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Right, so buckle up: this is going to be a long thread about #trans representation in the media, trans responses to said media, and some thoughts on what we're doing wrong and what we could do right.

Ready? Okay.
There are two facts which are staggeringly apparent in the online UK #trans landscape at the moment:

1. The mainstream media is still in a transphobic backlash, and it's been getting nastier and more dangerous every month.
2. In our online communities - twitter and facebook in particular - we are spending WAY more time and attention responding to and magnifying these instances of backash than we are in promoting not only our successes, but even mildly positive or neutral works.
I am in no way trying to play down the severity of the media backlash, or the necessity to do something about - I've suffered personally because of it, and a lot of my professional work is on education and media framing.

But that second point is really worrying me.
It begs three big questions:
1. What is this doing to the overall cultural framing of trans ppl?
2. What is this focus doing to our communities, particularly to those who only have access to trans spaces online?
3. What is it doing to us as individuals?
Breaking this down, question by question - this is what I've observed.

1. Framing

A simple explanation of framing is that it's the way we shape our perception of reality - and that the shaping changes what we see and how we think.
A good example of how different frames work is found in crime reporting. Think about how different it feels to read about "x hit y" (x is in the wrong and actively hurt y) versus "y was hit" (by whom? was it a neutral act? did it just happen)…
One of the most important works you could read on framing, and the political and social ramifications, is @GeorgeLakoff's "Don't Think of an Elephant".

One of Lakoff's main points is that using a frame - EVEN TO REFUTE THE POINT OF THE FRAME - strengthens the frame itself.
A large swathe of the UK media had very successfully popularised their framing of trans people as:
- fakes
- frauds
- dangerous
- pathetic
- intolerant
- out of touch with reality
They use us and our works - with and usually without our consent - to strengthen this framing.

There isn't an easy answer about how to escape and promote our own, truthful, frame.

But one part of the answer is depriving the articles, shows, and tweets of publicity.
Take, for example, the horrendous Economist headline asking if trans people should be sterilised. Absolutely something that needs to be considered, worked with, and worked on.

But does simply RTing the headline do anything to help solve the problem of it?

What is the end goal?
When we share a terrible piece of media - driving more people to look at it, to share it, making it more popular and profitable than it would otherwise have been - what are we aiming to achieve? What's the cost-benefit analysis? Overall, are we helping or hurting our cause?
God knows I'm not immune to this, but all too often when we click RT out of pain and shock, I think we're doing it for personal validation. I know that I do it because I feel terrible, and I want to know that I'm not alone in feeling that, and not alone in dealing with the impact
But, by doing that, I'm strengthening the very media cycle that's harming me and those I love, and I'm strengthening a false cultural framing of who I am.

And I think we have a duty to be smarter about how we engage with this bullshit. We have too much to lose.
Second question: What is this focus on the bad at the expense of the good doing to our communities?

Speaking completely anecdotally here: I'm worried about the distress this is causing for other trans people, particularly young trans ppl without offline support.
When I do youth work, particularly in rural areas, it becomes pretty clear that many young trans people know next to nothing about the wonderful things we've been creating and achieving, and are up to their necks in media hatred.
Again, this not an argument to ignore that media hatred. Dealing with it is huge. But I wonder what these kids would think if the trans people they follow on twitter spent more time promoting the good instead of the bad?
If stories about Grammy-nominated #trans musicians and groundbreaking trans human rights defenders were as popular as RTs of abuse from TERFs? If we lodged our objections to that abuse in the certainty of our own agency, authority, and power?
And third question: what is this focus doing to us an individuals, to our mental health and our capacity to keep fighting?
I cannot be the only #trans person limiting or avoiding social media because the effects on my mental state are just too damaging.

Not just from the personal abuse aimed my way on these platforms - but seeing that abuse, and similar, magnified and obsessed over.
This is particularly damaging when it feels like rubbernecking and attention seeking from people who claim to be allies. I do not want to see another fucking quote tweet of a cis person claiming to 'own' Glinner. I don't want bigots sent my way and magnified.
It is interesting, and disheartening, to notice that many cis ppl are more interested in sharing their outrage over transphobic media pieces than they are in lifting up and supporting trans people in their achievements. It keeps us as victims, rather than active agents.
It is understandable, but still upsetting, when we as trans people fall into that same trap.
So, with those three questions, and observations, in mind - where do we go from here?

Spoiler: I don't have any brilliant and easy to follow unifying theory.

But I do have two suggestions, and I think they're good ones.
1. To activate our networks to promote the hell out of our own stories.

Do we have as much power as the mainstream press? Of course not.

Does that then mean that we're completely powerless? Of course not.

So what's stopping us from using every bit of power we have?
Do you know what I'd like you to know? That #trans people are everywhere, that our experiences are universal, that we contain multitudes, and that #TransRightsAreHumanRights.

We can be heroes and we can be villains, but what most of us are is wonderfully bloody tenacious.
We're changing the way the world does gender. We're pushing for new ways of understanding humanity.

It's amazing.

And I want to see those incredible people celebrated at every turn.
Did you know that a trans author has been nominated for the one of the biggest book prizes in the UK? Why the hell not?…

Did you know that all round superstar @Glamrou has a book out this year?
@Glamrou There are incredible things happening all the time, and some of them are actually being supported by mainstream institutions and in the mainstream press, and sometimes we're building our own groups and media - and I want this in my brain every single day.
@Glamrou And the second suggestion:

2. That before we engage with any transphobic content, we ask ourselves "what's the end goal?"

Taking that moment to stop and reflect before we hit share, taking the trouble to calculate whether it's worth it, if there's another way.
@Glamrou - Am I helping or damaging the broader cause?
- Am I helping or damaging the other trans people who will see this?
- Am I helping or damaging myself?
- Is there something else I could do with this time - 5 minutes/10 minutes/half a day - that would help more and hurt less?
@Glamrou I'm going to try to hold myself accountable. I want to do better with these online systems, and with the people I care about.

Thank you for your amazing suggestions yesterday - I'll be sharing them later.

And if you got to the end of this thread - thank you. We got this.
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