Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Life is just one long masquerade: An Introduction to Queer Theory from one Trans person's view

"There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; that identity is performatively constituted by the very expressions that are said to be its results." Judith Butler, Gender Trouble (1990)

Howdy Peeps!

While I was writing my initial thoughts on the nature of transgender identity earlier on in my blog's history (showing just how normal most transgender people are compared to murderers, paedophiles etc.) I hinted at the need for the LGBTQIA blogging community to understand about queer identities and theories and explain it in a straight forward, no nonsense, Rebel Wilson kinda way to those who wish to deny the very existence of queer and transgender identities. So to fulfil one of many promises made in the article (I shall address them all), it's time to talk about Queer Theory.

What is Queer Theory in a nutshell?

Queer Theory is essentially a body of philosophical ideas that bases itself around the belief that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are in our entirety of being. David Halperin has said, "Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence." It's meaningless to talk about a group of people as a fixed construct; as I have proved not all transgender people act the same or indeed believe in the same things. Identities consist of many different  elements so to assume that people can be seen collectively on the basis of one characteristic is wrong. Queer Theorists such as Judith Butler and Eve Sedgwick propose that we should deliberately and explicitly challenge all notions of fixed identity in varied and non-predictable ways.

Judith Butler: Gender as Performance:
First thing to note about Judith Butler's approach to gender identity is that she believes 2nd Wave feminists such as Germaine Greer and Betty Friedan made a massive mistake by trying to assert aggressively that women were a unified body with "common characteristics and interests". Trying to argue transgender people are another example of a unified body is like arguing all children like to drink milkshakes when having a Happy meal at Maccie D's. It reinforces a "unwitting regulation of gender relations" a desire to maintain a false binary view of "man and woman" and the same with sexual identities such as "gay" and "straight. Butler points out that such "identity categories" "tend to be instruments of regulatory regimes, whether as the normalising categories of oppressive structures or as rallying points for liberatory contestations of that very oppression". For example, the concept of homosexuality itself is part of homophobic discourse because the term "homosexual" created in Germany in 1869 as a legal-medical term predates that of "heterosexual" by 11 years. Heterosexuality as a concept then only came into being as a consequence of the need to define homosexuality as a "other" or abnormal concept. Transgenderism, like homosexuality is not a stable, essential identity so that "identity can become a site of contest and revision" (Gender Trouble, p.19).

Butler posits that all identities, including gender ones, are "a kind of impersonation and approximation...a kind of imitation for which there is no original" (p.21). Therefore, it can be possible to argue that identity can be seen as a constant switching among a range of different roles and positions, drawn from an endless data bank of potentialities. So a transgender person can be seen as masculine because he or she enjoys playing rugby but can also be labelled as feminine because they enjoy shopping in Primarni for a few hours on a Friday morning. Those two facets of their identity are NOT incompatible!

Butler suggests that certain cultural configurations of gender have seized a hegemonic hold (i.e. they have come to seem natural in our culture as it presently is) -- but, she suggests, it doesn't have to be that way. Rather than proposing some utopian vision, with no idea of how we might get to such a state, Butler calls for subversive action in the present: "gender trouble"- the mobilization, subversive confusion, and proliferation of genders - and therefore identity.

Eve Sedgwick: Epistemological Genius:
In her "Epistemology of the Closet", Eve Sedgwick considers how the act of "coming out of the closet" is not as single and absolute as it may first appear. So a transgender person may first reveal their desire to transition to a partner or their parents openly at a massive coming-out party or by having a quiet word at home but they may choose not to reveal their intentions to their colleagues or employers for fear of being discriminated against at work or even losing their job in spite of Equality Act legislation. Hence, being "in" or "out" is not a simple dichotomy or a "once and for all" event.

However most "normal" people will understand this difference in openness with regards to gender identity. Not every person tells their friends about their employment and some guys may never tell their mates down the pub that they really support Leicester when they all support Man United. Equally not every transperson may be seen as completely an outsider, free from patriarchal taint. A transman who is a well respected academic could certainly be seen as being in a position of privilege by a trans female administrative assistant. Sedgwick's point is that identity as a construct is necessarily a mix of chosen allegiances, social status and professional roles rather than being a fixed inner essence.

Conclusion:
Transgender people should never be seen as one homogenous body; an externalised "Other" for "normal" people to gawp and gaze at. Transrights should be advocated for those transgendered people who believe they are being discriminated against at home or at work but activists must realise we are not speaking for all transgendered people in the world. By all means join the cause but don't feel obliged to because you think other trans people will feel better about you!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Look Mister I Wanna Know How Much More Addlins You Have Than Me: More On The Lincolnshire Dialect

Ey Up Folks!

I can see from my viewing figures that you all liked a few Yellowbelly words and phrases that made your funny bone tickle, especially after a divisive and rather diabolical EU Ref campaign. So I've been thinking and decided to offer you a few more for your linguistic delectation. Enjoy:

#MegaTrippyEyes when Addling
  • Addlins = If a Yellowbelly comes up to you while you're shopping and seems to have #megatrippyeyes they are probably going to ask you what your Addlins or earnings are. Not that they'd get many responses as we British peeps are very secretive when it comes to financial matters! Equally addling means "to earn" in Yellowbelly talk.
  • After-a-bit = You can use this funky phrase after a long period of #Twitterbating and need a cuppa or two- "I'll come back after-a-bit" or "I'll come back shortly".
  • Askey = Some guys have called me a bit "askey" when on a night out; it usually means "sideways" but can also be used by straight guys to point out the fact that you are not one of their crowd. Quite a relief for me tbh!
  • If you are bezzling, then you are guzzling your drink down far too fast and might end up getting slung out of the pub on your ear lightning quick!
  • In Lincolnshire, a Bobbo is not a simian (monkey/ape) but a Horse! Any Yellowbellies who want to own a racehorse may wish to call their horse Bobbo  as a tribute to our dialect (and to confuse the drunken punters down the racetrack!)
Hello Bobbo you beauty! 

Broggle Lols
  • On Facebook a Yellowbelly might like to broggle a friend to get them to respond to them- I like a good broggle/poke myself!  
  • Recently a lot of Brexiteers have been accusing Remainer youngsters of chelping; it seems a lot of Yellowbellies down Boston way disapprove of any young person answering back to their elders! Instead call having young people having any spirited view inspiring!
  • I do love chittering along of a Friday morning down Lincoln High street because it annoys the hell out of the normalising crowd. If you get accused of chittering the person is saying that you are talking foolishly but meh whatevs!
Eddie Monsoon: Queen of Chittering

Trump a Grufty Teg?
  • Meanwhile down my local Birchwood congregation of a Sunday I hear a lot of chuntering about the length of the morning sermon. Chuntering or Muttering is an Olympic sport many of those churchgoers would win a gold medal in- 20 years running!
  • In olden days, people out on the fields of Boston would have been known as Clod-Hoppers!
  • Yellowbellies hate to see any Dowking or wilting vegetables in their fridges! You'll get rebuked if you too it too often in Boston mind!
  • Most Remainers were Flummuxed (puzzled) after the Leave vote on Thursday; certainly a lot of puzzled faces around the High Street on Friday when I was shopping in Thornton's!
  • No doubt about it, racists and xenophobes would certainly be seen as Grufty tegs by Lincolnshire folks.
  • I love a bit of Mantling when I'm trying to think of what to write in my blog posts; procrastination often involves moving around without purpose!
Watch out for more tittering words and phrases from the land of Lincolnshire sausage and Poacher Cheese!

