Prism & Pen
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Prism & Pen

The UK is Horrendously Transphobic. The US is Next.

Dispatches from TERF Island

USED TO BE …

James worries that the US might follow this path. If the UK can fall so far, why not the US? It’s a valid concern. There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic, but right now I don’t share those hopes.

I’m fine with questions. So long as they’re not ‘why shouldn’t we treat you as a second class citizen?’

To understand my pessimism we need to look at how the UK got to its current unpleasant position, and the ways in which transphobia differs here from the States.

Transphobia is visceral, and because it is visceral it need not be rational.

For the major religions we are an affront to their ideas of a flawless Creator. For the (nearly ubiquitously Republican) politicians who use us we are a handy bête noir. A few whispered insinuations about trans women really being predatory men is all that’s needed to set pulses racing and garner support from a general public who know so very little about us.

Left-wing academia.

It should be oxymoronic that leftist academics would espouse transphobic positions openly. But the path to this condition was easily predictable. Academia has long challenged long-standing sexism and systematically dismantled arguments that had long held women back. To the extent that the protection of women has become dogmatic. The fight for equality between the binary genders is one I, of course, support. But it does not follow that women’s rights and trans rights are mutually exclusive.

Yet this is the narrative that underpins almost all transphobia in the UK.

‘Protecting our women and girls’ is, of course, similarly at the heart of America’s transphobia, but when it’s coming from right-wing male politicians, their handmaidens, or intolerant religious figures, it’s a lot easier to dismiss as scaremongering. When it comes from seemingly respectable scholars it’s less easy to mitigate. And these figures all too often have the ears of those in power.

I’m talking about the erosion of credibility of experts.

Brexit was a plebiscite led by a conscious undermining of expert opinion. Michael Gove went as far as to put words in the nation’s mouths when he claimed, on our behalf, that we were ‘sick of experts’. As a result, Britain made its most self-destructive decision in peacetime.

The Guardian is a prime example of how transphobia works here.

It is a very left-leaning newspaper that had a good record of supporting minorities, including the LGBTQ community. Until, that is, some of its leftist feminist columnists started leaning into the idea that women’s rights and trans rights are mutually exclusive. Rather than correct this false narrative, the paper has doubled down, time and again, in giving voice to anti-trans opinion.

I’m a human being. I’m a woman. I’m transgender.

Human rights, women’s rights, and trans rights are all the same thing for me. I’m fine with questions. So long as they’re not ‘why shouldn’t we treat you as a second class citizen?’

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Mrs. Capricious

Capricious by name, steadfast by nature. Trans femme dyke. Smutsmith. Provocateur. Witch. Poet. Slut. Idiot.