How do you feel about this Dina incident over at the Comcept Forums. You normally have a take on issues like these, but I haven't seen you mention anything about it on your Tumblr. Could you share some of your thoughts on the subject?
It’s mostly cause I’m still really busy catching up on other things, but I’ve talked to her about it. I think what she’s gotten in terms of abuse is ridiculous no matter what she did or didn’t do, and especially if her “crime” was daring to suggest or draw the main character as a woman then the people harassing her have lost their damn mind. The “derailing” conversation is pretty shocking insight into how far gone and deluded these types are. They’ve created this victimhood narrative where the meany feminists and their agenda are controlling all of media and holy moly is it bonkers.
I do plan to talk about it at the panel I’m organizing, which i hope to record and upload on youtube. Basically though it’s the same old story of a bunch of whiny dudes thinking they own gaming and reality and, well, as my friend Emma said on twitter, “it’s almost like straight white dudes are conditioned to believe that their experiences are universal and anyone different is wrong.” They see gaming as their domain and narratives as their narrative and anyone with a different narrative is taking what they feel to be rightfully theirs away from them.
It’s entitled crap, but there it is.
How a conversation on sexism in gaming gets derailed, and an illustration in intellectual dishonesty.
I talk about sexism in video games sometimes. I don’t play as many games as I used to (because I am poor and busy) but the topic fascinates me as a woman and someone who grew up on video games (and still gets up evert morning to the sound of “Morning Sunlight” from Chrono Trigger…it’s my alarm sound).
So, sometimes, with sexism being a huge problem in the gaming community, I get a little blowback from people resistant to my messaging. No problem, I’ve been teaching for years in at least some capacity, so I’m willing to educate. I’m also forgiving - to a fault, and I remember where I was when I started learning about social problems back in 2008 thanks to my own realizations about my transgender status, defying gender norms, and reading the book that changed my life (The Sociologically Examined Life by Michael Schwalbe, read it!).
However, while there are some that are able to open their minds to what I and other feminist personalities (like Samantha Allen, Anita Sarkeesian, et al.) are saying, or at the very least entertain the notion that there might be some merit to it, there remain a great deal who remain so resistant to the ideas espoused by those who challenge the status quo that they react not only by remaining close minded, but by actively seeking to derail any discussion containing ideas that challenge their worldview.
Strangely enough, one of the ways in which people do this is through asking to be educated on the issue relevant to the discussion, only to reject all the effort spent trying to educate them and use fallacious reasoning or other kinds of intellectual dishonesty to justify their position. It’s an attempt by an individual to appear rational and openminded by adopting the pretense of openmindedness, concealing the reality that they never were intent on changing their position even in the face of evidence contradicting said position. It’s using their obtuse intransigence as a means of undermining the other individual in the discussion by placing the responsibility of opening their mind upon another individual.
Practically, of course, these types of people don’t consciously reflect upon their rationale for intellectual dishonesty before engaging in it. Indeed, they don’t put much thought into it at all, which is why this sort of tactic is so often found in base trolling, especially the kind leveraged against marginalized individuals. I found myself in yet another instance of this when an individual interjected himself in a conversation that I was having with another woman, asking if I could talk about her perspective on sexism in video games, after she had received harassment.
This being the most ironic tweet of all time, I should have known what lay ahead. Being, as previously mentioned, an educator and an advocate, however, I decided to trudge on. The “conversation” quickly went to shit. After being bombarded with complete sexist bile and nonsense from the initial individual, his equally insightful friend Karl Livingstone popped in. Again, I attempted a rational conversation. Then the derailing started.
(Note: at this point he began throwing out “questions” faster than I could answer and ignoring my responses, another sign that an individual in a discussion is being intellectually dishonest.)
See: "Here is where I answered your questions, jackass."
I made this post after reading a critique of the phrase, “It’s not my job to educate you.” The thing is, though, this sort of thing is why people say that. You can make a solid effort to enlighten another individual, but in the end, they will simply derail your efforts. It’s such a cliché tactic of these kind of idiot trolls that this pattern can be found time and again in discussions of any topic.
