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Julie Burchill Must Go

A volcano erupted on Wednesday that has been bubbling under for a long time. It was sparked on two fronts but while one will simmer in the background and only cause change in the long term, the fires from the other have been fanned by a dangerous and insipid breed of militant feminists. These are the people who cling to feminism as a banner, but whose views are so abhorrent even the majority of other feminists stay as far from them as possible.

I’m talking, of course, about the anti-transgendered faction. The “feminists” who fight to kick other feminists out of the ranks for not adhering to their own warped view of what womanhood is. In a movement that aims to destroy the rigid gender roles of the past, the stupidity of these womens’ views should be all too apparent. Sadly, it is not apparent to them and as a result they remain free to continue to attack a minority that is already attacked (physically and emotionally) every day.

Suzanne Moore’s piece in the New Statesman on Wednesday should never have attracted the ire that it did. I don’t say this because it is without controversy – it is not – but because an editor, or even Ms Moore herself, should have seen that her comment about transsexuality had nothing to do with her article. The offending sentence (and there really is just this one sentence) was:

We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.”

That’s it. One comment, tacked onto a sentence that needed nothing extra. The piece worked just fine without it but, because tranny bashing has passed the dinner table test, it was let through.

Naturally, the transsexual community complained. This is perfectly acceptable behaviour, of course. We were wronged by a stupid comment and we responded by saying “hey, that’s a stupid comment”. As Moore said in her own article “Eye contact and admitting you are were wrong come into it! Who knew?” All we wanted was an apology, and maybe for that little extra part of the sentence to be snipped from the copy of the article on the NS website.

It should have ended there. Unfortunately it did not.

Suzanne Moore took to Twitter to defend her article. Again, this is perfectly acceptable behaviour when you remember that the rest of the article was perfectly fine. A cisgender woman called Moore on her transphobia, and Moore fired off more transphobia as a response.

That’s when the trans community got involved – we had let the stupid comment in the New Statesman slide until then. We couldn’t let even more aggression go the same way, though. Why? Well, unfortunately for both sides, the shitstorm that was #TransDocFail was going on at the same time.

Tensions in the trans community were already high because one of, if not the only, UK doctor to treat trans people with fairness and respect was about to be hung out to dry by the General Medical Council. We were angry, she was angry. The results were not pretty. She left twitter in a huff and both sides felt upset.

Again, it should have ended there. Again, it did not. Enter Julie Burchill. “Who’s she?” you might ask, and you would be right to. She has had nothing to do with this argument so far – but that won’t stop Julie! She has a book to sell, you see.

Burchill is no stranger to spouting transphobia, of course. Back in 2001 she wrote an article for The Guardian called “Gender Bending”, in which she espoused her vile views on people she has no knowledge about whatsoever. A particularly galling quote from this so-called article is “”Transsexualism is, basically, just another, more drastic twist on the male menopause, which in turn is just another excuse for men to do as they please.”

Now, with several mentions about her books in tow, she’s back to vomit up even worse comments. Apparently she’s angry because someone she likes to go to champagne lunches with is being called out for making a stupid comment. Oh my goodness! It’s almost as if we live in a nation where free speech and minority views are free to be expressed!

Burchill’s piece opens with the statement “It’s never a good idea for those who feel oppressed to start bullying others in turn”. She then leaps onto her high horse and begins ignoring her own advice. Her first attack (if we ignore the title of the article – “Transsexuals should cut it out” – for the moment) is to equate the legitimate anger of the trans community with “being savaged by a dead sheep”. What a lovely image. I have no idea what she thinks she’s going to gain from this statement except for the reader to think she’s an utter fool but hey, maybe that’s what she’s going for.

For her next trick, she attempts to make the trans community’s justified anger at yet another badly-thought-out swipe simply disappear! She does this by comparing our justified anger to “the Black and White Minsterls telling Usain Bolt how to run”. Apparently we were (if you’ll pardon me reproducing her totally inappropriate use of youth slang) “That rude and ridic (sp)”.

