I was astonished to learn just before my programme went on air last night that The Observer had deleted Julie Burchill’s article (see previous post) from its website. Whatever one thought about it, it didn’t deserve that fate. By doing that The Observer has not only made a fool of itself, it has undermined the concept of freedom of expression. You can argue that they should never have published it in the first place, but all they have done now is give in to the mob. Toby Young has said it all in an excellent blogpost, and he has also republished Burchill’s article with her permission.
Anyway, last night covered this on my LBC show. I tried to move the debate on an instead of having Suzanne Moore or Julie Burchill on I asked what it must be like living as a transsexual in Britain today. To be honest I wondered if we were right to do this, as I was doubtful how many people would phone in. But I don’t like to shy away from tackling difficult and controversial subjects, so off we went. We spoke to Suzie Green first, who told us her story as the parent of a child who knew it had been born in the wrong body. Her daughter has recently taken part in Miss England. I ended the interview (8 minutes after I should have) but telling her that her daughter must go to bed every night thanking God that she was her mother. We then spoke to Dr James Barrett, a consultant surgeon and the country’s leading consultant on gender reassignment. It was then over to the callers and we had several moving calls from transsexuals who told us what they had gone through and what their lives were like. Liz in the North East was 52 and five years ago had had the op. She had clearly led a very traumatic life and was very lonely. Our final caller broke down as she described how she couldn’t talk to anyone and how lonely her life was.
There’s little doubt about it, we don’t understand enough about this issue and that’s why a lot of people are so abusive towards the trans community. Ignorance breeds fear. I had several disgusting emails during the course of the programme which demonstrated that fact only too well.
I doubt whether this subject has ever been covered before on LBC as an hour long phone in topic. I’m glad I did it. I certainly learned something and I hope my listeners did.
You can listen to the hour HERE on a free podcast.