Category Archives: Transphobia

Christian Experience As A Transsexual: Part 1

Following on from a post I read from Sarah Savage last night, I wanted to share a little more of my own experience as a transsexual Christian.

The following chapter which I wrote is from a published anthology entitled “Trans/Formations” published by SCM Press, and edited by Professor Lisa Isherwood of the University of Winchester, and Professor Marcella Althaus-Reid who sadly died before Trans/Formations was published.

The book chapter came about because I was due to give a talk at the Southampton branch of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, but came down with laryngitis. So the talk became a published book chapter.

The chapter was written some years ago, but I wanted to show it in  its original form. 

I plan to update it with a part two. For those of you who want to read Sarah’s blog too, the address is on my links page.

 

I was brought up in a Christian home by my mother as a single parent. She was Church of Scotland and a Sunday school teacher. I attended Sunday school in a carefree way. When we moved to Yorkshire, I attended Beverley Minster, a beautiful cathedral type Church in a lovely Yorkshire town. I knew I loved God, but like most young people I was fairly flippant about it.

However, it wasn’t until I hit my teens that my faith took hold of me and I began to enter into what some describe as a “relationship” with God.

I attended Christ Church, in Winchester, a fairly large congregation which I was a member of for some time. However, I was at the age now where I was also beginning to question and challenge my faith.

I began to realise also, that this Church (and later others like it) had very dogmatic, almost iron-bar like views on certain core issues, like marriage, sexuality, and the roles of men and women in society. Although I wasn’t living as female at this point, I already had experience of what it was like to be different from the norm through my physical disability.

The evangelical church, of which this was a congregation, all seemed a bit too sanctimonious and self serving for my liking. They seemed to be very zealous and excited at the prospect of their own passport to Heaven, but very disinterested in how to bring in others, or treat non Christians with equal respect.

So having become very cynical, I left that Church. I was visited at home by members of the congregation and youth group leaders who told me I was making a big mistake and I’d probably go to Hell.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson there wouldn’t you? Well, I didn’t

I went to University at Oxford Brookes in 2000 to study English and Sociology. For a number of years after the Christ Church disaster, I hadn’t attended a Church at all.

 

 

 

In the first few weeks of my time at Brookes, I met a fresher called Ryan. We got talking, and it became apparent that Ryan was a Christian. He invited me along to one of the major Churches in Oxford, also evangelical, St Aldates. Now to be honest, after my issues with Christ Church, I was pretty unenthusiastic about going. So, I didn’t, bowing instead to pressure from my flatmates and carers who told me I didn’t need “god-squadders” in my life.

So it goes on. I didn’t go to Church until halfway through my second year at University. I’d had problems with an abusive carer just previously, so was feeling pretty low and vulnerable, not to mention depressed.

I thought that going to Church might help. So, I remembered the name of the Church that Ryan had told me about, St Aldates. I looked online to see if they had a website to check for disabled access and practical things. They did, and it was easily reachable via bus to the city centre.

So, I went that evening. It seemed friendly and welcoming enough, with lively music and lots of young people. There were regular occurrences of people falling on the floor, and crying uncontrollably after services. This according to the clergy was the Holy Spirit at work.

But what I liked about this Church was the large congregation; it was so enormous that I could just lose myself in it. There were also regular baptism services, mainly comprised of candidates it seems now who had done terrible things and then found St Aldates.

It was a good job I could lose myself, because parallel to this I was coming to terms with my sexuality. I had always identified with the more feminine, girly aspects of life, and naively thought that this made me gay, as in homosexual male.

So, this was the box I put myself in. I joined the LGBT Society, made friends with everyone, donned the odd feather boa, and partied to cheesy music.

But back at St Aldates, it was the proposed ordination of Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Now Jeffrey was openly gay, had been in a gay relationship for some 30 years, but had abstained from sex, so according to Church of England guidance, had done nothing wrong.

However St Aldates were utterly opposed to the appointment, and I found myself feeling uncomfortable, and almost persecuted. The Rector even devoted a sermon to Biblical texts which in the eyes of St Aldates, proved that homosexuality was against Christian principles, and telling the congregation why St Aldates were opposed to the appointment.

Now in the end, Jeffrey’s appointment as Bishop of Reading did not go ahead, but he was appointed as Dean of St Albans.

Sometime later, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams came to preach. He preached a perfectly interesting sermon, but there was a question and answer session. The Rector put his hand up and began to tell the Archbishop how very disappointed St Aldates were by Jeffrey John’s appointment in St Albans.

