Commentary on a Conversation with an Asshole


A while ago I watched this short film on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwV7ENOTeek. As tends to happen in the YouTube comment section, the assholes came out of the woodwork. The film is about a young trans boy who isn’t supported by their mother, so this film deals with an issue that is very important to me. As such, I got sucked into a debate in the comment section. I thought I’d share a good chunk of the discussion here, because I think a lot of people feel the need to defend their bad behaviour and hateful words with the “you’re just making it political” excuse, and I discuss that issue in the comments I make.

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The whole conversation began with this comment made by a trans teen: “Hey, people, I see you saying stuff like ‘oh just because you wear guys clothes and not dresses, doesn’t mean you aren’t a girl and you’re right, you are absolutely right. But you know what does make you a boy? BEING A BOY! IDENTIFYING AS A BOY! GOING BY HE PRONOUNS! You literally cannot take away how I feel! My mind and body do not match up, there is literally nothing you can do. I am me. You are you. We just happen to be different. Get over it, please! EDIT: Also, Gay people? Trans people? They do not harm you in any way. You’re the only one causing any pain if you’re being a douche. Odds are you couldn’t pinpoint every damn queer person on this planet, we’re all the same guys! Just love, not hate! And it’s not sexist to be trans, we’re not saying each gender has to be a different way (there’s more than two genders btw), we just KNOW what we are. I’ll answer KIND questions about sexuality and genders as well :).” This person’s comment is amazing. They make a lot of really good points. Like the assumption that being trans merely means wearing the clothes of the opposite gender. That’s called cross-dressing. It’s part of a person’s gender expression. It isn’t a gender itself. Like this person said, being transgender is to identify as the opposite gender than you were assigned at birth. Being trans means not identifying as the gender that you were assigned at birth (though not necessarily identifying as the opposite gender), or identifying with more than one gender. It’s a matter of how we feel, not a matter of what we wear.
But this is a difficult concept to understand for people. One of the first replies to this comment said “Saying ‘I am a he’ doesn’t make you a boy? Those are just words. How do you even know if you have the mind of a boy or a girl if you’ve never had the other to tell the difference???” I didn’t actually respond to this question in the discussion, and it wasn’t made by the person that I got into the argument with. However, this question shows some serious lack of understanding. For one, what does it actually mean to have a girl mind or a boy mind? This isn’t really what is meant by “my brain doesn’t match my body.” It is to a degree, but men and women don’t have completely alien brains from one another. The biggest factor of brain differences isn’t likely sex, it seems more probable that our differences are caused by…well, the fact that we’re different people. Watch this video if you don’t know what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXj3DenRsOg. And here are a couple of articles that go into the science a bit more (keep in mind that they aren’t the scientific studies themselves): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2576241/Men-NOT-Mars-Scientist-claims-male-female-brains-gender-stereotyping-makes-different.html, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10684179/Men-and-women-do-not-have-different-brains-claims-neuroscientist.html. Being trans is difficult to explain to somebody who isn’t trans. It’s not so much that my brain is radically different from yours, it’s more a case of my brain leading me to prefer things that society says I’m not supposed to prefer. So how do I know I’m trans? The same way you know you’re not. For example, I assume some of you reading this are men who take 10 minutes to get ready in the morning. And I assume some of you have live-in partners who are women who take a lot longer. I assume you find their interest in putting on make-up and finding the right outfit tedious and pointless. You probably justify it as “I’m a man, I’m not supposed to get it.” Well I don’t get it either. I’m supposed to get it. I’m supposed to like that tedium. But I don’t. A lot of people who identify as women don’t get it either, so don’t assume that my not getting it makes me trans. It’s just one example. But it’s that “I don’t get it” feeling that I get that lets me know that there’s something different about me. It’s not that I get it, but how often I get it and when I get it that tells me there is something different about me. I’m just not feminine. At all. And I don’t want to be.
But that’s kind of besides the point (though hopefully you got a better idea of what I’m talking about). The conversation that I wanted to focus on begins here: “Just because you hate something doesn’t mean its going to go away, grow the fuck up and accept people are different please.” This response was made by the person who made the initial comment. I’m not sure exactly what was said by the person that prompted this response, but, given other comments made by them, it was probably deserved. The person replied to that with “Sure it will. A bit of discipline and punishment goes a long way. The point isn’t eradicating differences, the point is forcing those who are different to either conform or.. idk, go to summer camp ;).” I really hope I don’t have to explain what is wrong with this comment. The original commenter rightfully replied with “‘The point isn’t eradicating differences, the point is forcing those who are different to either conform.’ That uh, sounds a lot like eradicating the differences to me bro. You sound like an early Hitler, talking about camps.” Doesn’t he though? But of course that was all just a joke: “I’m just fucking with you btw. I don’t really care about people’s sexuality or ‘identity.’ It just annoys me how overly tolerant and supportive everyone always wants to seem. If they really thought it was something normal they wouldn’t constantly baby people of other sexualities like they’re just automatically victims that can’t handle some dumb insecure cunts calling them names. Come on, you want respect, right? Then just say fuck you and move on. Society is in constant motion, no matter what an individual does, you don’t need to constantly be in protective mode.” This is what we call the “I’m not really an asshole, I’m just trying to play devil’s advocate but I have no idea what I’m doing” card. It’s not cute, it’s not funny, it’s not rebellious, you aren’t being clever, you aren’t proving or making a point, you aren’t helpful, you aren’t smart/wise, whatever you think you’re doing when you play this card, if it quacks like a duck…you get my point right? Anyway, let’s look at what he’s saying. “I don’t really care about people’s sexualities or ‘identities.'” Well, for one, both the video and the comment are about gender, not sexuality. So why even bring sexuality up? They aren’t even related.

