Tag Archive | genderfluid

Whatever He Said, Bill Nye Does Not Speak For My Gender

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Nope. He never said that.

And he would be first to admit that.

There has been a debacle about Bill Nye allegedly contradicting himself in his show Bill Nye Saves the World, in which he says that gender is on a spectrum, with some claiming that in his 1996 show Bill Nye the Science Guy he said that gender is determined by chromosones. It did not take long for the transphobes to get to work, one of whom produced a meme from the show of Bill with the caption “Gender is determined by your chromosones”.

Despite the meme being roundly debunked by Snopes and many other sources on the internet, there are still some trying to claim it was genuine, and denying the gender spectrum.

Let’s get this clear right away. Bill Nye never said one thing about gender being determined by chromosones ~ ever, end of. On the episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy etitled “Genes”, Bill said;

“Our genes are stored in parts of our cells called chromosomes. They look like this. Chromosomes contain all of the genetic information, all of the instructions you need to make a person. Now humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46.”

This is what the bigots have latched onto, along with one sentence, not from Nye but rather from actress Amy Broder in a later episode entitled “Possibilities” in which she said;

“You’re either X and X. Girl. Or X and Y. Boy. The chance of becoming either a boy or a girl is always 1 in 2.”

Neither Bill Nye nor Amy Broder were talking about gender at all, they were talking about biological sex. That is what is determined by chromosones, not gender.

But even then the episode in which Broder was speaking was fatally flawed, as it maintains that there is only a biological sex binary. The very existence of babies born intersex tells us this is not so.

In the episode of Bill Nye Saves the World entitled “The Sexual Spectrum”, Bill corrects this by stating;

“Females usually have two Xs and males usually have an X and a Y. But it turns out, about 1 in every 400 pregnancies have a different number of sex chromosomes. Some people only have one sex chromosome, some people have 3, 4 or even 5. For me, I usually feel like I have a lot.”

But then we can be forgiveable to Bill, for the understanding of biological sex was a lot different in 1996 than it is today, and in “The Sexual Spectrum” Bill himself states;

“If you’re like me, and I know I am, you’re still learning about this field of science. We used to think that there were just two settings. Male and female. But it’s actually a lot sexier than that,”

And…

“Take sex. We used to think it was pretty straightforward. X and a Y chromosome for males. Two Xs for females. But we see more combinations than that in real life… …We have to listen to the science. And the science says that we’re all on a spectrum.”

So, Bill Nye himself admits that he is still learning and he is no expert in the field of human biology and gender. And this is important. Let us for a moment imagine that Bill Nye had said that chromosones determine gender.

I really admire Bill Nye for his intelligence, his biting wit and great sense of humour, but just what are his qualifications? Well, Bill is in fact a graduate in mechanical engineering, with all his other scientific knowledge having absolutely no academic qualifications. He also has a hugely successful comedy career behind him.

So in other words ~ and I’m not being cruel here, just truthful ~ Bill Nye is no more qualified to speak about my gender than I am to teach him about the hydraulic resonance suppression tubes he invented for Boeing 747 aircraft, or how to deliver comedy lines to an audience. As an objective scientist, I’m pretty sure Bill himself would agree with that estimation.

Same goes for Amy Broder. She is no more qualified to speak on my gender than I am to teach her about acting. Actually, on second thoughts, having seen her perhaps I could (saucer of milk for Xandra).

And of course, Bill Nye is absolutely correct that science has taken great steps in 21 years, and we now have a much greater understanding of sexuality and gender than we did a generation ago. Hell, as someone over 40 (I’m not saying by how much, dears), I had not even heard of the terms genderfluid and pansexual until a few years ago, generally because they were still relatively unheard of. But when I read up on both, having lived in confusion all my life, they hit me straight between the eyes and I realised “This is ME.” Like Bill, even I am still trying to make sense of it. I’m pretty sure most genderfluid and/or pansexual people feel the same way.

