Yesterday (13th November 2017) James O’Brien of LBC took a call from a listener expressing her thoughts on gender identity and whether outlets like Topshop should allow anyone who identifies as a woman or girl into their female changing rooms. We were outraged to hear the bullying and misogynistic way the call was handled. James would not let her speak, shut her down, mocked her, and implied she was a right-wing nutter for not agreeing that sex is in the ‘soul’. Here is a LINK to the full transcript of the conversation so you can judge for yourselves.
So shocked were we by this interview, we got in touch with Kellie and asked for her account of what happened. She told us that on Monday morning she was excited to be put through to James O’Brien on his LBC radio show. Kellie said she was an avid listener of LBC, particularly James’s show, and had cried with the Grenfell tower victims as he eloquently talked them through their pain, cheered when he’d revealed the bigot or the racist, and found that much of her politics matched James’s outlook on life. Kellie said she particularly likes the respectful debate encouraged on LBC, even when she doesn’t agree with the particular views of the DJ. Earlier in the show James had waxed lyrical about the trans boy he knows, and he said he genuinely wanted to try and understand the views of people on the other side of the gender neutral spaces debate, as well to understand the concerns some women and parents have about trans issues.
To ours and Kellie’s dismay, from the beginning it was quite clear he was not going to let her speak, and he interrupted Kellie an astonishing 17 times in a five minute call. Kellie was allowed about 4 seconds between each interruption. Kellie tried to ask ‘what does “live as a girl mean?” His answer revealed much more than he realises:
“Well in the context of the sort of stories we’re discussing it means that there are children who want to fit or feel happier doing all the things that girls do. It’s really about challenging what is a mere tradition like pink and blue and toys and games and experiences that we see are essentially masculine like cowboys and Indians and soldiers, and essentially feminine like playing dolls and hospitals and the idea is that every child should be free to do both and at the moment if you feel passionately that you want to do all the things that are traditionally associated with the other gender life is really tough and this mission, seems to me, is designed to make life easier for those children and I can’t understand how we’ve got to a place where people get cross about making life easier for those children…..”
So, James thinks not fitting into traditional gender roles and liking stereotypical gendered toys and games means one is of the opposite sex and that this is felt ‘deep down inside’. He seems to be confused about the difference between ‘gender non-conformity’ and ‘transgender’.
This astonishing masterclass in mansplaining continued in this vein, with Kellie trying and failing to get a word in edgeways. Things took a turn for the worse when James engaged the tired ‘Not All Men’ trope.
“What about changing rooms?” he began. “You think a man pretending to be a woman might invade their changing room in the hope of catching them in their pants?” (subtext: Let’s frame this woman as a pearl clutching paranoid loser, and ignore all the evidence that this is already happening)
“Would you feel comfortable getting changed in a room next to me?” (subtext: do you think I’m a rapist?)
“What do you think I’m going to do?” (subtext: we’re going to ignore the data on male violence and make this woman feel it’s impossible to assert her own boundaries, and make her look foolish… )
Article continues at LBC pundit James O’Brien shuts down women as bigots #himtoo