Katie Hopkins came under fire recently for comments on her LBC radio show about the parents of transgender children, saying that they were “too quick” to accept their child’s identity, and describing them collectively as “vegan, quinoa-eating liberals.” Hopkins, the self-proclaimed “Biggest B***h in England” is known for her controversial, often insulting, statements regarding marginalized people.
And that makes her apparently sincere turnabout on the issue of transgender children far more remarkable than it might otherwise be.
According to a report from PinkNews, Hopkins received a phone call on her show from a woman named Sam – the mother of a 5-year-old trans boy.
“I’d like to put out there, I don’t eat quinoa, I’m not a vegan, just to make that really clear,” she said. “That’s a good point of clarity,” laughed Hopkins, admitting that she had made “quite an assumption.” She followed by asking Sam, “how did you make that decision” that her son identified as a boy, rather than just wanting to “wear some boys’ things?”
And so Sam, from Kent, England, explained.
According to The Mirror, Sam told Hopkins that she wasn’t a starry-eyed, first-time mother, that she has older children. She explained that she’s not sure if it’s going to last, that she’s not sure what might have caused it (“I don’t know if it’s to do with any kind of autistic traits… I don’t know if it’s to do with something that went on maybe when he was younger… like a protection mechanism.”) Sam almost seemed to go to pains to ensure Hopkins that, no, she didn’t know anything for sure.
Hopkins pushed. “How do you know, how do you know, Sam?… What does he do that makes you know this stuff?”
Sam replied, “He didn’t get up one day and say ‘I want to be a boy’ and I went ‘oh, ok, let’s do that.'”
“From a really young age he would say ‘why do you keep calling me a girl?'”
“He asked questions that I wouldn’t expect a child of that age to even think about. Questions around genitals, not age appropriate questions around genitals. ‘When will my willy grow, why haven’t I got one, where is it?'”
Sam explained that she didn’t allow her son to change his name (which she described as “quite a gender-neutral name by chance anyway,”) saying that he wasn’t old enough to make that decision. She left Hopkins saying that she wished they could talk for another hour.
In the long run, Sam made clear that, while she didn’t completely understand her son’s identity, she accepted who he told her he was. And her quiet sincerity got through to Katie Hopkins. “You’ve changed my mind,” she said.
“You don’t sound at all as I expected, you don’t sound in the way that I described you, and I think I owe you an apology for suggesting that you were those sorts of moms.”
“You’ve opened my eyes to a more rational way of thinking and dealing with this where you are just allowing your child to present in the way that they feel comfortable at the moment.”
By and large, among those who speak to trans people and try to understand, that’s a fairly common sentiment. But it goes to show how common and easily-absorbed a different perspective is among people who only care to listen to the rhetoric. You don’t have to like her to be encouraged that someone as vitriolic as Katie Hopkins, who thrives on controversy, can come to understand and accept that over the course of a conversation with the mother of a trans child.
“I think Hopkins may have just changed her mind slightly in the last second there,” she ended. “Sam, thank you.”
[Featured Image by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images]