Thursday, March 14, 2013

Responding To Transphobia Online

keepcalmWith trans folks popping up in the news more frequently and this being the Internet era, they haters have the ability to post foul comments and outright lies in the comment sections of these stories.   We not only need to do battle in the comment threads to get to correct information out their to debunk the lies an win hearts and minds, we need to do so in an intelligent way.  

This guest post is courtesy of Mark Snyder, the Communications Manager for the San Francisco based Transgender Law Center 

It entitled 
'Responding to Transphobia Online' and gives you seven tips for doing so.

I prefer letting the USS Monica out of port from time to time to patrol the cyberseas and firing off troll nuke tipped Tomahawk cruise missiles myself for the peeps that deserve to have their ignorance exposed for the enire planet to see, but that's another post for another time. .


1. Do not comment when you are angry or heated.
Take some time to cool down and collect your thoughts. Typing out your comments in a word processor ahead of time helps you slow down, and comes with spell check!

2. Do not engage in “flame wars” or arguments.

Instead of engaging directly or replying to comments of people who are saying mean things, it’s best to post a new comment so that it is not hidden and so that you do not engage in a heated dialogue which would give the person more of a platform. Keep your comments informative, heartfelt, and succinct. Always refer back to the topic at hand in the news article or story.

3. Respond to general themes in the thread.

If there is a general transphobic theme happening in the thread of comments, you may want to find a neutralizing statement that would dispel the myth or misconception. Do not directly engage or reply with any commenter. Instead, post a new comment. It does not help to be seen as argumentative or defensive.
Example: Many commentators are saying it isn’t right to let a boy enter a girls room. Fresh blog comment: It is important to note that transgender boys are boys, and transgender girls are girls. No student should be excluded from programs and facilities, and every student should be treated fairly.

4. Be compassionate.

Let people know that you understand transgender issues can be difficult for some people, and that it is okay to come along with you on a journey of understanding.
Example Post: I know this issue is new for some people, and that is okay.  As a transgender person/As a friend /As a mom/ – I know that transgender people should have the same fair chance to participate in XXXX as anyone else. Discrimination and exclusion are painful for everyone.

5. Use evidence for added strength. You can use quotes and statistics from Injustice at Every Turn.

6. Stay positive, and give messages of support to youth who may be reading the comments.

7. In extreme cases, report or flag transphobic comments to the social network or news outlet for removal.

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