Time to #ComeTogetherRightNow: LGBTQIA response to the EU Referendum

"Satire is a prompt recipe for making bitter enemies." - Charles William Day, The Maxims, Experiences, and Observations of Agogos

Thanks to Helen Smith @conversationtales for the graphics
Dear Oh Dear! Bless our (Indian./Turkish/Romanian made) stripy cotton socks! The British population (or the plebiscite as Monsieur Ken Clarke has called us) has spoken and by a smidgen of a margin, we have voted to leave the EU framework. Yes 1 million or so extra voters may appear to be "quite a good" mandate on the surface but considering those living in the UK who were ineligible to vote just because they had the "misfortune" of not having been born in this country and were not EU citizens (like my Norwegian mother who has lived here and paid her taxes since 1977), or those who decided to retain their EU passport citizenship because they felt it was OK to be in Britain but retain their national legal identity (as many British people feel like doing when they swan off to the sunny Costa Del Broka and rub their Englishness in the face of hard working, polite local workers who are struggling to make a living at the moment same as many working class British families) or those who desperately wanted to vote but were locked out due to their age (since when did 16 year olds who pay their NI and work hard get called idiots by older voters)  make up a sizeable proportion of the population (34,745,711 people not counting those that didn't vote) that mandate starts to look increasingly shaky in my view.

David Cameron, our so called "Prime Minister" is so far acting far too much like a certain guy who claimed Ecuadorian immunity to absolve himself of his Swedish rape crimes and rebuking his enemies with glee (aka Julian Assange); "it's not my problem...it's up to the next leader/random Leave campaigner/ God to do any negotiation on a Brexit deal" he cries. The fact is Mr (secretly Brexit) Cameron loved himself soo much he thought that if he called an EU referendum he'd be able to silence his critics from the far right of the Tory party with ease. He also thought he would increase Tory membership and voters at the next election thanks to his "strong leadership" and consequently he'd be able to secure Tory rule for at least the next decade and beat "Maggie Always Right" Thatcher all as a result of a Remain result. Now he's failed to deliver that result, he thinks he can get away from the consequences of calling such a divisive, morally bankrupt referendum by resigning his PM post and baiting EU member countries by telling them they can't do a thing till we invoke Article 50. Hmmm!

The initial consequences of a Leave vote have already become apparent; many EU nationals are worried about their future employment prospects within the UK. More than 11,000 have decided to stage "workplace action" on the 11th July to hopefully secure "legally guaranteed protection" for the 2 million EU workers currently employed in the UK economy. Incidents of racism and xenophobia have increased with many Poles and Romanians being targeted in the Southern Lincolnshire area whilst on their way to school, work, shopping or outside their home. My local police force has said there hasn't been an increase in reported hate crimes but I believe the main reason for this is that many EU nationals mistrust their local police officials and feel the only outlet for reporting incidents is through social media or their local charity forums. Ironically these incidents are not confined to EU nationals and are not confined to attacks on nationality or ethnicity; there has been an alarming increase in Islamaphobic attacks in Birmingham, Leicester and Luton. You don't need me to list the amount of attacks reported as they have been well documented by Labour MPs and national media outlets alike.

I believe we have now flung ourselves into an ugly situation where casual racism in white, middle and working class households throughout the country has been given a big fat green legitimised light. However our democratically elected political Establishment now wants to spend more time playing a ridiculously over hyped and rather camp "Blankety Blank" blame game and less time trying to plan for a positive, forward looking, progressive exit from the EU. The Labour Party is in utter turmoil, with most Blairite MPs blaming Mr Corbyn for his lacklustre Remain campaign and Corbynites refusing to let these MPs gain leverage over the party by using a mandate figure that hasn't been updated since last year before the EU Referendum was enacted. Then we have Londoncentric MPs like David Lammy harping on about "the game" not being over because the referendum is "not legally binding." Is it appropriate for MPs to dismiss a vote to enact the referendum result and then risk the chance of there being increased incidents in racism and xenophobia and possibly an extreme right terrorist attack on the Houses of Parliament just because Lammy wants to do a "democratic Computer Says No" moment on Nigel Farage?? 

Now I'd have loved to have stayed within the EU because I believed "Another Europe" was possible if we had managed to sack those incompetent fuckwit UKIP MEPs and engaged in a period of increased collaboration between centre, centre left and left groups within the EU Parliament. I also knew that by voting to leave the EU we risked the very fibre of our United Kingdom. Believe it or not, England and Wales do not own Scotland; we are all part of a union and rule by consent. Scotland overwhelming voted to remain, with 62% backing Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond's campaign. Many of those voters voted to Remain in the UK back in 2014 on the proviso that the UK would remain in the EU. Now that assurance has been taken away from them, no wonder 54% now back leaving the UK (snap poll Sunday 26th June.) Northern Irish voters in the West of the country equally voted to remain because they feared the increase of Unionist rhetorical and physical attacks in the event of Brexit. Gibraltarians are on the front line of the EU conversation; its economic prosperity relies on Spanish tourism and workers making the monotonous drudgery filled trip between Gibraltar and the mainland on a daily basis.

However, many areas of England who feel disenfranchised and left behind in this globalised, competitive economic world decided to vote to Leave and they delivered the majority vote. Whilst I disagree with it, perhaps we will have to respect it and try and rebuild relationships between urban and rural areas, North and South to allow us to progress positively in this uncertain future of ours. Of course that sounds much easier said than done, but there is a silver lining to be had from this vote. I begin considering such a silver living from looking at the EU Ref result from a LGBTQIA perspective:

So Mardy Bums, any Positives of Leaving the EU for the LGBTQIA community?

It's time to look at the positives and decide what we want our country's international and domestic vision will look like outside the EU. I've been thinking in particular about the LGBTQIA community and how we can try and mitigate the impact of Brexit (if any) on our progressive vision.
  • I believe we must have transgender legislation in line with progressive non-EU European countries like Norway (as it seems a lot of Leave voters wanted us to become all Nordmenn!)Just this year (18th March) the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) voted to allow legal gender change without any form of psychiatric or psychological evaluation as well as the need for a diagnosis or any kind of medical intervention if the person was aged 16 or over. Minors are allowed to self define legally provided they had parental consent. I propose abolishing the Gender Reporting Panel (GRP) and allowing transgender people the right to access hormone therapy and surgery provided they have passed an initial referral from their local GP based on their basic state of health and fitness to go through surgery (e.g. having a waist size of 40 or under). Any worries about the cost of increasing treatment levels should be addressed by increasing funding for transgender services including diverting the money saved from maintenance of the GRP directly to transgender clinics such as those in Nottingham and Sheffield.
  • Also if we're going to get a slice of the 350 million (pounds or magic money tree currency) or so, part of it must go on helping to reform transgender health services to cope with the increase in demand. That means increasing GP training on transgender issues, increasing the number of nurses and doctors involved in the transgender surgical process etc.
  • Like Norway, the UK must legislate to protect intersex people explicitly in an update to the Equality Act; there is no excuse now for the government not to recognise the existence of intersex people and their desire to self define as dual gender rather than having to ascribe to one specific gender, whether the majority of voters may understand their view or not.
  • In the workplace, employees must be given at least basic Equality and Diversity training by their  HR department so they can easily identify examples of direct and indirect discrimination and to be able to report those instances to their manager or boss in the event of it happening. They should also know about relevant external channels they can use if bosses and managers fail to act on the information you have provided them; Stonewall, Citizens Advice Bureau, ACAS are examples of such organisations they can report to. Bosses must realise that they will not get away with discriminatory behaviour even if the UK has decided to leave the EU regulatory framework.
  • There has to be increased funding in primary and secondary schools to educate students about all aspects on the LGBTQIA spectrum, including intersex and asexual behaviour. Linked to this must be the idea that interracial and international same sex relationships are not criminal or sinful but an individual choice. LGBTQIA bloggers must try and debunk these myths and help combat the current increase in racist and xenophobic behaviour amongst rural middle and working-class white voters that seems to have been legitimated as a result of the EU Referendum. Students must also understand the need to respect the Equality Act and know how to follow discrimination regulations in the workplace, including how to report incidents of homophobic and transphobic behaviour in a workplace environment to charities like Stonewall if they feel their manager or boss will not act to punish such behaviour. I've always said that we need better business and political education in schools to prepare students for a globalised, competitive workplace -maybe Brexit can offer an opportunity to address the woeful lack of advice given previously.  
  • Finally, just because we're outside the EU doesn't mean UK based LGBTQIA bloggers can't help those still inside the EU. It's more important now than ever to cooperate with our Scandinavian friends in the community to help change legislation in the  EU Parliament whilst we are still members of it so we can help to promote progressive values. I shall be contacting my local non UKIP MEPs to lobby them to promote LGBTQIA protection for Eastern European EU members so that they can evolve.
The UK voters may have voted to leave the EU but LGBTQIA bloggers who voted to Remain can do so much to help stabilise this country and promote our progressive values across the EU. We must remain positive and engaged with politics and help those parties and MPs that believe in preserving the rights of the LGBTQIA community whether we are hard at work or partying our hearts out in a nightclub. So whatever happens, make sure you get behind your preferred candidate and be ready to vote for them actively at the next generation...it may be sooner than you think!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Quit that "Yellowbellyaching": Why I Love The Lincolnshire Dialect