As an advocate and an educator I strongly believe in using my platform for good, and doing whatever I can to shed some light on a very, very dark world. However, when people do not obey the rules of my classroom, I will not hesitate to send them out into the hallway. Nor should you. Besides, they’ve always got comparisons to Hitler, if nothing else.
Oh, #Meninisttwitter-san, why are you so terrible?
Yesterday, a guy on twitter decided to start a hashtag called (and I am not joking) “#meninisttwitter”. Just when you thought “Masculism” couldn’t sound more ridiculous.
I couldn’t help but interject.
Naturally, the predictably sexist responses started to flow in.
And then this dude jumped in.
Clearly a superior individual. I bow down in reverence.
And while these immature dudes that call themselves grown ass men writhed around in a trough of sexist bile, engaging in the same old tired troll tactics like projection, derailing, use of cliché sexist attacks (until they realized i was transgender) and making fallacious appeals to emotions, the reality is that we live in a world where the things that they mock as minor inconveniences remain structural inequalities for women.
Women face the very real fear of rape or sexual assault, the reality of daily sexual harassment, pay inequality, being tracked into lower paying jobs, a lack of respect no matter their level of achievement based solely on their gender, and eviction from public space (physical or virtual) by men with tactics like those found in the above tweets from these shining examples of humanity.
#meninisttwitter didn’t undermine feminism or make it look ridiculous. Their gesticulations and impotent whining instead underscored the importance of feminism, and illustrated the kind of ignorance that must be fought in every last remaining nook and cranny of our society. For every #meninisttwitter hashtag, we have to respond with education and illumination of toxic attitudes so that they can be made entirely unacceptable in our society.
Hi, this is totally not a question so my apologies in advance, but as you probably know already you are an incredibly beautiful woman. Your bravery in posting pre-transition pictures is so commendable, because anyone capable of even quasi-rational thought should be able to look at your "then" & "now" pictures side-by-side and immediately understand why transphobia is wrong. You were so clearly meant to be a woman. Please keep being a fabulous example.
Oh, how nice of you :) Thank you anonymous friend. I will do my best :)
Would you go out with/date a Black male?
if it’s the right person i don’t care what the hell they look like - their skin color, gender, sexual orientation, etc it’s all fine with me
Transgender Day of Remembrance
There’s an article up today at the Huffington post entitled "Transgender Day of Remembrance Reminds Society That Trans Lives Are Valuable". The article hits on a very important and sobering truth - the fact that our society simply does not view trans lives as valuable. It’s not a truth that we remember only once a year, however (we should be so lucky). For trans people, simply navigating through this society in which trans people are dehumanized and killed or commit suicide at staggering rates serves as a daily reminder.
Just in the past year, a hate group has bullied a transgender teenager to near suicide. Another trans teen was set on fire. A trans woman was beaten to death. A transgender woman’s body was found in a trash can in Detroit. Even after death, there is often no peace for victims, who are misgendered in the media or even at their own funerals, with no acknowledgement of who they were, or the life they led.
These are not aberrations. We’ve lost hundreds of transgender women to violence this year. Nearly 54% of all LGBTQI hate crime victims in 2012 were trans women, up 40% from the year before. According to the Transgender Murder Monitoring Project, once every 3 days a transgender woman is murdered somewhere in the world and accoding to the National Center for Transgender Equality, nearly 41% of all trans people have made a suicide attempt. Transgender people are widely and constantly dehumanized, even in mass market video games and television shows. People are perfectly willing to say that transgender people should be rounded up and put into camps on public social media accounts.
What we have on our hands is an epidemic. It’s nothing new, but the disease of transphobia, despite advances in equality and increasing visibility of trans individuals, remains rampant in our society.