I leaned across to my carer and told her I couldn’t listen to any more. With that, I left the service at very high speed.

So no Church again for a while, that is until the last attempt at conforming, brought about by disabled toilet evangelism.

I was partying like a cheesy thing at GLAM, the University’s cheesy themed student night, when I met this very friendly girl. Her name was Anna, she’d lived in Nepal and she was studying Occupational Therapy. We chatted about many things that night, but the conversation took an unexpected turn when she offered to help me to the toilet.

I went in, did what I had to do, and then she began to engage me in a conversation about attending Church. I saw nothing of her for a few weeks, apart from the occasional text, asking me if I was coming to Church.

In the end she turned up to take me to the Wednesday Bible group, FOCUS, held at the local school.

Now, around this time, I’d also been receiving counselling, abandoned my gay phase, and come to the conclusion that I was transsexual.

As soon as I entered the Bible group, something became apparent. There was a gender divide. The individual sub-groups were single sex. So I began feeling more of a hypocrite than ever before. Whilst the men discussed their weaknesses regarding pornography and money, I had half an ear on the discussions about romance and women’s roles within the church, and the other trying desperately to fit in with “the boys.”

My only short term relief from this came when we used to escape over to the Sports Bar for drinks after the meetings. I then got to sit with the girls and chat. I felt more comfortable with this. However, that was frowned upon, and questions were asked. I was even asked if I felt less of a man because of my disability. I told them I was gay to keep them quiet. This for them was satisfactory, as long as I wasn’t practising.

Eventually the pain of being a fraud was becoming too much. Leading a double life, I was out with the LGBT society on  a Saturday, and in Church on Sundays. I was also growing closer to Anna and the other girls, and they treated me like one of them. But I didn’t have to take any action myself this time, to leave.

My degree was ending and I came back to Hampshire to live at John Darling Mall, a hostel for physically disabled adults, whilst still keeping in touch with Maria and the others by telephone.

But soon after, I found a therapist, and began living as female. This is when my friendship with Maria and the others came to an abrupt end when I disclosed my true self to them.

They all urged me not to believe the lies, and told me that God’s grace was sufficient enough for me to carry on living as male. They even mentioned my DNA!

However, I ignored them, and they to this day have ignored me

I think that to understand the predicament of the transsexual we need look no further than Jesus. He was ridiculed, and marginalised. He reached out to Mary, allowing her to wash his hair. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbours as ourselves, with no discriminatory opt outs.

Romans tells us that there is “no condemnation in Christ Jesus” If this is so, why then am I condemned for my decision to honour myself as a woman in Christ? Clearly, I am not. The only right answer to this question is that humankind condemned me instead.

The other important question is of course, did God create transsexuality? I think unequivocally yes definitely, if He created everything else.

Making u-turns in your life does not mean that everything will be perfect, nor easier, just different, as the Rev Dawson B. Taylor points out in a sermon preached at the Cathedral of Hope

I definitely feel more fulfilled, and more real now, even if I have lost many “friends”

Those friendships were based on lies anyway, and a last desperate attempt by me to conform and fit in with society.

But I think it was still a useful experience, in that it forced my hand and made me admit my true feelings. I believe that in order to know what you are, you must also know what you are not. I think the single sex Bible study was God’s way of showing me. It was the first time I had really had to try, badly, to take on the male role in society

People often ask me what attracted me to Evangelical churches, and what kept me going back for more.

I think they appear to be very welcoming places, with a snake charm-esque feeling, and very  seductive and happy, that is until you put a toe out of line or say something controversial.

My Christian experience as a transsexual has been less disappointing overall than my experience of Christians as a transsexual. I know that God is still there, and God is with me always. However, in a fallen world the same cannot be said of my supposed Christian friends sadly. I pray that their hearts would be opened, and their minds illuminated.

As to grace, finally, the greatest irony is that the central planks of the evangelical argument against transsexuality can also be taken to be in favour of it. If God’s grace is sufficient enough for them to remain male, it is therefore also abundantly sufficient to allow them to be themselves.

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Ria: Diary of a Teen Transsexual – Judgement Day

So last night, Channel 4 screened a documentary entitled Ria: Diary of a Teen Transsexual about a young trans woman, Ria Cooper, about her struggles growing up as a young trans woman on the Longhill Estate in Hull, Humberside. It was described by the narrator as “one of Britain’s toughest council estates”.

We see her highs, and her lows as she navigates her way through the sometimes fickle and inconsistent world of being a teenager. No more and no less.

