AI: Reopening a can of worms


*Trigger warning* Burchill/Moore incident, again…

A few articles that cover what happened rather well, in my humble option: Lindey West, Natalie Reed

Just as things have calmed down around the Moore/Burchill transphobia mess, I want to reopen that can of worms to take an opportunity to be reflective. Now, I don’t have much to say on the topic, because many more talented and versed writers have already exhausted the topic. What I do want to talk about is what I think gets lost in all of the rhetoric flying around, and that’s that there are people involved.

Julie Burchilll, however right or wrong she may be, felt the response to her friend Suzzane Moore’s article was an attack on Moore. Judging from the viciousness of her “defense,” Burchill took this “attack” as degrading to Moore’s legacy and character. Put more simply, she felt she had to defend a friend whom was being unjustly attacked. I can understand this very emotional response; If I felt that one of my close friends was being unjustly attacked, then I would jump to their defense. My close friends have seen me through very dark, painful times, and continue to do so to this day; most recently with the start of my transition—if any of them happened to be reading this, I love you guys so much. My loyalty isn’t arbitrary, it is out of love and, to a lesser degree, respect. I suspect that Burchill’s loyalty to Moore is similar in nature.

It is of the gravest of fortune that the way she went about “defending” her friend was by digging up some of her own transphobia, and by saying transphobic things she probably doesn’t believe. Instead of actually constructively defending Moore—If there is an actual defense for Moore’s comment—she went on the attack with the obvious intent to hurt feelings. And you know what? She succeed. In her anger, she threw sucker punches, and they—personally—hurt. She hit such major sources of anxiety for me that I have to wonder if she googled “most hurtful things to say to trans people,” and then wrote her article around that premise.

What I am getting at here is that things got out of hand during a discussion about Moore’s usage of transphobic terminology. We know how they responded—which was poorly, to put it mildly—but how did we respond as the Trans/Queer community? What did we do right? What could we have done better?


The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 3pm ET.

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