Well, apparently it was International Transgender Day of Ridicule all weekend.
In defending her colleague, Suzanne Moore, over a controversial remark about trans people, The Observer‘s Julie Burchill went into a completely inappropriate, hate-fueled rant against the transgender community and tried to dress it up as feminism, leading many to call for the scribe’s firing.
Moore, in an essay about female anger, claimed that women “are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.”
As trans writer Roz Kavney points out in a response to the Moore-Burchill controversy, Moore’s comments were offensive for inferring that “Brazilian trans women are somehow not women. But far more important is the fact well over a hundred Brazilian trans women were murdered in the last year alone.”
The ensuing backlash led Moore to deactivate her Twitter with a hertfelt goodbye: “People can just fuck off really. Cut their dicks off and be more feminist than me. Good for them.”
An incensed Burchill then took to The Observer on Friday to tell transsexuals to “cut it out.” “It” being the transgender community’s fight for recognition and equality:
But they’d rather argue over semantics. To be fair, after having one’s nuts taken off (see what I did there?) by endless decades in academia, it’s all most of them are fit to do.
Burchill used a number of offensive terms — legitimizing the currency of hate speech, as Kaveney wonderfully phrases it — to refer to the trans community in her disgusting diatribe, including “a bunch of dicks in chicks’ clothing”; “screaming mimis”; “trannies”; “shims”; and “shemales.”
She defended her blatant bigotry, claiming she and fellow feminist Julie Bindel have had a lifetime of struggle in the face of misogyny and gender disparity:
She, the other JB and I, are part of the minority of women of working-class origin to make it in what used to be called Fleet Street and I think this partly contributes to the stand-off with the trannies. (I know that’s a wrong word, but having recently discovered that their lot describe born women as ‘Cis’ – sounds like syph, cyst, cistern; all nasty stuff – they’re lucky I’m not calling them shemales. Or shims.) We know that everything we have we got for ourselves. We have no family money, no safety net. And we are damned if we are going to be accused of being privileged by a bunch of bed-wetters in bad wigs.
Of course, if Burchill had taken her head out of her ass for one second and done a modicum of research, she would have found that cis refers to cisgender, “where an individual’s self-perception of their gender matches their sex.”
For Burchill, the entire argument seems to boil down to a competition about what it means to be a woman and who has suffered more, completely ignoring the similarities between the fight for women’s rights and that for transgender rights:
To have your cock cut off and then plead special privileges as women – above natural-born women, who don’t know the meaning of suffering, apparently – is a bit like the old definition of chutzpah: the boy who killed his parents and then asked the jury for clemency on the grounds he was an orphan.
Shims, shemales, whatever you’re calling yourselves these days – don’t threaten or bully us lowly natural-born women, I warn you. We may not have as many lovely big swinging Phds as you, but we’ve experienced a lifetime of PMT and sexual harassment and many of us are now staring HRT and the menopause straight in the face – and still not flinching. Trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You really won’t like us when we’re angry.
We don’t like you now. And neither does Lynne Featherstone, the international development minister, who is calling for The Observer to sack both Burchill and the paper’s editor, John Mulholland, for publishing her “bigoted vomit.” Alan Rusbridger, Editor-in-Chief of the the Guardian newspapers, including The Observer, has heavily distanced himself from the article while The Observer‘s reader’s editor, Stephen Pritchard, will hold an inquiry into the matter:
“As you might imagine, I have received many emails protesting about this piece this morning. Thank you to those who have written. I will be looking at this issue and will be replying to all in due course.”
An online poll by The Independent found 90% of readers deemed Burchill’s article offensive. The other 10% probably just couldn’t believe a reputable news source actually saw fit to print this kind of shit.