The controversial ‘journalist’ and often-biffed newspaper columnist and presenter, Katie Hopkins has been on an all-too-short break from Twitter lately following her latest seeming professional crash-and-burn, this time from the Daily Mail. She’s back.
The foghorn mouthpiece of the bitter, ignorant and vindictive in our society has returned like a bad smell on social media with a transphobic tweet, offering her own twisted wisdom on trans-acceptance.
The 42-year-old posted: “I am not transphobic. Live your life how you damn well please. Just don’t ask me to call a castrated man a woman”
I am not transphobic. Live your life how you damn well please. Just don’t ask me to call a castrated man a woman #CBBUK
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) January 2, 2018
Katie, calling a post-operative trans woman a ‘castrated man’ is transphobic, incendiary, reductive and divisive and – we assume – that’s exactly why you wrote it.
The tweet followed last night’s launch of Celebrity Big Brother and the announcement of a trans woman and TV personality who is herself no stranger to controversy. India Willoughby was the first trans newsreader in the UK but she has expressed very strong views on who is allowed to class themselves as a trans person.
Now it’s worth being aware that Katie Hopkins is a woman hell-bent on shamelessly eking as much attention out of any moment of social friction possible and this is simply the latest example.
It’s a shame that people can’t simply ignore her and get on with their lives but unfortunately, the daily hunt for the day’s hate figure means the usual suspects are busily using Katie’s tweet to flag their own moral superiority in the hope for retweets, likes and follows.
One person who must surely love Katie Hopkins right now is Laura Goodman, co-owner of the Carlini restaurant in Shropshire, who managed through her own unbelievable clumsiness to be yesterday’s social media parhia after rather clumsily implying (inaccurately, it seems) that she ‘spiked’ an apparently obnoxious vegan customer’s meal with meat.
Katie, however, does not deal in implications or ambiguity and her every intention was to raise the ire of trans rights campaigners. She will be pleased then, to have earned herself the ‘Twitter-goblin of the day” crown once again and we feel bound to cover it.
India Willoughby is, herself, no stranger to controversy, having been accused of shaming other trans women for not looking feminine enough and denying some trans women’s desire to class themselves as such.
Joanne Lockwood appeared in Out News Global when she faced transphobia late last year. We asked her whether she felt represented as a trans woman by India Willoughby: “Does she represent the trans community? No but then no one does.” She said. “Does her visibility do more harm than good to other trans individuals? I personally don’t think so, but then I find some of her views more closely aligned with my own, than others may.
“My belief in regard to India’s position is that she is media savvy and prepared to be visible as a proud and effective member of the trans community.
“In the past, she has been vocal in regard to claiming “passing privilege”, something that is very divisive in the trans community – what does a cis-normative definition “passing” or being “woman enough” have to do with being accepted as a member of society as a man or woman”?
“It is not for others to pass judgement on them using some social definition of what it means to be a male or a female, a man or a woman. We are all different and valid.
We also spoke to Trans Media Watch‘s Jenny Kermode, who had some thoughts on the Katie Hopkins tweet: “We’re saddened but not surprised to see Katie Hopkins revert to type in her characterisation of trans women. We expect that she will have less difficulty respecting other people’s genders when she has learned to respect other people’s humanity.”
On India Willoughby’s entry into the Borehamwood reality TV Pandora’s box, Jenny said: “No one person can represent everyone in the trans community. Some people are understandably concerned because they have felt excluded or insulted by India’s past comments on how she defines and understands what it is to be trans.
“We’re glad that India recognises the responsibility associated with going on this programme and we hope that she will do her best to be more inclusive and respectful when she’s talking about trans people in the Big Brother house.
“The more trans people who appear in the media, the easier it is for the public to recognise that we’re a diverse lot with the same range of personality types, attitudes and opinions as any other group. We hope viewers will enjoy watching India without assuming that every trans person is a clone of her.”
Katie has, with her uncanny talent for contrarianism, put her finger on an ever-deepening point of conflict between the trans community and LGBT+ allies and so-called ‘radical feminist’ exponents, oftentimes called TERFs, an acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists. India has, likewise, ruffled the feathers of a good few people in the trans community and beyond by being – to put it lightly – confrontational and unapologetic in her point of view.
As far as being heard and being seen in this social media society, each has the ability to say what many won’t say, wouldn’t say, can’t stomach, can’t believe and – perhaps not unreasonably – don’t want to hear. That is why we’re talking about them today and that is why both has been on Celebrity Big Brother.