Sunday, 12 June 2011

All apology

I stuffed up, with my moderation on the Queer the Night guest post promo, on Friday afternoon.  I've hidden comments on it for the timebeing (which were closed anyway).  Anyone who wants to see them will of course make the effort, but hopefully the degree of difficulty will put off the casual observer who wants to just goggle at the feminists fighting.

I wasn't happy with what was happening on the thread - any of it really.  I identified earlier on that I was too close to it and asked Maia to step in, which she did, and things calmed down, but then became inflamed again when a new voice entered the thread.  I could see the comments coming in but was not able to do anything to step in, wasn't sure if Maia was either, and then finally just did something on Friday.

This was definitely a case of doing something being worse than doing nothing.  I am deeply sorry.

By the time Maia emailed me to tell me, gently, that that wasn't my best moderating work I was aware I'd stuffed up, because I felt bad about how I had handled the thread.  The comment I made to close things off didn't even make proper sense - I asked someone to stop commenting on the thread at the beginning and then a sentence or so later said I would be closing comments entirely.  How nonsensical is that?  And it should have been a signal to me that I wasn't in the right headspace to deal with it, and should think about doing something less definite or just keeping away and seeing who else was available.

I've seen a few critical tweets and I'm pretty sure there are some critical blog posts out there too - I haven't read those yet, and I mention that only so that you have that context in mind as you read this.  I may not be responding to a question or point you've made because as yet I'm unaware of it.  Yes it's a willful ignorance, in part, although mostly born of having no online time this weekend to look at blogs or write this, any earlier than just now.  I sincerely wish I could have got to this sooner.  I hope to be able to read that stuff, and reflect on it, sometime this week.

For the record, I think the key error I made was picking a side.  And picking a side not based particularly on merit but on who was annoying me least at the time.  Crappy decision-making process leads to crappy decision.  Both the process and the outcome were mine to control, and I stuffed it up.

What to do now with that thread vexes me, and I welcome feedback, in comments here or by email if people prefer.  I am not that keen on reinventing history by just deleting my mistakes.  That feels dishonest.  However there are things on that thread, some written by me and others not, which probably shouldn't stay here.  And, as said previously, the only tools we have for moderation here are total deletion or making a guidance comment ourselves.  So none of us can excise the bad bits from any comment and leave the rest untouched, or indicate that we've made some snips.  

Please accept my heartfelt apology.  I know some people may feel they can't and that sucks, and it is my fault and I have to wear that.


Comment direction:  If people could kindly stick to topic, which is discussing what to do with that comment thread now, and/or tips for moderating better, that'd be appreciated.  If you want to ask me questions I'm ok with that, but may not be able to reply promptly over the next week.  Please don't take silence as anything other than I can't get to the blog much over this time.  I won't be the only person modding on this thread, and in fact I may not mod on it at all, will see who else is able to do so.


ETA, 1050 Monday:   Very quick note to say as a result of the discussion in comments my thinking has shifted on a bit since I wrote the above.  Please read the comments if you want to engage in this discussion.  And a warning, it is quite a robust discussion, so I suggest people be prepared for that.  Hope to be able to write a proper update to this post in the next day or two.  Just to confirm, I am not moderating this thread, but am participating (although probably not much today).


ETA, 11.59pm Monday:  Things have moved on quite a lot for me since I wrote this.  You can follow that thought process in the comments, where I've tried to record it.  As this post is no longer accurate and at the risk of disappearing into my own navel, I'm going to summarise where my thinking is now at so that this is a bit of a more accurate record for those who don't/can't wade through the nearly 70 comments currently on here.

  • Basing moderation decisions on who was annoying me least = WRONG.  And for clarity it was Acid Queen who I found difficult to deal with in comments, not Scar.  This has led me (with some appreciated prompting in comments) to think about why I found that difficult, and reflect on AQ's v valid point:  "If you find yourself getting annoyed by what somebody is saying, please take the time to question whether that irritation is actually a feeling of privilege being called out. Often it is."  I'm particularly ashamed that I didn't even understand that the sides I was putting people on and picking between were lining up as cis versus trans.  What a dolt! 
  •  My moderation stuff up was intrisincally related to the subject matter of the thread, i.e. transphobia and cissexism. I was thinking about them (in my post above) as separate things, but understand now that wasn't right.  I apologise wholeheartedly for enabling and reinforcing transphobia in a way that was in itself also transphobic.  
  •  Writing the moderating comment that closed the thread in a manner that acknowledged the difficulty some parties must have had in writing on the thread, yet missing the difficulties for those calling out the transphobia in the first place was an awful way to end things.  I was trying not to read as thanking one side, but that's totally how it came across, so I failed badly.
  • Good intentions don't mean a whole lot to the person who you've hurt.  While I think there is value in doing the right thing for the right reasons, if you do the wrong thing for the right reasons, well, you've still done the wrong thing.  Which isn't to say good intentions are worth nothing - they are imho the best starting point for doing the right thing next time.
  •  In moderation I have struggled with identifying transphobia and cissexism in comments.  I have deleted some blatant (to me) stuff in the past, but the more subtle (to me) bits evade me.  This is not because they aren't there, or can't be understood, but because I haven't noticed them.  And I can improve what I know and what I notice.
  • I've written all this not to make excuses or to justify.  I genuinely want to learn from this and do feel like I have learnt (although a lot of what I've learnt is that I have a lot more to learn!).  For me part of how I learn is to discuss, clarify, think things through, and I do this most effectively in writing and with assistance from those with more knowledge.  I've written all this to explain what I thought I did wrong and why, and it's turned out that actually I was largely off target about that, so I'm glad I went about it this way, otherwise I probably would have worked that out by making a similar stuff up in the future. For those who think this is an unnecessary exercise in excessive apologising on my part, you can think that and I can't do anything about it.
  • This whole experience has been a big wake-up call for me and I have some significant self-educating to do.  Thank you sincerely to those who have been helping me to do that with their comments below (and privately, and elsewhere), you shouldn't have to do this and I appreciate the effort very much.

102 comments:

Scar said...

I'm not going to pull my punches this time; I'm sick of the Tone Argument being used to silence myself and other people.

This is a piss-poor apology and it addresses none of the rampant transphobia, nor the enabling behaviour that saw the tranphobic commentary continue.
This apology is full of excuses and shows little to no ownership of the fault of the persons involved.

Nor is this kind of transphobia/transphobic enabling an isolated incident on The Hand Mirror; it has happened before and it was silenced and excuses were made that time as well.

If you 'felt bad' about how you handled the thread, imagine the hurt and the rage on behalf of the people whom you fobbed off, scolded and eventually silenced. The people who were expressing very real concerns about transphobic behaviour and who were brave enough to stand up to the usual cis fuckery instead of the usual bowing and scraping and thanking their oppressors for being allowed to speak at all.

Why is it that the cis people were the 'least annoying' to you? Why is it always the trans people who piss cis moderators off so much that they are unable to moderate properly?
Why is it that when a cis person's cissexism is challenged by a trans person, the trans person is always wrong? Don't you think that's something that needs some really, really deep thought?

I'm seriously sick of cis people thinking they are so fucking expert on trans issues that they can tell trans people to shut the fuck up when a discussion on transpobia starts - and anyone supporting them gets told to shut the fuck up too.

Yes, I'm angry. I'm angry at this responsibility dodging 'apology' which is not really much more than a panicked response to outraged tweeting/blogging and contains grudging acknowledgement of a mistake, shored up with excuses.
And I'm allowed to be angry. It doesn't invalidate ANYTHING that I have said.