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And if you don’t care, why are you here? Why bother commenting? Why even watch the video? That does not sound like someone who “doesn’t care.” And the fact that you put identities in scare quotes suggests that, not only do you care, you wish to invalidate the identities of others. You wish to deny that they exist. And it is at this point when he shows his true colours. “It just annoys me how overly tolerant and supportive everyone always wants to seem.” So accepting me as a human being deserving of equal treatment annoys you. Poor child, how will you survive? I can’t imagine how tough that must be for you! Not tolerance! Not support! How dare anybody grant me such things! How dare I ask for such treatment! He goes on to say “If they really thought it was something normal they wouldn’t constantly baby people of other sexualities like they’re just automatically victims that can’t handle some dumb insecure cunts calling them names.” Clearly you have no understanding of history. People don’t “baby” those of us who are LGBT by treating us like we’re human beings. However, historically LGBT people have been treated very poorly by society because society deemed us “unnatural.” The problem isn’t that the people who demand we’re treated equally see us as not normal, it’s that people have historically deemed us unnatural and have used that as an excuse to oppress us. What you’re seeing isn’t LGBT people being treated as special. Having pride parades and organizations dedicated to us doesn’t make us special, it’s just another sign of how oppressed we actually are. I look forward to the day when there is no need for a pride parade because that is the day we truly become equal. And demanding equal rights isn’t playing the victim. Playing the victim is crying “why can’t I have one?” when oppressed groups do things to bring attention to their oppression and you’re part of the group with power. Playing the victim is asking why there is no white pride month or straight pride parade. And when you get called as many names as LGBT people do, then you can criticise us for “not being able to handle being called names.” Ignoring bullies doesn’t actually make them go away regardless of what your father told you. The only thing that works is confronting them and standing up for yourself. So excuse me if I don’t let you walk all over me.
As for the Nazi issue that seems to have gotten ignored, he responded to that with “I really like the Nazis, yes. They were badass.” Because nothing says badass like murdering millions of people out of hate. I think somebody needs to get their priorities straight (or they’re already a neo-Nazi and are a lost cause). The original commenter replied to that saying “a small part of me can agree just with the sheer brute force and power of the Nazis, but the majority of me (and the world) can say that what they ultimately stood for was absolutely awful.” The Nazis really weren’t all that powerful, they just had a massive head start thanks to the fact that nobody wanted another world war to happen. But I’m sure that if another world war happened, the Nazi supporter would be the first to suggest appeasement given that that’s what he wants LGBT people to do. The fact that appeasement doesn’t work be damned.
I got involved in the conversation latter on, but I replied to this next comment: “Also, I’m really surprised how many FTM (even learned the lingo :D) trannies there are. Everyone usually talks about men feeling like they’re women, I thought almost no one was the other way around.” My reply to this comment is as follows: “You clearly did not do a good job of learning ‘the lingo’ if you think “trannie” is okay to say. Like faggot [this comes up later], tranny is a derogatory term. The correct term is transgender. MTF and FTM are also outdated terms. Some transgender people are fine with them, but you should not use them unless you know how the person you’re referring to feels about them. You should really be more careful with how you discuss LGBT issues. Remember: LGBT people have a long history of being discriminated against. That’s why the terms used to refer to people are so sensitive and regularly change. Yes, these words are often politicized, but that is because LGBT people are politicized, and have been for centuries. That’s why LGBT people stand up and say “these terms are right and those ones are wrong”: society refused to give the LGBT community control over the terms used to describe them for so long while they continued to discriminate against people. LGBT people just want respect, and part of showing respect is asking LGBT people what terms they prefer and using them.” His reply: “The learning the lingo thing wasn’t serious you retard :D. Also, why are you butthurt over stupid shit like tranny and faggot, you faggot? I don’t really use faggot to describe a gay person, it’s just a silly word that conveys that I think someone is a dumb cunt :).” Do you seriously think that adding a smiley face makes this response okay? Let’s see: retard, tranny, faggot, cunt, he seems to have the writing-as-many-offensive-things-as-can-fit-in-a-couple-sentences thing down. Now he just needs to learn some tact. Assuming I did have a mental disability, I don’t see why that would invalidate my point at all. So I’ll ignore that load of stupid as irrelevant. But faggot? No. You do not get to call me that. My sexuality does not get to be used by you or anyone else to attack me. I am not gay, but I’m not straight either. My heteronormative (or largely anyway) relationship protects me from a lot of the BS that other LGBT people face, but that doesn’t mean I don’t face any difficulties as it is. You do ot get to use your privilege and self-righteousness to attack me because you don’t think I have any reason to be upset. Who the hell do you think you are? What the hell do you know about my life? Yeah, and you don’t get to call me a cunt either. My vagina is not a bad thing. It is not an insult to possess one. You with your lack of vagina do not get to try and devalue and dismiss what I’m saying by suggesting that my vagina makes me less accurate. Neither faggot nor cunt (or tranny and retard) are just words with no meaning behind them. As such, you do not get to tell me that they are. If you think I’m wrong, use what little intelligence you possess to come up with a more accurate rebuttal that “faggot” or “cunt.” Otherwise, the only one who looks dumb is you. I’ll get back to our conversation later. First I’ll go through the rest of the conversation that happened the day before I gave my reply.

