To Julie Burchill, Suzanne Moore and all feminists: The absence of trans people in the media is as important as the absence of women in the media

From The Independent UK:  http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/to-julie-burchill-suzanne-moore-and-all-feminists-the-absence-of-trans-people-in-the-media-is-as-important-as-the-absence-of-women-in-the-media-8450401.html

This week has seen feminists such as Suzanne Moore and Julie Burchill fail to support trans people – but we should be supporting them

Louise McCudden
Monday 14 January 2013

The recent, controversial comments about transgender people by the usually fabulous Suzanne Moore, are just the tip of this particular iceberg.

Given the prominence of feminists like Moore and, then later, Julie Bindel, and finally, Julie Burchill – feminists who, whether intentionally or otherwise, come out with statements about trans people that are deeply discomforting to many of their own supporters, the time has come for feminists to actively speak up about the shameful and sometimes deliberate failure to engage with, listen to, and support trans people within our own communities.

Suzanne Moore may or may not have intended any offense with her original comments, and it’s easy to see how when someone is on the end of a twitter-storm, they might lose their cool a bit. But even to the most generous mind, Julie Burchill’s defence of her friend in the Guardian can’t be explained as anything other than deliberate bigotry.  She deliberately called trans people “dicks in chicks’ clothing”, she deliberately decided to trivialise the protests from trans people against those who deny they even exist, she deliberately dismissed the right to define yourself as you are instead of having it dictated by others as “semantics.”

People cannot help their ignorance, but Julie Burchill isn’t ignorant. She’s an educated person. She has thought actively about sex, gender and sexuality for years; it’s not that she’s never met a trans person or thought about what it must be like to go through something so lonely and terrifying as gender reassignment surgery. Those people, the ones who are ignorant or naïve or ill-informed, perhaps we should have some sympathy with. But that’s not Burchill. She has the luxury of awareness and education. She still seems to choose to be transphobic.

Enough is enough. Trans women have been excluded from female spaces, portrayed as predatory, called traitors and perpetuators of patriarchy, accused of having male privilege, had their surgery compared with gay cure therapy, and, of course, constantly been on the receiving end of that boring old chesnut hurled, at some point, at pretty much anyone who ever speaks out about anything, ever: accusations of “distracting” from the “real” issues.

Yet surely we ought to be natural allies. Not only does transphobia shine bright lights on sexist assumptions about us all and help so often to show them up as inaccurate nonsense, but trans people live through a reality of gender-based oppression that most cis women can barely imagine. We should be on their side. Far from its victims being part of the problem, the culture that facilitates transphobia is so very often the same culture that perpetuates sexism.

Continue reading at:  http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/to-julie-burchill-suzanne-moore-and-all-feminists-the-absence-of-trans-people-in-the-media-is-as-important-as-the-absence-of-women-in-the-media-8450401.html

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