Life in the fast lane

Oh, to be fast-tracked and rushed into medical treatment. Here are the latest gender clinic waiting times for the UK: in the Exeter area the waiting list for an initial appointment is now five years.

The maximum waiting time for these services is supposed to be 18 weeks.

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.




“I wasn’t dreaming of a quiet Christmas”

My band released a Christmas EP last year, and I wanted to make Christmas releases a tradition for us. This year there’s just one song, a quiet acoustic thing about being unable to spend Christmas with the one(s) you love. It’s a very simple arrangement and production but I think that fits the vibe of the song.


“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.


“The most political identity of all”

Jessica Valenti is on typically scathing form in this piece about cis, straight white men in US politics:

Because to them, white men are a politically neutral group: the default choice. Any deviation from that standard must be about ‘identity politics’. It has never occurred to them that white men are the most political identity of all.

For centuries, straight white men have been at the world’s helm because they were straight white men. Still, despite eons of patriarchy and the systemic disenfranchisement of marginalized communities, we are supposed to believe that the glut of white men in power is based on competence alone. How many times have we heard that an all-white male panel, board of directors, or leadership team was chosen solely on ability? They were race and gender blind in their process, they swear! It was all about who was best for the job!

Media Technology

Adam Banks RIP

Sad news today: Adam Banks has died. Adam was the guiding light of MacUser magazine, one of the UK’s very best magazines, and while I never worked for him I was a great admirer not just of his magazine but of the love his contributors clearly had for him. He and I were friends on social media where I often shared his incisive and insightful takes on technology, on publishing and on trying to be a good human. He was one of the good guys and he’ll be missed.

My friend, former MacUser contributor Craig Grannell, has written more about Adam here.

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.