Maybe ego trippers shouldn’t write op eds…

“Maybe having kids is egotistical. You think you’ll somehow live on forever through your amazingly gifted and beautiful descendants.”

I guess it kind of is… for shallow narcissists… but most of us aren’t. Most of us have kids because evolution saw fit to fill us with the desire to procreate.

But that’s just a weird aside to set readers up so that the people in the article look like they’re having kids purely to inflate their egos.

When actually they’re having kids because they actually want them—because animals have evolved to breed.

Rosemary McLeod, who’s previous editorial ejaculations have included an article that reads like “Kim Dotcom is both rich and fat! Isn’t that weird? If he gave me his money, I’d save a failing clothing retailer!”, goes on to talk shit about trans* men who have given birth:

“Thomas Beatie was born a woman, had sex reassignment surgery and legally changed his/her identity in Hawaii to male. He/she is now married to a woman, had all along kept his/her ovaries and stuff, and never opted for a surgically created penis thingy.

“This, to my mind, makes him/her a woman who may shave in the morning and have short hair and a deep voice, as may many women with a hormonal imbalance. But if you called him/her a gay woman you’d hurt his feelings. I’m a bit lost here.”

That after a weird throwaway non sequitur about abortion rates and “the pill”, which have nothing to do with anything else in the article. You’re a bit lost because you’re an idiot. You don’t need a penis “thingy” to be a man. Likewise, possessing ovaries does not make you a woman.

The article is full of the “he/she” nonsense, instead of the male pronouns that these men have opted to use. That’s discrimination. McLeod is insisting that her opinions of gender should override those of the person that the gender belongs to. Using “he/she” is an attack on the very concept of being trans*.

This, combined with lines like “if you called him/her a gay woman you’d hurt his feelings,” are an attempt to silence trans* people, and bully them into conforming with antiquated sex/gender roles. To pass a trans* man off as just a “women with a hormonal imbalance” is to belittle him, and all trans* people, as just being confused.

“Why should I care? Because if it’s happening today in California, it’ll be happening here next week.”

Should I tell her that it already is? There are already plenty of trans* people having kids, just not that many who go public about it in the mainstream media. Not everyone wants to draw to themselves the attention of people like Rosemary McLeod. Trans* people already face enough discrimination and bigotry in their day to day lives.

“He/she can give birth to live goldfish for all I care, but I dislike ego trippers bent on being famous, especially at other people’s expense.”

And she completes the circle. These people aren’t “ego trippers”. They’re just people who want to have kids because we all (well, most of us) want to have kids.

At the expense of whom? At McLeod’s expense? At the expense of people who try to tell others what to do with their bodies? Or at the expense of the kids?

“It would be all very well if their mother/father had kept his/her unusual situation private, but he/she has boasted about it publicly, and that stands a good chance of rebounding against the kids, which hardly seems fair.”

So, the only problem with trans* people having kids is the bigotry of other people. That’s not a reason to deny them their rights, that a reason to tell people like McLeod to shut up and let people live their lives.

I get so tired of the cry that queer people only want kids to inflate their egos, or as fashion accessories or whatever. We’re human beings, not heartless fashionists. To accuse queer people of wanting children purely for show is to deny us our very humanity.

If she’s accusing these particular men of ego tripping for inviting the press into their lives, then she is also mistaken.  Trans* people face a huge amount of discrimination in their day to day lives, constantly having to defend themselves against cissexism. There are 5 trans* men who have been pregnant that I know of who took their stories to the media. They went to the media, not looking for their 15 minutes of fame, but to show that it is possible, to break down misconceptions of sex and gender, and to contribute to a building a world where all trans* people can be comfortable and free in their bodies without fear of discrimination.

“To think we once relied on Asti Spumante and the back seat of a Ford Cortina. But that was when reproduction was – it seems so silly now – sexy.”

If that’s what McLeod finds sexy, then she’s welcome to park up any time she likes. I’m not even sure what she’s trying to say with this closing line; something to do with insinuating that sex used to be like a cheesy high-school drama, losing-your-virginity cliché, but now it’s different. I don’t know, her writing doesn’t seem to make much sense…

As I write this, there is a protest under way in Wellington outside the offices of Fairfax Media, who own the Dominion Post in which the article was published. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

[UPDATE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/6475995/Trans-gender-community-protest-against-column]

This post on The Hand Mirror has a nice list of points about the article. No. 7 is a good one: “Have you ever considered the fact that maybe the couple are modelling pride in who they are, openness and the fact everyone is entitled to respect for their children?”


† I do know plenty of people, both queer and not, who don’t want to have kids at all. Just as a fun aside, I used to think I never wanted kids, but then I turned 26 and I was all like “I want babies!” Now I’m looking for a nest to feather. Not that I’m typical, but wanting to be a parent is instinctive and we all have that right.

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2 thoughts on “Maybe ego trippers shouldn’t write op eds…

  1. “Most of us have kids because evolution saw fit to fill us with the desire to procreate.”

    No, most of us have kids because our contraceptions failed!!! :P

  2. That’s not a reason to deny them their rights, that a reason to tell people like McLeod to shut up and let people live their lives.

    Fuck yeah. Just shows her massive lack of self-awareness, doesn’t it? “People like me will make your kids’ lives hell! So don’t have kids, ’cause I’m not going to start considering other people’s welfare any time soon!”

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