And as I've said again and again and again, if this was homophobia, none of this would have happened! You would have been all over this in a heartbeat and it wouldn't have been the homophobes who you would have seen as the 'least annoying'.

I strongly suspect that the mods on here are extremely ignorant on trans oppression issues and could really, really do with a hell of a lot more education.

You don't get to call yourselves feminists when you keep shitting on one group of women and okaying phobic behaviour against them.

Scuba Nurse said...

I have stayed the hell out of the way of recent comments and posts on the Hand-mirror because honestly, I don’t know where the hell to step. I made a comment a week or so ago, and made scar feel unwelcome, which was not my intention. I apologised in her space and clarified in ours and backed right off, because the last think I wanted to do was invade her space.

After that I was too scared to comment or moderate because of the landmine of insults I could have portrayed in my actions.
If I speak up in support, I’m speaking for a group I am not a part of.
If I sympathise, I’m appropriating.
If I ask questions, I am not using my google-fu and I’m unfairly expecting people to teach me.
If I make an incorrect assumption based on what I DO know about my trans friends, I’m clearly not informed enough.
If I disagree, I’m trans-phobic.
If I ask people to keep to the issue and not make it personal I’m using a tone argument
If I moderate people who begin attacking in a personal matter I’m silencing.

And I’m so afraid of being labelled as a hater/phobic that I sat frozen in the shadows muttering “Oh crap, what do I do” while everyone exploded around me.
And so I did nothing.

Doing nothing accomplished exactly zilch, and didn’t even make me feel less guilty, and probably had people wondering where the hell I was, and why I wasn’t stepping up.
I’m sorry for that.
Thanks so much for your post Julie.

Julie said...

Thanks for your response Scar.

I'm just going to reply to one bit tonight, which isn't to say I'm ignoring the rest, just that I need to think a bit more about how to respond. You've given me much to think about, and not for the first time.

In terms of my comment about basing my decision on who I was finding least annoying at the time, I actually wasn't referring to you at all, although I can see why you would think that, and again I've not helped with my framing there. I think it's pretty clear from the thread that I do struggle with the way Acid Queen engages on comment threads, not just that one, and I was swayed far too much by that than by good moderation practice.

I hadn't considered that it was cis people who I found less annoying, because I was just thinking about AQ not both of you, but that is a good point. I don't actually know any of the people in that thread in real life, other than Maia, and I take people at their word here about how they identify and don't second guess anyone. While I wasn't seeing the thread as cis versus trans* I can see clearly now that you were, and probably others were too, and that disturbs me even more, that I didn't see that and reacted in a way that was picking sides in that way. Thank you for that aha moment, I really am very sorry for how I handled it (i.e. really badly).

In terms of what I've said above about Acid Queen, it's not really about her, but about how I respond to her. So please if you are reading this AQ, don't feel that I'm blaming you at all, because I'm not - it was my stuff up and I own that. I can control my behaviour and that's what I should have done.

Scar said...

If I disagree, I’m trans-phobic.

Thanks. Thanks a lot.
We're not that fucking irrational; you disagree, we discuss. You are not automatically a transphobe (it doesn't require a hyphen, just like homophobia doesn't) if you disagree with us.

Here's a blot of lightning for you:
GET A TRANS MODERATOR/ADVISOR.

Scuba Nurse said...

Moving forward on the points that Scar has put forward... (And I’m writing though my thought process here, on things I think we should go over, so bear with me.)

Triggers: A lot of the topics we cover are triggering, and so there seems little point in basing our moderation around likelihood of triggering. (Again, these are points for discussion not my judgement on what should happen)

Offensive comments: As far as I know, we do allow comments as long as they do not personally attack anyone, are abusive or demeaning.
We have allowed several people making some comments I found exceptionally offensive because of my personal viewpoint on their beliefs around abortion, women’s clothing choices, racism etc etc. The trans-phobia discussions are certainly not the first time we have had differing opinions debating.

Clearly we have reached a point where the line has been crossed and people are feeling unsafe to be a part of debate.

What is the best way to protect those who need support, without speaking on behalf of?

Rageaholic said...

The Hand Mirror need to state categorically whether this is a place where people can bring a specifically trans perspective to feminist issues, and then moderate accordingly. As Scar said, the thread in question was not an isolated incident, and this usual lurker has been increasing uncomfortable with the attitude towards trans people around here. It's time to pick one Hand Mirror: is this a blog about "yay cupcakes and babies are feminine that's OK" plus some social commentary; or a blog about fighting ALL oppression that happens to ALL women?

Scuba Nurse said...

just to clarify, I write my comments in word then cut and paste so missed that the conversation had progressed past julies first comment.
Im behind. sorry.
and yes, Scar, a trans moderater would be good.

merrin said...

'is this a blog about "yay cupcakes and babies are feminine that's OK" plus some social commentary; or a blog about fighting ALL oppression that happens to ALL women?'

whoaaaaa, false dichotomy!!

Anonymous said...

I think having a trans moderator is a really good idea too. I saw the thread in question and chose not to get involved.
As Scar and Rageaholic have both said though, if there is a general feeling that this blog has had problems with transphobia/not taking on issues of trans people then a moderator would go some way towards alleviating that.

Cara

anthea said...

I have some responsibility here; as I am in the position of being both a THM blogger and a QtN organiser I wish I'd responded to the initial comment thanking for what was a valid - and I believe useful - correction. I also wish I'd engaged with a commenter claiming to be defending QtN organisers, and being really problematic in the process. I didn't, and I'm sorry for this.

I have ideas about what we should do moving forward, both in terms of moderation and in terms of addressing transphobia more generally. I'll talk more by email.

anthea said...
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ideologicallyimpure said...

Many, many things to say here, but I'll try to keep it brief.

1. Julie - this simply is not "all apology". It seems pretty much just self-pitying and ignores the completely obvious, blatant issues of transphobia which were happening all over that thread. The idea that it's not *completely obvious* that a commenter persisting in using "guy" to refer to a trans woman baffles me.

2. Scuba - you've previously posted about wanting people to say things in comments rather than offsite, so here you go. Your "intention" towards Scar wasn't important then and isn't important now and raising it as an excuse is basically the whole d#mn problem with white cis feminists trampling on marginalized groups. Having a whinge because OMG I CAN'T WIN further emphasises the idea that trans* people are being unreasonable and malicious and deliberately "looking to be offended".

3. merrin - unfortunately your comment is off-topic so the moderators may not wish those issues to be addressed here, BUT. First things first? Define "physical sex" in a way that there aren't plenty of exceptions to, be they genital configuration or chromosomes or hormone levels or anything. Then define a situation where that configuration or genes or neurochemistry simply MUST be discussed; and then explain what the hell that has to do with using the right pronouns to describe a person (i.e. the pronouns they themselves choose) and respecting people's basic dignity and right to medical privacy. Because that's kind of the whole problem with people insisting that sometimes we just haaaaaave to say "was born a _____" or "is physically a _____"; it's pretty much all just an excuse for transphobia in the end.

Rageaholic said...

