Categories
Music

Dreams that glitter

I’m really sad to read about the death of Sarah Harding, who has died of breast cancer aged just 39 (please, please, please get yourself checked out whether you’re male, female or neither). Her band, Girls Aloud, were one of the finest pop bands we’ve ever had: they had the same crying-on-the-dancefloor thing as the best ABBA songs and made some of the most anthemic, life-affirming and joyous bangers you’ll ever hear. I have never wanted to be in a band as much as I wanted to be one of Girls Aloud.

RIP, Sarah.

Categories
Bullshit LGBTQ+

“You are not one of the witches. You are one of the witch-hunters”

A fantastic thread from author Dr Claire Askew on the ignorance of bigots claiming to be the descendants of witches. Turns out they’re as ignorant about history as they are about biology.

Our ancestor-witches weren’t witches. They were people who, among other things, committed the so-called sins of being old, disabled, single, too sexually active, not sexually active enough, and/or – yep, you guessed it – living outside or subverting social norms around gender.

…’witchcraft’ in the olden days was actually an excuse to launch a programme of panicked eugenics. The people the witch-hunters wanted to get rid of were precisely the people who still face the most oppression in our society today: including trans/non-binary folx.

…If you chuck around transmisogyny or go in for this gender essentialist crap about biological female WHATEVER, you are not one of the witches. You are one of the witch-hunters. You are writing a new Malleus Maleficarum when you partake in transphobia, ableism, racism, bigotry.

Categories
Bullshit LGBTQ+

I see the biology experts have logged on again

A genuine post from a self-proclaimed “gender critical” feminist on Twitter today:

I don’t believe trans women are allowed in lifts. Something to do with the HRT they take. Read it on Stonewall.

Categories
LGBTQ+ Media

“This book gives me hope”

This is a nice, thoughtful and personal piece about Shon Faye’s new book, written by journalist Vic Parsons. I read the opening line after seeing a bunch of new anti-trans pieces in the UK press this morning:

Barely a day goes by without another hostile article about trans people.

Today’s pieces are claiming that the real bigots are people telling bigots not to be bigoted and that gay men are actually homophobic straight men. So another perfectly normal day in rainy fascist island, then.

The fixation on “trans issues” in the British media – The Times alone published nearly two articles a day between January and May of this year, about a group that is less than 1% of the UK population – is not really about trans lives at all. It’s a moral panic: an irrational fear, stoked by the media, that trans people are a threat to society, much in the same way that gay men and lesbians were portrayed as dangerous deviants in the 80s and 90s. Right now, trans people are a minority group that is being bashed by the press, which isn’t at all interested in reporting on the very real, urgent and serious challenges that make our lives as trans people more difficult than they need to be.

Anyway. I’ve pre-ordered Shon’s book and from what I’ve seen so far it looks like an important work and an antidote to the full-blown moral panic we’ve been in for so long now.

Categories
Bullshit Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+ Media

The LGB Alliance isn’t a hate group. It’s much worse than that

A must-read thread on why the LGB Alliance aren’t a hate group: they’re much more sinister than that.

Well, that’s an oversimplification. They most certain are a hate group, and act the same as any other anti-LGBT hate group, but more than that, they’re something more sinister: They are controlled opposition. And that’s considerably worse.

…They’re not just a hate group; they’re masquerading as a legitimate LGB rights organisation, seeking to undermine the existing charity that fights for LGBT rights, and replace them, while being nothing but an arm of the religious right.

…Imagine for a second they hadn’t faced such public scrutiny and pushback and got their way? The UK would have an “LGB rights charity” that opposes anti-bullying, opposes hate crime legislation, thinks gay teachers are predators and that school LGBT groups are harmful

This is all well documented and easy to find. Media outlets that continue to platform them or present them as a legitimate organisation are either incompetent or malevolent.

Categories
Bullshit LGBTQ+ Media

Twitter is not real

Whatever you think of the SNP/Green Party deal, it’s significant that 94.9% of the SNP membership voted in favour of a deal whose key points included GRA reform. Once again it demonstrates that the spittle-flecked anti-trans fury you see online isn’t representative of reality.

But it is representative of what gets printed in the papers. As many people have pointed out, Twitter is used disproportionately by people in the media. It’s a good source of stories on slow news days and of content to plagiarise, and it’s also home to a number of echo chambers where journalists hang out.

There was a good example of this earlier in the week when the BBC ran a story about Ofcom leaving the Stonewall Diversity Champions project. The wording of the article was very strange, suggesting that the LGB Alliance was a rival to Europe’s largest LGBT+ advocacy group (and since when did human rights organisations have rivalries?), completely misrepresenting why most of the LGBT+ community hates the LGBA and using the same language about trans people that anti-trans hate groups use.

If you look at the writer on Twitter, his following list is a who’s-who of anti-trans activism; his wife, also on Twitter, is an anti-trans activist who used her account to boast of “peak transing” her husband – the anti-trans equivalent of redpilling, where you successfully recruit somebody to the cult – back in 2018. Here in Scotland, a Scotsman writer’s recent piece on anti-trans activists being ejected from an Edinburgh pub had to be pulled completely: first it was edited to remove the deliberate misgendering she’d put in the news story; then it was pulled altogether, presumably because the lawyers decided it was legally actionable. If you look at the writer’s Twitter account, it too is a who’s who of anti-trans activists and hate groups.

