It's been about a year since I coined the phrase “Goddammit Zoey Tur”, which sadly didn't catch on as widely as I hoped.
There were many reasons for me sighing in frustration thusly last year. Her gratuitous insistence that she already occupied space on some celebrity trans lady Mt Olympus Pantheon. Her insistence that hormone therapy changes sexual orientation. Her insistence that transgender men don't exist, amongst other wildly ignorant statements about trans bodies, life experience and health she had nowhere near the credentials to comment on. And of course her dualistic hot takes on Caitlyn Jenner's transition.
Of those opinions on Jenner, the former is particularly interesting because it is a public nonconsensual outing draped in this veneer of nobility and appeal to personal responsibility. This sort of thing happens a lot, usually with a punitive intention.
Think of all the times you've seen articles of homophobic religious figures caught with rent boys. There was that embarassing blackmail bullshit Gawker pulled recently. There was that time sports journalist Caleb Hannan maliciously drove a trans woman to suicide over a golf club that may or may not have performed as well as advertised. There was that time Daily Mail reporter Richard Littlejohn hounded a trans woman to suicide pretty much for fun.
Strangely, the personal responsibility being appealed to is one of taking the mantle as some sort of “transgender icon”. As if we poor trans ladies are lost and wandering waiting for The Lord's Chosen Transsexual to lead us out of the desert and to the promised land of cut-up t-shirts, transition montages and lots and lots and lots and lots more salt.
Enter Neo, an agent of change coaxed from his disaffected numbness to shoulder the weight of the human race's survival.
Or, barring that, I guess another anonymous Daily Mail reporter with a fixation with trans women's private lives will do in a pinch.
After a sudden (and ominous) encounter with a Daily Mail reporter recently, Wachowski sister Lilly outed herself via a charming snarkfest in the Windy City Times. She relates that the reporter insisted that she “really had to sit down with him tomorrow or the next day or next week so that I could have my picture taken and tell my story, which was so inspirational”.
Here we go again: yet another wealthy white established celebrity woman is obligated to take on this leadership role within our community or whatever.
Caitlyn Jenner has nothing but terrible opinions. Zoey Tur is somehow even worse. The media seems to have conveniently forgotten Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Carmen Carerra and other non-white trans women celebrities exist, just as mainstream LGBT organizations "forget" that trans women of color have the highest rate of anti-LGBT violence, especially violence from police, and–needs to be repeated over and over until you come to accept it–basically founded the modern gay rights movement.
Maybe it's time to take a smoke break. But a short one, don't wanna get a blood clot.
Not that I even believe Lilly is looking for that sort of attention. Both Wachowski Sisters are notoriously quiet, withdrawn and private folks, rarely making public appearances and even less often speaking during them.
There seems to be this undercurrent of who is going to become Highlander Queen Of The Trans or whatever.
But we don't need celebrity spokespeople. We don't need to organize our communities around who has the most privilege, social capital, and oppressive views that could be rehabilitated after witnessing more marginalized people's struggles.
We already have that. It's called Twitter.
I mean we do, in a sense, need pop and mainstream culture visibility. It informs our societal ethos–but that isn't what is going to tangibly make a difference in our lives. We need jobs that will actually hire us. We need people in office.
We need support against this calculated religious right backlash against us.