I just read an article by Katy Guest in the Independent online here:
The headline is:
When it comes to transgender rights, there’s nothing feminist about being a bigot
The article begins with the words:
Like Maria Miller, who was interviewed in last week’s Independent on Sunday, I am shocked that arguments against giving equal rights to transgender people are coming from women purporting to be feminists. I am a feminist, too, and I can say what a politician can’t: it’s time to accept that bitching about transgender rights is the act of a bigot.
And ends with:
Finally, [some people say] “I’m entitled to my opinion”. You can hold the opinion that all trans people are mauve for all I care, but if you support legislation to deny healthcare, legal support or other basic human rights to mauve people then we have a problem. Please, feminists, listen to yourselves … then listen to Jeremy Clarkson and realise that you sound the same. Transphobia is not feminist; it is about as patriarchal as it comes. And if you really want to talk about men’s violence against women, who do you think is beating up all those trans women – other women? Meanwhile, while you’re busy Googling for evidence that trans people are rapists in disguise, men are still raping women. And, by the way, you are a bigot. Equality means for everybody, not just for women exactly like you.
Take a look at the article for the bits in-between.
At the moment there are 252 comments.
So, what do I think of the article?
And of the comments?
The article, and a fair few of the comments use the word bigot quite a lot.
Cambridge Dictionaries Online defines the English word as:
a person who has strong, unreasonable beliefs and who does not like other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life
The American definition that it gives is:
a person who has strong, unreasonable ideas, esp. about race or religion, and who thinks anyone who does not have the same beliefs is wrong
Merriam Webster defines bigot as:
a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
Actually, it’s a difficult word to use.
The word bigot I mean.
For instance, if I say to you “you are a bigot” – does that make me a bigot because I am showing intolerance to you?
Am I intolerant if I find it difficult to accept the views of people who I believe to be intolerant?
I tried a web search using the phrase “am I a bigot if I am intolerant of intolerance” and came up with this.
Which led me on to this
Which has the headline:
Close-Minded Man Not Even Willing To Hear Out Argument On Why Homosexuality An Abomination
Which I found quite amusing.
The article I mean.
Anyway, I’m going to get the word out of my system for this posting.
This sentence is the last place you’ll see the word bigot in this post.
The article itself attempts to highlight, and refute, a series of arguments that some people use in articulating why transgender people should be denied certain rights.
This includes arguments such as:
- Trans women are not real women
- Trans women should not be allowed into public toilets
- Trans women must use men’s public toilets and changing rooms
- Trans women belong in men’s prisons
- How do they know they’re really female/male?
- Trans women are not real women because they’ve had different childhoods from “us”
- “They” have stolen our language and are forcing us to call ourselves “cis women”
- I’m entitled to my opinion
I think the closing paragraph is quite telling. I quoted it above, but in case you missed it here it is again:
You can hold the opinion that all trans people are mauve for all I care, but if you support legislation to deny healthcare, legal support or other basic human rights to mauve people then we have a problem. Please, feminists, listen to yourselves … then listen to Jeremy Clarkson and realise that you sound the same. Transphobia is not feminist; it is about as patriarchal as it comes. And if you really want to talk about men’s violence against women, who do you think is beating up all those trans women – other women? Meanwhile, while you’re busy Googling for evidence that trans people are rapists in disguise, men are still raping women. And, by the way, you are a ????. Equality means for everybody, not just for women exactly like you.
You’ll need to work out what the ???? is because I said I wouldn’t use that word again in this post.
On balance, I go along with that last paragraph.
And then there are the comments that people left.
I find some of them are quite depressing.
There are 255 of them now.
I know I have biases.
I know that it’s possible for men to dress up as women for all kinds of reasons.
But you know, I believe gender is more complex than “them” and “us”. “Male” and “female”. “Woman” and “man”. It’s not just biology.
I know about how I feel.
Though I don’t always understand it.
I have spent time talking with people.
Listening to their words.
Sharing their feelings.
And I know that when someone says “I had an exchange with 2 trans advocates the other day, and they were the most vicious, cultists. Just how people describe them” they aren’t describing any of the trans people that I know.
Or when someone else says “I'm not taking over or appropriating, nor am I an activist. I just want to go about my daily business without feminists screaming at me to f off. But I agree wholeheartedly with you about crossdressers being part of the trans community. It's not pc of me to say so, but those are not transwomen.”
I think of the people that I know.
And think of myself.
And, you know.
We just want to go about our daily business without anyone telling us to f off.
And the impression given by some people that trans people who do not plan to transition are always motivated only by be some kind of sexual fetish.
I know that this is not true.
I know that some people might see me as being like the Close-Minded Man Not Even Willing To Hear Out Argument On Why Homosexuality An Abomination.
But then again, I also might see them as being a bit like him.