Former columnist at The Age newspaper, Julie Szego, has penned an article describing the events that led to her sacking from the publication. Szego committed the unforgivable crime of defending the reality of “male” and “female” and women’s sex-based concerns and rights. The journalist had been a writer for the newspaper for more than 20 years.
About two years ago, my harmonious relationship with the paper began to deteriorate. The tension reached its climax last week when the editor, Patrick Elligett, sacked me as a columnist. The breakdown in trust was down to one issue: gender-identity politics, the trans debate — or severe lack thereof.
My dismissal was linked to a feature I wrote on youth gender transition that had been commissioned by a previous editor, Gay Alcorn, and which Elligett had refused to run. In response, I told Elligett that I intended to publish the piece on my new Substack and would disclose that he rejected it. He looked uncomfortable, but said The Age would take it on the chin.
And so, early this month I published the feature, announcing to the world that if they wanted to know why the piece was rejected, they would have to ask Elligett himself. A standing army of gender sceptics on Twitter did just that, under the hashtag “gutless” . This can’t have been pleasant for Elligett. But he attributed the sacking to another remark in my launch statement where I flagged that in future posts I’d be writing on gender-identity politics more broadly, “without the copy being rendered unreadable by a committee of woke journalists redacting words they deem incendiary, such as ‘male’”. Elligett responded: “Obviously we can’t have our columnists publicly disparaging the publication like that so we won’t be commissioning further columns from you.”
In the piece he refused to publish, I discussed the growing debate around “affirming” care for children and teens in gender distress, and the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. While the controversy attracts regular coverage in Australia’s Murdoch-owned press, it remains taboo in the progressive media, where the “no-debate”, “the science is settled” mantras are consistently reinforced by stories of young people blossoming post-transition. The worst offender is the ABC, Australia’s equivalent of the BBC. The public broadcaster has even been rebuked by its own Media Watch programme for failing to report on the closure of the NHS’s scandal-hit gender clinic for children in England and Wales, the Tavistock; and for its partnership with Australia’s Stonewall equivalent, Acon, on the grounds it could lead to “perceptions of bias in coverage, or bias itself”.
To be critical of gender ideology is an offence according to the woke media and politicians. There is very little vigorous debate, with critical voices being constantly prefaced with terms such as “TERF” or “Anti-trans”.
It is not so much that journalists don’t want to write the stories; it is that the editors are too afraid, or too captured, to publish them. They are out-of-touch with the views of most Australians and are trying to control the narrative by painting anyone concerned about safeguarding children or women’s sex-based rights as bigots, Nazi-sympathizers or transphobes.
It became clear to her, and the editor of the Age, that they were at odds in the aftermath of the Let Women Speak event in Melbourne. The editor wanted to sell the lies that Posie Parker is linked with the far-right and that Terfs should be silenced. So yet again, another man decided that instead of listening to what the women actually said, it would be better to promote a false narrative. Imagine what he and others would learn if they let women speak and actually listened to what we said.
Szego said she is planning to write a book about gender ideology in Australia and now has a column on substack.
Do you like this page?