I recently wrote a letter of complaint to the Irish Independent about an article they published about rehashed and refuted transphobic hate. They kindly published it in their Sunday edition and I’m grateful to the editor for that. It got quite a bit of traction. I got some pushback including messages sent to my website from people who disagreed, but mostly people were glad to have someone say what I think most people in this country feel.
I want to emphasise this is not just about the Independent, in fact if anything their coverage has been better than most. Nor is it about any individual person. We’re having this issue in the New York Times now, and the boycott of the Irish Times is still going strong. It’s a problem in media and arts circles everywhere.
The letter I wrote does not yet appear to be online in screen-readable fashion so I will reproduce my original text here (it was edited down for space – extra text not included is in italic) I was quite impassioned when I wrote it as you can see 🙂
Your feature of June 26th last, “Readers have their say on transgender piece” alarmed me greatly. Its premise is ill-informed to the point of being downright dangerous. The original piece was bad enough, being a rehash of transphobic bilge. But the responses published are largely a regurgitation of the rehash, to the point where there are few enough lumps of anything left to distinguish from the general flow of vomit.
Rebutting this: First, the persons to whom you have given space to “have their say” against trans people are not random members of the Irish public. They are active “gender critical” campaigners on twitter and other mediums who have already had their say ad nauseam and obviously decided on a co-ordinated campaign to have it even more. That this was not even checked before publication is unacceptable in a national newspaper.
Second, the opinions they are spewing out have been refuted again and again, so why are they being repeated here as if nobody went to the trouble of setting people right? No, the National Women’s Council are not going to erase the word “woman” from their literature, they are simply going to add inclusive language where necessary.
The “social contagion” theory of rising numbers of students wishing to transition has been discredited. There is no “well-funded lobby” with an “agenda” infiltrating our schools – and that mentality stems straight from anti-semitic tropes cited by “gender critical” activists such as Jennifer Bilek. The only concern women surveyed have about mixed sex toilets is that cis men’s hygiene leaves a lot to be desired. And, as Izzy Kamikaze has pointed out in her well-sourced article in the Beacon, Countess Markievicz absolutely would have “fought for this”.
Third, this obsession with anti-trans rhetoric on the part of the fourth estate is out of step with society. Our leader Micheál Martin has firmly rejected this tedious tirade of hate. I marched in Saturday’s pride which was fully, joyously trans-inclusive.
Most of the general public are supportive – so why not our media? The recent reaction of these so-called feminists to the overturning of Roe vs Wade and their willingness to court right-wing anti-choicers to reinforce their cause should be reason enough to treat them as the dangerous distraction they are.
We have plenty of problems going on. Transgender people going about their business really is not one of them. Do better, please.