Yet there are those ignoramuses who will continue to deny that there is a gender spectrum and that there is only a gender binary. This makes it especially hard for the genderfluid, because we face this ignorant prejudice and hatred not only from the cishet majority, but also from some within the LGBTQI community, including some transgender people who outright deny the very possibility of someone being genderfluid.

But what such people do not realise is they are playing the bigots game for them. The gender binary argument using chromosones was not too long ago also used by homophobes denying homosexuality or bisexuality. It is still prevalant today among some religious bigots who use the “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” line.

People, and science, were wrong about sexuality then. Just as it now known that they were wrong about gender.

And this is the part that infuriates me; that many people, including some very intelligent and otherwise very liberal ones, simply cannot seem to get it into their heads that biological sex and gender are not one and the same thing. They are not and never were. The genitalia on a foetus forms weeks before the brain develops. And despite the fact that there are many guys (both straight and gay) who seem to think through their dicks, it is in the brain that gender is determined, not the genitalia. That is as true for gender as it is for sexuality.

The fact is that there is only one person who is the true expert on their gender; YOU. That is true for all of us, be we cis, transgender, genderfluid, whateva. Therefore not one person has the right to judge, discriminate, or decry the gender identity of another.

Even though I actually think it’s cishet people who are the weird ones, and who are missing out on a whole lot of fun.

Want Your Pension? Annul Your Marriage.

And renounce your faith.

MB is 68 years old, married, and a Christian. Under the law, as a woman she should have received her state pension at the pensionable age for women, 60 years old. It was refused to her by the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and this has been upheld by the UK Court of Appeal. Why? Because MB was born with the biological sex of a man, married and fathered a family, and has not had her marriage annulled by a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

MB married in 1975, but did not start living as a woman until 1991, and underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1995. As a Christian, she prefers to remain married to her wife, with whom she has a family, “under the eyes of God”. Under the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, transgender people in the UK gained the right to have their gender legally recognised by a GRC. However, a GRC may not be issued to any transgender person who has not had their marriage annulled on the basis of gender change.

When MB applied for a state pension upon reaching the age of 60 in 2008, the DWP refused her application on the grounds that she is still legally a man, as defined by biological sex on her birth certificate. She took her case to the Court of Appeal, who in 2014 upheld the DWP decision. Undeterred, she has taken the case to the Supreme Court, the highest civil court in the UK. The Supreme Court has found itself “divided” on the issue, and has now decided to consult the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), to advise their decision. Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, stated “Since there is no CJEU authority directly in point, it refers the question for their guidance”.

The entire case highlights problems with two things in the UK; the controversial Gender Recognition Certificate, and pensionable age.

GRC’s have long been a point of contention in the UK. When a GRC is issued, it is a form of legal recognition of gender. However, they are only issued under certain criteria. The “Standard Route” for this is;

you’re 18 or over

you’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria (discomfort with your birth gender) – this is also called gender identity disorder or transsexualism

you’ve lived in your acquired gender in the UK for at least 2 years

you intend to live in your acquired gender for the rest of your life

But it does not end there. Every single application for a GRC goes before a panel, usually made up of cisgender heterosexual men, who can indeed refuse to issue a GRC if they see fit.

The GRC puts young transgender people at a distinct disadvantage; old enough to have sex or even marry at 16 or over, they cannot in fact be legally recognised as the gender they identify with until 18 or older. This disparity has also led to transgender young offenders being placed in prisons according to gender identified by biological sex as given on their birth certificate, purely because they cannot get a GRC until over 18 and have lived under their acquired gender for 2 years.

Many transgender people are also opposed to GRCs on the grounds that they are unwelcome governmental intrusion into private lives. It should also be noted that birth certificates have no legal basis as means of identification, and placing transgender offenders is thereby technically illegal. In their campaign for the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary Election, the Scottish National Party promised to change the entire process in Scotland and make it much easier for transgender and genderfluid people to officially change their gender status. I have yet to see them make any movement upon this, and it may be time to drop my local Member of the Scottish Parliament an email.