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The original commenter responded to his “trannie” comment by saying “And you actually make a very valid point in your first comment, thanks for sharing. I am trans and the way I see it, as long as people respect me how I respect them, then I’m fine. I just want rights is all.” This is unfortunately a very naive response. Again, this person is a teenager, and a very intelligent one at that, but they are far too easily swayed by his very bad “arguments.” He doesn’t have a point. He thinks that an oppressed group who is currently fighting for equal rights is somehow receiving special treatment because people are actually starting to give said group their rights. He goes on to ask this trans teen some very inappropriate questions, but they answered him, so I saw no reason to reply in the comment section. I will, however, reply to them here. He said “I’d actually like to know a couple of stuff about that. Of course you’re not every single trans person in the world, but still. Are you attracted to women or men? Also, to what extent do you have male tendencies. I understand you perceive yourself as a man and aren’t probably prone to many girly things, but there are still hormonal differences in not just appearance but behaviour.” I’m sure a lot of you are wondering what’s wrong with this. First, he started asking the questions without finding out if it was okay. He should have sent in one reply asking if asking personal questions was okay and waited for a reply before starting to ask. He also shouldn’t have asked if they were attracted to men or women. To begin with, that assumes that there are only two genders. It also suggests that you can also only be attracted to one or the other. This is not the case. Provided someone is willing to answer this question (though I really don’t understand why people feel the need to ask it) you should ask “who are you attracted to?” It’s really the only not problematic way to go about it. Asking what male tendencies someone has isn’t so much inappropriate as confusing. How would one actually go about answering that question? What are male tendencies? But suggesting that someone merely perceives themselves as a man is just plain rude. If someone tells you that they’re a man, accept that they are a man. Don’t tell them that they merely perceive that they are who they are. You don’t know what’s going on in their head or, in most cases, in their pants (I add the “in their pants” bit because of the perception that that actually matters where gender is concerned. And because intersex people do exist, which should make it obvious to people that sex is far more complicated than penis=boy and vagina=girl). Who are you to judge regarding either? The original commenter made these problematic assumtions obvious with their reply: “It’s good you’re learning the lingo haha, and its very good that you’d at least like to know things! To start let me explain that there are two types of attraction, romantic and sexual. I am Panromantic/Biromantic Straight, which, as you might of guessed, is the romantic attraction to women and men (all genders for me really), but sexually attracted to only guys (they can be trans guys too)! And, as far as tendencies go, I go as far as wearing chest binders, going by another name, wearing ‘guy clothes’ and tweaking my behaviour slightly to fit the more ‘stereotypical male’ just a bit. (I should point out though that I am Bigender, which means I identify with two genders, and mine happen to be male and female, he and she.) I imagine [you] might have plenty more questions since I’m guessing you don’t [know] too much about the gender/sexuality spectrum? haha please keep an open mind though?” So basically, “Are you attracted to men or women?” “No.” “What are your male tendencies?” “All of them.” “You think you’re a man.” “No, I’m Bigender.” I think he could have been a bit more intelligent with his…attempt to educate himself? Is that what this is? I’m not too sure it is. The original commenter went on to say “and also it is kind of a shock at first to find out that there’s actually lots of people out there with all types of identities (it was more of a relief for me), there isn’t much attention on trans men a lot in the media, it’s easy to think they wouldn’t exist initially :D.” This is something that has bothered me for years. Trans women are far more common than trans men, but trans men only seem to make the news when they get pregnant. While it is more acceptable for women to do stereotypically male things than it is for men to do stereotypically female things, it seems as though trans women are more socially acceptable than trans men. People who are transgender also get more media than those of us who are trans but not transgender. With that one I’m not sure if it’s because we’re more or less accepted. It’s hard to tell because we still face transphobia and transmisogyny, and we’re less likely to try to “pass,” so we’re about as likely to be attacked or discriminated against as transgender people.
It becomes clear why this guy is so unaware of his attitude when he says “AND I’m from Eastern Europe, so there was absolutely no information about any of this stuff while I was growing up (I’m 19, so basically right now 😀 ). I’d basically never seen a gay man, then suddenly when I emigrate to Germany I happen to move in right next to some LGBT-center thing, gay bars in the neighbourhood, so you can imagine how weird it was to me.” Unfortunately Eastern Europe is not known for it’s tolerance towards the LGBT community. It’s too bad this person doesn’t seem to spend any time at the LGBT center he lives near. Perhaps he’d become more tolerant and develop some empathy if he did. Not to mention that it would become very obvious very fast while it’s important to be careful with our language. He went on to say “Of course I’m open minded to knowing more about other people’s identity. Sexuality is on a spectrum, there are both heterosexual and homosexual aspects of both genders, most people just tend to be more on opposite sides of the spectrum, i.e. most women are attracted to men and most men are attracted to women and tend to act in certain ways, considered to be gender norms, we’re a dimorphic species after all, so it’s part of our nature. My problem isn’t with some people falling more in the middle or not identifying as any gender. I have a problem with some of the more radical ideas among feminists and some of the LGBT movements, that there are no natural aspects of sexuality and it’s all socially constructed. I’m not conservative, like thinking all people should identify as those simplistic archetypes of heterosexual women or heterosexual men, I just dislike the fact that the more radical liberals view sex as something absolutely fluid, even non-existent.” This is probably the most intelligent and polite he has been during the entire conversation. But he’s still confusing sexuality and gender. Sexuality is who we are sexually attracted to. Yes, it is a spectrum, but it’s more complex that this. First there is the heterosexual-homosexual spectrum with the middle area being differing degrees of bisexuality (most people are bisexual, but to such a degree that they only consider themselves to be attracted to one sex/gender) or pansexuality. Then there is the sexual-asexual spectrum. Most people are sexual, and they fit on the heterosexual-homosexual scale. I’m demisexual, which is a kind of asexuality. I do have a sex drive, but I don’t really see myself as fitting on the heterosexual-homosexual scale because my sexuality doesn’t work like that (though other demisexuals disagree). For me, it’s about romantic, not sexual, attraction. Which brings us to the next scale: heteroromantic-homoromantic. I’m pan romantic. I can be attracted to anyone regardless of gender. This scale pretty much works exactly like the sexuality scale (but don’t assume that you have to be romantically attracted to the people you are sexually attracted to). As you can see, gender is not on any of those scales. Gender has it’s own spectrum, and it is a different spectrum than the sex spectrum. This is because gender has to do with your brain and sex has to do with your gametes (though most people assume it has to do with your genitals). Gametes are our X and Y chromosomes, fyi. Anyway, The gender spectrum is man-woman. Transgender is not in the middle because a transgender person would just be either a man or a woman. The middle is the genderqueer category. It’s where those of us who identify as either neither or both man and woman fit. However, there are people who are agender and they simply don’t fit on this spectrum (don’t worry: there’ll be a visual). Sex is also on a spectrum: male-female. The middle of this spectrum is taken up by those who are intersex. And, because sex and gender are complex, there is another scale: gender expression. This scale goes masculine-feminine and deals with how a person presents themselves. The middle area is varying degrees of androgyny. I’m fairly androgynous, but I present more masculine than not.

