The trans community is the latest victim of British culture warmongers with a long track record of profiting from dehumanising minority communities.
Understanding Transphobia in Global Media
Many intelligent trans writers have explained the concept that “transphobia is bad” far more articulately than I ever could. If they have not already convinced you of this basic concept, then my attempts to change your mind will be fruitless. So, instead, I will demystify how the UK media made transphobia into an attractive and profitable business model for a global audience.
This article contains mentions of transphobia, terrorism, online harassment, homophobia, racism, anti-semitism, trans death, colonialism, and misgendering. The article is intentionally written in a flippant way to highlight the cruelty of the media profiting from transphobia.
Media Strategies for Controversial Profit
It’s hard nowadays for media moguls to make a living from bullying minorities. Not that you can’t do it, but it’s just slightlyless palatable in the mouths of the woke mob. Lucky for you, the island of bad opinions floating off the coast of France has offered you an opportunity to make some money, and all you have to do is avoid saying slurs publicly to maintain credibility. Are you ready to become a successful culture warmonger and make some money from the suffering of people you find slightly irritating online? Sit back, grab your keyboard, and get ready to incite some stochastic terrorism while keeping your hands nice and clean.
Let’s start by outweighing any guilt you might feel for harassing a community. The first question any aspiring culture warmonger needs to ask is: “Why go to war?” There is only one answer in the bottomless pit of the belly of late-stage capitalism.
The inevitable sunset of print media and the rise of social media threatens to overthrow your power over public opinion and politics. The average social media user with a smartphone became a reporter on every major incident hours before journalists could mobilise.
Traditional print media needs to adapt to survive. The vast web of the internet has coagulated into a small number of clots, and so news outlets swarm to what became known as social media sites. It’s not long before they adapt to the ecosystem and learn how to thrive. It’s become widely known in recent years that the all-knowing algorithm rewards the most deliciously hateful and rage-inducing statements a user can vomit out. The more users fight in the comments, the more the original poster is rewarded with payment or simply seeing a number go up.
And that’s where the media accounts find their home. They need to use the one sentence shown in the link to their paid subscription services to inspire enough rage to dare to click away from the festering wound of a social media site. The clarification on the meaning of the headline can be as elaborate as an admission to the whole article being an April Fools joke — the vast majority of social media users are still going to read nothing but the headline, share it, and move on to whatever next catches their attention. Whether or not the user pays for a subscription to view the article is irrelevant. The media outlet got their precious click and maybe even a share, which is payment enough.
And what does this have to do with why you should bully trans people?
In reality, trans communities have existed in some iteration for as long as humans have in many cultures and civilisations.
For most cisgender people on the English-speaking side of the internet, the perception is that trans people miraculously came into being when Caitlyn Jenner reappeared in the media after her medical transition. In the UK, this coincided pretty closely with the passing of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013. For those outside of the marginalised community impacted by the passing of a pivotal law such as this one, the perception is that their fight for equality is over, and for the media, that meant that it was boring. And by boring, that means it’s harder to stoke the general public’s outrage against that marginalised group.
And then along came the trans community, willingly appearing in interviews for cisgender appraisal, a fresh meal for the controversy-starved media to offer to the public.
In reality, trans communities have existed in some iteration for as long as humans have in many cultures and civilisations. In modern times, violent enforcement of gender through Empire and Christianity swallowed up any deviation from two rigid boxes that were easier to market and assign roles to. The survival of the swathes of gender deviance and diversity in the shadows of the Empire is only now coming to public attention, even to other trans people.
For the next culture warrior, the long history of trans people is lucrative. It means plenty of fodder for you to turn into controversy for public titillation or rage. Be careful about letting the public know how long trans people have been among them — your audience needs to continue to believe that trans people are a new fad spread by the internet. Otherwise, they may become empathetic victims rather than insidious “others”.
And in creating the “other”, you must already sense dozens of mediocre failed politicians and once-famous folks straightening their tie, pouring a glass of wine, and fumbling out an opinion piece. These vaguely familiar faces in the public conscience are your celebrity endorsements, and the product you’re selling is transphobia.
And why would they work with you? In the age of endless austerity, cost of living crisis, global pandemic, and climate change, it’s hard for the comfortably rich to relate to the common folk. Even worse, some unwashed working classes blame them and their school chums for the issues they created, passed bills, and voted for. Of course, they are far too high in their tower to actually be at threat of the rising waves of striking poor people banging on their gates, but the noise is rather flooding their timeline.
