Is there anyone that still has a problem with transgender people? It turns out that a small minority of radical feminists do. I sat down with one to try to understand her point of view, and it didn’t go particularly well.
You may not have heard of Posie Parker, but she’s certainly trying to change that. On Wednesday 31 January, 2018, the 44-year-old British vlogger did her best to cause a Twitter storm by travelling to the US and gatecrashing a meeting of transgender youth and members of Congress in Washington DC. Confronting the event organiser Sarah McBride, a trans woman, Parker demanded to know why she was “advocating to remove the safety of young women and girls.” Throughout the spectacle, Parker misgendered McBride, claiming that “he gets paid probably quite a lot of money to lobby the government to try and make sure that women and girls have no right to any space anymore.”
The anti-transgender movement is growing, and Parker is trying hard to make sure she is at its forefront. In September 2018, she paid £700 to place an anti-transgender billboard in Liverpool, apparently in direct response to mayor Joe Anderson’s vocal support of the trans community. But Parker is not alone; TERFS, or trans-exclusionary radical feminists, are an increasingly vocal presence both online and in our cities. The billboard clearly caused the transgender citizens of Liverpool to feel unwelcome in their own city; however, after a complaint by Dr Adrian Harrop, the billboard was removed shortly after.
As appalled by her views as I am, I wanted to understand what motivates people like Posie Parker. She immediately consented to an interview.
Parker begins by stating that “Transgender” is a bizarre and confusing concept. It can mean anything from a man wearing a dress, as part of a fetish, once a week or a full post operative transsexual.” I can’t help but wonder why she is so uncomfortable with the idea of gender being fluid. Why is she so invested in a binary understanding of gender?
I suggested that if men want to change their sex through surgeries in order to help them identify as women, I think we should support them instead of trying to create an argument. She then replied saying “I’m not sure what you mean by “support them”? How would that look?” Is she stating that supporting transgender women would be an embarrassing look for her as she has spent years fighting against them on social media? Or is she saying that she doesn’t understand how we could support the transgender community? The latter seems pretty simple to me: it’s a just a question of accepting and protecting people’s identities.
Personally, I don’t understand why Parker feels the need to spread her negative opinions all over her social media. Is this all for the fame and attention? Parker never presents the other side of the argument about transgender women to her audience, as it may sway her believers’ views; instead she mainly chooses to focus on the negative aspects of the debate, encouraging people to respond to her ludicrous views to cement her name in the media.
Over the course of previous years Posie Parker has publically showed her views on men becoming women, saying things like “a firm grasp of biology and reality are the main components of understanding that men cannot be women”. What makes me question her views is the fact that she keeps referring back to biology as a defence mode, but surely being a women shouldn’t be about the parts you were born with, or if biology states that you are a man or a woman?
Perhaps the most revealing thing Posie Parker said was the following, “When I was growing up there were few transvestites that would go out crossdressed in public.” This reference to her childhood makes me think that perhaps her views are more informed by her upbringing than she would care to admit. It may simply be that she is too conservative to open her mind to the idea of transgender women, as it may go against everything she has been brought up to believe in.