I’m sorry to say I’m not quite old enough to have had to look up what “ridic” actually means but I’m getting there. Suffice to say the use of slang here basically sumps up the level of contempt Burchill has for both her subject matter and her audience.

Up to this point, Burchill has basically been yet another loud-mouthed fool with an agenda; a fool in the crowd shouting “Hey, me too! Hey! Look over here! I’ve got a book to sell!”. Still, she’s already laid into us a few times here, and had a go at black people too, so she might as well go all the way. It’s only common sense!

So. All the way it is, then.

Done with the pretence of defending Moore, Burchill decides she’ll dredge up the memory of notorious transphobe Julie Bindell. According to Burchill, the fury of the transgendered community over Bindell’s hideous views should be kept to ourselves. You see, we’ve got to wait in line for the “more important” issues to be dealt with before we can have the routine assaults and murders of transgendered people dealt with.

Burchill thinks we should stop our demonstrations against Bindell when she’s speaking somewhere because when Bindell speaks in public she’s talking about “the rape of children and the trafficking of women”. I’ll agree these issues need dealing with. I don’t agree that we should stop demonstrating against a woman who attacks us at every opportunity she gets (I’m currently taking bets on how soon she’ll wade into this mess…)

Our views aren’t as important, you see, because Burchill has decided our anger against Bindell has magically transformed into anger that Bindell “refuses to accept that their relationship with their phantom limb is the most pressing problem that women – real and imagined – are facing right now”. Lovely. This Burchill woman is a magician – she can transform other peoples’ problems right in front of their eyes! Remember to buy her book, folks!

Our argument against Bindell was never about that, and never will be. Our argument with Bindell is that she goes out of her way to attack the transgendered community, goes out of her way to make us seem petty and insignificant. When we respond, she writes articles about how all her problems are down to us bullying her.

Here’s a tip, ladies: when you strike out at someone, they are going to hit back. Their response doesn’t make your original actions disappear. When you throw the first punch, you are the one that is at fault.

Before I can go on, I need to show you her next paragraph in full. Why? Because it’s all transphobia.

But they’d rather argue over semantics. To be fair, after having one’s nuts taken off (see what I did there?) by endless decades in academia, it’s all most of them are fit to do. Educated beyond all common sense and honesty, it was a hoot to see the screaming mimis accuse Suze of white feminist privilege; it may have been this that made her finally respond in the subsequent salty language she employed to answer her Twitter critics: “People can just fuck off really. Cut their dicks off and be more feminist than me. Good for them.””

Yes, Julie, we saw what you did there. You seem very proud of yourself. You’re wrong to be. Not only does your statement make no sense, but it just shows how absolutely childish you are. Well done, you’ve made yourself look even more stupid than you already looked. Here, have a cookie.

Apparently trans people are “educated beyond all common sense and honesty”. Well I suppose to someone who dropped out of school at 17, any higher education is going to look extreme. Still, I’ll take my two degrees (physics and law) over ranting incomprehensibly with only the minimum level of education any day.

As for “cut their dicks off and be more feminist than me”, I’ve got to point out that not everyone who was angry at Moore (whom we’re apparently now back to discussing – Burchill really is all over the place in this rant) was a transwoman. Many transmen were equally offended, but apparently they don’t count. Militant transphobe feminists rarely discuss female-to-male transsexuals.

Also, we don’t cut our dicks off. That leads to the risk of necrosis. Surgery moved on from that procedure decades ago. Way to keep up to date, ladies! It’s not like I’ve spent hundreds of pounds of my own money making sure that every piece of information you could ever possibly want about transsexual surgery procedures has been available online for free for the last eight years. Burchill then went on to make this same “cocks cut off” statement later in the article. I won’t bore you by correcting her again. Suffice to say you really can’t help some people.

Speaking of helping people, that’s her next bone of contention. Apparenly we are “bed-wetters in bad wigs” who got everything in life handed to us on a plate. According to her “the stand-off with the trannies” is because “We [Burchill and her two transphobe friends] know that everything we have we got for ourselves. We have no family money, no safety net.”

