Trans Debate? No Thank You.

 

I have been a gender non-conformist for over 40 years, I started young, Bowie, Siouxsie, Annie Lennox, Pete Burns, inspiring experimentation, as a kid I’d fantasise about disappearing, making my fortune and returning to my hometown looking like a skinny Marylin Monroe. Friends and relatives would walk past me, unrecognised, in the street.

I used to love hearing people whisper; “Is that a boy or a girl?” When they asked, I’d reply “Yes”. I have no intention of fitting in, of straight acting, of getting married. I have no need of a seat at the table, I want to burn the table down.

 

I’m used to being questioned, stared at, outcast. So when I opened my own salon in 1990, I didn’t want anyone left out or turned away under my roof. Having trained in Ladbroke grove, a multi coloured community I set about creating an ethical brand, an all-nations hair and beauty salon, where people who worked there were well, trained, well paid and where any type of client could visit and feel safe and welcome.

I soon garnered a lot of press attention from working with footballer Paul Gascoigne, so you could say that I’m responsible for making the bleached blond crop mainstream for the metro-hetero’s.

One day a Trans woman visited my salon and wrote an article for the Beaumont society about how well she was treated and how safe and at home she felt there, and the salon soon became a destination for the trans community as well as for the Wags and footballers.

It was one big varied happy family and I like to think we were trailblazers in inclusivity becoming known for being an all-inclusive salon.

I have met every variety of person, and through therapy have worked to decolonise my brain and understand the history underpinning the patriarchal nature of my environment.

As a hairdresser I get to hear a lot about what people think and feel. Recently the right-wing media driven views of the general population, seemingly in reverse, make me question if I even want to stay in a career that begins to make me feel so uncomfortable.

 

Customers will look at me enquiringly, and ask, “What do you think about JK Rowling” or Caitlin Jenner or whoever else they are going to use for an excuse to open this ‘discussion.’

‘I don’t think about JK Rowling’. I reply in an attempt to shut this down right now. No ally of queer rights ever asked me this question.

It continues, “Well she’s getting into a lot of trouble, what about women’s prisons, what about sports.” That equal rights for trans people are fewer rights for women. Whatabout, whatabout. They keep groping, looking for the most reasonable argument, when you shoot those down, more follow.

On one particular day, I spoke with a client… She tells me about a young trans influencer sharing their gender journey from day 1. Continually misgendering her, she goes on to tell me (this person – the well-known actress, comedian, and TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney), isn’t feminine or trans enough, that Dylan is too male, too gay, too camp.

To her and many, you must be post op to be acceptable as a Trans woman, they don’t mind the men so much as they have beards and muscles and can get away with it, but what they are really doing is policing conformity to white western beauty standards.

She starts a straight person’s limp wristed impression. I cut her off. “You can’t be transphobic or homophobic here, this is a queer space.” “I’m just trying to show you.” “Would you mimic a Jewish or a black person?”

She claims it’s because she wants to learn, and she’s sure I’ll know more about it than her social bubble. Later when I look online, I discover that she’s approached me parroting information garnered from the far-right GB news show with Nana Akua and Lizzy Cundy.

I think maybe read or listen to some trans people, if your curiosity is genuine. I tell her there’s one school of thought that It’s not my job as a GNC person to educate you, that you should seek the information for yourself, we’re not going to debate the rights of humans to be allowed to exist.

We’ve been here before, when Sylvia Riviera was pushed out of the gay pride movement she helped start, along with Marsha P Johnson.  (The P stands for Pay it no mind.)

I’m not even getting into that argument of, were they really trans? Like trans people arrived from outer space in 2018.

I show her a recent clip of Munroe Bergdorf and ask what she thinks. She approves of Munroe. So, I ask her to think about the fact that this accomplished author/activist is many years along her journey, but Dylan is sharing hers from day one.

I think how anti-trans people wouldn’t stop Munroe Bergdorf from going to the toilet, because she conforms to ideals of feminine beauty, but they might harass an older less conventionally attractive cis woman because she’s got hair on her face and ‘looks like a man’. They think they can always tell.

Just recently people have been insulting a pregnant Erin Darke, calling her “obviously a man” when she’s cis. I imagine it’s because partner Daniel Radcliffe had the audacity to stand up for the LGBTQI community and actually go out and speak to trans kids for an online series for the Trevor project.

Its recycled homophobia, they’re after your kids, they’re going to convert them just by being visible. Which in itself is traceable back to an American far right theory that claims a Jewish conspiracy to undermine their Christian family values. At its core It’s recycled anti-Semitism, the centuries old blood libel. They’re going to eat your kids. It is no coincidence that the idea is being disseminated that to be visibly out, is to be a groomer, which is the new word for faggot.

She tells tell me “But my gay friends don’t want anything to do with ‘transgenders’, what’s this got to do with them?”

And it’s true, some gays are starting to be more public about dropping the T. They don’t understand that they will be next on the hitlist after the trans, non-binary intersex, queer and gender nonconformists have been exiled. The American Christian far right is spending a lot of money promoting division in our community fracturing the community and weakening our collective strength.

If I were you, I’d rethink my friends’ group. Are they cis white middle class  straight acting, gays? Do they trust in the Daily Mail or Times and Telegraph? Who have ramped up Trans related scare stories a thousand fold in the last few years. To quote Margaret Cho; “They have no Christianity. They have no compassion, no empathy.” To quote Akala “Existence is resistance.”

Historically, writing with your left hand used to be a sign of the devils hand. They would beat you for writing with your left hand when they could get away with it. When they eventually stopped, left handedness shot up to 12 percent of the population where it has remained ever since. When it briefly became safe for trans people to come out their visibility shot up (0.5%).

To be gender non-conforming is to put your happiness before your personal safety. I’m used to being questioned, stared at, outcast. But I’m tired of it, and now its worming its way into my workplace which was supposed to be a welcoming environment. I’m having the same conversations with people, over and over again.

What is the cost of the so called “trans debate” that is now all over the MSM and my social media feeds? Imagine not being able to go to the shopping centre, the theatre, university, because there is nowhere you can safely go to the loo. That’s what they want, to disappear us, as evidenced by their equal hatred of non-gendered bathrooms. These new campaigns especially the toilet centred ones are designed to push trans and queer people back into hiding.

George Takei says. “It’s not about bathrooms… as it was never about water fountains.”

Many from the  LGBTQIA community came out for the London Trans pride is a protest meet this year on Saturday 8th July. Next year I hope they drag their straight brothers and sisters, mums, dads and grandparents along for day and make it plainly evident that this country is not overrun with bigots and that we will live and let live despite the relentless onslaught from the right wing press and this despicable government.

Further Information

Must Watch.  The hounding of Dylan Mulvaney  

Anti-trans zealots, know this: history will judge you – Owen Jones

Books

  • Travis Alabanza  – None of the above Article
  • Transitional – Munroe Bergdorf Article
  • The Transgender issue – Shon Faye Article
  • What it feels like for a girl – Paris Lees Article

 

Edited by Ennis Welbourne