On Engaging With Bigots

Content note: Discusses fascism and transphobia.

Occasionally, I’ll come across a well-meaning but ignorant cis feminist engaging with transphobic and otherwise bigoted “feminists”. Normally they’ll explain that the points they’re making at that particular moment are decent (and radical feminism is certainly capable of making good points) and they’re not taking about trans people right now. They’ll ignore what trans women are constantly trying to explain, which is that these people thrive on attention.

With that in mind, here are some good points from the BNP manifesto that you get to when you take a fine tooth comb to the xenophobia, racism, sexism, social conservatism and general bigotry that dominates it.

  • To introduce a new Bill of Rights which will guarantee certain basic civil
    liberties.
  • To make rail travel affordable once again by reversing the disastrous
    privatisation process which has grossly inflated ticket prices.
  • To undertake not to interfere with the sovereignty of any other nation, and the Middle East in particular.
  • To reject ID cards as an undesirable representation of the surveillance society.
  • To place each local council under a legal duty to build a number of homes set to a percentage of the waiting list total each year.
  • To oppose the privatisation of natural monopolies such as Royal Mail.

All very nice. Still Fascists. And a far greater threat when they possess credibility.

There are times both to ignore and to fight. There isn’t a minute in the day for positive engagement with bigots because of the “good points” they make, when that attention is precisely what they want. There are plenty of decent people with whom we can talk about compulsory heterosexuality, gender norms and male violence; or civil liberties, nationalisation and foreign wars.

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