Transgenderism: Alliance leader Naomi Long declines to answer 'what is a woman?' as she gets embroiled in simmering Twitter argument

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Naomi Long has declined to answer the question “what is a woman?” during an extended argument on Twitter.

The Alliance leader became embroiled in the online exchange over the past 48 hours, arising from her party’s strong support for transgenderism.

The question “what is a woman?” is one which critics of transgenderism have peppered their opponents with for the last couple of years, often proceeding to mock them when they fail to answer.

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A documentary film of that name exists, consisting largely of right-wing US commentator Matt Walsh posing the question to a raft of activists.

Transgender advocates believe that people can have male XY chromosomes, male genitals, and be legally male, and still be women (and vice-versa for men).

They also believe that gender is a spectrum, and that there are dozens of genders, if not more.

Feminists in particular have been exercised by this, fearing it could destroy the privacy of women-only spaces and the fairness of women-only sports.

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Naomi Long, pictured surrounded by her MLAs at Stormont; she has been quizzed online about how to define "woman"Naomi Long, pictured surrounded by her MLAs at Stormont; she has been quizzed online about how to define "woman"
Naomi Long, pictured surrounded by her MLAs at Stormont; she has been quizzed online about how to define "woman"


The Twitter exchange began with an unrelated matter: graffiti in Clonduff estate, saying her husband, Alliance councillor Michael Long, was “not welcome”.

Mrs Long tweeted about it, condemning it.

A user calling themselves Shackleton (@eammyf, 240 followers) replied, saying: “Maybe it's local women, worried about their rights being shafted.”

Mrs Long (@naomi_long, 86,100 followers) replied: “Doubt it as they aren't. But either way, it's illegal, intimidatory and unacceptable. I presume you agree? You're not actually trying to defend this or deflect from it, are you?”

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A Twitter user calling themselves BobbyTheWolfPAF (@PAFBobby, 80 followers) then asked: “What is a woman, Naomi?”

Long: “You don't know?”

BobbyTheWolfPAF: “Seems you and your party don’t.”

Long: “We aren't the ones all over Twitter constantly asking. I think we're grand.”

BobbyTheWolfPAF: “It’s a simple question Naomi…what’s a woman?”

Long: “Simple answer: why are you asking? Do you not know? Or are you trying to define women? Because tbh, I'm totally over men defining what women can/can't be. It never works out well for women.”

BobbyTheWolfPAF: “It’s a simple question.”

Long: “So why not answer it?”

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BobbyTheWolfPAF: “What’s a woman then, Naomi? Why not just answer it?”

Long: "A woman can be anything she chooses to be. Engineer, astronaut, mother, ballerina, artist, scientist, gardener, carer, surgeon, teacher, barrister, chef - the list is as endless as the women who exist. So, why are you obsessed with defining what a woman is? Your turn...”

The argument, which had begun on Wednesday, proceeded to sprawl out across various replies to other Twitter users, continuing until last night.


One called @tafkamichael (2,300 followers) said you need to define “woman” because “otherwise you end up with fully intact male rapists in female prisons, middle aged male fetish club hosts in changing rooms with teenage girls, and female rape survivors unable to access female only support groups”.

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Long: “I am already on record that each situation has to be assessed on its merits, to ensure women are safe and their dignity, privacy and rights are respected. That includes transwomen. But it doesn't exclude any woman.”

Others responding to her said:

“This tweet shows how far you have fallen! ‘That includes transwomen. But it doesn't exclude any woman!’ You are hoping women will self exclude from women's spaces that they fought for. And your conscience (!) will be clear.” (@1RabbitInMyFlBd, 430 followers)

"What you should have said was an Adult Human Female with two breasts + reproductive organs! You're a Presbyterian denounced! If you want our vote in unionist areas, you're married to a male then why not stick up for real women+not fake ones?” (@LadyJ82NI, 900 followers)

"I'm mortified for you that you think this is an impressive response. You know full well when people ask Alliance reps what a woman is they're not asking for a list of potential vocations. Let's make it even simpler. Yes or no, can a woman - in any vocation - have a penis?” (@brogan_amc, 1,000 followers)

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"You are a political party that does not know how to define roughly 50% of the individuals you are meant to legislate for. How is your inability to define the subject of your policies being grand?” (@labaliverna, 1,700 followers).

To this one, Mrs Long replied: “We know how to serve them, promote their needs, deliver equality, and bodily autonomy. That's why more women than men are Alliance voters and members.”

The News Letter today asked the Alliance Party if Mrs Long can, for the record, say what a woman is.

No response had been received at time of writing.