Ep#146 – Rose – Trans Activism

This week on The #GSPodcast Stephen Knight talks to trans YouTuber Rose, AKA Rose Of Dawn (@Rose_Of_Dawn). They talk: Gender dysphoria, Stonewall, her transition process, pronouns, the limits of self-identification, Jessica Yaniv’s court verdict, the ethics of medical treatment for trans children and much more!

Rose Of Dawn on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/roseofdawn

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  • The third thing to say here is that I much respect Stevens’s work and have made a, depressingly small, contribution to his podcasts via Patreon. However, as someone who has been involved in the LGBT rights space for a number of years, I regrettably cancelled this. Stephen will hardly miss my $3 per episode I think Stephen is entitled to hear why and I hope he will not think me rude or dismissive of all his other excellent work.

    I grew up gay in the last three decades of the 20th century. The principal way then of hiding the general and extreme bigotry against gays that then existed was to pretend that it was some sort of medical issue: that gays were mentally ill. I work with many trans-people. Some of them have had gender reaffirmation surgery and some have not. Of those that have not, some intend to have surgery and some do not. What does unite them all is a serious and, in 99% of cases, irrevocable, intention to spend the rest of their lives living in the gender which corresponds to their identity. They are not ill and they do not need surgery to confirm what they are.

    To recognise that, the government has indicated that it intends to separate the concept of being transsexual from the concept of needing surgery. This does not mean that any old person on any day of the week can decide to change gender: the process will still be complex and permanent and very “legal”.

    The idea that in effect only those who regard gender identity as being a sign of being in need of medical help is is just as unpleasant the idea that being gay means you are in need of medical help. And as someone who suffered from the latter, I regard it as a moral imperative as a gay cis man to support trans people who for many years have supported me. I much regret that Rose takes a different view. And this is not just a case of sociopolitical difference. It is a case of denial of a fundamental human right of gender identity.

    It would be great if Stephen would feel able to have someone on the pod cast who represents the mainstream of LGBT+ people and the organisations like Stonewall who do a great job campaigning for them.


    Harry (he/him/his)

    • Hi Harry. Thanks for the feedback. I’m sincerely grateful you took the time to share your thoughts in a measured and civil manner. I don’t actually see much to disagree with in your comments, as I’m not sure they properly map on to any views I have shared or aired in this podcast or anywhere else. But I’m happy to clarify a few points.

      “Stephen will hardly miss my $3 per episode”

      I’m incredibly grateful for all the support you have already supplied, and the decision to cancel is yours alone and needs no justification, but I appreciate you sharing your reasoning. I will however point out that I don’t have a large amount of monetary support, and people chipping in like yourself does make all the difference. There are ways to pander to increase my monetary support, but I refuse to do it. I produce content that is going to be challenging, and I’m fully aware I run the risk of harming my wallet with this approach. But I still do it because I believe it’s more important to be true to myself. I know every time I advocate for veganism on my podcast for instance, that I will lose money. I can set my watch by it, but I still do it because I think it’s important. Just as I think it’s important to hear the voices of trans women who hold different opinions from the mainstream left.

      “The idea that in effect only those who regard gender identity as being a sign of being in need of medical help is is just as unpleasant the idea that being gay means you are in need of medical help”

      I don’t feel that was the point being made on the podcast by Rose. I understood her to be saying there is a distinction to be made between someone who has gender re-assignment and presents as their particular gender VS someone who just says they are trans but doesn’t change a thing. We are perfectly free to disagree with her on that view, but I don’t think it’s a radical or bigoted position to take. Keep in mind, this is a trans woman who feels this way about self-identification.
      I can see you have an understandable concern that trans people may be pathologized in a similar way that gay people were in very recent history. I totally share that fear. On a recent podcast I referred to the view that trans people are just “Mentally ill” as “stupid shit” (you can hear the clip here: https://twitter.com/GSpellchecker/status/1188929571216936960 )

      All the best, and thanks for the feedback.


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