One of the few advantages of being a trans woman is that, at a party, you find out who the assholes are before everyone else. As far back as the early 1990s I can remember (almost invariably white, cishet, male) partygoers coming up to me before they even had the excuse that they were pissed and asking me about my genitals.
By a few seconds this question usually preceded its asker learning some new items of vocabulary, vocabulary which left them in no doubt as to
a) what I thought of their question,
b) what I thought of them, and
c) that they needed to ensure they did not avail themselves of my company at any time in the future for any reason.
So it was with a sense of deja-vu that I read about Richard O'Brien's pronouncement on trans women. As someone who does not identify as a trans woman himself he is clearly profoundly underqualified to talk about trans women, something which tends to be a common factor in those arrogant enough to make such pronouncements. What are the reasons he gives for making this judgement...? Errrrr... absolutely none whatsoever. Not that he is any different in this respect from the other people making similar pronouncements, Barry Humphries and Germaine Greer have presented nothing by way of evidence to support their assertions whilst at the same time lacking any experiential qualification for what they have said.
The counter-arguments of course have actual scientific evidence to back them up; trans people are who we say we are. The TERF essentialising arguments, profoundly anti-feminist as they are, simply fall apart even on cursory inspection. Of course O'Brien doesn't have to worry about such niceties, but then, let's face it neither, it seems, do the essentialising TERFs.
While a number of my friends are now mourning yet another lost hero, forever lost to assholeness, I am lucky; I never liked the Crystal Maze and one of the reasons for that was its vainglorious and narcissistic presenter who reminded me so much of the privileged and ignorant assholes I used to introduce to new items of lexicon in the early stages of parties.
One of the ways most people judge an idea is the people who advocate it, which probably explains why the "out" campaign has lost ground since Michael Gove joined it. O'Brien joins the likes of Greer, Humphries, a ragbag of privileged libertarian/neoliberal right-wingers and assorted abusive and ignorant TERFs many of whom have increasingly resorted to spreading deliberate disinformation about trans people because they have no serious arguments to make.
Quite what qualifies him to think he can make the pronouncement he has done is very unclear, apparently nothing, so the question remains; why has he deliberately made an idiot of himself by doing this? The reason is probably the same reason as Greer's, or indeed Burchill's; he desperately desires to hold on to whatever fading limelight he can. Some may call him a 'has-been". I would beg to differ; a "hasn't-been" is probably more appropriate.
Making ignorant and puerile statements about trans people seems to be the way hasn't-beens attempt to regain whatever crumbs of long-lost media attention they can. Best ignore such foolishness, put them out of their misery, it is kinder that way.