Roots: Banned

“If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.”

Aldous Huxley

I’ve been permanently banned from Twitter.

Why?

Because I dared to say something true in a conversation on trans ethics.

I was called transphobic for saying that I am transsexual and that as a transsexual, I live in a liminal state of being, where I’m no longer considered what you would call a man but am not expressly female either. I explained there are differences between myself and people who are female that I find value in celebrating for the betterment of both groups.

Following the accusation of transphobia, I responded with the following:

“It isn’t transphobic. It’s just facts of life. Sex is immutable in spite of the fact many sex characteristics are mutable and we do change them. It doesn’t erase our differences or make us actually female.”

And as you can see, this is what I was banned for.

This.

The truth… How dare I..?

Twitter never has been the bastion of free speech, but with this, I think it’s time we face the fact that Twitter’s misgendering policy has gone too far.

Let me make myself perfectly clear. I don’t support harassing trans people with misgendering or deadnaming. Transwomen are transwomen, not men. Transmen are transmen, not women. We are what we are, not what your ideology insists we are. To demand otherwise is to deny reality. We undergo rites of passage to become transmen and transwomen. Not only do we have to come out, but we change our names, lifestyles, bodies, etc. Our entire mode of being changes from one state to another and we transform, like caterpillars into butterflies.

You’d not insist a butterfly is a caterpillar after their metamorphosis. Why would you insist a transman is a woman after his? I get why you’d not want to call him a man, but a transman??

You gain nothing from calling him a woman, and you risk causing traumatic distress in the individual. What is the point? It’s simply rude and cruel to deny anyone their personhood.

That said, we also need to be willing and able to acknowledge the full depth and breadth of our own personhood and all the difference and nuance that comes along with it.

Many are not willing, and I understand why. For binary transsexuals, the goal of transition is invariably to become the opposite sex, but we simply can’t. That’s an inescapable burden for us. Current technology and scientific understanding doesn’t allow complete mutability of human biology. Even so, it can be psychologically gratifying to be understood as a man/woman rather than a transman/transwoman and I completely understand why any trans person would insist they are simply a man or a woman when in fact they are a transman or transwoman.

That much is fine in my view, but to be unwilling to acknowledge our differences to the point it becomes detrimental to others and we begin engaging with the cognitive fallacy of change, it’s time to re-evaluate.

We are well-past the point of re-evaluation. Allies are turning against us because they’re being called bigots for realistically and rationally opining about trans people and issues centered around us.

These conversations are so difficult and nuanced, and it’s never easy to have them, but they are so healthy when they can be had, especially when common ground can be found and agreement/understanding can be built between concerned parties. Concerns tend to build up and ferment in our hearts when left unaddressed, where they turn to anger, hate, and bigotry. Rational debate is a powerful way for human beings to come together, lay those concerns on the table, and work to address them. To deny it is a disservice to ourselves.

…But denying it is now all we’re allowed to do, according to Twitter.

Bigotry has taken the next logical step into fascism in social media. Our concerns have fermented for so long that they’ve now become this. Not only are many still unwilling to acknowledge the nuance of our complex realities, we’re no longer allowed to talk about it. True facts about myself and people like me are now being viewed as hate speech and we are being banned if we dare speak the truth.

I’m not the first trans person this has happened to, nor will I be the last, and as prevalent as our suffering in this is, it pales in comparison to the suffering of women whose hearts are filled to the brim with unaddressed concerns that are going to continue to ferment. If these trends continue, we’re heading toward a bleak future of subjugation. Either a rightfully angry public will turn on us and try to squash us out of society, or we will become the dictators ourselves. We mustn’t allow either outcome.

Twitter needs to re-evaluate this policy and take measures that will allow people the freedom of speech necessary to have these difficult discussions. It’s certainly possible to do this whilst still protecting trans people from harassment and defamation. All it takes is human moderation. As it stands, our behavior is being governed by algorithms.

If Twitter won’t change its policy, we find a new platform, but no matter what, the discourse must go on.

Cipher

go about your business–

there’s nothing to see here–

just a girl in a corner

looking for words–

words to teach of a new way

to see– and define things for

what they truly may be–

 

she’s so close to

meaning

but so far away–

maybe she’ll find it

some sane day

when she takes the time

to find the right rhyme

and the rest of the song

falls into place

 

but the rhyme doesn’t

matter– it only gets in the way

of the rest of the message

she’s grasping to say– to you–

you who she already told

to just go away–

watch some television

or some other thing–

get on Facebook–

look up some porn–

whatever you do

when you find yourself bored–

that’s what life’s about

for you– nothing greater–

nothing more

 

what have you done

to learn how to know

what’s happening– here and now–

what do you know about

the girl in the corner–

who’s writing these lies

about you down– nothing–

nothing, nothing she’d say–

there’s nothing to see here–

just go away

 

[Originally written, 2008]