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Hateful transphobes pile-on gay journalist Owen Jones simply for saying he wants to be a dad

Josh Milton April 5, 2021
Owen Jones speaks in front of a podium in a grey jumper over a blue shirt

British writer and journalist Owen Jones. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

We’re saddened to report that British journalist Owen Jones became the target of Twitter transphobes Sunday (4 April) for simply saying he wants to be a dad.

In just five words, Jones, 36, became a lightning rod for countless anti-trans users who sought to paint the activist as seemingly the enemy of all progress itself.

For, you know, saying he wants to be a dad someday. Oh, the horror. The pure horror. Someone stop him. Please.

For online transphobes, often riled up by the mere existence of trans folk, this is all it took for them to pile-on Jones – and seemingly against queer men having children.

In a Twitter thread, Jones documented how throngs of transphobes mustered to treat a gay parent and a gay man with dreams of being a father as a shooting gallery for merciless attacks tinged with homophobia.

In between calling him a “misogynist”, they took potshots against trans people because that’s apparently how they spend their weekends instead of, say, seeing friends, having hobbies or having an emotionally fulfilling life.

“The evidence they have that I’m a misogynist is that I support trans rights,” Jones tweeted.

“As far as they’re concerned, anyone who supports trans rights is a misogynist. Anything and everything is used to fit this theory. It is genuinely perverse.”

Owen Jones, with dreams of being a dad, becomes target of anti-trans hate

All it took was a tweet.

“I wanna be a dad!!!” Owen Jones tweeted 1 April during an exchange with a gay friend, Caspar Salmon, who became a father through a co-parenting agreement.

While the arrangement can mean different things to different folk, co-parenting tends to involve two or more parents who are not in a relationship working together to raise a child.

As a parenting guide for queer men by Stonewall states: “Many gay men, either as individuals or in a couple, choose to enter co-parenting arrangements with single friends or lesbian couples.”

“Children born to co-parents can be conceived either through penetrative sex, using artificial insemination at home or artificial insemination or IVF at a clinic,” it continued.

Salmon facetiously told Jones to “get yourself a lesbian or two and a bunch of these”, sharing a photo of glass tubes in a reference to artificial insemination. “Hunting for broody lesbian couples,” Jones joked.

But soon enough, Jones recalled two days later, “our timelines are now full of anti-trans activists screaming at us.”

To anti-trans Twitter trolls, this light-hearted and endearing exchange was a sinister plot to exploit women.

Users, whether quote tweeting Jones directly or sharing screenshots of the exchange, demonised Jones. In tub-thumping tweets, they called Jones a “misogynist” for expressing interest in having a child through co-parenting.

But in doing so, as Jones stressed, many of the transphobic trolls appeared to miss what co-parenting actually is. Instead, weaponising his interest as a chance to make jabs against Jones, a venerable trans ally.

One user, who definitely has no idea what co-parenting is, bizarrely tweeted: “Two sexist men briefly interrupt chanting the misogynistic cult slogan, ‘trans women are women’, as they suddenly remember they require actual women as reproductive workers for the human commodities they wish to acquire.”

…Is it time to go to bed yet, or?

Owen Jones shined a spotlight on even more of vitriol the transphobic users spewed – “get a dog” instead of a child, one said. Others told him to “kill [himself] already, f***ing f****t”.

One, again, seemingly having next to no understanding about how co-parenting or surrogacy works, tried to frame the arrangements as queer men feeling “entitled to a uterus to grow your babies in”.

Jones, however, was not the only one to fall into the transpbobes’ rogues gallery. Salmon, “a loving father and a proud queer man”, he explained on Twitter, also suffered outlandish backlash against him and his family.

“I do want to say how truly sickened I am, and how angry I am too, at the entirely dishonest assumptions and attacks directed my way and towards Owen Jones, which are rooted in homophobia,” he wrote.

“I blame myself for mentioning my children on here – if I have done it in the past it’s to set an example of what it can mean to be a good dad, a queer and loving father.

“But to see my loved ones even discussed on here by people who know nothing of us sickens me to my core,” he said, before triumphantly telling transphobes to “bite me”.

Nevertheless, many saw past the transphobes’ bitter attempts to stop a queer man from starting a family for what it is – homophobia and transphobia.

“Genuinely think anti-trans activists are the most emotionally sadistic people on this awful website,” Owen Jones added.

“I was literally having a conversation with a gay dad who co-parents with a lesbian couple. Transphobia in the UK is a truly gruesome case study in online radicalisation.”

More: Owen Jones, transphobia

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