This week, the world was up in arms (quite rightly) about Trump's latest ridiculous ban - to stop transgender people from serving in the military, which he, of course, announced on Twitter:
"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military world entail. Thank you."
... um, you're welcome?
Now this obviously fuelled a huge backlash (or at least it did in my echo chamber of social media), but there was one response that struck me as surprising - and that was Piers Morgan's.
Normally, I avoid anything Piers Morgan has to say (remember when he felt so left out by the Women's March that he suggested there was a men's one?), but this was just too surprising for me not to read. Plus, I do believe it's good to listen to other peoples' opinions (even if it's usually so I can make well informed arguments against them).
Having previously supported Trump, and seeming a classic example of a transphobic middle aged man, I was pleasantly surprised at his stance on Twitter. Until, that is, I broke my oath to never give the Daily Mail any more clicks, and read his opinion piece on it.
The whole thing seems very reluctant, as if to say "alright, I've decided I'll agree with you on this one particular thing, but I'm not going to try and learn anything more on the subject or take this idea any further - this is as left wing as I'll go".
Throughout the article, he refers to trans people as "transgenders", and when told by openly non binary writer Jack Monroe that this actually wasn't an appropriate way to refer to trans people (I guess it's kind of like referring to black people as "the blacks"), he said, like a child in a classroom trying to outwit a teacher - "but I identify the phrase as 'transgender people'. How dare you disrespect my right to identify it how I like?"
Piers, if you're going to decide that you're a trans ally, you can't just suddenly throw their terminology back in their face. You can't just say "well alright, go on then, I agree with transgender rights, but I'm not making any more of an effort than that!" and then completely mock outright the people you're supposedly supporting.
He then goes on to say that even though he supports people's "right to transgender" (like it's a verb), he has less sympathy for the 'gender neutral brigade', even though literally nobody asked him. If he truly does believe in transgender rights, then surely that in itself is an admittance to the fluidity of gender? If you can agree with the fact that a person can decide to go from male to female or vice versa, then surely you accept the fact that gender IS inherently a fluid thing that can change, and can therefore disappear altogether?
He then goes on to cite the example of "a police officer in Britain who currently uses separate male and female identities at work, sometimes going by the name Callum, other days as Abi", and says "I think that is ridiculously confusing for everyone and devalues the struggle that so many endure to transgender or transition."
I feel like the example he used is quite a unique case, and does not accurately describe what most non-binary people are like. Obviously, as a cisgender person (someone who identifies with the same gender I was assigned at birth), I can't speak on behalf of trans/non binary people and there's clearly a hell of a lot I don't know. However, of all the non-binary people I have known of or met, none of them have flippantly decided to change their gender on a day to day basis. They usually just stick to being non binary, with one consistent name, and using "they" pronouns. Being non binary isn't really about "one day I'm a man, next I'm a woman" it's about simply not having a gender at all. It's actually not that confusing.
Imagine you were talking about your post being delivered, and you missed it. You would say "they tried to deliver it, but I wasn't in" - because you don't know the gender of the person delivering your post. It's the same with people you've actually met in real life, too. If your mate is non binary, you just say "I'm meeting them later". OK, so you may have to specify that you're talking about one person and not a group of people, but once that's established, it really isn't that difficult, especially if you know that person is non-binary.
I get that this is a relatively new concept for a lot of people, especially those of an older generation. But I just find it baffling that people like Piers Morgan can be so openly "accepting" of trans rights, yet still so bitter and reluctant to educate himself about everything else associated with it. So forgive me if I'm not buying his faux-liberalism just yet.