Yes, yes, I know. Civil liberties are indivisible: if I am to claim freedom and liberty then I most certainly have to defend it for all others. For if I am willing to connive at the denail of liberty to others then there will most assuredly be those who will connive at the curtailment of my own.
However, this Wtrans community” that’s being talked about.
The trans community has more things to worry about than the possibility that, if Julie Burchill gets really angry, she might find even nastier things to say about us. Her Observer piece filled the bingo card of transphobic insults, short of accusing us of baby-eating and black magic. Nonetheless, when a minority is accused of intolerant bullying, it is always important that the slur not be allowed to stand, especially when the accusation becomes a pretext for hate speech.
As you’ll all know I’m afraid that I don’t recognise the existence of “hate speech”. Incitement to immediate violence is a crime and rightly so. Other than that and libel free speech is exactly that: there’s no right not to be offended by someone exercising that liberty either.
It may very well be bad manners to criticise or critique the lifestyle choices of others but it shouldn’t be illegal. And yes, this does indeed mean that, legally, people must be free to make free with such vile words as nigger, kike, rugmuncher, poof and Mark Oaten.
However, the thing that really interested me about this “trans community” is, well, how large is this community? It’s a bit like this question of how large is the homosexual community? Campaigners seem to think it’s about 10% of the population. Actual real surveys seem to think some 2%, maybe 3% of men, 1 to 2% of women (and here we get into all sorts of linguistic confusions: homosexual should mean “same sex attraction” and thus include both men shagging men and women shagging women. But it is sometimes used to men only the male side, with women being descibed as lesbians. Shrug).
Part of this is a difference of definitions: the higher numbers come from, when they’re not just being thrown around by campaigners, all those who have had some same sex sex experience. The lower numbers from those who are either exclusively or preferentially so.
But trans? How large is this community?
Since 2000 a total of 853 men have gone under the knife to become women while in the same time span 12 women have had an operation to become a man.
Back in 2000 there were just 54 sex change operations carried out in the country while last year the figure stood at 143.
Lightning is dangerous. Currently, about 30-60 people are struck by lightning each year in Britain
Yes, yes, I know civil liberties are indivisible. But that does give something of a sense of proportion, doesn’t it?
The “trans community” is around and about the same size as the “survived being stuck by lighting community”.
With just one slight difference. Given the number of trans support groups out there, the counsellors, heck, the number of writers on the subject for The Guardian, I can’t help but feel that the number of people dependent upon the community is larger than the community itself. Or, perhaps, that every member of it is employed by it.