As a student of archives, I have come to understand the function of remembering not only as a means of analyzing or clarifying the past (and for transgender people the past is rarely a place we would like to return to), but also for bringing the past out from the shadows to help us understand the present and to build the future that we want. If the future that we want to create will be one of less tragedy, then it is imperative that all people, cis and trans alike, work together meaningfully and remain diligent in striking at the scourge of transphobia wherever it may raise its ugly head. We must challenge the objectification that renders us as nothing more than objects for sexual consumption and disposal. We must denounce the “humor” that trivializes and stigmatizes our very existence.
As we do this sacred work, let us keep the memories of those who have come and gone before us fresh in our minds, so that those who come after us will never have to worry about suffering the same fate.
Hello Kat, recently my boyfriend has opened up to me and told me about a past experience he had with a transgendered woman. You could tell he was insecure and was using very ignorant language, and I told him that they are in fact women, not men or "things". The problem now is he is interested in me being with one and watching. I find this very degrading, and i doubt a transgendered woman IRL would even want to be with a female. I'm not sure how to address this.
Wow. Um, well, you totally did awesome letting him know that what he said was ignorant. I think his…desires that he has expressed to you indicate that it was kind of needed. I think I would find that more than a little degrading too, were I in either your position or this hypothetical trans woman’s position. I think maybe one way to handle it would be communicating the way it makes you feel when he says things like that, and explaining why what he is saying is not really something you think is cool…
I don’t think it’s cool that he’d put his sexual gratification over your comfort, even hypothetically.
And not to make light of your question or to veer off-subject or anything but just additionally there are lesbian and bi trans women, though I doubt that they would want to be viewed as a sexual object to be gazed at for some uninvolved dude’s sexual gratification (especially against your will!). Yuck all around.
Sometimes I have too much fun embracing androgyny.
Even though I’m a woman 100%, I take comfort in knowing that if any jerk calls me a man that I would still be hot if I were.
The Snuffalupagus in the Room: What’s Wrong with the Big Bird Transgender Story
This week, a “satire” website, The National Report, ran a story that beloved chidren’s show character Big Bird was to come out as trans and that Big Bird’s transition was to be used as a vehicle for messages of tolerance and acceptance.
Sounds great, right? Several of my friends reposted the story, expressing support and excitement that the show would take such a “bold” direction. Numerous transgender allies did the same. Upon a closer reading, however, and with the realization that the article is meant to be satirical, it becomes clear that they were mocking inclusivity and acceptance for transgender and gender non conforming individuals - something which we as a society badly need.
A Handbook to Literature defines satire as “a literary manner which blends a critical attitude with humor and wit to the end that human institutions or humanity may be improved. The true satirist is conscious of the frailty of institutions of man’s devising and attempts through laughter not so much to tear them down as to inspire a remodeling.” This article does not meet that definition.
The first tipoff that the article is nevertheless intended to be satire is the mention of an “older Elmo” grappling with “masturbation” and Oscar the Grouch dealing with “schizophrenia”. These other false storylines for Sesame Street are thrown in to set up the premise of Big Bird’s transition as Serious Bad Issue That Kids Should Not Be Exposed To (And Damn The Liberals For Thinking They Should).
The problem here, ableist ridicue of mental illness and irrational fear of healthy sexual development aside, is that transition and transgender life in general is absolutely something that children should be exposed to. In an era in which innocent trans children are receiving death threats and being driven to suicide after being accused of false harassment, in an era where 20-40% of homeless youth are LGBT (and transgender youth are often turned away from shelters or barred from the shelters intended for the gender with which they identify), in which nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about ending their lives, in which suicide is the number one cause of death among transgender youth, and in which the overwhelming majority of transgender and gender nonconforming youth report harassment and bullying, the importance of exposing children to transgender narratives in order to inspire and comfort transgender and gender nonconforming youth and to foster an environment of acceptance cannot be overstated.
Instead of that environment, what we have is one in which a story defining transgender awareness and acceptance as a clearly absurd notion is called “satire” and given the legitimacy that the word confers. From the story:
The larger-than-life, seemingly asexual bird is helping ease viewers into her new lifestyle and educating children as to the importance of accepting who they are. The groundbreaking episode, which urged viewers to practice patience, love, and support for all individuals, reached a whopping 5.5 million viewers according to Nielsen ratings- a number rivaled only by the Ken Burns documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” back in 2011.
