Talking about trans folks. And talking, and talking, and talking

October 2021 – I’ve been minding my own business lately and didn’t have much to say about anything trans, but while I was away the world was talking. The world is always talking about trans! Do we exist? Do we have a right to exist? Are we a threat to children? Women? To confused cisgender folks who suddenly think it would be cool to be trans? Every ignorant Tom, Jane and Harry has an opinion, and there are a lot of ignorant Toms, Janes and Harrys. When they express them, the media is there to faithfully report them. Then we launch a counterattack and the media reports that too. Sometimes I think we were better off living in semi-obscurity.

Lately the media has stopped printing the names of lunatics who go on killing sprees because they don’t want to give them publicity and encourage other lunatics to do the same. Could we institute something like that for people giving their opinions about trans folks? Let ’em talk, but I don’t wanna hear about it.

The CBC has been on a trans blitz recently. I trace it back to an October 23rd opinion piece written by Jessica Triff, a trans woman who views the trans activism of the last decade as radical and often toxic. That’s a discussion worth having, although it was disingenuous of her to typify all trans activism this way. Triff also had some highly problematic opinions on what constitutes a trans woman. I’m sure she thought she was being helpful. Perhaps the CBC saw it as a moderate piece that the rest of moderately transphobic Canada could agree with because they allowed comments, unusual for a trans article. (Too much hate to moderate.) Sure enough, the majority of commentators seemed to agree with Triff.

I’m guessing again, but the follow up story on November 7th was likely written because reaction from the trans community was not quite as positive. Triff’s piece was referenced in the article, although the article was otherwise about the simmering backlash against trans rights in Canada. Titled “Anti-trans views are worryingly prevalent and disproportionately harmful…”, it presents a good overview of the current state of transphobia in the country.

One of the items cited in the article is Quebec’s proposed Bill 2 that “would create separate designations for sex and gender identity on official documentation. The bill would also limit changing sex identifiers to those who have medically transitioned.” What an ill-considered bit of work that is! Let’s out trans people in a transphobic society! The bill could only have been conceived by someone who regarded us as a threat to – what? – and then sought to contain us in some kind of hierarchy of beings based on categories of sex and gender. “Since announcing Bill 2, Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette said he is open to finding better solutions.” You think? How about doing nothing?

Bill C-17 has been in effect for four years now. Society has not collapsed. Women’s rights have not been infringed. And yet, how easy it is to convince people of the opposite, that something needs to be done about those category problematic trans folks. Preventative legislation needs to be enacted. No evidence required.

The last article was from CBC Ottawa on November 8th. After all that blathering, I was glad to read a mildly informative piece about the troubles two local trans women have faced transitioning during the pandemic. Covid has been isolating, no doubt of that, and getting rid of the beard has been pretty well impossible. It’s a good human interest story, but then the pandemic has been tough on everyone. Having your cancer treatment postponed is no picnic either.

We need to count our blessings, and get on with what we need to do.

In the article on anti-trans sentiment, trans woman Florence Ashley says that people who are inclusive of trans folks are largely in the background. “The best that they do is not be transphobic, not interfere with the well-being of trans people. Whereas the people who are against trans people are very negatively impacting them.”

They’re also the ones talking the most and the loudest. When we are feeling especially vulnerable, we need to shut out their endless jabbering to preserve our sanity. But be grateful for the “radical” activists who are there to address their slanders on our behalf.