 

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And what does any of this have to do with feminism? Absolutely fuck all. Of course, most feminists accept the LGBT community and realise that the issues that affect the LGBT community are related to those that affect women/females. As such, the groups do tend to overlap. But the terminology used by the LGBT community, and the discussions about LGBT issues, aren’t created by feminists as a feminist thing. This isn’t something within the feminist sphere of control. This is an LGBT thing, as it should be. Unless you’re LGBT, you don’t get to determine how LGBT people identify, and most feminists are not LGBT. But even if they were, why would the fact that they are feminist ideas make them bad? Why would that invalidate them? Since he thinks that feminists believe that sex isn’t real and is fluid, he obviously isn’t well versed in feminism. Yes, some feminists do argue this, but most don’t. Radical feminists believe that the ability to reproduce is what causes women to be discriminated against. As such, they believe not only that females but also that women (though some are more open to trans identities than others) are those who can give birth. The type of feminism that says that sexuality is fluid is intersectional feminism, but even they (since I identify within this group, I guess it’s more accurate to say we) debate whether or not sex exists (yes, sex is in fact debated). Personally, I like the concept of sex as a biological thing, but only because I think it’s useful for health purposes. As for people debating that sexuality is socially constructed, I think he means sex because I’ve never heard of that debate.

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Can people stop saying stupid shit like “the liberals [something dealt with within LGBT circles]” and “the conservatives [something going on within anti-feminist circles]”? There are conservatives who are pro-feminism and pro-LGBT, and there are liberals who are anti-feminists and anti-LGBT. What’s more, the political spectrum involves more that just conservative and liberal. I’m socialist. Some people are communists, libertarians (though I suppose they’re called liberals in some places), anarchists, etc. So it’s really not a case of “those liberals” and “those conservatives.”
Anyway, the original commenter replied to their response with “ooh wow, it can be quite a shock to learn that the world is not as small as you once thought to be haha. I had queer people around me since I was little, so it was more ‘normal’ for me to realize that I wasn’t straight (I’m gonna be 15 at the end of the month) and I’ve known since I was little that I was a bit different. And I totally see where you’re coming from, radical in any sense isn’t very helpful. It’s good to be open, but not so open that you’re shoving your ideals aggressively onto someone else, that’s not how acceptance works, some people just don’t change. And exactly! I understand sex is male, female and intersex, I get that, and on medical papers or work papers I have to put female for my own safety sometimes (like in an emergency if I get hurt I mean), it does exist it just isn’t everything, ya know what I mean?” He responds to this with “Sure. I guess there’s not too much difference between extremes. The conservatives think nature is everything and you can’t stray from it in any way and the liberals think there’s no such thing as nature, which they think is pro-LGBT, but if you think about it, it would mean your identity and sexuality are a choice after all. So in the end:
C: homosexuality is unnatural, therefore it’s a choice.
L: sexuality is fluid, therefore all gender is socially constructed (from which it would logically follow that you actually aren’t born like this)
In the end of the day it’s just a bunch of ass holes trying to turn the most intimate and personal aspect of our nature into something political, just to attract more attention and point to the others guys, creating fake tensions. I have been in some anti-gay circles, some of my best friends are skinheads, and I can tell you, no one actually cares, it’s just a hot topic, so everyone aside from some insecure fags that aggressively try to prove themselves just goes with it to provoke people. Don’t view people who don’t approve of all these alternative lifestyles as merely ignorant, that would be the same as me just calling you an insecure cunt, faking transsexuality for attention. People are convinced not by arguing but by comparing perspectives, explaining the way you personally view your identity and explaining your experience and understanding other people’s perspectives as well. In the end people tend to be extremely alike, it’s just the details that make them seem so different. Jesus Christ, I just read what I wrote… I’m such a faggot XD.” This is where I stepped back into the discussion, so I’ll let my reply be…well, my reply. But first I’ll show the original commenter’s post, because then it becomes a back and forth between myself and the other guy: “WOW, that is an extremely good point and you’ve got great sociological understanding, thank you for sharing your opinions, you’re not a fag at all XD.” This response makes me sigh. Great sociological understanding? I’m not sure he even knows what sociology is.
Anyway, this is where I come back into it. My response was “First of all, faggot is a derogatory term. It is not okay to say it whether about yourself or about others. Perhaps one day it will be reclaimed and it will be fine to use if and only if the person you are referring to is in fact gay and they say it is okay. But until that time, saying that is not okay.
Second, people don’t say sexuality is fluid because they want to be political, and saying that sexuality is fluid doesn’t make it a choice. Hair colour can change, but that doesn’t mean there is no genetic factors involved. People’s sexuality can and do change, but we know that there is some genetic element to sexuality. We know this because they have done twin studies. If identical twins are more likely to share a sexuality than other siblings, then it must be somewhat genetic. We find this with sexuality. But this doesn’t change the fact that people change how they identify. While most people always maintain the same sexuality, not all people do. Ergo, sexuality is fluid. This does not make it a choice, it simply makes it fluid.
Thirdly, while sexuality is very personal, this does not mean that it should not be discussed and researched. Why? Because health. If we know how sexuality works, and how it develops, then we can better help people who have issues related to their sexuality. Yes, this means that some people would use the knowledge to harm LGBT people in one way or another, but this risk does not eliminate the possibility for there to be benefits. And not everybody is enough of an asshole to take advantage and cause harm. So yes, sexuality is personal and to any given person it doesn’t really matter why they are gay, straight, bi, pan, etc, but it can and does matter to the medical community. The more we know about our bodies and our brains, the more we can do to keep ourselves happy and healthy.” I already gave his reply to this (it was when he called me a faggot). I responded to that by saying “There are reasons that these things are not okay, you arrogant little prick. Go over to that LGBT center you live by and say that shit: you’ll learn very quickly that that language is not appropriate. You are clearly not part of an oppressed group. If you were, you wouldn’t be so quick to be disrespectful. If you truly want to learn about people within the LGBT community, if you truly want to be inclusive, then that begins with showing respect. I don’t give a shit if you think that showing respect is being too sensitive because you aren’t LGBT. You don’t get a say. Now grow the fuck up and learn some respect because you are claiming to be open-minded while being incredibly homophobic and transphobic. And you’ve being talking to a trans teen.” Followed by ”And fuck yes, I’m a socialist, feminist, genderqueer demisexual who cares about the hateful things you say. Why? Because your words have an affect on people even if you don’t mean them to. People have died because people who think those words are okay murder them or drive them to suicide out of hate. Do you have any idea how many trans youth have already killed themselves this year alone? And because people tell them that they don’t get to determine how they identify, and that they don’t matter, that they are freaks, and that they are trannys? Do you have any idea how high the suicide rates are for LGBT youth are? Or how how the rates of mental illness are? The words you use don’t exist in a vacuum. They have real consequences. They affect real people. The words you use affect actual living human beings. So fuck your stupid sticks-and-stones bullshit, because we don’t live in a fantasy world where our words don’t affect people.” I was a bit angry, but I feel my response was well deserved. His response was “Sure, people are affected by words, It’s a bad thing to bully people, fucking shock. But it’s not like I’m sitting here calling you a fucking freak and saying you should die or anything. I think the problem is people take words way too seriously. Society treats words like faggot and nigger like the worst fucking shit ever, so people overreact every time someone uses them no matter what they mean. It’s horrible that people die because of bullying but that doesn’t mean you can just label anything bullying and go crazy any time someone says something. Also, I’m not TRYING to be inclusive, I just don’t give a shit about people’s sexuality.”

