fired by waterstones; A photo of a Waterstones bookstore photo by Mtaylor848 via Wikimedia Commons
fired by waterstones; A photo of a Waterstones bookstore photo by Mtaylor848 via Wikimedia Commons

Beloved bookseller and bookstagrammer, TillyLovesBooks, has been fired by Waterstones after a completely pointless and totally avoidable transphobic drama was kicked up by The Bookseller, the organisation – not Tilly.

TillyLovesBooks is one of the many voices we spoke about when initially covering the widespread industry condemnation towards The Bookseller and the transphobic group they did a promotional piece for. After reading a tweet by Christina Dalcher supporting transphobia Tilly wrote; “Ooh I’ll enjoy tearing up your books and popping them in the bin today. Thanks for the heads up.”

Supporters of the anonymous transphobe group claiming to represent publishing industry bigots were, of course, furious. But anonymous bigots on the internet are never just quietly angry. Numerous people who spoke out in their real names against the transphobia being promoted by The Bookseller were now being targeted by online bigots.

Before Tilly was fired by Waterstones a Twitter search shows transphobes tagging her employer or otherwise mentioning them. In fact one of them was by Christina Dalcher herself who made sure to also mention her initial tweet, which Tilly responded to, was about a Harper Collins UK employee.

This is a sad par for the course. Transphobes, by definition, are intolerant. They simply will not tolerate people who are not transphobes and pursue whatever detriment to them they can achieve. Such as the time other transphobes surrounding the publishing industry targeted then chair of the Society of Authors for the crime of loving her son.

Joanne Harris was essentially pressured into outing her transgender son to the public by transphobes who had been harassing her over the rumours for years. They coined the term “undeclared transgender offspring” and decided that the mere act of not being repulsed by us was enough to consider someone unfit for positions of power.

Transphobes will absolutely try to ruin your life if you are not transphobic and it looks like in this instance they have succeeded by getting Tilly fired by Waterstones. Waterstones has, however, denied this to be the case.

In a tweet Waterstones writes; “We have received some messages about an employee who has been dismissed. This was on the grounds of contravening Waterstones policies and has nothing to do with transgender rights.”

Whoever wrote that honestly needs to be fired by Waterstones too. I don’t think they fully grasp the shitstorm they are caught up in and definitely don’t realise how making any statement let alone this specific one is a bad move right now. The best move was to say absolutely nothing unless its an apology or a plan to stand by the decision should Tilly bring legal action.

On the subject of legal action; very funny to see the same assholes who supported Maya Forstater through her firing for being a transphobe now suddenly doing a complete 180 on whether its okay to have opinions or not. One of the issues CGD raised against Forstater was that she was being a bigot with their name in her social media – but all across bigot Twitter I’m suddenly seeing people say how terrible doing this is. Weird right?

Ironically Forstater’s case is exactly the case that will be relied on by Tilly’s team should Waterstones stick to their guns. Transphobes frame it as “gender critical beliefs being protected” but its not that; its the beliefs and philosophy Maya Forstater admitted to at the time and which could be proven by evidence. Such as the leaflets she left on a desk at work or posts on social media.

In my view supporting a group who have publicly said that they hope pregnant trans women die of “a thousand cancers” should’ve been enough for her to lose her tribunal but this was never submitted into evidence or mentioned during tribunal because lawyers are also not listening to us.

As long as Tilly’s personal views fit the grainger criteria and aren’t violently hateful or borderline nazism – which they aren’t – her being fired by Waterstones will be a breach of the Equality Act. Very much the same way that the tribunal found that detrimenting Forstater for her bigoted views constituted a breach.

Many transphobes are trying their darndest nonetheless to make Tilly seem like her being fired by Waterstones was justified. Even going as far as to say she was abusive to Christina Dalcher and suggest that she was stating she would destroy company property. Her tweets are there for all to read and only a lying bigot would pretend she meant anything but her own books.

And I really need to drive this point home; Tilly was fired by Waterstones seemingly because of nine sentences about an anonymous Twitter account’s existence that contained no information at all. All of this appearrs to come straight out of the fact that Lauren Brown at The Bookseller wrote an article doing PR for bigots. It led to the widespread condemnation which has seen numerous industry professionals targeted by bigots for not being bigots like them. Subsequently it appears to have led to Tilly being fired by Waterstones too.

The Bookseller didn’t respond to mine or anyone else’s reaching out for comment. They didn’t issue any kind of statement or anything else. They just silently helped upturn the careers of women in publishing for opposing bigotry they chose to platform.

I hope everyone remembers to add Lauren Brown and The Bookseller in general to their “do not work with” lists. Solidarity and love to Tilly right now. What transphobes want is to ruin our lives or otherwise scare us – trans people and allies – into silence. Don’t let them win.

Please consider signing Sarah Gibbs’ open letter.