The trouble with ‘transphobia’

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“We’re pretty devastated to discover that Martina Navratilova is transphobic,” @TransActualUk tweeted. This was in response to the legendary tennis player saying that allowing males who identify as “transwomen” to compete against women in sport was “cheating.”

In The Sunday Times, Navratilova writes about the bullying she was subjected to after tweeting:

“You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.”

Namely, this bullying came from trans-identified cyclist Rachel McKinnon, who won the Masters Track cycling world championship in Los Angeles last October in the women’s 35-44 age category. Navratilova points out that, “at 6ft tall and weighing more than 14 stone, she appeared to have a substantial advantage in muscle mass over her rivals.”

The differences between male and female bodies are fairly obvious to most. Indeed, there is a reason women and men compete in separate categories, in sport. Yet, a very small minority of activists have managed to pressure the bodies in charge to play along with the insanity that is gender identity ideology — namely, that one can change sex through self-declaration.

In response to her tweet, Navratilova says McKinnon “accused me of being ‘transphobic’ and demanded I delete my tweet and apologize.” In other words, stating basic facts is “transphobic” and those who do not succumb to actual bullying are labelled “bullies” themselves. Up is down, black is white, men are women, and sane people are “phobic.” Welcome to the future.

As is common practice online, when an individual dares challenge the post-modernist nonsense that passes for politics these days, Navratilova was ordered to “educate herself” (which really has nothing to do with education, but simply means, “get in line.”)

Despite the fact that surely Navratilova understands what a female body is and is surely an expert on women in sport, she committed to staying “quiet on the subject until [she] had properly researched it.”

And she did just that, concluding that, after having done so, “if anything, my views have strengthened.” Navratilova determined that, for a man to declare himself female, “take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires” is “insane and it’s cheating.”

Navratilova generously offers to “address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers,” but says she “would not be happy to compete against her” because it “would not be fair.” Despite this, she is still labelled “transphobic.”

And therein lies the ridiculousness of “transphobia,” in its current use. Trans activists do not use the term to mean “irrational hatred or fear” of trans-identified people. They use it to describe anyone who does not go along with their preferred narrative, unquestioningly, which essentially amounts to anyone who acknowledges reality.

As such, heterosexual men who are not attracted to males and lesbians who do not want to date or sleep with men, regardless of their claimed “identity,” are framed as having some kind of irrational, prejudiced “phobia,” instead of simply having a regular old sexual orientation. And this narrative that says “men are literally women the moment they say so” strikes me as something that hurts trans-identified people too. They are being sold a world of disappointment.

In Broadly, a trans-identified male named Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard embarks on a quest to find out why his male crushes won’t sleep with him. He explains that his friends warned him about writing this column, telling him that “the guys I like won’t fuck me because they’re straight. He’s—you know—into women.” Blanchard labels this “transphobia” and proceeds to question why “most cis people, queer and straight alike, wouldn’t date trans folks,” as though it’s the “transness” that is the problem, not the fact of biological sex, which people read, often subconsciously, whether they or you like it or not. Blanchard wants men who exclusively date women to want to “fuck” him, and feels hurt and rejected when his male crushes explain somewhat vaguely, but clearly enough, seeing as we all understand what a person means when they say things like:

“I don’t understand how my attraction works… but I guess there are some characteristics/features I’m generally attracted to… Some of which you don’t have.”

Another male friend of Blanchard is less specific, obviously not wanting to hurt his feelings. “Alex” explains: “It’s just not something I can put my finger on… I can list things that come to mind… But that doesn’t mean that’s actually why I wouldn’t hook up with you.” Despite having earlier described people’s inclination to date according to sexual orientation, not Instagram memes, as “transphobic,” Blanchard seems to understand that desire is not politically correct, explaining that “the idea that not desiring trans women is transphobic mistakes desire for rationality.” He still struggles with the question, though, of why straight men don’t want him. It’s sad, really, because I can only imagine how many more people, changing their “gender” according to this hot new trend, told they will then be accepted as whichever sex they’ve determined matches their soul, will be hurt and disappointed to find that the reality of biological sex exists no matter how many time we insist (or repeat, robotically), “Transwomen are women.”

It is a cruel lie, in numerous ways. One that trans activists are trying to resolve through vicious bullying and attempts to silence those who question the validity and purpose of their narrative.

Luckily, Navratilova recognizes this, writing:

“I also deplore what seems to be a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as ‘transphobes.’ That’s just another form of tyranny. I’m relatively tough and was able to stand up for myself in my Twitter exchange with McKinnon, but I worry that others may be cowed into silence or submission.”

Whether trans activists and their powerful allies will manage to silence us all remains to be seen. It is up to us to continue to speak the truth, as Navratilova has, regardless of the consequences. No one is aided by the trans activist lie — not even trans people themselves.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.