This is an essay that I never wanted to write, especially after my most recent Huffington Post article on unity within the LGBT. Sadly, life has a way of interfering with one’s intentions, and that is what has happened on this occasion. Only a couple of days ago a prominent transgender activist and writer with whom I had previously conversed, decided to attack me after I voiced a contrary opinion to a piece that was highly critical of citizen journalism.
At first I was simply shocked at what I was seeing in my inbox, but within moments my shock turned to abject horror. Parker Molloy, someone I had looked to for advice on occasion and supported through her fundraising for surgery, was telling me to kill myself. Not only was she telling another trans woman to die, she was giving her instructions ranging from cutting herself to drinking bleach, and what’s more, demanding that she do it.
Rather than Molloy writing from social conviction it would seem that her body of work of late, such as her writing against RuPaul and Carmen Carrera, has been solely authored to co-opt the movement against the use of misogynistic and trans-misogynistic slurs in order to further her grip on becoming a spokeswoman within mainstream organizations rather from any deep-seated belief. The first thing that she wrote against another trans woman in this particular case, were the misogynist slurs “c-nt” and “wh-re” — hardly what I would have expected from a writer who publicly crusades against the use of those words in particular.
As a journalist, I battled for several hours with the question of whether or not I should address the attack publicly, since it was made to me in private, but after letting her words sink in I made the difficult decision to publish what she had said to me despite the backlash that will no doubt transpire from the Parker Cult within the community. Her behavior, and the behavior of those who follow blindly because they feel that she rallies against privilege, is violent, hypocritical and damaging to themselves and the greater transgender community. There are clear parallels between Parker Molloy and Susan Stanton. For readers who might not recall, Susan was an inauthentic transgender spokesperson who was once lauded by the mainstream, and who allowed herself to become a puppet for the policies of those supporting her, in much the way as Molloy now appears to be doing.
Stanton said that transgender women don’t deserve employment protection, that this would be putting transgender women at risk. What Parker did was worse, however, as she attempted to trigger another transgender woman into directly committing self-harm. Unfortunately, it became apparent that she has done this before, and, sadly, with much more success. A transgender woman whom I shall call Jane for fear of backlash, told me that she had attempted to commit suicide after a discourse with Parker that migrated from public social media to a private chat. Jane videoed her attempt, and the police arrived, and in her words she was “5150’d”, which means that she was placed in Involuntary Psychiatric Hold in the State of California.
I have already seen the reaction of a substantial number of people in transgender community who either told me that I was wrong for reporting what Parker said or asked me to take my posts down because I was “shaming” her for her supposed issues. The speed at which she began trying to re-write the narrative as if it were one of her article drafts, claiming that she was the aggrieved party because her “private” chat to me was exposed, with barely an acknowledgement of what she herself had done, is shocking.
The transgender community is a collection of people who are often denied adequate medical care, and who have varying degrees of dysphoria often coupled with other socioeconomic pressures. The result is that we are at a 48 percent risk of committing suicide or attempting to commit suicide. A transgender person should never tell another to kill herself or use a similar tone. It doesn’t matter if that person is an influential and gifted writer or not, words do matter and no transgender woman should ever attempt to trigger another’s dysphoria, since the result may be fatal. In some parts of the world, someone advocating that someone should kill themselves frequently results in a murder or attempted murder charge for the enabler if the victim. Molloy’s behavior is simply unconscionable.
The collective transgender narrative is full of stories of suicide and attempted suicide, and no one should know this more than someone who frequently writes about such topics as Parker Molloy herself. If you have a platform in the LGBT community, you do not have power over others, you have a responsibility to the community that is holding you up as an example. If you abuse that trust, members of the community can also withdraw their support, especially if you are only using your platform to feed your ego by being cruel to those you perceive as lesser or may be seen on the same pedestal as you.
The transgender community needs people who love and support their brothers and sisters. It does not need an abusive Parker Molloy.
Kelsie Brynn Jones is an activist and writer whose work has been published on Huffington Post.