Bigotry against the trans/ gender non – binary community always gets under my skin and I feel like I have to respond.
The latest I’ve seen is a retweet from a journalist/ commentator that, frankly, I’m starting to lose respect for. Here is what the journalist/ commentator retweeted:
It’s possible that 97% of the population are hideous evil reactionary bigots. But there’s also another explanation, which is that self-ID is so patently a terrible idea it has disapproval across the board pic.twitter.com/IhoKno6SPO
— boodleoops (@boodleoops) October 19, 2018
I read in another tweet that this ‘poll’ is extremely biased and is deliberately aimed at hard – line anti – trans conservatives, so it’s safe to assume that it isn’t representative of the population.
The problem with the question
The question of the ‘poll’ itself is problematic. “Should everyone who identifies as female have access to women – only spaces?”. The question conveys the idea that cis – men will simply identify as women to enter women’s spaces, including public toilets. A few years ago, conservative politicians and journalists spread paranoia about the safety of women and girls if transwomen used women’s facilities. In 2015, Vox pointed out that there had been no reports of sexual misconduct by men pretending to be women in public toilets. Mic Network also confirmed this myth
Now, people are panicking that becoming transgender is a fashion. Transgender people don’t just ‘decide’ to become transgender out of the blue. According to the American Psychological Association, while people may experience their gender identity at various stages of life, many trans people know that they are ‘different’ from early childhood.
And let get this one thing clear: professionals, including psychologists and psychiatrists don’t just throw hormones people willy nilly. Junkee wrote a really good article that not only debunked the “gender whisperer’ hysteria stoked by the Daily Telegraph, but also called out and debunked the idea that transgender identity and hormonal and surgical treatment is done on a whim.
Dr. Elizabeth Riley, who was interviewed for the article, condemned how she was misrepresented. She claimed that her role was to help teachers identify children who may be trans, but also said that the process in identifying trans students is a lot more complicated than what the Daily Telegraph insinuated.
When talking about the diagnostic process in helping trans people she told Junkee:
The parents will usually come and see me, and I’ll recommend that they go to Westmead Children’s Clinic and see a psychiatrist for a full diagnosis. And it’s only if the child is 100% [certain] and [their status is] clear that we even go down this path (gender reaffirming treatment).
So, the myth that parents are often left in the dark about a child’s transgender/ gender dysphoria status is debunked. So is the idea that people identify transgender willy nilly or because it’s ‘fashionable’.
The dark side of the trans and public spaces paranoia
I must admit, I’ve made the mistake of thinking the trans/ gender non – conforming community should step away from the public bathroom/ change room debate. Then I remember how dangerous this ‘debate’ has actually become, particularly in the US.
In August, Achille Public Schools were closed for two days after a twelve year – old trans girl was threatened with violence and mutilation via a Facebook group by a number of parents. This was sparked when they found out that she was given permission to use a female toilet. Where was the “protect the children” brigade? Anyone want to advocate for the safety of this TWELVE YEAR – OLD who was threatened with violence and MUTILATION? Anyone?
So, while there is NO evidence that cis – male perverts use women’s bathrooms to assault and harass young girls and women and yet a twelve – year old child has been dehumanised (some referred to her as a “thing”), threatened with physical violence and mutilation, people want to focus on the non – existent threat of male perverts accessing women’s spaces in order to harass women and young girls. (Before anyone screams at me that there are articles that suggest that men have gone to women’s bathrooms to harass women and girls, those cases have been debunked.
The role of the media
I am getting sick of columnists and presenters in the mainstream media misrepresenting LGBTQ+ issues. This is why I believe independent media is so important. I do applaud Junkee for putting the “gender whisperer’ hysteria to rest. I encourage more Australian independent outlets to the same and I encourage Australians to read articles from independent outlets to get other perspectives.
I want to emphasise some points (unfortunately, I feel I have to). Trans people don’t choose to be trans. It’s not a fashion. It’s not simple, either the cause or the diagnosis process. And… THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT MEN ARE ‘IDENTIFYING’ AS TRANSGENDER TO HARASS AND ASSAULT WOMEN AND GIRLS. The media needs to STOP spreading this.