Culture War – The Elimination of Transgender People
If you asked most people in the UK what a culture war was, they would not have the faintest idea – yet ‘culture war’ is a phrase used regularly by our media, particularly concerning the boat and trans people – real human beings invariably without a voice.
Wikipedia describes a culture war as “a conflict between different social groups and their struggle for dominance in favour of their own virtues, beliefs, and practices” – and nothing could be more accurate than in the “trans debate”.
I never imagined as a transgender person that in my own country, some seek the elimination of a tiny majority of our population, who have always been in society but rarely noticed. Elimination is a strong word meaning the destruction of an entity, but many people in the UK would argue they want to “stop the boats”.
That is elimination.
In the trans debate, it is mooted somewhat differently – that there is a trans lobby that has to be stopped – eliminated because they are ‘transing kids’, erasing the word ‘woman’, corrupting female sport and invading spaces designed for women. Suddenly, trans people have become a problem in society and are no longer people but branded as “trans ideology” or “gender ideologyGender Ideology A made-up term used by Gender Critical and Anti-Trans organisations.” to dehumanise, politicalise and weaponise.
Trans people are targets.
In a remarkable article posted on this website recently, Kay Whitlock, an American 73-year-old cisgender, queer feminist, said this about the culture war:
“culture wars are not “distractions,” as some people believe, meant to deflect our attention from more serious issues. Rather, they are powerful base-building vehicles for political organising, fundraising, and media saturation. Culture wars purposefully mark some groups of people and communities as polluting, degenerate, and disposable.”
I share Kay’s view, albeit a culture war does help to create division and diversion. We saw as much when Lee Anderson, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “The Tories will have to find the general election on the trans rights debate and other culture war issues.”
I am not alone in believing the culture war is ultimately about the elimination of trans people. In a superb article written by Nancy Kelley, explaining the policies of the Christian right in the US, she writes:
This is an extraordinary level of dehumanisation, designed to create circumstances where the state sees it as its duty to eliminate trans people, and to harshly punish cis individuals or institutions who seek to support trans people in living their lives.
Nancy’s article refers to proposals from the Heritage Foundation, which are closely aligned with our own Conservative government thinking. She also mentions the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organisation at the heart of the loss of Roe v Wade and trans healthcare in many Republican states – and if you think they operate just in the US – well, you couldn’t be more wrong
In 2012, there were just sixty articles in the UK mainstream press about trans people; in 2022, that number had increased to over seven thousand five hundred – we all should be asking why?
Needless to say, the vast majority of articles are targeted against trans women like myself – for now, trans men are getting off lightly, albeit their numbers are the same. One in every two hundred people are transgender – we are the 0.5%. Trans is a broad umbrella that includes non-binary people and other people who identify differently – the stat between natal females and trans women is 633 to 1.
This article is being written on the morning of Wednesday, the 20th of September 2023, and a look at my Google alerts tells me what has been published in the mainstream, invariably right-wing press, about trans people within the last twenty-four hours. I always dread looking at them – because I read lies and misinformation. Worst of all, they are relentless; these stories cultivate hate – it’s all part of a culture war. It’s no wonder trans hate crime rose by 56% last year.
Today is no different; this is just a snapshot as many newspapers ran the same story but with similar headlines.
There were a staggering thirty-two articles today, and if that occurs every day of the year, the total hits over eleven thousand stories about trans people, almost all written negatively. As it happens todays, figure is somewhat inflated because of Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill case.
Culture War – The Elimination of Transgender People
Fortunately, none of the articles today were calling for eliminating trans people, but there are certainly some voices who do, either socially or physically. Just days ago, one gender-critical spokesperson said that a trans woman undergoing gender-affirming care should die on the operating table, and Helen Joyce has suggested that people who transition should be reduced, while Maya Forstater has appeared to complain that a trans man in a Braun shaver advert should not have gender-affirming surgery.
It could be argued that neither Forstater nor Joyce are directly linked to the culture war but part of a movement that allies with the far-right. Nor do all gender-critical people seek to eliminate trans women from society – instead, they seek boundaries.
However, the fact is that trans people exist; we have done so since time immemorial, and we will fight through the culture war as our LGB siblings did forty years ago.
Ultimately, we have no choice.