Ey up folks!

Ye Olde Map of Lincolnshire
Despite my Irish and Scandinavian heritage; it may shock some of my blog readers to know that I'm a born and bred Lincolnshire person. Lincolnshire has a proud heritage that gets discussed very rarely in History textbooks and drab sociological/linguistic journals. One of the reasons why I'm proud to be a "Yellowbelly" is because we have a rich and diverse and rather hilarious dialect. Anyone wishing to emigrate to Lincolnshire would be well advised to learn a little of our native tongue because  a) you'll impress your employer, b) native Yellowbellies you might meet down the local may be more willing to buy you a "bevvy" and c) you'll be able to disarm any haggard xenophobe who wants to make the argument that migrants do not want to integrate with the local population. It has been noted that the Lincolnshire dialect has been slowly dying out as the population in the county becomes more ethnically diverse and there is more intra-national migration with more native Yellowbellies move to urban centres to find employment. However your efforts will not go unappreciated and may make you more friends in the longer term!

Here are a few words, verbs and phrases to get you started:
Even Shakesy knew this term!
  1. Duck: In Lincolnshire "duck" is a term of endearment that you'll often hear when you are travelling on public transport or being served down the local corner shop. Its usage has reduced lately due to concerns it may be interpreted as being patronising, especially to women. I don't use it but accept older folks do.
  2. Tates : If anyone asks if you want tates they are referring to the humble potato, which is very popular down Boston and Grantham way in chippins form (i.e. fried till golden brown and served with battered or breaded cod and lashings of salt n vinegar).
  3. A Gofer is someone that comes from a different county; my Dad uses "gofer" when he's with his Leicester city supporters down our local pub because he grew up in Leicester and was called a "gofer" ever since he moved to Lincoln in the mid 1960s.
  4. Frim Folks are non Lincolnshire natives; anyone from Newark all the way up to Aberdeen would be classified as such which Newark inhabitants hate profoundly!
  5. Gawster means "to laugh uncontrollably"; if you tell a joke about how you don't understand Geordie or Brummie accents to a Yellowbelly you're likely to hear this verb accompanied by minutes of marauding laughter. (Even native born UK folks can't understand these accents half the time!)
  6. A Hotchin is a hedgehog; I first heard this word when a hedgehog family was found living in our back garden; hedgehogs are fairly common in Lincolnshire but make sure you contact your local animal rescue shelter when you do find one in distress or one that has been injured.
  7. A Morgan Rattler is a "good boxer"; you could say that Muhammad Ali was a "Morgan Rattler" because he won so many fights even if he considered himself (and I consider him to be) the greatest!
  8. Snecking means to have a "nose around" a house or a shop; people in Lincoln tend to drop the s and say "wind your neck in" if you're poking your nose into business that doesn't concern you!
  9. Mizzling is a fine kind of rain; the type that makes your clothes feel damp and cold.
  10. Haar is an even finer type of rain which soaks into your skin and makes you feel cold (oh Yellowbellies love to moan about the rain even though we need it to make our veggies grow healthily!)
  11. If someone asks you for some Chuddy they are wanting to borrow a stick of chewing gum from you (most are smokers wanting to disguise the smell of tar before going back to work after a "fag break" and are extremely embarrassed and self conscious about their need to smoke.)
  12.  Cock-Apparel is an attempt to do something overly unnecessary for an event like a birthday or a Christmas office party; "it's overly pomp and ceremony". Hiring Old Doddington Hall when you only have 30 guests coming to celebrate an extortionately expensive clothing line that only Kim Kardashian would choose dresses from kinda launch would fit the Cock-Apparel tagline. 
  13. If someone accuses you of putting forward an argument full of a "load of kilter and rammel" , they are saying that your argument is completely rubbish and wouldn't convince Eskimos to buy ice from their own land let alone yours.
  14. If you've heard someone tell you they've heard a bunch of "old fogies chuntering", it means they've heard some elderly residents moaning about an issue (usually of no importance.)
  15. If you meet a Yellowbelly guy and fall in love with him after an incredibly short amount of time, some residents may take it that he's fallen "Arsey-varsey" for you.
  16. If you get called a "mardy bum", people are hinting at the fact that you're in a bad mood or acting petulantly for no reason. Lincoln City's goal scoring record alone would make any Yellowbelly mardy!
  17. Be careful that you're not slacking when carrying out database entry work for your employer on NMW or he might start accusing you of being too smopple or weak for the job.
  18. If you hear a potential employer offer you a "Barrer job" be careful; they are wanting to pay you cash in hand. With some casual jobs it is OK to accept this (like being a window cleaner) but not if you are a temporary or permanent employee in an office where you should have a contract or written statement of particulars detailing your pay and hours of work after 28 days (an EU directive guaranteed right by the way!)
  19. Some perverts and paedophiles will be labelled as "slim" by Yellowbellies; this is because they consider them to be depraved and not because they are of slight build! They might double it up and say "oh that builder guy's a slim kind of slim but even native Yellowbellies would get confused!
  20. Finally, if you are asked to "scrag" in a playground and you're over the age of 18, the likelihood is that they want to have a "tussle", "jostle" or fight with you for no real reason other than to cause you harm. Watch out!
So there you go folks, 20 pieces of Yellowbelly lexicon to get you gob around of a Tuesday morn! I shall be adding a lot more words, verbs and phrases on this blog as I go along, along with some Lincolnshire history and trivia. I hope this will amuse you and also show you that even Yellowbellies have a funky, spunky possibly hunky kinda humour that should be cherished and celebrated and protection from further linguistic erosion!. So avoid those mardy EU referendum blues and embrace the gawsting, Yellabelly style!  
 

Monday, 20 June 2016

EU referendum: Power and Prejudice from suburban council estate to EU Parliament: A Trans Personal View

Voltaire: Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.

