Welcome Transphobe hunter. Grab a flashlight, your journal, and a camera.
Content advisory - transphobia, obviously. Pretty tame otherwise. Rated PG-13 for swearing.
Circa September of the year 2020, Kinetic Studios released a game titled Phasmophobia. The premise of the game is that you are a scout for professional ghost hunters and exorcists. You go to a location that has a ghost and your job is to coax the ghost into revealing its power level and its true nature.
And in a lot of ways, online discourse can feel very similar when there’s rampant transphobia on the loose.
In Phasmophobia, each kind of ghost has a signature set of signs that they will give off. Some, and only some of the ghosts will write in the coloring books, some and only some will cause rooms they inhabit to dip below freezing temperatures, and so on. If you can definitively detect three different signs between all possibilities, you’ll have enough information to identify exactly which ghost you’re dealing with, because it will be the only kind to exhibit those three specific signs together.
And dealing with transphobes is similar. There are some key differences, which I’ll talk about, but similar enough that I think this theme is fitting and fun. I mean, it was either that or a Donkey Kong Country endgame roll call.
(Weird animals float across the screen)
So, stop stacking paint cans and let’s get started.
The Average Bystander (Normius bystanderus)
Generally speaking, people are okay, I guess. They invented cheese toast so they can’t be all bad. Most people just want what’s best for themselves and everyone around them.
The Normie isn’t actually a transphobe… kind of. “Normie” here represents the average person who means well but isn’t up to speed on trans issues. Usually for two reasons. One, there’s so little visibility for trans issues and so little representation that someone uninvolved would have to go out of their way to be exposed to the subjects. And two, they generally aren’t affected by these issues so there’s no real motivation for them to do their homework on them. And there’s a larger question of duty to be informed - there are so many issues that need attention in our lives. There’s racism, homophobia, sexism, world hunger, capitalism, a global shortage of Mandalorian episodes, (HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME LUCASARTS?! [Lucasfilms? You know what, I don’t actually care.]) So, it’s pretty reasonable for someone to not be fully informed on all of them at once. We need fighting on all fronts. But the good news is that people can always learn more, always become better allies to more people. And eliminating transphobia doesn’t just help trans people - everyone benefits from every form of bigotry eliminated.
Maybe this describes you, in which case, thank you for taking the time to learn more and I hope this video is both fun and helps you help more people around you.
*PORTAL clip: “Thank you for helping us help you help us all*
Speaking of help, don’t forget to help the channel by haunting that like and subscribe button-
Microaggressions are just little things people do out of ignorance, generally without malice. They’re little, hence *micro*, but they add up and they can really be insulting and frustrating.
Consider the microaggression that was common ten years ago: when a gay couple would introduce themselves to straight people, they’d often get asked, “Which of you is the man and which of you is the woman?” It comes from the assumption that every relationship must have a man and a woman, and projecting that norm onto people onto whom that assumption profoundly does not fit. And even on a good day, it’s really intrusive because it’s loaded with assumptions about what is the “man’s” role and the “woman’s” role in a relationship. Come on, you know what they’re *really* asking and we all know that’s nobody’s business.
Anyway, here are some of the microaggressions that well-meaning people do to trans people and why you shouldn’t say or do these things,
“Do you know Nikki Tutorials?”
Trans people don’t all know each other, there’s no hivemind.
“You mean like Caitlyn Jenner?”
Trans people generally don’t care to be compared to the *other* one trans person you’ve heard of.
“Have you had ‘the surgery’?”
That’s none of your business. Transition is an incredibly personal decision and trans or not, someone else’s genitals are none of your business unless you’re dating them *and* the relationship has reached that level of intimacy.
Like, it’s natural to be curious about a kind of person you’ve never been exposed to. But please don’t put trans people on the spot to answer overly personal questions. Just chill, put your curiosity aside, and maybe when there’s an appropriate time you’ll get to talk to your new trans friend and they'll share their experiences with you. If they have the energy.
“Okay but Blair White gave me permission to say tr-”
SHUT THE FUCK UP.
These are the people where persuasion and patience will have the greatest returns in terms of effort into directly bringing people into allyship. These are people who want to do good, want to help other people, and so, if you can show them that being an ally is a way to do good and help people, then it’s pretty reasonable to anticipate them starting to use that information to start helping people.