These anti-trans activists are not writing columns, where opinions are labelled as such. These people are writing news stories, which are supposed to be unbiased and transparent. When you’re reporting news you can shape the story without telling any lies: you simply choose to platform this voice but not that one; to publish what group A tells you but not the rebuttal from group B.

People who are deeply immersed in the anti-trans movement should not be writing news reports on activism they or their friends are actively involved in. It’s unethical, immoral and in blatant breach of the NUJ Code of Conduct. In fact, it’s in breach of every version of the Code since the original in 1936: A journalist “should not falsify information or distort or misrepresent facts.”

Twitter is not real, and neither are the scare stories the echo chambers’ tame journalists circulate. What they’re publishing isn’t journalism; it’s client journalism, journalism that twists reality to suit the agenda of its friends. Or as it’s also known: propaganda.

Categories
Books LGBTQ+

“You can get married, but can you walk down the street holding hands?”

This interview with Shon Faye is a must-read.

You can’t be fired or denied a  service for being trans, you can legally change your gender, we have technically free healthcare… [but] because these rights exist, it gives people license to assume that everything’s fine when, actually, it’s far from fine. It doesn’t matter if gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act if we’ve completely decimated legal aid and there’s no way a trans person can take an employer to tribunal, for example.

This is why the “but what rights don’t trans people have?” question so beloved of anti-trans people is disingenuous: they’re fully aware that rights that aren’t enforced are rights denied. So for example while it’s illegal to discriminate against trans people in employment, one in three UK employers say they wouldn’t hire someone if they knew that person was trans. And as Faye says, even if you’re pretty certain you have been discriminated against, you probably can’t afford legal action against the employer.

Categories
Books LGBTQ+

The reality for trans kids

It’s ironic that The Guardian, a newspaper that – alongside its Sunday sibling, The Observer – has helped normalise transphobia in the UK, has published one of the best pieces I’ve read on the effects of transphobia in the UK. It’s an extract from Shon Faye’s forthcoming book, The Trans Issue, and I can think of many journalists who should read it and feel deeply ashamed and regretful. They won’t, but they should.

What’s striking about Faye’s book is that in stark contrast to the recent rash of books claiming to be definitive guides to “the trans issue”, Faye went out and talked to people: trans people, parents of trans people, specialists of all kinds. Existing books haven’t done that, preferring instead to rely on anti-trans obsessives: one recent book, Helen Joyce’s Trans, cites ludicrous pricks Graham Linehan and Stuart “Wings” Campbell as legitimate sources (in a very small list of citations) and appears to have swallowed Jennifer Bilek’s antisemitic conspiracy theories wholesale.

The reason anti-trans writers don’t talk to trans kids, parents of trans kids and specialists is because they would encounter uncomfortable truths: a great deal of what they write about trans people is bullshit.

A good example of that is the claim that children are being “transed” because their parents are homophobic and would rather have a trans child than a gay one. It’s a pretty good indicator that the person telling you this hasn’t talked to any parents of trans children, let alone children themselves: they’re sitting in front of a laptop with their friends, telling each other scary stories about the sinister transes.

Faye:

Parents who decide to support a child in their wish to transition and live socially in a different gender are still usually regarded as controversial by much of the population. This can range from schoolgate whispers and pointed questions at best, to outright accusations of child abuse or Munchausen syndrome by proxy at worst. Some parents even fear losing their children because of misguided intervention by authorities.

It is much, much harder to be the parent of a trans child than the parent of a gay or lesbian child now. Here’s what happened when one child’s parents wrote a letter to other parents at their child’s nursery.

The initial positive responses to their letter gave way to hostility, as they found themselves confronted by parents who said they were doing the wrong thing. “The responses that hurt were where people thought that their child could be confused and/or that our child was contagious. So people stopped their kid hanging out with ours, or quit some of the groups that she was part of.” Kate recalled how people pulled their children out of the swimming lessons and gym club that Alex attended: “We had people ask to be put in a different class, saying, ‘My child can’t be around a trans child or a confused child.’”

Another claim is that coming out as trans gives kids at school special status, an excuse for bad behaviour, special privileges.

research reveals that the reality for trans pupils in British schools is starkly different: 33% of trans pupils are not able to be known by their preferred name at school; 58% are not allowed to use the toilets in which they feel comfortable. Horrifyingly, almost one in 10 trans young people have received a death threat while at school. Rather than being indulged or given special treatment, the stark truth is that many trans children are receiving little institutional support and, in some cases, are explicitly discouraged from being fully themselves at school.

The moral panic surrounding trans children and their families not only obscures the bullying and exclusion trans kids already face, but actively encourages it.

It’s a pity that the people who should read and reflect on this won’t.

Categories
Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+

“Love is as varied as people”

Talia Lavin is one of the best writers on white supremacy and online/offline radicalisation, and this piece is very good: Why Transphobia Is at the Heart of the White Power Movement.

gender nonconformity threatens a worldview that is fixated on immutable, straitened, and antiquated gender roles. In this violent milieu, white women are designated as walking wombs, meant to replenish the purportedly declining birthrates of the white race, and little else. (Nonwhite women are portrayed as threats and grotesques, objects of violent misogyny.) Chastity, submission, and silence are their desired qualities in women.

Categories
Bullshit LGBTQ+

New Zealand vs new zealots

This is beautiful. The anti-trans group Speak Up For Women sent many submissions to the New Zealand Human Rights Council, but while they posted their submissions publicly they didn’t post the response – even though the letter explicitly asked them to. The reason? The HRC handed them their bigoted arses on a plate.