Censored Judith Butler interview sparks LGBTQ+ fury

The queer world has erupted at the editorial decision of The Guardian to lose Judith Butler's critique of the "gender-critical" Anti-Trans Movement in a recent interview.

Image of Judith Butler
Image Source: Image By Andrew Rusk

“TERFs will not be part of the contemporary struggle against fascism.”

Renowned gender-theorist and professor, Judith Butler sat down with queer historian, Jules Gleeson, thirty-one years after the release of her groundbreaking book, Gender Trouble.

The interview covered performativity as it relates to gender, gender as an ongoing self-assignment, and the relationship between gender and politics, among other interesting points.

But one prominent section didn’t make the cut for publication; Butler’s discussion of the alignment between trans-exclusionary feminists and right-wing attacks on gender.


“TERFs will not be part of the contemporary struggle against fascism,” were among Butler’s omitted words, “one that requires a coalition guided by struggles against racism, nationalism, xenophobia and carceral violence, one that is mindful of the high rates of femicide throughout the world, which include high rates of attacks on trans and genderqueer people.”

Eoin Higgins Tweeted that this interview was intended to launch an entire series called Gender Now, which has been pulled by UK editors. He shows screenshots of a button for the series which leads to a dead link.


Higgins went on to interview former and current staffers of The Guardian and he reported that “Their accounts paint a picture of a newsroom dominated by transphobes who use a plethora of tactics, including using the company’s UK union to insulate their bigotry from accountability, in order to maintain control over The Guardian’s editorial direction on gender.”

“We have not censored Judith Butler but addressed a failure in our editorial standards,” The Guardian said in a statement to Jezebel, adding that “Judith Butler has written for us several times in the past.”

The failure in question revolves around the controversial incident at Wi Spa in June when a female-identifying person publically exposed her penis which prompted a number of formal complaints.

Gleeson’s question to Butler was, “It seems that some within feminist movements are becoming sympathetic to these far-right campaigns. This year’s furor around Wi Spa in Los Angeles saw an online outrage campaign by transphobes followed by bloody protests by the Proud Boys. Can we expect this alliance to continue?”

The question and Butler’s response condemning the anti-trans movement were both removed because, since the interview took place, new updates have emerged on the Wi Spa case.

News of the arrest for indecent exposure broke earlier this month, which is what The Guardian claims required clarity in the posing of Gleeson’s question.

However, this update in the story holds no bearing on Butler’s unpublished response and is, therefore, a weak excuse at best.

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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