A trans activist politician in Ireland is being slammed online after appearing to participate in the “doxing” of the child of a journalist who criticized a school teacher after the instructor demanded students use “they/them” pronouns for her.
On Friday, writing in the Irish Mirror, Barbara McCarthy revealed that 8 and 9-year-old children at a school in Dublin had been instructed to refer to their new teacher by first name only and use “they/them” pronouns for her. Allegedly, pupils have already been corrected for referring to the instructor as “she,” but it has not been confirmed whether the teacher identifies as either gender-fluid or non-binary.
“It’s one thing for students at university being asked to use a pronoun, but this is too young. They’ll be worried if they get a pronoun right or wrong, when they should be focused on maths or spelling,” a guardian of one of the children in the class was sourced in McCarthy’s article as saying.
In McCarthy’s piece, the school itself was not identified, but it was noted that it belonged to the “Educate Together” network, an NGO that operates state-funded schools which “work hard to instill a sense of equality and justice in students.” Within Dublin and County Dublin, 59 schools operate under the network. However, the school was later identified on social media in posts by various users.
On September 8, Paul Murphy, a member of the Irish Parliament for socialist People Before Profit Party, began tweeting in support of the “they/them” teacher.
“It’s basic decency, respect and politeness to refer to people as they want to be referred to,” Murphy said. “I think it is positive a school is supporting the teacher in ensuring they are referred to as they identify. Children, left to themselves, would not be confused or think it strange. They would take it in their stride. Children are very able to adapt and learn new things all the time. It prepares them for a world where they will meet people who don’t fit into a gender binary.”
Today, Murphy continued in his support of the teacher, this time by tagging McCarthy in a post on X (formerly Twitter) in which he mentioned her child.
Murphy tagged McCarthy, asking her if it was “true that you have a child in the class,” while claiming he was trying to identify if “a very serious breach of journalistic ethics took place.”
Murphy further shared posts attacking the reporting by McCarthy, which accused her of “stirring up division and transphobia,” along with claiming that the criticism of the teacher was just a “pile on of a worker in a vulnerable situation.”
Unsurprisingly, Murphy was accused of “openly attempting to intimidate a journalist” by X users, given the name of the school had been “widely identified” on social media.
“You are putting a mother and child at risk and you are engaging in a sinister attempt to subvert the freedom of the press,” said user Estelle Birdy Booky. “This is not what a parliamentarian should be doing. It is extremely worrying.” At the time of writing, Murphy’s initial post has over 212,000 views on the platform.
“If a journalist identified a child like this, and put them at risk in their school (imagine a child going into that class, with these unsubstantiated insinuations) there would be serious repercussions,” wrote John McGuirk, commentator and editor of the Irish online paper Gript. “This is amongst the lowest things you could imagine seeing from a public rep.”
In March this year, Murphy announced that his partner had given birth to a biologically male child they would be raising as gender-neutral.
“We live in a deeply sexist and gendered society which creates certain expectations for boys and certain expectations for girls. And those things are changing in a positive direction, but there’s a very, very long way to go,” Murphy explained.
The Parliamentarian argued that by raising his child as gender-neutral, he would be making sure that he didn’t “limit the kind of future” they could have. “Just let them decide for themselves… You want to dress in pink? Fire ahead. You want to dress in blue? Fire ahead. You want to play football? Brilliant,” he said. “Obviously, the vast majority of parents do gender their child and I’ve no criticism of that whatsoever, no judgement. But it is true that if you put the label, boy or girl on your child, you definitely increase the chances of them going down one road or another.”