Fall-out: friendly fire

There have been two reasons for not being here quite as much as previously. One is about things happening in everyday life.

The other is that whilst we ended up reasonably happy with the Daily Mail piece, we were a tad shocked at the reaction from some people within the trans world. Perhaps we should have expected it.

After all, wherever two or more people get together in an effort to be political, factionalism starts. Thankfully, it was far from all, with quite a few very active members of same sending congrats and what felt like genuine appreciation of what was done.

Bottom line? The criticism comes in two parts: first that there is some shopping list of things that should be said and ways that communication ought to be carried on, failing which we are at best dupes, at worst selling out. Second, because i am now identifiable as trans, if anything goes wrong in future, we contributed to it. “The blood of the innocent is now – potentially – on our hands”.

The overkill would be funny were it not so serious. And of course, it works both ways. Perhaps in future i should respond to any criticism that i disagree with by accusing the author of same of having blood on their hands? Nah. That would be just a bit ott. But that has a lot to do with why this blog got interrupted: taking time out to calm down.

So what do i think of much of the criticism? Hmmm. It comes from a theory of communication and politics that i have little time for. i spent twenty plus years in media and communications analysing real data about how communications work.

I have also read some of the bizarre polemics put out by activists in general about how “its the detail, stupid”. Its not, you know.

You need to understand your audience: the effect you want to engender in that audience; and if you’re lucky, you might achieve one or two minor things with every major communication.

andrea and i set out to talk to people who weren’t activists: to get across a couple of very minor bits of emotional shading. every piece of feedback from the target audience seems to suggest we succeeded. But we didn’t tick the box labelled political correctitude.

Oh dear. That, of course, is issue number two. I have spent the best part of thrity years campaigning against a narrow, censorial attitude towards speech that links words and effect in some sort of rigid deterministic way. The evidence for it isn’t there: the dangers of buying in to such a view are very real.

Hey ho… i’ve spent a lifetime conforming to a conformity that hasn’t worked for me. i’ve come out. i’m not conforming any more.

Quelle surprise, therefore, to find that the people most anxious to impose a new conformity are those whose community i now find myself a member of. i feel myself coming over all anti-social.


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