yesterday, and as a result of the evergreen college sauna hoopla and roseanne barr’s reference to the non-incident in her twitter comments, i managed to pick up a troll. he first replied to my twitter comments regarding the issue. i referred him to my blog and the links to stories that covered the subject.
the reply he came back with? “and i refer u to my dick. cus it makes me NOT A WOMAN! even if i wish REALLY hard and play dress-up. #delusional #mentalillness”
at this point it was clear this was not a person who would take in any education on the subject of transgender, and the issue of the evergreen sauna situation was not the basis for his ridiculous remarks. i’ve seen this kind of troll comment on other stories about transgender people. the mere existence of something outside their determined “norm” with regard to gender really sets this type of person to ballistic attack mode.
no amount of links sending this person to the research and scholarly articles written would serve to sway him. informing his type that even the DSM5 has dropped transgender as a specific mental illness or pathology wouldn’t convince him. he had, i think, actually gone to this blog, and had perhaps skimmed a post or two for content, enough to where the issue of the evergreen college event was no longer the point. he had shifted his focus to a personal attack against me, against my daughter and by extension, against anyone who is transgender.
to his rant, i politely responded in the manner appropriate for dealing with people like him, saying simply “i’m sorry. i don’t speak ‘troll’.”
it seems that no matter how much time passes, how ever much understanding increases, a bigot will cleave to his outdated ignorance. this in itself is only slightly disturbing to me. but bigots such as this man no doubt raise children who either acquiesce to his world view and become true bigots in their own right, or are themselves gay or transgender and grow up terrorised by that parent, living in fear of them or standing up to them only to be disowned. it is a story all too common in our society.
yesterday also, i bought a book by molly ringwald, who, it turns out, is a very good writer. the title of it is “when it happens to you: a novel in stories”. one of the stories in the collection, and the reason i bought the book, was titled: “my olivia”. it was the story of a single mom raising a boy who proclaims to be a girl. i don’t know what i expected when i began reading. but i believed it would deal with the topic sensitively.
the mother in the book is indeed supportive of her childs needs, allowing for no haircuts and eventually buying clothing that, in our society, is reserved for a girl. it is not a long story. and i believe says much about how easy it is for humans to place expectations on people and situations, expectations that superimpose fairytale ending, dream-come-true delusions over whatever reality is being experienced. but the part that really touched my soul in deep places was the mother’s response to her own fear after some older bullies have attacked her child in the park one day, seriously enough to have to go to hospital. with fears for her child’s safety uppermost in mind, the mom goes home and gets rid of every last girl article of clothing, or toy. i felt the horror that the child would feel at being betrayed by the only person he/she had in life. i felt the sense of despair the poor thing must’ve felt at imagining a future that excluded her being able to be herself.
i had to put the story down. i was afraid of what would happen next to poor little olivia. when i picked up the kindle to read on, the author describes the situation perfectly. how the child was crushed and began to slowly die that day. (no spoiler here. the book is worth a read)
i know the fear this mother felt. everyday there are stories of transgender people being attacked, killed or just oppressed and denied their place in this world. kids are cruel, bigots lack conscience and it is indeed a dangerous place for people like my daughter. the troll from twitter is a perfect example of just what sort of crazy folk she might have the displeasure to encounter someday. as parents, we can only protect them so far. but i refuse to live life bowing to fear, nor will i teach my daughter to do this. instead, i will make certain, as much as possible, to give her the confidence to be who she is today, and the arsenal she may need tomorrow. which includes ways to responded to bigots and trolls that don’t stoop to their level of crazy.
sometimes simply saying: ‘so sorry, but i don’t speak troll’ is most fitting and very satifying.