However this programme followed a very different route to say, My Transsexual Summer. It was gritty, it was honest, and it was tough, and it was annoying, frustrating, and angering, but in the next breath inspiring too. Does it mean that because it sent out a different message to other shows, that therefore it is less valid? No. I think that there is room for every story, and that Ria’s story needed to be told.

Here in this piece, I shall attempt to explain why, and draw some conclusions, as well as addressing the judgements, counter judgements and criticism that has been levelled at Ria.

I want to open by stating an absolute truth. Transsexuality does not discriminate. Transsexuals come in all shapes, sizes, disabilities, colours and creeds. They also come from a wide range of social backgrounds as you might expect. 

Historically, council estates like the one Ria lived on are viewed with some degree of scorn by those who are more privileged. However, they can be in many cases fulfilling and friendly places.

Many of Ria’s friends did accept her, in spite of the fact that their pronoun use was all over the shop. Underneath all that, they supported her aims.

However, council estates can be tough places to group up. They tend to be based, much like the animal kingdom on survival of the fittest and conforming to norms. 

However, being transsexual throws the majority of those norms out the window, so, you have to conform in other ways.

It was a telling point that Ria’s sister I think said that she had never heard anyone in Hull aspiring to be a lawyer or a graphic designer or a lawyer.

For the most part, council estates are microcosms. They become your world, and as such, not having the same cultural capital as people from a more privileged background (though you can gain it later) you get involved in what that world has to offer for a young teenage girl, which was in the case of Longhill, testosterone fuelled boys. All Ria was trying to do was to conform to the social expectations of her world, and what she perceived a girl to be. 

Yes she went about it in a perhaps more exaggerated and clumsier way, but do  not forget she was feeling her round a new, fresh world post transition. We are bound to as human beings make mistakes and we all do it, so we should not sit in judgement on Ria’s mistakes.

I got mixed messages from Ria’s mother and stepfather about the transition process. On one level they seemed to understand, but on another not so much.When Ria’s stepdad was speaking regarding boyfriends and intimacy, I just wanted to gently explain that it was not a boy panicking about someone discovering their trans status, but a girl.

One of the basic tenants of transsexuality is that it is a mismatch between body and brain.

You get so excited and you want to do everything other girls do, including sex and intercourse. Just because your body is mismatched, it does not mean that that registers with your brain. So your brain gets horny, starts thinking nice thoughts and then, oh fuck, I’ve got 99 problems and my d*** might be one.

So what do you do? Do you lie? Or are you honest? It is a difficult judgement call on which way to go here. If you really liked someone you might be scared it would put them off, but on the other you may just want your privacy to be intact.

For me, when this issue came up at the gay club, I told people. But I do feel it created an unconscious division between us. Being lesbians my friends did not feel they could have sex with someone with a penis. Their loss! I think Ria just wanted to feel normal for five minutes, and not be perceived as a freak. It is an inbuilt mechanism in  all of us to crave acceptance and love, and Ria Cooper is no different.

Let me turn now to the issue of blockers and Ria’s money situation. Let me say it like it is, if you have not been in that position yourself, you are in no position to judge.

During the period after the second visit to the Tavistock Clinic, Ria’s life seemed chaotic. But this is what early transition is like. On the one hand you have these medical professionals validating and confirming what you know, on the other you have people trying to re-learn you and make sense of you.

Ria perhaps did not take the blockers because she was not ready to, or was unable to process the consequences of doing so. However that does not in itself make her a bad person. It makes her human.

Cleethorpes I think, saw Ria at her happiest. For her and her friends, it was normal teenage escapism from the humdrum of estate life. And you know, I just knew she was never going to be able to keep to her friend’s no shagging rule.

I knew it was about as likely as the sky turning green, though the physical violence saddened me. I could empathise with her pain of wanting what every teenage girl wants, whilst at the same time, getting there was not going to be a straight, easy or simple road.

I also felt for her as stealth became harder to accomplish, as the full effects of a male puberty were felt. I hated mine with a vengeance, so I know only too felt how it is.

Now let me turn to sex. Yes kids, sex. Across social media today, Ria doing sex work to finance herself has provoked outrage, inside and outside the trans community.

Let me start by saying this right off the bat. Sex is normal, sex is enjoyable, and most of all nothing to be ashamed of.

But what has angered me and I mean really fucked me off, is how nasty and vitriolic and contemptible people have been about it. People have called her a slag, accusing her of giving the trans community a bad name.

