Julie Burchill: Caitlyn Jenner article draws criticism after journalist brands the former athlete a 'simpering vamp'

The columnist likened transitioning to using drugs

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The Independent Online

Julie Burchill has come under fire after appearing to question the legitimacy of trans people.

In a column for The Sunday Times that focussed on the media reaction to Caityln Jenner's transition from a male to a female identity, Burchill termed Jenner a "grasping reality TV chump" and a "simpering vamp".

Burchill explained why she believed it would have been braver for Jenner and recently transitioned boxer Kellie Maloney to have come out as gay, and said that transitioning wasn't brave, but something people did for pleasure and "extreme selfishness", like taking drugs.

Transgender activists objected to Burchill's article.

caitlin-jenner.jpg
Vanity flair: the cover portrait of Caitlyn

Katie Glover, editor of transgender publication Frock Magazine, described Burchill's remarks as "unfortunate" and "inaccurate".

"It's unfortunate that there are still a few well-known writers who continue to put down transgender people at every opportunity," she told The Independent.

"This is very damaging not only to the transgender community as a whole but on a personal level too. 

"Trans people stick out! We look different, and somehow that makes us fair game for the Julie Burchills of this world. 

 

"She seems to think that being transgender is some kind of lifestyle decision. It absolutely is not. Trans people have no say in the matter. They are transgender from birth and that's the end of it. Some live a lie for all of their lives, pretending to be 'normal' while others come out and risk ridicule, perhaps losing their jobs, families and friends and their homes, all just so they can live in the gender they believe they are. Now that's brave!

"Importantly, being transgender does not automatically mean you are gay as well. Yes, some trans people are gay, but only about the same percentage as in the wider population. Referring to Jenner and boxing tough guy Kellie Maloney's recent transitions to female, Burchill said: 'It would have been far braver, in my opinion, to come out as homosexual in the macho circles in which Maloney and Jenner became wealthy and powerful.'

"She is just assuming that both were gay men. That is not the case. I have had no dealings with Jenner but Kellie is appearing in the next issue of Frock Magazine to talk about her new book.

"I can say for a fact that Frank [Kellie's name before coming out as transgender] was not a gay man. He had a loving wife and children and could not come out as gay because he wasn't."

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