People have told me I’m on the wrong side of history, but I still want to be their friend | Hadley Freeman

I don’t drop people I disagree with from my life – but for many liberals, differences of opinion have become unacceptable

It’s rare to see a woman really let her anger glitter, unhindered by any fear of accusations of hysteria or worse, so what a blast of delicious fire Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has given us. Her essay It Is Obscene, published online last week, is ostensibly about two former students of hers who denounced her on social media after she gave an interview to Channel 4 in 2017 in which, when asked if she thought trans women were women, Adichie made the tautological but now highly controversial reply, “Trans women are trans women.” Instead of just calling her, one of Adichie’s students “went on social media to put on a public performance,” she wrote. The other tweeted that people should “pick up machetes to protect us from transphobes like Adichie”, and still assumed Adichie would endorse her book.

Really, the essay is about a strong current in modern culture. “There are many social media-savvy people who are choking on sanctimony and lacking in compassion… People who demand that you denounce your friends for flimsy reasons in order to remain a member of the chosen puritan class,” Adichie writes.

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