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The conversation ended with my saying “If you don’t care about people’s sexuality, why say anything? What watch videos about sexuality and gender? Why not just ignore that it exists? I highly doubt you simply don’t care. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be complaining about people being ‘too sensitive.’
You don’t understand privilege. Those words aren’t bad because of any power they have, they are bad because of how they are used. To go with the race example, in a predominantly white country black people are the minority. Most black people live in predominately white countries because their ancestors were brought over as slaves, and a lot of that legacy still exists. In North America, there is still the perception that black people are more aggressive and animalistic than white people. Despite having scientific evidence that suggests otherwise, people still believe that black men are more aggressive than white men and are more likely to commit crimes. This has led to the whole ‘Black Lives Matter’ thing. Likewise, black women are more likely to be seen as sexually promiscuous. As such, black women are often automatically labelled sluts and are more likely to be blamed for being raped than white women are. Those words signify a power that is held over an oppressed group by another group that is too often unaware of their own privilege.
Like black people, trans people are also part of an oppressed group. We live in a society that tells us that normal is a male child playing with a truck and a female child playing with a doll. The female child who doesn’t like dolls, dresses, and everything pink is automatically labelled a freak, and, whether or not you actually use that word, your agreement with that concept comes through loud and clear with the words that you do use. This very idea is problematic. For one thing, their is nothing natural about dolls and dresses, those are human made. For another, it wasn’t that long ago that pink was thought to be a boy colour. As such, it’s pretty obvious that these ideas that girls like dolls, dresses, and pink come from humans and not from nature. Gender is the same. Sex is biological. However, it is not as cut and dry as you might think. As we learn more about intersex it is more and more obvious that their are more than two sexes, and the sexes have less to do with reproduction than we might think. This is science, not politics. Gender, however, is nothing more than a construct. Gender is in your brain and has nothing to do with your sex, though they match more often than not. However, people assume that sex and gender are interchangeable, and they discriminate against those of us whose sex and gender don’t match because we are in the minority and they have the power. It is this power held over us, this acceptability of our being discriminated against, that makes the words you use inappropriate.
By using those words you are complicit in our being discriminated against. You are telling us that it is okay for you to discriminate against us. And to make mattes worse, when we say that it is not okay and you don’t get to discriminate against us, you act as if you’re the one being wronged. You stand up and cry ‘you’re just being to sensitive’ and ‘they’re just words’ and expect that to make it okay. But it is not okay. Blaming the fact that you don’t get to be an asshole on the ‘liberals’ and the ‘conservatives’ (as if that actually means anything) does not make your words okay. You don’t get to determine how I should be treated. You don’t get to determine what labels get used on me. I do. And you certainly do not get to be discriminatory and insulting towards me and then play the victim card. You are not the victim. You are just someone who wants an excuse to be an asshole and doesn’t want to be held accountable for their words and actions.”
I doubt this guy learned anything from the back and fourth. I’m not even sure he’ll reply to my last comment (though I do intend to let him know I wrote this). But I do hope that my commentary on why his behaviour is not to be desired or repeated is helpful to anyone who may have otherwise responded as he did to this situation (not that I think any neo-Nazi sympathizers would follow our blog [hopefully only they would think this appropriate…]).

right

And as a treat to those of you who made it to the end, great music 😉 :

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15 responses to “Commentary on a Conversation with an Asshole

  • chenxiaolinvip

    Reblogged this on Loue You and commented:
    A while ago I watched this short film on YouTube: . As tends to happen in the YouTube comment section, the assholes came out of the woodwork.

    Like

  • hessianwithteeth

    A good comment Hessian, though I’ll step in and add my voice well since this joker will take a strait white guy more seriously since you’ shown such utter disrespect for basically everyone who isn’t white and male.

    So now on to the comment.

