by Ariffin Sha
On 19 December 2020, Mothership.com published an article [“Woman in S’pore confronts 15-year-old boy displaying Nazi symbols in train, police report made“] about how an ill-informed young chap donned a Nazi armband on the train and was confronted about the same by a good samaritan.
I was appalled by the comments section of the article, as many people chided the member of public for confronting the boy. I was simply horrified when some started sprouting plain anti-semitism and even went on to talk about the nuances of swastikas. I remember having a conversation with Arjun Dhar about how concerning these comments were.
A few months later, we read in the news [The Straits Times: “Singaporean youth detained under ISA for planning knife attack on Jews leaving synagogue“] about how a boy, who was just a few years older than the boy on the train, had been detained under the ISA for planning an massacre against Jews.
If we haven’t realised it by now, things like anti-semitism, racism and transphobia are NEVER okay. There are no “two sides” to such issues. On the one side, we have a flagrant denial of humanity and human rights and on the other, we have ignorance and inhumanity. To argue that both opinions are equally valid is simply foolish.
With this in mind, I turn to the TODAY commentary [“Gen Y Speaks: This is why I don’t want to be woke. Don’t cancel me for it“] that was published that, in my humble opinion, served to normalise plain and simple transphobia. It was sheer ignorance hidden behind a lot of blabbering. As a national broadsheet, one must be very careful not to provide a platform to ignorance and/or forms of beliefs that simply deny or dehumanise fellow humans.
Such rhetoric should be thoroughly condemned whenever it rears its ugly head. It should most certainly have no place in our national papers.
For the sake or argument, for the people who argue that we must “see both sides”, please show me one instance where the mainstream media outlets have given just and fair coverage to trans rights activists. For that matter, just take a look at how they have covered the MOE protests.
What may seem like a non-issue today, can and may unfortunately be normalizing and even justifying transphobia. This is precisely why the article by TODAY is troubling, to say the least.
If we all can agree that there should be no place for racism and anti-semitism in our community, there is no reason why an exception should be made for transphobia.
This was first published on Ariffin Sha’s Facebook page, and reproduced with permission.