If you’re in this group and you want to learn so you can help more people, great. YouTube is an amazing resource for learning. It’s where a lot of trans people have already put energy into explaining things so you don’t have to ask your trans friends to educate you themselves. That’s hard work, actually. I’m linking in the dooblydoo some other channels to consider - you shouldn’t limit your education to any one voice.
If you’re already an ally or trans yourself - know that these are people who can really easily be helped to become allies, but remember that you’re never obligated to expend your own energy to educate someone else. It pays forward, and it’s absolutely worthwhile and noble, but if you’re ever on the spot and don’t have the time or energy for it, just remember to take care of yourself first.
And if you’re in this group and you trip up and get reprimanded, it’s not the end of the world. Learn and move on. And if you accidentally did a microaggression and a trans person snapped at you - it’s not because you are an enemy to trans people, but because trans people already deal with so much, and it adds up, and gets really damn tiring.
With any struggle for dignity and respect, you shouldn’t choose who you take care of based on who’s nice to you, but kindness is a really good way to inspire people to care about those around them.
“Chud” is a slang term describing a spectrum of right-leaning beliefs, particularly social beliefs, that are… well… compared to the well-meaning bystander, much more likely to be rooted in bigotry and more likely to be actively hostile.
And here, we see the people who are progressively more and more along a pipeline of justifying ideology and cognitive traps with the extreme end being… well… fascism.
It’s like a really awful pokemon evolution.
The start of the spectrum is the stage where a large parcel of people who vote Republican are at. The stage where they think bigotry is bad, but they also don’t believe that they’re ever being bigots, and they think the people who point out bigoted things they do or say are being “politically correct” and that anyone who challenges their bigotry is being a “wokescold”.
These are people who can still be reached, at this stage at least, but almost never directly. Usually, they need something to jar them and make them realize that their indifference to the plight of others is kind of shitty. Someone they care about has to be affected in a way they can’t look away from.
But things can get worse if left unchecked. “Ironic” and “edgy” forms of bigotry can turn into desensitization to genuine bigotry.
Chud Comorbidities - casual racism, “ironic” antisemitism
Accuses anyone they don’t like of “Postmodernism” but can’t actually define postmodernism with any respected sources nor demonstrate how it applies
Uses “Woke," “Wokescold," and/or “SJW” as pejoratives, accuses people of “virtue signaling," claims that “Political correctness is ruining society.”
Claims to have taken the “red pill”
Shares Prager U videos
The chud may be beyond helping if they exhibit some or all of these signs:
Call people they disagree with “NPCs”
On 4chan, “Don’t reveal your power level”
Q Anon level of conspiracy theorist garbage
Adamantly against anti-racism
Flat earth, climate change denialism
“Ironic” Nazi admiration
This is where patience really isn’t a virtue on social media. The process from “as long as they don’t act gay in public” to “go ahead and be gay in public, I no longer feel threatened by the existence of gay people” is not a journey that one can be shepherded along by strangers.
Depending on how far along the pipeline they are, you might feel tempted to just try to talk them out of it - but note that a stranger alone is not going to be a persuading force in getting them to go home and think about their lives.
*clip of Obi-Wan telling Deathsticks dealer to go home and rethink his life*
Hey, he’s a ghost now so it’s on topic (picture of Obi-Wan as a ghost)
When you encounter the chud online, you have two options, one is to try to bait them into considering other avenues and sources of information than the ones they’ve been stuck in. Respond with video links to leftists, especially edgy leftists*. When someone is along the pipeline to the right, edgy leftists seem to have the greatest success pulling them out of that spiral, and from there, they usually start to integrate into communities where they learn that giving a shit about your fellow human is actually pretty cool. All the youths are doing it these days and it’s making the world a better place.
*note on edgy leftists - shit’s complicated, that’s probably a whole ‘nother video on the overton window and how people’s politics evolve in response to who and what they’re exposed to.
But beware - as tempted as you will be to try to reason them down from their chuddery, they can’t ultimately be reasoned out of a position they didn’t come to from a place of reason in the first place. If you try to ‘debate’ with them, as in try to show them new information in the hopes that they’ll reconsider their wrong assumptions, they will just be wrong and loud at you for as long as you let them. And once you detect that, you have to be willing to abandon hope of converting *them* and instead, focus on doing the following:
Humiliate their bad positions - make it so anyone watching sees them for the absolute clown that they are.
Rebuke them - tell them their bigotry is not welcome here and tell them to fuck off and that you won’t let them waste any of your time.
Block, ignore, walk away.
