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Dealing with trolls and internet hate

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Ok, so I'm a pretty happy girl. I mean, I have a supportive family, some amazing friends, school is going well, etc. I would never let a little negativity bother me...right? Haha! Well it's true most of the time anyway.

I have found that the majority of people that I encounter in life as a transgender woman, fall into one of three categories: The first being the "supporters," those that I am closest and who love me, like me, who are like me, are encouraging and who truly seem to get what it means to be trans. Second are the "accepting." The accepting may not really understand what being transgender means, but are open minded and have respect for us, based on who we are as people and are open to learning. Third are the "tolerant." These people may not like me, respect me and may even think that the way I live my life is wrong. Their position can be based on a lot of different things. The important thing about the tolerant is that even if they don't agree with the way that someone lives their life, they don't feel the need to judge, discriminate, bully etc. They might shrug their shoulders, roll their eyes,, but move on and focus on their own lives. These three types comprise, by far, most of the kind of people that I interact with in my everyday life as a daughter, sibling, friend, student, employee, consumer and semi-socialite:),

However, there is a fourth sub-group, "the haters." The haters are the subject of today's rambling rant. I am a strong woman. I can mostly deal with the relative few haters. I grew up trans and have faced adversity of some sort almost everyday of my life, so I'm not about to let a relative few make a major impact on my life with their ignorance. I have received too much love and support in my life for that. However, there are times when venting some frustration is good for your soul. Thankfully, most true haters aren't all that brave and usually troll the internet, social sites, comments sections of Youtube...all the while anonymous and feeling free to bully, abuse and attempt to harm others with words. I suppose there is some temporary satisfaction in this for them. Maybe this makes them feel better about their own problems for a short time.

Although this happens on all social sites, Facebook, twitter, etc. The following focuses mostly on recent comments and replies I've recently experienced on Youtube.

I follow several vlogs on youtube which are made by amazing girls who are exposing their hearts and souls to help others, educate or vent their own bad experiences as transwomen. These are brave, smart, and intelligent women. You find people of the fourth type making horrible comments on every transgender related video on Youtube. Sometimes you find the same user names showing up on many different video comment sections. They justify their misinformed and hurtful comments with outdated gender ideas, religious reasons, poor scientific research or just something they heard from a drinking bro at a frat party. While you can't know the age of those posting these comments, I'm pretty sure that some are no older than 12 years old. Even though I understand that most of these trolls are unreasonable, I make an effort to reason with them. A few of them have actually backed off of the extreme views and seem to be at least thinking a little more. That in itself makes an exchange with them worthwhile. I suspect the motivation of the haters varies. I know that some of them resent those of us that live the way we feel, despite of opposition that we have faced for doing so...that we are happy despite it all. The majority of them are just unhappy people and looking to make others feel bad about themselves. The transgender community is seen as an easy target.

Some of the more common comments that have been directed me are: "You are mentally ill." "You are evil and/or the devil." "You have XY chromosomes and will never be a woman." "You are living a lie." "You are a gay man trying to trick men." Here is one of my recent favorites." "You disgust me and I want you to die." Oh, how nice! :)

So, here's how I usually approach these kinds of people and their comments. I start by pointing out obvious errors and contradictions in their reasoning, which is blatantly misinformed, incoherent or just manufactured to suit their agenda. I repeat the fact that transgenders harm no one by being trans, but their bullying, physical and psychological abuse and hate are very harmful and can ruin lives. Then, I always tell these people the same thing. It almost always stops them cold. "I hope that you find peace and happiness in life. If you do, you won't feel the need to harm others or want them to feel bad about themselves."

When I was about to come out to my school as trans, my mother told me "kill your critics with kindness, then watch them die with a smile." She then made a point to explain, that what would die is their ignorance, their prejudice (not actually the person.) We never wish harm to others.

If you read my poorly written rambling rant, you are a very kind person with a lot of patience and I thank you:)))) Lalala:)

KM


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Posted

Your mother is very wise, and you are too to follow in her footsteps. I agree with you both: try to stay kind, patient, and forgiving. The opposite doesn't work! It never does.

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Excellent blog, I don't come across haters very often, but when I do, I must remember and quote your phrase, "I hope that you find peace and happiness in life. If you do, you won't feel the need to harm others or want them to feel bad about themselves." A real dinosaur killer!

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When of the things I learned early on when in sales about Bloomingdales was too always present angry/frustrated customers with a smile, sympathize with them. Currently as a moderator for one of the largest programmer forums at Microsoft for a language known as C# I deal with similar things and do the same in posting back to them. It is always better to not fight them but instead see their point and educate them. There will always be a small amount that never will see eye to eye but I think you and your mother have the right attitude and will be just fine.

The sad thing is when a trans* person must contend with people in public, seldom we have the time to educate and must resort to different methods to walk away safely.

I teach various forms of self-defense and always tell my students that the first thing is to ask yourself "Can I walk away from this" and combine this with "Should I had been there is the first place".

I am the same way with were I elect to write about trans issues and if a site has bashers I think "should I really be here knowing full well there are those haters here?" So instead find places such as this site and similar sites to post information as I truly have better things to do then educate haters which may not sound like a good thing but life is too short for this.

Any ways thanks for sharing your thoughts and wish you all the best in your life ahead.

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Unfortunately, there is no logical argument or scientific fact that can be used to substantiate how someone is trans* or goes through this. Thus, there must be acceptance without this. That is hard for a lot of people to do. Yet, if they do not accept us, and do not seek to understand us, we cannot dwell on that.

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Kristila, I like your blog very much. Be kind to a hater. To turn the cheek and be lady like . Educate , respond with polite cordialness. I have been in situations like what Karen said..... am I sure I can walk away and why did I put myself in harms way to begin with? I thought do these haters relies who they are dealing with, me as a man. At the time I am in a tight dress with heels. Much harder to defend yourself dressed like this. I had 3 men confront me in the boys restroom while I was in fem . They said to me '' no tranny girl boys in here '' I responded saying '' That 3 girls in the ladies restroom told me the same thing.'' Where am I suppose to go if the cops were parked outside by my car.'' We all looked at each other then started to laugh together. Kind humor can go a long way to comfort those who do not understand . I know I have been blessed and lucky . I can not let haters control my life anymore.

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