Gay men need to cut out the transphobia

Gay men need to cut out the transphobia
Image: It's time for gay men to stop their rampant transphobia.

THREE weeks ago I went to dinner with four friends, one of whom is a gay cis Vietnamese-Australian man.

The conversation invariably turned to politics, and one friend – a straight cis female – asked my friend, “is racism worse or better in the community these days?”

He replied, “depends on which community. Racism is endemic in the gay community, you only have to go to Grindr to see that.”

Why is this relevant to me? Because in the last 48 hours, I have been subject to the most vile, sickening abuse I have ever encountered, and that includes the media storm I had to endure after my assault last March.

And who was behind this abuse? Country rednecks? Trans exclusive radical feminists? Lyle Shelton?

No, gay men.

On Sunday, after hearing about the “Tranny Two Up” event at the Bank Hotel, I made ONE tweet expressing my concern over this event, and the possible negative outcomes from it. I also, politely, expressed my concern on the Bank Hotel’s Facebook page.

What followed truly made me sick to my stomach, and made me genuinely ashamed to be part of the Sydney LGBTI community – a community I have been part of for over 30 years. Here’s some examples of what was sent to me, in comments and messages, by gay men:

“Harden the fuck up princess”
“Tranny has been used forever, get the fuck over yourself”
“If I’d bashed you, I’d have finished the job”
“Fuck off and die you tranny cunt”
“Watch your back slut”

Assault survivor Stephanie McCarthy has spoken out about transphobia in Sydney's gay community.
Assault survivor Stephanie McCarthy has spoken out about transphobia in Sydney’s gay community.

I could list another 100+ examples.

The most offensive comments of all referred to trans women as “people who were married straights 10 minutes ago”.

Well, I hate to disappoint you boys, but this woman has stood and fought side by side with the gay community since the 80s.

I was bashed by police, in two states, for taking part in pro-LGBTI rallies in the 80s and 90s, I watched six of my close gay male friends die of AIDS in the early 90s, I have spoken at Senate Hearings about safety for ALL LGBTI folks, and I have personally taken serious beatings defending my gay friends from violent homophobes.

So guys, next time you wish to make a sweeping generalisation about transgender women – don’t.

Like the gay community, we come from all kinds of backgrounds, and I sure as hell wouldn’t stoop as low as to use stereotypes that cis-het bigots use to attack us.

The other main issue I have with many of the comments and messages I received yesterday is the “but my tranny friends have been using that term since the 80s!”

Well guess what: it’s 2016, not 1985. You know what else was “OK” in the 80s?

Racism, AIDS jokes, gay bashing, bigots calling all gay men pedophiles, etc. Is that OK to still use/do guys? Of course it isn’t.

As a transgender woman, I have no right whatsoever to dictate to the gay community what should and shouldn’t offend them, nor would I even dream of doing so. So why is it then that this sickening transphobia, and threats of violence, always only seem to come from the gay community?

Not one cis lesbian (the people who you would expect to have a problem with us) sent a single derogatory message to me. Not one.

The Bank Hotel Newtown politely apologised, I gracefully accepted that apology, yet here I am three days later with over a hundred abusive messages in my inbox, most of which are from gay men.

Is this acceptable to you guys? Not just the transphobia, but threatening and abusing women?

You guys are behaving in the exact same way as the bigots who persecuted our community during the “AIDS Crisis” of the 80s.

Do you have memory loss? Or now that you are so close to achieving your goals (marriage), are the rest of us just to be left behind?

We fought for you, and still do. It’s time for a lot of you men to remember who and what you are.

You may see me, and those like me, as a “freak” (a common theme in many messages/comments), but even then, I’ll fight until I die for your right to be you.

I suggest some of you boys “harden up” and do the same, or shut up and get out of our way.

We’re here for good, we’re not going anywhere. And we will have the rights that we deserve.

You can be on the right side of history and support us, or you can be a bigot. It’s your choice.

