Another Angry Woman has an excellent post about the comedian Robert Webb, who’d previously been vocally transphobic. This week he was gently questioned about it in an interview by a presenter who is the parent of a trans child. Faced with someone who actually had some insight into the subject of trans kids, Webb’s response wasn’t great: like most people who claim to want a respectful, fact-based debate, Webb didn’t. His people attempted to get that part of the interview pulled.
It’s ironic that some of the people who rail against so-called identity politics are the first to declare war on entire groups of people when their identity as The Smartest Person Ever is questioned; in what seems to be a trend among the UK establishment, Webb became outspoken about the supposed dangers of trans people after being mildly criticised for a trans-hostile joke. Most of the columnists who write anti-trans pieces, the kind of pieces that lead to the introduction of genital examinations for schoolchildren (which is becoming law in the US this week), the removal of healthcare for thousands of teenagers and a massive increase in hate crimes, appear to be acting not out of a desire to protect anybody but from a desire for revenge against people who dared question their authority.
This is the crux of The British Strain Of Transphobe mindset. It’s a core part of their identity that they’re smarter than everyone else. The vast majority of them start life on the private/grammar school-Oxbridge pipeline, where in place of education they’re just told this. The possibility of being incorrect is something The British Strain Of Transphobe is incapable of processing, because they’ve spent their lives believing they’re cleverer than everyone else, and this belief is integral to their belief of who and what they are. The British Strain Of Transphobe lives within an echo chamber of similar people. This is why, for example, transphobia spread like wildfire among the sceptic community, where many organisers are posh white folk, and it hinges on the belief of being smarter than everyone else.
And so, how does the British Strain Of Transphobe react to someone raising the mere possibility that they might be incorrect about something? Badly, because they take it as a fundamental attack on their identity as a person who is smarter than everyone else.
Like AAW, I have no idea how to solve this either. But we could start by not giving these goons a bully pulpit to spread misinformation about things they know absolutely nothing about.