The fight for transgender rights is one that has been going on for some time now, through various platforms and sources of media, including twitter. The way twitter is designed we can track a thread of ideas and arguments through hashtags, allowing us to keep up to date with trends. Some of the hashtags that are popular in the transgender rights movement include, #transrights, #protecttranslives, #transisbeautiful, #transawareness, #wejustneedtopee, and #occupotty. These hashtags range from trends of awareness of transgender rights, or lack of those rights, spreading awareness for the violence Trans individuals face daily, reminding one another what transgender beauty is, to fighting bans on restroom usage. There are also trends on twitter meant to oppose transgender rights. One of the most prominent examples of this include the boycotting against Target after their announcement of gender inclusive, Trans inclusive restrooms. The hashtags that oppose transgender rights include, #boycotttarget, #boycottstarbucks, and so on. It was actually more difficult to track other trending hashtags that were anti-trans, because the Trans community on twitter is rather dominant with their message and support.
The major themes circulating twitter about transgender rights are those of empowerment. It is a community of individuals who are using their right to social media to expose a lack of basic rights, create some support, and fight for what the deserve. More specifically, these themes include promoting the idea of Trans beauty by posting about what beauty is and posting images that depict the individual definition. It’s a very empowering theme, especially having the hashtag #transisbeautiful allow for anyone to track that trend and see a flood of beautiful images and words and feel supported. Other themes include protesting protestors and defending the right to be transgender. Through trends of #occupotty and #transrights, there is a protest against the violations of basic human rights, it puts forth the reminder that transgender individuals deserve the same rights as cisgender individuals. Specifically, #occupotty is a protest against those boycotting Target and trying to stop the right for Trans individuals to access the restrooms they identify with.
Some of the major tweets these past few weeks have been highlights the major themes. Tweets from life at school to Pat McCrory have been all over the Twittersphere. People have been sharing instances in which their schools have not provided a Trans safe environment, especially around the restroom issue, others have used this space to provide online support and words of encouragement for individuals who may not feel welcomed back at school, who don’t have the environment to grow in. Pat McCrory has also been a topic of major tweets recently, the Republican Governor from Charlotte, NC has been in the spotlight recently with his public support of HB2. House Bill 2 is a discriminatory law that stops transgender individuals from accessing the restrooms they identify with. Many tweets trending with #transrights and #transawareness discuss McCrory’s roles in their rights.
These tweets and more are shared by thousands, but a handful of specific individuals and accounts, popular on twitter for their work and thoughts have also commented on these topics. Those accounts include, Janet Mock, Dan Savage, Laverne Cox, and TransLawCenter. The issues talked about among these accounts and others involved McCrory and laws that are discriminatory against transgender people, the problem with restroom safety, how education institutes may be lacking in their ability to protect young Trans lives and provide them with proper resources, and discussion and remembrance of lives lost and individuals fighting for their rights.
As for the battle between these opposing sides, transgender rights vs. keeping traditional gender norms, it’s hard to say if there really is a winner. Trends come and go so quickly it can be difficult to track them and see which have the most outreach. Despite that, it appears that those in favor of transgender rights have a larger voice which can be interpreted as winning. This community has even managed to find clever ways to take opposing hashtags and tweets and turn them around to bring attention to their ideas and issues. It’s not a matter of winning, but who has the attention focused where.