Last month, I had an interaction on Facebook that really could have gone only two ways. Considering I’m writing about it, I’m sure you recognize that it wasn’t the best conversation. It was indeed interesting and well, to say the least, entertaining. One thing I learned was that I need to get into the practice of making screen shots. My paraphrasing won’t do the posting exchange justice. As you read this, please, know that I never approached this situation with a negative spirit. I was not offended by the post, nor did I get angry with the exchange. I was truly engaging in a way to educate. It wasn’t appreciated. The highlight though was watching the posters show their asses.
It started with this post Okay, fine. Then someone responded with ‘angels don’t have gender’ and a gif that showed some kind of being lowering clothing from the waist down to reveal the lack of any genitals like a Ken or Barbie doll. So I posted, ‘Maybe you mean angels don’t have genitals.’ I was just going off of the responding gif. Well, that hit a nerve for the poster. His response hit my nerves.
His reply to me was. Me bouncing on his nerve…‘It’s a joke. It wasn’t meant to be seen through a SJW lens.’ (I had to google SJW-social justice warrior) ‘It’s a joke, just laugh.’ Man jumps on my nerve. 1st, since when is a SJW lens put to rest? Oh, yeah, with those who have the privilege to put the lens away, white people. 2nd, don’t tell me what to laugh at. I’m not going to sit back and let you laugh at me at my expense. 3rd, why couldn’t he just learn something new and move on.
I reminded him that I was only addressing the issue of gender not being equal to genitals. Nope, he needed to continue on about how people have different senses of humor and someone did, in fact, like his statement. He seemed very proud of that. I told him, good for you, but it doesn’t change facts. I also mentioned that as everyone might have different senses of humor the real difference is the feeling of having to explain and defend one’s sense of humor. It already admits that there is something wrong with it. I gave it the name of whitemansplaining. He comes back saying I called him a racist. I let him know that if it was just a joke, all he had to do was say so and keep it moving. I never called him a racist. How is calling a white person white calling them racist? White people, you need to unpack that on your own.
Enter, all knowing white woman standing by her man. I don’t know if they were together, but obviously of the same camp. ‘Political correctness is killing comedy.’ She equated my correction to being like an adamant vegan trying to convert meat eaters. I was told I was bad for the movement. She continued on to say that ‘obviously gender and genitals are the same. Why do we say sex change? Transgender people have sex changes.’ This is really where I wish I had taken screen shots.
This woman was so sure that she was going to school a trans person on what it meant to be trans. She repeatedly said, ‘transgender by definition is…’ How are you going to define me? How are you going to attempt to define a community of people as diverse as the whole human race?
All that was coming out of the keyboard led me to believe that this person doesn’t even know a transperson or our stories. Supposedly she does, as she mentioned an uncle married to a transperson, and she remained adamant about how transpeople are. Because if you heard one of our stories you’ve heard them all, not. I mentioned the fact that she was white and again I get the, ‘you’re calling me a racist.’ I responded with, “It’s always white people who hate being called white.’ When I say white people I don’t mean racist. I will just say racist. But let’s face some facts, white perception and movement in the world is not a boilerplate of what happens to others. Once white people recognize that the world isn’t how they see it they will always have a problem being called white people.
It became a little more entertaining was once she wanted to address my statement of cognitive dissonance. So, after mentioning some truth of her being white and claiming I called her a racist I gently reminded her that I never called her racist. She came back with, ‘Great diversionary tactic. How Trump.’ Then she continues to admit that she cannot grasp how gender weren’t equal to genitals. ….”I cannot reconcile that genitals don’t dictate gender, because it does.’ The rest of the conversation she repeatedly used the wrong terms as if she was using the wrong gender pronouns with me on purpose to be insulting. Very Trumpian, indeed.
Again, I was called bad for the movement. Why? Because I called you out on your errors. Because I made you feel uncomfortable in not knowing? That’s the point of a movement. This person called themselves an ally, but refused to listen to someone she says she aligns with. How is that suppose to work? So, I found that once you make comments you can visit their profiles. I watched her wall as she made comments about the exchange we were having. At least I know they weren’t walking away from the interaction without questioning themselves.
1. So called allies need more information. You need to speak to your transgender friends about their experience. Collect a few stories, see how the stories are different and the same. A lot of things are parallel in our experiences. At the same time, a lot of things are different, by choice or even circumstances.
2. White people really have a problem being corrected. You know that joke could have continued to be funny if all that ‘splaining didn’t happen. Obviously, I didn’t get the joke. My correction had them in their emotions. Those emotions, which are good, were indeed informing the posters they were wrong and they couldn’t save face.
3. I’m okay with pissing people off. It’s difficult when communicating through electronics. No one can truly understand the other person or the tone intended. Knowing that, I thought I did well to stick to the facts. I held my ground and the other side didn’t like how I held true to my side. I’m also not going to let anyone tell me who I or my friends are and how we should feel about ourselves.
4. White people need to shut up. They always want to speak on other people’s experiences and they can’t even recognize their own in this world. Ignorance isn’t funny. Listen and learn. If what you’re learning changes how you feel about what you say or post that look into that feeling. Examine it.
6. It’s okay to be wrong. Just learn from it.
Now I’m not sure how the other two peoople walked away from the posting session. I’m satisfied with speaking up. I’m satisfied seeing white ass cheeks of ignorance in the wind. But if they learned anything or felt anything with that exchange then they are good people. If they just ended the exchange thinking I’m an asshole trans guy then so be it.