miss_s_b: (Fanigrling: Rumpole)
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Something that has really warmed the cockles of my flinty old heart the last couple of days has been the number of people - of all genders, cis and trans*, from most sides of the political divides - who have come together to say "hang on a minute, THAT'S not on" to the way trans* people are being treated by the media. Slightly less gratifying is the way that this all seems to be centred on the media and how everyone on all sides is being mean to the media, and not on the actual people who are suffering - and if you need any proof of trans* people's suffering, check out the #transdocfail hashtag on twitter, also covered in the Grauniad and by Zoe; or maybe look into forced divorce - but that's par for the course. What has happened is that people are suddenly starting to pay attention to trans* folk and listen to their voices. This can only be a good thing in my view.

Obviously many of the articles over the last few days concentrate on Burchillgate. The ones that I am going to link to below constitute an interesting cross section for those who are feeling a bit lost as to what is going on.
  1. Everything You always wanted to know about trans* issues but were afraid to ask by Jennie Kermode in The New Statesman
    The New Statesman is doing a trans* issues week this week. Presumably this was arranged long before the weekend's events, but it's good timing from them. The piece I link to above is a very good place to start if you're totally clueless on trans issues.

  2. On feminism, transphobia and free speech by Laurie Penny.
    Laurie argues that feminism and the trans* rights movement should be fighting for the same objectives: To learn that the world is not divided into ‘normal’ people and ‘freaks’ with you on the safe side is uncomfortable. To admit that gender identity, like sexual orientation, exists on a spectrum, and not as a binary, is to challenge every social stereotype about men and women and their roles in society. Good. Those stereotypes need to be challenged. That’s why the trans movement is so important for feminism today.

  3. The Burchill controversy: a mixed blessing for the trans community by Zoe O'Connell.
    Regular readers might have noticed that I link to articles by Zoe a lot. This is because she is awesome. Read the very balanced and well-sourced article linked if you have any doubts on that. She has a way of summing things up that just slots nicely into my brain patterns. I'm not going to pull out a quote because I really think you should read the whole thing.

  4. Julie Burchill, transphobia, and hostility towards the victims of oppression by Dean Burnett in the Grauniad.
    Dean is a neuroscientist, and in this piece theorises that the Just World Hypothesis might have something to do with the irrational way many people who are supposedly advocates for social justice are behaving on this issue. He also says that given... the Guardian's perceived poor track record in this area, I felt it was necessary to have at least one piece published under the Guardian banner that presented transphobia as illogical and irrational, which it definitely is.

  5. What the hell is wrong with you people by Sarah Brown.
    Sarah is another of those people who I link to a lot because I think she's awesome. In this piece she comprehensively dismantles the idea that oppressed people and their supporters pointing out to bigots that they are being bigoted is an attack on free speech. This is something I struggle to understand myself. Surely if a person is free to speak then other people are equally free to respond? Isn't that what free speech means? I don't want to support the kind of free speech that's only free for the powerful and the rest of us have to shut up... The comments on this piece are also well worth reading.

  6. Savile: Denialism and the "grooming the nation" delusion by Martin Robbins in The New Statesman
    Lest we think this is all high-falutin' academic discourse, Martin points out the very real dangers that all women, cis and trans, face in our rape apologist culture. I would argue that this also applies in different ways to racial minorities, genderqueer folks that don't fall under the banner of "women" for whatever reason, and basically anyone who does not conform to our society's rigid standards of "normality". Nobody should be enslaved by conformity, policed by loudmouths on the street, and that's why I am a Lib Dem, right there.
Hopefully those articles have given you a flavour of why I feel so strongly about this, even though it nominally doesn't affect me as a cis woman. Firstly, even though I'm cis, there are people I love who are not. Secondly, I don't want to see ANYBODY oppressed by the powerful because of who they are. People don't fit into neat little boxes of worthy and unworthy just because they fit into demographic groups of one sort or another. We are all individuals, and some of us have more struggles than others, but those of us who are struggling less should be helping those who are struggling more, not demonising them.

So if you're poor, I'm on your side. If you're black, I'm on your side. If you're disabled, I'm on your side. And if you're trans? Damn right I am on your side. Because at the end of the day, we all need to work on this, TOGETHER.
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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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