Graham Lineham, the creator of The IT Crowd (and other popular shows) who decided transphobia was his highest calling and set fire to his successful TV career to pursue it, has a book out. This book comes after publicly bleating that no one will work with him and calling David Tennant a groomer for wearing an anti-transphobe tee-shirt. You know how full of shit a transphobe is when they’d call a cloud “groomer” for raining on their picnic. Anyway, his new book features a glowing blurb on the cover from IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade, seeming to indicate a swing toward transphobia. Perhaps being the brother-in-law to smarmy egg-sucking “Great Replacement”-pushing weasel Laurence Fox has rubbed off on him. Thankfully, IT Crowd co-star and current delight on What We Do In the Shadows Matt Barry does not appear to share this support.
Usually, the word you’ll see used to describe bigots with prejudice against trans people is “TERF,” which stands for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminist.” TERFs usually use “gender critical” or “gender critic” to refer to themselves instead, but that’s such a laughably weak dog whistle. Just thinking about the term “gender criticism” belies the invasive fixation of sad conservatives who see another person’s gender identity as not only their business but something that needs critiquing. It’s the very same notion that drives parents to “accuse” young women in sports of being trans when they succeed in sports. It’s almost like instead of looking for ways to protect femmes, TERFs use feminism as a pretense to attack them. It’s almost as if the “feminist” in TERF doesn’t quite fit.
If not feminists, then what are these raving bigots to be called? With endless thanks to a best friend who coined this term, I move that we call them Feminism-Appropriating Radical Transphobes or FARTs. There is no feminism in transphobia; FARTs are simply transphobes who use feminism as a pretense to advance classically conservative ideals and stymie the advance of the queer cause wherever they can. To call a FART a feminist supposes you can work with people who would oppress women and still call yourself a feminist. Sure, you can say, “I’m a feminist who feels women should adhere to strict gender roles that make them submissive to men,” but it’s a false and oxymoronic position to take.
Let’s look at the politics and actions of FARTs and see how they stack up as feminists. There’s Kelly J Keane Mitchell (who also goes, confusingly, by Posey Parker) who has happily pursued connections with Nazis, as covered in this sharp video from trans creator Jessie Gender. As far as I know, Nazis are not exactly an egalitarian bunch, let alone a feminist one. It should be noted that Mitchell is a vocal friend and supporter of JK Rowling, an author of unimaginative fantasy novels and by-the-numbers mystery stories. Yes, Harry Potter got a whole bunch of children to read again, but it also portrayed a slave race that desires their own enslavement and whose liberation is treated as a joke, as well as hook-nosed goblins controlling the banking system. That the books were so popular is not a measure of their quality as much as they’re a measure of how easily we look past racism and antisemitism. There’s the endlessly smarmy Matt Walsh, who made the curiously incurious documentary What Is a Woman to invalidate trans people and lock the gender roles of “man” and “woman” down to what they “should” say, do, or think. There’s the shrill and whiny Steven Crowder, who has a long history of transphobia and, in light of his ongoing divorce, is publicly wondering whether women should have the right to leave their husbands. There’re the unserious political clowns Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebert, who are so self-evidently disagreeable that Boebert got to third base with a recent date at a crowded theater while vaping in front of a pregnant person. Drag queens and trans people are all groomers to them, but getting a handful in public? A-okay! That Boebert’s date owns a venue that has hosted drag queen performances is the hypocritical cherry on this bullshit sundae.
These people are not feminists. They use the aesthetic of feminism to advance regressive and bigoted values under a palatable guise. Don’t even give them the honor of being a TERF, because they haven’t earned that F. They’re all FARTs, hot air spewed from assholes, and nothing more.