“The freedom of transgender people will improve everyone’s lives in society.”
This is the first line in Shon Faye, British author,’The Transgender Issue. An Argument for Justice’. It forms the heart of Shon’s hopeful, inspiring, and necessary manifesto. If you have ever been in the British media over the past few decades you may have heard a completely different and more racist story.
Despite the fact that transgender people account for less than 1% of Britain’s total population, they still face harassment and toxic abuse from influential British figures and British media. British media is increasingly focusing on transgender people and presenting them with negative, discriminatory coverage. This obsessive, open-minded tirade against bigotry disguises itself as a “debate,” a culture war that bars trans people from being heard. Instead, trans people constantly find their wide range of experiences distilled into the same anti-trans subjects.
Faye outlines all this in her highly-recommended, thoroughly researched and persuasive book the Transgender Issue. An Argument for Justice,, in which Faye reclaims “the transgender problem” and centers on different experiences of transgender people today, young and old.
Faye wrote in her book’s preface that transgender people often get lumped together under the title “the transgender problem”. This dismisses and erases the complex lives of transgender individuals, reduces them to stereotypes, on which social anxiety can be brought to bear.
The transgender topic is generally viewed as a toxic debate, difficult topic, and a topic that needs to be discussed (usually by trans people) in television programs, newspaper opinions pieces, and university philosophy departments. Rarely are transgender people seen. The title “Transgender Issue” is deliberately and intentionally reappropriated in this book to highlight the realities of transgender issues today rather than how they might be imagined by those who don’t face them.
Credit to Paul Samuel White
Faye explores power and the so-called “debates”, which show that transgender people are not included in public conversation. (I recognize that writing about this text as a UK cis journalist is an important privilege. In the introduction to her book, Faye writes that trans people are reduced to an issue or a topic. The truth is that trans-related media talk only about the issues they are facing, and not ours.
The Transgender Issue offers hope. The book, is a “manifesto of change”, according to publisher Allen Lane. It calls for healthier and more diverse conversations about trans people’s lives, which reflect this wide range. Faye advocates for trans rights in order for a just and free world. She also promotes solidarity among all those who are marginalized and fighting for justice.
The hell that this transgender activist had to go through was beyond comprehension. This is how she came out the other side.
Faye’s book covers many topics, including the true challenges that trans people face. It starts with the distortion of the discussion around trans people by the media and how social media can be both toxic and empowering. The book focuses on trans life, which includes stories about family, relationships and parenting. It also discusses how trans people navigate school, education, find housing, employment and healthcare. Faye also discusses how state violence and systemic discrimination against trans persons prevent them from “moving freely in public places with dignity and privacy.”
Faye examines the struggles of trans people for justice with other marginalized people and explains trans relations within LGBTQ+ and feminist groups. She writes that “Trans people have suffered over 100 years of injustice.” Our lives have been savaged, victimized, and pathologized. Only if we are able to imagine a society completely different from our current one, can we achieve full emancipation. The book focuses on how trans people are often made to feel uneasy by society as it exists today. It does, however, not only address transgender people but anyone routinely disabled or dispossessed.
It has received high praises in the UK. Vic Parsons, a journalist, described it as “an important nonfiction work that should change our tired conversation about trans people.” Refinery29’s personal reaction to the book was, “It is radically different from much of what has previously been published about trans peoples lives, and it politicises our struggles, and places them in solidarity alongside those of other marginalised group of people.”
Mashable has a copy of Faye’s Transgender Issue. This extract is adapted from Faye’s book’s Prologue. You’ll find it below. This book is a must-read for everyone.
The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice by Shon Faye
Based on the Prologue
Trans people’s freedom would make our lives better. Because I think the more modest goals of trans rights or equality are not sufficient, I call it ‘liberation. In a patriarchal world where everyone is exploited and degraded, trans people shouldn’t strive to become equals. Instead, we should seek justice for others and ourselves.