Well pardon me but I do not think in any way one person can hold the perception  of an entire community in their hand.That is hyperbole and obfuscation of the very worst kind.

Ria is responsible for herself and her actions. You and I are responsible for ourselves, our actions, and how we react to her actions.

Let me be clear, sex is one of the most basic, primitive desires in humankind. We all need it, and we all want it.

But yet, we seem to go all Dickensian and intellectually snobbish when money is involved, and prudish.Why?

It is no different to sucking your boyfriend’s cock or licking out your girlfriend’s vajayjay. Except there is money, and as Sarah Savage pointed out in her earlier blog, some people may enjoy the sex.

With limited options available, Ria wanted to make money, and make money fast. We all, after all need money to survive.  This seems to be the motif I am left with when I think about Ria’s life; survival in a tough place.

Some of the vitriol that has been directed at Ria is shameful. Sex is after all, a passport to love and affirmation and internal happiness and authenticity. All I think is that Ria has gone via the scenic route to achieve her goals. None of us can know what we would do in her situation, but there is a demand for sex workers otherwise prostitution would not exist. I applaud Ria from the heart for being so honest and candid about her life, truly. What I would like to see is better protection for sex workers to make them less vulnerable, and proper legislation, with the objective of legalisation.

Then enter the vivacious, confident and loveable Paris Lees. She stated that she recognised a lot of Ria in herself and wanted to help. You see, the thing is, when Paris opens her mouth, you know she is doing it from a place of genuineness and honesty. She is a beautiful person who has been there, seen it and done it, and got the Transtar T-shirt y’all. Boom!

She was positive, non judgemental and oozed empathy from every pore.I tell you today, if more people were like Paris and less like the ill-informed idiots who have been abusing the privilege of social media to talk shit, the world would be abundantly better.

For the huge moral stigma around prostitution stink. Prostitutes are seen as scum, along with the homeless and minority groups. We need to change our mindset. Ria is trans. She needs support just like every other transperson. We cannot just support those narratives which conform to our sensibilities, or leave us warmed up like soup on a cold day.

As a community, we have a duty and responsibility to support everyone, regardless of our different backgrounds. What brings us together, namely the trans lived experience is far stronger than what divides us.

Concluding, I thought last night’s documentary was great, and an emotional rollercoaster. The response not so. What we saw in the reactions I feel was a very British response, to a very un-British warts n’all raw documentary.

Yes it struck a very different note to My Transsexual Summer. MTS was celebratory and positive.However, if you seriously think that every trans documentary following it has to be fluffy and rosy and in P!NK’s words Fuckin’ Perfect then you are sadly mistaken. This is because although the trans label unites us, all our lived experiences are different.

Just because one documentary by one production company sent out a very positive narrative, it does not mean that other narratives are then rendered redundant and become excluded. There is room for all narratives.

Any human being with a brain can understand and respect that, and we as the trans community should too. 

All that prevents people from doing so is their own prejudice. I hope over time this will change and people will reflect.

Yes MTS was fab, but it is not the only trans story that needs to be told. However positively we spin things, being trans at times is difficult if you do not have the right cultural capital, the right environment, and the right support, when you need it most. But in spite of adversity, with a true spirit of determination, Ria carried on.

Maybe her story made us feel uncomfortable, angry, sad, or with a bitter taste over our sex work prejudices. But Ria has friends, they pull her through, and because of that she will continue to thrive. Just because the documentary shone a light on a side of trans life we may not have seen, does not mean the documentary in turn should be seen and not heard.

Ria is part of a diverse trans community, and that is something we should celebrate. We cannot just stick our fingers in our ears when a particular diversity mystifies us. We must use it to allow our minds to be broadened, thus allowing education and empathy to take place.

The amount of value judgement I have seen disgusts me to the core. I hope I never have to see it again.

Why? Mainly because I do not live in a vacuum or a glass house and know how it feels to be judged.

Think what you like about Ria, but she is determined and courageous and I celebrate that. In many ways she proves how high transition stakes can be. She had no cushion, nor safety net. Her narrative is valid because she is a valid human being. She therefore has a right to tell her story. I for one am glad she did.

 

Transphobia Revealed:Part II

Firstly I know I promised a blog about Brighton, and I will get to it, but  this seemed more pressing.

Reveal have again excelled themselves in the transphobia stakes, with this gem of a headline.

“Dump TRANNY Alex” says Jordan…”

Now after they have been slated for angering the trans community so much in one week, to do so again is contemptible. One could allow latitude perhaps if the company, Hearst had been contrite and gracious about the matter. But they were not. Instead they apologised to anyone they had offended and promised to bear it in mind for future issues.

