The road to hell…

The road to hell…

blog post blurred photo(All quotes, unless stated otherwise, are written by Sarah Plake)

A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday. Okay, that part isn’t new or newsworthy, it’s why that matters. Someone on a Kansas City News Facebook page shared an anti-transgender meme that featured her then nine year old child. Even now her child is, just that, a child. She thought about ignoring it but, well, this is her baby. So she called in reinforcements. That’s where I came in.

I very rarely enter the comment section. I joke that’s where the trolls live but, in reality that’s pretty close to the truth. My first foray into the comments years ago was a shock and a half. I’d expected it to be the online version of The Letter to the Editor. Heavily moderated and edited for brevity. What I found was the online version of a drunken college party but with worse grammar. But I do make exceptions on wading in there for friends.

I found the offending comment right away and my friend’s request to please remove her daughter’s photo, stressing that she was just a child. I took this photo hours later, obviously he didn’t care. And that’s why his name has not been edited out of the image. I’ve edited the girl and I’ve removed everyone else’s names. I even removed my friend’s profile picture. But him? Pfft. If he can’t be bothered to remove a child’s photo off the internet, so be it.

blog post retortThe comment was on an article regarding transgender youths and medical procedures regarding them plus transgender athletes. It quickly became obvious that pretty much nobody had a frigging clue what the hell they were talking about. I mean here’s a quote about the bills being proposed in Missouri and Kansas.

“Kansas House Bill 2210 and Missouri House Bill 33 would make it a crime for doctors to perform any gender-reassignment services, procedures or surgeries for transgender children under 18, which includes puberty blockers and hormone therapy.”

Puberty blockers for pete’s sake. They’ve been used for decades to treat precocious puberty. You know, like when a five year old girl starts getting her period or an eight year old boy grows a beard? They are not new or experimental or dangerous or permanent. There is no reason to stop them. Absolutely none.

A Republican, of course, introduced the bill in Kansas to protect children because, in his words, “I don’t think a child would ever think about something like that if their parents or others around them weren’t telling them that they can choose to be the opposite gender. I think this is something that’s just being forced on kids.”

Meanwhile his co-sponsor is only opposed to children being “surgically altered”. She goes on to say that “if a child has a tendency or curiosity, or there is a ‘fad’ to be gay, the child [needs] a parent who is open to conversation with the school, [their] pediatric physician and then an experienced child therapist to work with the child before permanent decisions are made.”

Really? Really??? I mean totally ignoring the whole bizarre “fad to be gay” thing, what did she think happened? Sadly the reality is she doesn’t have a clue. I bet she’s never spoken to a single trans adult or the parent of a trans child let alone a trans child. Neither of them have reached out to a paediatrician or any other doctor who works with transgender youths. I mean that’s all just patently obviously. No one who’d done any amount of research would think children are being “surgically altered”.

blog post commentAnd they’re not the only ones. The more I read, the more I find there’s a whole swathe of people who claim to be fighting against kids transitioning on their behalf. They can’t believe a trans child would know their gender at seven years old; someone must be forcing them to think they’re transgender. Meanwhile they’re just as likely to say that of course their five year old son picked the blue ball, he knows he’s a boy. It’s only the trans kids who don’t know their gender. The cis kids not only are allowed to know it but they have their noses rubbed in it (gender reveal parties anyone?).

And multiple people, like the co-signer, are there wailing about the six and seven year olds getting surgery and how it’s abuse and it needs to be stopped immediately! Umm… it never started to begin with. I have no idea where they come up with this idea but there’s always someone new who’s positive a kindergarten student is going in for gender confirmation surgery.

And the people who just want to be “reasonable” and let trans kids minds have a chance to mature before starting any kind of treatment. Kids and teens change their minds so often and they shouldn’t be allowed to make such life altering decisions at such a young age.

