Debates About My Gender Have Convinced Me Of One Thing: It’s Time To Get Louder

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve gone down the Laci Green rabbit hole. Green, a popular feminist YouTuber and sex educator, gained quite a bit of popularity — and now, incredible notoriety — in social justice circles, positioning herself as an advocate for comprehensive sex education and gender equality.

I’ve been subtweeting about Laci for a hot minute, especially recently. She’s gotten cozy with anti-feminist YouTubers, whose vitriol have fueled a great deal of harassment targeting feminist and marginalized content creators. Lately, she’s been tweeting and creating videos that perpetuate transmisogyny (which I talked about quite a bit in this Twitter thread), even going so far as to call Kat Blaque, a Black trans woman and fellow YouTuber, a “sociopath.”

She has described herself as being a proponent of open and respectful dialogue, yet has responded to feminists calling her in in dismissive, hurtful, and arrogant ways. Most recently, she hosted a live debate around gender and the existence of non-binary identity, suggesting that invalidating and policing our identities should now become a spectator sport. This kind of “dialogue” has relied upon the assumption that the opinions of cisgender people are somehow of equal importance and validity to those of trans people when discussing our own lived experiences.

And while I believe that there’s a lot of worthwhile education that can happen with an open dialogue, this is not the dialogue I think any of us had in mind. I find it highly suspect that this “debate” is being dominated by cisgender folks (many of whom are openly hostile and even violent towards trans people), and led and organized by a cis woman who is not trusted or even respected by the community to begin with.

However sympathetic Laci claims to be, her insistence on positioning herself at the center of this conversation — the “rational,” moderate authority — legitimizes a ciswashed account of gender, sex, and identity.

She encourages a kind of cultural voyeurism in which transgender and non-binary people must repeatedly defend themselves for sport, while a white cis woman plays referee.

Sigh.

As a non-binary writer, I’ve personally felt the cultural backlash against non-binary people as we’ve made real strides in visibility. As someone who has published a lot of written work around gender and non-binary identity, I’ve been the recipient of harassment and abuse from total strangers who take issue with how I define my own experiences. I’ve also watched as other non-binary folks in my community have had to endure the near-constant pain of erasure, invalidation, and even violence.

But these aren’t the conversations that cis people want to have. They want to have the “is he or isn’t he lying about his identity” conversation, the “let’s turn your lived experience into a fun intellectual exercise” conversation, or my personal favorite, the “I see no problem with suggesting you don’t exist” conversation. And Laci has no problem capitalizing on it, either, even if she self-identifies as an “ally.”

But there is one thing I have to give her credit for: I’m pissed. I have never tweeted so furiously, for one. And I’ve never felt more fiercely protective and invested in my non-binary community. I started to ask myself, “When was the last time I donated to a non-binary YouTuber’s Patreon?” “Have I messaged any non-binary activists to thank them lately?” “Am I subscribing to, supporting, and boosting the signal on other non-binary content creators?

And I wondered, when so many of our battlegrounds are digital… maybe more of us should be taking up space as loudly and defiantly as possible.

So quietly, I pulled up my bucket list, and crossed “Start a YouTube Channel” off of my list. Because I figured, if you’re going to tell me that I don’t exist, you’re going to have to say it to my face. And because I hoped that, by building community with other non-binary folks on YouTube in particular, I could help to reclaim a dialogue that continues to be derailed by the folks who have the least at stake, with little consideration of those who could lose the most.

I’m annoyed that I have to give Laci, or any binary person with feelings about how I identify, the time of day. But that’s exactly why I want to see more non-binary folks connecting with one another, networking, signal-boosting, donating, and showing up for each other — because so long as our existence is relegated to the status of “debatable,” making noise and taking up space is one important way that we can resist.

Fat and disabled enbies, non-binary folks of color, agender elders, all of us — every one of us is a necessary part of this conversation. Start a blog. Become a YouTuber. Write a letter to the editor. Become a patron, send a supportive tweet, or share a video — if nothing else, let the folks doing this work know that you affirm and appreciate them. (And hey, tweet me and let me know what you’re up to and how I can support you. I’ve got you.)

My hope is that if non-binary folks take anything away from the Laci Green nightmare, it’s that we need to take ownership of this conversation. Hike up your leg and take a long piss on this “debate.” It’s ours.

HELP KEEP THIS PLATFORM RADICAL, ACCESSIBLE, AND FREE! CONSIDER DONATING AS LITTLE AS $1 PER MONTH TO MY PATREON CAMPAIGN, AND ACCESS EXCLUSIVE CONTENT WHEN YOU DO!

5 thoughts on “Debates About My Gender Have Convinced Me Of One Thing: It’s Time To Get Louder

  1. Amanda Lee (@ABMelheim) says:

    Excellent. I’m so excited to hear that you’re going to be creating a YouTube channel. It’s a really big step and I’m rooting for you. This whole situation around Laci Green reminds me of my college philosophy class – which turned out to be an eye-opener about how philosophy is largely bullshit. Artistotle posed the question of whether a man missing a leg was still a man. That’s not okay. People debating whether a person is still human if X is never okay. We’re all human. Bottom line. No exceptions. It baffles me that people are always trying to find exceptions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bobcabkings says:

    I have not been following that person’s activities, and have yet to get involved with Twitter (maybe never will), and as an apparently hard wired cis person myself, I don’t feel qualified by personal experience to debate the reality of non-binary experience from that position. I do agree that those who can so speak and can do so in some semblance of safety, need to speak. I can and do applaud your efforts and wish for your success. Trans, non-binary, and all forms of LGBTQ experience are real and integral to the full expression of being human.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kazei5 says:

    I just subscribed to your channel and I’m looking forward to the videos you’re going to be making. I figure that if there’s anything I can do, it’s to support voices like yours and boost their signal.

    I’ve never heard of Laci Green until she went full Quisling, and it’s sad, and very damaging, that she’s throwing all of her credibility away in the name of ‘open dialogue.’

    Which is bullshit, because no one should be forced to have an open dialogue with bigots, harassers, and ignorant pricks who ignore or brush aside your lived experiences.

    Plus, from what I hear, she was always racist.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. monstropolousity says:

    In the spirit of this excellent post, I wanted to comment and say that I’m very much looking forward to your YouTube channel (I’ve subscribed!), although I’m sorry that Youtube and the world also continue to be full of so much virulent hatred – it’s so exhausting. Your work has helped me so much and has and does mean a lot to me as a fellow mentally ill and disabled non-binary person, especially back when I started struggling with being all those things at once, and I really appreciate and am in awe of the amount of effort and energy you put into fighting for the community. Thank you for existing, and being you.

    Liked by 1 person

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