Clearly, they are honouring that pledge then, said she, sarcasm notwithstanding. 

The wider story here of course is a war of words between Katie Price,Alex Reid and his new girlfriend, Chantelle Houghton.

 So in many ways, is it natural that Katie Price, as perhaps the somewhat bitter ex, would want to discredit Alex by exposing the parts of him that he is most sensitive about. But she is hardly offering the advice with the kindness and warmth, and cuddly gentle persona of Cilla Black now is she?

If Katie Price did use those words, then fine. She can says what she likes in her own life. However, when you are an object of public interest, it is basic human common sense that you watch what you say. If this is a verbatim quote from Katie Price, then she should be ashamed for perpetuating ignorance around an already misunderstood, and maligned issue.

However, it is possible that Reveal have manipulated or doctored this quote to suit their own emerging agenda on this issue. In which case, that is also bad journalism and worthy of condemnation. If this was the scenario that unfolded here,I condemn it utterly and unreservedly.

But that said, Reveal have form on this issue. Just saying.

But when it comes down to it, I am not writing this to indulge in a gdame of who-said-what, nor am I doing it to point the finger. What I am doing though, is setting out the facts. The most aggrieving thing for me is that those words, in a wholly pejorative context, are out there at all.

The mission to set up every minority group as something deviant or bad is a hollow one. I myself have no problem with the fact that Alex Reid crossdresses, if indeed he does. What people do in life is largely up to them I think and we should keep our noses fairly and squarely out of it.

But crossdressing as a pursuit is very different from transvestism or transsexuality. The three things are very different, and should be treated as such.

Crossdressing in particular does not necessarily have any allusions to gender dysphoria, nor does it allude to the fetishistic overtones of transvestism.

However, what Reveal have done is conflated the three things together, which is unacceptable. Alex Reid is not a transvestite, nor transsexual, so therefore the use of the word Tranny, as a pejorative, or even trans as a non pejorative is redundant here, since it is irrelevant to the context of Alex Reid’s crossdressing.

Frankly, it is contemptible that trans people and sexual minorities are being used to engender fear in this way. Fear on one level and titillation on another.

Crossdressing may not be a universal practice, but that, transvestism and transsexuality, plus transgenderism are not an example of abhorrence or a freakshow. Abhorrence would be murder or rape. Crossdressers are now more socially accepted. So Reveal are also propagating an outdated prejudice which has no place in modern thinking.

Whether the verbatim rantings of Katie Price, or quote twisting to suit an agenda, the trans community has the right not to be used to create a cheap headline. Which bit is funny Reveal? The struggle for  self-acceptance or the struggle for the acceptance of others? The suicides? The self harm? To use the trans community in this way is shameful, and to treat Alex Reid’s crossdressing as some freakish underground pastime is awful.

We do not deserve to be used to create cheap, comedic headlines and I feel sure the PCC will agree.

BBC Three: Snog, Marry Or Avoid?

Now, before I begin this post, I would like to make the following points. I am not a stereotypical Angry from Manchester, nor a BBC basher, and finally in no way shape or form, a serial complainer.

Nailing my own colours to the mast and being honest, I have done some work for the BBC in local radio, I love the BBC. It is a bastion of creativity and pushing boundaries. It is also very hot 0n inclusion, and being relevant to oppressed minorities, and this is something that people in the BBC are highly passionate about.

They believe in innovation and highlighting important issues, and along with Radio 1,BBC Three in particular believes in presenting issues of importance to other young people.

To be honest as well, I am glad we have the BBC. I would far rather we have democratic PSB than autocractic, Government led state run television.

I spoke when writing about My Transsexual Summer about Channel 4, and BBC Three’s ability to create compelling, and innovative documentaries.

I do not subscribe to the view that BBC Three is trash television. After all, they have handled such subjects as bipolar disorder and coming out with sensitivity, maturity, and integrity. This is what makes the following clip all the more surprising.

Thanks to my good friend Sarah for uploading this clip. How do you feel when you watch it? What emotions are conjured up?

Upon hearing this, my first emotion is surprise. It is only twelve seconds long, but what a televisual timebomb, and what on Earth are the Exec Producer, the Producer and the Director playing at? How would this stand up to scrutiny under BBC Editorial Guidelines and policy?

I was surprised because of the BBC’s good track record in minority representation in general. I would be delighted to hear the rationale for this part of the script, because transsexuality is not even pertinent to the show.

