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After Jeremy Clarkson made headlines with a transphobic column titled ‘Transgender issues are driving me nuts’, Matt Lucas tweeted that the star was ‘like your out-of-touch grandpa’. Naturally, Twitter was set alight in the wake of two cis men talking about trans issues.
Batty, transphobic article by Clarkson in The Times today. He's like your out-of-touch grandpa.
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) January 24, 2016
In his usual offensive tone, Clarkson wrote in The Sunday Times, ‘As far as I was concerned, men who want to be women were only really to be found on the internet or in the seedier bits of Bangkok.
‘They were called lady boys, and in my mind they were nothing more than the punchline in a stag night anecdote.’
Completely failing to understand the reality of being a trans young person, Clarkson apparently imagines it’s the parents of trans people who are pushing them to transition. He doesn’t realise that many young trans people have to battle against their families to be who they are and, while things are getting better, many trans people still face rejection by their own families.
He said, ‘I wanted to seek them out and explain that they were free to live a lunatic life, they must not – and I was going to emphasise this with spittle – be allowed to poison the mind of a child.
‘It’s what kids do: dream impossible dreams. You don’t actually take them seriously. You don’t take them to a hospital when they’re 10 and say, “He wants to be a girl, so can you lop his todger off?”
‘Because what’s going to happen five years later when he’s decided that being a man isn’t so bad after all and he’s in the showers at the rugby club?’
It’s worrying to think that Clarkson wouldn’t listen to his kids about something like this. A child expressing their true gender identity is not the same as a child joking that they want to be Supergirl or saying that they want to be an astronaut when they grow up.
Call me naive, but surely the job of a parent isn’t just to blithely ignore their children, but to listen to them in such a way that they know when they’re being frivolous or when they’re after attention, and when they’re expressing genuine distress?
He also seems to think trans kids are a new thing. Every kid who identifies as trans or non-binary (like myself) as an adult usually knows they’re trans or non-binary as a kid. To be fair, a lot of the time, their parents are aware too. It’s not a whim that materialises out of nowhere – it’s a life-long sense that the gender others expect you to be isn’t the same as the person you are inside.
I expect Clarkson to be vile, so this doesn’t really surprise me. But what has surprised me are the things Clarkson seems to imagine men fantasise about. Not being much of a bloke myself, I can’t really relate, but I’m worried what his comments reveal about the darker parts of his own mind.
While it’s obvious (and predictable) that Clarkson can’t comprehend that being trans is anything more than a trend, it seems he also believes that trans women who ask to be moved from male prisons for their own safety are doing it to enjoy ‘lesbian’ sex.
Yes, you read that right: he thinks men would pretend to be trans just so they could trick women into having sex with them. Which is, I guess, a novel approach to courting, but not one I’m sure will work. Maybe those tight jeans have been squishing his brains a bit too much.
He wrote, ‘They tell the screws they want to be women, they get a bit of make-up and some breasts to play with and they are then transferred to a women’s prison, where they can spend the rest of their lives being a lesbian. It’s every man’s dream.’
Not only is this just very bad logic (and a worse gag), it makes a mockery of the deaths of trans people and the violence faced by trans people in prisons. Vicky Thompson, 21, died last November in Armley prison – right next to the house where I grew up in Leeds. So soon after her death, Clarkson desecrates her memory with his tactless comments.
So I’m not surprised Clarkson wrote an article trolling us all. That’s what he does. He gets money for being outrageous, and the people who should know better let him get away with it because it brings them more ratings or more readers. But I am surprised that he’s so callous and so thoughtless about the lives of others – people whose calls for equality and dignity are ‘driving [him] nuts’.
After Twitter exploded in response to Clarkson’s comments, a few people were quick to respond to Lucas’ tweet with their own comments:
@RealMattLucas Please don't insult my grandad. He's far more in touch than Clarkson. Impressive considering he died in 1983.
— John Doherty (@Doc2960) January 24, 2016
@RealMattLucas the glorious paywall defends us all
— AEC (@ItAllAdZzUp) January 24, 2016
@RealMattLucas for some very unfortunate children he really is their out of touch grandpa. Imagine the shame!
— Neil Dance (@NeilDance) January 26, 2016
@RealMattLucas i really wish he'd stick to cars and making fun of Piers Morgan
— Michael Vincent (@mbvince) January 24, 2016
I have some choice words of my own. Luckily, for Clarkson, they’re pretty much unprintable. And, unlike Clarkson, I learned long ago that there are some things you have to keep to yourself.