Sunday, 19 November 2017

“SHUT UP! You’re Silencing Me!”

In the last three months there have been literally scores - possibly even hundreds - of articles by anti-trans people, published in pretty much every media platform, from the New Statesman to The Times. Indeed the Times now seems to be publishing one anti-trans piece per day on average. In contrast I have seen only a couple of articles written by trans people in response. There have even been a number of “debates” in broadcast media about trans people from which trans people were excluded echoing that infamous conference in Saudi Arabia about women, from which women were excluded.

Now even the Guardian has joined in with Catherine Bennett’s deeply disingenuous article accusing trans people of using the term “TERF (meaning "Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist”, a term that describes people who describe themselves as "radical feminists" who campaign to exclude trans people) to “silence women”, an argument which she then develops to suggest that ANY alternative term that might be applied to people opposed to me, and people like me, having full human rights would also be as bad. The argument is simply that oppressed people should not have the right to name their oppressors or that someone who wishes to produce journalistic propaganda material intended to harm me should be given a free pass, and be regarded as nothing more that "a concerned individual with genuinely acceptable views" or something like that. In essence she is arguing that trans people should simply shut up and be silent in the face of the current media onslaught about trans people. 

Bennett’s dishonesty is to equate a few tweets by trans people who have no access to media platforms, with the tidal wave of media output against trans people. A tweet from someone like me (3,170 followers) is equivalent to an article in the Guardian or any other media platform. After three months of intense media output, which has put the anti-trans (Am I allowed to use that term Catherine?) side of the argument, almost entirely to the exclusion of any other point of view, she is still claiming , in a national newspaper,  that she is being “silenced”. Catherine Bennett, unless you are trans, right now you really have no idea what it means to be silenced.

In the midst of a media onslaught against trans people, to claim that those who express views that oppose trans people are being silenced is simply not credible once you start to think about it and examine the numerical balance of media output. Bennett claims that one of Janice Turner's equally disingenuous and one-sided articles in the Times is "brilliant" yet I have written to the editor of the Times, as, I'm sure have many others, to request the opportunity to put a different point of view, and been ignored. Who is being silenced Catherine? 

Indeed Bennett’s article can ultimately only be regarded as an attempt to silence trans people, I don't know the number of people who will get to read Bennett’s article but it will be hundreds of times the number of people who will see this blog or any of my tweets. When the media consensus is so one-sided, when trans voices are being deliberately and systematically excluded from the debate about us, to claim hat the use of a particular term on twitter is silencing those who oppose trans people’s is not just profoundly dishonest, it is an act of calculated oppression.