discrimination, feminism, hate speech, Injustice at Every Turn, Julie Bindel, Julie Burchill, Louise McCudden, Suzanne Moore, transgender, transsexual, Transsexuals should cut it out, Wipe Out Transphobia
[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.]
I’ve been reading a number of articles in the aftermath of the bilge published in The Observer by Julie Burchill in her article Transsexuals should cut it out. I’ve read calls to make reports to the Press Complaints Commissionl and I’m sure some have. There were a number of complaints to the Observer’s readers’ editor and now the article is the subject of an inquiry by them. There are even demands that she and her editor be fired. I doubt it will go that far but I wonder how that will turn out.
One of the articles I’ve read was rather interesting in the direction it took. It took the direction that there is something wrong with how some in the feminist community view transsexual women. The writer, Louise McCudden, tells us in her article To Julie Burchill, Suzanne Moore and all feminists: The absence of trans people in the media is as important as the absence of women in the media that Suzanne Moore, Julie Bindel, and Julie Burchill have all made comments that have made their own supporters uncomfortable. That fits with the comments I’ve read to Burchill’s article. Many of them were made by cis-women and some identified themselves as feminists.
This paragraph is something that we all know to be true:
Enough is enough. Trans women have been excluded from female spaces, portrayed as predatory, called traitors and perpetuators of patriarchy, accused of having male privilege, had their surgery compared with gay cure therapy, and, of course, constantly been on the receiving end of that boring old chesnut hurled, at some point, at pretty much anyone who ever speaks out about anything, ever: accusations of “distracting” from the “real” issues.
Here is the big truth:
Yet surely we ought to be natural allies. Not only does transphobia shine bright lights on sexist assumptions about us all and help so often to show them up as inaccurate nonsense, but trans people live through a reality of gender-based oppression that most cis women can barely imagine. We should be on their side. Far from its victims being part of the problem, the culture that facilitates transphobia is so very often the same culture that perpetuates sexism.
It’s true, feminists really don’t have a lot to complain about when compared to the huge “gender-based oppression” that trans people, particularly transsexual women, experience. I saw a poster on the Facebook page Wipe Out Transphobia that said “Transphobic Feminism: Judging folk by what is or was between their legs, just how the patriarchy has been doing for centuries.” I think feminists like Julie Burchill damage everything they work for when they put down transsexual women.
We already know that many LGBT are the victims of violence. In the recent American study Injustice at Every Turn, as much as 50% of all the reported incidents to LGBT people are inflicted on transgender women. 20 November 2012 was the 14th International Transgender Day of Remembrance. On the 14th of November the Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project revealed that there were 265 transgender people killed for just being for what they are. 126 or approximately half of those where in Brazil which makes the reaction to Suzanne Moore’s statement that women were angry about “not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual” completely understandable. I’m very sure that no woman, transgender/transsexual or otherwise, want a body shape that included knife wounds, bullet holes, decapitation, etc. Maybe these are the special privileges Julie Burchill was referring to in her article.
Women make up approximately 52% of the population and when you discriminate against them or any specific portion you are a bigot. It doesn’t matter if you do on the basis of religion, race, orientation or gender identity. When I see the garbage Julie Burchill wrote I can’t help to be heartened to read Louise McCudden’s response. Thank you.