By Staff Writer James Mellen III
The gaming community was in the news this week and it wasn’t for being sexist! Youtube video game man “Hbomberguy” hosted a 57 hour livestream of Donkey Kong 64 to raise over 300,000 dollars for the Trans rights organization “Mermaids”
Mermaids is a United Kingdom based non-profit that works “to raise awareness about gender nonconformity in children and young people amongst professionals and the general public. We campaign for the recognition of gender dysphoria in young people and lobby for improvements in professional services.” (Via their website).
The organization was designated to win 500,000 pounds via the United Kingdom’s national lottery (apparently the lottery in the UK gives out grant for charities picked at random at the end of every year) at the end of last year. However the grant was taken away due to criticisms of transphobes across the pond, the most notable of which (at least in relation to the live stream) was Graham Linehan.
So whose Graham Linehan? HBomberguy described him during the livestream as “a comedy writer who did some work on a good show 20 years ago, a very normal man who is very angry about trans people all day nowadays.” Linehan took to twitter after the grant was awarded to Mermaids, telling his 650,000 followers to email the National Lottery in masses.
Linehan uses women’s and lesbian rights as a guise in order to hide his transphobia, going on record of saying things such as “Some people don’t see the problem repeating the dogma [that] trans women are women” and “Some people have a seriously held belief that trans women are literally women. So if someone who identifies as a woman is attracted to a woman, they are considered a lesbian.” and “I have a number of friends who are trans.”
The mention of lesbians being oppressed by trans people comes from Linehan’s belief that trans rights oppress the rights of gay people for some unintelligible reason that boils down to being transphobic. HBomberguy replied to this by saying “As a kid who grew up to be bi, who knew kids who grew up to be trans and would have loved the support Mermaids is helping to provide: Log the f*ck off before you get promoted to head of mermaids’ marketing department. Every time you tweet five people donate. You’re losing.”
This type of person is what many people would label as a “TERF” or “Trans-exclusionary radical feminist”, in other words transphobic and not a feminist. TERF’s defend their transphobia through the guise of women’s rights. Or as Lineham would put it he criticises the rights of trans people because he “values women”. But Lineham isn’t actually making a stand on women’s rights, he probably doesn’t even value women, He’s just transphobic.
This type of rhetoric is spread pretty much anywhere that there is bigotry, and it’s a valuable skill to be able to recognize it. The entire nation got to see it last month during Trump’s oval office address during the government shut down when he said those hit hardest by the government shutdown where African and Hispanic Americans. Trump doesn’t care about those people, he just hates immigrants.
The discourse on the rights of Trans people is only about a group of people’s right to exist. It’s never been about family values or the safety of women and children in public bathrooms. It has always been about a the rights of Trans people’s right to exist. When Linehan says that there’s a “problem” that Trans women are women, he is actively condoning and normalizing the systems of oppression that resulted in the murder of 29 Transgender people last year.
While the origins of the livestream come from an inhumane bigoted place, it was transformed into one of the most human moments in internet history. Hbomberguy cried when the donation fund reached $75,000. The head of the mermaid charity Susie Green said “We will never forget this and neither will they. Ever”. It brought the entire left side of the internet together even if only for 57 hours. Special guests such as Chelsea Manning and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez came onto the stream. Ocasio-Cortez, a congresswoman for New York, said that trans rights were “common sense” and “human rights.” And honestly it’s kind of awesome to watch the hatred of transphobia get stomped out by the love, vulnerability and solidarity of Trans and Trans-ally communities.