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  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

84: Been Seeing Transphobia on Facebook

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

There is a face that is basically just colored light and shadow, in front of an abstracted woman looking away.
Painting from a while back.

Howdy. I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook. My friends rarely use it, except for posting pictures from recent trips. The relatives and acquaintances who do use it tend to lean conservative, and if I'm there for too long, I'll either get into arguments or end up hiding them from my feed. And it's a shame. I want to applaud their accomplishments, watch their kids grow up, throw money at their GoFundMe's when they're in need, but how am I supposed to abide by their hate?

It's not always overt. Recently a casual friend shared a post that listed JK Rowling's accomplishments, the adversity she overcame. Which would be fine, except this friend is a vocal, active member, of her local LGBT community. She absolutely knows the harmful impact JK Rowling is having on trans people. This woman cannot be unaware that JK Rowling's twitter is no longer about promoting her fiction, and all about broadcasting her "concerns" regarding the integration of trans women into women's spaces. Frankly, I would have expected more empathy from someone who is part of a traditionally marginalized community.

And some are less subtle. A mother, with a history of fostering at-risk teens, posted a clip of Mr. Rogers, explaining how girls are girls and boys are boys, and that's what they'll always be. Her ultra-conservative peers expressed support for this notion, in their replies.

I have numerous relatives whose feeds I simply will not look at because I'll be angry and frustrated for days afterwards. It's not enough that they can choose not to spend time in the company of trans people? Instead, they need trans people to not exist at all. From my own observations, I've found that those who are most open about their transphobia, are also blatantly racist. The races they've chosen to vilify vary, but the hate doesn't.

Now, I didn't grow up in close contact with most of my blood relatives, so for the most part, we barely know each other. In some cases, I've already had these fights with them, and they are impervious to reason, let alone empathy. With regards to the casual friend who should have been an ally, that post would've been the beginning of a talk that doubtless would've concluded our friendship had physical distance not already handled that.

I honestly prefer when the person states their view out right, in person, so we can talk about it. Someone who does not consider themself transphobic shared with me, their concerns about LGBT influences on youth media. I was direct. I asked them if they felt there was anything wrong with LGBT individuals. They said no, of course not. So I followed up with, "Why then, should they be represented differently or less than straight cis people in youth media?"

And not all of my conservative relatives are transphobic. Those who work in health care tend to be more open to, and accepting of trans people's validity and right to exist.

At this point, I'm keeping informed on how trans rights are being endangered across the USA, as best as I'm able, what with the influx of bills being pushed forth. My twitter has a much wider reach than my Facebook, so that's where I share relevant petitions and calls to action. This should not be a case where things have to get worse before they can get better. Politicians and the media are dumping so many resources into scapegoating an already historically ostracized group, to distract working people from the real problems, caused by the hoarding of wealth of an elite few. With the working people squabbling over petty social differences, we will not band together to demand state sponsored health care, secondary education, and basic housing for all.

There is hope. The majority of today's young people, in the USA, are being exposed to the existence of LGBT people in the popular media, regardless of their parent's stance. LGBT people are on TV, they're on the radio, on Youtube, Spotify, TikTok, whatever. And it's a lot harder to paint the "other" as evil, when they're out in the open, just living their best lives, not harming anybody.

I had a single friend in college who was opposed to gay marriage. She was furious with me when I shared this with a mutual friend. While I obviously knew our friend's reaction before I told her, I hadn't know it was a secret. That these folks feel the need to veil their transphobia behind celebrity anecdotes and quotes shows they knows their views belong in the past, that their hate is outnumbered.

I will never understand condemning a person for following their path to happiness in such a way that they are not harming anyone else. Why spend your limited time alive making an adversary out of somebody who's minding their own business? All we can do is keep voting, signing petitions, calling politicians, marching, and having these conversations. We've got to be willing to act, to help where able, because those in power aren't. Anyway, those are my thoughts today. I drop a new blog post every Monday. Toodles.

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