The author of a legal article about transgenderism and free speech has resigned after the publisher consulted with controversial lobby group Mermaids and heavily censored his work.
Ian Yule, Chairman of the editorial board of A-level Law Review magazine, had written a summary of a court case involving Harry Miller, a man who was interrogated by the police at his workplace and accused of posting ‘transphobic’ tweets.
The High Court ruled in February that Miller’s tweets were “lawful” and the judge said the police’s actions were a “disproportionate interference” with Miller’s rights to freedom of expression.
Editors at Hodder Education, which published Yule’s work in A-level Law Review, decided Yule’s piece could be seen as “offensive”.
According to The Sunday Times, Hodder heavily edited the article, removing two-thirds of its content before sending it to Mermaids – a group which promotes radical gender ideology.
It asked the organisation to suggest “examples we can use to counteract the tone and opinions in the piece” and also to suggest amendments to “anything you feel is untrue, unfair and/or offensive”.
The Head of Legal and Policy at Mermaids responded with a number of changes and suggestions, and claimed that the article “doesn’t come over as balanced”.
Author Yule was sent the suggestions by a Hodder executive, who said: “Mermaids have requested quite a few changes here.”
He added that it is “important we do follow all of the attached advice”, partly because it was from “a trans-specialist organisation”.
He also claimed the changes were “an issue of balance rather than of censorship or freedom of speech”.
Another executive suggested the article could be preceded by a ‘trigger warning’ so that students would be made aware that potentially offensive material was contained in the piece.
‘Straightforward and accurate’
Yule expressed his disappointment at the censorship, saying: “This article contained little or no commentary by me, and no comments whatsoever on the issue of transgenderism.
“My article did not express my own thoughts or beliefs but was a straightforward and accurate report of a High Court judgment.”
He added: “If the judgment of a respected High Court judge is likely to upset such students and their teachers, they have no business studying or teaching this subject.”
Resigning from his post, Yule commented: “In the process of ‘reviewing’ my article [Mermaids] effectively destroyed it.”
Last month, Mermaids was among several radical groups which the BBC dropped from its online ‘Gender identity’ information page.
Links to the groups were replaced by a single link to the NHS, which recently changed its guidance on puberty-blocking drugs to better reflect the growing evidence of the dangers posed to children.
Mermaids claimed the move was because a “number of editorial staff” at the BBC are “unsympathetic to transgender identities”.