Since coming to Georgia State University, I’ve had the idea that we have one of the most diverse campuses in the US. I’d even go so far as to say Atlanta is one of the most diverse cities in the US! However, even with all the different people, opinions and perspectives, I still find myself confined to the same social groups with very similar opinions to mine. There are most likely many social and psychological reasons for this but for the most part I only know progressive young adults. The voices of the anti-progressive movement “Boycott Target” seem to all be from conservative, Christian adults. All of my friends are young atheists and agnostics from middle class backgrounds. For this reason, I have been so shocked to see all of the negative opinions of transgender people and how they live their lives.
I haven’t used Facebook for personal reasons in five years (I am now strictly an Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat type of guy). However, I am now aware that there are quite a few large anti-gay Facebook groups. It makes more sense that they would be on Facebook rather than Twitter considering this community is made up of not only conservative Christians but older, conservative Christians. The Facebook page “Marriage Conservation” has 25,358 likes. This could be the parents, grandparents, cousins, nephews and nieces of the people I call close friends. People who aren’t in my immediate vicinity. I’ve heard stories of that one conservative mom that always posts links to conservative articles on facebook with claims of “LGBT Activists coming for your Children” and “Scientist post 144 page report on” sexuality being a choice (http://www.westernjournalism.com/new-research-finds-no-scientific-evidence-that-people-are-born-gay-or-transgender/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=BoycottTarget&utm_content=2016-08-23&utm_campaign=manualpost).
Sadly, it doesn’t seem like these communities have as much organization as I would like. The Boycott Target page has 6,435 likes and an average of 53 likes per post. That is a large amount of people but for a community that’s supposed to stretch across the country this is disheartening for my blog post but uplifting for my conscience! I’ve seen more unity and well thought out messages in a petition to save an Atlanta skate spot (https://www.change.org/p/save-black-blocks?recruiter=601993940&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition)! There are also a surprising amount of active women posting. Specifically, on Boycott Target’s page there is a woman named Carolyn who has posted a few updates of their progress. However, Carolyn isn’t anti gay, she just doesn’t want trans people to have a choice of bathroom. Bristol Palin has made a post about Target’s diminished sales.
This is actually different than her usually positive posts; I was surprised that she was against the equal bathrooms. There is also a community of moderates in this whole issue. These are people that don’t feel strong enough to support the transgender community but don’t wish to hurt anyone. My father is a part of this community. He often says, “I don’t understand it, it’s not for me, but anyone can do what they want as long as they are not hurting others.” There are also many, many pages supporting LGBT groups. The page “LGBT Culture” has over 99,000 likes which is more than double “Marriage Conservation’s.” I believe the moderates and the proactive transgender rights groups have the majority.
There is also a reasonable number of support for the progressives! People go in to the comments of these ridiculous articles and hate posts and try to break up the opinions. Usually they’re outnumbered. Most people are looking for understanding or to try and disagree with the ridiculous assertions based usually on wild scientist theories or the bible. There are comment feeds full of bible verses interspersed through these pages. I have seen little hope for opposing opinions in these feeds.
After all my research through Facebook I found much more support for protecting Gender Roles than I did on Twitter. My theory for this is the fact that these older, white, christian, conservatives aren’t quite as savvy with the social medias as the young, liberal progressives on Twitter. The boycott on Target continues and the activists keep up some steam on Facebook but in general this has become less of a big issue. The amount of new likes per day on both the positive and negative sides are kind of low. Perhaps, if some new atrocity occurs people will rally to some side but for now the waters are calm.