I’ve had this ceaseless sense of guilt for the last several months. But before I get into that, I’m going to talk about myself a little bit.
“I’m problematic, baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” is a phrase I use on my Twitter bio. It originally began as a sort-of ironic nod to the fact that I’m on a bunch of blocklists because the games industry is transphobic as fuck. Then, over time, I realized that hey, I actually am pretty problematic. I’m constantly going on about forced-feminization. I reclaim all the trans slurs on a routine basis. I make attack helicopter jokes (ironically). I say stupid shit like “Traps Are Gay LOL.” I main Poison in Street Fighter 4. You know, all the really bad tranny shit you’re not really supposed to do. Anything that makes shitty people uncomfortable is my jam.
And I like other trans women who have since stopped giving a fuck. Within reason, of course; not interested in people being racist or some shit. This is a world that hates us even when we’re unfailingly nice and do everything they want, you might as well be ironic and problematic and reclaim all the horrid shit thrown your way and try to have some damn fun. And when these women are inevitably targeted because they don’t subscribe to the concept of “Respectibility Politics” or some other stupid cis bullshit, they have my support.
At least, that’s what I would like to say.
See, if there’s one thing I’ve learned lo these many years being in this community, it is that we are super fucking quick to eat our own. Sometimes there’s a good reason, like maybe someone turned out to be a rapist, and there’s actual evidence for it beyond the usual “Kiwi Farms is bored” or “Someone Is Mad About Video Games” fare. But the other 99% of the time, we just jump on one another over incredibly stupid shit that wouldn’t fly in even the worst pro wrestling booking meeting. And, as someone who has been the subject of the dreaded Whisper Campaign, and is friends with multiple other T-Girls who have also had to deal with that, it fucking sucks dude. You go to bed one night, then wake up the next morning and everyone hates you. That ain’t no kind of way to live. And as such, I should know better than to take part in one against someone else. But I fucked up, because I’m an idiot, and did exactly that.
I bought into the whole thing about Contrapoints being a nazi sympathizer. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry, because I barely do. She’s a “Youtuber,” a subculture I know fuck-all about; I go on Youtube to watch old wrestling and listen to Vinny Vinesauce make funny voices. And there was something about her doing a live debate against some anti-trans figures at an event for a conservative group. I didn’t catch the whole thing, but that didn’t stop me from getting mad anyway.
Here’s the thing: my friends and I, we never got much support when our social circles started to close. When big, notable voices in the games industry accused us of all kinds of heinous shit after drumming up some fake outrage over an article written by a cis woman, the only support we got was in private. When actual trans activists kowtowed to these big names, throwing us under the bus to save their own skin, again, silence. It left me bitter as fuck and with some severe trust issues that last even now. Contra (I don’t even know her real name, if you want to understand just how detached this sort of thing can be) meanwhile, got tons of support over what was apparently a big fuck up on her part, in an attempt to counter a bunch of harassment sent her way. Now, when you’re mad, and you’re only getting half of a story, it doesn’t matter. All I’m seeing is yet another big-time trans woman with a platform hanging out with Blaire White and Jesse Singal getting defended left and right, while I’m still here, twisting in the wind, looked at by everyone like I have a contagious disease. I started seeing red. I was pissed, jealous, resentful. “What makes her so much fucking better than me!?” Where was this reaction when I was under fire and getting cut out of queer spaces and getting 20 page threads on the Chris-chan website talking about how I should kill myself? She’s the one fucking up, and I’m getting blacklisted for shit I didn’t even do! And, like an adult, I took it out on her, and not, you know, culture at large.
I felt justified in contributing to a campaign to unperson someone. I cared more about the dopamine hit I got getting some anger out of my system than I did in trying to sympathize and remember how fucked up it was when it was my head on the chopping block. And, while I can’t say for sure if what she did was actually so bad, as I didn’t pay much attention, I can at least say she’s not a nazi. And that’s what’s been killing me. I’ve been reveling in my own status of “problematic” as a coping mechanism, and then denying someone else the opportunity to do the same. It’s hypocritical; yeah, I can be a trolling dickhead posting screenshots of Choplifter on the Sega Master System and saying “finally, some transgender representation in video games,” but you can’t be offensive. You can’t make an error in judgement, learn and grow as a person. I can, but you can’t! Either you emerge from Zeus’ head with perfect politics or you deserve to die. But I don’t have to. I can bury all the fucked up shit I said six years ago in my Tumblr archive and go about my business and everyone else can fuck off.
I apologized to her privately months ago, and even made a blog post admitting I was wrong for accusing her of being a “fascist collaborator” before I purged all my posts. But that guilt’s still been sticking with me. Which is why I’m making this post now: as a reminder to myself of how easy it is to give in to a hate campaign. To deny someone their humanity the same way I was. It was fucked up and wrong of me to do, especially in this world where trans bodies are so easily disposable. I need to be better. To not succumb to bitterness and trauma and inflict that same abuse on others. Sorry everyone.