Now the case of MB has proven another flaw with the GRC; that one shall not even be issued unless the transgender person has a marriage under their birth-assigned gender annulled. MB has no wish to annul her family. I have no doubt she loves her wife and family, and as a devout Christian, she sees her marriage as sanctified by God. Now, as an atheist, I obviously say phooey to that. I am not MB however, and as much as I may disagree with her, I have to be the first to stand up to her human right to freedom of religion.

The former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, continually maintained that we lived in a “Christian country” (not Scotland, dear ~ 39% “No Religion” at the last census, and rising). His successor, Theresa May, is equally a devout Christian. Whilst there is no written constitution in the UK, the entire Westminster government is linked to the Church of England, which is the established church of England, Wales and Cornwall (not Scotland or Northern Ireland), with the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, as head of that church, and 26 Church of England clerics, the “Lords Spiritual”, sitting in the House of Lords. The English judiciary is likewise closely tied to the established church.

Therefore, England is officially a Christian country, and MB, who is an English citizen and subject of her monarch, is having her rights infringed. She is being denied her rights as a woman, she is being denied her rights as transgender person, and she is being denied her rights as a Christian.

I am therefore very pleased that the Supreme Court is to ask advice on this case from the CJEU. The judges there will have to look at the matter in the context of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This is a legally-binding declaration of human rights, which is itself based heavily upon the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 9 of the ECHR states:

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

MB’s identity as a Christian and her marriage do not in any way infringe public safety, public order, health or morals, and do not present any threat to the rights and freedoms of others. However. insisting that MB annuls her marriage and applies for a GRC is an obvious infringement upon her freedom for thought, conscience and religion.

Article 8 states:

Right to respect for private and family life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 12 states:

Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right”

Articles 8 and 12 are contentious, but are closely tied. It seems to me, however, that in insisting that MB annul her marriage and obtain a GRC, the DWP and the courts are a, infringing her private life, and b, infringing her right to marry.  Moreover, an officially Christian state is effectively telling a transgender woman to renounce her deeply-held religious faith.

The ECHR is of course not attached to the EU, and there is nothing in law to say that EU member states must abide by it’s articles (likewise, many states contravene the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights on a daily basis). The CJEU does however carry the weight to enforce judgements based upon the ECHR, and if they decide that MB has indeed had her rights infringed, then as the UK is an EU member (we’ve not left yet dears) the DWP and the Supreme Court shall have no choice but to adhere to their ruling, and give MB her pension, backdated to her 60th birthday.

But the entire case throws into sharp relief the entire question over pensionable age in the UK. Currently the official ages for qualifying for the state pension are 60 for women, and 65 for men. These ages date back to when men traditionally performed heavy labour, whereas women did “less taxing” jobs in offices. Please dears, as one with 20 years of admin jobs behind her, I can attest to the emotional stress of office work. It leaves you completely drained and can lead to nervous breakdowns and early deaths. The entire concept is flawed and deeply sexist. My former female partner has worked in environments, including physically ejecting violent bar customers, and in situations where I would have gone to pieces, or just screamed and simply fainted. I’m much more of a fragile girlie than she is.

The UK pension age also fails to recognise the hard jobs which some women did ~ and do ~ which are traditionally considered women’s work. How many men ruined their eyesight, gave themselves back problems and drove needles through their fingers, as my dear mother did through countless hours of leaning over a sewing machine? How many managed the heavy lifting and sweaty conditions of a laundry? How many have been on their hands and knees as cleaners? And just how many added all the tasks of being a homemaker and bringing up children into that? Yes, heavy labour is exhausting, hazardous to health, dangerous, and life shortening ~ every bit as much as the roles which a great many women have traditionally done, and some still do to this day, and at the end of their working day run a home and bring up a family, purely as a labour of love with no financial reward.

