Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Thicker Skins

I am one of the lucky ones; I can afford to live in a relatively safe area of London, so I spend a considerable part of my - no doubt  by Toby Young's standards - paltry salary on a huge mortgage and two hours a day getting to and from work. This is because the area of London where I work, although having a plentiful supply of relatively cheap and comfortable accommodation, is dangerous for me. How do I know? I work there.

Numerous times I have been thankful that there are plenty of other people waiting on my platform at the station, as someone has acosted me and started haranguing me; I have been called everything from a "fucking tranny" to a "fucking dyke". At one time when I was waiting for a bus on the main road a mob of people started shouting things at me of a similar nature, and making threats. I was fortunate that a black cab went past after a few moments and I jumped in in order to get away. I don't know what would have happened if I had not done so.

This does not mean I have not received transphobic harrassment in West Hampstead where I live, Cornered once on a station platform with only one exit a large, threatening man tried to attack me, and once again I was only saved by the arrival of a train full of people. I have been folowed by people in the street, on one occasion a man tried to creep up behind me at the top of my street, for what purpose I do not know, can imagine. screaming at him in a loud voice and waking up many of my neighbours, to whom I later appologised profusely was the only way he was frightened off. I was threatened while waiting for a bus outside a tube station in East London in broad daylight once and harrassment and intimidation of a verbal kind is a weekly occurence so much now that I almost do not notice it. The only thing I have noticed is how the "I'm a Laydee" wits have generally disappeared since the BBC stopped repeats of Little Britain.

I am also in the position of having to do part of my job in a cisgender male appearance, because that element, supervising students on placement, is not covered by any anti-discrimination legislation, including the "all-encompassing" Equality Act.

Clearly I have not been doing things right. The wisdom of Toby Young, who must know everything about being trans, after all he's a journalist for the Sun) clearly dictates that I should grow a "thicker skin". I must admit to being perplexed at this advice. I must be doing something wrong and I can't see how a thicker skin is going to help me overcome the harrassment I recieve at the hands of those who have been driven to hate me by the media's cumulitive negative stereotyping of trans people.

OK so Young argues that you cannot "prove' that the media causes transphobic hate crime, but this is legalistic disingenuousness. You can't prove that school uniform improves discipline of attainment in school, but Toby Youn's "free" school has one.

So perhaps Toby Young could advise me on these points. I wuld love to be able to live colser to work and not become a victim of hate-crime. How thick will my skin need to be to protect me from a knife, a gun or a hate-fuelled mob.


  1. I have news for Toby Young - there is proof that the media causes transphobic hate crime. It's in the form of the Julie Burchill article Transsexuals Should Cut It Out which is now registered as a Hate Incident by Lancashire Police.

  2. @Claire, I am glad that someone made a complaint. Let's just hope it does some good.