Challenging transphobia

When I started thinking about writing a children’s book that dealt with the subject of gender and trans people, one of the bigger issues I had to take into consideration was transphobia and how to challenge it. I try and be as positive as I can, still like to have faith in humans and didn’t naively think that a book that challenges traditional stereotypes would be completely without detractors. But the viciousness of these transphobes has taken me by surprise today.

I saw a link to a poorly written transphobic article by Kathy Shaidle, a professionally outraged writer, which used very abusive language so I called her out on Twitter. I won’t link to the ‘article’ as it’ll just give you a headache and the site owners more traffic.

Now I’ve called out a few people on their transphobia in the past and usually they are reasonable, I’ve blogged about some positive encounters and it’s always nice to feel that you’ve helped to change someone’s views or gently educate them about trans issues. But I didn’t expect the level of bitterness and hate that took up my afternoon today.

You name the tropes, Kathy Shaidle wheeled them out. Predictably I was called a “man,” “it,” and variations on the T word, culminating in her referring to me as a “future suicide” which was left a particularly bad taste in my mouth considering that it was World Mental Health Day today and how well known the suicide rates are for trans people across the world.

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Kathy knows what she’s doing, it doesn’t take an idiot to work out that using language such as this is offensive, she was deliberately using transohobia as a vicious weapon, carefully picking the words she imagined would be the most hurtful. What kind of person does this? What does it say about someone when they deliberately set out to try and cause as much damage to a stranger on the internet as they can? There’s not even any attempt at humour or intelligence behind this, just a common garden bigot and their professionally outraged attempt at courting controvesy.

This is the kind of thing some trans people have to face everyday. This kind of transphobia kills people. This is why a childrens book that teaches children it’s OK to be transgender is so important. I want nothing more than the next generation of adults to know that being gender variant is nothing to be ashamed of, rather that it’s simply a part of their being human which makes them unique and something to be proud about. My book is all about challenging bigotry and ignorance, promoting greater understanding and education as this is vital to empowering trans people to enjoy full, happy lives.

Of course Kathy would have an opinion on it…

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Brainwash other people’s kids? LOL! I just believe that children should be given the opportunity to explore their gender identities, to talk about stereotypes and to come to their own informed opinions. I believe that children should be encouraged to stand up to transphobia, just as they are taught about the harmful effects of homophobia, racism and other attacks on the more vulnerable members of our society.

Here’s a link to pre-order a copy of my book,

Together, let’s wipe out transphobia,