Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Year Of Teh Tranz

    2015, if you believe the Chattering Classes, has been the Year of Transgender.
    By which they mean, there are some famous and very gender-conforming people they can safely talk about without straying too far from of their comfort zone. From Caitlyn Jenner through a host of TV shows sporting token one-dimensional transgender characters to Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, the transgender narrative has been packaged up in Cellophane like a Barbie doll, something for daytime telly and newspaper colour supplements.
    The trouble is, it's a very synthetic transgender narrative. Transition is instantaneous and successful, and transgender people are achingly cisnormative. Nobody ever has problems accessing healthcare, and nobody faces discrimination in their employment or personal life. The transgender drinking game has never been played so often.
    It's not been all bad this year though. It's taken about four decades, but the world has finally realised that the ravings of radical feminism on the subject of transgender people are hate speech. Germaine Greer and her ilk have finally become persona non grata, and in particular her resorting to ever more hate speech upon receiving that news has propelled those views more firmly into the cold.
    Meanwhile though the reality of life for the unseen majority of transgender people who don't have their own reality TV show or write for the Guardian remains pretty bleak. Poverty, violence, employment discrimination, awful access to appropriate healthcare, the list goes on. If you happen to be a transgender person who isn't white-skinned it gets about ten times worse, the list of casualties read out on Transgender Day of Remembrance drives this point home.
    So while it's great that we are less often the target of Richard Littlejohn style tabloid hate speech or the butt of Little Britain style offencive comedy, don't make the mistake of thinking we've made it because we've moved to being daytime television sensations. There is still plenty of work to be done, and progress is not being aided by publicity-seeking starlets, celebrity transitioners or attention-grabbing journalists.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Jenny, thank you - well put, food for thought.