Transphobia is as British as bad teeth

Juliet Jacques in the New York Times:

Transphobia Is Everywhere in Britain: it’s a respectable bigotry, on the left as well as the right.

…There are two main types of British transphobia. One, employed most frequently but not exclusively by right-wing men, rejects outright the idea that gender might not be determined only by biological traits identifiable at birth. This viewpoint can often be found in publications aligned with the Conservative Party, such as The Spectator, The Times and The Telegraph, all of which are looking for a new “culture war” to pursue now that the long, exhausting battle over Brexit has finally been resolved in favor of Leavers

The other type, from a so-called radical feminist tradition, argues that trans women’s requests for gender recognition are incompatible with cis women’s rights to single-sex spaces.

It’s telling that Jacques, a former Guardian writer, had to approach a US publication to get the article published.

Meanwhile closer to home, Helen Martin in the Edinburgh News claims that gender recognition reform will lead to…

women’s shops compelled to supply men’s lingerie and size 12 stilettos

This is from the same school as the equal marriage claim that letting gay people marry would lead to people marrying dogs and cousins.

Transphobia is as British as bad teeth and unfunny sitcoms. As poet Jay Hulme noted on Twitter, we’ve had transphobia as part of our culture for hundreds of years. The word “bad” originally meant a feminine man.

I’d say that everyone in Britain over the age of 20 (at least) has done or said something transphobic, and so calling out transphobia means calling out a whole nation – and British people don’t do well with guilt.

…You’ll find transphobic tropes lurking in art and literature from the 1500’s, the 1400’s, earlier. They’re basically the same ones making up the transphobia in 2000’s comedy.

…The world has been transphobic for a long time, Britain just held on to it. Made it funny. Made it ours. Put it in the fabric of the nation. Made everyone complicit. Made everyone guilty. And now we’re fighting for trans rights we seem unreasonable – and everyone feels attacked.