Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Julie Burchill: possibly the most ridiculous comment of the year so far
You’ve gotta hand it to Julie Burchill; possibly the most ridiculous comment of the year (with the possible exception of David Cameron’s claim that the Tories are the party of Social Justice) about Caitlyn Jenner.
Her comment can only be interpreted as an extreme form of Greering• for it to make sense. The idea that it would have been braver for Caitlyn to come out as a gay man is not merely ridiculous but demonstrably so judging by recent events. Jenner came out as a trans woman amid a careful media campaign on her part. This was organised for a reason; trans celebs coming out face a huge barage of negative publicity, one only has to read the predictable output of the transphobes, TERFs and individuals whose personality disorders get splashed across various struggling media platforms by irresponsible and desperate editors to see that.
In contrast this weekend a junior minister in the Tory government came out as gay in order to announce that he would be marrying his long-term partner. This passed off with barely a whisper in the media. The Spectator didn’t arrange for a prominent homophobe to pronounce on how horrible gay sex is, minor “maverick” media outlets didn’t get onnthe phone to some ignorant Kipper or a member of the Westboro Baptist Church to write an op-ed about how he will accompany his patrtner in Hell and shouldn’t be allowed in a job that relates to children. In contrast Caitlyn Jenner has inspired bigots of the nutty left and fanatical right, from the likes of establishment insider Guido Fawkes downwards.
Even for someone who is very rich, Jenner is still brave, if she had come out as a gay man the news would probably have been ignored in most circles.
Of course Burchill’s article has another barb to it; her suggestion is designed to insinuate (but without actually saying so) that trans women are just repressed gay men. Now there’s an old canard, disenterred from the 1970s; the idea, once peddled by the more mindless TERFs, that trans women are just gay men who can’t admit it. It would have been less cowardly if Ms Burchill had actually said that in so many words but of course she doesn’t have that kind of couraage. Like most media bullies she uses her bully pulpit to harass and abuse others then ducks down out of sight again.
However Burchill is also missing a very important point; manely that Cautlyn Jenner is not merely coming out as a trans woman but as a lesbian also. Somebody didn’t do the maths did they?
The fact is that coming out as trans is still very difficult, not only do trans people get harassed in the media by bullies with personality problems, but we tend to attract discrimination in all sorts of places. For example, when I was a primary school teacher in the early noughties I tried to come out and transition after the school has successfully and sensitively accepted and supported a trans girl aged 10 coming out and socially transitioning, however I was told in no uncertain terms that it would be unacceptable, and that I would lose my job. This was in a school with one out gay male teacher and two out lesbian teachers, one of whom became deputy head. Since coming out I have been stalked both online and offline by transphobes and abused regularly.
So Burchill’s assertion deserves the derision it appears to be receiving, this time she has really made a fool of herself. She has allowed her transphobia to get the better of her, which serves as an illustration as to what transphobia can do. Not that I consider Burchill to be the most logical and reasoned individual but clearly her hatred of trans people has taken away what little residual powers of reasoning remain. And in effect her outburst has, in and of itself, served to contradict her own case.
This and other articles by people opposed to people like me existing, motivated by Caitlyn Jenner, has graphically exposed the transphobic community’s problems, a group of people for whom their own petty hatreds, hangups, fanaticisms and personality problems are exposed by their desire to attack trans people. This clutch of transphoibic drivel from these people has truly revealed more about the state of 21st century transphobia than it has about anyone else.
*To Greer; v.i; to say something designed to attract media attention rather than make sense, usually employed by has-been minor celebs who are desperate to maintain the limelight. Eg Germaine Greer.