@merrin: Sorry, you're absolutely right. I was bringing my own shit into that statement. While I have become increasingly frustrated with some aspects of mainstream feminism it is not a dichotomy, and a blog (especially a collective!) does not have to pick one or the other. Julie asked for tips on how to moderate better, and I took it one step too far and I shouldn't have.
I would like to see The Hand Mirror be inclusive of all feminists and all women, whatever their background. I would like to see The Hand Mirror welcome a trans perspective, and be explicit about it.

stargazer said...

thanx for your post julie. i think one of the other issues we've had here is the introduction of some (wonderful) new bloggers, and we are still trying to sort out how we all work with each other. i know that i'm wary of moderating on other people's posts because i tend to be a lot tighter on comments than others, and i don't know if others are comfortable with that. which is not to excuse anything at all, more to say that i was also sitting there really unsure how to deal with it. i'm glad you've hidden the comments julie, because i was uncomfortable with the comments george was making.

in terms of providing a safe space for everyone all the time, as scubanurse has said, it's quite difficult because we've had a lot of nasty & difficult stuff around various issues. the comments on my post re the ad featuring men speaking against rape have actually been upsetting to me, though i haven't deleted them. i've really appreciated that others took on the task of responding, especially when i felt i just couldn't.

having said that, i know all of us who post at the blog could have done a lot better with moderating on that other post, and i'd like to add my apology to the others.

George said...

Don't beat yourself up Julie. No one made any personal swipes at anyone, no one defamed anyone...quite frankly I think it was a huge misunderstanding based on the lack of voice intonation and body language on the internet.

Transgender moderator would be good if trans issues come up (which they invariably will). I agree with what Scar is saying about a blog being not legitimately feminist if it oppresses one group of women...

Scar - sorry you were made to feel silenced here, I was very irritated about the comments, but that isn't an excuse for making someone feel unsafe and for that I apologise.

I have apologised to you personally on your blog, on here and will again - I am sorry. My feelings were that the word "queer" (as in queer the night) was inclusive enough, but clearly not. Being a cis-woman, I'm not the person to make that call in the first place. It would have been cool to have transgendered people involved in organising, my understanding was it was a bunch of fags and dykes....

TURN UP NEXT TIME EVERYONE! That's the lesson here. :) If you want a say in the kaupapa of an event, then come along and be part of it.

Chur

George

Acid Queen said...

Yes, yes, yes to a trans moderator. I am sure some trans people would be happy to. I would nominate Scar since clearly she has the knowledge and passion but maybe she doesn't have the time.

THM is an awesome blog but trans issues are definitely your weak spot. The blog's authors and regular commenters regularly succumb to the fallacy of "Oh s/he is my friend, s/he can't be saying something hurtful, and those oppressed people saying s/he is are just being whiny and derailing". This is what sunk The Stroppery. I'd hate the same thing to happen to THM.

Let's not forget the transphobia expressed towards V in these threads, either:

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8770341086445997547&postID=5923139836567088021

Note that V no longer comments on this blog.

If you find yourself getting annoyed by what somebody is saying, please take the time to question whether that irritation is actually a feeling of privilege being called out. Often it is.

Regarding that thread I think a bare minimum is to delete George and Milt's hurtful comments and to delete the comments encouraging people to read Milt's blog. I would say that George and Milt should be banned but maybe they have apologised in private, I don't know. If not I think they have to have it made clear there is no place for their unapologetic transphobia on this blog.

George said...
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George said...
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Julie said...

(NB: I'm not modding this thread)

V quick response to the fact that my post doesn't address the transphobia in the thread I stuffed up.

I haven't addressed it because that wasn't how I was thinking of it - as a stuff up involving transphobia - I was thinking of it as a stuff up of moderation. However I can see from this discussion that that was a mistake on my part - the stuff up is intrisincally related to the subject matter of the thread. Again, another useful aha moment for me, thanks.

Of course I think I'm not transphobic. I imagine Enoch Powell didn't think he was racist either. And this has been a case where I've been blind to my own ignorance (of trans issues) and blind to my own prejudicies (of assuming cis as the default and not even seeing that I was choosing sides that lined up with cis versus trans until someone pointed it out).

This is a big wakeup call for me - I have some significant self-educating to do. Thanks for your feedback, please know it is being read by me(although not necessarily all right now) and I am thinking about it. And it seems to me that a second post about the transphobia stuff up is probably due, although I'm not sure when I'll manage to write it. Will think.

Octavia said...

Georgina, what you are doing now is the trans*phobic equivalent of White Lady Tears.

You are anxious and triggered and crying - time to stop everything! Silence the trans* people!
Trans* people are hurt by you? Maybe anxious and triggered and crying themselves? Engage in more bigotry! Don't let this alter your behaviour! And yes it is bigotry to attempt to gaslight (the 'no one did X, no one did Y"), speak over trans* people as if they are not present, dismiss their voices, etc.

Your behaviour is abusive (and essentially supports a 'trans* people are triggering' narrative that plays into society's overall anti-trans* bigotry), as is now attempting to recentre the conversation around to YOUR hurt and act as if being 'accused' of being trans*phobic is worse than actual trans*phobia (past good acts do not erase any marginalising behaviour).

Many of us have severe anxiety, triggers, etc too. It's never an excuse for bigotry, and nor does it absolve us from responsibility or become an excuse to silence people we have marginalised speaking about their own hurt, once again.

To THM generally: yes I agree there need to be conrete changes, or this fauxpology means nothing. I'm concerned with the 'but we don't moderate other nasty comments' comments coming up. This is relevant how? The reason I don't comment here for example is because I do not feel safe in the comments. And Scuba, seriously, it is not about you. Making it sound like you can never do anything right around trans* people, is extremely cissexist. Intent is not magical.

Regarding what QoT said about people previously having mentioned wanting comments here rather than offsite (which I also remember hearing). Well, as I stated above there's a reason I DON'T comment here, so I'll just say that you can click through to my blog to read what I wrote about this if you want.

George said...
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Julie said...

George, I suggest you stop engaging on this thread or reading it. You probably aren't going to get what you want/need here. This is turning into a pretty frank and difficult discussion, and good intentions aren't going to be sufficient to avoid upset. Please go do something nice for yourself that will get your mind off this and forget about it. I think you've made your position clear, and if THM were to decide to ban anyone then we would have a long conversation about that off blog beforehand, and Maia would be part of that as someone who knows you. We have only ever banned actual fully fledged trolls in the past.

(This is not a modding suggestion, just a personal suggestion, so please don't take it with the weight of I AM MODERATOR behind it.)

Octavia said...

Google is your friend. http://abagond.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/white-womens-tears/ [TW: link contains lynching photograph at bottom of page]

You are continuing to do the cis equivalent. It is straight up abusive.

George said...
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George said...
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Julie said...

George, my email is julie dot fairey at gmail dot com I will be up for the next fifteen minutes or so.

Octavia said...

Then you need to step back.

I am no longer going to engage with this abusive behaviour and attempts to recentre blame onto mean trans* people and trans* supporters who are hurting the cis lady who is totally not bigoted, how dare you even suggest that (love that again, your PTSD etc is the only relevant kind).

I hope that the THM mods will deal with this Cis Woman Tears behaviour appropriately (i.e. by not playing into the abusive cis-hurt-is-the-only-hurt game), but I'm not hopefully that the conversation will not be successfully repositioned away from trans* concerns.

This whole post and thread has again been illuminating as to the extent of the cissexism on this blog.

Maia said...

Moderation note - I have deleted Merrin's first post as it was off topic. I've left Anthea's response she can decide what to do with it.

I was to make some comments with a moderation hat on towards George's comments, but she has taken the comments down.

These are just my moderating this thread thoughts. I may add some of my own thoughts (although probably not till tomorrow).

stef said...

