It’s not just in America. The UK media has been pushing anti-trans propaganda for years.
If you were a transgender identifying person who woke to the startling headline from the Economist which questioned, quite matter-of-factly, whether Transgender people should be sterilized before be recognized as their preferred gender, you were shocked, but not surprised.
Such a grotesque headline that postures itself to seemingly attempt to intellectually debate whether or not Trans people deserve to experience having and raising biological children, develop loving families, you know, the same rights that cis people have always had in civilized countries found activists quick to condemn the publication for such blatant, unfettered transphobia. The Economist apologized, but the reality is, this wasn’t their first missile aimed directly at the Transgender community and likely won’t be their last. They had previously discussed the sterilization of trans people back in 2017. The publication The Daily Dot has revealed that the Economist editor, Helen Joyce, has her own grim history of transphobia.
Sadly, the media’s war on transgender people has amped up over the past two years; In the US since the election of Trump, and in the UK since the reforming of the Gender Recognition Act that allowed trans people to self identify without the burden of the restrictive, bureaucratic red tape that had to be navigated through in order for their gender identity to be legally acknowledged. The reform fetched great opposition from TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) and conservatives alike who took a page directly from the US political playbook on investing inordinate amounts of energy (and Headlines) to vilify transgender women, create a series of narratives that sexualize the trans experience in bizarre fashion- pontificate on our activities in spaces such as bathroom settings, public gyms and what we do there that they apparently don’t.
The Times has been incredibly strategic in their relentless attempts to disseminate misinformation and provoke ire toward the transgender community by using a Transgender identifying writer in the form of Debbie Hayton. Hayton, herself hated by those she is desperate to earn approval from by appearing to align with Times readers disdain for trans people, authors a weekly column that criticizes progressive legislations and protections as well as the safety and equalities of other transgender individuals. She’s a self loathing transwoman used as a conservative puppet by hate groups like Mumsnet to give credibility to their extremist anti-trans agenda with the hopes it will these trans critical articles will legitimize their hate since they are coming from a transgender person. Her conservative and evangelical readers laud her as “Sensible” on the issues while at the same time referring to her using transphobic slurs on social media.
Back in the USA, as recently as three days ago the widely respected newspaper The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Abigail Shrier that bellowed from the front page:
The Transgender War on Women is as real as the War on Christmas manufactured by radical Christians. It doesn’t exist. One can presume that Ms. Shrier was thrust into a panic when the House of Representatives prioritized the reintroduction off the Equality Act which would protect the civil rights of LGBTQ people living in the United States and defend them from targeted harassment and discrimination similarly to the one already implemented in the UK back in 2010. Efforts to introduce an American version of this act has already been struck down by the Republican majority senate twice before.
Hate crimes in America have been on a steep incline for three consecutive years since Donald Trump assumed the office of Presidency in 2016. After a string of political attacks targeting the trans community, from banning trans service members from the military to passing laws allowing first responders to legally refuse LGBTQ+ patients life saving medical care of it conflicts with their religious or moral convictions, prejudice has been emboldened by those believing their bigotry now comes with a Presidential stamp of approval.
And the mainstream media seems to be running with it. It sells papers; It feeds Trump’s base, all of them eager to consume anything that justifies their openly expressed venom toward minorities, especially transgender women.
With respect to Trans Visibility Week, it’s important to acknowledge just how we’re met when visible, online or otherwise, often due to reckless, irresponsible and inaccurate headlines that encourage the relentless, aggressive pursuit of a vulnerable minority who already suffer disproportionate instances of suicide, verbal harassment and physical assaults.
We mustn’t underestimate the devastating impact of their commitment to harm trans folks before audiences of millions.