The BBC’s  Editorial Guidelines state that;

              5.4.38

“We aim to reflect fully and fairly all of the United Kingdom’s people and cultures in our services.  Content may reflect the prejudice and disadvantage which exist in societies worldwide but we should not perpetuate it.  In some instances, references to disability, age, sexual orientation, faith, race, etc.  may be relevant to portrayal.  However, we should avoid careless or offensive stereotypical assumptions and people should only be described in such terms when editorially justified.”

As you will see from the part I have emboldened, the BBC have utterly failed to avoid offensive or stereotypical assumptions in this case.

The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines further state that;

5.4.39

“When it is within audience expectations, we may feature a portrayal or stereotype that has been exaggerated for comic effect, but we must be aware that audiences may find casual or purposeless stereotypes to be offensive.”

Again, I am sure you will agree that the BBC has roundly failed here too.

For them there is nowhere to hide. This was not a little F-Bomb the BBC forgot to bleep out. It was not even live. On live TV anything can happen. So therefore you can apologise, and hope it blows over, as was seen on The Voice UK  in respect of Becky Hill.

But this was not live, or as live. Snog, Marry, Avoid ? is pre-recorded and as such pre scripted. I do not blame the voice of POD. I blame the production team, who failed in their duty to check this script against the Editorial Guidelines. Remarkable really since it took me and Google all of five minutes to find them and reach the relevant section on portrayal.

But the fact that this script was waved through, shows me that the production team were well aware of what they were doing. This escalates it from a simple, naive mistake to complicit bullying. There is no other way to describe it.

With v/o’s there are two simple processes, scripting and directing. The producers will have in mind on any show how they want the script to be delivered. It could be as a straight narration, i.e just normal speech, or with certain emotions or characteristics, i.e exaggeration, sadness or sarcasm. Some narration involves saying the same thing in different ways?

It was clear, from the sneering tone adopted by POD, that the programme meant to cast transsexuals as joke figures, as little more than a bad pastiche or over exaggeration of the female form. This is inexcusable, since no two people, with the  exception of identical twins or triplets look exactly the same.

To reduce a minority group to a singular clone is an insult. To further describe them using an unbalanced crop of bad attributes further adds to that insult. All the attributes could be described as relating to all women. Have you ever heard of the term ‘bad hair day’ BBC? I know I have.

What also confirms the programme makers intentions is the deliberate juxtaposition of the contestant’s name Rachel, with a male name Richard. She too is a victim here, not due to being compared to a transsexual, but because the programme makers have allowed her to be used to make this insult stick. She was a pawn in a programme makers game, and she looked visibly shocked and upset. Yes she chose it, but would she have chosen that narration?

However though, there is a cynical, sinister side of this. Some programme makers, and producers love complaints. They give shows the oxygen of publicity, that bit of  edge, talkability, and notoriety.

Some shows even go through stages like that, where shows become known more for their off screen antics than what happens while the show airs.

POD is well known for satire, and this is within the spirit of the show. However, discriminating against a minority group in a crude, wholesale manner is not. You see, discrimination is a slippery slope. Replace the word transsexual with another oppressed minority and the backlash may be far greater. However, that does not make the impact any less.

The Queen of trans activism, Paris Lees has started a hashtag trending on Twitter, to show BBC Three that transsexuals instead of being singular are quite pluralistic and varied in terms of appearance and characteristics as all human beings are. #WhatTranssexualsLookLike is the hashtag you need, microbloggers!

What also was the Controller of BBC Three playing at? This happened on Zai Bennett’s channel, and he needs to take responsibility.

Minorities have a right to watch television, listen to the radio, or indeed browse the Internet without feeling got at, or victimised. That right was not just ignored here, it was trampled on by BBC Three getting too big for its boots, and not following its own Editorial Guidelines.

As I suggested at the outset, this saddens me. I do love the BBC, and it normally has a fantastic record of minority representation. Why allow it to be tarnished by a needless, unnecessary, irrelevant but highly discriminatory error. It is vile.

Would I snog BBC Three at the moment? Erm no! Would I marry them at the moment? No! But would I avoid them, no because they do produce high quality, gamechanging programming.

However, they need to remember that as part of the wider BBC, they are a public service broadcaster. Their target audience are impressionable, and malleable. Do they want to send out the message that bullying and victimising transsexuals is ok?

I hope BBC Three learns a lesson from this, learns it fast, and well, and further hope they never make such a crass mistake again.