A trans review of 2017: the year of transgender moral panic

From The Conversation:  https://theconversation.com/a-trans-review-of-2017-the-year-of-transgender-moral-panic-89272

December 27, 2017

Three years ago, 2014 was hailed as “the transgender tipping point” – a year when trans people became more visible and better understood. Sadly, looking back on 2017, it seems it was the year of a transgender moral panic.

In the first half of the year, every few weeks seemed to bring another news story invoking public concern about trans issues. A documentary about the treatment of trans and gender questioning kids in Canada kicked off public debates which continued all year. Legal tussles over transgender bathroom rights in the US prompted anxiety and a return to stereotypes of trans people as perpetrators of violence, rather than more commonly victims of it.

In August,the US president, Donald Trump, attempted to ban trans people from serving in the US military – though the move was blocked by a federal judge in October. In the UK, there was furore over trans women’s identities, gender-neutral children’s clothing, the existence of non-binary people, and more. Campaign groups such as Trans Media Watch and All About Trans were constantly fire-fighting the latest wave of media myths and misinformation.

It became an even tougher time to be trans in the final few months of 2017. Since October, an anti-trans article has appeared in the UK press virtually every day – two or three on some days. Several commentators have documented this media onslaught.

In a recent gender training session for an LGBT charity, I asked attendees to come up with all the news stories about trans they could remember from the past month or so. They filled an entire sheet of flipchart paper in minutes, and still came up with more, virtually all of them negative.

Moral panic

A moral panic is the process of arousing social concern over an issue. Moral panics often involve scapegoating a particular group as the “evil” responsible for a range of societal ills.

The current storm around trans people bears all the hallmarks of a moral panic. Trans people are blamed for a number of – often contradictory – harms. In 2017, these included corrupting children, changing the English language and threatening free speech, violence against women and seeking to both dismantle and reinforce problematic gender norms.

Continue reading at:  https://theconversation.com/a-trans-review-of-2017-the-year-of-transgender-moral-panic-89272

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