Since joining Tumblr, I’ve met a lot of young queer people. Look, I’m a bisexual man in a gay relationship, and I’m approaching 30. I was still a kid when Matthew Shepard’s story was being covered on the news. I remember thinking, “I better keep my mouth shut about these feelings I’m having.”
And then I met Dominic when I was 12, and people could see how in love we were. And we got the shit beat out of us. The year I met him, some kids in the grade above me held me down against the bleachers in our gym and stomped on my hand until my fingers broke. Instead of sending me to the nurse, the teacher sent me to the assistant principal to explain the situation. She asked why the kids had beat me up. I said, “They were calling me gay.”
Her response was, “Well, are you?”
My, “I don’t know,” earned a call to my parents, and I was outed. Efforts were made to keep me from seeing Dom. Throughout high school, Dom’s stepmother intensified these efforts. He slept in the basement of the house. Although he was an incredibly talented student, he was prohibited from participating in any extracurriculars. He suffered a lot of physical abuse during those years.
The day he turned 18, he packed up everything he had and walked to my house, and we’ve lived together ever since. Things are better, but they’re not perfect. I’ve had trucks pull up next to me at stoplights and, seeing the pride sticker on my car, through old drinks and garbage into my window. I no longer speak to my dad’s side of the family. I haven’t been to see them for Christmas or Thanksgiving in years. One of my uncles had cornered me at Thanksgiving when I was 17 and said, “I’m not going to judge you, but I’d be happy to break your neck so God can do the judging a little sooner.”
I joined a support group for trans and intersex people. When I joined, 40 people attended regularly. Within the year, the group was half the size it had been. Some couldn’t make it anymore, because they were staying at the shelter, where their stay hinged on them agreeing to instead to attend homophobic sermons. Some were put in correctional therapy. Five of them died. Three of those, I didn’t know, but I knew Alex, the 19 year old who was fag-dragged in Kentucky and died a day later in the hospital, and I knew Stephanie, who went home to Alabama to care for her mom in hospice and was beaten to death with a baseball bat by her mom’s boyfriend.
Tumblr is not reality. The dynamic here does not reflect the dynamic out there. Here’s the part where I finally make a point, and it might be extremely unpopular – but guys, value your allies. Value each other. We are met with enough hate in our daily lives to enter an online safe-space and meet more hate from our own, over petty things. Don’t go after one another over every little thing you find problematic.
Learn to see nuance. Maybe the word “queer” bothers you, and you see a gay man using it as an umbrella term. Maybe someone called a trans man a trans woman because they’re confused about terminology, but the post where they did it was voicing support for the trans community. Maybe someone is just asking a question, wanting to learn more. Stop. Attacking. These. People.
Allies are being driven away. Members of our own community are being ostracized. Others are feeling nervous and estranged, and it’s largely because of places like Tumblr, where the social justice movement is quickly becoming violent and radical. I am begging you, stop nitpicking “problematic” things and start directing your efforts to create real change. When it comes to comes to your allies, forget the “social justice warrior” mentality and put down your torch. Educate calmly. Be respectful. Be understanding. Be forgiving. And I’m certainly not saying that your anger doesn’t have a good place – when you are met with bigots on the street, congress members who want to pass hateful laws, violent protesters, abusive parents, prejudiced teachers, that is when you need to be a warrior. That’s when it counts. In the real world. When you have the opportunity to protect people from real harm. Attacking your would-be allies via anonymous asks is just going to lose us ground in the long run. And we don’t have time for that, not when trans women of color are being murdered every day, not when states are still fighting against marriage equality, not when there are politicians in office who believe that trans people are possessed by demons, not when we’ve just lost 50 brothers and sisters to one gunman, not when the media won’t even admit that the attack was homophobic.
Please step back. Look at the big picture. Look at where we are, globally. Don’t just log on to your safe space and attack your allies over small missteps. That’s like washing the dishes in a house that’s on fire, kids. Let’s fight on the battlefield, and when we come home to each other, let’s just focus on bandaging up our wounds so we can go out and win the war.
Signal boost to this unbelievably important message.
Thank you for this.