Wait… what??? Teens can join the military and see live action. They can get their driver’s license and take control of a several tonne vehicle which could easily kill themself and/or the people around them. They can take out a massive loan for post secondary education, one that will take decades to pay off, and one which they could end up taking out on a program they ultimately don’t like. They can get married. They can have a baby (or more). They can have a tattoo and/or piercing in a variety of places. They can have sex, which, depending on the person they’re with and the STI they have, can be very life altering. Where the fuck are these people at recruitment centres with their signs reading “Getting blown up is a life altering decision”? Why aren’t they protesting student loans? Especially in the States where they can’t be forgiven no matter what circumstances you’re in. Why aren’t they fighting against child brides? But, no, it’s only against trans people.

I just read a tweet by someone who goes by the name Tamra Bonvillain, which reads, “Not allowing trans teens to go on blockers/hormones is also an irreversible choice”. This is absolutely true and absolutely never mentioned in these bills or in conservative discussions regarding transgender youths. These people are saying they’re trying their hardest to protect the poor innocent children and teens but have never spoken to a single transgender youth. They’ve never thought of the ramifications of their actions. Why not? Maybe it’s because they’re not trying to protect transgender children. They don’t want to believe trans children even exist. They don’t like trans people. They don’t accept trans people. They think of trans people as being horrible and abominations of nature. And there’s no way innocent children could be any of that.

So they claim it’s adults causing it and try to legislate them out of existence. If they’re not having name changes in the classroom, or using the correct washroom, or playing on their proper team… those people don’t have to think about trans children at all. They get total ignorant bliss. Unless they have to notice because a child simply won’t just go away and then it gets ugly. I read one story a year or so ago where a child, a literal prepubescent child, wanted to use the girls washroom. Parents of her classmates got together and she was called such things as “it”, “the thing”, and “half baked maggot”. Fathers were bragging about how it was going to be their son who beat her up. Parents. Of children her own age. How could they tuck their children in at night, kiss their foreheads, and marvel at how young and precious they were while literally referring to another child that same age as insect larva? It just doesn’t make sense.

Or, well it does. They don’t like trans people. They don’t know anyone who’s trans and they don’t want to know anyone who’s trans. Children are innocent and therefore can’t be trans, someone must be forcing them. Unless they prove they really are trans and then it’s fair game to call them a maggot and share their picture in a meme that mocks them. And, well, the kids get ignored until they’re adult and can’t be legislated out of existence anymore. And then they’re mocked and harrassed for looking different and not fitting into gender norms, like they picked the wrong puberty on purpose. And so on and so forth and I’m sick of it and furious.

Friends talk and share stories about health care woes. Of having to teach even the good doctors how to treat them. Of being called “it” and “he-she” by medical professionals. Of having doctors simply refuse to treat them. Of a man who died of ovarian cancer after a three year struggle to find a doctor willing to treat him. A woman hemorrhaging from her leg who was made to walk downstairs to an ambulance, while the attendants mocked her, because they didn’t want to touch her enough to help her onto a stretcher. I even found my own psychiatric intake papers from 2016, shortly after I broke up with my then fiance, stating I had a “recent breakup with a ‘boyfriend’, who was actually a transgender female to male”. She went on to state that the relationship “was perceived to be romantic in nature”. I really doubt she’d have written any of that if Lenny had been a cis male. The psychiatrist literally recoiled when she found out.

For the love of all we hold holy and/or dear can we not just listen to other people, care for other people, and accept other people? Can we stop trying to make decisions for people without finding out what they want and actually need first. Can we accept people as, you know, people instead of othering them in a derogatory fashion? And… this should be complete and utter common sense here… can we please not take the picture(s) of children, make derogatory memes about them, and spread them around the world wide web? It doesn’t cost us a single thing to be kind.

