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She has been likened to Marmite: you either love what she writes or hate it.

Outspoken Guardian columnist and radical lesbian feminist Julie Bindel is widely praised by some for the campaigning she has done on the issues of violence against women, and on the way that our legal system responds to women who defend themselves. She is treasured by others for the particular way she reveals her lesbian and feminist influences as a broadsheet columnist.

Yet, on the day when I had long arranged to meet for lunch and talk about these things, Julie was also embroiled in a controversy that had arisen over what she had written and said in the past about transsexual people. This issue was suddenly brought to the boil because she had been nominated for an award as “Journalist of the Year” by the leading British Lesbian and Gay charity Stonewall.

We discussed all these things and hopefully opened doors to dialogue with her detractors over a meal -- though I hasten to add that Marmite wasn't on the menu.

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