That title feels way more dismissive than I intend it to be, but I can’t think of anything else. And this is going to be a short one.
First… to Essence of Thought and everyone in the Trans community who was hurt by the actions of Rachel Oates and her followers… I apologize for not saying anything about it here or anywhere else. The honest truth is that I didn’t know it was happening.
I was subscribed to Essence of Thought before Stephen Woodford’s transphobia, so I knew about that, but most of the Rachel Oates drama happened on Twitter.
I don’t participate in Atheist YouTube anymore… I haven’t in years, and really have no interest in doing so anymore. Honestly, I went from being a fan and participator to hating it quite a bit. Although an anti-theist myself, I see the entire Atheist/Skeptic movement as just another religion, although in this case a secular one… or, perhaps more accurately… a Cult of Personality, infested with right-wing reactionary assholes. In fact, I consider Elevatorgate to be the spiritual predecessor to Gamergate (I’m slowly working on a post to expand on this idea, with evidence).
To be frank, I think I consider myself rather hostile to the whole movement at this point, especially while it continues to maintain people like Stephen Woodford, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, David Silverman, etc, etc, etc.
I also don’t really use Twitter all that much anymore unless I’m sharing links or something. I definitely don’t follow the newsfeed or any of that. I don’t know what’s going on on Twitter unless one of the podcasts I listen to talks about it or one of the blogs I follow says something about it or a tweet shows up in one of the subreddits I follow. I find Twitter weird as a platform for engagement, and honestly do consider it to be quite toxic quite often. So I tend to stay off it.
Because I’m kind of not paying attention to said movement anymore except when yet another cis-het white atheist dude does yet another bigoted thing, and I’m not really on Twitter, I don’t know who a lot of the new players are in it, and that includes this Rachel Oates person. So I wasn’t aware that the Stephen Woodford bullshit was continuing on in this way. I wasn’t aware of any of this.
And I’m sorry. Had I been aware, I would have been out there defending Essence of Thought. The above is not an excuse… I’m honestly mad at myself for not being aware of it… I should have been able to at least signal-boost shit, and I didn’t even do that because I just wasn’t paying attention. Had I been, I would have been out there calling out the transphobic bullshit.
Because let me be clear… Trans Rights are Human Rights, and like PZ, I will not be entertaining a single argument to the contrary. Gender is not a binary; it’s a spectrum. Trans women are women and valid, trans men are men and valid, and all those who are non-binary are valid, as well. Their rights are human rights, their rights are important, and I won’t even engage with arguments claiming otherwise. It is indeed transphobic to question a woman who wants to play with her fellow women in a sport just because she is a trans woman. Essence of Thought has done a brilliant job explaining why in a lengthy playlist, and we won’t be doing that here. We also won’t be discussing sexual attraction and transphobia, either. This blog, like (I hope) all blogs on this network, is explicitly, strongly, and immovably in support of trans people and their right to be treated as equals, to be given the respect they deserve, to be given the health care they deserve, to be gendered correctly, and to not be discriminated against.
I take it as rote, as a given, and if you have a problem with that, you can go complain somewhere else… not here. This is a trans-friendly space, and will continue to be so. I will strive to do better in defending and signal-boosting, as well. If you want me to signal-boost something going on on Twitter, here, my Facebook, and Reddit are all good places to grab my attention, because… as I said… I don’t really use Twitter all that much. Maybe I should use Twitter more often, but the honest truth is that it scares me a little bit…
And with that in mind, please go subscribe to Essence of Thought if you haven’t already; it’s an amazing and informative channel. The videos can be very long, so make sure you have time planned, and maybe make yourself some food and drink, but definitely make that time… you’ll learn a lot there.