Katy Dollar’s article, “Morning Star depicts trans people as predators” (Solidarity 536) is a valuable exposition of the Star’s recent and longer term transphobia, why unions should stop funding it, and more. I’d like to pick up on one point. Katy states:
“In 2018 a group of Morning Star readers wrote into the paper criticising it for publishing an anti-trans open letter.
“This division between a group of mostly younger Star readers who see the need to fight transphobia, and the official line of the Communist Party and its paper, will probably have been one reason why the Morning Star felt under pressure to issue a mealy-mouthed apology.”
This could be read in a way which overplays the extent to or sincerity with which these younger Star readers are genuinely committed to fighting transphobia. The open letter ended with the following:
“Most worryingly, it is obvious that the Morning Star’s apparent policy of giving voice to a small-but-vocal group of trans-exclusionary feminists is deterring thousands of young readers and is a source of embarrassment to the paper’s young supporters.
“The paper risks becoming wholly toxic to the thousands of young socialists, inspired by Jeremy Corbyn, who should be the Morning Star’s natural constituency...”
While those who wrote and signed the letter clearly recognise problems with transphobia, it is telling that their biggest concern is to preserve the reputation and influence of the Star.
At best this is cowardice in how they confront the Star’s transphobia, at worst it is opportunist opposition to it because they recognise which way the wind is blowing. Opportunism picked up, of course, in part from the Star’s through-and-through opportunist approach to politics.
The true test of opposition to bigotry is fighting it even – or especially – when doing so is unpopular.
Misha Zubrowski, Bristol