So, what happens if someone is genderfluid? An asshat caller to a radio show firstly stated that men might get gender reassignment surgery purely to get their pension early. Sure, pal, cisgender men are really going to have their meat and two veg cut off, purely to get the paltry state pension. Like that’s ever going to happen. He then did throw in the question that what if a genderfluid person tries to claim their pension as a woman at age 60? That’s actually a very good point, as much as the asshat way he put it; “What if someone says I’ve just turned 60 and I feel like a woman. I want my pension?”

In our more enlightened age, where gender identity is finally becoming much more widely recognised, there is an all-too-obvious answer to this, and that is to have a uniform pensionable age across the board, for all genders. That is indeed coming. From 2020 the pension age for both men and women shall be 66, which is to rise to 67 from 2026 to 2028. That is much fairer, as it shall truly recognise gender equality, for women, for men, for transgender people, and for the genderfluid (but sadly not this genderfluid person ~ I’m a pauper and will have to keep working until I drop).

But from the moment women gained equality in the workplace, it should ever have been so. And had it been thus, then MB would not be fighting for her pension, 8 years after she should have received it.

Scottish Government proposes Non-Binary legal recognition

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Nicola Sturgeon MSP – First Minister

And more good news for Trans Scots.

The current Scottish National Party (SNP) administration in the devolved Scottish Government has pledged to overhaul LGBT+ legislation, which will effectively give legal recognition to those in Scotland of non-binary gender.

Speaking before a hustings meeting co-hosted by LGBT+ rights groups including Stonewall Scotland and the Equality Network, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, a former reciptient of the Scottish LGBTI Politician of the Year Award, laid out a five point plan intended to reform Scotland’s gender recognition laws “bring it into line with international best practice”, should the SNP be returned to power in the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 5 May 2016.

Proposals include to allow non-binary and transgender people to revise their birth certificates to reflect their gender, without the current need to seek approval from a tribunal of lawyers and doctors. Revised birth certificates will then be valid for passport applications, as well as for use in other legal documentation. If implemented, the changes would make Scotland the third country in the European Union, after Malta and Denmark, to recognise non-binary gender. The status is also recognised worldwide in Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Argentina.

The changes come after a recent survey carried out by the Scots LGBT+ campaign group Equality Network, found that 300 participants described their gender as “non-binary”, although it is believed the true figure could be as much as ten times higher.

The commitment was welcomed by Nathan Gale of Non-Binary Scotland, who said: “By making a commitment to reform gender recognition law the Scottish Government is ensuring that all trans people, no-matter what their gender identity, will be able to be themselves, in all aspects of their lives.

“Trans people who don’t identify as men or women have just as much right to have the gender they identify as recognised and respected as everyone else.

“I hope that the next Scottish Government will truly aspire to international best practice and provide for a third gender, alongside male and female, to be recognised in Scottish law.”

The five points of Ms Sturgeon’s commitment are as follows;

“Expect all new, guidance and promoted teachers to undertake training on equality so they are confident in tackling prejudice-based bullying.

“Promote children’s health and well-being right throughout early years, primary and secondary education, so that all children and young people learn tolerance, respect, human rights, equality, good citizenship, to address and prevent prejudice and about healthy relationships through refreshed, age-appropriate strategies and resources.

“Work towards every professional working with children being trained on equality, addressing prejudice-based bullying, attachment, child development and child protection.

“Review and reform gender recognition law for all Trans people to ensure it is line with international best practice.

“Aim for all police officers to receive appropriate training on the investigation of hate crime.”

In more detail, the proposals include the right of transgender young people of 16-17 year old to change the gender on their birth certificates, with parental support.

The proposals also have the potential to reduce the incidence of transgender people in Scotland convicted of crimes to be sent to prisons according to their birth gender. Regular readers will know this is a particular bugbear of mine, so I fully applaud the SNP administration in the Scottish Government for this move.

Speaking on the proposals, Ms Sturgeon stated “I’m proud that Scotland has made significant progress on LGBTI equality in recent years; however, the very fact that we are still having debates like this at election time just underlines that there is still much that we need to do.

“In particular I want to see a renewed focus on areas such as education – both for young people themselves, and those responsible for their emotional and educational wellbeing.