Let me tell you my own story. I don’t come from money. I’m the first person in my family to have gone to University in three generations. My grandfather was a miner, my other grandfather worked on moterway construction until he was laid off due to disability. When I had my first lupus flare up, I lost my job.

Thanks to institutionalised hospital mismanagement (during which hospitals refused to admit me and also demanded I stop taking medication before they would undertake necessary treatment) I very nearly lost my life. In January last year I was admitted to hospital near death, and left unattended in a waiting room off the side of a ward. I didn’t expect to leave hospital alive, but I clung on.

Everything I have, I worked for. Everything. I am still alive to write this because of my own sheer fucking willpower. How dare you suggest otherwise, you over-privileged bitch.

But let’s get back to the article. Showing off her own staggering lack of education, Burchill decides she can call us “trannies” because, in her words “ having recently discovered that their lot describe born women as ‘Cis’ – sounds like syph, cyst, cistern; all nasty stuff – they’re lucky I’m not calling them shemales. Or shims”. For those of you who don’t know, “cis-” is a Latin term meaning “the same”. Cisgendered is the medical term for someone whose gender identity matches their physical sex; i.e. if you are not transgendered you are cisgendered – just like if you’re not homosexual/bisexual/etc, you’re heterosexual.

This moron is trying to claim it is okay for her to insult us because we called her normal. The icing on the cake is when she then went on to claim “I find it very hard to imagine this mob [the trans community] struggling with anything apart from the English language and the concept of free speech”. Are we really expected to take someone this stupid seriously? She’s insulting us because of her own lack of knowledge of what words mean, and she’s attacking us for exercising free speech! Good grief, if this is the level humanity has sunk to we might as well all just call it a day right now.

A word to the wise about the whole “shemale” and “shim” thing: it’s not that we don’t like it (and we don’t). It’s not even that the words carry with them the innate statement that we’re not human. These words are the proverbial red button. Using them is asking for a nuclear response. Still, Burchill has proven herself totally ignorant so I’m going to let this quick use of these words slide. She probably didn’t understand just what she was doing there. I won’t be so kind in future.

Oh dear, she did it again just two paragraphs later. This time she did it while threatening us, saying “Shims, shemales, whatever you’re calling yourselves these days –don’t threaten or bully us lowly natural-born women, I warn you.” Apparently she really does want the Nuclear Option. Fair enough. It’s not like she didn’t ask for this.

Hate speech is illegal in the UK. Threatening a protected group via hate speech is illegal in the UK. Don’t believe me? Ask Nick Griffin and the BNP. Look up what happened to them after they published their vile rants. Transsexual people are a protected group under the Equality Act.

Nowhere in this vile article, supposedly written to defend her friend Moore, does Burchill attempt to mend the growing rift between militant feminism and the transgendered community. It’s ironic really, given that before Moore left twitter she said “I am asking for anger and for alliances. Less divide and rule”. Maybe she should have told her “friends” that, not us. As it stands, Burchill just threatened a protected group and this rant of hers, published in a national newspaper, cannot be taken as anything except an attempt to cause aggression.

Burchill ends with what can only be considered an outright threat: “Trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You reallywon’t like us when we’re angry.” I think she is wrong. I think we have seen her when she’s angry. She’s an impotent know-nothing who thinks attacking minorities in a national newspaper is not only acceptable but also appropriate behaviour

It’s time to show her she is wrong.

About Zoe Kirk-Robinson

Writer, artist, vlogger. Creator of Britain's first webcomic.

  • http://katemiddleton-lsu.blogspot.co.uk Kate Middleton

    Excellent Essay.

    Bindel is disgraceful hypocrite who read my CID statement about being assaulted by Dr Khoosal as a child, declared it shocking and asked how she could help and then ignored me.

    She did the same to a friend who has not got the same history as me but who was also abused as a child. It’s dangerous and cruel to treat people like that.

    I then made a utube vid in which I mentioned both cases and Bindel started accusing me of harassment on twitter – her real attitude to child rape is to exploit the survivors to make herself look good

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