opinion

Today, Miranda Devine completely mischaracterised what it means to be transgender.

Another day, another misguided Miranda Devine op-ed.

Today’s piece “Stop telling boys to act like girls” appeared, at first glance, to target the usual suspects – those gosh-darn “feminists” and their middle-class male victims.

Luckily, us feminists can take care of ourselves, and I’m not too worried about the university educated men from private schools for whom Devine expresses such concern.

But then Devine introduced another player into her column –  and they’re a group far more likely to be damaged by her vitriol.

"Yes, the only way men can find forgiveness for their dark, brute natures is to denounce other men, or otherwise to swap sexes, a la Caitlyn Jenner," Devine writes. "If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!"

Suddenly, Devine's usual Sunday drivel looks a little more sinister.

Despite Devine's claims that we've entered "an era of... transgender bathrooms", widespread acceptance of transgender people - particularly those who are in the process of transitioning, or have transitioned -  is all too often the exception, not the rule.

Being transgender is complex and fraught enough without suggestions that transgender women are innocent victims of "toxic grievance feminism" suffering from "Stockholm Syndrome".

The implication, of course, is that transgender women could be "real men" if they wanted to. That being transgender is a choice - and a political one against the patriarchy, at that.

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It's the implication of choice that has such a profoundly negative impact on the transgender community.

It's an implication that keeps the public petitioning to keep transgender women out of female toilets, somehow imagining that a person would seek to undergo a traumatic and often irreversible transition from one gender to another just to watch some other women washing their hands at the sink.

It's an implication that leads some people to aggressively refer to transgender women as "he" and transgender men as "she", as if by insisting on it again and again they'll somehow knock someone else's sex of birth in line with their gender.

In a society that "punishes boys for being born with a Y chromosome," Devine writes, "becoming Caitlyn Jenner suddenly seems like a sensible option."

But being transgender isn't an option.

It isn't a feminist statement.

It isn't a bandwagon to jump on, and no-one who's undergone the gruelling and so often misunderstood process of transition would suggest it's a "sensible" reaction to someone being a bit mean about boys.

It's dangerous to suggest that it is.

Watch what it's really like to be transgender.

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