The very idea of tolerance of transgender individuals is supposed to be a ridiculous notion. This stance is not satirical. It is only meant to further marginalize people. It is not intended to make society better, or to challenge the status quo. It is intellectual laziness and base cruelty masquerading as wit. Unfortunately for the author of this veiled attack on transgender individuals, many people did not find it funny. Whether they felt joy or outrage at the narrative of this piece, they took it literally because transgender people are becoming more and more of a reality to more people as more of us become visible. Although their intent failed, it must nevertheless be noted that their intent was to portray the very act of transition and being transgender as unacceptable to children and worthy of scorn and mockery.
If Big Bird’s transition were an actual thing that were happening, it would not be worthy of ridicule. It would be great, and the article would not be nearly as disturbing. However, when the article is labelled as “satire”, the implicit meaning changes. The paragraph’s message within that context is that kids should not practice patience, love, and support for those who are different than themselves, and that transgender and gender nonconforming youth should not accept who they are.
This is a horrifying message, and while ensuring that the horrifying statistics mentioned above continue, it also continues a tradition of marginalization and oppression marketed as “satire”. Unlike satire, however, this does not challenge the powerful with irreverence. Instead, this kicks an incredibly vulnerable group while it is on the ground, holding them down. Satire is not a free pass for contributing to and enabling the oppression of the marginalized. This is blind hatred, not only for the marginalized, but for marginalized children.
When transgender youth are harassed and bullied for living as they are, and driven to suicide at such an alarming rate, “satire” like this is irresponsible at best, and downright cruel and inhumane at worst. Trans youth are a reality, and transgender people are neither a joke for those that will never know their struggles to degrade mindlessly nor a boogeyman to exploit for page views. This article serves as proof that we need more narratives of transgender acceptance on television, and the folks over at the National Report should be among the first to watch them.
UPDATE: Thanks to twitter user mlmmlmmlm for correcting me on the spelling of the character’s name in the title. I had tried to google it to find out since I’d never seen it written, but google apparently failed me. My apologies.
i hope i do not insult you by saying that you sound perfectly normal. yes it's none of my business but if you are here, you are here for a reason and well, i was once a 25 year old woman and now i cannot even remember what it feels like. So it's always nice to read younger people's stories and be reminded.i was trying to figure out if you were once a man but it doesn't appear so, so, in that case it is unclear to me what is your definition of transgender? so this is my question i guess.
Thanks, I’m glad you like it. You are right though, I wasn’t once a man, I was always a transgender woman.
My definition of transgender is someone having a different gender identity than the one that they were assigned or designated at birth.
I saw your Tumblr page from a trans friend's FB page & the whole Kincannon crap. I wanted to say: He's a pig, you're beautiful, inside & out. Keep on not caring about the world. Don't hate on me, but I'm a born again Christian & hold on... I support GLBT rights. I'm a XY, hetero married male, but born with PAIS grade-3, XY intersexed - so I, myself am different. It took a LONG time to realize that I had to love myself. Conservative or not, people need to be happy in life. Keep on rock'n :)
Thank you Anon! I wouldn’t dream of hating on you, you seem like a very nice individual — especially to reach out to me. Yes, it’s true that many people don’t even know that they are “different”. The important thing is that you do love yourself, and that you don’t let the differences between yourself and others form a base hatred that is the foundation of your worldview.
I’m all for everyone accepting and loving who they are and not being insecure. I actually think that would make a lot of the bigotry out there vanish, because when people love who they are they don’t need to validate it by attacking strangers in a weaker position than them.
So, Todd Kincannon is a transphobic, misogynist, racist piece of crap.
After his racist rampage against @Suey_Park, @ToddKincannon, former South Carolina GOP official, decided to attack myself and another woman, along with anyone who criticized him for it, saying things such as trans people should “all be put in a camp.” Offered without comment are a few of his tweets below (for the rest, just read his horrid timeline. Trigger Warning, obviously.)