“Tolerance, respect, inclusion – these are attitudes and principles we want to encourage and foster in modern, fairer Scotland.

“Enabling young people to make informed choices about their gender and sexual identity is about supporting them to be themselves so that they might fulfil their potential.

“I am hopeful that in the next Scottish Parliament, we can build as much consensus on LGBTI issues as we did in this session – and take another leap forward for equality.”

Not everybody is happy however, and the loudest of the dissenting voices comes from the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, Revered David A Robertson, who stated in an article in the Daily Mail, “Not content with the destruction of the traditional Christian ideas of sexuality and marriage, it appears the SNP are now seeking to destroy the traditional idea of gender. We do not believe that this will lead to the Brave New World envisaged by the proponents of the multi gender doctrine. It is destructive of humanity and will cause chaos in our society. The SNP seem to be working on the unproven and somewhat bizarre notion that children get to choose their own gender and sexuality.”

Rev Robertson is no stranger to such bigotry, and worse still, it is not as if he is ignorant of the facts. He is an educated man, a theology graduate, and has been well-informed, many times, of the facts about sexuality, marriage, and gender. He is correct when he speaks of Christian “ideas” of those subjects, but does not accept that they are merely that – ideas, not facts. He does not recognise that Christianity does not have a monopoly upon marriage, or that marriage originally was a social contract with no religious overtones, but he is more than well aware that nowhere in the Bible is marriage defined as one man / one woman, but rather that polygamous marriage (which is one thing Rev Robertson claimed SSM would lead to) is the most common form of marriage in the Bible, with monogamy being the exception, rather than the rule.

So likewise are his foolish notions of sexuality and gender merely Christian “ideas”, and when it comes to that, “ideas” shared by him and his minority “Free Kirk” (or Wee Frees, as they are known), which fly completely in the face of scientific research. I offer my heartiest congratulations to Rev Robertson, who stated in his blog, The Wee Flea, that he has recently become a grandfather. However, in the same article, The Ultimate April Fool – An Open Letter to Nicola Sturgeon, whilst claiming not to be transphobic, and to be an SNP supporter, he repeats the bigotry he voiced above and, going further, states of his new granddaughter, “My granddaughter was not ‘assigned’ gender at birth, as though she were being given a name. She IS a girl. She is not one of several genders that she can get to pick and choose as she pleases later on, according to some societal construct or government edict.” You could not make it up. Rev Robertson at first states that his granddaughter was not assigned gender, then later affirms “She IS a girl”. This of course neither Rev Robertson, his wife, nor the parents yet know. Yes, she has been assigned female, according to biological sex – not gender – at birth. But for all anyone knows, she may yet grow to identify as transgender or genderfluid. Only time will tell. And if that is the case, will Rev Robertson and the parents then drum into the wee one that she IS a girl? Yet the Scottish Government, and the LGBT+ community are apparently the ones ‘harming’ children. Bigots like he and his Wee Free followers do much more harm than those who, while cisgender themselves, at least are trying to understand trans and genderfluid issues.

Rev Robertson is certainly right on one thing; we do NOT get to choose our gender. Neither I nor any other genderfluid person chose to be so, just as no transgender person ever chose their gender. We were born with it. But then, no doubt the Rev Robertson chooses not to believe that, just as he no doubt does not believe that anyone is ever born intersex, with both sets of genitals. Or if he does, no doubt he believes that the parents should decree which side of the gender binary that child should be, according to their whims on whether they wanted a boy or a girl, and an operation reflecting that carried out, rather than leaving it to the child to decide when they are old enough which – if either – side of the gender binary they most identify with.

Having experimented since I was a child, I never came to terms with being genderfluid until I was “over 40” (don’t ask dears – I’m not telling), following years of depression and self-hate. I can therefore assure the hateful minds of the likes of Rev David A Robertson that despite his fine words, he and those who think like him are indeed transphobes, and do a great deal of harm – much, much more than they will ever know.  And should he be reading this, I will go further with a personal message – you are a bully, Rev Robertson, and in the nature of the bully, a gutless coward at heart.

