PSA For My Cis Friends
If a trans person tells you that something is transphobic, FUCKING BELIEVE THEM. It’s shitting exhausting having cis folks immediately switch to Oxford Debate Language faster than a mediocre white man who just perceived a minor threat to his undeserved ego.
If you have doubts, keep them to your gods damned self. Seek out other trans sources, see what the consensus is out there. And I don’t mean go to your other trans friends to seek validation like Tilda Swinton trying to excuse herself to Margaret Cho. I don’t mean go looking for one trans person who agrees with you and relying entirely on that single token opinion to back up your fragility. Because there are garbage trans people willing to prop up TERFs in the futile hope of inclusion, just like there exist gays like Milo Yiannopoulos who are happy to lick the boots of homophobes in the hope they will give him some scraps from the table.
I mean go seek out the wealth of trans writers and activists who have inevitably put out work that will help you grasp whatever nuance, dogwhistle or context you’re missing when your knee jerks up with that “but surely that’s not that bad” bullwank. That, or it will help you to understand why your trans friend has still been hurt by something that may well be somewhat ambiguously worded – because giving the benefit of the doubt to people, engaging in a debate with someone, or trying to gently figure out if someone actually meant to imply some horrible TERF talking point has been so fucking ineffectual, exhausting, and painful so many times before.
If you want to ask for clarification on the exact problem, because you want to be able to recognise it better in future – then ok, maybe ask politely and compassionately if they are able to spare the energy to help you understand, by pointing you in the direction of a good explanation of the issue.
But if you so much as fucking dream of casting doubt on the validity of their response; if you come at them with even a whiff of devil’s advocacy; then they have every right to tell you to go shove a Lego Death Star up your clenching little sphincter.
And I mean the 500,000 brick one they made once at Legoland Windsor back in 2016.
People in power want us dead. They want their minions to kill us. They are, in many ways, succeeding. This is not hyperbole, and I cannot understate the severity of this. Have some fucking respect for what that means for us before you question the validity of our fear.
Maybe consider that being called transphobic isn’t a terrible event with painful, life-altering consequences that cannot be escaped – but that for many people being trans is, thanks to the work of legions of fucking transphobes motivated by hate, fear, and plain old boring ignorance.
You might be trying to do better, you might think you’re being unbiased, or trying to maintain your integrity, or not being swayed by emotional responses, or whatever nonsense you’ve internalised to protect yourself from acknowledging that you’re being transphobic. But you’re wrong. And you need to deal with the discomfort that is essential to growing.
Because if you’re defending someone from an accusation of bigotry originating from the target of that bigotry, without having done anything close to the lifetime of work they have been forced to – then you need extraordinary evidence to disprove their accusation. Not just “that doesn’t sound right to me, a person who has no skin in this game nor experience in what this particular kind of bigotry really looks like.” If you’re relying on your cis instincts, in a transphobic world, then you’re relying on the transphobia you’ve been trained to naturally fall back on.
The same applies to women pointing out sexism, queers pointing our queerphobia, bi’s pointing out bi erasure, people of colour pointing out racism, disabled people pointing out ableism, or immigrants pointing out xenophobia. Recognise when you’re addressing a bloody expert through experience, you bunch of shit-spackled dingbats. They can still be wrong, but stop pretending that your naïve optimism can compete with their experience of oppression.
This PSA brought you by having to reset the clock on the “days since cis nonsense” counter AGAIN with people I had hoped would do better.
*Here’s some good places to start with your self-education, beginning with some easy-to-understand webcomics from lifeofbria.com:
You could read the work of one of the most influential feminists of our time, the non-binary woman Judith Butler, and how they eloquently speak out against transphobes, TERFs and ‘gender critical’ beliefs. Or how articles including quotes from them were censored when they pointed out that TERFs are fascists.
Watch this video. Trust me. Watch it, then watch it again. And if you don’t get it, watch it over and over again until you do.
And here’s one last bonus Life Of Bria for you…
I am so fucking tired.
Published 29 November 2021 at 11:27 pm