This is a follow-up to my previous post, where I expressed ambivalence about supporting Detrans Awareness Day. A friend challenged me on that, and after a fair bit of working things out, I’ve come to the conclusion that I support detrans awareness quite a bit, and that it’s good to do so. Here’s why.
I was very young, but I have a few memories of the 80s. In the 80s, the gays were perverts. The popular conception of them was drug-addled hedonists or creeps that lurked around playgrounds looking for victims. Anyone who supported gays or gay rights was immediately putting themselves in the position of supporting such perverts. If you didn’t want to be giving support to evil, you didn’t speak out about gay rights.
There were a lot of involuntary outings in the 90s. I am not in support of involuntary outing. But the fact that so many people were outted had a huge effect on the popular conception of gayness. Suddenly it wasn’t just the freak perverts–it was your daughter or your brother. It was the friendly choir leader in your church. You KNOW those people, they’re good people.
Awareness Days were made for this reason. They strip away the slander of “only the vile and deplorable support such things” when good and decent people reveal they are in the target class. But this requires people who are brave enough to say “I know you think horrific things about these people, but I’m one, and I’m not horrific.” (Or to be involuntarily outted, unfortunately).
Which brings me to Detrans Awareness Day.
My friend pointed out that attempting to raise awareness of detrans people is very convenient to anti-trans bigots and anti-trans organizations. So convenient, that he presumed almost everyone supporting detrans awareness is actually, in fact, just anti-trans. He felt that likely 90% of the people talking about detrans awareness are hard-core anti-trans bigots.
To test this, he googled “detrans awareness day”. On first page, supporters were: 2 legit groups started and run by detrans people. 1 explicit anti-trans bigotry group. 1 anti-trans youtuber. 1 christian group (presumably antitrans). 1 G&L group (presumable protrans, but further investigation showed they were more on the trans-skeptical side). So not as high a percentage of anti-trans bigotry as he expected, but still not a great ratio.
Shouldn’t this make me avoid Detrans Awareness, so as to avoid being lumped into a group that consists more of anti-trans bigots than people trying to support detrans folks?
I know (well, maybe knew, it’s been a while) one detrans person personally. Also, I run a discord server with a detrans member who mostly lurks. And I have a fair number of trans acquaintances and a close trans friend. I am aware that trans support groups are very close-knit, and strongly supportive of each other. In fact, they are like the gay groups of the 80s in many ways. They are the friends and family when other friends and family have rejected you. They are the social safety net that fully accepts you as you are.
For some people, they are the primary or only social safety net they have. For others, even if they have other social groups and networks, this is the strongest and most emotionally-validating one.
For anyone to realize they aren’t happy as trans can be terrifying if it means losing their closest friends. It can be crippling if that’s their only serious support group. They may fear losing all of that if they come out as detrans.
Our friends should know that we all still support them, and will not ostracize or belittle them, if they detransition. If they are told that only anti-trans bigots support detrans awareness, they are hearing the opposite message. That only the perverts and hate-filled would support a day that tells the world that they exist.
Our trans friends should know they will have support from trans-friendly people even if they stop being trans. Not just from hardcore anti-trans bigots! They don’t need to be driven into the darkness. We know that they are the same people they were the day before. They will remain our friends, and we will still support them, no matter what body they are in.
For this reason, I support Detrans Awareness Day. And you should too, so the armies of the compassionate vastly outnumber the ranks of the hateful.