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”]

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12 Comments »

Leave your response!

  • Roxanne Johnson
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    She’s as intolerant and bigoted as her own character Sugar in sugar rush (the tv series not the book). I can’t believe the Guardian even printed it.

    Reply

  • Adam Crisp
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    Also “amazing” are the response articles it spawned which are almost as bad as the original!

    Reply

    Ellie Stringer
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    Do you have any links to these, Adam?

    Reply

    Adam Crisp
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    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/julie-burchill-should-be-free-to-offend-8451861.html

    Personal favourite opening line of them all!

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100198095/the-observers-decision-to-censor-julie-burchill-is-a-disgrace/

    Not so offensive, but still unbelievable that people are jumping to her defence.

    Reply

    Ellie Stringer
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    Tom Peck’s opinion (the first) would hold a little more ground had the article been directed to the trans community in jocose, however it wasn’t and there are acts and laws in place to charge people who hold those opinions in public, so why should the internet be any different? Had the subject of Julie’s abuse been disabled or black people, it would never have been published at all, this alerts me into thinking we have a LONG way to go when understanding and equality is concerned.

    And with Young’s piece, well, it seems to me like another case of writers’ allegiance of sticking up for their “best friends”.

    In each case they defend her article under the guise of freedom of speech, which is all good and well but what about journalistic quality and integrity? “This isn’t merely a black day for the Observer. It’s a bad day for journalism.” (from the second article) yes: if the future of journalism is full of bigoted, unresearched drunk-like rants, then count me out.

    Reply

  • Malcolm
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    well done ellie for bringing this up and standing up for people who have life troubles without being made to feel like freaks: we are all intitled to live the way we want to, if people dont like it its their problem..not ours

    Reply

  • Rhiannon
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    Great article – if newspapers are going to reprint her, it’s good to read someone who has something sensible to say in response. I’m not sure “freedom of speech” is a good enough defence for what is essentially an incendiary rant.

    Reply

  • Skylar
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    You tackled a sore subject with an absolutely brilliant combination of sass and humor. You know someone is a talented writer when one can laugh and still grasp the severity of the topic. You go girl!

    Reply

  • s.williams
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    thank you for a very well written article.
    I read the original piece by burchill, and was disgusted by her stupidity and spite. i do hope that her career suffers for her poor judgement.
    and i hope that your career thrives, because of your clear thought and grasp of semantics.
    perhaps burchill will get a job under a bridge with all the other trolls?
    i didnt exect to see such a foul article in the independant.

    Reply

    s.williams
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    oops. meant observer not indie, my bad.

    Reply

    Ellie Stringer
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    Thank you very much, I too hope that she sees the error of her ways but I fear she may be set in her “troll”like ways! Maybe she could join Piers Morgan in The States?!

    Reply

    Linda
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    Hey, don’t try to pawn her off on us! We already have too many cavemen. Did you hear some of the comments conservative politicians recently made about rape?

    Thanks for your insightful and well-written article!

    Reply