At a time where last minute cramming is the only solution to the end of semester exams this week, there’s not much which could veer my attention away from my 3kg Oxford Companion to Philosophy… or so I thought.
Now, I once had great respect for Sugar Rush author, Julie Burchill – like many sapphic-appreciators – but her latest pseudo-feminist
rant sorry, article against the transgendered community in The Observer made me release my weighty revision aid to the floor and cry out ‘*@*#! *#@**! *@! !#@*@!‘ in the name of equality.
The background of the piece is that her fellow feminist writer, Suzanne Moore has been driven from Twitter over a controversial passage she wrote in the New Statesman referring to women as being inwardly angry of “not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual”– note the use of transsexual as a noun.
Those of us avid users of Twitter know that thick skin is a necessity (try engaging with a ‘Belieber’ without one!), and it’s unfortunate that such a “brilliant writer” was unable to defend herself against “being savaged by dead sheep” that is the supposed wrath of the gender dysphoric or apologise for something which could have been an honest mistake. Nevertheless, Burchill sets out on a destructive path to discredit any feelings of discrimination the trans community has.
According to her ‘feminist’ outlook, the worst pain and suffering possible is “a lifetime of PMT and sexual harassment” and, God forbid, Hormone Replacement Therapy which far outweighs any suffering “a bunch of dicks in chicks’ clothing” could have. Hold on a minute Burchill and do some research; even using these examples highlights the insensitivity and ignorance of mentioning a type of ‘suffering’ that an astonishing number of Male to Female transgendered would literally die to experience: it’s a tragic fact that over 48% of trans people attempt suicide often due to harassment and abuse, much like that the article in question exerts. Adding to this, HRT is the only salvation available for those trapped horrifically in the wrong body, so to equate menopausal HRT as incomparable suffering for natural born woman-kind is absolutely absurd, offensive and unreasonable.
But she doesn’t stop at that: her bigoted transmisogyny goes on to attack them on the grounds that they are “educated beyond all common sense” through “arguing semantics” on Twitter.
To be fair, after having one’s nuts taken off (see what I did there?) by endless decades in academia, it’s all most of them are fit to do.
Not only is this evidently not a “fair” comment, it is also a huge generalisation of the trans population. The writer’s attack on higher education is due to her appeal to her working-class origins, yet she opens the article by arguably alienating the working-class, as during her first outing with Moore, only “having lobster and champagne at Frederick’s” would suffice.
As someone in further education, like many of you: when did education become something negative? If being educated means I can recognise an ignorant, discriminatory, transphobic hypocrite when I see one, then commit me to the flames, for I am gladly guilty.
I would urge Ms Burchill to return to secondary school to understand the true meanings of ‘discrimination’, ‘transexual’, ‘free speech’, ‘feminism’ and how to spell ‘ridiculous’, but I wouldn’t wish such a nasty, foul-mouthed individual on any educational establishment.
If the only qualifier for being able to defend yourself as a woman is to be a “natural-born” woman, as Burchill asserts, then we must stand up for all
“Shims, shemales, whatever you’re calling yourselves these days” TRANS people against these self-proclaimed feminists who are as bad as the old misogynistic men they claim to fight against. As a wise Kit Porter once said (yes, I’m ending with an L Word quote): “If the dude wanna give up his white man rights to become a second class citizen, then welcome to our world.”
[UPDATE: the article in question has now been removed from The Guardian's website, with editor John Mulholland admitting "[o]n this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece.”
The piece has since been republished via the Telegraph here.
Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone (former equalities minister) has called for Burchill to be sacked from The Observer for what she referred to on her Twitter account as an “absolutely disgusting… rant against the transgender community”]