Tuesday, 9 November 2010

He was some kind of a man. And then she was some kind of a woman. Then he was some kind of a man again. What else can you say about people?

Well, if they're Charles Kane, you can say that they're frankly the most ridiculous waste of column inches since...well, the last piece of transphobic, misogynistic bullshit the Mail foisted on its readers.

Who is this Charles Kane? Sadly, he doesn't seem to be being played by Orson Welles (who played his near-namesake Charles Foster in Citizen Kane, his most famous film - and whose later film Touch of Evil provides the quote I've paraphrased for the title of this post). Instead, he seems to be played by the kind of publicity-hungry right-wing anger-parasite we usually see getting their faces in the paper with a 'Christians are the real victims' story. It seems that Charles used to be one Sam Hashimi then, in 1987, he underwent gender reassignment surgery to become Samantha Kane, before deciding that the life of a woman wasn't for him and deciding to transition back and become Chuck K.

So far, fair enough. I'm genderqueer. I like fluidity and mercuriality and messing with the binary and girls who are boys who like boys to be girls who do girls like they're boys et cetera et cetera. Trouble is, Charlie-boy has made a classic logical error - from his own particular experience he has generalised that trans people are 'in my opinion, completely deluded' and deduces from this extensively-researched position that the NHS should not assist trans people in transitioning. And, as A Very Public Sociologist observes, he has form for this.

Basically, Kane appears to be a stooge for the Mail's hatred of trans people (a subset of its hatred of anything different). It must be tremendously nice for both him and the paper: they get to spread their message of hate and he gets to be photographed making love to the camera with his pretty young trophy wife. But it's tremendously hurtful and dangerous for trans people at a time when the APA is considering harmful changes to the DSM-V entry on Gender Identity Disorder, and Britain is in the grip of a government with a deep vein of hostility to LGBTIQ people.

I've been racking my brains all night to try and work out who Charles Kane reminds me of. It's not the main character in Orson Welles' greatest film, as it turns out. He actually reminds me of Glyph, the character from Alan Moore's The Ballad of Halo Jones who undergoes a series of sex change operations but is never ultimately satisfied and eventually becomes pretty much genderless. I like Glyph (obviously), and I always feel a bit sad at the end of the episode in which ze tells hir story. You see, because people find it hard to perceive a character who has no gender, Glyph inhabits a sort of Somebody Else's Problem Field which means that people tend not to notice hir - a field temporarily interrupted when the perceptive Halo does notice hir but, by the time ze finishes, even Halo and her friend Toy have stopped listening to hir and are ignoring hir again.

In Glyph's story, that's a sad ending. But if everyone stopped listening to Charles Kane and the poisonous , half-baked narrative about trans people that he endorses, I wouldn't mind one teeny tiny bit.

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