I missed the details of this bust up (yet again) but I feel that comments that THM needs to be this that or the other thing fucking obnoxious as I do bitchy comments that it's only a blog about cupcakes and THM doesn't do feminism properly. Seems to me part of this (not scar's comments) is about new bloggers trying to get a rep and followers by picking on one of the big players and THM is so mainstream yada yada that it needs to be taken down a peg or two. Seen it happen in far too many online communities to give it much more thought than that. *yawn*

As for Scar's comments, I don't know what is like to be trans but I'm guessing it must suck big time especially dealing with people who have no fucking clue what it's like to be trans.

Psycho Milt said...

...I think a bare minimum is to delete George and Milt's hurtful comments and to delete the comments encouraging people to read Milt's blog. I would say that George and Milt should be banned...

As part-owner of a team blog myself, I know a lot of blog owners get well sick of commenters telling them whose comments need to be deleted and who should be banned. Shows a complete lack of respect.

As to a "safe" commenting environment: how about one where, if a moderator tells people on a thread to chill, and you immediately respect their right to moderate their own damn blog and you stop commenting, you don't then find other people with no respect for the moderator turning up and continuing to talk shit about you? That would be nice.

anthea said...

Psycho Milt - Julie specifically asked for ideas on what to do about that thread.

And whilst bloggers do have the right to moderate their own blog, I believe they also have the duty to do so responsibly. What responsibly consitutes varies depending on a number of factors, including the nature of the blog.

ehjc said...

I just want to make a comment as I was one of the twitter people that responded in outrage to the way that thread was dealt with.

I pretty much agree with most everything that Scar and QoT and Octavia have said as well as Acid Queen. But I feel it's important to add my voice to this thread and question the transphobia that goes on here.

I feel that these accusations of transphobia are being dealt with at times as if they were worse than the original transphobia! Saying that someone's actions are transphobic is not worse than perpetuating transphobia! I feel like a couple of the comments on here (that I can see now as most of George's are gone) are suggesting that it's really hard to comment on these threads because trans* people are going call them out and/or ask them to be responsible for their thoughts and actions.

That's a reality. Regardless of whether or not you think you're transphobic at some point in time you are probably going to say something or do something that is transphobic. I come from a place of believing that just as I have been raised to be racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist, fatphobic etc that I am going to be transphobic if I don't work consciously to change that. Regardless of who I am I have a responsibility to work to educate myself, to listen and to apologise if I fuck up. And further to that to not put my feelings ahead of the critical response I am receiving. And I also guess that apologies have to be unreserved. I don't particularly care about the whys. I know that everyone is busy and that moderating comments is hard.

The part I am interested in is how you are going to work to make sure that this doesn't continue.

anthea said...
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Psycho Milt said...
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Zinnia said...

"And what she got for her trouble was a shower of abuse from obnoxious ranters who appear to imagine that only "transphobia" could account for someone finding said obnoxious ranting annoying."

And there it is again.
Any calling-out on transphobia or an effort to address it is summarily dismissed as obnoxious ranting.
Nothing Scar said was a rant. Nothing Acid Queen said was a rant. Nothing I have said was a rant.
The 'wah wah I can't say anything right?' Reminding me very strongly of the men's rights activists saying things like 'you can't even give a woman a compliment these days' btw.
Probably a rant. Certainly obnoxious.
George's repeated lack of any clue?
Certainly obnoxious.
The 'oh we can't moderate anything nasty cos we're so unbiased'? And then moderating attempts to address the repeated transphobic nastiness and using it to villify trans people, not once, not twice, but over and over again on various threads?
And your oft-repeated comments like this on here, Psycho Milt? DEFINITELY obnoxious.
This is one trans person who will not be subjecting themselves to anymore of this UTTERLY CISPRIVILEDGED FUCKIDIOCY until THM gets some semblance of a clue or at least has the decency to proclaim loud and clear in their policy that THIS IS NOT A SPACE INCLUSIVE FOR TRANS PEOPLE.

Muerk said...

Re: moderating a post.

I think THM should decide what it's priorities are, is this a safe space for people or a place where the debate can get a bit rough at times. I'm not saying it's either or, just perhaps it would be good to make it clearer about what has priority for you. If people know what they are letting themselves if for then they can decide if it's what they want or not.

In my experience blogs can become derailed by people pushing an agenda. I used to comment a lot on a Catholic blog that attracted some die hard atheists who were keen to tell us how stupid and wrong we were. I gave up commenting there because every thread descended into a debate about whether God existed. After a few months it got repetitive and it shut down us exploring Catholic stuff.

So I guess what I'm suggesting from a commentators point of view is that comments work best when they are on topic and contribute something to the discussion.

I don't think a single blog can be all things to all people and it's up to the blog owners to communicate what the blog is about and work to their strengths.

Good luck and thanks for the hard work you put into here.

ms p said...

I agree that there were problems with the moderation on that thread. The whole disagreement seemed to stem from George thinking that Scar's labelling of Psycho Milt as transphobic applied to the Queer the Night organisers when Scar never said that. She simply noted that she would contact the organisers about their language. I think some of George's comments needed to be moderated (esp. the comments about hiding behind pseudonyms). At heart it was a misunderstanding which was worsened because both participants turned it into a personal slinging match. Ideally the moderation would not have thanked George for her participation but just pointed out that the argument was turning into a slanging match and shut down comments.

I guess that to some this will read as me dismissing their points on the basis of 'tone'. But to me, this thread and the thread linked to earlier in which V considered Maia's post as transphobic have made me uneasy not because of the transphobia but because V, Acid Queen and Scar are demanding how the THM crew run their blog, to the point of demanding to know who made [deleted] transphobic comments, what people should be banned and what comments should be deleted. These are unreasonable demands.

Going forwards, of course we should work towards THM being a safe space but this is a place for discussion about contentious issues of identity. Therefore, I don't think it can ever be a completely safe space - there will always be people making statements we consider outrageous, offensive, oppressive and so on.

So maybe leave the thread there as an example of what we want to avoid at the THM. But quite honestly, I came to the thread too late to contribute but even I got there earlier I probably wouldn't have been game to add a comment for the reasons Scuba Nurse listed above.

Zinnia said...

"Debate getting a bit rough" is vastly different from moderators enabling, contributing to and at times actively encouraging discriminatory behaviour. I don't know any transpeople who are delicate little flowers who can't survive tough words - there's no way we would survive transition otherwise, because we deal with this crap every single day of our lives.

Muerk said...

Zinnia:

Okay, how about "debate getting hurtful"?

ehjc said...

I think Muerk that there is a difference between difficult debate and transphobic speech and attitudes. It doesn't matter how you rename it. There's a difference. And maybe you're not seeing it.

Zinnia said...

Thanks ehjc, couldn't have put that better myself.

And as for THIS "thread linked to earlier in which V considered Maia's post as transphobic have made me uneasy not because of the transphobia but because V, Acid Queen and Scar are demanding how the THM crew run their blog, to the point of demanding to know who made [deleted] transphobic comments, what people should be banned and what comments should be deleted. These are unreasonable demands."

Says it all really.
I mean, how DARE those angry, uppity black/female/gay/fat/disabled/transpeople make DEMANDS that we address blatant discrimination against them occurring in OUR spaces?
How unreasonable can you get!

cjmax02 said...

Until you guys get a trans moderator, I'm going to stop following this blog.

I missed the whole comment thread and won't even get the chance to now that it's all been silenced, but I can see from this post that you haven't learned anything.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Julie said...

In regard specifically to the issue of me thanking George and Kassie for their comments on the thread in question. I apologise wholeheartedly for that.