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15 responses to “Gay men need to cut out the transphobia”

  1. Norrie: the plural of trans is trans; adjectives in English do not normally have different singular and plural forms.

  2. Mysoginistic men are always going to be arseholes, gay or straight. They will happily fight for their own rights, but for the rights of women? They don’t give a toss. They so believe in the superiority of men and love their genitalia so much that they just can’t understand trans-women at all, despite knowing full well being transgender is no choice.

  3. Tranny is as Aussie as bickie. It was used by self-described trannies because it was short for transvestite or transsexual without being too picky about lines of division. In 1996 it was used in the Tranny Pride float that was part of a series of steps leading to the first anti-discrimination laws in the world for transgender people. And some transnormative people use it to make a living, and how can this be denied them? Also, i know what the plural of tranny is, but what is the plural of trans?

  4. I am so sorry that others have done this to you, Steph! As a cis gay man who does drag, I have used the “Tranny” word to describe myself and friends, and then I learnt that the trans community took offence. Even though the word was never directed at any trans people, I took on board their hurt and I stopped saying it ( there’s plenty of other words that I can use to describe myself and other drag queens, lol ) Gay men do NOT get to tell the trans community what IS or ISN’T offensive. The majority of the trans community has said “Please don’t”, we HAVE to listen!!! It’s a harmless word, to US…. but to THEM, it’s hate! We cannot let this go on!

  5. Just goes to show that being gay does not shield a person from prejudice or racism or from anything else for that matter.

    There are disagreements within the trans community, within the gay community, hell within all communities of humans but there is never an excuse for being abusive.

    Great article.

  6. I have witnessed and been a victim to this sort of behaviour from some gay men for years. Its like “hand me down discrimination”. I love my gay friends and they would never pull that shit on me. This is the trans/misogynistic beast that needs to be tamed. Love ya Steph and thanks for speaking up…… again <3

  7. Great article, so much respect to you for your ongoing activism and support for us queers.
    I am sickened by the reactions of these Sydney gay men and sadly as a lez understand the prevalence of misogyny in our communities, let alone widespread transmisogyny. Transphobia and these mens’ reactions are not ok. How can this still be happening aghh!!

  8. As a transman I throughly agree with you. I am just about always shunned gay men by reason of phallic obsession, the rest of my body and certainly my mind don’t count for anything! Judged Somehow not even a person, all for a piece of meat. :( interestingly enough masculinity doesn’t even come into it as I am definitely ‘bear’. It has shown me that the ‘don’t judge me’ gay acceptance rhetoric is not coupled with practice what you preach.

  9. One of the reasons many people diagnoses as “Living with Gender dysphoria” are suggesting the T move away from the GLBTIQA ect ect ect.
    What do people diagnosed with GD people have in common with the Gay community or even “non binary” ……..

  10. what is it about the Internet that causes people to jump straight to a reaction of outrage as soon as they see something that they don’t like? ‘Tranny two up’? sounds like a subversive take on a typically blokey Australian cultural tradition… doesn’t sound like there’s any intention to offend anyone. The world is suffering a pandemic of over sensitivity… its much easier to laugh and move on.

  11. Sorry to say this but screw the gay community when it comes to trans issues, this affects us, not them. They have no say when it comes to what is and isn’t offensive and how we should deal with it.

    The attitude of many gay men towards us is driven by the fact that many gay men seek to throw off the “effeminate” type image that society and the media has tainted them with.

    I’ve been accused by some gay men of being a “gay man in denial”. So they take it out on us because they believe we perpetuate this stereo-type with effeminacy that has plagued them for thousands of years.

    But FFS , I was never a gay man before I transitioned to begin with so I have nothing in common with the gay community except having to deal with some homophobia or transphobia. But the truth is I’ve experienced much more transphobia from our supposed gay allies than from the general public in all my years in transition.

    And finally I too as similarly thrown under the bus, ostracised, abused and shunned by the local gay community here in Cairns for speaking out about this racist transphobic incident where I was assaulted with a “used sperm filled condom” by a white gay man in “black face” drag.

  12. Great article, the principles of supporting each other, opposing bigotry and being aware of intersectionality are really important and some of the debate in recent days has tossed these aside in favour of personal attacks and name calling. Thanks for writing this, Steph.