Finn Mackay: the writer hoping to help end the gender wars

The sociologist and feminist campaigner believes it is possible to champion both women’s and trans rights. Can their new book help define some common ground?

Some of Finn Mackay’s best childhood memories involve just being one of the boys – playing out on the street, getting into mischief, running in and out of friends’ houses, with someone’s mum calling them all in for tea. But all that ended the year Mackay’s beloved grandmother let her neighbours know that the child who came down to Nottingham every summer from rural Scotland wasn’t actually the little boy they had assumed.

“My male friends felt undermined because they’d respected me, and basically this toxic girl-ness had been in their midst, and they’d not known. So they felt like: ‘Oh, we had a girl in our gang all along,’’” says Mackay, ruefully, as we sit drinking coffee in a cafe overlooking Bristol harbour.

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