Hope Lye dresses in low cut short dresses and tweets selfies from men’s loos. He likes male pronouns, calls himself a “gender critical trans identified male” and says trans women should also go to the gents.
He is balding, and does not wear a wig. His problem is that he does not understand Britishness, any more than trans. My friend from Tasmania said that when he was young, in Australia there were no eccentrics, just “bloody nutters”. Here we tolerate eccentricity, and do not make personal remarks. If he wants to go round looking like a weirdo, people will ignore him, for that is the culturally-accepted way of showing self-respect. He might get beaten up in the very roughest pubs, but drinkers in most places just won’t care.
Someone suggested that trans women try to look like women, and give off ambiguous signals to straight males. Transphobic attacks arise because men find us attractive then find that disturbing. Hope, however, wears no wig despite his short, receding hair. His copiously tattooed arms and legs are not feminine.
He whined about being suspended from Twitter, he said “for saying I’m male”, probably for being abusive to trans women, but Mumsnet had a long thread of adulation: “He truly is an ally to women, and it’s appreciated”. A trans woman produced a photo allegedly of him, when younger, doing a Nazi salute, and Mumsnetters appeared to confirm his nastiness- “he has an (allegedly) very shady and fucked up past”; “Hope was indeed involved with some dubious stuff in his youth.” But she doesn’t hold Nazism against him: “Spot on on this, though”. Well, I suppose they have to take any allies they get. They were sweet, really, sympathising with him: femininity is so hard to escape!
Hope may be an exhibitionist rather than a transvestite. He blogs, with several photos of himself outdoors, or in toilets- who wants a picture of himself with a loo? Yuck- and is desperate for people to “ask me about my identity”. Sometimes, people do. He is not short on self-regard: when they ask him, “I normally end up educating other men”. He calls on “gender critical trans identified males” to follow him into the gents, show it’s safe, and put pressure on the trans community to do the same. “I have been challenging the media to feature how I go about life… They aren’t listening… No one’s listening!” Not even to his one-man crusade to get trans women into men’s loos.
However, we’re different. Most people who go out cross-dressed are testing the waters before transition. We want to fit in: the thing about being ignored as an eccentric is that it deprives you of ordinary human company. I don’t want to talk to strangers in the pub, especially not people who might be laughing at me, but to friends.
He claims to be perfectly safe in men’s loos, but told a different story in the past. In 2015 he complained of men putting their hands under his skirt and touching his “bum” (so, some understanding of Britishness). “Slut shaming right through to transphobia was the order of the day.” Also, though he is now a transvestite, formerly he wanted to transition: he came out as transgender in December 2014, and realised “many trans people fear being ridiculed or even murdered”. “I want to change now but alas the NHS is very slow. I hate being a man. I tried to conform to my birth gender for 47 years but can no longer do it. It just isn’t me!” He stopped wearing men’s clothes or using his male name, wanted hormones and “fully transitioning”. He was sickened by the misogynist abuse that [cis] women receive. He started campaigning for trans rights, and tried to get British Sky Broadcasting to add “Mx” to its list of possible titles. He dressed in micro-skirts and stockings with the tops showing, not a good look for a man of 47.
Then in April, he decided to identify as a “biological male” rather than trans or gender non-conforming, which are “ridiculous identities anyway”.
His “shady and fucked up past” reveals something of his current character. He shows no sign of repentance, and like others on the hard right he is involved in a hate campaign against trans people.
How would people behave, without internalised transphobia? It is a matter of self-respect, for me as a trans woman, to use women’s facilities. I try to look good when I go out, not ridiculous.