Another dissenting voice came from the Time for Inclusive Education campaign, who are seeking compulsory inclusive sex and relationship education. A spokesperson stated;

“Only very small steps have been taken here regarding education – Nicola’s strategy here does not go far enough in protecting LGBT+ young people and this does not reflect the motion that was passed at conference. In order to ensure that our schools are inclusive of LGBT+, teaching staff must receive LGBT+ specific training – what Nicola proposes here is blanket equalities training, which will not do enough. Ourselves, SNP Youth and SNP Students expect and hope that the SNP’s manifesto will go much further than this and truly reflect the expectations of the membership who unanimously backed our campaign. If this is the strategy that will be taken into the next parliament, then we still have a very long way to go. We would urge the SNP to work with us on this, because the next strategy has to be the right one.”

I tend to agree the measures do not go far enough with regard to LGBT+ young people. In the run-up to the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, legislation was brought in to reduce voting age to 16. Likewise at 16 young people in Scotland can work, pay taxes, have sex (straight or gay), get married, live alone, order an alcoholic drink with a meal, and join the armed forces. To then say that they require parental approval to change their birth certificate to reflect their gender is to strip them of their rights as young adults. Likewise I agree with TIE that teaching staff need to have specific LGBT+ training to address LGBT+ issues, otherwise they won’t know what the hell they are talking about.

Yet these are but devils in the detail. These proposals from the SNP are to be welcomed and congratulated. The SNP formed the last devolved Scottish Government in 2011 with a majority, in a form of proportional representation voting which was supposed to make majority government an impossibility. They are currently riding very high in the polls, and look set to be returned with another majority government in May, and we can therefore see Nicola Sturgeon’s words as a solid commitment. I am not an SNP member, but I am certainly sympathetic to them, and after the election I shall expect these measures to be implemented as soon as possible.

As we did with Same-Sex Marriage, Scotland is indeed entering a “Brave New World”, but unlike the gloom and doom envisaged by the transphobes, under the wonderful and simply lovely Nicola Sturgeon it is going to be a much better Scotland, inclusive of all who live here no matter their background, and this Scot could not be all the more proud of her country for that.

Rocky Horror creator’s Transphobic Comments

$$-AAA-001Has Richard O’Brien taken a step to the right politically?

Creator of the Rocky Horror Show and TV game show The Crystal Maze (yawn), Richard O’Brien, has stated that transgender people cannot be women.

In an interview with UK free newspaper, The Metro, O’Brien says that he agrees with the view of Germaine Greer and drag queen Barry Humphries. When asked about his views on trans-exclusionary feminists, including Greer, who has said “Just because you lop off your cock and then wear a dress, doesn’t make you a fucking woman.”, O’Brien replied “I think I agree with that. I agree with Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries,” he said. “You can’t be a woman. You can be an idea of a woman. You’re in the middle and there’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly wouldn’t have the wedding tackle taken off. That is a huge jump and I have all the sympathy in the world for anyone who does it but you aren’t a woman.”

Earlier in the interview, genderfluid O’Brien said that he thought of himself as a “third sex”, who is “somewhere in the middle” of the two binary genders.

“I wish we would see ourselves as members of a sentient race of beings and be nice to each other,” said O’Brien, “as human beings as opposed to male or female.”

Yes, Richard, dear, I would love very much for everybody to be nice to each other. But when an odious cow like Germaine Greer spits venom at transwomen, then don’t be surprised when the transgender and genderqueer communities return fire in kind. And if you agree with her, and say that anyone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery cannot be a woman, then that makes you every bit as bad. Lay down with dogs, do not be surprised if you wake up with fleas.

And in asking for us all to be ‘nice’ about it, O’Brien is in effect no different from those during the civil rights movement who suggested that blacks should be quiet and ‘slow down’. Fuck that. The transgender / genderqueer community are just beginning to make themselves heard, and as Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said, “slow downism leads to stay stillism, and stay stillism leads to do nothingism”.

