It’s not easy being trans. Not only do you have to deal with the various unpleasantnesses that being visibly different entails, but you have to balance the demands of everyday life with constantly, viciously silencing people who want to have a debate about whether you exist, whether you’re sick or thick or whether it’s ok to discriminate against you because you’re weird and icky and stuff.
Take poor Katie Hopkins. Silenced, with nobody but her 832,612 Twitter followers, readers of her forthcoming book and readers of her new right-wing blog to listen to her thoughts on trans people.
Have some sympathy for Janice Turner, whose Times columns about trans people only reach 1,835,000 print readers, 80,000 digital subscribers and the paper’s 1,069,719 Twitter followers on Sundays.
Imagine the pain of running Scots indy blog Wings Over Scotland, where your feelings on Trans issues can only be shared with 300,000 unique monthly visitors, your site’s 53,871 Twitter fans and your personal account’s 6,513 followers.
Feel the pain of Jenni Murray, who can only talk about trans people to 3.69 million BBC radio listeners and 40,200 people on Twitter.
Imagine the heartbreak of Julie Bindel, unable to talk about trans people except for on her book tour, in Guardian articles (153,163 print readers and 22.7 million online), in BBC TV and radio appearances that reach millions and to her 19,000 social media followers.
Try to empathise with poor Piers Morgan, who can only be unpleasant about trans people to his 6,301,837 Twitter followers, the 819,000 people who watch him on Good Morning Britain and the programme’s 413,446 followers, and the couple of million people who watch his Life Stories programmes.
Or try to imagine how it must feel to be Sanchez Manning, writing pieces for the Mail on Sunday that might only be read by 1,248,194 people in print and just 29 million more online.
The next time somebody with a six, seven or even eight-figure readership tells you yet again that sinister trans people are silencing legitimate debate and supports it by showing you a Twitter activist with 327 followers, you might find yourself asking a pretty simple question.
Who’s silencing whom?
(All reader/listener figures from sites’ own advertising packs or reliably sourced news stories)