Hallo!
So yes we've finally made it; we've reached the last week of EU Referendum campaigning!
#SoundTheSelfHappyClappingKlaxon. In 3 days time we, the "braying proletariat" aka "The UK/Commonwealth/Irish Citizen Voters Alliance" can all breathe a mahoosive sigh of relief because the endless personality fuelled jibes and vacuous 24/7 fact stat churning machine coming from both the Leave and Remain official campaigns will have ended. The UK will hopefully begin to make sense of the toxic political climate that has arisen as a result of Monsieur Cameron's rancid determination to exercise democracy "within a carefully constructed timeframe." Whether we have voted to Remain or Leave the EU, the days of the "Old Boys Club" being able to get into Parliament unopposed in rural consistencies, making decisions most of their constituents would absolutely disagree with without consultation and only using their elected power to suit their own Machiavellian inspired ends will be over.  At least some of us hope they will be! Unfortunately I no longer believe that leaving the EU will lead to a GE or any change in the status quo in the autumn; it may lead to further discussion of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish independence referendums and it may lead to Cameron and Osborne desperately trying to push through their "1984 Orwellian style punition Budget" to stop their austerity measures from unravelling around them with Labour, the SNP and mutinous/victorious Tories systematically halting their manoeuvring techniques with gusto.

To be brutally honest I've been struck at how much the political discourse has been entirely focused on "what the EU can do for the UK" rather than "what the UK can do for the EU". For me, being part of the EU means fundamentally being part of a UNION of 27 other member states, all with their own unique cultural, social and political differences but yet all having the desire to work together to achieve common goals. A bit like a family with a staunchly conservative Father, an environmentally friendly Sister and an openly flirtatious but slightly creepy Uncle. For months now I've heard some people in my constituency of Lincoln (which also happens to be the oldest constituency in England) wittering on about the need to "take back control" from "an unelected commission" whilst admitting the fact they've never voted for their local East Midlands MEPs (of which there are 5) and have very little intention of doing so. They've talked about the need for "democracy to finally return to the UK" but fail to mention the fact that no members of the Tory government have refused to abolish the unelected House of Lords, with its 802 ermine clad members, some relishing their daily paycheck even though they rarely contribute much to the debate. Some people hold Nigel Farage up as "the ultimate hero of the people", a modern day Churchill fighting for Britain to "retain sovereignty over our laws and restart the heart of our British (English) society".

They fail to realise Churchill had a burning desire for Europe to find a framework for cohesion and collective responsibility; a need for countries to work together to achieve outcomes which benefit all EU citizens and not just a select few. He understood the fallacy of "ultimate power" within a democratic system. He saw that happen in Nazi Germany which is key reason why he was so insistent on there being a politically  collaborative framework in place to deal with power hungry ideologies head on. This fallacy of "ultimate power" needs to be expanded upon as I attempt to do below.

Power and Prejudice: A Philosophical View

Power and control are extremely interesting but sometimes rather vacuous, very open ended philosophical concepts on the same level of complexity as democracy and freedom. I quite like Björn Kraus's 2014 epistemological classification of power where he splits the concept into 2 camps: instructive power gives individuals the chance to determine the actions and thoughts of another person whereas destructive power gives individuals the chance to diminish the power of others to suit their own ends. Instructive power can be combatted, but destructive power cannot. Politicians should always aim to be instructive rather than destructive with the power they yield in the EU Parliament and our own Houses of Parliament, but it can be very difficult to determine whether their actions can be seen as instructive or destructive without being biased in some form. However, taking into consideration this epistemological divide, it is easy to establish that we all want some form of power and control over our daily lives, whether it be choosing whether to have chocolate or strawberry milkshake at McDonalds or reading Pride and Prejudice over Sense and Sensibility as part of your A Level English Literature coursework.  The key question is: to what extent do we want AND need power and control and should it be at the expense of all others most of the time even if this power turns out to be destructive?

I can understand Brexiteers' key epistemological arguments over sovereignty and control. As far as I can make out based on the social media exchanges I've had over the past month and from reading various online blogs, they want to have a power base entirely centered around our Anglocentric (rather antiquated) British Parliamentary structure and by returning power back to London they'd feel more confident in electing their MPs who areaccountable” to their needs and wishes, whatever those may appear to be in public and how different they may be in private.

Now it's very important to remember that Brexiteers are not a homogenous group; they will vote to leave the EU for a whole multitude of reasons- everything from giving fishermen the power to decide how much fish they want to catch in a given weekly voyage in the North Sea to Labour voters using their Leave vote as a mechanism for getting David Cameron (and the Tories) out of office sooner than 2020.

However, most Brexiteers do now seem to back claims that have been  recently made in a "manifesto" issued by the Vote Leave official campaign detailing how their "popular figure" of £350 million a week saved as a result of leaving the EU will be spent. Their main pledge is to give £100m to the NHS and it has proved highly popular across the social media platforms. It's all very well to want to increase NHS funding across the UK and it's something I've wanted to see happen for quite a few years. We need more specialist wards and GP surgeries to deal with our ageing population  in Lincolnshire, particularly in East Coastal resorts like Mablethorpe and we need more funding to be available for British educated individuals who want to become nurses but can't get onto a training programme and are now expected to pay back the money given to them to train in any case. I'd love these trainee nurses to know they'll have a secure job at the end of their training. Leaving the EU may provide funding for training schemes and hospital building programmes provided there are MPs in place from all parties willing to accept and vote for such funding to go ahead. But why hasn't funding been increased regardless of whether this extra stream is available or not? Even with increased funding, it will be difficult to address certain local NHS issues, such as the difficulty in attracting trained nurses and GPs into the Lincolnshire area due to its international lack of presence in the media. In fact it seems rather strange to me that Mr Gove and Mr Johnson haven't chosen to state this wish to go against Mr Osborne's austerity measures before the EU referendum was called, all rather opportunistic and contrived to try and win Leave votes from Labour working class members maybe?!

Equally the £350m figure been quoted several times by key Remain campaigners as misleading because it is based on "the Treasury's estimation of the GROSS amount the UK contributed to the EU last year, which was actually £17.6bn or £342m a week" (from the Guardian article: Why Vote Leave's £350m weekly EU cost claim is wrong http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2016/may/23/does-the-eu-really-cost-the-uk-350m-a-week). When you take account of the rebate that was negotiated the figure falls to £242m.

Vote Leave hasn't yet analysed how much of the £242m or whatever estimate currently favoured by Leave experts is spent on EU agricultural subsidies, and how much of the amount, if any, covers the special EU Social Fund grants which help keep charities and organisations like Just Lincolnshire afloat. Would such grants and subsidies be maintained or increased through UK funding in the event of Brexit?

I've heard a lot about how Brexit will help the fishing industry (despite the UK having the second best fishing catch record after Spain in the EU) and I'm sure in some areas of the country, like in Grimsby this would be welcomed. I've heard very little on how Lincolnshire Arts funding may be affected or how much would be spent on unemployment programmes (that rely on the EU Social Fund to sustain their budgets despite being part of the Work Programme) to help those not in employment, education or training (NEETs) in the East Midlands post Brexit. Do these areas not matter as much to the Brexit campaign as the fishing industry? According to the Creative Industries website, there are 2.8 million people employed in the creative industry as of 2015; surely their concerns over future funding are just as valid as those involved in the Fishing industry?

For me, it is telling that all too often in the past MPs have been shortlisted in rural areas who have no personal connection to those areas; the party whip has decreed they need "more bums on seats" and will strive to achieve this through any means necessary. Labour MP selections are more democratic than Conservative ones in regards to recruitment and selection despite the "All Women Shortlists" issue that has divided political opinion since their introduction in the 1992 General Election. The same seems to be the same with MEP seats, particularly where UKIP are concerned. I've heard very little from my local UKIP MEPs about how they are helping to promote East Midlands issues in the European Parliament. They make little effort to connect on social media with those from other parties within the Parliament. They just take the "gravy train money" with no feeling of guilt. Yet these UKIP MEPs are accountable to local East Midlands electorate, whether you voted for them directly or not. Why don't more voters have the courage to approach them then?

