i dream of being possible

on the think tank trans fail

I saw a few people mention this on Twitter earlier but figured it was better to stay out. And not for the reason that many people might think. The one dude who was clearly just being a bigotted asshat isn’t my concern. My concern is the people who were trying to help, but just really weren’t.

While, yes, people can easily go and find the thread and figure out who said what, I did anonymize the posts.

Here is one example:

I do know that the person who wrote this wrote it out of ignorance, this is pretty clear from the language. What is also clear from the language is how dehumanized trans women are in this perspective: “I am quite often left confused it was a female or a male and the weirdest thing is they are often very good looking” (emphasis added). ‘It’ is never a good pronoun to use for any human being, but especially cutting when talking about trans women, given how most people tend to think we are inhuman monsters to begin with.


Calling out transmisogyny while mobilizing ableism (see ‘stupid’) doesn’t help anything. At all.

Or how about:

Lol, no. The approach of ‘not sticking your neck out’ in a case clearly about oppression doesn’t fly here. This? Is the absolute opposite of okay. Leaving aside the legal implications of harassment in the workplace, being too lazy and complacent to call out oppression when you see/experience it especially if you aren’t directly impacted by it is participating. Passively, yes, but participating nonetheless. If anyone is wondering about what possible role allies have, this is a perfect case study.

And possibly my least favourite comment (yes, even more than the asshat):

The thing that always troubles me about this sort of reasoning is that not all workplaces and jurisdictions have anti-discrimination protection for trans people. Especially if we are talking about the US. The majority of the country it is still perfectly legal to discriminate (fire, harass, etc.) a trans person for being trans.

Even more importantly, it is a position of privilege that states that we should just consider something like this without ‘emotion.’ Real people are harmed by instances like this and other forms of oppression. Real people. Everyday. In the US over 50% of anti-LGBT violence is directed against trans women of colour (mainly Black and/or Latina trans women). Yes. The majority of violence that impacts lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, and/or trans people is experienced by the tiny minority of Black and/or Latina trans women.1

I’m not going to apologize for my inability to be unemotional. And this is more than simply a matter of ‘policy.’ Oppression is about more than policy and dismantling it more than about adhering to (largely) toothless organizational policies.

Last point, I’m distressed by the number of people professing ignorance in that conversation. As I’ve mentioned before, this was a thread largely involving information professionals of some kind. As far as I’m concerned, this level of ignorance is simply inexcusable for anyone claiming to be an information professional in any capacity. Educating yourself does indeed take time and effort. But given that we are literally trained to know how to find resources and often have better access than your average person, it is beyond me how a librarian can say “I don’t even know what trans women are”.

Really? That is what you are going with?

  1. Going from these 2012 stats, “73.1% of all anti-LGBT homocide victims in 2012 were people of color”, “54% were Black/African American, 15% Latin@”, “53% of anti-LGBTQ homicide victims were transgender women”. Although, don’t be fooled by these strange looking stats. In 2012 all trans homocide victims in the US were trans women of colour – again primarily Black and/or Latina