It is not a new insight to say that bigots always tell on themselves. The reasons they give for their bigotry never hold up to scrutiny, either in how they align with measurable reality, or in how they align with the actions of those bigots. For one glaring example, white supremacy in the United States has always leaned heavily on the idea of “protecting white women” from the violence and sexuality of non-white (usually black) men. At the same time, the people who lean so heavily on this narrative regularly deride the concept of rape culture, and are openly hostile toward efforts to hold white rapists accountable for their crimes. Regardless of what they might say, their actions indicate that they care more about non-white men being seen as a threat to white women than they are about the safety or wellbeing of those women. Because that justifies the policies and cultural norms that they want.
A similar pattern emerges when we look at anti-immigrant rhetoric, as is well illustrated in this Lonerbox video about the recent moral panic about “Muslim grooming gangs”:
For those who didn’t watch the video, the prevalence of the problem was grossly, deliberately inflated, and the term “grooming gang” was defined in such a way that it excluded the vast majority of sexual assault committed against children. Once again, the stated concern for the white victims of non-white assailants is not visible in their actions. What’s important to people like Carl Benjamin/Sargon of Akkad is that the group in question be seen as a threat, because that justifies bigoted laws and violence.
When the struggle for gay rights began to attract more attention, gay men were all accused of being pedophiles, and the narrative was that they had to be oppressed to protect the children. Even leaving aside the children being murdered around the world by the U.S. government, this lie was being told at the same time as the Roman Catholic Church was shuffling rapists around to protect and enable them, and other homophobic religious organizations had similar problems.
The goal wasn’t to protect children, it was to maintain bigotry and oppression. The children were just useful rhetorical tools.
It’s a story that repeats over and over again – bigotry against a group is justified with lies about the evils of that group, while the supposed victims are ignored.
And so we come to the BBC’s latest efforts at upholding the UK’s reputation as “TERF Island”.
The overall moral panic about trans people has never been about the supposed harm they do, because that harm doesn’t really exist. The same people who wail and wring their hands over the “danger” of trans women having access to toilets routinely ignore the much greater threats posed by cis men, and in the case of this article, by cis women. In their eagerness to paint trans women as rapists, the BBC chose to use an admitted rapist as a source, who then went on to call for trans people to be murdered.
Because bigots always tell on themselves. They find something “icky” and work backwards from that. They think they should have rights over another group and they work backward from that. The state of oppression, repression, and demographic hierarchy is the goal. It’s the “lifestyle” they want to protect. It’s where they feel safe from people and perspectives that scare them.
That’s not to say they don’t believe their own bullshit. I think most of them do believe it, but debunking a lie doesn’t tend to change anything, because the lie wasn’t the reason for their hatred – it was a justification to prevent you from calling them what they are, and to obstruct efforts at building a more just society.
Trans men are men. Trans women are women. Nonbinary people are valid.
And bigots lie to hide their bigotry.