I Get The Anger, But Hate Isn’t The Answer

October 27, 2012 ·

Over the last few days I’ve seen a lot of anger from the trans community over the Roseanne Barr controversy. I do understand the anger. We are often portrayed as being sexual deviants who just want access to women in bathrooms and showers.  I do understand the fear we live under, every single time we attempt to urinate. I get it. But  when you do something like this, in response to hatred:

or this:

or this:

and especially this:

and this:

Like I said, I understand the anger. But this kind of response is neither helpful (engaging in behavior that is sexist, especially) nor does it move our rights forward. If anything, it causes polarization and division.

When I think of these online conversations and I get angry, I channel it into a response at the IDEA that is bad, not the person. It may seem counterintuitive to not respond to a fight with anger. But I think of the words of the gay civil rights icon, Bayard Rustin. Here he’s talking about a US Senator, James Eastland, that said (among other things) that “separation promotes racial harmony”, opposed the confirmation of  Thurgood Marshall, and voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Of Eastland he said:

“When I say I love Eastland, it sounds preposterous–a man who brutalizes people. But you love him or you wouldn’t be here. You’re going to Mississippi to create social change–and you love Eastland in your desire to create conditions which will redeem his children. Loving your enemy is manifest in putting your arms not around the man but around the social situation, to take power from those who misuse itat which point they can become human too.”

Nonviolent lunch counter protests in the 60s weren’t something that just spontaneously happened. They were planned and trained for.

and they KNEW that there would be anger and hatred and bile spewed at them. What won the day?

They made a PUBLIC contrast. They contrasted hatred with courage. They received physical blows but did not retaliate. They won hearts and minds because the contrast was so striking that no one with a heart could see their treatment anything other than cruel.

In the digital age our fight isn’t on the streets, but online. We must always be mindful that others are watching and  judging us by the words and tone we use. Even in the face of vile hatred and bigotry, we need to stand firm. Respond only to ideas, do not attack the person.

A troll in the community that will remain nameless has a cycle:

  1. Use unwanted, unkind, and bigoted/transphobic terminology to upset trans women.
  2. Wait until someone responds with anger, then screen caps it.
  3. Uses screen capture on their blog as proof of how horribly attacked they are by trans women.
  4. Repeat

Responding to a transphobic remark from someone with a vitriolic personal attack won’t help the community. While you might make yourself feel better, you’re damaging the community and our struggle.

 

Next Post

Bigots Unite! Deploying the Klan Fallacy in 3… 2… 1…

It’s happened. TERFs and the people who DEFENDED Prop 8 have untied as one voice to proclaim that pre/non-op transwomen - as a group - are 1.) icky because 2.) they’re actually men, and therefore 3.) a danger to cisgender women.…
Read
Previous Post

What Did Roseanne Say That Was So Transphobic?

I heard that question asked over and over on Twitter last night after Roseanne Barr tweeted: Well, the short answer is, "where do I start?" Barr is speaking of is Colleen Francis. Francis was using the sauna in a women’s…
Read
Random Post

Wars, and Rumors of Wars

In the haze of my early AM internets blog reading I came across this post: "I'm coming out of a depression, so I'm very vulnerable, and I might not be seeing things clearly. Maybe by this time next week, I…
Read
Random Post

Is Singer Neko Case Transgender? Maybe Not But She Is The Man

"I'm a man, that's what you raised me to be / I'm not your identity crisis, this was planned," she sings. "If I'm dipshit drunk on pink perfume* then I am the man in the fucking moon, because you didn't…
Read
Random Post

GayINC 101: a Tutorial

Wondering if you're part of GayINC? Some recent comments by GayInc bloggers have asked/mocked/been incensed by people asking that question: Most entertaining PHB rumor out there: that we are all tools of Gay Inc. We're still waiting for our raises from…
Read
Random Post

Reparative Therapy for Trans Youth: Kenneth Zucker is Different from George Rekers How?

Watching this recent CNN story on reparative therapy and the damage it did to George Reker's poster child (Kirk Andrew Murphy), I was struck by the similarity of this story and a child that NPR covered about childhood gender identity…
Read