About this Suzanne Moore, Julie Birchill, trans and aren\’t they hateful to gender benders thing

Yes, yes, I know. Civil liberties are indivisible: if I am to claim freedom and liberty then I most certainly have to defend it for all others. For if I am willing to connive at the denail of liberty to others then there will most assuredly be those who will connive at the curtailment of my own.

However, this Wtrans community\” that\’s being talked about.

The trans community has more things to worry about than the possibility that, if Julie Burchill gets really angry, she might find even nastier things to say about us. Her Observer piece filled the bingo card of transphobic insults, short of accusing us of baby-eating and black magic. Nonetheless, when a minority is accused of intolerant bullying, it is always important that the slur not be allowed to stand, especially when the accusation becomes a pretext for hate speech.

As you\’ll all know I\’m afraid that I don\’t recognise the existence of \”hate speech\”. Incitement to immediate violence is a crime and rightly so. Other than that and libel free speech is exactly that: there\’s no right not to be offended by someone exercising that liberty either.

It may very well be bad manners to criticise or critique the lifestyle choices of others but it shouldn\’t be illegal. And yes, this does indeed mean that, legally, people must be free to make free with such vile words as nigger, kike, rugmuncher, poof and Mark Oaten.

However, the thing that really interested me about this \”trans community\” is, well, how large is this community? It\’s a bit like this question of how large is the homosexual community? Campaigners seem to think it\’s about 10% of the population. Actual real surveys seem to think some 2%, maybe 3% of men, 1 to 2% of women (and here we get into all sorts of linguistic confusions: homosexual should mean \”same sex attraction\” and thus include both men shagging men and women shagging women. But it is sometimes used to men only the male side, with women being descibed as lesbians. Shrug).

Part of this is a difference of definitions: the higher numbers come from, when they\’re not just being thrown around by campaigners, all those who have had some same sex sex experience. The lower numbers from those who are either exclusively or preferentially so.

But trans? How large is this community?

Since 2000 a total of 853 men have gone under the knife to become women while in the same time span 12 women have had an operation to become a man.

Back in 2000 there were just 54 sex change operations carried out in the country while last year the figure stood at 143.

Hmm.

Lightning is dangerous. Currently, about 30-60 people are struck by lightning each year in Britain

Yes, yes, I know civil liberties are indivisible. But that does give something of a sense of proportion, doesn\’t it?

The \”trans community\” is around and about the same size as the \”survived being stuck by lighting community\”.

With just one slight difference. Given the number of trans support groups out there, the counsellors, heck, the number of writers on the subject for The Guardian, I can\’t help but feel that the number of people dependent upon the community is larger than the community itself. Or, perhaps, that every member of it is employed by it.

16 comments on “About this Suzanne Moore, Julie Birchill, trans and aren\’t they hateful to gender benders thing

  1. “Since 2000 a total of 853 men have gone under the knife to become women while in the same time span 12 women have had an operation to become a man.”

    And the %tage of these that got out of their tree at Burchill? Probably less than 0.1 – the rest just quietly got on with their post-op lives.

  2. What Julia said. If they pass, the majority try not to draw attention to themselves.

    I don’t think the figures you used are representative though. They ignore those who go private, those who go abroad, and those who only go part of the way (many trans men don’t think the surgery for penis creation is good enough yet, so hold off. They can still get Gender Recognition Certificates to be legally men).

    The best measure of how many there are may be how many go for a GRC, and even that probably won’t give an accurate picture. The number probably is lower than the oft quoted figure, but I don’t think it is as low as your estimate either.

    Not to mention the “trans community” include transgender folk who are not transsexuals. seriously, don’t ask.

  3. The hate speech thing is a bit difficult though. Goes back to Nazi propaganda against the Jews, rather little of which was calling for their immediate mass deportation/execution. It was far more subtle, films criticising rich banker stereotypes with big noses who didn’t wash very much. Enough of it can create a background upon which quite terrible violence can be incited.

    Of course the best thing to do with Julie Bullshit it to ignore her.

  4. Weird – apparently it is easier to change one’s body that change one’s mind. Wich is simply not true.

    Alan Douglas

  5. JamesV

    The example you give, involves state sponsored propaganda.

    Allowing the state to decide what can and can’t be said would hardly be the solution.

    The problem in pre-Nazi Germany was that hating Jews was socially acceptable, so passing a hate crime law would have not been politically possible.

    In my lifetime, being gay has gone from being socially unacceptable to being accepted by the vast majority. The legislation protecting gays from hate crime, came after that change, rather than being part of it.

    Now that legislation is being used to harass those whose religious beliefs are anti gay.

  6. Serf: The problem is that in every conceivable case the drawbacks of banning hate speech are greater than the drawbacks of not banning it. I don’t feel comfortable making such sweeping generalisations about anything else, but for free speech I will.

  7. “when a minority is accused of intolerant bullying, it is always important that the slur not be allowed to stand”

    Even if it’s true?

    Not that I have any opinion on this subject, but surely it is theoretically possible that a minority actually does engage in intolerant bullying?

  8. Civil liberties are indivisible: if I am to claim freedom and liberty then I most certainly have to defend it for all others. For if I am willing to connive at the denail of liberty to others then there will most assuredly be those who will connive at the curtailment of my own.

    Nice discussion of the numbers. However this is not strictly true is it? 100 years ago I would have had a lot more freedom in these United Kingdoms. And the trans community would have been sectioned.

  9. Matthew L

    I agree with you. I was trying to point out that where hate speech crime might make a difference, it would not be implemented and where it was implemented it would not be needed.

  10. @Serf, the Nazis were up to the anti-Jewish thing looong before they became the government, and eventually the state.

  11. It appears to be in clear breach of hate-speech laws

    I effing well hope it isn’t. Much as I despise la Birchill and the rest of the hysteriocracy and would love that they be ignored by all and sundry (especially the sundry), I’d hate to see her charged over this.

    Various bits of the sexual spectrum are more vociferous about who important they are than others. Male homosexuals were although they seem to be quieter now that they appear to have won, and, as Birchill says trans-whatevertheyweres.

    Birchill, Moore and the rest of the “nothing is more important than womyns’ rights” crowd have as much right to state their piece as the people who feel insulted by their statements have a right to throw it back in their faces.

  12. The Observer editors with responsibility for this article must be investigated, and identified as either transphobic, unethically capitalising, or both, and subsequently fired. This probably includes you, since you have refused to take the swift and decisive action that is so obviously required here.

    Not just guilt but the punishment are established by dictat. Not just from the putative offender but their friends and anybody involved – even the investigator, for not responding in the desired manner, as quickly as they think it should have been. Stalinist? I think so.

    I’ll wait to see all the pictures of Birchill and Moore subsequently airbrushed out of the Guardian archives.

  13. The large majority of transpeople do not go through “bottom surgery” (ie, the bit where they reconstruct the genitals). It’s very expensive, painful, dangerous, and for female-to-male surgery, the results are really poor. Under common usage, not having had the surgery yet (or even not even planning on having the surgery) does not make you any less trans, however.

    In other words, the trans community is easily an order of magnitude larger than your estimate, even with pretty strict criteria. If you’re willing to include people who have trans tendencies (ie, they do not both live and identify as trans), the numbers start to get quite large. Some studies have indicated an upper bound of 0.2% of the population, although that number seems plausible only using a definition so broad as to undermine its usefulness.

  14. Do not forget that like all far left obsessions there are groups, subgroups and splitters.

    Depending on who you ask, “Transexuals” includes or excludes “Tranvestites”. For example Quentin Crisp wouldn’t cut the mustard with many. Lily Savage would be rejected by an even larger group of TS.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>