Just where does one draw the line when it comes to humour?
I know that there are some in the trans community who will simply say “no”: that any joke at our expense is a joke too far. Equally – and I’ve seen this recently in respect of a debate on drag acts – there are those who would say that a little gentle humour does no harm.
Contrariwise, in fact: if we take umbrage at every little sleight, seeing something we call “transphobia” in what is recently an innocent faux pas born out of naivety, we run the risk of losing potential allies – of looking like a bunch of humourless politically correct outcasts, and losing many of the gains made over the last few years.
OK. I’m not going to come down one side or other right now. Just relating a tale of something that caught my eye a couple of weeks back. Castle Bytham is a small relatively affluent Lincolnshire village. On 19 June, they held a midsummer fair – nothing grand: the sort of thing that attracts morris dancers and bouncy castles.
Actually, it was pretty good stuff and kept a small boy very pre-occupied for a good couple of hours (which has to be a good thing!).
However, it was the quirky brochure for the fair that caught my eye. Because inserted here and there in the small ads along the edge were some oddities. Ads that were ever so slightly out of kilter and, I realised, not really real.
It took a moment to spot them and for one short moment, I thought I’d found something useful. I’ll explain.
One ad went “Stuck for a pressie? Marsupials by post”. Er, no: a postal service for marsupials is probably a step too far. Likewise an ad promoting a website called “pinkandwobbly” – and selling blancmange mixes.
However, the real killer – and I’ll confess to a semi-second of being taken in – was an ad selling outfits “for the taller woman” and shoe sizes to 11-and-a-half. Yes!
But no. The illustration alongside the ad was the worst sort of Les Dawson frumpy dress: the website to which punters were sent was the charmingly titled “justaskfordoris”.
Was I amused? No. Offended? A little. Offended enough to cause a fuss? Not sure.
Anyone else got any views?