Thursday, December 2, 2010

Trans Hate Speech in Blog Land

To me the creating a blog is empowering.  Blogging has the ability to give voice to those who have traditionally been silenced in the mainstream. A blog can cover any topic that you can imagine; it only requires dedication on the part of an owner to blossom and grow. When I first started WM 2 1/2 years ago, I had no idea that it would grow to become a wonderful community. On occasion, as a community we have to deal with a troll invasion, but we have successfully fought back to ensure that this remains a safe space for marginalized people.

Anyone can be a blogger and it is this fact that makes people often seek to delegitimize the work that is done on the internet.  There is so much good work being done in the sphere of social justice. Simply reading blogs and comment sections has been a huge source of education for me.  There are those however, that use this wonderful new medium to spread hate, and it is these blogs that I wish to talk about today.

On several occasions I have called out various blogs for repeated posts that in some way harm marginalized people.  I believe the two I speak most regularly about are Bossip and Sandra Rose.  As a WOC, it disgusts and shames me to know that these blogs, while claiming to be simple gossip blogs, use whatever privilege they have to demean others on a regular basis.  Just recently, Rose wrote a post about a trans man who is playing professional basketball, that can be described as nothing less than cisprivilege gone rampant.  I didn't write about it at the time, because quite honestly, I didn't want the stress of yet another blog war. Though stress greatly impacts my fibromyalgia, I am well aware that it is a reflection of my cis privilege that I was able to walk away, while bloggers like Monica of TransGriot took her to task.  At the time, I discussed the issue with friends, searching for some solution to deal with the constant transphobia that I read every day.  I thought about writing GLAAD, but then was told that they really don't handle blogs.  I let the issue rumble in the back of my head until I received a message from transgender yahoo group that I belong to, detailing yet another blogger attacking the trans community. It seems that his major complaint is that the LPGA has changed its rules, to allow trans women to play:

It truly is a sad state of affairs here in the world today, Ladies and Gentlemen, and more specifically here in the United By-God States of 'Merica when we even have to read a news story about a human being paying to mutilate himself and then worry about running around waving his "transgenderdom" in the face of my mother and your kids.

One hundred years ago a couple of good old boys would have blown that assholes' head off or possibly beat him down and stomped his carcass flat, but instead today lawyers are making money defending his right
to be a...

PUSSY


...and I guess some people think I'm a DICK for thinking and saying

things like I just said.

So SUE me...

That will be all...for now...
I suppose he quickly figured out that what he was calling for was violence targeted at a marginalized group, because he quickly deleted the post and then put up another, filled with yet more hatred, while denying that his previous post was an attempt to incite violence.
Further, if you carefully read my words from yesterday (and I had to take the posting down because I was getting a Cyber Spam attack of negative comments), while they were provocative and in some ways could be considered narrow minded in today's liberal "popular culture", I didn't actually threaten this guy in the news article with harm which I would commit personally, and I didn't call for anyone else to commit any crimes against him.
And people like me and my elected government fight wars and pass laws giving them the right to stick body part A inside of any other body part they want to, but emboldened with their new found freedoms and lack of fear of being shot or stomped by a bunch of Rednecks, they have to run around forcing their mutant lifestyle and beliefs on everyone else--like my Mother and little kids that don't understand and shouldn' have to have a class taught to them at the age of six of why poor old Mrs. Simmons has a beard and biceps like Popeye the Sailor Man

I am sure that to many readers of this blog, the kind of hatred expressed by Virgil Rogers is nothing new. What I am concerned about, is how do we combat this?  I used to believe that we could all afford to ignore the hatred that some bloggers are intent on releasing on the internet, but over time I have come to see that instead of the internet being a place of liberation, it has come to reflect all of the dominant discourse that supports our unequal hierarchy of bodies. It is no longer reasonable to suggest that bloggers don't have real authority,when each day the importance of blogs and the internet increases.

 I could literally spend 24 hours a day hunting down transphobic, racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, disablest claptrap on the internet and writing a counter post, but it certainly would not be the most productive use of my time.  Perhaps, the readers of this space would learn something as they engage with the subject matter, but I doubt that the authors of the original hateful piece would gain a thing and furthermore, their ability to participate in hate speech would not diminish.  When I get criticism, I will tell you that it hurts like hell.  I have also participated in my fair share of fails, but the difference between myself and people like Vigil, is that I will learn from my mistakes and endeavor to challenge myself harder at acknowledging my privileges. This still leaves the question of what the individual can do when they come across a piece of blatant hate speech posted on a blog for the world to read and internalize.

I honestly don't think that interacting with these people will do any good.  They are absolutely determined to wallow in their privilege, even as they falsely promote the idea that dominant bodies are being silenced and overpowered by marginalized ones. If you doubt this, have a conversation with a White privilege denier about reverse racism. So, my question to you today is: How can we best fight the proliferation of hate speech on blogs?  I am open to any suggestions as I would like to do whatever I possibly can to bring a halt to these verbal assaults.  I very strongly believe that unless we organize and begin to fight, this it will only get worse.