Friday, 12 September 2014

Because you can't tell the players without a scorecard: who to support in Fox vs Brents?

So, this Saturday night, it happens. Fallon Fox, the world's first out transgender women's MMA fighter, will face Tamikka Brents, self-styled 'advocate for the LGBT', at Capital City Cage Wars in Springfield, Illinois. With two LGBT competitors facing off in this rumble, you may be wondering who I think you should support. While I would never presume to tell you what to do, let me present you with some information so that you can make up your own mind.

First, consider this: Fallon Fox is a woman who faces massive amounts of prejudice just for stepping into the Octagon, regardless of how well she does inside it. For years, bigots claimed that she had 'unfair advantages' because of her 'male body', and could not be beaten. And then she was beaten, by Ashlee Evans-Smith, and these yutzes still tried to claim Fallon had an unfair advantage in that fight - a bullshit position I take apart in this video:

And after Fox had shown that she was simply a competitor like any other, the Anti-Fallon Party suddenly changed their tune, claiming that she's a no-mark palooka who only gets attention because she's trans. Here's me taking apart a particularly egregious example of this, from a Bleacher Report hack called Jonathan Snowden.

Fallon Fox, then, has faced some serious bigotry in her quest to compete in  MMA. And Tamikka Brents? What's she done? a rainbow flag to the ring a couple of times?

And, to be honest, that alone would have been okay. If Brents hadn't then given an interview dripping with dog-whistle transphobia aimed at Fox - but she did.

And it might still have been okay if Brents had walked back from that interview, and taken steps to disavow the disgraceful, frat-house transphobia of her fans - but she didn't.

In fact, she not only refused to repudiate the transphobia of her fans - she was happy to accept support from transphobic hate-groups and individuals - many of whom were guilty of some horrendously vile behaviour.

I asked Brents, again and again, to distance herself from these bigots - but she was happy enough to be their champion. And the transphobes themselves refused to respond to any of my journalistic articles about Brents. But then, I wrote a poem...

...and something about the poem must have touched a nerve, either with Brents or the transphobes who supported her, because suddenly the TERFs (Trans-Exclusive 'Radical Feminists') came after me with a vengeance. You can see me writing about their hate-fuelled response, and the motives for it, in this post for the York LGBT History Month blog. And you can see me thanking the many decent cis people who came to my aid during the affair - proving that, despite what transphobes contend, cis is not a slur - here.

While organisations like Stonewall and the HRC have made bold steps to include and try to represent and do better by trans people, Tamikka Brents has chosen to hitch her wagon to an outmoded, bigoted and hate-fuelled war of aggression against us in a desperate attempt to secure some cheap pops as she heads into her next fight. The attention Brents has been getting has propelled her into the big time in women's MMA, as she signs a contract with Invicta FC - but her craven refusal to take a stand against transphobia - in fact, her out-and-out desire to try and ride a wave of transphobic bigotry for her own benefit - has also drawn the attention of leading women's MMA blog, who have came out strongly against Brents' willingness to pander to anti-trans bigotry.

The fact is that there is no question who you should support in Fox/Brents this Saturday, because one of the people fighting is a real role model for all LGBT people, and one of those fighting is a bigot who wraps herself in a rainbow flag because she happens to be lesbian, but couldn't give a damn about any other section of the LGBT community. If you care about every letter in that acronym, if you believe in real equality, if you're any kind of a decent human being at all - you'll support Fallon Fox, and you'll join me in hoping that she wins this Saturday night. And, whoever wins that night, you'll join me in resolving to make sure that people never forget that Tamikka Brents is a transphobe, a bully, a coward, and a thoroughly rotten human being. And in saying that, until she humans up and takes a stand against transphobia as well as homophobia, she should take that flag OFF.

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