Friday, January 17, 2014

Who's "Punking" Whom?

NOW Magazine claims that the Toronto Star may have been "punked" by a letter sent to its ethics columnist detailing a purported interaction between an elderly woman in a YWCA change room, and a purported transgendered woman, who, pre-op, retained all the male body bits s/he was born with, and who chose to use them in a way that made the elderly woman feel very uncomfortable, to say the least. (I wrote about the letter here.) Although it hasn't come up with any specific evidence to refute the letter, NOW says
there's a fairly good chance that the letter itself may have been an ideologically-motivated fabrication. As explained by the U.S.-based trans news site the TransAdvocate, the sensational episode recounted in the letter is far more consistent with a number of hoax stories credulously reported in American media over the years than it is with any incident that is known to have actually taken place anywhere. 
The TransAdvocate's Cristan Williams took the additional step of phoning "every Toronto YMCA with a pool" and found that no one she spoke to had heard of any situation like the one described in the letter. (It might be noted, however, that the Star's readership extends beyond Toronto's borders, and the anonymous letter-writer makes no suggestion that her "local Y" is in the city.)
It may indeed be the case that the letter is bogus; whether or not it was concocted because of "ideology" is simply unknowable at the moment. As I see it, though, that's far less important than the response the letter--whether real or fake--elicited from the Star's ethics expert. Which is to recall that the columnist told the letter-writer that, even if a pre-op transsexual who looks fully male plays with "her" male equipment while ogling a chick in a women's dressing room, as unpleasant and perhaps even illegal as that may be, "from a human rights perspective, a transgender woman is a woman, full stop."

That being so, from a human rights perspective, it is clear that we're the ones being punked.

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