The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Transphobia

Evidence of the rise of right-wing fundamentalism is abundant: a concrete wall will be erected around the CBD next month to prevent anti-war and other protestors from getting near the APEC summit; police have bought a water canon to use on anyone who tries to assert their right to make their opinions known (yes, we blinked and missed it – the 'it' being the moment democracy as we once knew it was annihilated); the two major political parties in the country are united in their stance against same-sex marriage; and the Foreign Minister has signed a nasty piece of legislation, without any community consultation, that puts trans people at risk (see my story in SX magazine at http://evolutionpublishing.com.au/sxnews/features/danger-zone.aspx.

But it's not just the right-wing politicians trannies have to watch out for. Beware the return of the radical lesbian feminists into the mainstream media arena – this time with new tactics. Instead of the histrionic, belligerent and blatant anti-trans sentiments of yesteryear, the Sisters of Womyn-Born-Womyn Indulgence are attempting to disguise their transphobia by appearing to play nice. A friend of mine attended the International Feminist Summit in Queensland recently whose guest speakers included Sheila Jeffreys and Catharine McKinnon. She reported that angry outbursts in which women referred to male-to-female (MTF) trans people as men and were aggressively anti-trans had been replaced with calm, relaxed tones that advocated being pro-womyn-born-womyn rather than anti-anything.

It's an interesting tactic, but smacks of NIMBYism: 'I have nothing against transgenders, I just don't want them anywhere near me'. Replace the word 'transgenders' with 'blacks', 'Aboriginals', 'Jews' or 'Muslims' and the 'pro' argument is shown up clearly for the prejudiced rhetoric it is: 'I'm not anti-black, I'm just pro-white'. And the rad feminists wonder why they were nicknamed 'Feminazis'.

The co-option of porno chic into mainstream culture over the past decade appears to have opened the door to a backlash against sexuality and sex and gender diversity. Gender Centre founder Roberta Perkins was vilified in the Australian press a few months ago by feminazis who disliked any suggestion in her new book on prostitution that not all sex workers were screwed up by their jobs. Now British writer Julie Bindel – who in 2004 said that a world inhabited only by transsexuals would look like the set of Grease – is claiming that gender reassignment surgery for trans people is like aversion therapy for gays and that trans people have a 'psychological problem' that shouldn't be fixed by surgery. In the same breath, she calls for an end to discrimination for 'this community'. Um, yeah, Julie, that would be nice.

Bindel likes to think of herself as 'controversial' which is possibly why she contradicts herself on many occasions. In her regular column in The Guardian, she publicly unleashes her hatred towards men who commit violent crimes and rape against women one minute, while supporting and condoning rape and murder the next when she reveals that she eats meat and dairy.

It's not that I have anything against hypocritical feminazis, of course. I don't even care if they live next door to me...

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