Monday, December 17, 2012

The Trans Conclusion Jump Strikes Again

One of the things that annoys me about the transgender community is the conclusion jump.

It's a tendency to take a snippet of information and come up with a pessimistic scenario severely out of whack with the available evidence or presume that the jumped conclusion is true even though the weight of evidence doesn't support it.      TransGriot July 5, 2007

The London Olympic Games unfortunately closed without an open trans athlete participating in that fortnight of competition.  But I can guarantee if the conclusion jump were an Olympic event some peeps in my community would take the gold medal for it. 

I wrote about this tendency of elements of our community to engage in this behavior during a situation in 2007 in which liberal-progressive talk show host Randi Rhodes called Ann Coulter a transwoman and transpeople justifiably called her on it.  

But a few conclusion jumped to the point where one person jawdroppingly equated her to transphobic right wing talker Michael Savage and another called her a transphobe when Rhodes clearly was neither.

We had another example of the trans conclusion jump at work last week when a transwoman had a not so pleasant flying experience in a Texas airport.    The incident as it turned out as more information became available got blown up way out of proportion to the facts of the case.

One thing you must do as a blogger (or on social media) is verify before posting. Your credibility as a blogger is important, especially when you represent a marginalized community and people are relying on you to help give them the facts they need to form their opinions on issues.  

You have to think like a report
er. Facts and accurate information should be first and foremost in a post. You can do point of view opinion style commentary in a later post if necessary.

Trusting your instincts is also paramount. I had questions about that incident, which is why you didn't see it posted on TransGriot when it first started appearing on the Net. 

Because I'm one of the biggest award winning bloggers of color, I have an international readership, I'm an award-winning activist, I talk about the African-American trans community in my writing, and what I write is highly valued,  I have to get it right.  It's more important in my mind to be accurate than to be the first to post it.
TransGriot will be seven years old on January 1.  I've put a lot of work into building its reputation as a go-to source for information on the African-American trans community and fearlessly and accurately discussing issues of importance to me and the trans community in general.  I take that responsibility seriously. 

The trans community and its hundreds of bloggers must consider the blogosphere
as one of the vitally important tools in our civil rights toolkit.   It  has been one of the reasons that our trans human rights movement has made the remarkable progress it has over the last decade. 

Our trans bloggers from our A-list award winners to the folks just starting and building their blogging reps have raised our community's visibility along with bringing the trans community's issue concerns to the attention of the general public, politicians and civil rights organizations.  They have played a major role in pointing out transpeople are part of the diverse mosaic of human life.
So chill with the conclusion jumping, okay?   It takes years to build up a solid reputation in the blogosphere for accuracy and being a go-to blog for commentary for our community, and one horribly incorrect post to screw it up.

TransGriot Note: Second picture is of Louisville television personality and Voice-Tribune editor Angie Fenton

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