Recently the Communist Party of Britain came out with a scribe against trans inclusion, wrapped as all transphobia is in a shroud of moral concerns: Gender, they say, allows for the “super exploitation of women”. But inclusion of trans people isn’t the reason for women’s mistreatment over the course of hundreds, thousands of years- merely brushing past a history book would belie this statement: Trans people are not a recent phenomenon but their constant spotlighting by a hostile media has allowed their uplift into a shibboleth for “bad men who do bad things”, much like the word “woke” has had it’s original meaning replaced with “anything I don’t like” by our illustrious commentators. And as this ridiculous moral panic continues to spread and infiltrate every political faction, it’s time to stop using transphobia or lack thereof as a political standpoint.
Trans people weren’t visible when women were legally barred from voting, when women weren’t allowed to have their own bank accounts, trans people aren’t responsible for the male violence epidemic or spiralling rates of domestic violence. Sundry cisgender people will queue up to declare everything from anti trans screeds to tweets about pronouns as “not transphobic”. Why everyone who isn’t trans feels they can be the moral arbiters of what transphobia is, I don’t know but it smacks of a white person telling a room of people of colour that their racially insensitive jokes aren’t racist.
Trans people aren’t responsible for the rise of lunatics like Andrew Tate, a dangerous misogynist who, even if he is innocent of the crimes of which he stands accused (he is not), is still guilty of spewing the most single celled idiocies against womenkind I have ever heard. Women, he says, are men’s property. I don’t feel like women belong to me and if I was straight I wouldn’t spend hours on the net listening to men with shiny heads and shinier six packs telling me how to trick women into letting me fuck them- I’d just ask women. The incel movement has grown microphones and spotlights, desperate to figure out how to manipulate women into sex as if men need to play some sort of crystal maze game to find out what women want when one can assume that what women want is not to be tricked into bed. The men who believe the unassailable nonsense that these podcast microphone devouring fools spout are the biggest of mugs, desperate to throw money at manipulative men, unaware that they are the manipulated, not the illusory women spoken of. These men, and their unwitting idiot followers, are a true danger to women -and yet a recent twitter poll conducted by a prominent transphobe put trans people as a higher danger to women then incels…
Time and time again I’m told that anti trans people have “reasonable talking points” about trans inclusion. I’m yet to hear a coherent one that can’t be rebutted with “that’s literally your problem, not trans people’s”.
“I don’t want penises in my changing room”. Why someone else’s genitalia is your issue if it’s not being waved in your face is a question I never get an answer to. I don’t want to see other people naked in changing rooms, it’s weird. And if a guy started waving his genitals at me in a changing room I’d also feel disgusted- not because he’s a man and has a penis, but because that’s weird behaviour indicative of something potentially malign.
It doesn’t matter where you sit in politics at the moment: everyone from communist to hardcore capitalist seems to have developed a stance on trans people, usually an unflattering one. It is exhausting. It takes knowing precisely one trans person to realise that trans people aren’t some lurking bathroom dwelling crowd, desperate to either witness your nudity or show you theirs: the self indulgence of the women and men who think other peoples’ gender identity revolves around their existence would be comical, were it not such a staggering reality. And the laughability of communists declaring that they want a classless, stateless world but want to reinforce sex based segregation is the worst comedy. Even worse than hardcore capitalists who claim that “the trans agenda” is fuelled by big Pharma… surely you’d be thrilled if big Pharma was making big bucks off of…. oh let’s see, 265,000 British people?
There is no place to stand stolidly in the UK right now without the cancer of ignorance metastasising to someone with your views; no matter how people can deconstruct law, capitalism, immigration, racial bias, sexuality, there is always someone whose views are aggrieved against trans people. How many of these people who gulp down pints of confected media outrage against trans people have ever met a trans person and had a conversation with them about something benign like movies, food, shopping, holiday destinations… I have a solid guess on the answer.
The irony of the sex based rights crowd is simple: If you want to be defined by your genitals then you have that right, you’re perfectly allowed to think you’re only a man because you were born with testicles. As it happens I think manhood runs deeper and is more complex than how my DNA expresses, and it’s why I have no issue with gender as a concept. If I lost my testicles for whatever reason, be it accident, surgery, sickness, I would still be a man. If I wanted gender reassignment because I felt in my being that I was not a man, that is different in a way that is too nuanced to explain to those who do not see it.