Allies are being driven away. Members of our own community are being ostracized. Others are feeling nervous and estranged, and it’s largely because of places like Tumblr, where the social justice movement is quickly becoming violent and radical. I am begging you, stop nitpicking “problematic” things and start directing your efforts to create real change. When it comes to comes to your allies, forget the “social justice warrior” mentality and put down your torch. Educate calmly. Be respectful. Be understanding. Be forgiving.
Sanders supporters, believing they had been treated unfairly, rushed the stage, threw chairs and were shouting obscenities, according to veteran Nevada journalist Jon Ralston. Even after the convention concluded, many refused to leave and had to be escorted out by security.
Since then, Lange, the Nevada Democratic chairwoman, said she’s been receiving threats from Sanders supporters.
“It’s been vile,” she told the New York Times. “It’s been threatening messages, threatening my family, threatening my life, threatening my grandchild.”
Hey, Sanders supporters? Specifically the minority of you who are doing this kind of thing (I fully realize that most of you are capable of not acting like crazed Trump supporters) — stop.
Seriously. This is not helping your candidate. Yelling and berating people on the internet who you think are supporting Clinton is not helping your candidate. Yelling at people in real life, threatening people for supporting candidates other than yours is absoutely not helping your candidate. What it does is make people like me, who loved the idea of a Sanders candidacy from the very moment it was announced, start to creep towards being a Clinton supporter because they don’t want to be associated with this kind of behavior.
This just makes people think that Sanders is the Trump of the left, and I don’t mean in the sense of him being anti-establishment. I mean in the sense of people thinking his supporters are a threat, that this is the sort of behavior he condones (I know Bernie does not condone this behavior — he said so himself).
Also, I’ve heard more than a few Bernie supporters saying they’ll support Trump if it comes down to a Clinton-Trump race. To which I say, look at Sanders’ positions. Look at Clinton’s. Look at Trump’s. Which one is closer to Sanders? I guarantee you, it’s not the tiny-handed guy with the orange hair and complexion.
I’ve been reading about this all day and it’s infuriating. There’s been a problem of harassment and threats from a certain wing of the Sanders crowd for a while, and it just seems to be getting worse. There’s something incredibly depressing about how predictable the threats and misogynistic insults are, and how predictable the responses by commenters saying hey, really she deserves all these death threats and implications that people are going to hurt her grandkids because they don’t agree with how she called a voice vote, and that probably this is just HRC supporters pretending to be angry Bernie supporters in order to make themselves look like victims. Because we all know that there are never real cases of harassment and slurs and death threats, especially not against women.
But you know what else makes me mad? The absolutely anemic response from Sen. Sanders himself. A candidate isn’t responsible for everything his or her supporters do, but that candidate does control the tone they set and how they respond. I went to go look up his full response because I though maybe the articles I was reading were taking his quotes of context. You can find it here, and see that it actually begins by saying that people are rightfully angry, and the DNC actually needs to change its ways. So that’s the tone. Here’s the bit where he actually addresses the threats and harassment (bolding mine):
“Within the last few days there have been a number of criticisms made
against my campaign organization. Party leaders in Nevada, for example,
claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence.’ That is
nonsense. Our campaign has held giant rallies all across this country,
including in high-crime areas, and there have been zero reports of
violence. Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it
goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence,
including the personal harassment of individuals. But, when we speak of
violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign,
shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada and apartment
housing complex my campaign staff lived in was broken into and
So in short: Of course we condemn violence, not that there’s any going on, and actually we’re the real victims of violence! And whatever happened is your fault anyway! There’s one line about condemning non-specific violence embedded in an otherwise angry and defensive statement.
You know what? When people on your team are sending threats against someone’s grandchildren and calling her “cunt” and “bitch” and telling her they want to see her publicly executed you don’t get to take umbrage at the details of how voice votes are counted or whether there were proper parking accommodations until after you’ve engaged with that fact and tried to make it right. That fact doesn’t get to be an afterthought in your response. Let’s talk about the process and how messy and ridiculous caucuses are in general, and details of delegate registration! Process matters and we should all know more about it then collectively we do, and we should engage with how to make it work better. But if that’s what you think is the most important thing to address here, then you need to take a cold hard look at your priorities.
…sorry for posting this rant all over your very reasonable post, bobcatmoran. Please address all hate mail to me, not her etc.