Yesterday’s Guardian featured a long piece, trailed on the front page, about transgender people, and how some people have, apparently, been pushed into having medical transition operations against their will. A bad, bad thing, of course—people should never be pushed or persuaded into any sort of serious medical treatment.
There’s a good reason to be a bit wary about the article, though. It’s written by feminist activist Julie Bindel, who has a long history of writing anti-transsexuality articles for the Guardian. I assume from this interview that she follows Sheila Jeffreys’ position that gender reassignment is merely a type of cosmetic surgery, and therefore automatically an Evil Thing; and she has a rather nasty authoritarian streak. She knows what is best for all of us, and anyone who thinks otherwise has been diverted from the true path by the male-driven establishment. Or something along those lines, at any rate.
It’s interesting that it comes just the day before the inauguration of Britain’s first trans mayor, Jenny Bailey of Cambridge. My paranoid side wondered at first if Bindel had known that was coming when she wrote her article; I doubt it, to be honest. The only downside to Bailey’s position, though, is the fact that it’s a news story at all. In an ideal world, there’s no reason for “Trans person does X”, or Homosexual does Y” to be a news story at all, in the same way that “Woman does A” and “Minority Person does B” are disappearing from the news. Maybe one day, people really will all be treated just as people—well, I can hope, can’t I?