[Content Note: Transphobia; gender policing; privilege; rape culture.]
Last night, trans advocate Janet Mock returned to Piers Morgan's CNN show to follow up after her previous appearance in which Morgan said she was "born a boy," and other deeply ignorant shit, which resulted in a firestorm of criticism on Twitter, and Piers Morgan claiming he had been attacked.
It was a horrendous segment, in which Morgan barked at Mock: "I have spent an infuriating 24 hours and I want you to explain why I've had to go through this," followed by accusations that she is dishonest and giving her unsolicited advice about how to comport herself during interviews.
The transcript is here.
Following that segment, in which Mock tried valiantly to communicate the problems with cis people defining trans* people's lives for them, Morgan invited a panel of cis people to debate whether it's okay to say that a trans woman was "born a boy."
Throughout, he insisted that he is "an ally" to the transgender community.
I don't know how to say this any more plainly: If you are a cis person who believes it's okay to play arbiter of trans* people's identities and lives, you are no ally.
The most basic piece of ally work that a cis person must do is respect trans* people's right to define their own lives, to be the absolute authorities on their own lives.
If you treat anyone's self-identity as a debatable subject, you are not their ally.
Morgan was disrespectful; he was not listening. He was filtering Mock's life through his Validity Prism, and found wanting her description of her own life. He positioned himself as the Objective Outsider, refusing to even entertain the possibility that his cis privilege does not make him more objective, but in fact compromises his instincts for empathy, by urging him to view himself (and other cis people) as a norm from which trans* people deviate.
That is not reality; that is a false construct created by privilege.
[Note: Morgan followed his rank policing of Mock and other trans* people with segments in which he sided with Jerry Seinfeld for saying some garbage that totally disregards structural inequalities, and in which his panel condemned people for siding with Dylan Farrow, for "litigating this in public, litigating this over Twitter."]