In the past 40 or 50 years there have been debates that have been contentious and highly charged. In recent times Same Sex Marriage, Civil Partnership, the equalisation of the age of consent for Lesbian Gay and Bisexual people have been some of the difficult moments in parliamentary and media reporting history. Bile and venom spewed from the media along with key narratives form certain ends of the media. No one honestly expects an unbiased reportage but every now and then a series of stories happen that seem to present an absolute assault on one particular person or group of people. Another classic example was the refugee crisis where the whole narrative moved into a very scary and dangerous place. It was victimising victims of war and famine often in the name of safety and patriotism. The press seem to need a whipping boy to blame the woes of the world upon. I am not going to discuss that particular issue but I want to focus a recent set of stories that many areas of the media both left, right and centre politically speaking seem to be targeting.
If you look you may have noticed a startling number of stories that talk about Trans, Transgender, and Non-binary people when compared to say 12 months ago. There appears to be no single narrative going on; take the two stories here.
One appears to be a labour party row over the approach of the national party supporting government reviews of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and a bullying approach driving members out. It reports on situation setting theoretical allies of the Lesbian and Trans, against each other in a battle for the preservation and protection of women and children. The other is a teacher who appears to be the victims of abuse because he misgenders a child in class. His Christian values undermined and presenting a caring teacher looking to protect the children from abuse and confusion. Both claim “political correctness” and use the language abuse and protection to pitch their case.
The Guardian story is a deeply political narrative on the feminist conflict currently ongoing around the acceptance of Trans women as women and the use of women only spaces. It is a commentary over the very core of feminist thinking and where it will end up in the current form to the future. There is a school of feminism that sees trans people as gender outsiders or as people in denial of their assigned gender at birth. This they say will be the end of feminism as they see it if it continues. The Sun Story above and the Pink News below are the same story. Top Shop declares changing rooms gender neutral to cries of “political correctness gone insane” and pandering to the “Transgender agenda” with loud vocal cabals of trans people scaring organisations into submission. The Pink Paper carries a narrative from a Radio broadcaster screaming “paedophile and Abuse” with full on fear mongering and the Sun has a narrative from a “gender critical “Trans women backing up the negativity. It paints a picture of extremist schism within the Trans community when in reality a small number of trans women sit in a place that has the odour of internalised transphobia and a denial of their own Identity. I don’t want to character assassinate but when the majority of trans people fundamentally disagree with few you go with the majority. This is especially true when they side with a group who are supremely antagonistic to the existence of the broader community.
Julia Brewer Hartley is a classic case in the story above. Project Fear a now common phrase since the Scottish independence referendum and the EU Vote, is being used to conflate reality and rational discussion. We have gender neutral changing areas in leisure facilities and by declaring a space gender neutral you make access for those who are exploring their gender or beginning the journey of transition far easier. I have yet to go into the changing facilities of any shop that did have tight monitoring of ins and outs for security shop lifting purposes. The fear of abuse and “what about the children” discourse smacks of desperation and pandering yet again to the dialogue of predatory “men” stalking changing rooms for illicit pleasure by pretending to be female is disingenuous.
The Times seems to be leading a charge now by dragging things back to Trans being an illness and comparable to a sickness and deviance. This is clearly against even what two Tory Prime Ministers and the expanse of mental health professionals have moved to a position of being trans being part of being human and not the result of some environmental or psychological conditioning. A recent memorandum of understanding by Counselling regulatory bodies and the adjustment of the DSM V (Diagnostic statistical manual of mental health disorder) accepts that being trans is not a mental health issue but the resultant mental health issues suffered by Trans people is because of the lack of social acceptance or aggressive anti trans cultures and legal structures.
This clearly outlines one person’s stance and views on the trans community. He happily verbally attacks people with gender incongruence from spiteful to hateful comments. His reputation of being a fundamentally offensive character is t upon this but if he did some of the things against a disability group or a ethnic group he would signing on at the local benefits office.
That is where the problems lies being trans is currently the target for so many people. Racism and sexism are culturally unacceptable. I know that they are still around and are not gone from the society but since the bad old days of casual racist and misogyny on the media are beginning to fade as part of a very embarrassing history. We look at comedy and the society that existed in the last century as something to hold our heads in shame. Considering women as property and has no capacity to think, vote, or own property is something of which we should be truly ashamed.
Shortly the government will introduce a consultation on how to amend the Gender Recognition act 2004. I have not seen the consultation but the Women and Equalities committee had a report on Trans experience in modern society. It painted a picture of desperation of day to day life being a Trans person. Daily abuse and casual disregard of their existence was common. High suicide ideation numbers and self harm sit alongside institutional transphobia in services and the workplace. High barriers to accessing services and they face multiple levels of discrimination that is purely based on their identity. The report made many recommendations.
They are available here
If you read it where is the revolution and the undermining of society. It is actually about bringing equity and parity for a supremely marginalised group of people. Let’s be brutally honest about this and see it for what it actually is, we must judge a society not by how the best off are treated but by how we treat those in direst need or whose lives are worst off.
I am not saying that all Trans people suffer but there are far more suffering when they need not. Finally another piece of evidence that admittedly supports my case in point as to media bias but it is also from a journalist.
In a time of rapid moving short attention span and hit and run aspects of the media revisiting a story makes retractions or amendments a truly unique thing outside court room enforcement. This rare beast saw an opportunity and came to the conclusion a report used by 3 or 4 Newspapers is based more guess work and that implied much from one known data figure the number of prison inmates who were Trans then running off on more tangents than Euclid’s doodle pad. It does highlight that a certain amount of rigour in the checks and balances of reporting is lacking. It seems that salacious and sensationalist reporting is preferred to facts and figures with robust detail and figures. Emotional manipulation is the key to the hearts of ignorance and fear. Ignorance and fear lead to a dark path that lacks considered thought and action. It leads to our political leaders shooting from the hip with similar ignorance.
I fully expect the campaigns to ramp up many more levels before this hits any actual legislative forum. The public mindset is being manipulated from many sides in order to illicit a certain response. I only wish the famous so called balance of the British press was just that balanced in its form and out pouring.