Something I likely don’t have to tell you is that being trans on the internet is wild. We are constantly attacked at random, with debates about our existence sparking up wherever we are mentioned. I’ve seen transphobic discourse pop up in meme groups, in comments sections, in live video feeds, and basically… everywhere. All it takes for people to be transphobic is to see mention of a trans person or to perceive that someone is trans. However, even where we aren’t mentioned, discourse can pop up over a “manly” or muscular woman, effeminate men, and can even manifest from absolutely nothing at all. It takes little to turn a casual online discussion into a volatile argument and debate over the existence of trans people.
It’s inescapable. Transphobia and trans-antagonism are hard-baked into our society, and avoiding microaggressive or even macroaggressive online spaces can be nigh impossible. When we do advocate for ourselves, we are frequently piled on, misgendered, and bullied out of online spaces. When cis people advocate for us, it can turn nasty real quick, with anti-trans rhetoric being spewed forth from bigots with no fear for social repercussions. Why? Because, more often than not, there are no repercussions for being transphobic. Even in spaces where most forms of bigotry aren’t tolerated, transphobia and trans-antagonism are allowed, sometimes used as “teaching moments” to the detriment of trans people who are quietly watching.
The fact is, being trans (particularly if you are closeted, stealth, or experience cis-assuming privilege) means you will see people casually debate your existence as if you aren’t in the room. We can’t just exist in peace. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across a live stream of a trans person just existing only to have the comments flooded with people asking about their genitals, misgendering them, or commenting on their appearance. Being trans and following other trans people online comes with the unfortunate reality that, however much you try to avoid it, our online spaces will be invaded by emboldened bigots who wish us harm. A trans person can’t just live stream their video gaming in peace because bigots simply don’t like it when we get too comfortable.
In my own writings here on Medium, transphobes pop up often and expect me to debate them. The topics I cover are…