Looking at it afterwards it totally read that I was thanking them, and I felt a complete idiot because I was actually trying to write it in a way that didn't _thank_ them but did point out that I understood it couldn't have been easy to comment. I failed, badly.

What I should have done was actually think about how difficult it must have been for Scar and AQ to contribute to that thread, at all. And acknowledged that calling people out is hard, as is responding to being called out, and that actually the first is possibly harder than the second depending on the context.

I'm struggling a bit with some comments, trying to understand in my head precisely what people are telling me, so I'm going to have a think about some questions and come back with them in a comment at a later time (possibly not today). Please consider when you read my questions that they aren't rhetorical devices, as I so often employ questions ordinarily, but are genuine questions which I am intending without tone (and hopefully will manage to phrase in that manner, but as I think we can all see, I'm not as good at that as I'd like).

Thanks for your continuing contributions here, this is a difficult discussion, I truly appreciate your comments on this and am learning a great deal.

Maia said...

Moderating hat again:

Hey Dan I deleted your post. I am really not willing to open up this discussion to include events that happened in other spaces.

If you want to re-post that comment without the last paragraph or so feel free. If you don't have a copy e-mail me at capitalismbad@gmail.com and I can send it to you or repost it for you since I saved a copy.

I also deleted one of Psycho-milt's comment and hid Anthea's response and his response to that.

Anonymous said...

Hey Julie

Thanks. You do such a good job on the Hand Mirror, along with all your other roles.

I agree that Scar had a valid reason to feel angry after that thread and felt George was pretty aggressive in her comments to her.

But you have turned around and admitted you were wrong and tried your best to make it right.

I really hope everyone commenting here tries to work towards something positive coming out of this rather than heaping further anger on the pile.

If Scar is still reading comments, thanks heaps for the link to your blog. Really interesting posts, especially the one about being anonymous. I suggest others pop over and have a read if they are struggling to get to grips with some of Scar's points.

Meg

Julie said...

A further thought, is that when I say or do something transphobic my intention to not do so, born from my ignorance, doesn't necessarily lessen the impact for those actually affected by the transphobic action/comment. People say stuff like "it's not personal" but that just means "it's not personal to me". If something hurts you it hurts you, and that shouldn't be denied, imho.

It's probably relatively easy to moderate blatant and deliberate transphobia (and indeed I have done so in the past, although obviously not as well as I should). It's that inadvertent or more subtle transphobia (and cissexism, and other issues that I admit I haven't thought much about until recently) that are more difficult for me to moderate. I hear the suggestion about a trans moderator and agree that it is a good one. We are discussing that and other ideas behind the scenes. Until that can happen (and acknowledging that there is a fair degree of scepticism about the ability to make THM a trans-friendly space at all, and so it may not be that there is a trans person who wants to bother, which is fair enough) very keen to hear more ideas about how to do better.

One of the things I see about feminist blogging in NZ a lot is whether or not places are "101" spaces. I tend to think of THM as a 101 space, partly because that's how I think of my own feminism, but mainly because that's how it started. Sometimes we have threads that are not 101, and that's made clear and dealt with differently (another thing we could probably get better at though).

Thanks again for the contributions. I know I keep saying this but I really do appreciate them. After all it would be really easy for people to just walk away and never read again, rather than making this effort to communicate concerns and ideas.

Julie said...

Top clarify further on my last comment - when I discriminate between blatant and subtle transphobia I mean blatant and subtle to me, which is possibly a different threshold from for others who have more knowledge and experience.

Zinnia said...

Julie, your last post is appreciated.
One issue with finding a trans moderator may be the need to remain anonymous, which as Scar has pointed out, is done for our own safety.
I'm not saying it isn't possible to remain anonymous and fulfil a role as a moderator, but it's a pretty small country, we're 0.1% of the population, and those numbers get very small indeed when you're talking about trans people who debate in these circles. One of those 'subtle' forms of cissexism Julie mentioned often takes the form of 'ooh let's think of all the stroppy trans people we know about and decide which one it might be so we can talk about them some more/gossip about them among ourselves/villify them/OUT them to all our friends and say 'look what that angry irrational trans person is doing now, finding transphobia all over the place'.
I missed the 'Dan' post, but I'm guessing it was certainly along those lines, certainly wouldn't be the first time.

ms p said...

Zinnia,

To be clear my phrasing of "not because of the transphobia", was not to say I saw transphobia and didn't care about it. It's to say I couldn't see the alleged transphobia in the Maia/V thread. Now you say that's because of my cis-blindness but I say otherwise.

Deep said...

I tend to think of THM as a 101 space, partly because that's how I think of my own feminism, but mainly because that's how it started.

Really? I've seen an awful lot of "It's not my job to educate you" on THM.

ideologicallyimpure said...

Seems to me part of this (not scar's comments) is about new bloggers trying to get a rep and followers by picking on one of the big players and THM is so mainstream yada yada that it needs to be taken down a peg or two.

Wow, Stef. If you're going to declare what other people's motivations are you could have the decency to name them (I'm assuming it's not me, btw, since I'm hardly new and already have entirely sufficient rep). But seriously, trying to downplay people's criticisms by saying "they're obviously just trying to get attention" is nastily silencing enough without the highschool "*yawn*" at the end.

You clearly just don't think what went down on that thread was problematic. Duly noted. /ohlook,Icanbecattilydismissivetoo

Anonymous said...

Queen of Thorns, could you just give it a break please.

Meg

Scar said...

Just a quick comment on subtle transphobia, to follow up on what Zinnia said...

Thanks for deleting the post from 'Dan'. The content of his post was a subtle form of transphobia in another way, as it broached personal issues from past events and made wild assumptions about those events, without any actual evidence that those assumptions are correct.

Which then challenges the person in question and prompts them to either Out themselves in order to deny the accusations and debunk the false assumptions, or forces them to sit back, grit their teeth and sit on their hands, because the accuser KNOWS that they will Out themselves if they speak.

It's a lose-lose situation for the trans person - and the person engaging them damn well knows it.

So thanks again for stomping on another potentially nasty piece of subtle transphobia.
I'm mostly pleased and relatively impressed by how this discussion has progressed and have high hopes that THM will become a space where trans people can contribute to trans (and other) discussions without feeling like they're trying to move a wall with their face.

ideologicallyimpure said...

@Meg

Um, why, precisely? Or did I miss the "it's comment like you're a character from Mean Girls day!" memo?

stef said...

@Ideologically Impure my comments were directed at who ever made THM
only talks about cupcakes and babies and therefore is not a feminist
blog bollocks.

THM is never going to be all things to all people as this thread
demonstrates. IF you don't want to read about cupcakes and babies then
run along the internet is a big place.

Maia said...

Moderating hat on:
I just deleted a comment from Stef for the same reason I deleted a comment from Dan. I'd really prefer if we stuck with what's going on THM at the moment. She's reposted that comment without the last paragraph - just so people know what's going.

I'm going to moderate more strictly for topic for the rest of the evening to make sure this doesn't spiral outwards. Please try and focus on the topic and what people say, rather than other commenters as people.

Muerk said...

ehjc:

I see the difference.

One thing I have read is that there is no right not to be offended in relation to free speech. I'm not defending that btw, just stating it as a theory.

Obviously if the blog owners allow everyone to say what they want it does not lead to a safe space for people. I think it's up to the blog owners to decide what level of safety and what level of freedom (including freedom to be offensive) they want. Then I think they should communicate their priorities and what's going to be allowed and people can make up their own mind as to how much they want to engage.

David said...

This comment is addressed to the Blog owners of THM.

