TRANSSEXUALS RIDICULED BY OBSERVER COLUMNIST JULIE BURCHILL – A political storm is brewing at the Observer Newspaper after Julie Burchill, a senior columnist for the Observer, wrote a rather ridiculing article about transsexuals, referring to them as, ‘bed-wetters in bad wigs’ and ‘dicks in chicks’ clothing’.
According to the full report in the Daily Mail, former equalities minister Lynne Featherstone, is now calling upon the Observer to sack Julie Burchill over her comments.
Shortly after Julie Burchill wrote the article she received a barrage of abuse from Twitter followers, for what they obviously thought were extremely demeaning and short-sighted views on what is commonly referred to as the 3rd sex.
The Observer was also inundated with reader comments, calling the article ‘vile’ and ‘horrible’. It was not long after the abuse began to roll in that the Observer closed the comments, removed the report and stated that the article was now under investigation for breach of conduct by its Readers Editor.
“Julie Burchill rant against the transgender community is absolutely disgusting – a bigoted vomit for which the Observer should sack her.” Former Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone
So why all the rage over such a comment? It is understandable that some, and indeed many considering the reaction on Twitter and the Observer newspaper, did indeed take the stance that Julie Burchill was simply trying to degrade transsexuals, and in this particular instance, Brazilian Transsexuals.
I personally find the whole article a bit disturbing for a couple of reasons. For a start why would a seasoned journalist pick on a particular group of people in such a vile way – and yes it was vile and demeaning in my view. On the other side, and there is always another side, should Julie Burchill be berated, and worse, sacked because of her article? Whatever happened to the right of free speech and to allow people to publicly voice their opinions? If we, at Meebal.com, did not believe in this fundamental right, then it would not exist.
Personally, regardless of how I feel about what Julie Burchill had to say, she did, in my view have a right to voice her opinion. The fault here lies not with what was written but with what was published. Surely the Observer is the one who should be held accountable as the Editors have the final say of what and what is not published, as I do as Editor-in-Chief at Meebal.com – the buck stops firmly at my door and I have to take responsibility for what is published, not written.
I honestly do not think Julie Burchill’s article did the Observer any harm – it certainly caused a reaction and that is what news is all about – getting people involved in the debate, or at least that’s what it should do.
Note carefully here how the Former Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone is calling for the newspaper to sack Julie Burchill, and in fact the editor as well for allowing the article to go to print. Now note the word ‘Equalities’ – I would like to ask Lynne Featherstone where is the equilibrium in sacking Julie Burchill? Surely as we all choose to lead different lifestyles this will go against the grain and beliefs of others, so why should Julie Burchill not be allowed to express her opinions? Is Lynne Featherstone suggesting its fine for a man to dress as a woman, but nobody is permitted to state the fact? Doesn’t seem like any type of equality to me.
Did Julie Burchill go too far with the article and the comments she made? That is up to you to decide, but for me personally I felt a hint of jealousy as she stated that women are being forced into looking like Brazilian Transsexuals – is Julie suggesting that she is jealous because she
doesn’t look that good? Again, it’s all about a matter of interpretation and conjecture as to how we perceive any article on any type of subject.
My conclusion to this is that Julie Burchill had every right to voice her opinion but must also accept the fact that such comments would cause some degree of backlash, as it clearly did with those who vilified her on Twitter and the Observer.