    When your comments haven’t been outright insults or full of bigoted language they have been childish complaints and assumptions. It is extremely clear that you haven’t given these issues much thought beyond that they don’t jive with your pre-established world views. Guess what? I don’t care if your made uncomfortable, offended, or are just unwilling to consider experiences which are not your own or that you can immediately identify with. Further the point is not just that you’re being exceptionally rude and obnoxious, but your arguments are the kind of shit you find in a school yard. You ask for respect but you haven’t graduated from the sort of school yard bully antics and reasoning that I personally left behind over 5 years ago.

    See I don’t care that you like using hurtful words, nor do I care that you don’t respect certain words because they are used heavily of tumblr. This this exist outside of your experience and your dismissal of them before you think they are pretentious or frivolous is not a sufficient reason to make the conclusions you have made. Your whole argument can be boiled down to I don’t like it and you can’t say my opinion is invalid so… . But really we can say you arguments are invalid.

    See sex and gender are not the same thing. What it is to be male or female as a simoke fact of gametes, if your male you produce sperm, if your female you produce egg cells, and if you don’t produce either your don’t have a biological sex. Secondary sex characteristics are on a series of gradiants, and while male/female dichotomy can cover some of it well enough if you don’t look to hard it’s a really shitty model if you want to have any significant understand of human biology.

    Gender on the other hand. Are you a man or a woman or something else varies a ton. Primarily the expectation placed of genders (sometimes there are more than two. It depends on the culture) vary widely from culture to culture. What is a masculine trait one place can be considered feminine elsewhere and vice versa. There are a few biological traits which we can say differences among the two sexes western culture generally accepts. Hip and chest diameter, upper body strength, and for the brain the only thing with truly significant differences found (and even then they are small) is that men can rotate mental images slightly faster than women. Even with those factors the Ven diagram that compares men and women is almost a circle.

    Further humanity is not some simple organism with a couple of genetic switches that determine this or that. We are immensely complex and this is before we consider the variety and plasticity of the human mind so when you try to talk like a great wealth of terms that have been gaining popularity over the last several decades are muddying the waters it just means you don’t understand that the water was never clear in the first place.

    I suggest you stop pretending to be the victim, again begin questioning your own assumption and consider the experiences of those outside yourself. Empathy is a skill and one of the few traits humans have I would consider noble, I suggest you get better at empathizing with others, and consider how your language affects others and how it affects how you treat and think about others.

    Perhaps then others will willingly share space with you to having interesting conversations. Rather then you lazily barging in trying to get a reaction, instead you can learn how to create a dialogue.

    However, all that said. You have a long way to go and as such we will not be willing nor are we obliged to share our space with you.

    Like

    • Osamalama Ding Dong

      Don’t worry mate, i respect you just as much as i respect anyone else, white people obviously don’t deserve much respect since they’re so eager to destroy every trace of their empireal past.
      Empathy is overrated, everyone should get as much respect as they earn or others are willing to give them. People have this idea that for some reason all aggression and all conflict is always wrong and true progress comes from “enlightenment”, learning about other people’s experiences and all that. Base cowardice if you ask me. I like the contempt you have for my opinions, it’s the only honest responce to difference.
      I’m guessing you people think this shift in perception is progress in human societal consciousness to some different paradigm. It may be. I personally hope it’s more of a symptom of degradation. Like the Roman Empire western civilization is in it’s final days, resting on it’s laurels and decaying. I trully hope it’s like that and I hope I’ll be there to watch it burn, all weaklings deserve what they get after all. like Hitler said:
      “If the war is lost, the people will also be lost and it is not necessary to worry about their needs for elemental survival. On the contrary, it is best for us to destroy even these things. For the nation has proved to be weak, and the future belongs entirely to the strong people of the East. Whatever remains after this battle is in any case only the inadequate, because the good ones will be dead.”

      Like

      • hessianwithteeth

        “Don’t worry mate, i respect you just as much as i respect anyone else.”

        Which is to say you don’t respect anyone?

        Good luck with your social Darwinist leanings of an over simplified survival of the most brutal and cruel. I’ll continue working on enhancing what makes humanity truly powerful. Our ability to imagine the metal states of other deeply and complexly (empathy), our capacity for critical thinking, our desire to understand and learn, our willingness to work together towards common goals, and to waste as little resources as possible destroying the creations of one another.

        “People have this idea that for some reason all aggression and all conflict is always wrong and true progress comes from “enlightenment”, learning about other people’s experiences and all that. Base cowardice if you ask me.”

        Well I wouldn’t be inclined to ask you, but what you’ve outlined is not what I think. further “ss people” are not some cohesive unit which you can readily dismiss like we all hold the same opinions. I do not agree with everyone, and even Hessian and I do not agree of ever issue.

        Aggression and violence beget more aggression and violence. And violence and aggression can come easily and is self propagating.
        I’m of the opinion that violence and aggression are tools of the desperate, confused, and otherwise blindsided. Not inherently bad, but a last resort born of need or ignorance.

        Besides what is inherently cowardly about attempting find a none violent solution. Many have risk life and limb and sacrificed much to avoid violence outcomes. Looking for non-violent solutions does not equal cowardice.

        As well being willing to jump in to violence, to battle, to war, and blood shed, does not necessarily make you brave, or principled. heck it doesn’t even mean your not a coward. All it means is you are willing to commit violent acts.

        Empires can fall with out burning, and change can be peaceful and positive. You can be a wishful to be a hyena waiting for the world to burn so you can pick on the weak. I on the other hand will try to be wise and thoughtful. To create situations where the weak can be strong, and the strong can both benefit and draw benefit from those you would call weak.

        We are social animals, and we are strongest working together. Where you seek division and survival of the strong, I seek shared survival and the betterment of all.

        You’d probably like to call me an idealist, but I’m no such creature. I’m a pragmatist and out best chance of prolong survival comes from working together not waging war.