Yours is one of a small number of blogs on my must read list & quite enjoy reading it. I personally don’t believe that you had anything to apologise for, in fact I’m scratching my head to remember anything that has ever been posted in the past two or three years that could remotely be considered offensive. Sure there has been stuff that I wouldn’t agree with, and after some thought on occasions I might have come to see you point of view. But generally I find most of what you write to be well written, well thought out and quite often passionate, but NEVER offensive.

There are a handful of people commenting here are little more than bullies who are trying to take over your blog and telling you what to do. I think that you are collectively owed an apology by these commentators for the demanding and bullying tone of the comments aimed at the blog owners. Unfortunately these types of people, while quick to take offence at the smallest slight, will never accept an apology gracefully, likewise they will never apologise for their actions no matter how unreasonable. There are other more tactful ways to disagree with what has been said without resorting to bullying behaviour, unfortunately bullies get off on bullying others it’s what they do it makes them feel good about themselves. The only thing to do is to continue on with good grace, and lead by example it annoys the fuck out of bullies.

It’s a pity you have had to put up with this unpleasantness over the past week or two, but I guess that is the risk of having a publicly available blog with comments. I appreciate your fortitude to continue in the face of such behaviour and also to engage with these people and to offer an apology, when none was necessary, especially considering that THM is your blog. I know of a number of people who read your blog and appreciate what you write, but don’t necessarily comment here. I’m sure you have their support as you have mine.

All the best and good luck.

David

Julie said...

Some short responses:

Deep - I think you'll find a lot of the "educate yourself" response has been either by people who are commenters rather than posters, or after people have shared links/knowledge that someone clearly hasn't bothered to look at and continued commenting in a fashion that frustrates. This is a group effort and while I may feel this is a 101 space, because I feel that's where I'm at, other bloggers here may well disagree, and it's a discussion that is ongoing behind the scenes.

AQ - that's a very good point about reflecting on whether my irritation is because my privilege/mistake is being challenged/called out. I'm going to think some more on that.

Octavia - Intent is not magical, I agree. I've quite often not deleted a comment that has upset others because I've read it with a different (nicer) intention than the writer had. And that's a sign of my privilege in itself - that I haven't had to routinely defend my very identity.

ehjc - In terms of apologies being unreserved and not being interested in the whys - for me understanding why I stuffed up (not making excuses at all) is an important part of avoiding such stuff ups in the future. I've shared my thoughts about that (not all of them but the ones I thought relevant, not the "I'm really busy" one because that would be just an excuse and not an explanation, after all it's not as if I'm suddenly going to get less busy and that will make me a better moderator or give me an understanding of trans* issues; I need to progress both of those things whether I'm busy or not). I'm not asking anyone else to think what I've written about why I think I stuffed up is an excuse or a justification, it's not. I own it, totally. I find it useful to avoid repitition by understanding what I did wrong, and this discussion has been incredibly useful for me because I had totally misunderstood several crucial things. So I'm glad I did explain things in more detail and not just say "Shouldn't have done it, I'm sorry" because then I wouldn't have learnt that what I did wrong was mainly not what I actually thought I did wrong at all. That's very long winded way of putting it, I hope it makes sense!

(This comment in two parts cos it got too long, see below for rest)

Julie said...

(this comment is in two parts because too long, please see above)

Muerk - I agree with your points about priorities and safe spaces. We are having a similar conversation behind the scenes. The bloggers here have changed a lot since we started (both in terms of the actual people, but also as ourselves - none of us exactly who we were, thinking the way we did, three years ago). A discussion about what THM should be like, for the current team, is overdue. We've started several times by email but never quite gotten there. It's clear to me we have to finish that conversation and then communicate it clearly to the readers/commenters. Please don't expect it to happen immediately. We operate on a very informal basis which means these things often take a long time.

A little more from me that isn't specifically in response to a particular comment (have now read three posts out there about this situation, not yet all of them, and they're a bit mixed up in my head with this thread and other discussions, so maybe responding to stuff from there?):
I don't think I was clear upthread, that when I stated I'd had that aha moment that this was a stuff up about transphobia, mishandling moderation in a way that reinforced transphobia and thus was transphobic, I was apologising for that. I think people seem to have read that in, but wanted to make it explicit and clear anyway.

I've also learnt tonight, in the reading I'm doing about language and feminism and stuff ups, that using "blind" as I did upthread is ableist, and I apologise for that. For those wondering what I'm talking about, I found this post, and the comment thread really helpful. For those who haven't mentioned it but did notice, thanks for your forbearance.

Scar said...

One thing I have read is that there is no right not to be offended in relation to free speech.

One thing I've noticed is that the people who are the least easy to offend have the most privilege.

Y'know, Dave the white, cis, abled, heterosexual CEO of a mutlinational corporation never seems to get offended by anything (well, except women who won't get in the kitchen).
But oddly, the Tina the queer, unemployed, trans, disabled person of colour gets offended quite easily.

But according to Dave, Tina is just being whiny and needs to 'man up'.

ehjc said...

Hey Julie,

Yeah. I think particularly in your later responses you have worked through stuff and it's clear that you've worked through stuff by writing it down and getting responses etc. I think it is great that you have done all this work in a transparent way, apologising along the way.

I guess I am wary of excuses and explanations because I'm sure that you would have uncovered those misunderstandings in a myriad of ways. And the dialogue does get more centered on yourself, which may be appropriate as it is a blog you are an author of, but it's just something that I am personally very wary of in situations like these.

I think that when we have privilege in a situation it is very easy to become the loud voice, when perhaps what is needed is more quiet from those who have the most privilege in the room. I include myself here as I'm not trans* and I think it's my place to show solidarity here but the real people who need to be responded to (and who you have responded to) are the trans people in the room.

I appreciate your thoughtfulness on this, but I want to make it clear that I think your response is one of common decency and whilst special because it's rare it is no more than should be expected in a situation such as this.

:)

Julie said...

I agree wholeheartedly ehjc. Thanks for the feedback.

Muerk said...

Scar:

Yeah I agree and that's why I'm very wary when people get told there's not right to not be offended. If the power dynamic is very lopsided then it's essentially reinforcing that unfair structure where the powerful tell the less powerful to be quiet and suck it up. It stops being freedom and just another expression of injustice.

My personal thoughts on the thread was that your polite calm request that the Queer the Night media use cis as well as heteronormative was reasonable. You are heterosexual, you're a woman who is attracted to men.

I also thought that using the phrase 'internet tough guy" to you was an example of cis privilege. As a cis woman the word "guy" is to me pretty gender neutral, but to someone who is trans I can see how confronting "guy" could be.

The trans people I know don't actually want to be trans, they want to be externally what they are internally and some people I know go to very expensive, painful lengths to achieve this.

Julie said...

Just in case some people are reading the comments but not coming through from the post itself, letting you know that I've updated the original post. I haven't changed anything in what I wrote originally, but have added to the end a summary of what I think is a more accurate reflection of where my thinking on this is currently at. Thanks for contributing to my (ongoing) education.

Psycho Milt said...

Julie - you wrote:

...reflect on AQ's v valid point: "If you find yourself getting annoyed by what somebody is saying, please take the time to question whether that irritation is actually a feeling of privilege being called out. Often it is."

Yes, that is good advice. But please also take the time to question whether that irritation is actually because the commenter is one of those particularly irritating ones who abuse others, reject attempts at moderation and try to tell you what to do on your own blog - and just happens to belong to oppressed group x. Because often it is.

In moderation I have struggled with identifying transphobia and cissexism in comments.

