Perhaps i am getting a little jaded in my old age…turning into one of those slightly cynical armchair activists who can’t be bothered getting out on the street and demonstrating.
Or maybe not. I still have a diary full of protest to work thru and, following some interesting calls today, am beavering away on a couple of pretty major issues that could make a very big difference to the lives of certain individuals.
And no: i have not been bribed, drugged, hypnotised or otherwise charmed by the erstwhile Julie Bindel, a woman unlikely ever to win any award from the trans community beyond “witch” and “most combustible, 2012”.
European Diversity Awards
Still, i find it hard to get worked up at the news she has been nominated for yet another award – in this case, the European Diversity Awards gong for Journalist of the Year, handed out in recognition of the outstanding contribution of journalists in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion across Europe.
Its sponsored by an organisation called Cast Media Group, which APPEARS to be a bunch of printers up in Leeds (though i haven’t managed to get positive confirmation of that yet). And no cracks, please, about what Leeds printers know about diversity!
Various other organisations – from Royal Bank of Scotland, thru to Abercrombie and Fitch – are sponsoring various other awards, which is nice. And i, temporarily cut off from the rest of the world in my recuperation bunker, am just sat waiting for the balloon to go up.
Few in the trans world will like this nomination: i can’t say i’m thrilled at it. So there’ll be polite statements and inflammatory statements and, if we’re lucky, someone will shove the story up the news agenda by threatening to bring a custard pie to the party. Julie will either be de-nominated or will stay nominated but won’t win, cause she’ll be too much a hot potato…and the media circus will travel on.
Other causes to fight
Cynical, moi? Yes: much. I think there are two reasons why i can’t work up an appetite for all this froth. The first is resource. I’m supposed to be recuperating but i am already flexing my muscles and being a right pain to one or two big establishment organisations over cases that have affected, are affecting real people in very real ways. In one case, a family ripped apart by stupid officialdom: in another, a student likely to be going to prison in the autumn as much for reasons of police politics as anything else.
Yesterday, the heart-rending plight of Maya Posch and the way the authorities treat intersex people in general.
No: we can’t all campaign on life-changing issues all of the time. But for now – and this is personal to me: not an ask that any other person in the world take this as advice – i think there is enough real big evil in the world for me to worry about devoting much time to denying Julie Bindel a Savoy dinner and the off-chance of picking up yet another chunk of perspex molded into some supposedly modern artistic abomination.
Managing our reputation
OK. That’s personal and about time and, as i say: that’s for me to decide. More seriously, i worry that there could be a deeper danger in all these “Stop the Bindel” campaigns. And that is that the public image of a group, a community, is formed by the headlines that impact loudest on popular perception.
Sometimes, images, stories, become so commonplace that they start to form the public view of a group. So, a few years back, i stopped pitching pieces on lost databases. Government loses about 2,000 databases a year (officially) and after the initial shock of discovering just how stupid some officials can be, there is no story: only the lasting impression that you can’t trust government with data.
Ditto, almost, stories about the police cracking down (unlawfully) on photographers. The only reason i found myself continuing to write about that particular issue was that every time we thought the police had plumbed the depths of idiocy on what they’d do to stop a photographer, some copper somewhere managed to go a step further. (We particularly liked the Chatham story in which a photographer was allegedly arrested for being too tall!).
And so to Bindel and other rad fems. Can there be anyone in the world of journalism who is not aware of the life and death struggle that goes on between the trans community and such people? I know most editors who write diversity topics ARE aware and several are now reaching the same degree of boredness about this story as editors did on other topics.
“Bindel has a go at trannies”, and “Trannies strike back” is no longer story. It is, however, in danger of becoming a defining meme for our community: we’re the bods who like to say “No!”: and when all the detail and fine argument of that position are long since forgotten, the danger is that that is all that will remain in public consciousness.