Let me preface this by stating that not all people who are on mumsnet are bigoted ‘TERF’ types, there are reasonable people on there (including my mother). However, the blatant transphobia on that site has to be seen to be believed. Fortunately, I have done all of the seeing, and this is what I have to say about some of the attitudes held by people on mumsnet.com.
Views like the one expressed above are just strange to have in our current age – it is 2018, not 1978! Due to the fact that I go to a fairly progressive girls’ school and have friends from all over the gender spectrum, I thought that people had moved on from having such antiquated views. Evidently not, and this is the type of hatred and disrespect that our parents are getting used to seeing.
My friend Cas went undercover to find out more, using the name ‘Olive Branch’ (symbolic? I think so). We were expecting for them to be met with resistance and suspicion but what followed was something that shocked both of us to our core. People went out of their way to attack Cas for not only their argument but also their personal identity, despite them being a minor.
How is this suitable behaviour from a group of parents? What I see here is less of a civilised debate and more of a mob atmosphere, with ‘trans’ being a trigger word used to incite hatred.
From my own research, today’s issue is one called ‘peak transing’. What is peak transing, you ask? User ‘Patodp’ describes it like this:
‘Prior to peak:
Transgender people are fine. What’s the problem?
What. The. Fuck.’
As you can see, this is not a mature attitude to have towards people who are different to you. Actually, sod that, it is a transition very similar to the one I had about mumsnet users when I heard some of the transphobia that goes on there. This is the OP and the first response to it. I think the screenshot speaks for itself…
Despite some people’s (aka phoenixtherabbit’s) objections, the thread continues in this way, and proceeds to put forward even more transphobic views.
Furthermore, the users also go on to state that, far from transitioning due to their dysphoria, trans+ people actually get sexual satisfaction from the abuse and discrimination that they face.
I, for one, would be more than happy to have a trans+ person sharing a changing room with me. Funnily enough, when I change, I do not look at other people’s genitals, so I would have no way of knowing what a person had in their trousers even if I cared. To be honest, it seems that people on mumsnet do not have enough to worry about, if trans+ issues seem more threatening to them than that of impending nuclear disaster and the rise of the far right…
Why is this a problem? As my good friend (ashocean.tumblr.com) says in a blog post drawn from one of my previous studies:
‘Though it feels like a fairly irrelevant site for most of us (assuming that most of you are pretty young), lots of parents communicate on this site, and while it’s pretty tame most of the time, older parents who are already struggling to come to terms with accepting nb/trans kids may come across this content and think that it is acceptable. for anyone in the lgbtqiap+ community, if parents interacting in or encountering transphobic threads like these on mumsnet then start picking up the hateful transphobic / homophobic language here and normalising its usage, then it’s a huge problem.
It’s a problem not just because it’s socially unacceptable, but also for those of us already feeling unable to come out in a safe environment feel further isolated and rejected, and also in a time in which lgbtqiap+ strides are being taken in education, more specifically, strides for the accommodation of trans/gay specific education in schools for wellbeing, parents will be more likely to reject or protest these changes because they have picked up transphobic views from sites like these’.
Make sure that your parents know that mumsnet is a partial and transphobic site. Even if it doesn’t change their opinions, it will allow them to have the full information to make an informed decision on the subject.