A close friend tells me I am obsessed with transgender issues and that I must “stop” and find another interest. I think they are concerned that I will drive myself potty and lose my sense of humour.
When they said this to me, all my defences immediately shot up, their comment reminded me of a cartoon I once spotted on Facebook which read something like, “Oh – so my political posts on Facebook annoy you do they? Well why don`t you hurry away and post another photograph of your dinner,” and then I had a good think about what my friend had said.
It is true, I post and re-post a lot of comments relating to transgender issues and opinions on social media. But it isn`t transgender issues per se that I take to task. I am fortunate to know a number of transgender people who enrich my life and who I respect and admire. Way back in the nineteen nineties I ran workshops for transgender people when I was employed by Body Positive in Birmingham and during that time I helped a transgender woman find a place of refuge so that she was able to leave a horrifically violent relationship. So – I have had a lot of time to consider all of everything relating to transgender and consider myself to be informed, supportive and empathetic to transgender people. What I take issue with are other matters. Matters for example, that face children who are currently being offered invasive and highly damaging treatments having been “diagnosed” as transgender. Sometimes children as young as four or five. If you want to know more then begin by reading this article published in January in The Sunday Times…..
I also take issue with the practice of stone walling or refusing to take part in debate and far more insidious than even that, the practice of no platforming. No platforming is a policy or stance whereby individuals holding views regarded as unacceptable or offensive are prevented from speaking out and contributing to public debates or meetings. If you keep up with the press then you will know that many eminent speakers have been no platformed by universities in the UK and across the globe, like Julie Bindel`s case highlighted below.
Germaine Greer who, amongst other things is the acclaimed author of The Female Eunuch, has also experienced being `no platformed` and while for many reasons I am no longer a huge fan of hers, we all have the right to free speech in a democratic society. So it is the abhorrent nature, the turn of events relating to transgender issues that I find deeply worrying. Not for me, I`m heading towards seventy so I can take a bit of a back seat, God knows I have earned it! No, it is the young people I worry about; male, female, he she or they, it is their uncertain future that is so troubling to me. When I read The Handmaid`s Tale I thought, “Well we are on our way to Gilead already!” What an astute writer Margaret Attwood is.
While we have people in politics who support transgender people without proper understanding, knowledge or education around the underlying issues, the attitudes and venom spat out on these matters, is becoming so threatening, it is serving to silence concerned women and men. I imagine the women haters rubbing their hands in glee and muttering, “Job done.”
It is this hateful and intolerant approach towards people and especially women who want to debate and wish to speak out, that is so very unacceptable. Women who have their own, lived herstory, views and opinions are labelled as TERFs. TERF is an acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. Sometimes, exclusionary is expanded as eliminationist instead and a small section of the transgender community suggest that TERFs advocate for harm towards trans people, specifically trans people who were born male. But in my view, the objectors are projecting and transferring their hatred to detract from their own misogynistic views!
Meanwhile, some of those very protestors spew out vile messages on social media, suggesting that TERFS should be “punched in the throat, raped, tortured or stabbed to death,” simply because of their experience of being born a woman and objecting to for example, shared gender changing rooms in shops and swimming pools and male sex offenders identifying as female, being transferred to women`s prisons where they can more easily reoffend. It has already happened.
Some people working in politics or education have been forced to resign or have been sacked because they have spoken out about their concerns and have been judged transphobic. So – what with that and bloody, BLOODY Brexit, perhaps my friend is right. Perhaps I should give it a rest and focus on animals and children for a while and lighten up a bit. Yet I would hate to lose my passion, I think if I lose my passion then I may as well go home.
If my old mum were still with us she would say, “It`s just a silly phrase they`re going through Hel. And then she`d laugh and lifting a cold G & T to her old lady lips she would say, “and anyway, they`ll still be arguing the toss long after I have gone! Cheers my darling!”
Cheers ma! I think you had a nice balanced view. 🙂