Sometimes when you’re a writer, an opportunity drops into your lap. I’ve been writing about my own struggles with respectability and dating. While another essay of mine is in its beginning stages, I want to hop over here to discuss some of my quick thoughts about an adjacent issue.
Recently, Mol, a trans creator known for his loud and childish demeanor in his videos, in his videos was told to take a step back from TikTok after being harassed in real life. For months before, he was made fun of in the queer community. Not long after the first stitches to his videos with queer people lamenting his overexaggerated way of speaking came right-wingers. The same right-wingers are cheering on passing legislation that means we can’t exist.
Listen, his content didn’t appeal to me either, but the fact that we opened the door to transphobia is unacceptable. I’m not gonna pretend that I was somehow above the Steven Universe jokes and cringing at their content. I’m not. I wasn’t. However, I’m certainly not like the people who have misgendered this person, or brought harm to them. I am absolutely not the people who are being up pedophilia allegations and grooming allegations to them or about them. Because I know the difference between having a laugh and perpetuating harm from being black.
As a black person, there’s an unspoken rule in our communities to not allow white people to take part in jokes about people in our spaces. Black comedians have received criticism for their humor once it impacts our community’s image and integrity at large. It’s been a discussion for decades, and certainly with more tact than a fair amount of queers, specifically white queers, doing this.
Listen, we all need to get rid of the idea that you have to be the “right” type of queer. It is difficult to work. It has been a fair amount of my own journey as a baby gay. There’s a lot of fear going on. So here’s some advice: when you feel afraid of how people look at you, think about who you’re trying to impress.
“But they will judge all of that way!” they say. Yeah, they will. They fucking will, but not because of some guy/person making their best Steven Universe impression making us “look bad”. They think that because they think we’re gross. And who are we trying to impress anyway? The same people who have turned a blind eye when hospitals get bomb threats because heaven forbid kids to get gender-affirming care? The same people that just retweet articles about the violence that shows up at Drag Queen Story Hours across the nation? The same folks who don’t even acknowledge that book burning is coming back in full force in the country because people like us are “deviant” or “satanic” or deserve to be shot in the back of the head?
Come on. You sound a lot like Caitlin Jenner, who recently threw newly out trans woman and overall sweetheart Dylan Mulvaney under the bus for her interview with Ulta. You think that your identity protects you from spouting and perpetuating harm, but it doesn’t. When your “jokes” enable transphobes, it’s time to stop.