“The problem with British transphobia: it sounds so reasonable”

June Tuesday, writing on Medium: JK Rowling and the Reasonable Bigotry.

The UK’s transphobia is many-pronged — our conservatives, religious fundamentalists, alt-right, ‘rational men’, and so all exist here, too. But virulent and aggressive anti-trans feminists have a culture and history specific to Britain, and their views trickle down into the respectable views of those with ‘reasonable concerns’.

Tuesday makes a point that many others have made about Rowling’s latest broadside: nothing in it is new. It’s just a collection of hackneyed anti-trans tropes, many of them reheated anti-gay and anti-lesbian tropes, beloved by Twitter bigots, the far right and religious conservatives. You could do a point by point explanation of why it’s wrong, as Andrew James Carter has done, but these points have been debunked again and again and again to virtually no effect. In some cases they were debunked fifty years ago.

The reason it’s had no effect is that it doesn’t get published. The UK media is overwhelmingly anti-trans. Papers that previously claimed AIDS was an invention of the “homosexual lobby” run sustained campaigns against the “trans Taliban”. Papers that presented Andrew Wakefield as a brave campaigner against a medical establishment pushing supposedly dangerous vaccines now present anti-semites, homophobes and racists as brave campaigners against a medical establishment pushing supposedly dangerous medical treatment. Papers that once traded in vicious homophobia have pivoted to equally vicious transphobia.

The information is out there, but there’s no interest in publishing it because it doesn’t drive traffic, reinforce the prejudices of readers or give those readers their daily two-minute hate. That’s because in the UK, there is an entire industry of columnists and commentators who pay their mortgages by punching down against one of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in society.

To them, trans people aren’t people. They’re a magic money tree.



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