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Image for Reading the article hurt. Having to write this response hurt more.

Reading the article hurt.Having to write this responsehurt more.

Over the weekend, The Daily Telegraph decided to run yet another vitriolic, fact-free anti-transgender rant, par for the course for their ‘hard hitting’ journalism, eg, soft targets that cannot punch back.

This one, however, was a little different from the usual swill that upsets the digestion.

Written by Niamh Kavanagh, it begins with a wonderful ode to all things vanilla – “If diversity is the spice of life, I’ll make do with black pepper please.” And if this unapologetically bland and monochromatic view of life wasn’t depressing enough, it only goes downhill from there.

Here is the link, for the truly bored or uninspired-

Opening with a pointless rant about technology and, oddly enough, something about certificates for 100m sprints (?) – I don’t know, it probably made sense in her head – she then decides to unload with her 2,000 word vocabulary on transgender people (or, transvestites as the byline pompously declares – “How do you explain what a transvestite is to a six-year-old?” clutch pearls here).

Why? Because, you see, one of them had the audacity to be working at her local Woolies. The cheek!

Worse, the trans individual, the thing (the distaste in Kavanagh’s tone is so tangible that you could distil it and make a fragrance, albeit the type you buy for $5 from the clearance bin at Discount Chemist Warehouse, next to Bieber’s efforts from 5 years ago) dared to speak to her! clutch pearls again here. But that insult was not enough. The unmentionable actually dared to speak to her in front of her delicate little sunflower, the prince of purity, her anointed 6 year old son.

After spending a paragraph attacking how the employee presented (again, I honestly had trouble working out what her point was, but she really resents Angelina Jolie!), she relates how she literally fled the store in what I am sure was a blind panic, conjuring mental images of cans of home brand tomato soup, bobby pins and 99 cent milk flying in her mad dash for the sanctity of her soccer mum Hyundai SUV.

How did she know (you might tremulously ask, afraid of what the answer may be) that the unmentionable that dared address her imperiousness and her holy spawn was transgender? (Actually, she calls ‘it’ a ‘transvestite’, in another deliberate attempt to smear, but there are enough problems with this piece of pseudo-journalistic toilet paper without going her for her vernacular).

Well, you see, the unspeakable had a BOOMING MALE VOICE.

This bit made me laugh out loud. Really. Because, well, fuck me, if a booming voice is the sole criteria for ones transness (she makes it clear that in all other ways you couldn’t tell), then my poor old grandmother, whose furious roar could peel paint at a hundred yards, and would send a score of hardened rail workers flying, would be certainly headed for Priscilla territory, and she was definitely not transthingitywhatsits (as attested by her battle hardened ovaries, and a womb that pushed out issue in the double digits before she hit the ripe old age of thirty).

So, since ‘sounding like a man’ is considered sufficient to warrant this little bilious contribution to the fabric of hate woven by the Tele, let’s accept that as sufficient reason to attack and belittle a complete stranger for cheap lulz from the Tele’s usual right wing entourage.
Except this time, no, it didn’t. Despite the Tele having since (unsurprisingly) removed the dozen or so comments on the link I provided above, the attack mobs were having none of this. Anticipating this censorship of anything remotely sympathetic to the transgendereds, I grabbed some screenshots, and quote some responses below-

“Not being able to explain this to your children was a very good opportunity lost, and the only person missing is that child. As an Early Childhood Teacher, we relish for a perfect intentional teaching opportunity like this”

“How am I going to explain to my kids that ignorant, hateful people like you exist? I’m straight, happily married, etc. I just accept and embrace diversity (and the courage that goes with it).”

And, my favourite

“Get it together, you absolute mess”.

Of course, these have long gone the way of the great delete file in the sky, so I am glad I saved this brief moment of sanity from the Tele’s readership for posterity (and to ward against claims of falsehood from Kavanagh and her attack puppies).

Putting aside for a second what an absolute joke this ‘article’ and the author are, let’s be serious here for a moment. The most disturbing, damaging thing about this article was not her mock terror, or her utter confusion when encountering someone who didn’t fit her paradigm of normalcy.

