Protecting traditional gender roles in 2016 on “new media” is one of the greatest uphill battles I have ever seen. Organizations like the “American Family Association” and YouTubers like Paul Joseph Watson were some of the only people I saw with legitimate followings and semi-legitimate arguments against progression. However, the rest of the argument seems relatively baseless and ignorant. It seems like a lot of people have been made uncomfortable by other people’s lifestyles which can make sense. The only option I can see for the future is increased acceptance of all lifestyles and cultures that are not harmful to other people. This can be seen by the majority control of “new media” by progressive individuals and organizations.
The main stages for the conservative, traditional gender roles movements are on Facebook and YouTube. There is basically no organized presence on Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, or Instagram. And why would there be? The type of person who is denouncing gender progression probably doesn’t much care for the types of topics that populate those other sites. They are out walking the streets and speaking their opinions in to existence. These people go to Thanksgiving with their kids and tell them that they are boycotting Target because of a bathroom issue. These people go to IHOP after church and discuss amongst their like-minded family and friends how disgusted they are by another person’s life decisions. There are multiple posts on Twitter about negative things that have happened in real life If they do, perhaps it could be said that they just wouldn’t have the gall to organize any kind of movement or identity for themselves. There are very few, proud transgender denouncers. The gender argument is usually an aside for some kind of religious philosophy in general. Many people use Christianity as a route to attack many different lifestyles. For the most part, those who feel strongly against something as specific as transgender rights can be seen posting personal videos on YouTube about why transgender people in bathrooms makes them feel uncomfortable or afraid. However, there are some conservative YouTubers like Paul Joseph Watson who have a surprisingly large subscriber bases (over six hundred thousand subscribers). Paul Joseph Watson actually seems like an incredibly decent journalist although I haven’t ever attempted to fact check him. He develops good arguments for his viewpoint and has given me pause to think on multiple occasions. Paul has millions and millions of views on some of his videos and has room to grow as an influential presence on the website. It would be scary to see him partner with an organization like the American Family Association as his content is sometimes quite powerful. However, Facebook groups like the American Family Association are much more based in ignorance than people like him. Religion and fake accounts of bathroom assaults that may or may not involve transgender people are the things that are posted and reposted on Facebook accounts like the AFA and Boycott Target. Accounts like this never gain much active support other than the plethora of older, white country mothers posting comments over and over again about continuing the boycott and protecting their children.
I have heard many ignorant arguments against transgender rights from many different people. The Facebook groups continually post weird unnecessary articles that just include words like “rape,” “bathroom,” and maybe “transgender.” Maybe. Three out of the four articles I read did not involve a transgender person. Most of them didn’t even have anything to do with Target. The Facebook groups have been weak for a long time. The strongest is Breitbart but none of the groups are as focused on trans-hate as they are on furthering their right-wing agenda or “upholding American family values.” It’s crazy.
The ideas that plague the trans-community are comments like, “Transgender is a mental illness.” “These people need help.” All these people want, and all they deserve is equality, the same treatment that everyone else gets. It should be normal to allow someone to use whichever bathroom they feel comfortable using. For locker rooms, it makes perfect sense to create a room for those who can’t feel comfortable around anyone. Especially for public school systems. Private organizations may be slightly different but there are things we can’t forget. This nation once had separate restrooms for different races. This nation once had separate water fountains for different races. After getting past something like that why do we still have an issue allowing people to use the restroom that they are comfortable with? I saw a few comments on YouTube videos that mentioned an inability to use a restroom in public due to fear. Many transgender people really fear for their lives out in the real world. While, trans-hate mongers run wild in comments sections with rude, aggressive comments they can usually be contested by overwhelming support for trans-rights and freedoms. Out in the real world trans-people can be caught alone far too easily. Being a trans-child growing up in public schools is probably one of the most difficult things I can imagine. There really isn’t any single solution to any of the issues that transgender people face but over time I can only imagine society growing more moderate, regarding issues such as this. Eventually, a trans-person will be commonplace in society.
This semester spent monitoring this topic was fairly stressful. Applying the information we’ve discussed about new media uses, to the negative side of the transgender issue has never given me much more that sorrow. The way that people organize through new media has always been true on both sides of an issue. However, it can be so easy to pick and choose certain communities that you want to delve in to and those that you wish to close off to. With my current friend group, I would have such a difficult time finding a large community of homophobes. I’m still surprised when I meet them in person. Being a progressive, young college student in one of the gayest metropolitan cities in America, I have been blessed with a different perspective than many. I see trans-students literally every day walking around living their lives just like I do. They are damn near normal to me now. Gay Pride is surely at an all time high. Every day it seems like there is a new drag show, or a new organization on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some social media supporting gay rights and gay pride. Laverne Cox was a fantastic actress in Orange is the New Black. The only place I can imagine any gay person feeling alone and afraid is outside of America and without the internet. The Digital Divide for the poor, homosexual, trans, and otherwise strange individuals of the world must be incredibly scary. There are probably people out there unaware of what they are feeling and unable to find the knowledge to help them live a happy life. People are literally dying for things they can’t understand. As with almost every problem on this Earth, education is the strongest solution.