Last week thousands of transgender people, sick and tired of suffering systemic and chronic abuse at the hands of an institutionally transphobic medical profession, decided we were going to tell the world about it.
Or at least the bit of it that reads Twitter.
It was relatively successful. Lots of people looked at the stories of routine and pointless abuse, abuse for its own sake, and were shocked.
So what did our intrepid press do? Did they decide to run daring exposés of this systemic abuse? Bring justice to a minority denied it for decades? Campaign to stop further abuse from happening?
No, they didn’t do any of these things. Noticing that it looked like a bit of a laugh, and the the doctors were getting away with it, they apparently decided to join in themselves.
So far we have the Guardian, Observer, Telegraph and today the Independent joining in (apparently we should be able to take a joke as our “shoulders are broad enough”). Interesting to note that this is mostly the broadsheets too. I await the contributions of the Times and Financial Times with interest. What will it be? A hilarious witty take on how trans women have deep voices, and are ugly, and how we have hairy arms, and smell and are stupid?
A development I’ve also seen this morning is the Dawkins Brigade joining in. Not just the ones who think rape is funny, but some of the ones who are horrified at the ones who think rape is funny, because while rape is definitely Not Funny, apparently trans people are. They can agree on that: laugh at the trans people, they’re funny. Ha ha!
Apparently this is about “freedom of speech”. When a newspaper editor publishes something randomly abusing trans people and then thinks better of it, and withdraws the article, this is an attack on Freedom of Speech and it is Censorship, and because trans people had the nerve to complain about being abused in the national press, it is Our Fault and we are The Censors, and Julie Bindel was right all along about a trans cabal.
The irony of telling a minority to shut up in a forum where we’re mostly being ignored anyway so that the majority can call us bedwetters in a national newspaper without worrying if their editor is going to pull the piece is apparently lost on “freedom of speech” campaigners.
I think, reflecting on this, I have one point to make: Freedom of speech is many things, but what it is not is the right to a column in the national press, free from editorial constraint, where you get to abuse “the little people”, and have a baying mob telling those same “little people” to keep quiet while our betters tell us how rank we are. In caricaturing it thus, you cheapen it.
Meanwhile, trans people are increasingly wondering what the hell is happening us and curling up into balls and feeling like begging for the abuse to stop. I know I am.
Please stop it. Please just stop. Stop.