The worst bit, the bit that makes her, to my mind, a step lower than Miranda Devine, was the fact that she had no actual point. She had no thought provoking opinion, no resolution, no outcome, not even an attack on marriage equality and Safe Schools. She didn’t rail against the degradation of the nation by the queers, or the depredations of our godless society writ large against the canvas of ‘diversity’ with all its evils.

She just didn’t like it. She didn’t want it there; she didn’t want to deal with it.

“I’ve had enough” she states flatly, with a firm finality that defies you to retort.

The point is obvious. They shouldn’t be here, out in public. They should be locked away, where I don’t have to deal with them, or see them, or hear their booming voices, or be exposed to their filthy deviant check out chick ways. How dare they have a job, and try to contribute, how dare they earn a living? IT’S MY WOOLIES.

And this is the bit that really, really gets my goat. I can read Miranda Devine or Piers Akerman, shrug and finish my coffee. They have an opinion, as is their right, they express it and they move on to the next thing that pisses them off. I might not agree with what they say, but there’s a line, called ‘reality’ by most, that both sides generally agree not to cross. I have never seen them tacitly call for the complete removal of an individual or their right to work, or even exist, simply because of their “booming voice”. I have never seen them throw a complete wobbly because of the mere existence of transgender people.

This is next level idiocy, this is a level of hatred expressed in a manner so banal and off the cuff that it is all the more jarring because of it. The Tele and their attack dogs constantly remind us that LGBT folk don’t deserve ‘special rights’, they are no better than anyone else, and they are right. They have to get jobs, pay taxes, all the other boring shit, like everyone else. There’s no free pass for that.

But here’s this kid, trying to fit in, get a job, earn a living, raise some cash, and you take a giant shit on her for even existing? Honestly, what the hell. This proves that with the worst of this lot, so firmly indoctrinated in their hate, so firmly ensconced in their prejudicial bubbles, there is no winning. Even when you play the game by their rules, they will still come out swinging, attack your voice of all things, your hairdo, your make up, your very existence, because they can, and because they are given a national platform by a hate rag to do so.

A hate rag that then censors any and all rebuttals. They say they love ‘free speech’, I call bullshit. There were pages of supporting comments for this poor kid working at Woolies, and the Tele purged them all. Pity I got screen-caps ☺Daily Telegraph, I am calling you out. Stop posting endless rants about ‘censorship’ and then arbitrarily deleting anything that triggers you because it doesn’t endorse your hate wagon. Stop giving voice to the extremists and drowning out the regular folk. Give the other side a chance to respond, freely and uncensored.

Niamh Kavanagh, whoever you are, I am also calling you out. Stop hiding behind your keyboard and censoring the nasty comments that don’t support your hate. Maybe you didn’t expect that backlash. Maybe you expected everyone to nod along with your little hate-filled rant about a person’s voice. Maybe that rattled you a bit, and made you think a little too deeply about what sort of human being you really are.

This person who has so enraged you was not preaching gender theory, was not lecturing you on Safe Schools, and wasn’t waving banners for marriage equality. She was ringing up your groceries for Pete’s sake, and you flew into a rage because she dared to ask how you were, and you didn’t like her voice. Let that sink in, dear reader.

And maybe, just maybe, later on, in the sanctity of your lily white non-diverse inner city middle-class person storage facility, downing your second glass of a mixture of Chablis and self-pity, you regretted this a little bit.

Maybe, just maybe, you might head back to Woolies, suck up your pride, and apologise for nationally shaming someone just trying to make a buck and get ahead. And maybe, just maybe, you might learn about someone else’s journey and think outside your myopic existence for a second.

You see, the Australia I was raised in is all about the fair go, and you, my friend, are as un-Australian as they come. Do you want to raise a son that feels they have the God-given right to determine who is and who isn’t allowed to work? That they can damn a person for merely existing because they don’t like their voice? That felt strongly enough about it to actually write an article in their own name about it all, without a shred of self-awareness?
Maybe you are just ignorant. Feel free to prove me wrong either way- contact details are available through the editor. I am willing to talk.