People often retort that gender is a harmful construct that damages women, and that isn’t an untrue statement. Gender stereotypes are sometimes harmful to everyone: In fact I blame male gender stereotypes for society continuing to raise men who cannot behave with decency to others; ironic then that when a trans person who doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes emerges, they’re “not trying to even pretend”. Trans people are held up to immeasurable standards where if they conform, they are trying to “deceive” and if they don’t try to conform they aren’t “really trans”. And trans people as a group are demonised right now in ways we’d never do to other groups: one trans person’s crime is (quite literally, I am quoting from a transphobic person’s twitter account here) held to the equivalent of hundreds of others. Even recently you see the hypocrisy of the overrepresentation of trans crime: a trans person walks into a school and commits an act of mass violence and there is outcry: front page news, hour long specials, a forensic dissection of motive… Odd how we need a larger response to this than the usual anaemic thoughts and prayers of all the other mass shootings in America. Odd how one trans person committing a crime is indicative of the end of society and needs swift rebuke to the entire community yet cis straight men have been committing mass shootings for years with warnings of more violence slipping out of the ears of those hearing them.
Lets say that gender is a harmful construct: it’s odd how trans people upholding these constructs for their own comfort and identity are looked upon as committing unspeakable transgressions against women and girls, yet women and girls who uphold them are perfectly allowed to express their gender that way should they so choose. If gender is a harmful construct, then abolition woudld be the answer- but those who preach for gender abolition are usually adherents of gender presentation themselves, people who want to abolish others’ rights to gender presentation, but retain their own “correct” way in which to exist.
I also grant you an explanation of my gender and gender identity. As a gay man I often look in bemusement at my community who hold being “masc” in high regard. I didn’t choose not to be masc. I’m just not. I can pretend, I can pose in photos, shave my head, grow my muscles and talk in a deeper register- but if that’s not how I feel comfortable and who I am, isn’t that deception? I have to wonder how many overly masculine men who refer to themselves as “alpha” and storm around decrying soy boys are secretly holding up a performance 24 hours a day, and that is where their anger comes from- because they know they aren’t what they want to be. And it brings in another question: if they’re only performing their masculine gender role for the sake of others, why is a trans person’s performance of a gender role less valid than theirs?
Trans people can’t help being transgender. They don’t do something to become trans and whilst they could sit on their identity, hide it away it would only serve to make themselves miserable. This, of course, is the desirous outcome of most anti trans individuals. Imagine asking another person to hide their identity for your comfort. “I know you’re gay but can you just be alone forever or get into a sham marriage for my comfort”. I have quite literally been asked to hide my sexuality or to “try” not to be gay. It’s offensive; it’s more arrant nonsense from people incapable of putting themselves into other peoples shoes, or people so addled by years of collusion in this escalating campaign of hatred that they have lost touch with some simple realities: trans people exist, and their existence does not harm you and if you foam yourself into paroxysmal rage about the idea that someone three cubicles away has a penis you can’t see, they are certainly not the creepy one, because as they’re trying to finish using the bathroom you’re getting angry fantasising about their genitalia.
The irony is that these people are the blockers of their own remedy. Letting trans people have quicker, better mediated access to the care they need would allow them to get on in their lives and participate in society in ways they currently cannot. The anti trans crowd are the ones making their own suffering inevitable as trans people can’t access the care they need. Anti trans people are the ones fanning the flames in the media that rail against trans people. They stir it up and continue to drink deep from the poison chalice. This, I could abide, if the inevitable casualties were not the trans people they rail against, people who cannot help their identities and shouldn’t have to.
Who do you truly think benefits from the anti trans screeds writ large across the media? Does it magically stop trans people existing? Does it ratify your beliefs to know it’s shared by Joan whoever at the Daily Mail? The men who sexually assault women in the media during job interviews are probably laughing themselves sick over the world’s ridiculous preoccupation with demonising trans people, because whilst everyone is raging against trans inclusion, they continue to rip their colleague’s blouses with impunity.
Look, scientifically, at humanity. We are a species with huge, vast divergencies in our species. Skin colour, height, bone density, some born with genetic conditions that affect the number of colours they can see, some born with divergencies from “the norm” so coveted by many: If you deny flatly that in the seething ocean of human genetic divergencies, some could be born with a different gender than they were assigned you are denying simple factual reality. Ironic that trans people are often accused of trying to deny reality: their reality IS their gender. Denial of that is denial of fact so laughable it could take away ones breath. And you don’t have to believe trans people are trans. You just don’t have to volunteer that information, not just because it makes you look ignorant but because it doesn’t help anyone… call it colluding, lying, whatever you want. If you knew how many instant judgements about people I’ve held back for their own comfort over the years you’d probably understand that this fits into “just being polite”. It’s not some vast conspiracy to indoctrinate you- be ignorant. Have your bigotries and biases, just don’t make them someone else’s problem.
But this argument has filtered up from the mire in which it was born to the highest levels of government: Rishi Sunak, prime minister claims that he is on the side of women and girls even as his government votes down legislation to illegalise misogyny. Home Secretary Suella Braverman claims trans people shouldn’t be treated like they’re special- ironic from a woman who allegedly changed her own name to avoid association with a Buddhist sex cult. And on the opposing benches, a ringing silence from the mouth of Kier Starmer, leader of Labour as Rosie Duffield slates his party’s stance on women and girls, claiming she doesn’t feel safe on labour benches even as she promises that “many labour MPs feel the same as I”. Starmer wrote recently in an article in the times (a paywalled article designed to tell those still clinging pointlessly to the shreds of Corbynism) that his party was “the party of equality”… in the pages of a newspaper that had misgendered and deadnamed a transgender 16 year old who had been stabbed to death that very weekend.
