Trans activism is now just misogyny in drag, by Brendan O’Neill.
Consider what happened to British singer Alison Moyet. Last week, on Twitter, she said she didn’t want to be known as a cis-woman, just as a woman. ‘I defend everyone’s right to have the pronoun that they choose and will honour it’, she diplomatically said. And ‘I do not choose Cis for mine’, she continued. ‘It took women like me long enough to own the title “woman” in the first place. It’s a long enough word for me.’
The response to this calm, clear, polite act of self-definition? Fury. And insult. And abuse. On such a voluble level that Moyet eventually recanted her linguistic heresy, deleted her tweet, and left Twitter.
‘Cis’ is one of those BS terms that nobody outside of the Twitterverse or the Queer Studies departments at universities ever uses. It means someone who still identifies as the gender that they were assigned at birth. Even that explanation of what cis means will strike your average person as eccentric bunkum: for most normal people, newborn boys and girls aren’t ‘assigned’ a gender, presumably by some awareness-lacking, transphobic doctor or midwife who arrogantly assumes that people who possess a penis are boys and people who possess a vagina are girls – rather, they simply are boys and girls, for real, biologically, truthfully, and in the view of the vast majority of humankind who know a boy or girl when they see one as surely as they know a table when they see one.
So, many will no doubt have cheered Moyet’s little revolt against the idea that she is a cis-woman. Against the bizarre insistence that she and the rest of us define ourselves in relation to the tiny, strange world of trans-activism. Against the expectation that we should constantly declare the fact that we are not trans by saying instead that we are cis – so I am a cis-man, Moyet is a cis-woman, and so on.
What happened to Moyet for her rejection of the cis tag is a depressing sign of the times. She was mocked, ridiculed, accused of stoking hatred of trans people. She was bombarded with stern, abusive tweets. How dare this woman call herself a woman – that was the bizarre and more than a little misogynistic undertone to the mauling of Moyet. It got so bad that Moyet eventually gave up. She withdrew her sinful tweet in which she dared to say she was a ‘woman’ and recanted her speechcrime: ‘Ok, people. You win. I get that I’m reprehensible… I delete.’ Then she said she was leaving Twitter for a month, for the the sin of ‘egregiously offending a whole community’. …
Indeed, trans activism looks increasingly like misogyny in drag. In the Moyet affair, if we are being honest, we essentially had men telling a woman to shut the fuck up. We had men who think they are women, and some of their male allies too, attacking a woman for saying, ‘I am a woman’.
From the ’80s: