Paris …still burning!

A new mood is sweeping the trans community. A Stonewall mood. A time-for-fightback mood. And while this will, no doubt, be mocked and ignored by the national press until such time as it issues into direct action that they can condemn as ill-considered and extreme, I would politely suggest that such ignorance is no longer a safe option.

Not, that is, unless they wish to find themselves on the receiving end of action of the sort that took place in New Zealand last week – when angry trans activists swept into the offices of a local newspaper in protest at the transphobia of self-professed ignoramus, Rosemary McLeod.

She admitted to being a “bit lost” when writing about this issue. Still, that didn’t stop her from producing a piece containing factual error, weighing in against trans “ego-trippers” in the public spotlight.

Remind me, someone: just what is Ms McLeod’s job? Ah: newspaper columnist. Nothing ego-trippy about that!

Protesters were equally unimpressed when the newspaper editor put her hands up in mock shock and pretended it was nothing to do with her.

But this is par for the course, as anyone who opened a UK paper in the past week will be well aware. There’s been a succession of stories, riddled with inaccuracy, that make sense only if you write from the perspective of having not a clue about everyday trans narratives.

The trans five-year old (its all the parents’ fault!).

The trans man giving birth (she’s not a “real” man!).

The paddy power ad (hey folks: let’s play “spot the tranny!”)

Political correctness gone mad! (pretty much anything that disturbs the day-to-day morality of the big beast editors).

Its sickening. It contributes directly to violence against trans men and women. But that’s OK. Its freedom of expression, which we ALL believe in don’t we? And anyway, who do these trannies think they are?

So I’ll make three short important points

Trans activism – a long list of battle honours

The single most important moment in US gay activism, by many accounts, was the Stonewall riots in June 1969. Important, because they marked the point at which people said: enough!

The moment people turned on police who had been regularly and violently abusing them and fought back.

And despite continuing debate about exactly who took part, who “led”, what is not broadly disputed is the significant part played by the local trans community. We have a history of going so far – and no further.

May ’68 – February ’12: forty-four years, and Paris still ablaze

Second, is a beautiful piece by activist and journalist, Paris Lees.

We may not always agree on the finer points of strategy: but on this I agree with her wholly. We have entered the third phase. “They” are no longer ignoring, no longer mocking: those who have no time for diversity are now openly fighting back, seeking to denigrate. Trying their hardest to put the trans “perversion” back in its box.

Too late!

They may have a shock in store. For the trans community is bigger, more confident, less willing to buckle than ever before. The community, together with allies across the LGBI spectrum has a voice far louder than its critics’ worst nightmares.

From what I am hearing, on forums, on bulletin boards, it can only be a matter of time before that voice turns to calls for real action.

No surprise that some of the fastest growth, in recent years has been by direct action organisations such as Trans Panthers – or that in New Zealand it was a group called the Queer Avengers that challenged the bigotry of their local press.

Where will it all end? Will Trans women be throwing themselves under the riders at Cheltenham on March 14? Or occupying the foyer of news international? Who knows? In the end, as with Stonewall, the explosion, if it comes, is as likely to be triggered by some outwardly trivial event, as some masterly piece of backroom plotting.

As Paris observes: change is possible. Change is coming. But in the end, only you can make it happen.

jane xx


11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Elaine said,

    Not entirely sure it’s a good idea to outline plans for direct action on a public blog. Never know who might be reading, n’est pas?

    • 2

      janefae said,

      What plans? I’m planning nothing. I tend to report on what goes down: and what i am observing right now is a growing mood of militancy.

      No reason it will end in occupying the Daily Mail. Could be the Sun. Or some tory bigot. Or any other sort of demo: not an occupation at all.

      Like Stonewall. I doubt, before it happened, that anyone would have predicted that…later this month, a bunch of gay and trans folk from such-and-such establishment will resist police abuse: that the event will turn into mass rioting; and that a global rights movement will rise from the ashes.

      Its as likely to be a spontaneous thing as anything else.

