It’s another great day to be trans on the Internet! Wait…hold on, that’s not a thing.
What is undoubtedly a thing is logging on to Twitter dot com to find the phrases “TERF”, “JK ROWLING” or “GENDER CRITICAL” trending. And after years of trans folks bearing the brunt of transphobic abuse online, a few prominent cis allies are now feeling the backlash as well.
Last week, Jon Stewart released a special episode of his new show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” where the host took on transphobic policies and anti-trans laws in a way that leaves absolutely no doubt as to how utterly made up the right wing’s “research” on gender-affirming care truly is.
Shortly afterward, British talk show host Graham Norton spoke on Times Radio about newly-conservative comic John Cleese’s new show as well as JK Rowling’s anti-trans campaign. And, quite predictably, he was bullied off of Twitter for it.
“In what world are you cancelled? I think the word is the wrong word. I think the word should be accountability.”
— Times Radio (@TimesRadio) October 12, 2022
Hard to think of anything that better illustrates Graham Norton’s point than the sight of someone with 13.9m followers reacting to a call for a fair hearing for trans teens and their parents by equating it to *checks notes* support for rape and death threats.
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) October 13, 2022
But there’s something specific that Norton did that people are taking issue with: he suggested that folks not ask him about trans issues, but seek out actual trans people on the matter.
“If people want to shine a light on those issues then talk to trans people,” Norton said. “Talk to the parents of trans kids, talk to doctors, talk to scientists. Talk to someone who can illuminate it in some way.”
Unforgivable! How dare he suggest that people take us seriously! As a result, transphobes and right-wingers flooded his replies, effectively forcing the host off the platform.
Graham Norton has been bullied off Twitter for saying “I don’t really want to offer an opinion on trans people, why not ask a trans person about trans issues”, which is the only sensible answer to that particular question.
— Paul Duane 🏳️⚧️ (@paulduanefilm) October 17, 2022
This is what gets to the heart of the problem of trying to be heard as a trans person in any kind of public arena: we’re still seen as a little bit crazy.
I spent six years working on this and he just… tweeted it out https://t.co/jVTOnMb6yr
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) October 8, 2022
“Stewart grounded his questions in fact. [He] give liberals a high profile, simple template for pushing back against relentless right-wing attacks on trans medicine. His status as an establishment media figure lends gravitas to his content in a way that similar work often can’t.” https://t.co/NIFSe2p2G2
— countess megula 🦇 (@the_meghaning) October 11, 2022
It’s understandable that allies have kept silent for so long: when they speak out in our defense, they’re bullied, just like we are.
It takes a lot to bully someone of Graham Norton’s stature off Twitter. That said, we need more allies. When cis people do the work of standing up to anti-trans rhetoric, we can at least get a little bit of breathing room in before the next battle.
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