The ever-inflammatory A Thousand Flowers has made SNP politician Joan McAlpine their Wanker of the Week. ATF’s language, as ever, is robust – but it’s tame compared to the stuff McAlpine’s fellow travellers say and do on Twitter to trans people and any woman who doesn’t think trans people are demons.
One of the points ATF makes is that “I support equal marriage” is the new “some of my friends are black”.
You don’t get to leverage supporting one part of a community years ago as an excuse to undermine a more marginalised part of that community now. As a gay person, I’m not going to accept a straight cis politician using past support for limited legal rights for gay and lesbians people to justify their current anti trans nonsense. If you mess with the T, you’re messing with Big Gay Me and anyone else in the LGBT community who won’t abandon our trans siblings when their rights are on the line. Judge a society – and a person – by how they treat the most marginalised, not how they treat those with more power.
ATF has been criticised in the past for its language. Such tone policing (avoiding debate by attacking the way somebody speaks instead of addressing what they say; Everyday Feminism has a great comic strip about it) is really common in discussions about trans people: trans people will be called all kinds of unspeakable things, shouted down and piled on, and when they inevitably snap and tell someone to fuck off it’s proof that trans people are all violent aggressors. Minorities aren’t allowed to get angry no matter how badly and blatantly they’re provoked.
Tone policing is used to protect privilege, to silence marginalised voices.
McAlpine’s response to be called on her nonsense fits a pattern where opponents of trans rights grind down trans people, then try to label the slightest bit of anger as “misogyny” “male aggression” and “machismo.” But history tells us something else: when you target marginalised groups, they don’t politely sit back and take it forever. That’s not how resistance to a violently unequal society works. As the old adage/historically accurate fact goes: Stonewall was a riot. No debating occurred, at least not with the polis (but of course, loads of useless “allies”/half arsed gay rights groups said it was terrible and damaged the cause and made us look bad yada yada). Joan’s yet to condemn the Suffragettes who
argued in the marketplace of ideasrepeatedly bombed and blew up stuff enroute to winning their rights for their “toxic masculinity” because that isn’t what happened – and it’s not what’s happening when trans people stand up for themselves now.