Notice the first two of those three responses, you’re not doing it *for* them. You’re doing it for those watching the exchange. On social media, disagreement is as much a spectator sport as the exchange of ideas between interlocutors. If you can humiliate someone for bad takes, you potentially reveal chud heroes as fools and their followers will reconsider their ‘team’ accordingly. And if you hold a line and shout a chud out of a conversation, you send a message to the people that they would otherwise be trying to harm - a message that you have their backs and that bullying won’t fly around you.
These are skills, and if you want to refine your skills on that, I would highly recommend watching Ian Danskin’s Alt Right Playbook as a starter, and then checking out persuasive leftist rhetoricians to learn by example. And once you’re sufficiently inoculated to chud ideas, maybe even start studying their rhetoric to see who buys into it and how to effectively intercept their targets.
And when it comes to professional chuds - people who *can’t* publicly change their political positions or risk losing their careers - then don’t go after the con artist themselves, try to intercept the marks.
These are the people who embody the phrase, “Justice? Nah, Just Us.”
With almost every civil rights struggle, ever, there’s a temptation to throw other related struggles under the bus, a real political selfishness that many rationalize as pragmatism.
There was racism within the suffragette movement.
In the Black Civil Rights movement in the United States, when Bayard Rustin was outed as gay, he was basically abandoned by his comrades, who were not prepared to fight a second battle, not prepared to tie black civil rights with a group of people who were seen as deviant, perveted predators.
One of the first debates I remember after discovering my own sexuality was for a nondiscrimination act that was floating around and LGBT groups were split on whether or not to add “gender identity” in addition to “sexual orientation," with the fear being that if the protections for trans people were added, then they would lose key votes and therefore, not make *any* progress. And so it became a sort of trolley problem.
Do nothing, and only trans people get run over. Flip the switch, trans AND gay people get run over.
Except here’s the thing with the trolley problem. The problem is the trolley, not the person at the switch. The solution in the end isn’t to flip the switch to the path of least destruction, it’s to prevent the destructive tendencies of the trolley. And that’s the ultimate flaw of assimilationism
The goal of assimilation is to appeal to the sensibilities of the dominant group, which requires complicity with the harmful assumptions that the status quo relies on. An example would be gay people who distance themselves from Pride parades, from people radically trying to counter homophobia and harmful norms of what sexuality is, or should look like, or how it should be expressed. Their goal is to step on others to reach acceptance, and then pull the ladder up behind them. It’s beyond selfish. And I will NOT have it.
Denies that trans people were present at Stonewall.
“Makes the rest of us look bad”
Follows the LGB Alliance, Demands that LGB and T advocacy be separated somehow
“Gay not queer”
Claims that “Queer theory is taking over” but can’t cite any current or respected proponents of queer theory or even define it - just point to really old nobodies that were ultimately rejected from the movement as if they represent the movement now.
Claims that trans people or their allies are trying to “trans away the gay.”
Assimilationists will always try to appeal to transphobic tropes to evoke transphobia in the hope that by distancing themselves from trans people, they can make themselves look better in comparison.
They never dare challenge the actual systems or attitudes that marginalize gay, queer, OR trans people, otherwise they would acknowledge that all of our struggles are intertwined. Patriarchy relies on telling people that there is a way that people *should* be, who we *should* like, and how we *should* identify, all based on our birth sex and reproductive potential. It’s not hard to see that the idea of “if you are born with a penis, you must partner with someone who was born with a vagina (or vice versa) and make babies together” is especially harmful to gay, bi, asexual, trans people. I mean, it’s even harmful to cishets because that’s still societal pressure and we should all get to decide what we want out of our lives without external pressure, but LGBTQI people are more likely to not be comfortable with the prescribed outcomes.
This kind of person can rarely be convinced directly - they’d need actual in-person experience interacting with trans people in order to have meaningful realization that solidarity is the way to go, not political selfishness. But you can dissuade people who are observing this and keep their arguments from taking hold in onlookers - by pointing out how various forms of bigotry are related and also by pointing out the comorbidity of different kinds of bigotries. In particular, point out how the people they’re allying with are often members of the far-right who, if trans people were to be anchored more securely in their oppression again, would then move on to attacking gay people and gay rights. When they post an article from a smaller publication or platform, follow that platform back to its source and look at their other positions. And so very often, you’ll see….
Family watch international, if you look at their positions and their video library, are about:
Same sex attraction
Therapy ban films
That does not sound like a very gay inclusive group/