Transgender people face many different types of discrimination and problems in life. The most common issue seems to be the public’s misunderstanding of many different concepts. Honestly, I would struggle to explain the nuances of a person’s physical, mental, and philosophical identity, but the best advice I can offer for someone truly making an attempt to understand, is to just listen to what people say. I met a nice trans-girl in my freshman year and she hadn’t undergone any operations or anything but she asked to be labeled as a girl and there was no more discussion from me. Sexuality, gender, categorization in general can be difficult when you think about it as deep as it can go but keeping an open mind can lead to many realizations. There are so many different people in the world and all of them are born with certain rights and all of them deserve a few common courtesies. Some people believe that their opinions are greater than others. That they can just ignore certain uncommon parts of society. Transgender people exist. They have rights. They should be recognized. This post will discuss the presence of transphobic people on the internet, specifically the social media app Twitter.
Twitter has so many users right now (313 million). That’s something like the population of America. We all know with every person comes a plethora of opinions. The opinion being discussed here is for the rights of transgender human beings in America. One popular hashtag on twitter is #boycotttarget. This follows the news that Target believes that transgender people should be able to use the bathroom that they so choose. Many people, have taken this to mean that Target, the corporation, has put out an open invitation for pedophiles and other sexual miscreants to frequent their stores and prey on innocent boys and girls. There are many people who have made the choice to publicly boycott Target in an attempt to change this bathroom situation.
So far the internet presence of the boycotters seems pretty solid. There are at least two strong accounts posting semi-frequently: @americanfamassc and @flushtarget. American Family Association has over 11k followers and posts regularly and multiple hot topics. Most recently has been the issue of athletes refusing to stand during the national anthem and the boycott on Target. These accounts are actually so ridiculously closeminded that at first glance one could believe that they are troll accounts made to insight rage in the average human being. However, after scrolling through dozens of posts I have come to believe that these are real opinions shared by too many American people. @Flushtarget has posted dozens of cases of sexual assault in the last few months and a few of them don’t even have anything to do with target. It seems like someone just googled the words “rape” and “bathroom” and posted them on a website (www.flushtarget.com). The stories and images were pretty upsetting and accomplished their assumed goal of provoking outrage from the reader. The major hashtags looked like #boycotttarget #flushtarget #boycottstarbucks and in some cases #religiousfreedom and #freedomofspeech. There didn’t seem to be much organization on social media though.
Though the transphobic, hyper-religious patrons of Twitter seemed far too plentiful I was pleasantly reassured that the internet is full of progressive thinking young people when I searched the words “gender roles.” I was greeted by dozens of posts about people ignoring the societal constructs surrounding the gender of our fellow human beings. Highlights include: https://twitter.com/tvshowshawn/status/773945402404040704, https://twitter.com/MattWalshBlog/status/773146948832468992, https://twitter.com/harinef/status/772939917936758784. Personally, I think it’d be a great idea to have a guy play The Little Mermaid but we’d also have to find a way to get a female Pinocchio or maybe a female Peter Pan! Most of the posts by the advocates of transgender rights and other progressive ideas had much more support on Twitter. Hundreds of likes, Hundreds of retweets.
In general the survey of Twitter revealed very little organization in the transphobic community other than a rally around the bible and a couple larger accounts posting large quantities of aggravatingly negative content. There are some people who believe in protecting gender roles but none of them seemed too aggressive about the idea. Of course there were infrequent stories of violence and harassment against trans-people but the community on Twitter was quite simple and nonviolent. These issues have to stay at the forefront of our attention if we hope to educate the masses and get equal treatment of all our American citizens. Eventually, we should be able to educate the world on matters like this.