Knowledge is Power” so wrote the poststructuralist French genius Michel Foucault, but having seen the results from my personal Twitter Poll on EU legislation awareness, individuals in the UK seem to lack fundamental knowledge about EU directives and the workings of the European Parliament! Now I think sometimes it is important as a human being to unashamedly accept that sometimes you do not know better than someone else on a particular issue, notably if there is a strong consensus of opinion built around that issue. For example, when you don't know something about quadratic equations or want to find a recipe for profiteroles for your Mum's 50th birthday, you don't just around cursing your lack of knowledge and berating those that know more than you do; you go to trusted sources like your Maths teacher or the BBC Recipes website to get the methodology to carry out the action you wish to perform. Often that process will involve some element of assimilation, whether that be through intense interrogation of the topic, negotiating together on that methodology or framework to make it easier to follow next time should you or someone else needs to use it and/or cooperating during the process of enactment to achieve the final result whether it is considered perfect or not. At least your effect to engage positively is appreciated! This is why Brexiteers and Remainers alike should at least consult with their MEPs post the EU Referendum if we vote to Remain so they can find out which issues MEPs are trying to deal with in the EU Parliament and for voters to raise issues directly with their MEPs so MEPs can raise and try to deal with them on an EU consensus basis when necessary. "If you don't ask you don't get", as the old maxim goes.

Negotiation and cooperation are two of the most fundamental tools that we use within a modern democratic system and a natural consequence of accepting their functional use is that sometimes you won't get your own way on some issues. Being part of the EU framework means you have to accept that your power and influence should not be greater than the sum of nations within that framework. Sweden and Denmark, due to their smaller population size, only get to send 33 MEPs to sit in the EU Parliament. Britain gets to send 73! Do you know how irksome it is for some of those Swedish and Danish MEPs to watch UKIP ones abstain and disrupt proceedings within the EU Parliament? You can use the excuse that the Parliament really doesn't “do anything” all you like but if you haven't gone to the Parliament, read excerpts from the proceedings or even bothered to elect the MEPs in question, how do you have the right to complain about any lack of power control and accountability? My Swedish and Danish friends ask me about why we accept UKIP MEPs being so rude to those who hold oppositional views, like Nordic Left MEPs when those MEPs listen to UKIP arguments and scrutinise them closely?  This blatant lack of respect for the EU democratic system is one reason why I'm such a strong advocate for better Political, Social and Financial education in the UK starting at primary school level. I believe it is thoroughly shocking that some voters are going into an EU Referendum without having the desire to understand the EU mechanism, EU directives accept willingly that UKIP MEPs should not engage in the EU Parliamentary process despite having seats on several committees! Why elect people who can't be bothered to take part in the process in the first place? It is counterproductive and paints our politicians in a generally bad light across the EU.

I also think it's shameful that we pride ourselves on living in a "great democracy" where certain individuals feel it's OK to deny 16 and 17 year olds the vote because they are too "naïve" to have their say on political, social, cultural and moral issues (despite the fact many of them now study A Level General Studies which includes politics). Leavers have moaned and moaned: "they  don't have the knowledge to form an opinion on any issue..."Yada Yada Yada! They said it during the Scottish Independence Referendum and now they are saying it again. Same Old Bile, different issue. There are many engaged teenage voters who would be only too happy to have their say on the EU Referendum because they know how important it is to have some control over the future direction of their country whether within or outside the EU. If they are old enough to get married, have sex and pay National Insurance contributions then they are old enough to vote. And yes, some of these voters would happen to be Brexit voters! How does the Leave campaign feel about locking out THESE potential voters?  Guaranteeing a vote at 16 is something I'll continue to campaign for regardless of whether the UK chooses to Remain or Leave. Watch this space!

Transgender rights and the EU Referendum

We British people sometimes have to accept, notably on the human rights front, that we are NOT the font of all knowledge. We may be proud to claim we "lead the world" in promotion of human rights and we may indeed have established the Equality Act (2010) which goes further in some rights areas than the EU Fundamental Charter of Human Rights. That still doesn't mean we can act as if we have the "moral high ground" strutting about like a cat on heat without any desire to help other EU countries achieve a parity of rights legislation. That's just plain irresponsible!

One area which everyone seem reluctant to rebuke, is that of the EU's contribution to securing transgender rights in the UK. It could be because they feel that transrights are "too low down on their list of human rights to address", or they think because it only affects a “small” proportion of the population it's not worth addressing. Either that or they're just not able to accept that the first level of  transgender employment rights only became enshrined in law after a "dreaded" European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision taken in April 1996 known as the P v S and Cornwall County Council Case, where a member Press For Change, the UK's key experts in Transgender Law successfully took Cornwall County Council to court and secured essential employment protection for transgender people throughout the EU.

I feel everyone in the LGBTQIA community should know about the case, so summarise it below (thanks to Press for Change for the information: http://www.pfc.org.uk/caselaw/Report%20of%20the%20proceedings%20P%20vs%20S.pdf):

  •  The general manager of an educational establishment in Cornwall (P) notified her employer (S of Cornwall County Council) of her intention to undertake gender reassignment surgery in April 1992. She had been hired as a male at but had indicated her need to go through the "Life Test" whilst in employment (where a person wishing to change their gender has to live in the mode of their chosen gender which at that time had been set at 1 year).
  • She took sick leave in the summer of 1992 to have initial surgery, yet was given 3 months notice of dismissal in September 1992 and told she couldn't return to work in her female gender role even though her final surgical operation took place before the notice of dismissal expired.
  • She then complained that she had been discriminated against on the basis of her gender citing the UK Sex Discrimination Act and took her case to her local Industrial Tribunal.
  •  Truro Industrial Tribunal accepted that the true reason for dismissal was based on her gender reassignment surgery and not on redundancy as Cornwall County Council had originally alleged.
  • However the UK Sex Discrimination Act did not apply in these circumstances because "domestic provision stated that the legal status of "woman" referred to someone born female and not someone going through gender reassignment.
  • Truro Industrial Tribunal itself decided to refer the case to ECJ for a  preliminary hearing based on the fact that the Equal Treatment Directive (76/207/EEC) may have a wider definition of "woman" than the Sex Discrimination Act. It asked 2 questions:
    • Having regard to the purpose of Directive 76/207/EEC which is stated in Article 1 to put into effect the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment etc. … does the dismissal of a transsexual for a reason related to a gender reassignment constitute a breach of the Directive?
    • Whether Article 3 of the Directive which refers to discrimination on grounds of sex prohibits treatment of an employee on the grounds of the employee’s transsexual state?”
  • The ECJ Advocate General, Tesauro decided that  “Articles 2(1) and 5(1) of Council Directive 76/207/EEC must be interpreted as precluding the dismissal of a transsexual on account of a change of sex...to tolerate such discrimination would be tantamount, as regards such a person, to a failure to respect the dignity and freedom to which he or she is entitled, andwhich the Court has a duty to safeguard."

This case is just one of several that has been referred voluntarily by our UK courts to the ECJ for clarification which resulted in a positive change for all EU citizens. I could name several more specifically related to transrights, including the Richards v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2006) where the ECJ found that a British transgender woman had been discriminated against when she was treated as a man and refused a state pension. The battle for trans rights across the EU is far from over so we must our MEP seats at the table to be socially progressive and defend trans people from all forms of prejudice and discrimination. I believe that  power has to be instructive and forceful at times in order to ensure progressive change happens whether the Establishment or "powers that be" in the UK and in the EU like it or not. Having read about ECJ cases in some detail and having spoken to MEPs about the essential role the ECJ plays in helping enshrine key rights for all EU citizens within key legislation I cannot help but choose to vote to Remain in the EU.