Trans people have suffered over 100 years of injustice. Trans people have suffered discrimination, victimization and pathologization. Only if we are able to imagine a society completely different from our current one, can we achieve full emancipation. The book focuses on how trans people are often made to live in a difficult society. However, the book does not only address transgender people but all those who are routinely disabled and dispossessed.
In order to create a society where transgender people are not abused, neglected, or even subject to violence, we need to have full autonomy over our bodies and free, universal healthcare. Affordable housing is available for everyone. These systemic changes will also benefit all those who are marginalized in society both here and around the globe.
True trans freedom is a demand that overlaps with those of socialists, workers, feminists, antiracists, and queer people. These are radical demands because they get to the heart of society and its future. Many people are anxious about transgender individuals because they either fear what will replace the status quo, or feel invested in it.
Trans people often get lumped together under the umbrella of “the transgender problem”, which ignores and erases trans life’s complexity.
To neutralize any potential threats to social norms that trans people pose, the establishment always tried to restrict and limit their freedom. This has been done in part through ridiculing our political needs, and making them a culture war issue. Trans people often get lumped together under the heading of “the transgender problem”. This dismisses and erases trans life’s complexity, and reduces them to stereotypes that can be used to address social anxiety. The transgender topic is often viewed as a toxic debate, difficult topic, and a topic that needs to be discussed (often by non-trans people) in television programs, newspaper opinions pieces, and university philosophy departments. Rarely are transgender people seen. To show the real issues faced by transgender people, this book deliberately and intentionally reappropriates “transgender issue” to highlight them, not as imagined by those who don’t face them.
Trans people today are not represented equally and have no access to true redistributive policies and representational equality. However, more people than ever are coming out. Right-wing media has made trans people one of the most targeted groups, along with Muslims and immigrants in general, Gypsy and Roma communities, Traveller communities and Black Lives Matter. Feminists who challenge state violence against women are also being mentioned. These and other groups have all been reduced to issues within a toxic, polarized public debate between different value systems. Trans people have become a topic of debate for years. Trans has been reduced to just a few points of conversation: whether there are nonbinary individuals and are gender neutral pronouns reasonable; whether trans children with dysphoria should have the right to begin their transition; whether women in trans sports will be the dominant force at the Olympics; and, of course, the ongoing debate about changing rooms and toilets.
These talking points will not be repeated in this book. Forcing transgender people to engage in closed-loop discussions ad infinitum, I think is a tactic used by those who want to oppress us. These debates can be exhausting and time-consuming distractions that distract us from the real issue: how oppressed we really are. Toni Morrison, an author, once described how this tactic was used by whites against people of color: “The very serious function of racism is distraction,” she said to students at Portland State University, 1975. It prevents you from doing what is important. You can keep explaining your reasons for being here, over and again. It is. . All of these are unnecessary. “There will always be another thing.” The public debate about transgender people’s experiences is similarly distorted.
This book is my attempt to shift the conversation, to get beyond the discussion about trans people that has been framed as culture war by people who wish to incite a culture war and start a healthier and more inclusive conversation about trans people across the UK. This book isn’t a memoir. To be able to help me, you don’t need to have access to my intimate private life. Do not worry about the “why”; focus on the “what”. What is it like to be trans in a transphobic community? It is too often violence, discrimination, and prejudice at the moment.
This book will help cis readers (non trans) to recognize the inequalities that many trans people experience. It is good that trans people are not referred to as the “transgender issue”. This has the unfortunate effect of making trans people the ‘other’ and cutting them off from the solidarity of others. This is why a new conversation must be started to reverse this separation and examine what we have in common and where we are different from other marginalized or minorities. Only through compassion, solidarity and radical reimagining can we create a happier and more just world for everyone.
This is an excerpt from The Transgender issue: An Argument for Justice, Shon Faye’s publication by Allen Lane published Sept. 2, 2021.
Publited Fri, 3 Sep 2021 at 16:15:05 +0000