Let’s take their angry voices and direct them somewhere else. Your friend couldn’t possibly tend to their pleas for change — doing so would be inconvenient and require some effort. So, your solution is to make the mob feel in control of some sort of change. What you offer them doesn’t need to be related to the issues they’re annoyingly making trend on your favourite social media site; as long as they feel that they made something happen, they’ll leave you and your friends alone for this election cycle at least.
It’s time to help your friend to become relevant again and profit from their victory lap. Craft an article with them harking back to those dancing twenty-somethings in those fifteen-second videos you saw on your timeline. Their blue, pink, and white flags are plastered over their bedroom walls, and they dare to ask you to alter a syllable of your sentences when referring to them. The general public will understand your friend’s desperate plight to stop people from asking them to stretch their limited bandwidth of empathy any further than they legally have to. Understanding new ways of thinking is hard, especially for your audience of exhausted, long-COVID-ridden, penniless paupers, even if you and your friend are otherwise spared any of their trauma.
But wars aren’t won purely on spokespeople. You need to forge yourself an ideology that your audience can flock to.
Start with defining your target in a way that most people would agree with you. It’s not about trans people; it’s about abusive men sneaking into women’s spaces. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t a viable reason to believe this happens; just lie about it or manipulate some statistics.
Change the way you define the target to suit your audience. Call your war something palatable that people would look abhorrent if they opposed. It doesn’t matter if you stand against abortion rights, deny the gender pay gap, or if you voted to defund women’s refuges, call your war “protecting women’s rights”. Remind them of the victims they could save, the “poor confused autistic lesbians” in the grasp of the nasty gender havers, until those “autistic lesbians” grow too much facial hair, have too deep a voice, and are too attracted to men to be plausible victims for you anymore.Chip away at what being a woman is and assure people that they can always tell who is secretly a trans woman. You’ll have them falling into anti-semitism and racism in no time.
And so we enter the next phase of your grand war strategy: flooding the political landscape with the topic to convince the public that it must be an issue. The media fixation has helped in weaving the illusion of trans people hiding behind every corner, in every toilet, and in every swimming pool. The trans bogeywoman has been crafted in the public’s minds; all you need to do is tie strings to its limbs and make it dance.
Ignore the polls that consistently show how little the public cares about this narrative; after all, those polls that disagree with you must be run by trans people themselves, and they would be biased in not wanting to be attacked every day.Do not believe that the accounts flooding every possible hashtag relating to trans people with delicious bile could possibly be bots, fake accounts, or people inciting hatred for the sake of it. Just keep your little caricature trans puppet dancing, and the public can’t possibly see the society around them collapsing.
Strategies for Exiting the Culture War…Until the Next Click-Bait Controversy
Unfortunately for you, war cannot go on forever. While there are mounting numbers of trans people fleeing the UK, around one in three are receiving out-of-work benefits despite being more likely to have a degree than the general population. Therefore, you’ll always be able to target the poorest trans people who can’t leave. You can keep taking their benefits, homes, healthcare, public spaces, and safety, but eventually, people will realise that war has collateral damage. It’s inconvenient that your opponents are correct when they say “transphobia affects everyone”. When the blood of trans people spreads so far that it tarnishes the shoes of cisgender people, you know it’s time for a ceasefire.
Now, you must ensure that the general public doesn’t come back to your door. You need to change out of your war uniform and look like one of them. There’s no need to worry about the permanence of the internet; the most heinous of your transphobia will eventually be buried in the algorithm. Pay no attention to the hoards of people reminding you of your complicity in the violence, as you can delete and hide the posts whenever you like. Rest easy and sleep fitfully, knowing you got away with your money and no politician in power will ever bring consequences upon you because they were all fighting side-by-side with you, too.
Some of your collaborators won’t be so swift, and you can point the morality mobs at them to blame for the cruelty. They will squirm with empty apologies and ask for forgiveness or be remembered as a warlord for your cause. You can tut at their actions and even post a recycled guide to being an ally to trans people from 2015 if you need to get a few more clicks.
Congratulations, culture warmonger! You are free of the consequences of your actions. Your profits are secure, and now you can wait for the next community to target or for transphobia to become palatable again in a few months. Look away from the rising numbers of trans people globally murdered each year. Once you’ve heard every possible statistic proving how bad transphobia is and how your actions have contributed to needless violence, it all becomes white noise. The culture war will eventually resolve, and the public can feel good about themselves for returning to the status quo or genocide, depending on what the algorithm dictates that they should think. If the media’s boot isn’t on your throat, then the barrage of opinions is just a whimsical thought experiment for you.
Enjoy your money, and don’t forget to wash the hormone-laden blood off your boots.
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