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For those who need a summary of the history behind the Harper’s letter calling for good faith debate, here’s a thread, presented in the form of a middle school conflict at recess. 1/N
Amy: Hi, I’m Amy. I’m trans.
Todd: Ug, gross, you’re an it, go away.
Amy: But... I’m not an it.
Todd: Yes you are.
Amy: No... I’m Amy, I’m a person.
Todd: I don’t think so. That’s just my opinion.
Amy: I don’t want to talk to you anymore.
Todd: [chases after Amy]
Todd: What, you think I’m wrong?
Amy: You are wrong. I’m a person.
Todd: Too scared to debate me?
Amy: No, I just think you’re being mean.
Todd: [Calls over his friends]
Todd: This it won’t talk to me.
Amy: Stop bothering me!
Todd: Should we make it talk to us?
Friends: Yeah, it, why can’t we just have a conversation?
Amy: Leave me alone, I’m not an it!
Todd: Hey, don’t get angry it, we didn’t do anything. We just want to share our opinion.
Friends: School is a place for learning, aren’t you hear to learn?
Amy: [Goes to a teacher and asks for intervention]
Todd: Oh, great, the it is telling on us.
Teacher: What’s going on here?
Todd: We were discussing a controversy, Amy shared her opinion, but got angry when we shared ours.
Amy: That’s not what happened.
Teacher: What happened?
Amy: They’re bullying me.
Teacher: Are you hurt?
Amy: [Crying] Yes.
Teacher: Do you need to see the nurse?
Amy: No.
Teacher: So you’re not hurt.
Amy: I am, they’re being mean.
Teacher: [Pauses] Amy, school is a place for open discourse. There has to be room for disagreement.
Amy: But they calling me names!
Teacher: Did you call her names?
Todd: No, she’s just being sensitive.
Teacher: Maybe we can be more civil about this: let’s have an open debate and be less emotional about whatever this conflict is.
Bystanders: [Approach the growing crowd]
Teacher: Everyone, who would like to have some open debate?
Bystanders: Yeah, debate!
Amy: [crying]
Todd: Yeah, debate!
Teacher: ...
Bystanders: ...
Teacher: Did you call Amy an it?
Todd: What, I can’t have an opinion?
Teacher: Not that opinion. We’re taking you to the principal.
Todd: What?? This so isn’t fair. What kind of school doesn’t allow for free speech?
Teacher: The kind of school that doesn’t allow transphobic hate.
Todd: This is ridiculous. This is America! We can’t debate now??
Teacher: There are limits. Good faith debate doesn’t include questioning someone’s humanity.
Twitter: Wait, why are trans people against open debate?
Trans Twitter: 🤦🏻‍♀️
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