One should always be as nice as possible when one is about to be as unpleasant as necessary, so I will start this post with a link here to a fine piece of writing by Beatrix Campbell in which she talks about coming out and what it cost her, and why she is hostile to people who stay in the closet. It’s a good piece, on the whole.
Which is why I find it almost staggering that someone who can write so movingly about her own predicament as a young married woman who discovered that she was a lesbian can be so utterly unforgiving and brutally hostile to trans women and men who went through processes of self-discovery at least as gruelling.
One of the standard charges back in the 70s of people on the Left who objected to interest in feminism and LGBT rights was that it would inevitably lead to solipsism, to people obsessing about their own experiences and losing track of other people’s humanity. As always with what that sort of Stalinoid thug says, this was usually a monstrous lie, but on occasion touched on a grain of truth. There is no sorrow like unto the sorrow of Beatrix Campbell and certainly not the sorrow of trans people.
There is something wrong with Beatrix Campbell and Julie Bindel’s capacity for empathy – Shaw says in Saint Joan something along the lines of ‘Must a saint burn in every generation for the sake of those who have no imagination’ and there was a man who knew his comrades and sisters.
I am amazed that Campbell has been adopted as a candidate by the Green party after the utter debacle of her involvement with the satanic panic of the 90s. This is a woman who used her access to the press to claim that there was a vast conspiracy to suppress evidence of satanic abuse and criticized all those who disagreed for ‘an inability to imagine that ‘satanic’ practices actually happen, that ‘organising rituals to penetrate any orifice available in troops of little children; to cut open rabbits or cats or people and drink their blood; to shit on silver trays and make the children eat it’
Generally, can we say that all of this throws a certain shadow on her judgement – the general conclusion was that there was no vast conspiracy, that in a few cases abusers used ritual trappings to cow their victims, that this was a problem that did not need radical solutions. Campbell argued, not unsympathetically, that we should err on the side of believing possible victims, especially children, but ignored the extent to which the children had been badgered into belief by her right-wing Christian allies on this one.
She let herself become a useful idiot for mad fundies that time, and now she is, on the subject of trans, lining up not only with her jolly little crack-em-up in the aisles standup comedian Bindel – her description, not mine – but with evil Christianist loonies. It’s a sad fate for a former Marxist who once understood solidarity.
Which brings us back to Julie Bindel, who has taken a day off from moaning that we are mean in no-platforming her, to propose here a ban on advertisements for sexual services. Does she really not understand that the more prostitutes are unable to work from flats, the more they will be on the street, getting raped, killed and forced to have unprotected sex?
I do worry sometimes that JB really does know and does not care, that the deaths of actual prostitutes are just a necessary stage in the transitional movement towards the prohibition of whoring, just as driving trans people to misery and madness and suicide would be a necessary stage in the transition towards her vision of the regendered future. She seems to be hanging out a lot with my old chum Fiona McTaggart, who, when young, had a short infatuation with the Khmer Rouge, another group who thought you could build utopia on a pile of skulls
Am I being ill-tempered and intemperate? No, I have just got fucking fed up with being nice Roz.
Later and isn’t it interesting that various people’s attempts to recall the satanic panic in the comments on Campbell’s anti-trans piece have been expunged? From Comment is Free But Clearly Not As Free As All That.