TERF Deplatform Cannot End With Performative Activism – The Hofstra Chronicle


Photo courtesy of John Bauld

Content Disclaimer: This article contains discussions about transphobia and transphobic violence.

Recently, comedian Dave Chapelle came under fire for voicing anti-transgender remarks in his new Netflix special “The Closer”. In a a wave of transphobic rhetoric targeting trans women and a handful of comments defending rapper DaBaby’s homophobic comments, Chapelle double on past cases of transphobia, going so far as to pit the experiences of blacks and the LGBTQ + community against each other in an attempt to undermine the struggle of queer people in the 21st century.

“The Closer” is just the most recent case of media figures using their platforms to promote hate, and it certainly won’t be the last. Going forward, one thing must be clear: If you care about trans people, you must stop supporting transphobes. Completely.

You can preach separating art from artist until you’re red, but the point is that continuing to promote fanatics only emboldens their message, endangering the marginalized communities they target. . Constantly turning a blind eye to bigotry and passing off violent rhetoric as a “joke” forces marginalized communities to face increased violence while undermining and ignoring their experiences.

Take, for example, JK Rowling – a known transphobic defended by Chapelle, who proudly endorsed the label of “Team TERF” when he came to his aid in reference to his past words. His books are teeming with racism, anti-Semitism and transphobia, reflecting his values ​​in real life.

It is not enough to write her TERF, or Trans-Exclusionist Radical Feminist Behavior, as a petty crime in her otherwise adorably nostalgic franchise, as her continued success allows trans-exclusionist radical feminists to be encouraged by the scale of his fanaticism in the media. Rowling’s transphobia isn’t just harmful rhetoric confined to a fictional narrative – it actively contributes to anti-transgender legislation and policies, such as when Republican Senator James Lankford quoted her as he fought against passage of the Equality Act.

The alarmism generated by radical transexclusionist feminists is visible in the refuted account that trans people are dangerous, which in turn creates more danger for visibly transgender people who simply exist in public spaces. A woman trying to use the toilet is now more likely to be harassed because a cisgender person viewed her very existence as a threat.

Making dehumanizing jokes about trans people isn’t funny or subversive – it’s violent. most recent reports of the Human Rights Campaign suggest that at least 41 transgender and / or gender nonconforming people have already been killed since the start of 2021, with 2020 being the most violent previous year on file for transphobic violence. GLAAD too reports that these figures can often be lower than reality due to underreporting.

By extension, transgender people are more likely have less legal and health care protections, are more likely to live in poverty and are more likely to experience harassment and discrimination. Trans women in particular are more likely to experience violence than their cis peers, according to reports by GLAAD. I am including these statistics not to use their suffering as a topic of discussion, but rather to highlight the reality experienced by so many transgender and gender non-conforming people as a result of the bigotry of those who cry out against being ” canceled ”for their hateful remarks.

It is naive to say that tasteless jokes have no effect on the world around us. Whenever a public figure with a large following launches harmful rhetoric, real people will be hurt. As such, the dollars you spend supporting these people only increase their impact.

It is not enough to say that you “support transgender rights” while doing nothing to materially improve the lives of transgender people. What do you go to great lengths to deconstruct transphobia in your daily life? Do you see your trans peers as their actual gender, rather than just memorizing their pronouns? Do you call it occasional transphobia when you hear people using it, including your friends and family? Do you take the time to learn about the issues facing the trans community? Do you make an effort to help trans people receive gender-affirming care?

As harsh as it may sound, your words mean nothing if they are not reflected by your continued action. If you don’t constantly and actively listen to transgender people and stand up for their rights to respect and safety, you must be wondering why.


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