Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

The doctrine of intersectionality is a dud

Matty Healy of The 1975 at L'Oympia in Paris, 12 July 2023 (Getty Images)

The almost complete absence of anything remotely resembling an intersection in the progressive doctrine of intersectionality poses a problem for those on the left who adhere to its idiotic credo. Put crassly, intersectionality implies that anyone who is not straight, white and male shares an equal burden of oppression and should thus put aside footling differences of opinion and unite against the ghastly and brutal hegemony.

If Malaysians were in favour of gay relationships then they’ve had 60-odd years to repeal the laws

There are no greater agents of oppression than imperialism and colonialism and indeed these twin behemoths of wickedness are solely responsible for the misery inflicted upon the gay, non-white groups of today. That this is patently untrue and is revealed to be so every day forces those who believe in intersectionality to metaphorically put their hands over their ears, stamp their little feet, and lie through their teeth.

The eminent, and in many ways admirable, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was up to this lying business on the radio last week. He had been invited on to Radio Four’s Today programme on Monday to comment on the latest antics of Matty Healy, a thick-as-mince gob on a stick who is the lead singer of the mystifyingly successful band the 1975. Playing a festival in Malaysia, Healy ranted about the country’s stringent anti-gay laws, kissed another male member of his awful band in protest against them and was immediately told by the authorities that the whole festival was cancelled. It was a typical bit of witless grandstanding from Healy which quickly drew criticism from Malaysia’s LGBT community for quite possibly making their situation worse. No intersection for Matty, then.

But it was Tatchell’s comments which interested me more. He did not mention that Malaysia was an Islamic country. He said, instead, that Malaysia’s laws prohibiting homosexual relationships were a consequence of Britain’s colonisation of the country and its time as part of the British Empire. In other words, had it not been for those straight white men of imperialism, Malaysia might today bask in a sunlit upland of untrammelled buggery. This is a lie, and Peter knows that it is a lie – but he has to cleave to that lie because without it, the intersectionality stuff falls to bits once again. It is true that under the British Empire there were laws passed to make homosexuality illegal, but that is not why Malaysia abhors homosexuality today. If the locals were very much in favour of gay relationships then they’ve had 60-odd years to repeal the laws – perhaps Peter thinks they were too busy tapping rubber trees to do so, or had simply forgotten.

Instead of repealing the laws, though, the majority Muslim Malaysian government has very much strengthened them – for example, in 1994 authorities banned homosexuals from appearing on state television. Then, in 2010, the Malaysian film board decided that homosexual characters could be portrayed in films, but only if they were seen to repent. In short, homosexuality is seen by the Malaysian government, quite explicitly, as ‘un-Islamic’, which is why it attracts such rigorous penalties, such as 20 years in prison plus several strokes of a rattan cane across the backside. The British Empire has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it, and Tatchell must know this.

Mind you, he does have form for implying a very unlikely (and indeed entirely absent) intersection between the LGBT community and Muslims, a belief which falls to pieces every time he campaigns against Israel (which has a great big Pride march every year) and in favour of Palestine (not widely renowned for its Pride marches or kindness towards the LGBT community).

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Healy – a recovering skag head – has been accused of having a ‘white saviour complex’ by a leading member of Malaysia’s LGBT community for taking it upon himself to reform the country’s legislation single-handedly. It is not a term I would use as it is yet another terminological inexactitude deployed by the woke left: what they call the ‘myth’ of the white saviour is usually more of a reality than a myth.

But Malaysians in general have a right to be annoyed, do they not? What Healy is really displaying is a kind of neo-imperialism of the same kind demonstrated by the BBC when it covers such stories in Dubai, Uganda or Malaysia – and the same kind which propels the United Nations to force upon nations which really do not want it a supposedly ‘progressive’ approach towards LGBTQI stuff. Once again, the leftish ideology falls apart. If you are woke and perhaps work for the United Nations or the BBC, it will be an article of faith to you that white western thought – in literature, science, geography, history – has come to dominate the world as a consequence of imperialism and that we need a vigorous bit of decolonising.

Societies disparagingly considered ‘primitive’ by whitey have, in truth, so much to teach us, and their evaluations of the world – in books, in belief systems, in what we call science – should at the very least have equivalence with the stuff produced by us lot in the affluent north. This mindset may even lead you, as it did the New Zealand Royal Society, to conclude that the Maori explanation for the origins of life on Earth are every bit as viable as the, er, actual one. Our culture should not take precedence, you see.

And if you work for the BBC or the UN, you believe all this – except when it comes to the LGBTQI business. Then the narrative shifts a little and it’s a simple case of ‘you are wrong and we are right, and there’s an end to it’. And the only way they can make this distinction is by insisting, wholly erroneously, that it was whitey who made the Malaysians – and the Arabs and many of the Africans and most of Oceania – averse to gay rights.