I used to be weirdly hooked on the show “Judge Judy” — don’t judge me! I judge myself! — and one of the funniest episode I remember was one in which a man is telling a story about how his neighbor went off on him because he called her cockatiel a cockatoo. And you can tell that the judge and everyone in the audience is thinking this man is completely round the bend — until the neighbor gets up to testify and immediately starts screeching about the fact that her bird is a cockatiel, not a cockatoo.
(I’m amused to see, btw, while looking up the spelling, that the cockatiel is in fact a variety of cockatoo.)
That came into my mind today after reading this piece by Julie Burchill lambasting intersectionality. She rushes to defend a friend accused of being transphobic and in doing so reveals herself to be pretty much the definition of transphobic.
“The idea that a person can chose their gender — in a world where millions of people, especially ‘cis-gendered’ women, are not free to choose who they marry, what they eat or whether or not their genitals are cut off and sewn up with barbed wire when they are still babies — and have their major beautification operations paid for by the National Health Service seems the ultimate privilege, so don’t tell me to check mine. “
I had no idea that we have the privilege of choosing our gender. Somehow I missed that option when choosing my race and sexual orientation. And how handy to be able to choose again, if you were accidentally born into a culture which discriminates against you. Why don’t all those tortured women just choose not to be women, for fuck’s sake?