Telegraph columnist: Chelsea Manning and Conchita Wurst are blokes, calling them ‘she’ denies reality

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A Telegraph columnist has attracted criticism for a column in which he refers to trans soldier Chelsea Manning and Conchita Wurst as ‘blokes’.

Wikileaks soldier Manning is currently fighting a battle to be allowed to transition in prison, while Wurst is still celebrating her Eurovision last week.

Columnist Brendan O’Neill also referred to Manning by her birth name throughout the article, published by the Telegraph on Monday.

He wrote: “When [Chelsea] Manning decided from his prison cell that he wanted to be called Chelsea, and referred to by the female pronoun only, vast swathes of the media instantaneously fell into line and anyone who refused to, anyone who dared to write “Mr Manning”, was pretty much accused of committing a hate crime.

“The objective reality is that [Chelsea] Manning is still a bloke. To refer to him as “she” is to deny reality itself, to present a wish that exists in someone’s mind as a tangible, objective fact.

“This goes beyond the semi-jokey headlines about a “bearded lady” winning Eurovision, when in fact a beardy bloke in a dress won it.

“Throughout the contest itself and across the world media, Wurst has been discussed with the pronoun ‘she’; everyone is celebrating ‘her’ glorious victory.

“The bending of gender speaks to today’s speedily spreading cult of relativism. We live in such relativistic times, in an era so hostile to the idea that there are measurable truths or concrete realities, that it seems we can no longer even speak of “men” and ‘women’. There’s no such thing, apparently.

“The most concrete categories in human history – man and woman – have quietly died at the narcissistic altar of allowing everyone to choose his/her/neither’s gender identity.”

A petition has been launched calling on the Telegraph to apologise for printing O’Neill’s article.

O’Neill, who is also the editor of Spiked Online, has previously claimed that ‘gay’ means ‘rubbish’, that same-sex marriage campaigners had been “ugly and censorious”, and that equal marriage had “no roots” in the public.

The Telegraph attracted criticism last year when it chose to reprint a Julie Burchill article which called trans people “bed-wetters in bad wigs”.