Richard O’Brien is famous for creating the Rocky Horror Show (1973) and the subsequent movie it spawned, the Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), which for those of you who have been living under a rock these past 40 years, is a zany musical tribute to B movies, in which a stranded couple seek help at the home of the mad Frank N Furter, who turns out to be a transvestite from outer space, who is creating his own man, Rocky. The show has every member of the cast dressed up in drag. The movie, which famously starred Tim Curry as Frank N Furter, and had a wonderful cameo from a very young Meat Loaf, is being remade with transgender actress Laverne Cox playing Frank N Furter.

Now with O’Brien’s comments, there has been the predictable backlash from the LGBT+ community, including those who say they ‘hate’ the Rocky Horror Show, claiming that it exploits transgender people.

Does it really, dears? And do tell me, just how many transgender and genderqueer people identify themselves with drag queens, which essentially what Rocky Horror portrays? Not this genderqueer person for sure.

Where O’Brien makes his biggest mistake is in being guilty of a Typical Mind Fallacy; making biased and overconfident conclusions about other people’s experience based on his own personal experience. Because he identifies as genderfluid, he assumes the true must be the same for all genderfluid and transgender people. Yet where those who are transgender / genderqueer people lambasting Rocky Horror make their mistake is by thinking that the portrayal of drag queens in any way represents them.

The characters in Rocky Horror, particularly Frank N Furter, are sexually fetishtic transvestites. Now, of course we all have our sexual dynamic, but can anyone who is transgender or genderqueer honestly say that their gender governs their sexuality? If they do, then I would be surprised, for as gender and sexuality are two different things, it does not govern anyone’s sexuality; and that is true of all genders.

This is where I have one of two problems with the remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The first is that it is being remade in the first place. I sincerely doubt it can ever be as good as the original, which is a classic with a cult following. The second however is the casting of Laverne Cox in the role of Frank N Furter.

Myself and many others are first to complain when a cisgender is cast as a transgender person in a movie, as happened with Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. If we then accept a transgender woman playing a sexually fetishtic transvestite, are we then not simply playing the transphobic cisgender community’s game for them? The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, can certainly be seen as LGBT+ movies, but the point being that those movies surrounded the stories of drag queens, not transgender / genderqueer people. At the other end of the spectrum we have one of my favourite movies, Cloud Atlas, in which most of the cast take on roles on both sides of the gender binary, but which is by no means any sort of comment upon gender, or sexuality for that matter. But dang, Tom Hanks makes a damn fine woman.

Movies like Rocky Horror are not a gender political statement, neither do they represent the mainstream transgender / genderqueer communities. But the moment anyone tries to claim that they misrepresent us, then they become so. But if we identify with that, then we can hardly complain about Laverne Cox, whom I have no doubt will play Frank N Furter brilliantly (although I doubt ever as good as Tim Curry), taking a starring role in a spoof musical comedy, where sexually fetishtic crossdressing is part of the theme. Sorry girls, but we simply cannot have our cake and eat it too (and we’d never get into our dresses if we did).

Neither should we worry about what Richard O’Brien says. He created a gem in Rocky Horror in the 1970s, and has done little to nothing ever since. Even The Crystal Maze was pulled from Channel 4 eventually when ratings plummeted. Certainly, his views are bigoted and ignorant, just like those of Germaine Greer, Barry Humphries, Jeremy Clarkson, et al, but notice what all of these people have in common; they are all tired, bigoted, old farts whom no-one listens to any more.

And while we’re about it, how come none of the above (or most transphobes) have ever said a transgender man isn’t a real man?

I am predicting and awaiting calls to boycott the remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I equally predict that it will prove as effective as the boycott of Zoolander 2 – i.e. not one jot.

Perhaps the best comment I saw on Richard O’Brien’s statement came from one transgender woman, who commented “He’s right. I don’t think I am a woman, I know I am a woman.”

That’s the spirit, gel. And that’s the way we all should view our gender; don’t dream it – be it.