haggis: (Celtic)
[personal profile] haggis
Buzzfeed reports on a bus which is touring the US, emblazoned with a message asserting that "Boys are always boys and girls are always girls" and the hashtag FreeSpeechBus.

I had a bit of a rant in response.
This utter bullshit and the despicable people behind it are part of a deeply transphobic push to twist the meaning of "free speech" into a demand to only recognise the speech of the powerful*.
It reminded me of this great quote from one of Captain Awkward's commenters, which is an important antidote to the idea that saying and even doing 'good things' means someone cannot be abusive.
"this is kind of a general rule. abusers will co-opt extant systems as much as they can.
abusers will use the framework of poly to abuse.
abusers will use the framework of BDSM to abuse.
abusers will use the framework of feminism to abuse.
abusers will use the framework of PTSD recovery to abuser.
abusers will use WHATEVER FRAMEWORK GETS THEM SEX/ATTENTION/A VICTIM to abuse, because abusers are assholes.
So whenever I hear things like “he’s a great feminist but–” or “we have a poly relationship but–” my radar goes up, because if what comes after the “but” is some kind of magically-justified terrible behavior that no one would flinch from calling abusive on, like, Unreconstructed Non-Feminist Monogamy Caveperson…listen to the behavior, not the framework. "

Abusive transphobes using free speech to do shitty things is both using a good tool to do bad and a deliberate strategy to undermine objections or arguments from trans people and allies.

This particular twist has been used against trans people extensively in the UK. The usual format is that when trans people organise to oppose or protest transphobic hate-speech, the perpetrator responds by claiming they are being censored, frequently in the mainstream media, where trans people have little right of response. This then draws support from other people who oppose censorship but don't know the background.

It is NOT free speech to silence the weak in favour of the powerful.

*This strategy is separate from the other nasty way freedom of speech is abused, which is to demand an audience for lies and hatred, which has been used as cover for violent campaigns of harassment such as Gamergate.
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June 2017

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