I’m motivated to write this because of an exchange on Quora last week, which I think is worth developing. The original question, essentially, asked how a man could avoid ‘accidentally’ dating a trans woman, because he ‘didn’t want that sort of woman’. That is both shockingly transphobic and misogynistic and here’s why.
There is a legitimate reason why one might not wish to date any person: lack of attraction or interest. We all respond to our inbuilt attractions and we don’t generally want to pursue, romantically, people who fall outside those. This is maybe a form of objectification, but everyone does it. It’s hardwired into us.
But that was not the point of the question, which was how one could avoid dating a transwoman if one were attracted to her. That’s a whole other can of worms. It’s about a man who finds a particular person attractive and interesting enough to want to ask out on a date, but is afraid to do so in case she has — or used to have — non-standard genitalia.
Greece is the oft-lauded birthplace of democracy and perhaps it is fitting that this small and fiercely idiosyncratic European country may be about to give the world a lesson in it.
It would be true to say, as John Redwood has pointed out, that the entry of Greece into the Euro a decade and a half ago was sheer hubris and folly. That hubris has been shown up for what it was since 2010. During this time, Greece has been subjected to so-called ‘austerity’ measures that have brought the country to its knees and have, five years later, not produced any improvement and indeed very much the opposite. In some areas, unemployment has risen to 60% and Greece’s banks are now closed.
In the last few weeks and months, we have seen a troika of New Imperialists – Christine Lagarde of the IMF, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, openly bully and strong-arm the democratically elected Prime Minister of a sovereign nation, Alexis Tsipras. It has been an absolute disgrace and an affront to democratic principles. We saw heavy-handed and insensitive ‘diplomacy’, that was clearly intended to undermine Tsipras and to coerce him into capitulating to yet more horror and misery. The result was that Tsipras did the one thing the New Imperialists hate the most — he decided to ask his own people what he should do. He actually dared ask for a democratic mandate. What impudence! Continue reading A Greek Lesson in Democracy→
Clearly everyone should use the toilet they feel most comfortable in. That should be a given. No-one needs to know what’s in anyone else’s pants when they go to relieve themselves. Yet in the United States today, this has become a hotly contested issue, alongside that of marriage equality. While it now looks as if the latter will soon be resolved, the toilet issue has become more prominent as the forces of intolerance shift their focus.
This issue has been seized on by social conservatives, egged on by the religious right, in order to further their campaign of hate and discrimination against anyone who is not one of them. At root, it is a non-issue. There is no reason why all public toilets should not be unisex (or unigender, perhaps). And even if it might be argued that there is a case for gendered toilets, trans women are women and trans men are men. The problem is non-existent except as a tool for the most viciously conservative voices in society to promulgate hatred against those they think weak enough to attack.
In the USA, this issue has reached histrionic proportions unseen anywhere else. Why? In Germany, most toilets are gender-neutral already and elsewhere, most people are too decent to cause a fuss about something so personal. So what has caused it to become so prominent in the US? Continue reading Toilets aren’t just a storm in a urinal→
In western Europe, the Americas and elsewhere, a revolution has taken place over the last few years.
Go back 200 years and we in the West were hanging gay men; a hundred years ago, more or less, we locked up Oscar Wilde for being gay and fifty years ago one of the greatest geniuses, ever, to have been born in the United Kingdom, Alan Turing, was forced to undergo chemical castration and driven to suicide, just for being gay.
Yet today, we celebrate gayness. When a State solemnises a marriage, it gives validation to that marriage, and the couple undertaking it, in the name of every citizen of that State. It is saying, ‘We the people approve of and celebrate your love, and we wish you both the greatest of happiness.’ It places all the authority and approval of the State on that marriage, in our names.
So we have, in fifty years or less, gone from persecuting and imprisoning or mutilating gays, to absolutely supporting them.
Following on the significant increase in media exposure that transgender has enjoyed in recent weeks, is this phenomenon actually becoming more common?
Phuket, Thailand. Midnight: Bangla Road is packed with tourists. They’re mostly Westerners and Russians, but many Asians and a smattering of Indians. There seems a disproportionate number of unattached males. The music is very loud, and throbbing.
Outside the bars, on elevated stages, Thai girls are dancing provocatively. They’re tall, fantastically beautiful, and seductive. They look, and move, like supermodels, but with better bodies. Then you realise: there are other Thai women here too, but they’re short, cute and pretty, not at all statuesque or magnificent. Alongside Thailand’s famous trans women, they are all but invisible, like candles next to a searchlight. It’s easy to see who has the attention of the gathered men.
On stage, one girl rolls her dress down to her hips so that her naked breasts and torso – she sports a delicate dragon tattoo on her back – are shown off, as she wriggles to the thrumming techno. Her body is as flawless as a Greek goddess’ and her dance mesmerising as a Siren’s: you just can’t help but watch and smile at her exquisite insouciance. Continue reading Transgender – Is there really an increase?→