World’s worst whack-a-mole game Part 2…

There’s another hateful meme going around the internet and this time it’s pretending to be a joke. An April Fool’s joke to be exact. I have to admit, transphobes have pretty weird ideas of what constitutes a joke.

transphobic meme

First of all the meme starts with the misunderstanding that mother and father, in all their various forms, has been banned and replaced by the word parent. That comes from a suggestion by the Prime Minister to Service Canada employees to use gender neutral words instead of assuming someone’s gender or until the parent specifies their preference.

For example, the Service Canada employee asks if you are little Sarah’s parent. You say, “Yes I am.” You will continue to be referred to as her parent. If you say, “Yes, I’m her mother” you will be referred to as her mother. No one is saying that Mama and Papa are offensive. They’re simply saying not everyone is a mother or father. Some people really do use the word “parent” to describe themselves. Non-binary people exist.

Then comes the complete and utter foolishness in claiming it shows a lack of common sense to affirm the existence of non-binary people. A lack of common sense would come from the people who look at this world filled with a rainbow of people and say, “Nope, just two genders. I can’t see you.” Talk about burying your head in the sand.

Plus the sign the A&W bear is holding uses the word “peoplekind” which is something I’ve only heard right wingers use since Trudeau said it as a joke, and the misspelling of the word rule. If a Liberal wrote the sign, it would read “humankind rules” or “everyone rules” to include, well, everyone. There’s no point in pretending Liberals are idiots because we patently aren’t. That claim only makes the people saying that look like fools.

And, of course, there’s the burger, made to look as idiotic as possible with trendy implausible ingredients. Ground beef instead of a patty? Quinoa for a bun? If I were making a LGBTQ burger, it would be an amazingly tasty vegan burger with your choice of toppings (like Harveys) with the proceeds going to a LGBTQ charity like Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors program.

What’s patently obvious is this “joke” is sad, transphobic, and juvenile with a burger pulled right off of Pinterest, which wasn’t credited. The people sharing it, unironically, are the dinosaurs of our world, becoming extinct so the next generation can stand up tall and take over. And that generation is the most LGBTQ friendly generation in recorded history. The future is rainbow and full of promise!

World’s worst whack-a-mole game…

I stared, gobsmacked, at the picture on my screen, simply unable to believe my eyes. I thought I’d gotten rid of all the transphobes but apparently she just hadn’t spoken out yet. My sister’s step mother in law had posted this…

asshole post

I wrote a quick reply back saying “that leaves out a lot of people. My ex boyfriend was non-binary for years and went by zie and zir. Those pronouns helped him immensely during those years. Colin used those pronouns as well for two years.

“The prefix Mx also help nonbinary people feel like they have a voice and a space in society. It’s such an easy prefix too, it’s simply pronounced “mix”.

“No one’s trying to remove the more common words from society. We’re simply realizing that there are other people who are hurt by being pushed out of society and into the margins.

“I have several friends who use they/them pronouns and having that option has made such a difference for them. Colin still uses they/them pronouns for people he doesn’t know, simply because he doesn’t want to accidentally hurt anyone.

“Using someone’s correct pronouns and prefix is never foolish.”

I didn’t get a reply from the Facebook friend. The OP of the meme deleted it and blocked me, although he left my shorter comment up. Maybe because it already had replies.

Then I made my own meme, with a rainbow background, in the hopes it would get shared as a rebuttal to the above meme. It did… kind of. The one on my personal page was shared 19 times. I can’t tell if the one on my Because I’m Fabulous page was shared at all. The above meme was shared over 11 thousand times. But isn’t that the way it goes? Hate spreads so much faster than love or kindness.

I’ve written several blog posts where I’ve shared and debunked common arguments against trans people but I have strong doubts that transphobes even read them. Not that I really expected them to, I write them in hopes that someone else might have more information in the battle against transphobia. Some days it feels like I’m playing the world’s worst game of whack a mole. One ignorant person gets whacked down and three more pop up. It’s as if they’re breeding like cockroaches.

