Is that a wand in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

What a tragic shame that author J.K.Rowling once again sees fit to attack trans rights. As much as some of her writing is wonderful, we love her for that, not her ill-found opinions on gender.

Rowling is once more in the headlines for her views about gender. It’s very curious, by the way, that she also uses a male pen name, when it suits her. Either way, she’s likely raising her profile to sell a few more books – and I can’t blame her for that. But the her target, once again is transgendered people. The above video from Natalie Wynn, Contrapoints, is the best analysis of Rowling’s position I’ve found to date. Instead of just a knee jerk reaction, it’s a deeper examination of her views. As ever, Natalie does an excellent job of blowing away the smoke and finding the kernel of truth that is otherwise obscured by the noise of social media.

It’s a little like finding out Eric Clapton is an anti-vaxxer. We feel betrayed, though we never really imagined we’d look to these talented icons for their human rights or healthcare ‘wisdom’. It just sits badly knowing that we’d offered them our trust and come away disappointed.

OK – so, that’s the last cent these people get from me. They relegate themselves to the role of off-stage court jester – just someone in a funny outfit changing to get home at the end of the night. Just another face in a crowd. How sad that they should consider our trust so disposable.

I grew up in the UK, at a time when television presenter Jimmy Savile was very popular. For those who don’t know who he is, he presented Top Of The Pops, a popular television show, as well as a host of other shows, including some ‘Make A Wish’ style shows for children that were terminally ill. He was a character somewhat beloved (I cringe even writing that now) by his substantial audience. He was knighted and died before the truth about his reprehensible true nature emerged. He turned out to be a serial pedophile with victims going back decades.

It does make me think that perhaps we offer our trust to readily. Taking a step back and asking ourselves if some celebrity huckster on a soap box really is the best person to offer our trust to might be wise now and then. American voters can hardly be surprised at the appalling state of their country when they vote failed TV show celebrities into office. With a president who suggested 15 cases of Covid would just ‘vanish’, and not only weakened NATO but actively undermined a strategic ally, this might be something to think about. These choices have lasting consequences beyond our shores. Just ask anyone in Bucha, in Ukraine.

Yes, the opportunist may have a nice catch phrase, but does that qualify them to lead a modern economy in a complex international situation? Perhaps they should climb back in their box and only emerge when we toss out a few coins to see them dance for us. An amusing performance is all very well, but it ends when the curtain comes down. Then the talent goes back to the dressing room, they take off their costumes and make up and leave the theater by the rear exit and wait at the bus stop with a late night coffee from McDonalds. We can offer them the ticket price, but we don’t need to offer them our hearts.

Those of us in the trans world should guard our feelings particularly in such things, and hold our expectations in check. The erosion of hard won trans rights under right wing pressure is not only a step backward in U.S. society, it’s one that is diametrically out of step with other modern cultures. It’s no exaggeration to think that right after women’s abortion rights are eroded we should expect that we’re next. Historically that’s how this one has played. Trans rights are currently in the cross hairs.

I try to avoid being political on here, however we are who we are. Like it or not, our people are the trannies, the queers and, yes, sometimes the freaks. Our trans sisters and brothers are people we may not ever have met, but they are the only people who really know what it is to be ‘like us’. As such when we see people like J.K. Rowling undermining our ‘family’ they are undermining each of us.

Without needing to go into left/right politics we should ask ourselves sincerely who we do choose to offer our trust. If it is someone who is a celebrity clown, or a celebrated author or musician, then let’s choose to give them a few coins to perform on a stage. We don’t need to vote for them or listen to their views on subjects they are painfully ill qualified to weigh in on.

I don’t really advocate confrontation. I believe we can hold our silence and exercise our view in the privacy of a voting booth. These days it seems everyone needs to vent their opinion on social media, likely in the search for allies. Trans people have learned through the ages that sometimes silence is a wiser course. However facing the onslaught of voices on the right, people bend to pressure and question their own positions, sometimes compromise, and hold their noses and vote. We can’t do that. We have to vote our values.

Our trust is a valuable commodity. Let’s not give it away too easily.

Fiona