There is no party or political alignment in the UK free of the scourge of transphobia. That doesn’t mean we must not partake- it means it’s time to adopt our own policy of infiltration like the disgusting bigots have implemented so successfully, to swarm the ranks of the opposition and force out transphobia, to name and shame the people quietly partaking in it from within, to shine a light brightly into every corner- for if transphobes want to have their bigotries, let them have it publicly. We must ensure that those who claim to represent us know where our hearts and minds lie, and without that- if the UK’s political establishment is determined to allow this wound to fester- we must sow chaos and discord, because a country whose political parties allow themselves to be subsumed in bigotry are not worth our support. If transphobia is to be the hill on which British decency and politics dies, then let it die screaming in chaos. Not just the two main parties, but the entirety of British politics. Let it be dragged to ashes from which something better can be born.
Many people will argue that there can be respectful debate: I disagree. Firstly, there is abashing levels of hatred on both sides, transphobic people wishing heinous fates on trans people and trans people doing much the same in return. The difference, the key one so often forgotten by those witnessing from the sidelines is: one side wishes misery on the other because of how they were born, the other wishes misery on those who wish them harm.
I have, yes, seen disgusting sentiment espoused by trans people on the internet towards transphobes. It might not be right to say those things but I also understand where it comes from. I spent my younger years in chatrooms trying to find like minded people to discuss sexuality with and there’s only so many times you can have someone tell you you’re sick and evil before you rebuke them as cruelly as you can. If you don’t want trans people to be cruel towards you, imagine why they are doing so, the level of ridicule and distain with which they’re treated. It might not be perfect behaviour: nor is that which has pushed them to that level. It’s half the reason I used to have sympathy for the women who were on the fringes of the ” debate”. A society headed up by men determined to keep women down is going to raise women who feel aggrieved and angered. But to aim that ire at trans people instead of the men who propagate it is, frankly, a level of foolish I am stupefied by: trans people don’t benefit from this misogynistic society because misogyny isn’t it’s only transgression.
People so often describe this “debate” as toxic. It is. Not because it cannot be fjorded, but because if you simply do not believe a person who tells you their gender identity, you will never be able to discuss any issues at all. Those like Graham Linehan and Posie Parker, who deny trans people’s fundamental identities, are unworthy of acknowledgement much like the anonymous accounts who wish harm on all cis people. There are outliers on both sides because trans people are not a monolith, but most trans people don’t wish harm on all cis people in the way most transphobes wish harm, whether openly or through simple ignorance, on trans folk.
Nuance should be pushed back into this topic- not because there are worthy points on anti trans peoples’ ledgers, but because you cannot rationally debate those who are off the deep end of the discussion in the first place. Parker thinks feminism is poison and has intrinsic links to anti abortion groups. Linehan’s wife took his children from him because of his creeping obsession with trans people. Hardly the poster people for your movement.
Perhaps there are questions that need to be asked, as a cis man who am I to arbitrate- but the best people to answer them are trans people, not interlopers like me and certainly not people like Joanne Rowling who sits in a castle in Scotland telling working class women that trans people are their worst enemy rather than billionaires who sit on the internet complaining about people they don’t know all day, clouded in surety of their opinion because they wrote a well liked series of books about magical children. Rowling even defended her views by saying she thought she might be trans when she was younger- and yet here she is, cisgender: therefore not trans. She’s said she doesn’t wish harm on trans people yet presents absolutely no solution to benefit both sides. She promised to march with trans people if they were in danger and yet hasn’t left her home to do anything but have lunches with her fellow illustrious anti gender warriors or trade lukewarm sentiments with Matt Walsh, a man who has described himself as a literal fascist.
Rowling receives regular abuse online from pro trans people and she wears this as her sainted cross, something she must do for women and girls. Lest we forget that the people now cheering her on as they pass anti trans legislation across America were condemning her as a devil worshipper a decade ago for writing books about magic. Odd how Rowling and her fellows can shed morals like snakeskin, provided their agenda is satisfied.
The anti trans culture war is a broader reflection of how we as a society treat marginalised people and we’re overdue for our crux point. Do we rationally discuss including marginalised people and how, or do we give in to our bestial fears, our lizard brain bigotries that tell us that just because we aren’t trans, just because we don’t experience what trans people do, it is less valid, worthy of suspicion, correct to question? If you look to a tiny community of people whose lives are being consistently made worse by media noise to the benefit of the very men who hurt us all, I can only pity you- and hate you- because it is you who has fallen for the wax figure of the demonic trans menace as the society you claim to wish to topple wraps another sinuous tendril around your neck, and drags you deeper into its mire of cruelty.