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Alan Cumming says it louder for bigots at the back: Being trans is not a fad

Patrick Kelleher April 23, 2021
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Alan Cumming at the Tony Awards

Alan Cumming at the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall (Getty)

Alan Cumming had delivered a plea for trans equality, suggesting that transphobia is often a simple “fear of the unknown”.

In an article written for The Times, the bisexual actor said transphobia and homophobia often melt away when people are exposed to the LGBT+ community.

Alan Cumming said he is “perplexed” by the discussion surrounding phobias, pointing out that an arachnophobe is usually afraid of spiders but doesn’t necessarily hate them.

“But then of course there are homophobes and transphobes. It is always assumed that they hate, not merely fear, gay or trans people,” Cumming wrote.

“We are living in turbulent times, and one of the biggest changes to our social equilibrium in the past few decades has been the shift in how queer people are perceived and treated in our society.

“Marriage equality, once unimaginable and abhorrent to many, is now commonplace. As a queer man, it is not the legal rights of celebration and happiness I have enjoyed because of this, which I find most gratifying.”

He continued: “Rather, it’s the confirmation that when people are exposed to and begin to understand something they were previously ignorant of and felt threatened by, they stop being afraid and aggressive. They have lost their phobia.

“It wasn’t hatred after all, just a fear of the unknown.”

Alan Cumming reminded transphobes that being trans is not a fad

Cumming said many people “scoff” when they hear about political figures in Chechnya or Malaysia making anti-gay comments, but suggested that those same people are tolerant of transphobic comments in their own countries.

Alluding to the anti-trans trope that being trans is a passing fad, Cumming said: “To anyone who thinks this way, I thank you for your concern. But I ask you to consider that maybe trans people seem to be more common these days because, for the first time, the climate makes them feel safe to come out and present in the way they feel is their best selves.”

Rights aren’t like cake; someone else getting some honest mean you have any less.

The actor went on to explain that trans people have always existed, but they haven’t always been allowed to be visible.

He also hit out at those who mock people’s pronouns, adding: “We all want equality, don’t we? We should all have equal respect, equal pay, equal rights.”

Cumming wrote: “But rights aren’t like cake; someone else getting some honest mean you have any less.”

Closing out his article, Cumming urged people to examine their phobias and question if they are related to fear of the unknown.

Related topics: Alan Cumming, transphobia

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