Bullshit Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+

A disgrace

The Good Law Project’s Jo Maugham notes that almost every supposed expert witness in the High Court puberty blockers case was dodgy. Most have overt links to anti-LGBT, anti-abortion Christian Right groups, notably the ADF and the Heritage Foundation.

As Maugham writes:

Even if you do not care to listen to the views of the trans community you should be deeply alarmed that these or some of these highly marginal figures in world medicine are influencing the law around healthcare for children in the UK.

And if you do not care about the trans community – but you do care about abortion rights or gay rights – you should be deeply alarmed at the influence those who are no friends of ‘progressives’ are gaining in the UK.

One of the things I find particularly disgusting about this is that it’s been happening in plain sight for years. There is a co-ordinated attempt by the Christian Right to use trans people as a wedge issue for a wider attack on LGBT+ rights and on women’s reproductive freedom. This particular case is just a particularly despicable example, but the religious right is behind pretty much every anti-trans legal case and is funding a great deal of the supposed grass-roots anti-trans groups. And since this verdict they have been talking openly about using this case as a springboard to attack abortion and contraception, which was the game plan all along.

Very little of this is happening in secret, and yet the entire UK press and broadcast media chooses not to investigate or report on it. Instead, they are complicit. Shame on them.




“Trans kids have always been here. They just haven’t been happy”

This, by Jude Ellison Sady Doyle, is very good. Doyle, like me, came out in later life.

It is increasingly possible to envision a future where being trans or nonbinary is as unexceptional as being left-handed. In that world, conversion therapy for trans children will seem as barbaric and nonsensical as the stories about left-handed children who had their hands strapped to their desks until they learned to write “correctly.”

The Shriers and Singals of the world aim to prevent that future with disinformation campaigns. By framing trans children as diseased, deluded, and contagious, they’ve paved the way for a legal agenda that aims to eliminate those children entirely.

…the transphobic agenda has much more wide-ranging ambitions than you’d suppose. In the wake of the U.K.’s puberty-blocker ruling, TERFs immediately began arguing that “the promotion of transgender issues on social media” should be criminalized as well.

Doyle makes the point that while it’s true suicide rates are higher among trans people who aren’t supported, that misrepresents the real human cost: people living miserable lives.

Trans people are forced to perform extremes of suffering to prove that we have a right to exist, as if only the utmost agony could excuse the otherwise unforgivable act of transition. Lots of trans people have been suicidal, including me, but not all trans people die. Lots of us just wind up in the position I was in on my 38th birthday — lonely, depressed, uncomfortable with other people, uncomfortable with ourselves, with a lifetime of relationships that didn’t work, with a history of drinking too much or getting high or playing video games for 24 hours straight to escape our bodies, tense and angry and tired, navigating every social interaction as if we’re playing piano blindfolded at gunpoint, but too afraid to do anything about it, because actually being happy might mean losing our jobs or our friends or the people we love. This is a livable condition. You don’t die from it, at least not right away. It’s just that it’s also not how anyone should live.

Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+

New homes for hatred

The Atlantic, on hateful trolls finding new homes online:

this tiny group has attracted a disproportionate amount of attention in the past several years, in large part thanks to social-media platforms. Anti-trans feminists have a presence in many mainstream online spaces, including Twitter, “radfem” Tumblr, the Black women’s beauty forum Lipstick Alley, and the British parenting forum Mumsnet.

On these sites and others, they use many of the same trolling tactics as other internet-based fringe political movements to disrupt conversation, skew reality, and make the internet another dangerous place for trans women through doxing and harassment. Anti-trans activists have used social media to call out specific trans women who use women’s bathrooms, for instance, labeling them “predators” and “pedophiles,” and promising to resist them by any means necessary—be it pepper spray or pistol. GLAAD has shown that these sorts of attacks have warped online discourse, turning focus away from discrimination and instead encouraging renewed debate about trans women’s bodies.

What’s described in this article is the same online radicalisation as neo-nazis and incels.

Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+ Media

Being chased by bears

If you’re trans and talk about it online, people will imply – or sometimes state baldly – that you do it too much or too often. But like many trans people I don’t feel I have a choice: if we don’t speak, nobody is speaking for us.

CaseyExplosion on Twitter:

I so very deeply wish I didn’t have to talk about trans issues, and that there was informed media, policy makers, healthcare professionals, and advocates speaking out instead. Trans people aren’t speaking out because it’s some sort of vocation, we’re speaking out in desperation!

Scattermoon, also on Twitter:

Got told the other day “you really like to talk about trans stuff on Twitter don’t you” and honestly no, I like to talk about my cat or transport infrastructure or puns on Twitter. I talk about trans stuff because I feel I have to because of how bad things are and how few know.

Trans voices are so marginalised in official media, it feels like a constant Sisyphean battle against misinformation. It’s left on us to sound to alarm, to say what is happening, to tell our stories, because the newspapers would rather you never hear from any of us ever again.

So we speak about this stuff out of desperation, pleading, doing our best to try and counter the harmful narrative that is so prominent in this country.

To put it another way, everyone becomes an expert in animal behaviour when they’re being chased by bears.

We’re trapped inside a burning building and we’re trying to sound the alarm.


Don’t give up

It’s been a terrible week for trans people.

In England, the High Court effectively banned puberty blockers in England and Wales. The court essentially judged that the life of one cisgender teen was more important than those of all trans teens: in order to ensure that no cisgender teenager delays puberty and then decides it was a mistake, all trans teens should be forced through the wrong puberty unless they can persuade the courts otherwise. That applies even if their GP and their parents are supportive.

We’ve seen this before in places like Australia, where it has since been repealed on the grounds that it’s backwards and cruel. But the message from the High Court this week told us that as far as the establishment is concerned, trans lives don’t matter.

Here in Scotland we were told a similar message. The SNP’s newly elected equalities convener is a proud supporter of anti-trans lobby groups and dismissed her critics as “a small minority”. Representing small minorities is, of course, the equality convener’s job.

And in Ireland, feminists are battling a wave of anti-trans bullshit being exported from England and being picked up by right-wing pundits, out-of-touch authors and the usual culture war suspects.

In the background, the constant drumbeat of anti-trans articles in the press and anti-trans trolls on the internet continues.

It’s hard, I know. But despite everything, the reality is that all of this will pass. The reason we’re under attack is partly because we’re more visible; the reason we’re more visible is that we have information, representation and support that previous generations were denied. Trans people have always been here, and will always be here. And in years to come, everyone will look back on this era with the same horror we have for the era of Section 28 and AIDS denial.

LGBTQ+ Media

Loud silence

Former Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore is doing the “I’ve been silenced!” thing on the front pages of right-wing newspapers after rage-quitting The Guardian. A key reason for her departure, it seems, was a letter from staff to management expressing concerns about the (UK) Guardian’s relentless platforming of anti-trans views, something that has been criticised by its US operation too.

Here’s the letter.

As employees across the Guardian, we are deeply distressed by the resignation of another trans colleague in the UK, the third in less than a year.

We feel it is critical that the Guardian do more to become a safe and welcoming workplace for trans and non-binary people.

We are also disappointed in the Guardian’s repeated decision to publish anti-trans views. We are proud to work at a newspaper which supports human rights and gives voice to people underrepresented in the media.

But the pattern of publishing transphobic content has interfered with our work and cemented our reputation as a publication hostile to trans rights and trans employees.

We strongly support trans equality and want to see the Guardian live up to its values and do the same.

We look forward to working with Guardian leadership to address these pressing concerns, and request a response by 11 March.

Below is a list of 338 of Guardian employees globally who signed this letter at the time of writing.

This “please stop hurting us” letter by people who don’t have a column to express their views has been characterised as a vicious personal attack, which seems something of a stretch.

Meanwhile, a number of prominent women including many current Guardian contributors have written an open letter denouncing “violent hostility” against trans women. The Guardian has yet to mention it.