To be perfectly honest I fear what might happen should we give an unlimited level of power back to the UK system; back to MPs whose personal mantra is to undo all the social progress the UK has made since the UK joined the EU system in 1975, even if they may not want to admit this in public. Some would at least attempt to undo key elements of EA legislation and destroy the Human Rights Act just so they can have their own "British Bill of Fundamental Rights" (#smugmuch) where they can pick and choose laws at their leisure with no regard for the protection of minority groups.

We have made such rights progress in this country whilst being a part of the EU, what with the Working Time Directive (1998), which gave "6 million UK workers the statutory right to paid annual leave, 2 million of whom had no right to paid leave beforehand" (TUC) or the EU Written Statement Directive, which gave "all employers the right to receive a statement explaining their pay and working conditions within 28 days of starting work" (TUC). The EU are currently reviewing this Directive so they can extend this right to those on zero hour contracts and agency workers; something I feel we would lose out on if we were to leave the EU. Maternity rights may be favourable in the UK, but one area that we can thank the EU for is that since 2008, women on additional maternity leave "have had access to the same contractual rights as women on ordinary maternity leave" which means that employers are now "obliged to make contributions into occupational pension schemes for longer than the first 26 weeks of leave"(TUC). Some Small and Medium sized (SME) employers may hate socially progressive rights legislation and directives because they directly hit their profit line but I have always argued that it's better to protect women who work in administrative, accounting and HR roles who need to take additional leave to recover after a traumatic birth or need to look after their child as a result of them having issues arising from childbirth.

Sometimes standing up for these human rights is equal to wanting a level of domestic power and control.  For me standing up for all European human rights is paramount and non-negotiable. Power and control can be centralised in a number of different locations and used by a number of different people for all sorts of reasons but I feel the more diluted the power is the better. Thus the "Take Back Control" tagline has little effect on me; that power fallacy is one I can very well live without!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Understanding hate: A Personal View


"Let no Man pull you low enough to hate him" Martin Luther King

Hate is such an ugly word. Even seeing the word hate written in a scholarly article on King Henry VIII's second wife whom we all know he beheaded, (#Anne Boleyn) or seeing it in a pompous  fashion magazine decrying the Oscar outfit of Rebel Wilson because it didn't match her eyes or shoes or eyebrow pattern (#Superpicky) makes me feel uneasy. We mere mortals band the word about far too easily in our daily discourse: we "hate the French for their love of  eating frogs", "we hate our Mums because they remind us to take out a coat in case it gets cold after a night out bopping to Drake and Rhi Rhi", we "hate George Osborne because he has the audacity to threaten us with an emergency budget" etc. etc.

It's all too easy to call out hateful comments made by others towards ourselves or our community. To most of us gay turned trans individuals within the LGBTQIA community, hearing the word "gay", "poof" or "batty boy" in our teens has desensitised us to their lexical effectiveness in our 20s. Hearing "abomination" or "pervert" probably has far more of a potent effect on stirring up our anger. Best way to deal with it is to act with confidence; say that the dress you're wearing is "super fly girlfriend" do the sassyclap meets Beyoncé sashay and leave them bewildered searching for a "normaliser" dog rough filter on Snapchat so they can reassure themselves they "all man again". Works for me!  We can be blind to the effect our words have on others at times; as a satirist you learn that being a snazzy rigamoraller can get you into hot water with a variety of different interest groups: "Satire is a prompt recipe for making bitter enemies" noted Charles William Day, in his Maxims, Experiences and Observations of Agogos (1844). Some satirists refuse to apologise for the comments they make if they cause mass hysteria and offence, but I am proud to say that many satirists are using their art to expose hypocrisy in all its putrid forms. John Dos Pasos in his Esquire (1936) defined the sort of activism satirists try to aim for: "A satirist is a man whose flesh creeps so at the ugly and the savage and the incongruous aspects of society that he has to express them as brutally and nakedly as possible to get relief."
 
Notwithstanding this need for verbally checking your own discourse to reduce risk of offending with a capital O, it's much harder to realise and try to correct your own internalised sense of hatefulness. The worst kind of hate you can perpetrate is self-loathing. As Sigmund Freud noted in his 1915 psychoanalytic book The Instincts and their Vicissitudes, "hate is an ego state that wishes to destroy the state of its own unhappiness." Building up a mass of bitterness and resentment is not the way to go; it poses the greatest risk to your own mental state and can lead to you hurting those that you love the most, or desensitise you to such an extent you feel justified in carrying out any old haphazard cold hard murder of a stranger who have never done you any personal physical or emotional harm.

So hate is a synonym for anger. We are all angry about injustice in one form or another, but we rarely act on this anger in any meaningful way. Those that do have two choices: act in a constructive, progressive way or a destructive, regressive way.
  • If you wish to act in a constructive way, you advocate your cause peacefully, making your point in a sentient and well thought out manner. You're more likely to watch Question Time than take part in Uncle George's wannabe Viking Footie Hooligan raiding party down Marseilles way. You join organisations that reflect your views to work collectively to try and advance your cause. So more Oxfam and Age Concern and less We Must be selfish and only think of putting Britain First. Some people may "hate" your politics or ideologies whilst you are engaged in this action, but I very much doubt they hate you as a person.
  • If you wish to act in a destructive way, you try and disrupt and discredit everyone's views in the most violent, narcissistic manner. You're more likely to indulge in watching videos of yourself on repeat sassing black people for daring to want to be considered British Citizens and less likely to vote for a Muslim to be able to decide whether body shaming ads should be banned this side of 300000 AD. You aim to cause the maximum amount of harm to advance your own case and don't care if friends or family who disagree with you get hurt in the process, both emotionally and physically. If the Mrs disagrees you wouldn't think twice about giving her a black eye and showing off her subjugated state to impress your mates. You join organisations that wish to inflict this harm in a collectively destructive way. That means you wouldn't give Stonewall a second glance but wouldn't hesitate to pay moulah to go to a far right neo-Nazi festival love in down Thurrock way. Most people will certainly distrust your politics or ideologies while you engage in this action and will hate you as a person for it.
It would be ludicrous for sociologists, psychologists and political commentators not to see that British and world culture is saturated with a sense of self loathing and destructive hatred. Hate crime is becoming more prevalent as the fracture lines in our western democracies begin to be exposed to the elements of change. These crimes happen for more than one reason or two reasons. As Abby Ferber, a professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado has recently noted, "these attacks are multidimensional...psychological factors may be one factor, but there are other cultural and sociological factors". 