Well, sure. The trans commenters on this blog and on their own blogs are quite clear that transphobia and cissexism are what they say it is. You are explicitly discouraged from attempting to form your own opinion on what it might be - hence the calls for a trans moderator. By their own account, you knowing what transphobia and cissexism are is an impossibility - there's no need to feel remorse over something you can't change.

Scar said...

One has to wonder, Milt, why 'oppressed group x' would want to tell the owners of a blog what to do with their blog.

You are explicitly discouraged from attempting to form your own opinion on what it might be

Wrong. You are encouraged to educate yourself with the mighty resources of the Internet and the aid of friendly trans people, rather than huddling in a little group of cis people and deciding what transphobia is, even though you've never experienced it.
You're welcome to form your own opinion. But if it is not an informed opinion, then it's pretty worthless.

By their own account, you knowing what transphobia and cissexism are is an impossibility

Also wrong.
Unless you also believe that no-one can know what homophobia, racism, ableism, sexism or any other -ism or phobic behaviour is without experiencing it.
If so, that's a mighty big cop-out and excuses a bigot for pretty much all of hir bigotry.

Anyway; your whole comment is underpinned with "I don't really believe that transphobia and cissexism even exist, really - and if they do, we can't trust the trans people to tell us what it is, because they might be trying to get one over us (insert conspiracy theory reasoning here)"

ms p said...

Hey Julie,

I want to echo ehjc in acknowledging (and supporting you in) how you've handled this issue.

It's hard to open yourself up to public criticism the way you have in this post, and admit mistakes (even though we all make them!). Just wanted to let you know that you and the whole Hand Mirror team have my support.

Cheers,
Ms P

George said...

Me saying "guy" was an EPIC FAIL on my part, based 100 per cent on my complete ignorance of scar being a trans-woman. It must be really hard to struggle everyday to have people take you seriously for the woman that you are, and I can't say how sorry I am that it appeared my voice was tuning in with that chorus of disrespect. I find it very stressful being confronted online (stress which I admit may stem from my own cis-privilege being unseated) but it is meltdown inducing stress nonethless, so I think until I can handle being called out on my fuck ups (inevitable given my 'all shades of bigoted' upbringing), I will refrain from participating and simply absorb from a distance! Perhaps in future it would be wise to refrain from using potentially gender biased terms (such as 'guys') online, to avoid possible hurt?

To the person who said I had mistakenly interpreted scar's comments to psycho milt as directed at QtN organizers- you are completely on the nail, that's what happened :)

To all the trans people reading and commenting on this blog, thank you for your courage in participating.

Scar said...

Georgina, I'd like to point out that in my first responses to Psycho Milt on the QTN thread, I stated that I was a trans woman.

I'm guessing that you missed that in much the same manner that you missed the fact that what I was saying about transpobia was directed at Psycho Milt, not the QTN organisers.

This isn't an attack, rather a constructive criticism; much of this fracas could have been avoided if you'd read the entire thread and processed it before commenting.

Moving along...
I accept your apology.
It does upset me that you were so negatively affected by this affair. I offer my condolence and I also offer my support; if you need to talk, please contact me via gwynhyfar-at-xtra-dot-co-dot-nz

Psycho Milt said...

..your whole comment is underpinned with "I don't really believe that transphobia and cissexism even exist, really - and if they do, we can't trust the trans people to tell us what it is, because they might be trying to get one over us (insert conspiracy theory reasoning here)"

That would be pretty stupid, certainly. Fortunately, it's not actually an underlying assumption of the comment.

I doubt the blog owners would thank me for re-starting the exact argument, so I'll leave it at that.

Azlemed said...

Thank you for your honesty Julie, I havent commented on the cissexism and transphbia stuff before now because I havent thought about how priviledged my position is, I have learnt a lot just by reading these discussions and will try not to be so closeted in my own mind and to educate myself further.

George said...

Ok, so it appears that I am not only a nutty, lippy, loose-canon of a feminist dyke, but also visually impaired! LOL

But seriously, thank you for your very generous acceptance of my apology and super-kind offer of support.

Your criticism is warranted and I will be working on reading things much more carefully in future. The fact that I've been in bed for the last 4 days with a raging fever, severe tonsilitis, a head full of nasties & stoned on codeine for muscle & throat pain may partially account for my ineptitude. D'oh!!!

Scar said...

You're welcome to discuss this more over at my blog, Milt.

If there isn't a sentiment of "Them Untrustworthy Trans People Are Trying To Get Something They Don't Deserve" underpinning your comments, then I'm afraid that they don't make any sense.

Anonymous said...

Maia, I totally understand your deleting my last post as it wasn't as relevant as it could have been, however I would like to address Scar's interpretation of me trying to "out" a trans person. This wasn't my intention; my intention was to show that sometimes calls of transphobia can be misused. A transperson saying whatever the heck they want (no matter how abusive) and calling anyone who takes issue with that is transphobic is really shitty. I would like to see us use terms for what they are, as words have so much power. Calling someone displaying ignorance and cissexism ‘transphobic’ on this thread is implying that someone who has little understanding of trans issues has a hateful phobia against them, is again, really shitty.

It’s obvious that many THM followers (including myself) still have learning to do around trans issues (and privilege, and other groups who have been oppressed, erased and silenced by feminism).

I see a huge parallel between cis people being reluctant to accept that sometimes (even unwittingly through ignorance) they *are* they are part of the problem, and men doing everything they can to assure feminists that actually they’re the best dudes ever and no onus is on us. Which I am sure I have done in the past.

However, I take real issue with the indignant callouts by some commenters here, given that (unless they are superhuman) they are probably still learning about oppression themselves, and discovering things that they once thought perfectly fine are actually really bloody harmful to parts of our community.

THM has been a place of learning for many people, and part of that learning is getting schooled when you do something ignorant, but I don’t believe that should involve commenters questioning the rights and validity in people’s expression of confusion, guilt and anxiety in response to realising you stuffed up big time. No doubt some realisations of wrong doing (especially non-intentional wrong doing based on ignorance) are met by similar feelings in all of us, and deciding to aggressively jump on someone’s expression of being upset instead of challenging their ideas does not sit well with me at all.

Tone arguments can be a silencing tactic, as can aggression.

- Dan

Scar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scar said...

Calling someone displaying ignorance and cissexism ‘transphobic’ on this thread is implying that someone who has little understanding of trans issues has a hateful phobia against them, is again, really shitty.

Dan, you clearly have no idea what 'transphobia' actually means or what transphobic behaviour entails.
Transphobic behaviour doesn't need to be hateful or a clinical phobia to be transphobic; just as racist behaviour or homophobic behaviour doesn't need to be either of those to be racist or homophobic.

As for the other points in your post; as usual, Intent Is Magic and being called a transphobe apparently sucks just as much as being a trans person and cis people get to decide whether or not something is transphobic and them confused trannies are (as usual) just crying 'TRANSPHOBIA' to score points in some discussion or to get Special Treatment that you poor cis folks aren't getting.

You have quite a history of transphobia, Dan. I suggest you go educate yourslef a LOT more before you comment on trans issues again.
because you're coming across as a cis privileged douchbag (again).

(repost to remove ableist language)

Anonymous said...

Sorry Scar but this is probably my 10th comment on a blog ever (most of the others are on architecture blogs) and my only active involvement in trans discussion to date, as I prefer to read and learn. So I am not sure where my history of transphobia comes from, and your speed to throw that label on me is exactly the theme I am taking issue with in this thread.

