Katelyn Burns penned a piece last year reviewing why the trans community tends to be prickly and persnickety. It’s not exactly rocket science–being anti-trans is a prolific industry, filling the airwaves and distorting people’s perception of you. Asshats spreading misinformation are paid ludicrous sums of money, even as the trans community struggles to scrape enough money together to fund a queer youth crisis shelter. Of course we’re mad. Cis people can’t stop showering asshats with accolades and hundred-dollar bills, meanwhile we’re lucky if we can keep our dead end job.
Content Notice for transphobic slurs.
Now take a step back for a second and imagine the majority of people you run into every day denying you this basic descriptor of yourself. Every day the media runs a fresh story that denies your existence down to your most basic level of being. Every day some white knight actor is claiming credit for all the hard work and advocacy that you and your peers are doing. Imagine that any time someone tries to go on television to defend your most basic self definition, the producers grab the most hateful person available to sit opposite and argue against your existence “to be fair and balanced.” Think of this happening every day. Imagine you had to defend yourself from Twitter trolls every day who seek to deny you the right to describe yourself in your most basic terms. Pretend for a second that every online newspaper article has a comment section filled with the most hateful words thrown at you that you could ever imagine.
I wrote a piece on my experience as a closeted trans woman who grew up playing sports that ran recently on The Cauldron by Sports Illustrated, a site with thousands of regular readers. The next day, someone wrote a fifteen hundred word WordPress blog post calling me a “tranny” (it was in the headline), repeatedly called me a man and suggested that I’m mentally ill and should be locked away. One of the author’s followers suggested he deserves a Pulitzer for it. I felt sick. Here was maybe my proudest professional achievement of my life, and trolls decided that I deserved to be erased from society. I was upset, you would be too. How would you feel running into that every day of your life?
And, of course, if I were to express any frustration or upset at this state of affairs, it would be screencapped by TERFs and hailed as evidence that trans women are inherently violent creatures.