Speaking, yesterday, to a journalist, who is likely to be writing up yet another “incisive” inquiry into trans issues at the weekend – for the Daily Mail, doncha know! – I was amused by one question, one angle he seemed determined to get back to.
Paraphrased – since he definitely didn’t put it this way – it seemed to boil down to: shit! Where are all these trannies coming from? Is it some sort of evil plot by political correct fascistas and money-grubbing clinicians to turn us all gender queer?
I hadn’t the heart to say.
Buddying up – how t’tranz is spread
For one reason, certainly, is a reason referenced by GIRES in one of their reports into the incidence of transsexuality in the UK. It’s the “buddy effect”: the fact that the more people that are comfortable coming out, living a trans life, talking about their experience, in any form, the more confidence it gave to others to do the same.
Like myself, for instance: growing up in a world in which trans was rarely anything other than Sunday tabloid freak show. Knowing something wasn’t right: not for a very long time being able to put a finger on it. What, I wonder, over and over, would have happened had I been born 30 years later? If I had been able to read regularly that there was this thing called gender dysphoria. That it affected loads of people. And it wasn’t either sexual perversion or the end of the world.
I digress. Back to the plot. Literally.
For deep in the soul of some of the mainstream editors beats a heart of purest paranoia. Timidity, too, if not outright cowardice.
Allow me to introduce to you the somewhat pathetic figure of Paul Dacre. So frightened of non-normative behaviour is he that he openly owned to the Leveson Inquiry that given the choice, he would always back a story that favoured “normal family life” over the alternatives.
So it is, with the recent spate of stories about gender transition becoming more deeply ingrained in the national psyche – and with individuals acknowledging gender difference earlier and earlier. Associated Newspapers Group, which includes not just the Mail but also brands such as the Metro and thisismoney, has regularly spun stories in ways that miss the point, fail to ask relevant questions, and generally do their utmost to stem this tide of filthy deviant values now sweeping the nation.
OK. We all knew that. We also know that there are occasions where, bowing to public pressure, these titles produce output that is fair, informed and sensitive (I know: I’m going to get flamed for that!).
Its the Sun – and Mail and Express – wot won it!
The point, though, the thing that has me ROFLing like mad, is that Dacre and his minions miss the point entirely.
Let’s go back a step. I think GIRES are right. The more a subject is publicized, written about, talked about, the more normal it becomes. The more likely it is that someone will go “that could be me” – and make that first important visit to their GP.
And who is pushing this information out in a seemingly never-ending gush nowadays. The Tavi? Charing Cross? Gender benders? New wave sexual theorists?
Er, no. Step forward the Mail, the Sun, the Metro, the Express – and a host of other small fry too. When the sexual history of this decade comes to be told, it seems not unlikely that historians will eventually come to recognize the signal part played by these titles in promoting trans awareness.
For which we have only the Mail to thank. Paul Dacre may not yet be spinning in his grave: his granddad surely is!
Ooops: edited to note that apparently i have jumped the gun and Paul Dacre is yet plain, un-enobled Mr Dacre