The Julie Birch Ill Society

From So So Gay. a summary:

For those who haven’t been keeping tabs on the week in media transphobia, it started in a small enough way. Suzanne Moore, in an otherwise excellent piece on the necessity of anger, included the throwaway line: ‘We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.’ An unfortunate turn of phrase – transsexual as a noun (akin to ‘the gays’ or ‘the blacks’), the demarcation of ‘transsexuals’ from women, the propagation of the sophistry that all trans women have a certain body shape (tip – trans women are just as likely to look like Lea T as cis women are to look like Naomi Campbell) and the insensitivity of using Brazilian trans women as an example when so many are murdered each year. Moore responded badly to online critique, some people (cis and trans) responded badly to her responding badly, a further piece was published that did nothing but make things worse and, finally, Moore quit Twitter. There are two excellent posts about what happened here and here, and I would advise everyone to read both.

The situation certainly wasn’t helped by Julie Bindel’s assertion that a ‘trans cabal’ were ‘running a witch hunt’, but the shit really hit the fan this morning, when the print edition of The Observer and The Guardian website ran a defence of Moore by Julie Burchill entitled ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’, with the painfully ironic subheading ‘It’s never a good idea for those who feel oppressed to start bullying others in turn’. A clean copy is here, for anyone who’d like to read the entire thing without giving traffic to The Observer. Essentially, it was a collection of playground taunts, featuring a deliberately disingenuous portrayal of a feminist movement which includes trans people, likening trans women to the Black and White minstrels, calling trans people ‘shemales’, ‘trannies’, ‘shims’, ‘screaming mimis’, ‘bed-wetters in bad wigs’, invoking the old ‘cut your dick off’ trope and ending on a not-so-veiled threat. Not that most people expected any better from Julie Burchill – but the fact that The Guardian Media Group would be happy to publish a piece of what many people are describing as unadulterated hate speech should beggar belief.

I’ll pretty much leave it at that.  Its a good summary.

One thing I do want to add is that in a couple of threads on Facebook I actually defended the original remark by Moore, finding that – apart from the needless racial specificity – it wasn’t all that out of line with what I’ve seen said by at least a few providers of medical and psychological health services for trans people back in the 1970s.

Yes, its 2013, not the 1970s, but still….

In short, in addition to the racial aspect it was also objectifying.  However, at a time when more than a few trans people are celebrating the presence of a trans woman in the Miss California pageant – being, as with pretty much all pageants (right down to the mythical Little Miss Sunshine) a teeming cesspool of objectification – I’m not sure we really have a place to call anyone out purely on the objectification prong.

The upshot, of course, is that – just as is the case with the mere possibility of gun control and gay rights proposals – it brings all of the nuts to the fore and goads them into showing their true colors.

Janice Raymond….

The idiot who justified opposition to gun control by saying that that if Africans had been allowed to have guns they never would have been enslaved in the first instance….

Certain radphlegm ‘lawyers’….

Wayne LaPierre…

Julie Birchill…

etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…………

1 Comment

  1. […] I largely gave (and still give) Moore a pass on her original comment – even if not the best wording  to use it really wasn’t transphobic; the racial specifier […]

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