[Edit: The Observer has deleted the online version of the Julie Burchill article Transsexuals should cut it out with the following statement: We have decided to withdraw from publication the Julie Burchill comment piece ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’. The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly-charged debate. The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece. The Observer Readers’ Editor will report on these issues at greater length.]
In the article, Transsexuals should cut it out, the author makes a claim that transsexuals have been rather nasty to her hero, Suzanne Moore. Suzanne Moore apparently made a statement in one of her writings about “women were angry about “not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.” I agree with the anger directed at her because the she could have used a number of other people with a nice body besides Lea T. There was no need to spell out that the Brazilian model was transsexual.
I’ve read that gays and lesbians make up somewhere around 5% of the population and I think that transsexuals make up less than 0.2%. Transsexual women are a very small and still very marginalized group. While improvements have been made with the laws in many free countries regarding homosexuality these laws haven’t been as kind to transsexuals so the only option they have is to be as loud as this small group can be.
The writer then when on to say her only other contact with the transsexual community was with the persecution of another friend of hers, Julie Bindel. Now this was a mistake as Ms Bindel admits the statement she made was meant to be humorous but was inappropriate and she has apologized for it on several occasions.
When will these people understand that transsexual people can’t afford to sit quiet while others take potshots at them? They must speak out when they do. Maybe the statements seem minor to others but not to them.
Where the writer of this article went from there is inexcusable. Statements like “bunch of dicks in chicks’ clothing,” “Shims, shemales, whatever you’re calling yourselves these days” and others prove her ignorance. I’m rather surprised The Guardian would allow such garbage to be published.
P.S. Please read this wonderful writing by Francis Sedgemore on the subject.