Not Friday yet, but I didn’t expect the week to be like this. It started so well. I finished draft 7604 of my Afghanistan novel, the blog post here did nicely, I even (with some technical aid from my son, the peripatetic El Punko) entered into the Twitter world. Nature cooperated by keeping our snowfall in the ‘pretty’ rather than the ‘I-hate-feckin-snow’ zone and Big Bang had a new episode. Then there was Julie Burchill.
My first reaction, to wonder if Burchill understood the what-happens-next after publishing an article like that. But then, I always go all left brain when faced with things that should knock me on my ass. Which is why, about ten years ago, my son had the research ready when I asked him, ‘What did I do to make you like this?’
The morning after Burchill’s rampage, I woke before dawn with what felt like a clunk of The Hopeless on my chest. Someone who doesn’t know him, hates my son. How do you fix that? But when people objected to Burchill’s hate mongering, focus switched from transphobia to freedom of expression. A slight of hand that equated hurling epithets at a marginalised group as a civil liberty.
I wanted to take a sick day from life. An image kept going through my head, a photo I put on Facebook to make El Punko’s cousin in the US laugh.
I ask you, how can anyone hate an elf? (Read what my son says about Burchill here http://saschk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/open-letter-to-julie-burchill.html.)
Ten years ago, a lot of the research pointed to the mother as the cause for Gender Dysphoria, either for psychological, sociological, or physiological reasons. I suspect some social scientists have issues with their mothers but hey, I’m willing to say to Julie Burchill et al, don’t hate my son. It’s my fault he’s trans. Hate me.
Because even if I didn’t psychologically, sociologically, or physiologically make him into the man he is today, I aided and abetted him. I stood outside the men’s room when he went in until he pointed out how pervy that was. I chanted that being trans was a special gift, then shut up when he said he wished he weren’t so damned special. I visited him in a hospital where it was injudicious for the doctor to admit what type of surgery he’d performed on my son.
Hate me, because I didn’t even try to stop El Punko. While you’re at it, hate his friends for not doing a mass intervention to keep him a real girl who fights the male hegemony because hey, that’s more important than his gender identity.
Hate the men in our family for sharing male greeting rituals with him, because doesn’t that separate us into first class and carriage? Hate the university that prepares him for his ivory tower existence where miraculously he won’t suffer anymore. (We’d all get Ph.Ds if that were true.)
Hate his cat for loving him, too.
Each and every one of us is connected to someone else who’s connected to someone else who’s connected to someone else. It’d be exhausting to hate all of us, so come on. We have more in common than we have to separate us. Julie Burchill attacking transfolk in defence of Suzanne Moore is motivated by the same thing that makes me want to step between her and my son.
Her results, however, are less attractive. It doesn’t matter if you’re working to gain equality for women if you’re swatting at transgendered people. Or persons of colour. Or Muslims. Or gays. Or my Big Nose dog. The swatting cancels out the gains you’ve made.
Hatred is an easier tactic because it dismisses the conflict person or group so we don’t have to deal with what we don’t like. It’s self indulgent. It’s theatrical. It’s cathartic. It’s destructive. It’s a cop out. It’s beneath us.
Here’s my kid and the Big Nosed dog. Please don’t hate him.