Transphobia and the mainstream media

The dictionary definition of “Transphobia” is:

transphobia
/tranzˈfəʊbɪə,transˈfəʊbɪə/
noun
1. dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people.
Which firstly poses terminology issues as the term “transsexual” is an outdated term and makes many trans people uncomfortable (although I can’t speak for everyone, you’re best avoiding this word). Next, it insinuates that both words are two different types of people, which they are not, as mentioned, one is just the outdated word. Whilst you could argue that its just because it is the dictionary definition and the dictionary is many years old, its to be noted that the dictionary is constantly introducing new words and changing definitions- hopefully this issue is also rectified.
In this post, as the title suggests and the above text begins to explain, I am going to talk about the transphobia within the mainstream media, mostly focusing on the UK. So get ready for some angry typing and this is a fair warning to trans people that some of this could be exhausting- it was exhausting to root through articles that mock and deny my existence. Cis people, please take note and read the end where I am going to list a few ways to be a great ally!
Continuing with definitions, I am now going to put the dictionary definitions of “transgender” and “cisgender” because I can already hear people whining that I have used the word “cis”. This is your first step to being a great ally- realise that cis IS NOT an offensive word!
transgender
/tranzˈdʒɛndə,transˈdʒɛndə/
adjective

 

Secondly, the king of transphobia himself, Piers Morgan.

If we rewind to September 2018, Piers Morgan lost his mind over trans girls being able to join girl guides. On Good morning Britain he openly said: “I think a transgender girl who still has male genitals, shouldn’t be with girl guides until fully woman.” Now, from my understanding, girls as young as 6, to age 16 are rainbows, brownies and girl guides? Surely, any sane adult would agree that this is a very odd statement to make about children and minors, talking about their genitals on TV and saying that this is a decider on whether or not they should be allowed to join an organisation. How is a guide leader going to confirm whether or not a girl that joins their group has the “correct” thing in their pants. Very perverted if you ask me!

April 2019 is a story much like James Martin, where Piers Morgan chooses to identify as skinny, promoting the false idea that trans people are choosing to identify as they do and it pokes fun at a marginalised and often targeted group of people. The spreading of garbage like this; making being trans look like a choice or a fad is harmful for trans youth/ closed trans people and makes it very difficult for them to come out, which can be traumatic and have life long consequences. So, just a quick suggestion, why don’t we just mind our own business and stop mocking people who are trying to live their truths,

September 2019, my last example of thousands of Morgan being transphobic, is his most recent tantrum about an aquarium in London not disclosing a penguins gender. Firstly, my jaw dropped when I saw that GMB had openly shared the clip on their twitter- how are they not embarrassed by his outburst? What was going through their social media directors mind?  It was bad enough him having a full blown tantrum on TV, never mind bringing that to twitter- I guess I’m not surprised though because the right call trans people ‘snowflakes’, yet they are the ones who get enraged by penguins! Charlotte Barcus, the sea life aquarist, stated, the fact that gender “isn’t an issue to penguins” is the point, and that the gender neutral penguin was meant to start conversations about gender with aquarium visitors. She added: “You don’t really see [gender roles] in the animal kingdom… penguins would have to have some sort of society where other penguins were putting pressure on little baby penguins that they should be more masculine or more feminine.” Which is one of the truest things I have heard in a while. Animals don’t impose gender roles on each other and by not making an animals gender known to the public, it doesn’t make them expect it to act a certain way. However, this set Morgan on a bizarre rant where he yells “OK, alright I’m a penguin. I’m a penguin. Identifying as a two spirit penguin. Everyone happy with that? Two spirit, gender-neutral, pangender, genderfluid, femme penguin… That’s where the world is going, folks, you can basically put your hand up and say whatever the hell you like. I’m going to the aquarium today… and I’m going to demand to be put into the penguin enclosure because I’m now identifying as a penguin…. That’s what I am and there’s nothing any of you can do about it.”

