I am a trans woman, and a feminist. I want freedom for people to be who we are, our best selves. This means women safe from male violence, and space for trans people to flourish.
Some feminists are campaigning against trans recognition, encouraged by Rupert Murdoch and Liz Truss. If the campaign succeeds, it will entrench gender stereotypes and the demonisation of minorities, both right wing goals, and in the meantime it causes dissention on the left.
What value have comments, at their best?
Or, they can add useful details at the end of a post.
Comments praising my writing are always welcome.
Sometimes, a person’s comments are merely repetitive. After this, I produced my comment rule, “Don’t bore me”. The rule is, if you are saying the same thing over and over again, eventually I will start deleting.
Comments can be damaging, as well. I permit anti-trans comments here. I worry that they will set off trans folks’ internalised transphobia, or make trans folk more afraid than they need be of the transphobia and violence of the wider community. But, there is a lot of transphobia on my blog: you have to discuss it to end it. I hope that my trans readers will not be too hurt by this blog, though I notice how trans people share transphobic content in trans groups. We are discussing it, but we are letting it poison us too.
I hope my discussion of transphobia serves a useful purpose- showing how it is transphobic, showing how to counter it. Also I want to foster a dialogue. I want the wonderful energy of the anti-trans campaigners to be directed to feminist causes, in the interests of cis women and giving a space to trans women; and I want them to see trans men as people capable of knowing themselves and making their own choices, not silly women who don’t know their own minds.
Sometimes, keeping anti-trans comments shows their pathology: this comment is disgusting. I edited it to point up how disgusting it is. I left Mark’s words as he had written, in the first comment, but added my introduction, clearly marked: when I edit comments, it is clear what are my words and what the commenter’s. When he replied, I deleted some of his protests. I have a right to do this, because this is my blog. He had shown how disgusting he is, and there was no point in more verbiage just showing the same thing.
Sometimes comments put an anti-trans point of view. Nicola has stated her suffering and what she blames. I allow that. There might be the possibility of dialogue, and growing trust.
If there is to be dialogue, there has to be trust. My editing or deleting comments might reduce trust. I have a feeling that courtesy may be of value, especially between opponents, but can’t put a rule into words. “Don’t be an arse,” perhaps. Wikipedia has a lot of wisdom about communicating well, but it also has the common purpose of producing an encyclopaedia, and anything which does not serve that purpose may be deleted. Commenters here may have all sorts of purposes.
I am not particularly interested in long arguments showing I am bad. Don’t call me an idiot, a hypocrite, discourteous or arrogant, not even if you quote me to prove this to your own satisfaction. Sometimes I leave it, sometimes I don’t.
I enforce rules more stringently on cis men than on others. Cis white males are privileged. Gender critical women commenting are disprivileged, and I feel their speaking up for themselves as they see it helps overcome that, even though they are speaking up against my rights as a trans woman. Their cis male allies are privileged. They seek to be allies of cis women, and that shows they are aware of their privilege and trying in some way to compensate for it, but they need to learn more about the way their privilege is oppressive. When they attempt to be allies, it’s all about them, and it makes them feel justified in bullying trans people- that is, enforcing their privilege on another disadvantaged group.
This blog is part of the liberation struggle of disadvantaged groups. Comments which would frustrate that aim may be edited and mocked. My decision is final.
I also share art. Now, I am sharing portraits of Elizabeth I.