One factor that unnerves me is that the Internet has opened up a world of connectivity for vengeful narratives to come together and multiply like unwanted herpes after a regretful one night outside GAY nightclub. Social media can give platforms for haters to "find support and applause for their feelings." Haters feel victimised in some way; they feel their lifestyle, culture or religion is under threat. They feel especially threatened by visible cultural change, such as the growth in the number of women in positions of power in previously male-dominated industries, or by the growing acceptance of the LGBTQIA community by the mainstream cis society. LGBTQIA bloggers can't help to ease haters' bombastic nonfantastic guilt complex, but we can try and show them the similarities we have with them- whether it be whether you prefer fish and chips or curry or whether Leicester City should try and pinch Mesut Özil for the next football season. A great way to diffuse any situation is to make reference to a comedic hero; Miranda and her unfortunate habit of hooking her loose clothing to any stationary object in the pub comes to mind here :P

Going Politico:

Now most MPs enter the political arena to make a positive difference to their local communities, the groups and identities they feel an affinity for and to generally make the UK a stronger, safer and better place to live in. You may not agree with your local MP, you may not have voted for them or you may never have voted for any political figure in your life and have no intention of voting in the future. What you have to accept is that many MPs are working collaboratively on a daily basis, across party political lines. They aren't all like Gorgeous George "Karma Chameleon" Osborne wanting  to engage in character assassinations in the vain hope of securing the vote majority of a few wackos come General Election Time. I have massive respect for Diane Abbott, Caroline Lucas, Nicola Sturgeon, Gisela Stuart, Theresa May and Jess Phillips; all female politicians from across the political spectrum. I equally respect MEPs who have campaigned tirelessly on gender equality and LGBTQIA issues like Richard Corbett.

I may not agree with my local MP or MEPs based on their quite obvious right wing views, especially with their opposition to same sex marriage and not wanting to take in an increased amount of child refugees into Lincolnshire and the East Midlands. I may not agree with them on their stance on the EU referendum or the austerity cuts that have led to massive issues with council budgets. However I have no personal issue with my MP or MEPs and wouldn't wish them emotional or physical harm.

If you are going to engage in any politically, culturally or socially sensitive discussion you have to respect the opinions of the other side. The problem is that extreme right wing or left wing commentators find it very difficult to respect rhetorical boundaries and refuse to engage in civil conversations. They want to privilege their own view without wanting to understand the other side's viewpoint. That fosters a feeling of hatred that leads to a focus on personal points scoring of epic proportions and can whip up a whole host of hateful views that can lead those that who may not fully understand the issues to act in the most heinous of ways.

Let he without sin cast the first stone (Dorian BOAF LOLs)
Christians like myself have learnt from the Bible that God condemns hatred in many of the passages contained in the Old and New Testament. Leviticus 19:7 for example states that "thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart". Jesus hated the "doctrines" and "deeds" of the Nicolaitans (Christian heretics) but he did not hate the Nicolaitans themselves. Jesus hated the sins he saw committed in Judea (like the moneychangers in the Temple at Jerusalem) but he wanted us to "love our enemies" because God loves us all equally in his heart, regardless of the actions we may commit whilst on Earth. In John 8:7 Jesus stopped Jews from enacting the Mosaic law against a woman who had been accused of adultery (stoning required); "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." None of them were completely free from sin, so none of them had the right to condemn her for her actions. So whether people like the way you live your life or not, it is not up to them to judge you for it. If "God is Love", then he must accept LBGTQIA individuals have a right to exist and that we should be loved for our authenticity and confidence. So what's the point in being engaged in self loathing? I certainly haven't got OCSTD- "Obsessive Compulsive Self Troller Disorder!"

In conclusion, "hate" is a poisonous emotion and we must try and prevent ourselves as well as others from falling under the spell of hateful doctrine. I'll leave you with one of my favourite verses from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:9:"Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools".
 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Defining the Conservative Justice Warrior (CJW)

Fools are my theme, let satire be my song. Lord Byron English Bards and Scotch Reviewers
 
Hello dear blog readers!
 
CJWs after Orlando
The time has come for me to address a particularly sentient epistemological issue that exists within the social media world. It's basically the modern version of an EPIC battle that's been raging ever since humans first started debating which cave painting was the "most beautiful" by creating new cave paintings to show approval or disapproval with the original one, with the chosen judges never really agreeing fully with either side despite mad finger pointing and wagging designating a wish for some definitive answer from an "objective source of truth" that'll never come!

With that in mind, which political leaning is best for advocating a positive, progressive approach for LGBTQIA individuals - the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) or "leftie" approach or what I now call the Conservative Justice Warrior (CJW) or "rightie" approach?

Now I guess I could be accused of having a vested interest in the debate, having been labelled as a SJW by a few UK based commentators pretty much since I started using my Twitter account in May 2016; perhaps my "how very dare you" desire to exercise my democratic right to exist and comment on issues as they happen online in my own way as a trans dyspraxic and dyslexic person annoyed the hell out of those who are very quick to judge in private conversations but too timid to say "Jack Shit" about it in public. Yes, there are conservatives out there who are so hung up on their inner conservative identity that they want  people to think the Sun shines out their "perfect" asses when really they hate the mere existence of a debate on queer identities or trans rights activism in the first place.

It seems bizarre to me that all of the users who labelled me were white, cis, (often older) men who tried to tell me that me using any form of contretemps was "just plain wrong" and "sinful" without even pointing to any specific lines of lexis and syntax that demonstrated I was wrong in the comments I made. Perhaps they were just threatened by my rhetorical ability and strength of conviction to call them out on their own hidden prejudices and for daring to talk of "trans issues" whilst debating political ones. Guess what - politics and trans identity issues ARE linked! Anyone observing current events connected with "bathroom wars down North Carolina way" knows that.
 
Why can't most North Carolianians accept this?
CJWs want trans people to "drop the bathroom nonsense" like "right now." They don't believe that trans people should be advocating at all for their right to use the gender bathroom they identity with and yet when a practical solution to the problem is offered in the form of
providing gender neutral bathrooms that would satisfy all parties concerned and most moderate conservatives agree with it,  they shut down the argument by stating there is a  "massive cost to the taxpayer" or  that "women and children could still get raped in a gender neutral bathroom and their safety matters first." Same old, same old!

I believe CJWs are being very selective semantically; they know that women regularly use male cubicles if women's bathrooms are crowded on a night out without much concern because they know the chances of being raped in a nightclub are minimal compared to being raped at home by a family member or friend. The cubicles have locks on them so it's easy to do a poop and leave. ITS COMMON SENSE! I have no issues with using such cubicles because I always have used them and have never used urinals. I pee sitting down and have done since I was potty trained in 1991!

Nonetheless, for those transwomen who haven't had the confidence to go in men's bathrooms for fear of being attacked, they must have the right to use a women's bathroom and vice versa for transmen, unless NC legislators back down and install those gender neutral toilets! Knowing US southern state politics this is very unlikely any time soon!
 
So what's so special about CJWs?

A CJW is essentially any individual, of any gender persuasion and sexuality who promotes socially regressive ultra conservative  patriarchal views in a forceful, shallow, ill-constructed way and for their own personal gain at the cost of all those who disagree in any way with their views. They also regularly bemoan the fact that their cause isn't being listened to and that they are the victims of a diverse agenda. They are usually evangelical Christians (but can be orthodox Jews or hard-line Muslims or even atheists)  who want to crush the "individuality myth" and hate political correctness in all its forms, especially when related to LGBTQIA, feminist, anticorruption (socialist) and antiracist identity politics. 

CJWs  hate feminism so much they want to "crush it" semantically speaking because of their mistaken belief that such "identity driven politics" stop individuals being themselves. It's the same when it comes to labels within the LGBTQIA community; they accuse us of "adding labels for the sheer hell of it" without even bothering to do their own research as to what these extra labels constitute and why the LGBT community have started to include them in key social and political campaigns. We SJWs see such political collaborations on social media platforms as a powerful way to try and enact change, at a local, national and global level. We care a lot about making sure we reach a variety of audiences, so as to empower those whose voices may be disenfranchised or disarmed in their communities. We are inclusive but won't tolerate people thinking they are better than everyone else on every level. We'll leave that to CJWs.