All I can think is YIKES this man is delusional. AGAIN, a 15 year old edgelord response to gender identities coming out of a grown mans mouth. This time with an added sprinkle of racism as “two spirit” is someone who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit, and is used by some Native American people to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity. Mocking this, also mocks an entire culture.

I could rant forever about Piers Morgan, but lets face it, this is the guy who had a full breakdown over Greggs vegan pasties, so there’s not much point wasting anymore time on him. If you love yourself, stay away from his social media, as well as Good morning Britain.


 

Another favourite! Katie Hopkins. Everyones favourite right-wing journalist, who hates everyone who isn’t cis, straight and white. Again, she is another person that I could rant about for way over 10,000 words, but I’ll try keep this as short and sweet as possible.

Actually, I’ll just drop in some of her tweets, they say everything.

Despicable-Katie-Hopkins-forced-to-deny-shes-transphobic-after-vile-tweets-about-Celebrity-Big-B.jpg
Refuses to call trans women, women.
Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 21.28.07.png
She encourages parents to complain about gender identities being taught in schools- erasing trans people and ensuring that children don’t understand that trans people exist, thus stopping them being tolerant of trans people.
Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 21.31.24
Implies that trans girls shouldn’t be allowed to use female facilities and that they are threatening women rights. A fantastic word to describe this ideology is TERF.

In conclusion, Katie Hopkins really has it out for trans kids and trans women. UGH


 

Fun fact: Researching all of this transphobia all at once has exhausted me. It really isn’t pleasant actively looking for things that try to deny my existence. Its just as exhausting though seeing this in the media constantly.

The last person I’m going to look at is RuPaul, the face of “drag race”, which has recently brought out a UK season, which would be great, if RuPaul didn’t have a history of transphobic comments. It really does suck that even within the LGBT+ community, trans people are often erased and mocked.

The first instance of RuPaul being transphobic that I want to look at is in the earlier seasons of Drag race when “You’ve got shemail!” is often used. This sounds a lot like the transphobic slur that is used towards trans people and in the show is used to give  the challenges to drag queens, which then implies that drag queens are the same as trans people. This is incorrect and just plain transphobic. Nothing more really needs to be said there.

In 2018, there was the controversy of RuPaul’s comments about not letting certain trans women partake in drag race (even though, any one of any gender can be a drag queen!). RuPaul said “You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body. It takes on a different thing; it changes the whole concept of what we’re doing.” this implies that a trans women isn’t a “real” woman until she starts taking hormones, which can be harmful towards trans women who haven’t yet medically transitioned, or does not wish to medically transition. As an “apology”, RuPaul then tweeted “You can take performance enhancing drugs and still be an athlete, just not in the Olympics.”- showing that he had no remorse for what he said and believes that a trans woman competing on the show whilst undertaking HRT would be cheating.

Lastly, my FAVOURITE transphobic thing RuPaul has managed to do, which is honestly just funny is the tweet below- which was also in “apology” for his comments above. Thought I’d use this to finish my ranting.

446.png
HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THIS ISNT THE TRANS FLAG AND IS INFACT THE TRAINS FLAG I HAVE NO WORDS

If you got this far, I really hope you did, and you’re cis, here are 5 tips on how to be the best ally you can be!

  1. Call out transphobia EVERY DAMN TIME.
  2. Correct anyone who misgenders a trans person or calls them the wrong name, even when you’re not in the presence of a trans person.
  3. Support trans charities, such as Mermaids and Point of pride as well as supporting trans creators- especially Trans POC.
  4. ALWAYS ask peoples pronouns, even if you think you know their gender. If you make a mistake, apologise and move on. DO NOT make huge deal out of it.
  5. Don’t ask trans people personal questions, such as if they’ve “had the surgery yet”. This- unsurprisingly- makes people uncomfortable

 

Thankyou so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this.

-Alex

 

activism

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