Who gets to decide what the trans narrative should be, or indeed to pass wisdom onto the next generation of trans and queer folk as they come out into the wider community? In the social media age it is a wide variety of voices, ranging from the far left in Abigail Thorne to Contrapoints to Blaire White on the right wing. Who you stumble across, which voices, you listen to, and which communities you encounter have a huge impact on your ability to both self-define and grow as a person. Yes, this is the same for all people, as every one of us finds ands develops our communities, but for trans folk it is increasingly the case that there are a multitude of mixed messages that are thrown at us when we come out.
Blaire White is an example of a trans woman who has developed her own voice through engaging with, and empathising with, right wing American writers, thinkers, and podcasters. The message she delivers sings from the same hymn sheet as many of the right wing radicals who seek to put trans folk back in their boxes, and ultimately remove them from heteronormative society. Before Gilead there were the female preachers denouncing societal immorality, after the revolution they were shut away at home with no voice. Blaire White reminds me of those women, a person so determined to find a platform that she will stan for the forces that would reduce her to nothing should they succeed.
This is why there is a critical need to engage people who transition at an early stage, to give them solid advice that is healthy and nourishing. Baby transes, to use 2023 lingo, are shaped and woven by the threads of Youtube, TikTok et al, where anyone can post anything and find a voice, large or small. There is no one way to be trans, and as much as Blaire White and the right wing may wish that it was so, to cut again heteronormative expectations leads to the vast gender hinterland beyond. This message is never clearly delivered, for each and every person with a social media presence will tell you their angle. Every TikTok is made for a reason, every Youtube video has a purpose. It is the ability to critically engage with these sources that is vital to cut through the harm they may cause.
Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. Mental health, algorithms, peer pressure, lack of general awareness, clicking next, all play a part in our ability to dissect the messages delivered to us on a minute-by-minute basis. Youtube rewards extremes, and the right wing is very good at drumming up extremes. Blaire White is taking pages from all collaborators across time, finding a safe harbour from the storm with the cost of their intrinsic identity. You cannot find peace in yourself if you are constantly being told you the very core of your identity is deviant, weird, or different from the rest of society. You certainly cannot find peace of the soul when you repackage the hate and sell it back for add revenue and podcasting fees. Or maybe you can, and then Gilead catches up with you.
Unless you cut yourself off from the internet it is impossible to escape algorithmic messaging. Cookies will track you down and deliver you content it thinks you want to see, and regardless of the platform you ill invariably absorb some of the messages you are shown. Trans folk are susceptible to misinformation just like the rest of us, and it is especially dangerous when your physical and mental health are on the line. Who do you trust, who should trust, and why should you trust them are critical to ensuring you remain healthy. This is not easy when the trans community is full of such mixed messages, all of which get amplified and distorted by the media at large.
What can we do to put this into perspective? How do we give trans folk, especially baby transes, the tools to cut through the propaganda to see a decent semblance of reality that will bring them happy and healthy lives? Helping equip them with the tools to critically engage with all sources would be a start. I have no right to tell you what to watch or not watch, but I can help you see why the person said what they did and the potential motivations behind it. We can all help with this, highlighting the hidden purposes and funders behind the messages we receive. No one should be given a free pass simply by reputation or past conduct alone.
To fight propaganda, including adverts, you need to be aware of why you are being sold the message in the first place. Blaire White and far right have a very specific reason for treating trans folk the way they do, which serves those who wish to other trans and gender variant people. To be trans in their eyes is an abomination, at odds with their world view, and no matter who shills for them they will take us all down if they get the chance. It has been done before the world over throughout history, and we need to armour ourselves to prevent the wider trans community from falling prey to messages of despair and disillusionment.
No matter what tools or education you have in your background, being trans is a complicated and messy process of ideas, philosophies, and talking points. You cannot expect to know every facet of every trans live, you can only live your own. Which is why this is a communal conversation, a communal endeavour to ensure trans folk hear healthy and nourishing advice. It is not easy, and has no end, but it is worth doing to ensure baby transes have a bright future.