Transgender Icon Jayne County Banned From Facebook For “Transphobia”

SONY DSCWe’d all do well to consider ways in which homophobia and transphobia harm our community in speech, action and thought.

And when we notice behavior that works against the cause of bringing us more together as people and instead tears us more apart — whether from within our community or outside of it — we have a duty to speak up.

But we also can’t go all Tipper Gore every time someone opens their mouth. Language isn’t black and white, and this case of over-reaction is a good lesson in examining intention before jumping to bite heads off.

Jayne County, hailed as a transgender icon and pioneer, was recently Facebook-banned for 24 hours after she published a status update with language that many activists label as transphobic.

So what was the message that got her booted?

And County was none too pleased, taking to Facebook once her 24 hours were up to make her opinions heard:

While County’s reaction may be a bit over the top, the issue does raise interesting questions about what is and isn’t offensive, and what the proper way is to try and police hurtful speech.

h/t: HuffPost

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  • Miss Understood

    Glad to see you are covering Jayne’s experience. Please consider asking her to write an entry for Queerty. She’s got a brash way of expressing herself but there’s a lot of wisdom and life experience in there.

    I’ve been shocked this week to have my discussions filtered out by Queerty because of the appearance of the words at hand. We’re supposed to discuss them without saying them? These are words, not magic incantations.

    Should I remind you that “queer”, the root of “Queerty” is still considered offensive by many. I believe this censoring of words is counterproductive and anti-intellectual.

    I also wish people would make the distinction between a “slang term that I don’t particularly like” and a “slur”. Any word can be taken as a slur if the person using it is hurling a brick at you.

  • Thedrdonna

    @Miss Understood: I understand your position, even if I don’t necessarily agree, but I do have to point out that asking people not to use those words is hardly “anti-intellectual”.

  • Miss Understood

    @Thedrdonna I agree, asking people not to use those words is very polite and to the point. Filtering them out of a comment feed, no matter what the context, is anti-intellectual.

  • fagburn

    I love Jayne, but surely this was done by a computer checking for a list of ‘offensive’ words?

  • Thedrdonna

    @Miss Understood: I’m beginning to feel a bit like Inigo Montoya here…

  • BitterOldQueen

    @Thedrdonna: There’s a big ol’ difference between “asking people not to use words” and shutting down, shutting out, and criminalizing free speech. There’s a new and disturbing element of aggressive bullying masquerading as righteous indignation coming from the transgender community lately, and it’s often aimed in circular firing squad mode against ourselves and our friends. The recent RuPaul nonsense (yes, “nonsense”: The unutterably offensive she-mail phrase has been used on that show for six seasons, in an entirely innocuous and clearly self-consciously humorous way, and only now is it suddenly horrific and must be banned? Nonsense.) and now this incident only make the transgender community look humorless, hypersensitive, and irrational. And that adds up quite nicely to anti-intellectual, so yeah: reasonable discourse is trampled in an inexplicable effort to demonize our friends and relations, and it ain’t winning anybody any new allies either.

  • BitterOldQueen

    (By the way, brilliant screen name, Thedrdonna: j’adore!!)

  • fagburn

    @fagburn: Meaning it can’t understand context – there are certain words you can’t put in a Queerty comment…

  • redcarpet

    Did she have to jump straight to a Nazi reference? No one must have sent her the memo on Godwin’s Law.

  • Thedrdonna

    @BitterOldQueen: To be fair, people have been complaining about it since the start; the only things that changed recently are that 1) they did the “fe-male or she-male” challenge (which is far less defensible and really the main part I would take issue with) and 2) someone actually listened and change occurred. The trans community is heterogeneous, there’s going to be those who find offense where none is meant (just as some people of African descent find the N word offensive, and some LGBT folks find the word queer offensive). There is a subset of people who want to believe that what any trans person says is what all trans people believe, which is reductive and wrong. This isn’t a brand new kind of problem (e.g. the N word), and only someone who didn’t understand the phrase would describe a person of African descent who didn’t like the N word as being “anti-intellectual”.

  • Miss Understood

    I’m the one complaining about the Queerty filter, and yes, it’s automated. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

    Jayne is complaining about Facebook. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a violation of freedom of speech, Facebook is a company not the government, I don’t think that word filters are a good idea. It reminds me of articles in newspapers and magazines that say F#ck. Every 9 year old knows what it means anyway so why pretend you’re not saying it?

    Uttering a word isn’t calling someone that word. We are grown-ups here, we should be able to discuss any and everything.

    There are words I don’t like… like “effeminate”. You never hear it used in any way other than to degrade someone. I don’t really believe in gender roles so I don’t really think effeminacy exists other than as a subjective judgement. So I choose not to use the term. But, I’m not on a warpath against it ever being spoken.

    If you don’t like a word you should certainly tell people why you don’t like it. If enough people agree with you eventually the culture will shift away from it.

  • lykeitiz

    As someone who’s been censored by Queerty (NOT for language or aggression), I understand her concern for free speech, and her concern that it comes from “her own”.

  • jparmstrong

    @redcarpet: While I mostly agree with Jayne, the Nazi connection is weak.

  • gskorich

    proof that people have lost the ability to laugh.

Comments are closed.