The gnashing of teeth has been audible from House 6 this week with public discord emerging between TCD’s Trinity News and the Irish Times, resulting in the former terminating their business relationship with the Tara Street hacks.
Disharmony emerged with the platforming of various “anti-trans” (TERF) voices within the IT letter section calling into question the effect a ban on conversion therapy would have on trans matters.
Something of a touché issue within feminist circles, The Burkean has previously reported on the rancour generated by the arrival of a TERF lobby onto Irish shores and the shade being thrown by disgruntled comrades in the LGB(T) movement.
While the average citizen maintains a respectable degree of indifference vis a vis trans matters, this issue has engendered a flurry of internecine cultural battles among progressives, as attested by the Graham Linehan saga.
With high profile denouncements and even subscription cancellations of the IT by court figures like Rory O’Neill, it seemed inevitable the storm in the teacup would percolate to Trinity News and its recently installed editor Jack Kennedy.
Part of the print duopoly active on campus, Trinity News had previously contracted out their printing needs to the IT, with additional advertising slots taken by the paper of record in TN. With the student market playing a key role in keeping the IT’s business model afloat, the move, while largely symbolic, raises the heat on the paper for moving against the institutional current on the trans issue.
The announcement was made by Kennedy Friday, confirming that TN had severed business ties with the IT on account of their recent platforming efforts of “trans critical” voices.
In an online statement Kennedy outlined the reasoning behind the move, gaining much laudation from left quarters.
‘The IT has been going down a path of increasingly outspoken editorial support for transphobia….they’ve consistently and almost exclusively featured (apart from one dissenting letter) featured hateful views on the subject’
Unlikely to pop any financial bubbles at the Irish Times, the decision is perhaps a conscious effort to prevent any breaking of the ranks on the Trans issue by voices within the liberal overton window.
Since the ink went dry on the Gender Recognition Act as well as some recent high profile cock ups within prisons and child services, the country’s latitudinarian outlook on trans matters has engendered dissent within progressive circles, increasingly finding form in a new TERF lobby.
A twinkish looking figure even by Trinity standards, Kennedy combines his brand of arts block radicalism with a patrician South Dublin private education and is not the only one to do so on campus. Almost certain to veer leftwards under the tutelage of its new editorial master, the spat may be an early warning of the ideological direction the publication may head in the year coming.
TN, despite its 68 year history, has found itself overshadowed by its big brother in the form of the more centrist University Times. Dare I say The Burkean may have potentially overtaken them in readership per online metrics.
A potential rising star of sorts, we at this publication have raised Mr Kennedy’s blood pressure in recent years, most recently by the electoral showing made by our very own Peter Caddle in TCDSU elections.
While petty ruptures like this may cause some on the right to gloss their eyes, seeing it as just mere catfighting among our elite, these splits ought to be analysed for a deeper context. The Republic has waded too far into trans mania for some liberals who are attempting to interject some sanity into the matter.
On a long enough timeline the trans mania of the last decade will have to be scaled back for the human cost it inflicts on individuals, as well as wider society as a whole. The likes of Kennedy hardly bats an eyelid when the IT syndicates adverts from totalitarian regimes or indulges in a daily splurge of anti-Catholic rhetoric the paper is historically known for.
Let history register where these people stood in allowing this cultural poison to overcome Irish society, and don’t allow them any leniency of wriggling out when the bodies literally do begin piling up.
Irish society is about to experience a harsh learning curve and will no doubt be on way to recovery by the time TN journalists are still working out their pronouns.