That said, your comment about transphobia not needing to be as extreme as a hateful phobia is really thought provoking. I would have thought “phobia” meant it had to be overt, and covert actions were (instead) cisentric or erasing or silencing. But I can see exactly what you mean in your correction. So thank you.

- Dan

Maia said...

Just to let everyone know that what I'm doing today isn't really compatible with thoughtful moderating. It'll be more emergency intervention.

I'm always more reluctant to delete a post that has been replied to - so if you think something should go you can e-mail me rather than respond (my e-mail is in this thread).

Finally I'd like to remind people that the intent/good faith/any other aspect of people who have criticised the Hand Mirror isn't the topic here and shouldn't really be up for discussion. Despite this it has already been done to death, so any more comments that address that will be deleted.

Scar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Megapope said...

Hi there!

I've been following this discussion from work, (since a friend asked me if I was the Dan commenting on here) in case this very thing happened.

Just to clear up confusion, the anon-Dan isn't me. I'm not an architect for starters.

I've commented on here before, and I always use my blogger login. Sorry to intrude, but I didn't want this spiralling out of control and saw this as the easiest way to clear things up quickly.

The Megapope said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Acid Queen said...

I'd just like to say for the record that I am not a trans-person. Some comments here seem to imply they think I am? Wanted to clear it up.

Maia said...

Hey there - I've just deleted a whole slew of comments about the identity of one of the posters and the discussion that ensued. I've left one comment from someone who wanted to clarify that they weren't someone else.

I'm still a little confused about what's going on. But I don't think speculating about people's identity is appropriate on this thread.

Scar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
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Maia said...

When I say a discussion is over, I mean it.

Dan if you want to contact Scar you can using her blog.

Scar said...
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Maia said...

Just to clarify a couple of things (I told you I wasn't in a good place for careful moderation).

First I didn't mean the whole conversation needed to stop - just the recent detour into who the Dans are.

Second I thought I'd deleted right back to the start of the discussion of Dan's identity, but I realised that I missed one point - and since I I don't want to re-open the conversation I'm going to summarise one point.

So here's a brief summary of what happened. Scar said (in a post that is still up) that Dan had a history of transphobia. Dan objected. Scar mentioned that she was basing this on his participation on this thread and assumptions she was making about his identity. Dan responded and made it clear that she was wrong about his identity. Scar acknowledged this and that she had no idea of him apart from what's on this thread.

A general note to everyone - this is a public comment thread - if your comment is based on stuff that happened elsewhere or is aimed at a few people and impenetrable to others then it's not appropriate. We're not looking for inside baseball here, but a public discussion.

Moz said...

One thing that might not have been considered (or might have been, I dunno), is moderation-by-proxy. Otherwise known as a complaints process :) It might help to be explicit that people can say "look, this is problematic because..." and the mod team will find a member to take on policing of it for the particular post (or posts) where it's an issue. That lets the complainant off the "out yourself or put up with it" hook. And hopefully just having a mod pop up and say "I'm going to be policing ...-phobia quite assertively starting now" might help.

It's work, but it's possibly less work than the current furore.

FWIW, I'm inclined to do this a bit when asked (and when not), on the basis that it's better to have a slightly-less-clueless non-involved person poking the problematic people than someone who's in fight-or-flight mode. And that can also help.

Meanwhile, my new essay on "sucking eggs, some tips for older women" is nearly ready to post.

David said...

Scar you said :
……………. Y'know, Dave the white, cis, abled, heterosexual CEO of a mutlinational corporation never seems to get offended by anything (well, except women who won't get in the kitchen).
But oddly, the Tina the queer, unemployed, trans, disabled person of colour gets offended quite easily.

But according to Dave, Tina is just being whiny and needs to 'man up'.

You appear to give the impression that you know me, you don’t. Although I report directly to the Managing Director, I’m a level below the CEO and I don’t have anything like the compensation package of the CEO either. Making assumptions about my skin colour, sexuality, disability/lack of disability or weather or not I’m offended by women in the workplace is showing you own bigotry, not mine.

I commented earlier on this blog because quite frankly I was appalled at the abuse and bullying of the owners of this blog, and I wanted to express my support to them. I said this earlier (or words to this effect), I have not read anything posted on this blog that could be considered offensive in the two or three years I’ve been reading it. I’ve often been impressed at how much the owners of this blog get involved in the community in an effort to make their community a better and more just place.

Unfortunately there are always unpleasant people who will winge and moan and bully people who try to achieve good within their community. Generally these people are selfish, narcissistic, petty minded and all together destructive. As such they are an obstacle to be overcome, as one would overcome any obstacle. If I have any negative comment about this blog is that the owners can be too kind, but perhaps this is a virtue they have, that I’m lacking.

Oh and by the way I do know a “Tina” we were at school together some 30 year ago, She was far too bright for me, Tina finished her education Cornell, got a job on Wall Street & married well. She lives in The Dakota and has a place in The Hamptons. Again making assumptions about someone who you do not know, in regard to their colour, sexuality, disability/lack of disability, their employment status etc shows your own bigotry and prejudice.

If you wish to tell “amusing made up anecdotes” about me I suggest you tell them on your own blog, where I will be more forthright in my response to you, if I can be bothered that is. I’m also led to believe that you have an email address for me, although I have little time for personal abuse and will delete rather than respond.

David

Scar said...

Um, David, you do realise that I picked the name 'Dave' out of a virtual hat to use as an example of a fictional privileged dude, right?
Right?
o.O

Mikaere Curtis said...

My interpretation from this thread is that it would be useful to have a trans* person as a moderator.

Would it be useful to also consider the skills that such a moderator may bring to the role (apart from the natural understanding of trans* experience) ?

I think it would be productive to have such a moderator, and support THM in appointing such a person.

Julie: nga mihi kia koe. Public self-examination takes courage.

General question: how does one pronounce "cis" - is it "siz" or "sy" or something else ?

Another Question: As a cis-gendered Maori parent, what are some of the values that I should examine in myself in terms of ensuring that I am rolemodeling trans*-supportive attitudes ?

* I'm using the asterisk as a wildcard so the noun is as inclusive as possible.

Scar said...

First Question: It's pronounced 'sis' as in 'sister'.

Second Question: You can be a good rolemodel by always treating trans people as you would treat any cis person. Anything you wouldn't say or do to a cis person, don't say to or about a trans person. Anything you wouldn't do to a cis person, don't do to a trans person.

In addition, many NZ trans women use "Whakawahine" instead of "trans woman" and many NZ trans men use "Tangata Ira Tane" instead of trans man.
I personally prefer Tangata Ira Wahine, because it has more emphasis on being a woman and less on becoming a woman.

George said...

While I was growing up, I remember watching the "Hero" parade on TV. Dad told me this about transgendered people: "sometimes there are women who are born locked inside a man's body, or a men who are locked inside a woman's body". I was about 7, but I still remember him saying that :)

Anonymous said...

Although I am pakeha, I live in a predominantly Māori region of Aotearoa, so I usually identify as whakawahine if anyone asks, and in this area that seems to be the last gender related question people ask me. It just seems to 'say it all' for Māori.

S.S.

LudditeJourno said...

Julie - thank you for being brave enough to apologise and acknowledge areas of learning. In my opinion, it's one of the hardest things to do, and the fact that you - like us all - are in a process of learning the areas we are privileged in, and you're not scared to say so, in public, despite this place having been vitriolic and accusatory in all kinds of ways, is completely and utterly both commendable and ethical.

Much respect, and my apologies for my holiday meaning I am only catching up on this now.

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