Colin got interviewed, via email, today for the Metro UK paper. The reporter wanted his views and feelings on detransitioning. One of the comments he made said he couldn’t transition after he had children because he wouldn’t look 100% like a woman then. I wanted to tell him it wouldn’t matter as long as he was himself. I know he’d be loved by his sister and I but what about the strangers on the street? The prospective employers? Future landlords? How would they treat a 6ft 3in masculine woman? I look at the difference between the shares of my meme and the above meme and don’t feel hopeful. The OP only had that post up for four days when he hit the 11 thousand mark. Mine’s been up for two.

I live in Ontario, the first province in Canada to support and affirm equal marriage. We pride ourselves on being tolerant and accepting. Our local PFLAG has the biggest turnout across the country, which is great for them and stinks for my anxiety. We have protections in place for equal rights to housing and employment, although I’m fully aware that what’s equal on paper isn’t necessarily so in real life. And yet… the step mother in law and the creator of that yellow meme are both Canadians. Acknowledging that makes me feel icky, like I picked up a perfect red apple and a worm crawled out. They’re arguing against my child leading a happy life as himself. They’re arguing against all our trans children, friends, and neighbours. And they think they’re in the right.

I made this meme as a protest against those negative views… against that horrible meme. Please feel free to share it in the hopes that others will see. Maybe it will plant a seed of kindness. Maybe it will plant a seed of hope.

genders and pronouns

A tale of two memes…

11012352_10152913503757284_5204263055572634519_n

This meme is funny.

 

MR4M57d

This one isn’t.

I shared the first meme when I saw it on Facebook. I wrote an angry message and deleted the poster when I saw the second. We’d been online friends for seventeen years.

Two completely different reactions for two almost identical memes… except they’re not.

I’m sure everyone remembers the black and blue/white and gold dress from February. If you’ve got an internet connection, you’ve seen it. It’s the dress that took over the world (for a few days at least). I’m pretty sure there were people living under rocks saying, “but it’s blue and black”. I thought the meme was hilarious because it was the colour I saw the dress. Jeremy, who was firmly in the blue and black camp, thought it was funny too. It seemed totally random who saw which colours, which meant both sides were equal.

The second meme is layers of wrong wrapped in three short words. It translates to “if Bruce is so dense to think he’s a woman, he must think this dog is a cat”. There’s no equality here, just a group of people pointing their fingers at her and proclaiming her not only wrong but stupid and destroying society to boot. If you thought it was funny before, do you still think it’s funny now?

She is a woman. Biology is a lot more complicated than XX and XY chromosomes. Not only do people have all sorts of chromosomal variations but I read an article yesterday about people in an isolated village in the Dominican Republic who appear female at birth only to have their penis and testes appear at puberty. And, of course, there’s the brain scans which actually show the differences between cis men and trans women (and cis women and trans men). The people who argue that biology proves she’s “Bruce” are ignoring a heck of a lot of biology.

Also, her name is not Bruce. This should be obvious. People change their names all the time without anyone making a huge deal about it. They go by a nickname for years and decide to switch to their full name, or vice versa. My uncle has gone by his middle name since the day he was born; it’s the name he uses for everything. As far as I know, no one’s complained about it yet. My great-grandmother found out as a senior citizen that her father couldn’t spell her chosen name of Margaret and wrote the nickname Maggie down instead. My great-grandmother was so not a Maggie. That didn’t make her any less Margaret. I’ve met people who changed their birth name simply because they never liked it.

If your neighbour came up to you and said, “I have always hated my name. I don’t feel like a Eunice, it doesn’t suit me. I’m changing my name to Sarah.” what would your reaction be? Would you say, “No, don’t be foolish. Your name is Eunice on your birth certificate so that’s what you’ll always be” or would you say, “Sarah’s a nice name, of course I’ll call you that”? It should be the latter for her and the same for Caitlyn. It doesn’t matter why the name doesn’t suit someone; you call them by the name they chose.

And quite frankly that poor dog is too cute to be caught up in such a hateful meme.