One of the blogs I follow is Paula’s Place. Her byline is “The experiences and adventures of the World’s leading Transgender Conductor and Bass Trombone and Tuba Playing Christian Gardener”. Her blog normally comments on her life in the areas referred to in her byline. A fascinating take on an interesting life.
Recently, her blog on 8th February was headed Time for a Change. Paula does not normally comment on anything political nor does she make her blog a Transgender blog per se. On this occasion she had written a piece to be published elsewhere entitled “Time to set the Agenda”. In this piece she comments on the incessant transphobia we are all met with on a daily basis in the media. Paula says she sees them because the tweets are shared by her fellow trans people. The trouble is that it all becomes very wearing and as she puts it people get ground down by it. The temptation is to try and respond and defeat the arguments by lengthy responses but she feels these are not read by anyone that matters as they are largely read by fellow trans people and allies. Effectively, Paula feels we are shouting into the void. I suspect this is true.
So what is the option. Paula’s has a plan. Her plan is that we don’t try and rebut all these hysterical arguments and suggests a change in tactics. Paula argues that it is simply time to stop engaging with our opponents, stop responding and instead move the spotlight away from ourselves and on to the Government and as she puts it “their apparent inability to defend us as citizens”. Paula states that “we need to learn to take control, we must stop responding instead we need to take control we need to be the ones setting the agenda”.
I agree. I have felt it to be futile responding to the likes of JK Rowling and others as they are so entrenched and convinced in their beliefs and views nothing is going to change their mind. By responding it perpetuates an endless circle. I have read instances where a trans ally have had their backs put up by the strident voices of trans activists. One such trans ally was quite happy to have trans women using her spaces (toilets,) as they have been able to do quite legally for years, but became irritated by the strident assertion of their “rights” to do so. The result is that the situation becomes more and more inflammatory.
I feel the way forward is to support pressure groups and to lobby MPs to inform and get the political parties on side, to get the parties to agree to adopt a definition of Transphobia so that they can then manage their own parties and reduce transphobia in political parties and by so doing reduce the effect of and in time marginalise the strident voices of a toxic minority.