So first, I hate the words “transphobia” and “transphobe” but let’s save that for a footnote, or better yet another post (we’ll see if I can stop myself from rambling into that territory at the bottom of this). So setting that aside, I have noted that many, many people seem paralyzed with fear at the idea that they might do something which they consider reasonable, or good, or perhaps not good but a minor error which deserves no bad consequence, and despite the not at all truly bad nature of their conduct, end up labeled a “transphobe” or “transphobic”. They often cry out about their “fear” of being called “transphobic”. They positively scream about the injustice of it all:
Someone thought that I’m a transphobe, when really I just hate the idea of being inconvenienced in any way, except for all those ways that I am inconvenienced which I just accept as an unavoidable fact of life, like having to lie to my boss about how that watch is so cool and I wish I had one.
Me? I tend to belittle this fear because I can’t figure out what people are actually losing. Has one architect had to give up designing buildings for a living because of being called a transphobe on the internet once? Or, hey, here’s one that should be easier to find and will relate to the experience of more people than a career in architecture: has one fast food burger flipper ever lost the possibility of working in a burger flipping joint because someone on the internet called them a transphobe once? Does anyone have an example of that happening to even one burger flipper, among all the burger flippers in the world?
I mean, sure, I bet individuals have been fired from specific jobs for being an asshole at work, but not just because one hypersensitive person called them a transphobe once. The people who have lost their jobs were assholes multiple times, were asked by their bosses to knock it off, got chances to correct their behavior, and chose not to do so. That isn’t a matter of telling the truth one time using phrasing that was accidentally insensitive. And, moreover, if you went right back to work in a similar job down the street with people who don’t mind you repeatedly ignoring instructions from your bosses, even that (as a consequence for something much more than just saying an insensitive sentence and getting called a transphobe) isn’t exactly very consequential. Most of us would call it a learning experience. I mean, let’s say that someone did lose a job merely for getting called a transphobe once. What happened next? Did they get another job at the place down the street? Did it end their career? If you’re a qualified burger flipper who got called a transphobe on the internet once, did you really lose your life long dream of flipping burgers and dropping baskets of fries, or was there a burger joint down the street with a help wanted sign that never even asked the interview question you were dreading:
So, I like your experience, but before I hire you to flip burgers, tell me: have you ever once been called a transphobe on the internet by someone?
This really isn’t difficult stuff. People are constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY, saying that they are afraid to speak truth because they might get called a transphobe. But that can’t be it, right? I mean, you could also get called an asshole, or an asshat, or a cretunkulus schnunk. What, specifically, are the consequences of being called a transphobe that are so horrible that people are literally afraid of saying true things on the internet? And if the consequences are so dire, why aren’t there any self help groups available to people who need healing resources but are afraid of people knowing precisely why they need healing resources? A “transphobes anonymous” if you will.
If you’re someone who announces in conversation that you can’t speak your mind lest you get thought of as a transphobic bigot, I have to ask: are you really so seriously afraid of anyone knowing that you were once called a transphobe on the internet that you would hide the fact? And are there any consequences at all serious enough that you might both hide the fact and want help? I’m not talking about forgetting mentioning that you got called a transphobe when someone asks you how your day went. I’m talking about concealing it even though you really want to or need to talk about it. Because, hey, if the consequences are severe enough that no one can know you were called a transphobe on the internet once, maybe someone should give me the contact info for that local chapter of transphobes anonymous. I believe in a just world. If someone is struggling, I want them to get help. So why don’t I know about transphobes anonymous when from all evidence there is a crushing, overwhelming need for help recovering from being called a transphobe on the internet that one time?
Please. I want to create a better world. Tell me of
your homeworld, Usul the struggles of being called a transphobe. Let’s make a serious effort to determine what the consequences are, and what resources people need to recover. This is a desperately serious problem, I know. Let’s solve it together.