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Sex is Better on Thursday Linkage: Everything you Need to Know about the Suzanne Moore “Trans Scandal”

January 17, 2013

Brazilian transexual, feminist anger, the ‘arrival’ of the trans lobby, and a journalist leaving twitter. Did you get it all this week?

In case you didn’t, here’s the summary (without commentary/opinion for now) with all the links you need:

A few days ago Suzanne Moore (a journalist for the Guardian) wrote a piece on ‘the power of female anger‘. In this otherwise unremarkable post, one line has sparked controversy:

We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.

The comment sparked a Twitter frenzy with many calling it transphobic. Moore published a response defending her position. Via Twitter, she also further justified her choice to use ‘transsexual’ rather than ‘trans woman’, as well referring to a trans body as the punchline of a joke. After tweeting about solidarity, she added:

I don’t prioritize this fucking lopping bits of [sic] your body over all else that is happening to women.

Julie Burchill came to Moore’s defence/made things worse in a piece that likened Moore’s critics to “a gaggle of transsexuals” and compared their criticisms to the “Black and White Minstrels telling Usain Bolt how to run.” Burchill also accused naysayers of having “their nuts taken off…by endless decades in academia” and finished the piece by calling those in the trans movement “shims, shemales, whatever you’re calling yourselves these days.”

Thankfully, there have since been calls for Burchill’s resignation. Yesterday Martin Bright via the Spectator published another confused “support” piece for Moore claiming things had gone too far and assuring the public that Moore would surely invite Brazilian transexuals to tea. Um, Moore you need better friends.
Moore apologizes and decides to leave Twitter, but seemingly minutes later returns.

Phew! For some excellent commentary on the whole thing, check out Jezebel’s light piece, a more rigorous commentary here, a longer summary and commentary here and an announcement that all of this signals ‘the arrival’ of the trans community here.

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Megan MacKenzie is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney in Australia. Her main research interests include feminist international relations, gender and the military, the combat exclusion for women, the aftermaths of war and post-conflict resolution, and transitional justice. Her book Beyond the Band of Brothers: the US Military and the Myth that Women Can't Fight comes out with Cambridge University Press in July 2015.