What is and isn’t offensive

Let’s get straight to the point here. Some people are easily offended. I’m one of them sometimes, I think most people can be though. I took almost instant offence at the Paddy Power “Lady’s day” adverts last year for the Cheltenham festival I think it was, where they played the guessing game of is she or isn’t she. It was in bad taste for a start, and would no doubt lead to people doing the same thing in public, leading to upset and distress to countless people no doubt. Little Britain however, is slightly different in it’s offensiveness. No one in the show is portrayed fairly well, everyone’s just a bit bonkers for use of a better word, but it’s not so much about the people themselves, it’s about the situations they’re in and our manners. In the first sketch with Emily, Tom Baker clearly says she’s a “rubbish transvestite”, the clue is in the description. She’s not transsexual, she doesn’t want to be a woman, she is playing at being a woman. Every character in the show is put in bizzarre situations, and half the joke is how people around them deal with the situation, from the incontinent old woman in the post office queue, to the grown man who wants “bittie”, to the horrible vomit woman, who’s not just 2 faced, she’s many faced.

So, as someone who’s trans, do I take offence at Emily from Little Britain? No, I have a brain and I know that they are not attacking trans people. I understand that they go way over the line with their jokes sometimes, but that’s just the point, sometimes you have to laugh at the situation they put the characters in. Unfortunately, some people don’t use their brains, and will take a line from a show or an advert, and use it to attack others with. Critics of trans people won’t care about this, I get that, but care about this. I was a carer for my ex, and we’d sometimes get idiots making comments like “yeah I know” and “I want that one” at us. My ex is a wheelchair user, does he deserve to be treated like that? To have idiots try to upset and offend him? I was more annoyed at these idiots than he was, I wanted to say something back to these idiots more than he did to show them what it feels like. The thing is, if something is going to offend or upset anyone, for Ny reason, we should think twice about doing it. In recent years, a newspaper printed a comic strip that had an image of Mohammed in it that offended some Muslims. Some people would say “get over it” to them no doubt, what’s the big deal? Had the paper printed this comic then after realising the offence it caused, most likely that would have been the end of it, but it wasn’t, and other papers went on to reprint the comic. Now I’m not saying anyone should back down from threats and intimidation, but what the fuck has happened to common bloody sense and a bit of decency and respect for your fellow human beings? Kids say sorry when they’re in the wrong, yet adults can’t?

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