Monday, 14 January 2013

Hatred, Transphobia & Twitter storms..

I'm far from surprised that this has blown up like it has.. To be honest it was only a matter of time, Trans people put up with an awful lot, I don't want to get into a battle of who is the most oppressed.. A battle no ones wins, but I want to explain where the anger has come from. As there is a very real place it's coming from.

So the experience most trans people share, is one of overt hostility, hostility from every angle. Of struggling to find a job, disowned by family, described in the media as often a joke if not a freakish monster, from a horror movie. This only serves to make us feel hated, hated by the world. That the world hates you for something, you probably already hate about yourself, something that drives women and men to commit suicide in droves. Something we really didn't choose, no one would choose being despised, I know what I chose, I chose to try to be a guy.. I battled it out with myself for decades living with a constant depression and self loathing..

So I know what it feels like, that anger at not being able to find the contentment, that others seem to have so easily.. I know also that longing to be the real you, despite all the hate seemingly from every side.. So I wasn't surprised that these women would react so fiercely to the perceived transphobia from someone they'd hoped was on their side... Someone who reacted badly to polite requests to change one line, to understand this hurt.

So this becomes a toxic mixture, a reaction to the vile things shouted out in the street, a reaction to the horrible looks from passing strangers, the stupid comedians making us the butt of their poor taste jokes. The easy targets, we do know they all hate us.. All of them, or so it seems.. So when the good guys turn on us it makes it all the harder to forgive.. Here is the "storm in a D-cup" as Suzanne Moore put it today.. This is where the incredible anger comes from.. Suzanne it isn't personal, to you, but it really is very personal to us!

Suzanne Moore caught this anger full in the face, I'm sorry... I'm sorry it was her, as I'd always been a fan, retweeting her articles and reading her column every week. But this tinder box has been waiting to blow up for a while and boy has it blown up!

Julie Burchill's piece was the catalyst for me to get involved. I'd stayed out of the arguments before, as I'm not a fan of twitter mobs and didn't enjoy watching this one develop. But JB's article was the tipping point.

Reading her article was like reading those hateful things homophobes yell in the street.. Worse this was betrayal and abuse, but the trans community is finding it's voice finally. The way us finding our voice is being described though is as we're some powerful cabal of domineering media connected bullies trying to silence debate... We are so far from this description, as for it to be comical. This is angry people on the very fringes of society who've simply had enough of this! It's not about silencing debate, this is standing up for ourselves. It's about people who've had enough of this shit and are not going to let it pass anymore. No newspaper would publish such a vile piece about any ethnic minority and we won't let it go on anymore, we aren't going anywhere.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Open Letter to Stephen Pritchard, the readers editor of the Observer

Dear Stephen Pritchard,

As a life long Guardian and Observer reader I felt sickened to my core to read Julie Burchill's piece on the recent twitter storm around Suzanne Moore. I'd avoided getting involved in the arguments that drove Ms Moore from twitter, as I'd felt there'd been little deliberate malice in her original offending article.

This however cannot be said for the piece by Burchill, which is a more odious piece of "trolling" than I have read in recent years. I have always trusted in the Guardian as a liberal and progressive newspaper that didn't treat the most vulnerable in society as punch bags - unlike most of the print media. I've known that, as with a lot of mainstream media, even you had a blind spot when it came to the trans community, but in recent years you have been putting this right.

So it was with real dismay that I read the article from Julia Burchill this morning, telling me that I am a "a dick in chicks' clothing" and a "bed wetter in a bad wig". You see I am a trans woman, and so take great exception to being described in such vile terms! I do realise that many people do hold such views about myself and trans people in general, but then many people hold horrible views about all minorities. What I do not expect, is having them given the validation of the platform of a internationally respected progressive newspaper like yours.

I feel very let down and will have to question if I buy the Observer in future, depending on they way you as a paper handle this from here on!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

Cass Hoskins

Sent from my iPad