The trans person was too angry on Facebook

Jani here.

Just had a long term supporter of The Art House say he’s not supporting us any more because I was visibly angry at a TERF on one of our posts a few days back (and I was angry, very). Here is my reply, I doubt it will make any difference to him but maybe it will reach somebody else out there who is having some kind of feels about angry trans people:

I can understand how you feel but please take a moment to reflect that transphobia directly impacts two of our directors and many, many of our staff and volunteers. It is unreasonable to expect people under attack to be polite and nice. Trans people are hurting right now and what look like ‘innocent’ remarks to you are anything but – those attacking our community are very skilled at appearing reasonable (much as racists have learnt to hide behind politeness).

I did get very angry at the ridiculous backlash to that post (I hid most of the comments, there were quite a few more and I didn’t have the energy to tackle every one of them).

I have reflected on how I reacted. I don’t think I made our space unsafe for anyone who doesn’t make it unsafe for me or my staff. I’m sorry you can’t see that and I’m learning all the time how to fight these battles in the best way. A true ally honours the hurt and anger a community feel, you don’t abandon us the moment we don’t fit your ideas of ‘kindness’ toward those who are coming at us. That’s called tone policing and it isn’t supportive.

The reason JK Rowling is a particularly clever person for these groups to have recruited – and recruited her they most certainly have – is because she is a ‘nice white lady’ of the best kind. Many (including you) relate to her and will want to defend her. It seems to have worked in your case and probably in many others.

What you can’t see is that today the Times has leaked government plans to roll back trans rights, including laws to prevent trans women using women’s toilets. Can you imagine? JK Rowling has played a part in setting the stage for that and I can’t forgive her, I am furious, I don’t know how I can feel any other way.

(name redacted), you need to support LGBTQ+ people not only when we’re having a fun rainbow pride party, but when we are at the pointy end, the messy end, the bit where tempers flare and feelings run high. Pride started at Stonewall. It was a riot, they threw things, they were angry, I don’t think you would have liked it.

But that’s how we won the rights we have. It isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always Lady Gaga tributes and rainbow flags.

I’m glad you enjoyed Pride. Shame you can’t stick around for this next bit – because we intend to win and make a better world for absolutely everyone. Yourself included.

About janifranck

Artist, activist, founding director of The Art House in Southampton.
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