Us fanpeople have a different set of concerns than other people. Sitting behind our myriad screens with a massive percentage of fanpeople suffering from some form of social anxiety, we do not necessarily see the world as others do.
That is no excuse for being an asshole. Even less so, in fact, since our screens are filled with information to digest on how not to come across as a complete wanker.
There’s an interesting article on calling out transphobia and it struck a chord with me.
“That’s not okay.” “That’s transphobic.” These are the two most direct things you can say when someone says something transphobic. They are clean, simple and efficient phrases. Just pick one and use it! But once you take the plunge, don’t yield in order to placate them or to save face with your friends. Stick with it. Explain why you’re not okay with what’s been said.
Now, I don’t have social anxiety. Every other anxiety in the book, sure, but I can deal with people easily. I call people out on their shit if I can without risking my safety. However, I know this confrontation is hard for a lot of people and I empathise. Face-to-face, this shit is difficult. But we’re not dealing with each other in meatspace all that often, except in cons and other geeky gatherings.
So we don’t have that excuse.
It’s easy to spout off online. Just look at the trolls on any youtube video or feminist article about gaming. Why not use that power for good and call people out on transphobia? We don’t have to be mean about it. We can just quietly (or loudly but politely!) say “That is not okay.” We can do it publicly to make others think. We can clean up the mess that transphobia leaves.
Especially since we don’t know the gender identity of anyone online except if we are offered it obviously – from the person’s own mouth. That’s a good thing, but we have to remember that by making transphobic comments or failing to call them out, cis fans are making it a hostile space for others.
Transphobic comments help to perpetuate a culture of exclusion and marginalization for an already vulnerable population.
That’s not okay.
Another aspect is educating yourself. It’s not hard online. There are so many blogs and articles on how to be a good trans ally and I recommend you have a wander about google to find yourself some. I will write a post sometime soon with some of the resources that have helped me along the way.
Part of being an ally, too, is developing your own personal Spidey Sense for transphobia. To help put an end to transphobic culture, you need to recognize it. When friends use words like “tranny” or “shemale,” that’s not okay. When friends joke about how “a chick looks like a dude” or vice versa, that’s not okay.
It’s not okay. It doesn’t take much to recognise when something might hurt someone. I hear people complaining about political correctness but what about respect? We can respect one another. Let’s all be geeks in this together.
- Reducing Homo-/Transphobia, part 1 (transgenderladies.wordpress.com)
- “What’s actually happening”: calling out transphobia in the workplace (thefword.org.uk)
- Not in Our Name (thegayagendauk.wordpress.com)
- Hidden Transphobia, Parts 2 & 3 (quendergeer.wordpress.com)
- Women, Transphobia, Homophobic Violence in the Caribbean (repeatingislands.com)