Warning: this post contains racist and homophobic language that readers may find upsetting
I have hesitated for years to post much of this next item, but after another white supremacist atrocity (in open, tolerant New Zealand of all places) and several years now of Brexit-encouraged xenophobia in Britain, Trump-promoted hate in the USA, Salvini-promoted racism in Italy, and right-wing and religious fanaticism threatening mixed societies across the world, I think it's time to comment on the problem directly. The world which trans people were at last beginning to feel was decent or at least survivable is showing its brutish roots in cultural supremacism, and people who don't fit the local mould are threatened. As I have said here several times, racism goes hand in hand with all other kinds of persecution of other people outside the main group, and LGBT is almost invariably one of those groups. Trans people who vote for Trump, Brexit, Salvini, Le Pen and other aggressively nationalistic politicians need to think more carefully as to whether their own interests are best served by these racists.
My own father, I am very sorry to say, is a white supremacist. His favourite word is nigger, which he will spit out many times a day: "stinking niggers... bloody niggers... filthy niggers...". Or wog or chinkie or gook or hook-nosed Isey (i.e. Jew). Any person of African descent is rechristened Nigger by him: the supermodel Naomi Nigger, the South African president Nelson Nigger, the BBC newsreader Trevor Nigger,... This is what I was brought up with and I have chosen not to spare the offensiveness so you can see exactly what we are dealing with. Even the Ku-Klux Klan is trying to present a cleaner, cuddlier image and avoid such terms. Yet my father is supposedly a cultured, well-educated man! Somehow, my father's loss of status as an Englishman in the world has hit him especially hard. He is no longer supreme, a winner in life's lottery, but now just one human among many cultures worldwide and at home. As humans, it's been observed, we tend to pine at our losses more often than yearn after something we haven't yet attained. To him, other races, nations, states, religions and cultures are inferior and those who've promoted the rise of inferior people in the world are damnable. Slavery is OK in his view and serves you right if you're weak. He calls himself a Fascist and gets angry when generalissimos get overthrown or put on trial (like Pinochet did). Naturally enough, he feels required to hate and campaign against other minorities, such as gay people (the sodomites, as he calls them), just like my sister who hates LGBT people, or lugbutts as she puts it (see https://suerichmond.blogspot.com/2017/09/hello- lugbutts.html). I haven't spoken to my father for some years now, partly because of his hate and aggression and the incompatibility between us, and this consequent loss makes me very unhappy.
Maybe its inappropriate to write about one's family in a public place like this but it shows that, just like Islamic bombers hiding in plain sight in suburbia or gun-toting white supremacists from decent backgrounds, the enemy is absolutely within our society, our families and our communities.
Xenophobia, the fear of the outsider, arises not from strength but from weakness; from discomfort, uncertainty, misunderstanding and worry; and from impatience too, a wish not to have to make the effort to accept someone because they have some trait that differs. What bothers me about religion in this context is that it is used endlessly to justify political persecution, a higher power sanctifying some brutality. There's always some way that people justify bad behaviour, and listening to people excusing their hate is nauseating. Worse is the exploitation of the weaker-minded by con men. This week I am particularly disgusted by Nigel Farage, instigator of Brexit, 'leading' (for just one hour himself) a pro-Brexit protest march from Sunderland in North East England, which is universally considered to be the one region of Britain that will be worst hit by the immediate economic effects of the Brexit policy. I feel sorry for the unhappy people who have been conned by this amoral man into supporting the one thing that will really damage them most. It's a far cry from the nobility of the Jarrow March of working men from that area suffering in the Great Depression of the 1930s.
I'm unable to offer a best solution as yet. Just as any community needs to tackle its unrepresentative extremists, white people like me need to deal with these madmen. It seems counterintuitive, but actually attacking the haters back simply adds to the animosity and hate, and you can rarely get through to someone whose beliefs are irrational and fearful and to whom acknowledging an error is too embarrassing. Yet trying to extend love and kindness is rarely met with understanding or appreciation. If used non-aggressively, Transgender Day of Visibility and Transgender Day of Remembrance are valuable ways to show that trans people exist and live all over the world. Nevertheless, the current crop of intolerance is getting to me. Solutions on a postcard, please.