        Like

        • Osamalama Ding Dong

          Your ideas are respectable enough, though i think you’re ignoring a very important thing. Humans are tribalistic creatures. We tend to prefer those like us and strive for success a lot more when we have competition. Of course we’re not predators or parasites either, but you can’t view violence as something 100% wrong. it’s just that i dislike the direction society as a whole is going, therefore i feel no loyalty to it or to the people who make it up. I don’t see myself as a hyena. I’m not saying i would enjoy oppressing the weak, but that i think people who don’t care for their nations, such as most liberal/progressive/green/socialist/feminist etc. people I’ve talked to, are a poison to society, non stop focusing everything on every little thing that they don’t like, as if society has to take care of them. The social sciences have taken a sickening hegemony in universities, breaking down all social structures and pandering to the college “student” hipster pseudo-intelectuals that wish to seem different and special and oppressed. Not only that, but they are extremely dogmatic and ideological, so they are not objective. I know not everybody thinks the exact same things in these movements, but that doesn’t matter to me. Most of these different ideologies agree on the things i care about, therefore i view them as one thing. Therefore i would like to see humanity in its current form to be destroyed. Of course, i wouldn’t say no to a little bloodbath. I don’t want to die at 80.

          Like

          • hessianwithteeth

            Hello again,

            “… but you can’t view violence as something 100% wrong.”
            Good thing I don’t then. What I do think is that generally there a far better option than resorting to violence. I also think that compared to most other related spices (apes) human are high civil and non violent. Even the “peaceful” bonobos are considerably more prone to violence then we are.

            Now as you move further on I think your building more of a character of what progressives are like, taking the most extreme views and then applying them to the whole. The fact is there is no such thing as a cohesive progressive group, just like there isn’t a cohesive conservative group. You later mostly admit to this, and as such well I don’t know what to say except, I don’t see what your problem is. World pretty decent if you’re not part of the bottom half, and I think it would be a good idea to stop people oppressing other people where possible, because then you have more productive, and less violent people overall.
            Though really I don’t see what you dislike so much, you don’t like that we take care of the weak? Does that include the sick and elderly or at you more conserved about entitled people, because it isn’t just progressive who feel entitled, conservatives can be just as or even more entitled.

            The only thing I’d really suggest to you do is to really think deeply about what it is that your opposed to and why, and try to formulate and tear down arguments for that position.

            Like

  • hessianwithteeth

    As a heads up, this comment will also be deleted after I leave my reply because you have proven yourself incapable of leaving a comment worth respecting or even giving a voice to. I am only writing this one last comment to you in one last attempt to get to understand. First, your comments weren’t deleted because they lacked “sterile” language, as you can see from the fact that this one will also be deleted. They were deleted because they lacked any semblance of respect for anybody, and because they lacked any understanding of the nuance of the situation. Perhaps if you could actually think about what you’ve been told rather than simply responding to it, you’d develop a better understanding of why you are not being given a voice here, and why what you said is wrong.

    It doesn’t matter if you meant what you said or not. It doesn’t matter if you think you were just being funny or just wanted attention. The fact is you were disrespectful. Your excuses to justify your lack of respect don’t matter. However, they do make you look like an even bigger jackass (providing the person reading your comments didn’t immediately pin you for a troll, which was pretty obvious from the get go).

    Man and woman aren’t sex terms, they are gender terms. Sex is male-female. However, sex is still more complicated than you want it to be. Intersex people do actually exist, and they make up 2% (that we know of now, but it’s probably higher) of the population. That means that 20,000 people in my city alone are intersex. This is not an insignificant number. What’s more, intersex people do not fit into the male-female binary, but they are likely to identify as either a man or a woman. Whether or not you agree with this is irrelevant, because this is not a matter of opinion. This is scientific fact.

    Sex and gender are complicated, and this does not make what it means to be a man or a woman meaningless, it just means that there is more nuance that needs to be taken into consideration. Letting “man” mean whatever you want it to mean would remove its meaning, but saying that “man” is a gendered term meaning “one who identifies as such based on their own masculine identity” is a very clear meaning. Sorry, but you’re going to need a better excuse to support your personal bigotry than that.

    What’s more, it doesn’t matter if you connect the words you use with bigotry. They don’t actually affect you, do they? What matters is that the people who are oppressed identify the words you use with their oppression. Black people identify the n-word with oppression because that’s how slave owners addressed them and that’s how slave owners justified enslaving people who are black. A white person saying “well I don’t identify it with oppression” is like running over someone’s leg with your car and denying it by saying “well my leg doesn’t hurt.” Of course your leg doesn’t hurt: it wasn’t run over! LGBT people deal with oppression as well, so your argument about not attaching oppression to the words you use is the same.

    I don’t give a shit if you think I’m being pretentious. You’re a bigoted asshole. You think you have the right to say whatever you want to people and you throw a temper tantrum the second you are told that you are being inappropriate. You don’t get to insult my age or my education because you want to be able to do whatever you want without consequence. The world doesn’t work that way. I’m a 25 year old (note: that’s 6 years older than you, child) university student. I am educated, and I’m proud of that fact. Especially since, unlike you, I don’t live in a country that pays for my education. I worked very hard to get to where I am today. I’ve also never actually been on tumblr, sorry. I learned these terms from actual university classrooms and actual LGBT people. Do I think I’m a special snowflake? No. In fact, LGBT people are normal human beings. And that’s the whole issue. We don’t want to be treated as special. We want to be treated as human beings who deserve the same degree of respect and rights that you receive. Your attitude doesn’t treat us like that. Your attitude, calling people trannys and faggots, isn’t treating us as normal. It’s othering us. We aren’t the ones acting as if we’re different. We aren’t the ones acting as if we should be treated differently. You are. By separating us out, you are treating us like we are “special snowflakes.” If you don’t think we should be treated this way, then stop treating us this way! Treat us the way you’d treat straight cis people (who are white, since you obviously have no respect for PoC). You are acting like a victim, because you act as if saying you are wrong and saying that you shouldn’t say something is oppressive. I hate to break it to you, but society dictates that you can’t do whatever you want already, and you likely have no issue with most of it because you’ve never actually thought about doing it.

