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With allies like these...

It is often revealing to watch the ebb and flow of Twitter, you can learn a lot about the ugly side of humanity on the site as bigotry runs rampant, but you can also see the many allies that are stepping up. However, there are some disconcerting trends with allies too...

So, just recently a UK "ally" announced that he was going to debate trans rights with a notorious UK bigot. He sees himself as an ally, but there are some reasons I put that in quotes when referring to him and I think it's important to be aware of these, regardless of whether you're trans or are a cis ally.

Problem #1: He's legitimizing a bigot.

Here's the thing about bigotry: you can't shame a bigot with their bigotry. They're not coming from a place of rational thought, it's a place of hate. When you agree to "debate" them all you're doing is giving them a platform and audience that they don't currently have and, more importantly, you're sending the message that their perspective is worthy of debating. There's no place for bigotry in rational discourse.

Problem #2: He's speaking for and over trans people.

A key element of being a strong ally for any marginalized community is that you amplify and support their voices, you don't replace them. He's pretending to be our White Knight and Saviour, riding in to vanquish the evil transphobe on our behalf. Yet, this is a battle he chose to engage in, not one we wished for, and he feels as though he can speak for us. Why does a cis man think it's okay to debate trans rights and our legitimacy with a cis woman? How incredibly offensive is that?

Problem #3: He's arguing about our human rights.

It is absolutely monstrous that in 2021 there are elements of society and government that think it is perfectly reasonable to debate whether or not a segment of the population is entitled to be treated with respect, dignity, and care. Monstrous. There is no other clear way to describe it.

The thing that frustrates many of us, I think, is that there is the constant discussion around trans equality and yet trans people are not permitted to be in that discussion. We are constantly being talked over by cis people, allies or bigots, as though we're an abstract concept instead of a collection of human beings with our own hopes and dreams. They write books, they write newspaper columns, they go on TV, radio, and podcasts to tell the world what they think should be done about trans people and our voices are excluded.

We're here, you know, try not to forget that.

Comments

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