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Don't feed the trolls

suffix: -phobia
extreme or irrational fear or dislike of a specified thing or group.

When we talk about transphobia, we're generally not talking about the fear aspect of the word, we're talking about extreme or irrational dislike of trans people.

Why is this top of mind? I suppose it's the Twitter "sound cloud" that I've become much more aware of in recent months. It's also a continual factor in the news, as many mainstream outlets have given substantially disproportionate voice to anti-trans groups and individuals.

I don't engage in the debate. A part of me wants to, I'll be honest, but let's go back up to the definition and I'll note that transphobia tends to be both extreme (as there are literally people on the streets shouting for our deaths) to irrational, which is an extremely common manifestation with notions like bathroom bills and the like. You can't argue with irrational people.

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

- Mark Twain
 
This concept by Mark Twain manifests very readily, especially on Twitter.  The "debates" become very circular, and happen daily, and I am not aware of any single one that has the changed the mind of anyone engaged or observing. I get the desire to debate, though, but as I noted before Twitter is an echo chamber that amplifies voices in a manner that makes them seem as though their reach is greater than they are. That fills us with a need to debate them in context and yet, if you look at the context, it's almost inevitably confined to trans and their supporters vs the anti-trans groups.

When we talk about the battlefield for our rights, I think we place too much emphasis on the impact of sites like Twitter. They are a factor, for sure, but that battle is not won by debating irrational people, it is won by building strong, positive, messages and working on creating a strong basis of support. We know, at the end of the day, that the majority of people in places like Canada, the UK, USA, and similar western nations, support trans rights. That is the lever.

We also know that cis people that actually know trans people are way more likely to be supportive of trans rights. That makes visibility important and it means encouraging friends and families to become more vocal in their support.

So, I don't debate transphobes, as much as I may be tempted at times. It's worth remembering that their goal is to anger you, to get you to respond in a manner that they can pull out of context and use to shore up their goals. As the old saying goes, don't feed the trolls...


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