LGBTQ+ Technology

An overdue apology

The history of computing has its shameful parts. For example, you’ve probably read about how Alan Turing, the father of modern computing, was persecuted, lost his job and was ultimately driven to suicide for being gay. But you might not know about Lynn Conway, a hugely significant figure in modern computing who’s life was destroyed by IBM purely because she was trans.

IBM has now apologised some 52 years later.

Jeremy Alicandri, writing for Forbes:

when IBM’s Corporate Medical Director learned of her plans in 1968, he alerted CEO Thomas J. Watson, Jr., who fired Conway to avoid the public embarrassment of employing a transwoman.

The termination turned Conway’s life upside down. The loss of income and looming inability to support her family shattered their plans for a quiet divorce with visitation rights. To worsen matters, California’s Social Services threatened her with a restraining order if she ever attempted to see her children.

Imagine having your life destroyed because the CEO was embarrassed to have you working for him. Sadly those attitudes, while rarer, still exist today.

It’s a sad irony that Conway’s work helped lead to the development of the very devices that bigots use to abuse other trans people today. Whatever you’re reading this on, Conway was part of the path that led to its creation.

“. . . Among [Conway’s] many foundational contributions to computer architecture are the scalable digital design rules she invented for srilicon chip design and the ARPANET e-commerce infrastructure she developed for rapid chip prototyping – thereby launching a paradigmatic revolution in microchip design and manufacturing . . .,” explains John L. Anderson, President of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

The article is well worth a read. Conway’s story is both horrific and inspiring.


Saying yes to hate

The first rule of being in a hate group is that you must never, ever admit that you hate the people you hate. A lot of effort goes into choosing the right euphemisms, coining phrases such as “reasonable concerns”, “family values” and so on.

So the anti-trans groups affiliated with Fair Cop must be pretty pissed off right now. In response to posts marking Trans Day of Remembrance, they proudly proclaimed their desire to #sayyestohate.

This is known on the internet as “saying the quiet bit out loud”. They did it repeatedly to organisations that chose to mark Trans Awareness Week:

David Paisley tracks the followers of various groups and how they intersect. The intersections between supporters of Fair Cop and the LGB Alliance, Woman’s Place, Transgender Trend, Fair Play for Women, the Safe Schools Alliance and For Women Scot are significant. As Paisley puts it:

They all share a huge proportion of the same followers. They are all anti trans hate groups.

They’re also all regularly platformed by mainstream media to lobby against protections for trans and non-binary people.

When people tell you who they are, believe them.

PS. There’s also this.



It’s Trans Day of Remembrance today, a day when trans people and allies mourn the trans and non-binary people lost to acts of violence. So far this year 350 trans people, mostly trans women of colour, have been murdered worldwide, often in really horrific circumstances; those are only the reported murders, and the true number is likely to be considerably higher. And it doesn’t include the terrible number of people lost to suicide, which disproportionately affects LGBT+ people and trans people in particular.

There are still places in the world where it is illegal to be transgender, and places where “I realised she was trans and I was so horrified I killed her” is an acceptable defence for murder. In supposedly enlightened societies transphobia is the acceptable face of bigotry. The dehumanising and demonising of trans people by politicians and pundits has terrible consequences.


Bullshit LGBTQ+ Music

The f*ggot debate

It’s that time of year again: straight people demanding the right to sing and play the uncensored version of Fairytale of New York, which contains a homophobic slur.

Huw Lemmey did an excellent piece about it last year:

Well, this is it, from now on. Like the War on Christmas, the faggot debate is set to become a perennial staple of the culture war. Every year column inches will be devoted to it, thinkpieces like this one will be written, people will become more polarised on the issue, and more and more straight people will gleefully sing about faggots, not because they hate queer people but because they’ll be damned if they’ll be told what to do by the ‘woke’ left. Meanwhile more and more queer people will be reminded of those people who do hate them, and everyone will trust each other a little less and the world will get a little bit shittier for everyone. We need, as a culture, to break out of this loop. The problem is, we won’t, until it’s too late.

As for me, I don’t care if you, as a straight person, do or don’t sing the lyric about the faggot, but I would like to live in a society where you’re not desperate to.