For the most part, I’ve received incredible support for Transparency: The Gender Identity Project. However, it’s hard not to feel discouraged when it’s described as sick, perverted spam and immoral.
Would you engage in a conversation or ignore it?
When I posted this question on my Facebook page, I received so much support, so many comments and words of wisdom I wanted to share here:
“Ignore. You can’t change some people’s minds. People disown their children for being gay . . . there’s not much you can do. Except show your work with love and pride.”
“Ever hear of the Four Agreements? Might be useful here. 1. Be impeccable with your word (being true to your project fits here, I think); 2. It’s not personal (everyone’s got an opinion, and most of the time, it doesn’t matter); 3. Make no assumptions (as has been noted, engaging with folks you don’t know, on a touchy topic, rarely yields much progress); and 4. Do your best (I >know< you will).”
“I just try to think about a mediated debate. The second someone resorts to insults: they have lost the debate in my mind. I told someone recently, “if you want to debate your opposing opinion with me that fine but the second your argument or response is nothing more than simple name-calling then you lose and the discussion is over.” Take the mental victory of knowing that person must be extremely uneducated or projecting some sort of unrelated personal problem on to you. It’s hard to engage in discourse with people who don’t know the definition of discourse…”
I really appreciated, “Don’t worry what cyber-strangers think. Pick your battles carefully. Debates against faceless trolls are irrelevant and pointless. No matter how well armed you are with facts, they will use caustic tactics and simply resort to juvenile name calling when they come up empty on the intellectual front, which usually happens pretty quickly. You already know why you are doing your project and the inherent value it holds. That is all that matters.” and “You cannot reason with someone the spews hatred like this. It’s best, in my opinion, to ignore them. In starting this project, you’ve made yourself vulnerable in the best way possible. When you’re vulnerable there’s always going to be someone who is so insecure in their own skin that they will lash out at anything they can in order to try to make themselves feel better about themselves. It’s not a personal attack since they do not know you personally. I know that it’s difficult not to take it personally, but you’ve put yourself out there and now you have to start thickening your skin against the hatemongers that are bound to raise their ugly heads from time to time. I think you are a wise, strong person, Daphne, and I have faith that you can rise above their nonsense and keep your eyes on the prize.”
For those that offered these words, I will return to them when the project hits some challenging spots so thank you!