CJWs are very adept at retweeting and rehashing the thoughts of their demigods on a daily basis. They love mass buying merchandise to show their support; some will spend hundreds of $ or £ on tacky tees and ridiculously biased books (they're basically regurgitated antiquated forms of propaganda masquerading as treatises on modern lifestyles). Many regularly attack those commentators  whom their masters declare are "the enemy" and make it clear through tweets or posts that they must be attacked at all costs so as to protect their own wanton ego driven credibility. These "trumpeters" are pretty much groupie creators for the status quo. Accuse me of cognitive dissonance if you will but remember that CJWs are no better than SJWs when it comes to the sustained levels of promotion for their cause(s).

I've seen CJWs adopt stances which are "the most" acceptable to their social circle, an attack which has been levelled at SJWs! I'm sure dear Mamma and Papa would be veldig glad you brought a "drop dead gorgeous" boyfriend home these days but there are the usual ridic caveats; he has to be white, (preferably European or American), "straight acting" (whatever the hell that is), in business or have a good steady job, only like "manly" sports and must never under any circumstances show up "the family" at a posh dinner party dressed in a multi-coloured dinner jacket and acting like Graham Norton and Alan Carr on steroids/LSD/any drug other than cocaine.

Sassy Truths from Patsy
Often CJWs want LGBTQIA people to apologise profusely for having the audacity to have been born the way they are and so must try everything in their power to get them to conform to principles espoused by the conservative "Establishment" which are ultra oppressive in nature. For example, some  CJWs love to say they are "the best" at being Christians; they demonstrate this by espousing the banally retentive view that marriage should remain the preserve of what they term "ordinary decent" people- i.e. between man and woman.

We can't espouse any view that may be deemed "dangerous to life"- that means no abortion, no euthanasia, no right to choose what you do with the body that God gave you whilst you're trying to eek out an existence on Planet Earth. Liberal Christians like myself have no issue with abortion, euthanasia, tattooing or any other "body abomination" CJW Christians want to decry. As Jerimiah 22:3 notes "Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood...."

Some CJWs even want to go so far as to "cure" their own homosexuality or feminism and consequently feel that all people should be curing themselves of any sexuality that deviates from "the norm". This can lead to the premise that transpeople shouldn't be allowed to marry just because they dare to challenge the patriarchal ideal that marriage should only be for those that want to "beget children." CJWs want transwomen to feel inferior because they can't biologically give birth to a child.
 
CJWs also love the idea that there should be a dress code for transgender people to follow in the workplace so as to not "offend" their colleagues. This means that a transman can't be seen as a man unless he's wearing a monochrome washed out suit to work and transwomen can't wear lace dresses just in case there is a "bulge" flash when clients are coming to discuss their business tax returns for the year. I know transgender people would never willingly wear anything controversial to the office for fear of being deemed a pervert or fetishist, so to patronise trans people in this way is just pathetic!

CJWs seen through a homogeneous grouping lens are not special at all; they just like to think they are. They say the same about SJWs; they love grouping us together on random "hit" lists and attacking us for our collective (usually feminist) views. I think SJWs should respond by grouping CJWs together and calling them out on their prejudices. Fighting fire with fire may mean you get a little burnt in the process but I'm a great believer in the "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" philosophy.

What can SJWs do about CJWs?

Here's a few arguments CJWs use to defend their position and suggestions as to how to rebuke it:
  • "Heterophobia is real" - I'm sure it is real, but there are far more heterosexuals in the world than there are LGBTQIA individuals and we have been silenced and oppressed by restrictive punitive legislation over thousands of years. It's just a fact. Now we're using the equal rights legislation that has been passed in our own countries to celebrate our different  identities and live our lives the way we want to live them. Yes we want to pass even more legislation to help others who are being oppressed and denigrated against. If being passionate about this means we are hetereophobic, we'll own the label. Labels are vacuous unless you identify with them in any meaningful way anyways. If you brush off your LGBTQIAphobic comments we'll just brush off the hetereophobic ones. Simples!
  • "Misandry is as bad as misogyny" That's very true- but I'd point out sociologist Allen G. Johnson's work on the issue. In The Gender Knot: Unraveling our Patriarchal Legacy (1997) Johnson contends that the comparison between misandry and misogyny is misguided because mainstream culture offers no comparable misandry ideology. The accusations only work when people "confuse men as individuals with men as a dominant and privileged body of people." Equally anthropologist David D. Gilmore has stated that misandry refers "not to the hatred of men as men, but to the hatred of men's traditional role".
  • All you SJWs do is just generalise everyone" Well if you've  read my previous blog posts you'll discover just how similar yet different trans people are to heteronormals or cis people. Everyone belongs to one homogeneous group "humans" but we all have traits which make us individual. We all choose to identify with groups that best represent us. You choose conservative, evangelical, groups that wish to promote and maintain the status quo to mix with, and I choose socially liberated, queer groups that want to change the makeup of the Establishment to mix with. It's different horses for different courses. And you'd be angry if we denigrated you for being a warrior so you can protect your own group's interests hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
  • "You're just another feminist that thinks they know everything" Well anyone can be a feminist. It's not a concept owned by any gender identity and many feminists love that trans women and men want to join the cause. We are all hurt by the current patriarchal dominance perpetrated by antiquated Judeo-Christian or Muslim principles.  Men don't own the monopoly on intellect and wisdom- not anymore! We may be widely read, well educated and socially aware but we've never said we "know everything"! Are you scared of women who want to be politicians, philosophers, business leaders and sports players? Those fields have been male domains in the past but not anymore. Transwomen deserve as good a place as any within these fields and that's why we advocate feminism so fervently!
  • "You just want to be oppressed" Nobody wants to be oppressed by anyone. Not unless they're some BDSM fetishist in the 50 Shades of Grey vein. It's the attitude CJWs have to SJWs that oppresses them. The oppression is coming from those in a position of privilege down to those who have very little influence politically or socially. In the UK we still haven't reached a situation where our parliamentary representation matches that of the social make-up of the UK. I'm a big fan of the 50:50 Parliamentary movement and believe that women only shortlists can be an effective way to get to that desired goal. If its anti-democratic, remember that in the past only upper class white men would have been put on a shortlist to be elected to Parliament and we're just trying to even the playing field a little using the methods that are openly available to us to do it.
  • "Hate just breeds more hate"- That's true, but why should LGBTQIA people always unconditionally love those that do harm to them all the time without rationalising why people choose to hate them. We could all turn "the other cheek" but if we then get attacked with a gun and killed or maimed or raped afterwards, we're the ones who have lost out. However we're not going to attack a whole group of people just because the individual that attacked us used a label to identify themselves with that group. And don't say that LGBTQIA people are weak; we can fight just as hard as any other type of person. Would you say the same to Black Lives Matter movement (yes) or the Gun Lobby (no)? Would you evangelicals be angry if we denigrated Muslims for their religious faith and intolerance? Nope didn't think so.
  • "Oh so I guess my opinion doesn't matter anymore"- Your opinion does matter; after all it's good to have a healthy debate. Just be careful not to denigrate your opponent offhand to massage your own ego and then you'll be listened to. After all we can agree to disagree at the end of the debate.
 
A final thought:
 
It's hilarious to see that CJWs decry SJW social media presence by saying "we have no life outside of the internet". Well I say: let's sound the pot calling kettle black klaxon on loudspeaker! Many CJWs are too afraid to speak their mind in person to address their political opponents, so create personas online that allow them to do it freely. SJWs find having a social media platform to advocate, inform and engage with people a positive, empowering experience. Living in a democracy means that we both have the right to engage in political and social discussion whatever side of the debate we are on. SJWs will happily listen to CJWs. But just remember this; show some respect for our viewpoint if you want us to show some respect for yours.