In January 2019 a woman – who can be identified only as “B” – contacted Humberside Police.
“I would like to report an individual by the name of Harry Miller [she gave his work details]. Miller has been making transphobic remarks on his Twitter account under the handle @HarryTheOwl. These comments are designed to cause deep offence and show his hatred for the transgender community.”
Mr Miller believes that biological sex is immutable. His tweets – which were not directed at B – often made the same point, sometimes in rather coarse terms, as when he quoted a snatch of doggerel:
“Your breasts are made of silicone Your vagina goes nowhere And we can tell the difference Even when you are not there ….”
In 2014 The College of Policing had issued Guidance to all forces, informing them that they must record all “hate incidents.” In so far it was relevant to transgender people, a “hate incident” was defined as:
“any non-crime incident perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender ….”
A “whiteout” is meteorological condition in whichsnow falling from the sky and snow whipped up from the ground is whirled by a gale into a disorientating blanket of whitenessin which there are no visual bearings and it is all but impossible to navigate. It is an apt metaphor for the blizzard of coronavirus regulations which have cascaded out of Whitehall (and of course Cardiff and Holyrood too) since March. A search of the www.legislation.gov.uk website reveals a mind-boggling 133 (albeit each Welsh regulation is counted twice in English and Welsh versions) separate pieces of UK legislation, nearly all of them statutory instruments. Thus we have such delights as the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Amendment No. 7) Regulations, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford) Regulations 2020 and so on. And on and on. It is enormously difficult to find ones bearings amidst all these constantly changing rules and regulations. As David Allen Green put it on August 14th:
“There is not a lawyer or police officer in the land who any longer knows what is legal and not legal under coronavirus regulations. An absolute mess of a legal regime.”