In my mind, it crosses the line from journalism or comment into outright hate speech. And as such I feel it should not be allowed to stand.
Fortunately there is somewhere I can complain, the Press Complaints Commission. it's something of a toothless tiger, but it's all we've got and if they receive a big pile of complaints about an article they have to take a look. I'd urge you all to consider complaining too if the Burchill piece has offended you.
The text of my complaint is reproduced below:
The Guardian (web site)
"Transsexuals should cut it out"
Please explain how you believe the Code of Practice has been breached
I believe the Code of Practice has been breached because of the use of prejudicial and pejorative language with reference to the transgender community. As a gender dysphoria patient I feel that this article is likely to result in increased likelihood of my exposure to hate crimes as it perpetuates an environment in which such language is deemed acceptable and thus incites further attacks against people like me.
In particular the following language used in the article is problematic:
- "dicks in chicks' clothing", using offensive language to imply that transwomen are in fact men. This amounts to incitement to commit hate crimes, as transwomen are often attacked for using female spaces such as ladies lavatories.
- "women – real and imagined", yet again implying that transwomen are not real women.
- "having one's nuts taken off" and "To have your cock cut off". Repeating the damaging fallacy that the only concern of gender dysphoria patients it to have their genitals modified, something very far indeed from the medical truth. This causes great distress to those of us who are going through the medical process of gender dysphoria treatment.
- "trannies". As a language specialist by trade I have researched this word extensively. It is used in both offensive and non-offensive settings but this article is definitely trying to use it in a pejorative sense.
- "shemales" and "shims". These two words are unambiguously offensive when used in relation to the transgender community and this article repeats them in a manner that can only be seen as pejorative.
Section 12 (i) "The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability."