Anorak News | Observer editor John Mulholland displays typical male cowardice in the Julie Burchill transsexual Twitstorm

Observer editor John Mulholland displays typical male cowardice in the Julie Burchill transsexual Twitstorm

by | 14th, January 2013

A MEDIA row. The media love them. It began when Suzanne Moore wrote for the New Statesman beneath the headline “Seeing red: the power of female anger”. Her article included the throwaway line:

“We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.”

It turned out that Brazilian transsexuals are often abused

 On the last Transgender Day of Remembrance, out of the 265 reported cases of murdered trans people between 15th November 2011 and 14th November 2012, 126 of them were from Brazil.

Moore responded to a Twitter storm by tweeting against the “language police” and:

“dont prioritise this fucking lopping bits of your body over all else that is happening to women Intersectional enough for you?”

“People can just fuck off really. Cut their dicks off and be more feminist than me. Good for them.”

Guardian columnist Julie Bindel stuck up for Moore, tweeting:

“Can those of us who hate bullying PLEASE do something about the trans cabal running a witch hunt everytime they get offended?”

The Guardian then published an article by Moore. She wrote:

“Some of the gutsiest people I met were the transsexuals who worked in a club called Boys will be Girls in New Orleans. I was a waitress and I served them breakfast at 5am and they were so kind to me. Many had had botched surgery in Morocco and their lives were more than difficult… Others I knew had sex changes. Or transitioning, as it is now called. Mostly this seemed to be an obsession with secondary sexual characteristics: peeing sitting down if they had been a man, wearing horrible lumberjack shirts and refusing to wash up if they had been a woman.”

“For [the original article] I have been attacked on Twitter for ‘transphobia’. I made it worse – well why not? – by saying that I don’t like the word. I don’t think it adds to our understanding of the complex webs of hatred it invokes, but instead closes down discussion.”

Moore then left shut down her Twitter account.

Then Julie Burchill wrote a piece for the Observer:

Though I imagine (Twitter) to be something akin to being savaged by a dead sheep, as Denis Healey had it of Geoffrey Howe, I nevertheless felt indignant that a woman of such style and substance should be driven from her chosen mode of time-wasting by a bunch of dicks in chicks’ clothing.

To my mind – I have given cool-headed consideration to the matter – a gaggle of transsexuals telling Suzanne Moore how to write looks a lot like how I’d imagine the Black and White Minstrels telling Usain Bolt how to run would look. That rude and ridic…

Rather than join her in decrying the idea that every broad should aim to look like an oven-ready porn star, the very vociferous transsexual lobby and their grim groupies picked on the messenger instead.


To have your cock cut off and then plead special privileges as women – above natural-born women, who don’t know the meaning of suffering, apparently – is a bit like the old definition of chutzpah: the boy who killed his parents and then asked the jury for clemency on the grounds he was an orphan.

Shims, shemales, whatever you’re calling yourselves these days – don’t threaten or bully us lowly natural-born women, I warn you.

We may not have as many lovely big swinging Phds as you, but we’ve experienced a lifetime of PMT and sexual harassment and many of us are now staring HRT and the menopause straight in the face – and still not flinching.

Trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You really won’t like us when we’re angry.

The Observer reacted badly:

Statement from John Mulholland, editor of The Observer:

We have decided to withdraw from publication the Julie Burchill comment piece ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’. The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly-charged debate. The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece. The Observer Readers’ Editor will report on these issues at greater length…

And that is the most pathetic paragraph of the entire episode. The Observer is so weak that it approves and article and then erases it when some people begin to complain. Publish and wait to see if anyone complains loudly. How’s that for looking after your writers? It’s not.


Update: Liberal Democrat minister Lynne Featherstone, formerly Equalities Minister, now Minister for International Development, sees the problem of saying things in context and, erm, tweets:

 “Julie Burchill rant against transgender community is absolutely disgusting – a bigoted vomit for which the Observer should sack her.”

Female minister wants female writer to lose her job. Now, about that female anger and unity…

Posted: 14th, January 2013 | In: Reviews Comments (8) | TrackBack | Permalink