I would like to give my thanks to The Grauniad for giving me yet another cause to rejoice at the coming extinction of newspapers.
Namely, I am referring to this vengeful little article [TW: Extreme transphobia; gender essentialism; very, very bad writing] penned by one Ms. Christine Benvenuto of the United Kingdom. It would seem that Ms. Benvenuto was married for some years to a closeted transgender woman whose eventual need for transition came as a very rude psychological shock to her, and ultimately resulted in the collapse of her marriage.
Now, of course, I can sympathize with Ms. Benvenuto’s feelings. And I cannot, in good conscience, blame her for not “supporting” her “husband” by choosing to remain married to her; it hardly seems unreasonable to want to be married to a member of the sex that you actually find attractive, and clearly her sexual or romantic orientation has no real bearing on her value as a Human Being. However, what I cannot sympathize with is her blatant transmisogyny.
For it’s pretty clear that Benvenuto’s main purpose in writing this article is to get revenge on her ex. Fairly obviously, I think, this alone should make her odious little work something that newspapers like the Guardian ought to refrain from publishing*. But even then, she could ave found some way to get her petty, vindictive kicks in without blatantly disseminating the most vile libel against the entire class of transsexual women.
Here are just some choice excerpts:
It is inescapable: for me there is something slightly creepy and more than slightly sad about a man in women’s clothes. Male legs in sheer stockings. The sight of Tom in an exact replica of a skirt that was once my favourite. It is creepy for one woman to copycat another, the stuff of thrillers. Creepier for a man to do the same. Creepier still if that man is your husband.
Do you get that everyone? Male-bodied people who wear women’s clothing are sick freaks! Clearly, that angry dudebro who screamed obscenities at me on the bus a few months ago was my moral superior.
At the time, though some friends didn’t know what to make of him, most thought Tom sweet, gentle, the sensitive type – qualities that, when I encounter them in my friends’ husbands, now cause me, entirely unfairly, to cringe on my friends’ behalf. As if I could see the knickers, the tweezers, the boat-sized high heels heading their way.
LAWL! “Boat-sized high heels!” ‘Cuz tr*nnies got big feet, amirite!
Of course, eventually it reached the point where she had to break off the marriage:
I took it for granted that if Tom was really going to live as a woman, he would move away, or the children and I would move away. It went without saying that I wasn’t going to attempt a fresh start in the small town in which we had lived together as a happy family, passing Tom on the street in a dress.
When I put this to Tom, he erupted. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m not leaving this house. I’m going to do what I want to do and I’m going to do it right here.”
“But you want to make a fresh start,” I spluttered. “We need one, too.”
“You’re not making a fresh start!” He was furious. “You have no legal right to the house or the kids. They belong to me. If you want to leave, go right ahead. But you’re not taking the kids with you.”
Oh, listen to that, ladies and gentlemen! “You’re not making a fresh start!” This Tom person sure sounds an awful lot like a villain from a Lifetime Movie of the Week! If it were not for the fact that I’m about 98% certain that Ms. Benvenuto is an unreliable narrator, that would surely be getting my blood to a boil. Of course, you might think it somewhat telling that Benvenuto never stops to think that maybe Tom might actually want custody of her own children. And clearly the readership isn’t supposed to do so either.
Once again, I sympathize with the fact that such a revelation can destroy a marriage, but for God’s sake, I sincerely doubt that the Guardian would publish (for example) an incredibly racist article written by a white woman who once had a bad relationship with a black person. A pox on the Guardian for publishing such a pile of unrefined spite.
*Ms. Benvenuto is encouraged to engage in pathetic emo whining on her blog, just like everybody else.