      Which means it is quite pointless trying to predict it.

      jane xx

      • 3

        Jenny green said,

        It’s time we took matters into our own hands, ours and future generations depend upon living in a safe and open world , only we can make that happen, the issues must be faced head on .

  2. 4

    mwaaaaa been thinking this for years. Reporting for duty. ❤

  3. 5

    Harri said,

    Hi Jane,

    Thank you for all the excellent work you’ve been doing.

    I wrote a comment earlier, but it seems it got lost when, before posting it, this page became password-protected.

    In the spirit of constructive criticism and community cohesion, I’d like to ask if you might re-consider your use of the phrase ‘trans men and women’.
    I understand that there may be a rhetorical benefit in that this may alert the ‘lay’ reader to the fact that members of the amorphous and often mis-represented group you’re discussing are individuals not unlike themselves. However, the use of the ‘binary’ ‘men and women’ could actually be said to reinforce a restrictive system of gender which negatively affects all trans people, as well as excluding a portion of the community from representation.

    I hope this comment still makes sense the second time ’round.

  4. 6

    Paula TransPanther said,

    Quietly from the shadows somewhere off Fleet St is heard… “click-clack” .. and this time it isn’t the heels of some transwoman staggering home in the wee early hours because no taxi will stop for her. It is coming, it’s just a matter of when it comes, not if..

    Others can be scared of losing their nice executive salaried charity jobs “representing” us as much as they like.. Ignore the oppressed and excluded and keep lining your pockets at your peril is the reply. As S()onewall once claimed to be “all things lgb+t” increasingly they are seen as an organ of the oppressors, doing the bidding of thier executive salaried staff and political masters….

    We are the disposessed, we are the excluded, and we are the silenced.. when there is nothing left to lose, fighting back seems like a pretty good option..

  5. 8

    Faithais said,


  6. 9

    herr brockman said,

    Hmmmmm…..It would seem that you “T” types are getting more than your ‘equal’ share of bad press. Why insist on militantly “occupying” for more?

  7. 10

    My pasta machine still hates me. said,

    Things are just going through their natural order of progression.

    As Mahatma Ghandi said

    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    After an extended period of cheap ridicule the Daily Mail and Sun have now stepped things up to the next level. Maybe we should thank them.

    Now the question is, is this a quite well thought through, but counter intuitive seeming, plan for helping “trans” rights or are they just trying to incite hatred for a misunderstood tiny minority as a way to sell a couple of hundred more newpapers?

    Either way, the final result will be the same. Let us hope the collateral damage of this campaign of hate will not be unbearable for every single one of us.

  8. 11

    I am not sure I see the inaccuracy in that newspaper article. A man DOES NOT give birth to a baby. A Woman does not father a child. For natal men and women it is a fact of life but apparently those in the transgender community want special exemptions from what passes as the norm within society.

    Now I have no issue if a woman wants to have a baby after becoming a man but please do not offend my sensibilities by telling me she is a man. She kept her ovaries and uterus and decided to use them so she has requalified herself as a woman.

    This not unlike the transvestite that dresses up as Ginny on Friday evening and decides society must be required by law to address him as she, her and miss but on Saturday goes back to Carl and returns to work on Monday as a man of privilege in the world of Business. Oh how pleasant it must be to consider yourself privileged like that!

    Within society this is both shocking and detrimental to anyone born transsexual but then we are not worried about transsexuals here are we? We are worried about some woman that was probably a dyke lesbian and decided to play girl and decided they wanted a baby. Good for her and I do envy her the ability to bear a child since most MTF transsexuals I know would die for the privilege.

    I guess sensibilities depend on your point of view. As a woman born transsexual I find it kind of insulting that people consider this individual a “man” the gave birth when we all know it was a “woman” playing a man that gave birth.

    Just what the world needs is a bunch of men in dresses militantly attacking the “trans phobic” world with a few transsexual fools that follow in lock step.

    Just what do the truly transsexual have in common with the transgendered of the world? Clearly nothing.

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