Thought Catalog published today a transphobic screed by VICE co-founder Gavin McInnes. The essay, titled, “Transphobia is Perfectly Natural,” uses language more vile than even the most overt transphobes would dare print.
It’s unclear how serious it’s intended to be taken, with McInnes going on Twitter and Tumblr to compare trans people with an obscure illness called “Body Integrity Identity Disorder.” And reaction includes people hoping that McInnes — who likes to be considered “The Godfather of Hipsterdom” — is trying to make some larger point by being incredibly offensive.
“Haven’t you seen all the totally functional, happily married, normal trannies walking around? They aren’t all dead, you know,” McInnes writes. “They sell flowers at the local village and bake pies for their scores of adopted children. They’re non-heteronormative. In fact, the only thing more normal than castrating yourself and taking tons of hormones to grow tits is chopping them off. Women who get double mastectomies and then have their cunts turned inside out are just righting a wrong. They need to have a weird cheese blintz-looking thing sticking out of their previous cooch because it feels way better than wearing a strap-on. Sure, the nerve endings aren’t the same as a real dick, but standing up to go pee pee is something these women were born to do. How dare you have a problem with that?”
McInnes, a frequent Fox News guest, takes a jab at author and activist Janet Mock (one of The Advocate’s “40 Under 40” honorees this year), writing, “When Janet Mock appears on MSNBC and talks about growing up as a black chick, nobody’s going to bat an eye. We’ll all be totally comfortable with him retroactively rewriting history and putting a skirt on all his boyhood memories.”
He continues mocking trans people, writing, “We aren’t blind. We see there are no old trannies. They die of drug overdoses and suicide way before they’re 40 and nobody notices because nobody knows them. They are mentally ill gays who need help, and that help doesn’t include being maimed by physicians. These aren’t women trapped in a man’s body. They are nuts trapped in a crazy person’s body.”
Later, McInnes makes the case for discrimination.
“By pretending this is all perfectly sane, you are enabling these poor bastards to mutilate themselves,” he writes. “This insane war on pronouns is about is telling people what to do. It may empower you to shut down a school’s computer system because they phrased your gender wrong, but that’s just a game to you. To them, it’s a life-changing event that fucks them up. To fight against transphobia is to justify trannies. To justify trannies is to allow mentally ill people to mutilate themselves. When your actions are getting people mutilated, you’re at war with them.”
He concludes the piece by reciting talking points eerily similar to that of trans-exclusionary radical feminists, who had their views recently outlined by a much-maligned New Yorker article.
“Buying woman parts from a hospital and calling yourself a broad trivializes what it is to be a woman. Womanhood is not on a shelf next to wigs and makeup. Similarly, being a dude is quite involved. Ripping your vaginal canal out of your fly doesn’t mean you are going to start inventing shit and knowing how cement works. Being a man is awesome. So is being a woman. We should revere these creations, not revel in their bastardization.”
McInnes has a history of offensive, contrarian writing for Thought Catalog. His author page highlights titles like, “When is it OK to Hit a Woman?” “Hey, Ladies! Short Hair is Rape,” “Having Kids Turns You Into a Complete Fag,” “The Myth of Poverty,” and “Are Women Lazy?”
The site has a tendency to attract similar writers, such as Jim Goad, whose articles include, “Is it OK to Make Fun of Asians?” Chelsea Manning hit piece “Dangerously Sensitive,” “Fun Vagina Facts,” “Understanding the Catholic Schoolgirl Fetish,” and antitrans-inclusive language diatribe, “Spaying the Queen’s English.”
In February, the site ran a post titled, “Which Black Teen Murderer are You?” The post, written by another one of Thought Catalog’s resident contrarian authors, is a “baseless, meaningless listicle to help you determine exactly which Black Teen Murderer best represents you!” Among those listed are George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn, John Henry Spooner, and Johannes Mehserle.
Thought Catalog’s mission statement reads, “We want to support freedom of speech, empower writers and readers on their own terms, and make Thought Catalog an online magazine that represents the worldviews and rhetorical styles of as many people as possible,” and makes use of the slogan, “All thinking is relevant.” On the website’s “About” page, they respond to the frequent criticism over publishing offensive content, saying, “We’re an open platform and try not to filter any of the posts, although illegal content and visual pornography aren’t permitted.”
Emails to Thought Catalog founder and publisher Chris Lavergne were not returned. Meanwhile, McInnes is promoting the story on Twitter, where some users disbelieve the article is real and then turn outraged.