good news about the NHS mammogram service: the test for breast cancer has at last reopened for women aged between 50 and 71.

About time, when you consider about a million women have missed out because of the pandemic.

Not such good news for women like me, for whom routine testing has now been banned after our 71st birthdays for the foreseeable future — to ‘protect’ us. This is an ageist and cruel policy. 

Women over 71 are more at risk of the disease than those who are younger, and around a third of all breast cancers occur in my age group.

I know only too well the importance of the test. I missed one 15 years ago and found my cancer myself a year later. If I’d got checked on time, I might have got away with a far less radical treatment than the mastectomy and chemotherapy I ended up needing.

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