Normally known for its frothing headlines, The Daily Mail does a nice sideline in sugar-coated bigotry in its 'Femail' pages. Femail concentrates on personal stories, relationships, cosmetics, fashion, celebrity, bunny rabbits and other sexist staples you can expect from "women's" magazines. If the paper proper uses a blunderbuss to blast out its rancid agenda, Femail prefers the quiet drip of conservative arsenic. And yesterday it was trans women who were subject to its subtle poison.
This piece, called 'A Very Peculiar Engagement' is the story of how Charles Kane, a man who transitioned from male to female and back again is now getting married. Ostensibly a story of his and his fiance's complex body image issues (she's a recovering anorexic) Kane uses it as a platform for his opinions about transgenderism. He says:
People who think they are a woman trapped in a male body are, in my opinion, completely deluded. I certainly was. I needed counselling, not a sex-change operation.And on surgery itself:
Based on my own experiences, I believe sex-change operations should not be allowed, and certainly not on the NHS ... In many ways I see myself a victim of the medical profession.One word comes to my mind: idiot. Kane is seriously arguing that because he thought transitioning to a woman was a bad mistake therefore everyone else should be denied that opportunity. It seems the desire to change your sex is something akin to a mental illness. Forget the tens of thousands of trans men and women who've transitioned and found it a life-saver (in some cases, literally) - this self-indulgent crap is grist to the mill of bigots, some radical feminists and "anti-essentialists" for whom the idea of fluid and unfixed gender identities are anathema.
Long time readers of The Mail might recognise Kane. Two years ago he appeared in the paper bemoaning his single status. And before then too: I have a clear memory of reading his story around 2004 in the work's canteen. That The Mail have had to use one guy on at least three occasions to call for bans on trans surgery (even if it's "his opinion") just shows how representative he is of trans people at large. A useful antidote to Femail's venom can be found here.