PS. For the record, this is what Woolworths had to say on the matter, so good luck getting her fired for talking to you:

“Woolworths recognises and embraces the considerable value that a diverse workforce adds to an organisation. We strive to create a work environment where everyone is able to contribute and reach their full potential, irrespective of race, age, sex, sexual preference, transgender, religious belief, political beliefs, disability and impairment, pregnancy, potential pregnancy, marital status, family/parental status and membership or non-membership of a trade union.”


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Stephen S

Stephen S said on the 4th Oct, 2016

Great article Jessica - from the heart and to the point! What surprised me was to see Woolworths still using 'sexual preference,' rather than 'sexual orientation' in a public release. Their heart is in a good place, but they need to brush up on their terminology ...


Asherbella said on the 4th Oct, 2016

Transgender people are biologically born the wrong gender. The state of being transgender is natural if you are a transgender person. There is nothing shameful about being transgender. Walking into the light of one's own truth, accepting who you are in order to be happy, is hard enough without some stranger behind a keyboard and computer writes a newspaper article, telling you that you're somehow defective, morally bereft, mentally ill or socially deviant because you happen to be LGBTI.



Carpe-Diem said on the 4th Oct, 2016

How do you explain that to a child so young? A transvestite? A person undergoing a sex/gender change? A person of nondescript gender? A dress-up day?

No dear! It's like talking to your six year old when they ask you where babies come from ..... same techniques really.

Be calm and relaxed and speak calmly, so you can respect your child's natural curiosity without being judgmental. Each time you successfully tackle a sensitive question, the anxiety level (for both of you) goes down. If you avoid these talks, your child will develop a sense that there is certain topics that they can't discuss with you. A parent should always be the first reference source for their young child.

Many adults feel awkward talking about sex and gender issues with their child because they don't have much practice doing it and because they're afraid of telling too much, once a discussion gets going. The best strategy is to try to answer questions calmly and succinctly, however unusual or embarrassing it seems. If talking about sex and gender issues is hard for you, try rehearsing your answers in advance, either alone or with your spouse or partner.

Take advantage of questions that come up when you're both at ease. The car, for example, is also a great place to talk, since having to keep your eyes on the road allows you to avoid eye contact, which may help YOU stay more relaxed.

The important thing is for a parent to explain difficult topics without seeming anxious. The child is picking up the melody line, not the words.

Really listen. Resist the temptation to jump in with speeches the minute your child asks a question and make sure that you understand their question.

And above all, keep it simple. It will lessen the sense that sexual and gender issue topics are off-limits and embarrassing. :cool:

I'm not sure what I think is sadder.... her own obvious ignorance regarding transgender people which she dresses up as "how to tell my child about ..." to garner support for her prejudice .....or her obvious lack of parental skills in communicating with own her six year old child?


Carpe-Diem said on the 4th Oct, 2016

You do know DM that rotten fish is a delicacy in some countries?

Surströmming is fermented Baltic Sea herring that has been a staple of traditional northern Swedish cuisine since at least the 16th century. Just enough salt is used to prevent the raw fish from rotting. A fermentation process gives the lightly-salted fish its characteristic strong smell and somewhat acidic taste.

When a can of surströmming is opened, the contents release a strong and sometimes overwhelming odour. The dish is ordinarily eaten outdoors. According to a study, a newly opened can of surströmming has one of the most putrid food smells in the world, even more so than similarly fermented fish dishes such as the Korean Hongeohoe or Japanese Kusaya.

And NO, I haven't tried it nor would I. How did we get on the subject of rotten fish? ... *taps finger on cheek*... Oh, never mind!


sugarwalls said on the 16th Oct, 2016

Yawns... The same people who criticize The Daily Telegraph are the same people who support GetUp with their fact-less campaigns.

If you don't like what you read don't buy the newspaper. Vote with your wallet/purse and stop complaining.

Dissily Mordentroge

Dissily Mordentroge said on the 16th Oct, 2016

You do know DM that rotten fish is a delicacy in some countries?

Dissily Mordentroge

Dissily Mordentroge said on the 16th Oct, 2016

Yawns... The same people who criticize The Daily Telegraph are the same people who support GetUp with their fact-less campaigns.

If you don't like what you read don't buy the newspaper. Vote with your wallet/purse and stop complaining.