How Imperialists are Weaponising Transphobia

The following article has been received from a Socialist Republican Activist.

Today, April 6th 2021, the Irish Times published a transphobic letter. Full of the usual dogwhistles about how acknowledging the existence of trans people is an “attack on women”, there is nothing special in it other than the fact that it was published by the Irish Times.

Often the darling of Irish liberalism, one of the supposed ‘good newspapers’ that portrays itself as progressive whenever it suits. To be fair, they did support equal marriage and the Repeal of the Eighth Amendment in various Free State referenda, and do semi-regularly publish pro-trans opinion pieces and articles. This ‘both-sides’-ism is the tactic itself however. We must examine how this bourgious newspaper is handling the trans question. Rather than viewing our struggle for liberation as the fight that must be won, instead the Irish Times, as well as RTÉ will frame transgender people as a debate to be had. Trans people have been objectified by the media establishment. We are the plaything of the bourgeous, a divisive and controversial fringe issue to be gawked at and endlessly debated over, all while we are socially isolated because we are too scared to go out in public, face consistent unemployment and homelessness, and die on waiting lists for healthcare that never comes, and are buried in unmarked graves, not even being allowed the luxury of a death with dignity.

These events do not only happen in the Free State, but also in the American, and most notably in the British press as well. The bourgeois media is all too happy to weaponise transphobic views, all under the guise of free speech, ‘healthy debate’ and democracy. The casualties of their negligence is obvious. As a direct consequence of apparently progressive newspapers, we have seen a dramatic increase in the suppression of and attacks against trans people. Make no mistake, not only is this an attack on trans people, but this is an attack on our class. The trans people who are isolated, denied healthcare and are unable to find employment aren’t the caricature of the rich, socially progressive queer elite in Irish society, the likes of Leo Varadkar and Katherine Zappone, but the majority of transgender proletarians. We must ask ourself the key question. What do the bourgeoisie gain by inciting hatred against trans people? The answer is what it has always been. The tactics of divide and rule is how British Imperialism functions, and how capitalism functions in general. Should workers be more concerned with race, ethnic identity or in this case gender identity, they are less willing to see the actual material divide in our society, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Irish socialist republicans understand this tactic of the imperialists to divide our class and our nation, and oppose any attempts by any organisation who will attack trans people or any other members of our class.

Just as Seamus Costello taught us that “It must be on the basis of explaining fully to the Protestant working class what all our policies are, not just our policies on the ringroad”, we must do the same for the queer liberation struggle. Many revisionist organisations are willing to ignore the struggle for queer liberation, and are willing to occasionally weaponise transphobic dogwhistles themselves. Fundamentally, socialist republicans must build an analysis of the current conditions of Irish transgender people in the working class. The false, idealistic dogmas of ‘radical’ bourgeois feminism only aid the imperialists in dividing Irish people, just as Loyalism has before. We will oppose all attempts do divide the Irish people by British Imperialists. Just as the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of queer liberation is the cause of Ireland.

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