In the US and UK trans rights are under more scrutiny than ever, but if people truly support freedom of speech and expression then they must stand in solidarity with trans people.
Warnings go out across Twitter. One claim is doing the rounds that razorblades have been put underneath transmisic posters designed to hurt those who try to take the hate speech down. Within one week, half a dozen people tell me they have found posters all around the country – from the North East, Midlands to London. Luckily, none of them found razorblades – but the messages of hate are still searing.
Transmisia has stepped up in society as legislation has come under review. Transmisics aren’t happy that trans people may be granted (slightly) more autonomy in the future. In the US, an opposite future is playing out but equally hate-filled. It is the administration leading the push against trans rights while progressives are alarmed. Trump is essentially planning to weaponise false science to erase trans identities out of existence. It is truly terrifying.
The most curious aspect to the US situation though has been the reaction of people who have built platforms on attacking trans people. They claim their hate is free speech, and yet now, they are shocked, appalled and stunned that their is actually going to be policy changes against trans people. It is as though they didn’t believe speech ever had any consequences. They were wrong.
“They claim their hate is free speech, and yet now, they are shocked, appalled and stunned that their is actually going to be policy changes against trans people”
Speech and language have always mattered. They shape our worldview. It’s ludicrous to think otherwise. We vote for politicians on what they see, more than what they ever actually do, for instance. The free speech brigade act so often without responsibility and now in the US we are seeing the consequences, and it isn’t consequences they will have to live with but a vulnerable population who were already under attack.
Being an ‘edgelord’, aka saying really petty, immature and bullying things, does not make a person insightful. Misgendering someone doesn’t make you cool or trendy. In fact, it just reaffirms their place as part of the majority given that trans people face verbal harassment constantly. So, if those supporting hate could stop acting like they are brave and special that would be great. They are cowards. They also don’t understand what they stand for.
To support freedom of speech means to support uncomfortable truths (read: not hate speech) and freedom of expression. Trans people – and all queer people – unequivocally fit this. They constantly face having their identities suppressed and from being unable to express themselves. Even to come out is an act of free speech. Support for trans and queer rights are fundamental to supporting freedom of speech, self-determination, personal autonomy, and democracy. You do not truly support free speech without supporting everyone’s right to free speech. That includes the people you don’t approve of.