    However, back to what you’ve said about me, I am a trans person. I’m genderqueer. You know this. As such, yes I do have to deal with the same oppression that transgender people deal with. Why? Because I don’t fit in the binary. I’m not a woman. I don’t look female. People do stare, they do question my gender, and they do insult me. I do face transphobia. This is not a quirk. This is not me trying to show off how different I am. In fact, I’d much rather be “normal.” I’d like to be able to use a bathroom without feeling nervous. I’d like people to talk to me without stuttering and stumbling and changing pronouns because they don’t know how to address me. I’d like to feel comfortable in my body. But the fact is, I don’t. This isn’t a choice I made. This is who I am. And your opinion of my identity doesn’t change this from being the case. And you think I’ve always been treated with respect? I have a vagina you dingbat. We do not live in a world where anyone with a vagina is always respected, let alone someone with a vagina who doesn’t identify the way most people with vaginas identifies. I’d love to always be respected, but that’s not going to happen. So no, I’m not always respected, and yes, I am oppressed as a trans person. And no, my oppression is not exaggerated. People get murdered because they are trans. In certain places, trans people can be arrested for carrying condoms (New York, for example). Being transgender is illegal in some countries. Trans women are forced to go to male prisons where they are unable to receive treatment and are at a greater risk of being raped and murdered than most prisoners. These are facts. And your belief that these things are exaggerated does not change these facts. Facts are facts, regardless of your opinion.

    To end with, I must say that not all opinions are created equally. Even if it were true that what I’m saying was mere opinion that does not mean that our opinions are equal. So let’s not pretend this is the case. However, I’m not merely giving you my opinion. These are facts. These are supported by science. If you want to show me where your opinions are coming from, if you want to offer some facts that support your opinions, go right ahead. But if you have no facts, then your opinions are unfounded.

    Like

  • Mandie_Kat

    Hi~! It’s me who made the original comment! I’m gonna copy and paste what i said in my comment just now on Youtube (I just replied) so people can see on here!

    -“Hello again! I read your whole blog post ^ and it was fantastically written to me! I think it was a great idea to share this conversation with a wider audience, I actually showed this convo to people in my gay-straight alliance club thing at school. I did take in what you said and I’m sorry about my sociology comment! I was trying to be nice and helpful and i was literally doing sociology homework at the time so maybe it wasnt the best thing to say. But i do realize what some of the things the other commenter said were not good (i actually never say ‘fag’ or ‘retard’ or ‘tranny’) but i also know people can’t change overnight from what theyre used to. Thanks for calling me intelligent, and sorry for coming across as naive, I said “nice point” because I will take what i can get in certain situations and the commenter is at least TRYING to think outside what he already knows. I take that as a (small but still) minor win for me. Obviously i can’t teach everything there is to know about sexuality, gender, and respect all in one go (I didn’t even mention that I’m Gray-Area Asexual bc i didn’t want to overload it you know?) especially on a youtube comment thread. Also, thanks for saying my comment was amazing and sharing your views and teachings on it! I’m sure it’s appreciated not just by me but anyone who sees it. Im going to share it on my Tumblr :)”

    Like

    • hessianwithteeth

      Thanks for responding here. And don’t worry about the sociology comment, I just think you were giving him too much credit. For someone who’s 15, you are very knowledgeable about the LGBT community and the issues within it. I wish I knew half of what you know now when I was 15. Hopefully you were able to educate him at least a little, but it is too bad he likely won’t learn not to use offensive language.

      Like

      • Mandie_Kat

        No Problem! And i understand now. I try to understand all points of view before saying anything, it helps a ton! Except for today… on tumblr i came across a blog that said gender does not exist so i asked some questions and i guess i worded them in a ‘funny’ way? because i basically got insulted by her and someone whom i assumes follows her. She also made a post about me (not directly mentioning me but ya know) and i felt really bad. I did apologize even though i didnt really need to, i just didnt wanna fight haha. I wish people could just respect each other!

        Like

  • filmmakerj

    I think I have learned more about gender and sexual orientation in this one blog entry than I ever have before. It is definitely a lot to take in and try to make sense of. But I want to continue to try and get it all clear in my head for not just my own sake, but also for anyone I interact with.

    I don’t think I’ve ever directly spoken to someone who was transgender, nor anyone who might have appeared to be a guy but was originally born a girl, or vise-verse. But I’ve always been nervous about such encounters because the last thing that I want to do is offend, or even just annoy anyone like that. I don’t know if there are any “go-to” opening questions to ask, or if it really even matters. I’m sure most introductory conversations don’t even have to touch on whether someone is a girl or a guy or not. But I would think the question eventually has to come up (even if its weeks or months down the road), depending on the circumstances. At which point, what is one to do?

    Also, in response to this person you ended up arguing with…

    I think at least a portion of this guy’s issues stem from his rampant need to continue using the vocabulary that he is accustomed to: because it just sounds really good to him, in spite of the fact that it emotionally harms other people. I’m sure anyone could at least partially relate to that if we suddenly found out we couldn’t use the words “f*ck” or “sh*t,” because they gained a derogatory connotation towards someone or some group. Which wouldn’t make such a situation any more right, but it would still feel like somewhat of a loss to those of us who use those terms regularly.

    The people who use certain words often don’t see them for what they are to the people that they hurt, and they’d much rather be ignorant of it and make up excuses like “just learn to not be so sensitive,” because they’d rather refuse to give those words up now that they’ve become so used to using them.

    And I will admit that I’m guilty of using certain words as well, even though I know that they can be hurtful to others. But the difference with me is that I only ever use them when I’m alone, or when I’m with friends who would not be offended by them. And I never use them in my public writings or videos because there is no meaningful purpose for them there. This guy, however, has no self-control, and no sense of common courtesy or public decency, whether the words he uses are inappropriate or not. And I have no respect for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Foghorn The IKonoclast

    You are so right about the trolls/

    Like

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