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'Father Ted' creator Graham Lineham: I'm not transphobic. I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial

The TV writer has defended criticism that he is transphobic

2019-01-23

Words: Steve Brown

TV writer Graham Linehan has claimed he isn’t transphobic despite previously comparing transgender activists to Nazism.

The Father Ted creator – who also wrote Black Books and The IT Crowd – was warned by police back in October following a harassment complaint from a transgender activist and has been an outspoken critics of gender self-identification.

Now Linehan appeared on RTE’s Prime Time programme on Tuesday (January 22) to discuss trans issues in Ireland, despite a petition and protest outside its studios.

RTE refused to axe his four-minute interview from the show and speaking to the Irish Times before the programme aired, Linehan said other people share his views but are too “terrified” to speak out

He said: “I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial. My position is that anyone suffering from gender dysphoria needs to be helped and supported.

“There have been protests at pride parades in London and New Zealand, from lesbians who say this is affecting lesbians on the ground.

“A lot of transgender people agree with me. I’m not transphobic. Because of this debate, I now have a number of friends who are trans, and they don’t agree with this dogma.

Linehan also criticised ‘early affirmation’ of transgenderism in young people and discussed the dangers of offering surgery or drugs to children going through puberty.

He continued: “There are lots of gender non-conforming children who may not be trans and may grow up to be gay adults, but who are being told by an extreme, misogynist ideology, that they were born in the wrong body, and anybody who disagrees with that diagnosis is a bigot.

“It’s especially dangerous for teenage girls – the numbers referred to gender clinics have shot up – because society, in a million ways, is telling girls they are worthless. Of course they look for an escape hatch.

“The normal experience of puberty is the first time we all experience gender dysphoria. It's natural.

“But to tell confused kids who might every second be feeling uncomfortable in their own skin that they are trapped in the wrong body?

“It's an obscenity. It's like telling anorexic kids they need liposuction. Not many people speak out about it, because people are terrified [of online abuse] and don’t want to get involved. I understand that. It’s hard to decide to subject yourself to [the attacks].”