I’m a longtime reader of Playboy and thanks to some great vintage shops, have enjoyed the before-I-was-born incarnations as well as today’s and online. The cliché about reading Playboy “for the articles” exists because Playboy really has always had great articles!
I was super excited to find out that Playboy was featuring an interview with a transgender woman, a stunning young beauty Blaire White. But I felt a bit upset too.
Blaire White is an extremely controversial figure with a reputation for being a right-wing extremist and Trump supporter. I heard that she speaks up for men’s rights, speaks against transexual hormone and surgical therapy for children, and believes she suffers from a mental abnormality, not from being trapped in the wrong body.
Even so, I did read the interview. And since I had heard so much about her being a horrible transphobic misogynist, I decided to watch more of her interviews on YouTube and see for myself what she had to say.
I realized a few things quickly: one, it is totally transphobic to reject the voice of a transgender person just because she doesn’t do what she’s told and say what we think trans people should say. If I believe in hearing marginalized perspectives, I owe the courtesy of listening.
Turns out, Blaire fully supports equal rights for trans and all women, but feels some go-to positions do more harm and are only lip service to equality, not real progress.
Two: there was stuff I didn’t agree with, but so what? I don’t agree with much that my parents have to say, or some of my college teachers, many writers, my neighbor, you name it. And we coexist just fine.
And three: she’s not a monster or a right wing extremist, at least, not if I allow her to self-identity rather than going with other people’s labels. She’s a politically independent secular libertarian.
Let me reiterate that some of her views make me uncomfortable—I would never call myself an anti-feminist, for example, but Blaire does as an act of resistance to some extremists who are more about hating men than about equality. I call myself a feminist, because I won’t let those folks change my definition of the word.
I don’t agree with Blaire OR with these women on feminism. (I’m referring to some extreme groups who believe all man-woman sex is rape. This is hateful toward both men and women and it makes me sick.)
That all said, Blaire White’s absolute objective is the one I agree with 100%—that freedom of speech is absolutely essential and the foundation of a free society. Without a lively free exchange of different ideas, without conflicting opinions and arguing facts, the ensuing uniformity quickly turns to fascism, suppression and oppression.
“I’ve never been one to hide,” Blaire tells Playboy.
“I am unapologetically myself, whether it’s being open about being transgender or expressing my political views.”
She says she is challenging authoritarianism and anti-intellectualism in the media and academia. It’s too easy to “wear a pink hat, write some snarky message about their genitals on a sign and walk around pretending they’re changing the world,” Blaire says.
She feels there is a hysterical focus on minor grievances, but when it comes to the courage to speak against heinous suffering and oppression that some women and LGBT people face around the world, she hears “crickets.”
Blaire White’s Playboy interview was interesting, and I hope the magazine will feature more transgender voices from a variety of perspectives.