Last night I did something really silly.
Someone I went to high school with shared a recklessly dangerous and transphobic post.
I bet you can guess where this is going.
I gave up on Facebook in 2021 for about 15 months. Maybe it was more — time feels warped and fuzzy the last few years (see my only other post on here). I recently rejoined for no particular reason other than I missed seeing updates about my hometown of Pectaonica, IL. My Instagram is post-Pectaonica world, and I don’t understand TikTok despite many attempts to engage. So as I scrolled through the feed trying to numb myself from a day of teaching and parenting — there it was. Just casually sandwiched between my Gramma’s “Good Morning, Have a Blessed Day” meme and Kilmer’s reminder about the AAPI Assembly the following afternoon. It isn’t like it should have been a suprise. I grew up in a very rural, very conservative, very small town. There is a reason, despite all its beauty, I don’t live there anymore. But there I was in my naiveness, rereading it over and over again. Unable to look away — but also unable to not say something.
My greatest attribute and my most toxic trait are the same — I can never not say something. I mean, I can keep a secret. And I’m a really good listener when a friend needs an ear. But when someone I love or care about has been wronged in some way (at least from my perspective) you can count on me to say the thing that needs to be said — for better, for worse. I’m not saying I’m even good at it — I’m just saying I do it. And sometimes I should. But sometimes, I just shouldn’t. I really, really shouldn’t.
I don’t know where this one falls exactly. I tried to take a mostly professional tone. I steered clear of culture war. I just wanted this person to know it was very painful to see this — that there are people on the other end of the screen, people they know, that this really impacts. I thought about dropping some statistics about suicide rates of trans youth. I amused myself with the idea of adding a link or two about how gender is a social construct. But in the end, I kept it simple. I didn’t really know my audience very well, and I just wanted to make it all stop. Please, I’m begging you to take this down.
And if I’m being honest, the bigger reason I commented was a selfish one. I wasn’t under any impression my response was going to change anything at all. But I sort of reveled in the idea that this person was going to open up their Facebook app and see someone they haven’t talked to in fifteen years call their shit out. I wanted to make them squirm. I wanted to make them sit in their discomfort. My five year-old sure has sat in a lot of discomfort. And my most raw and feral motherly instincts? They wanted revenge. I posted a paragraph that felt just feral enough — and then I waited.
This person deleted my comment within the hour. The author even doubled down by adding laughing emojis to the other transphobic commenters. At this point it was 12am, horrifically past my bedtime. I reported the post and blocked the author — arguably what I should have done 90 minutes prior. But I’d be lying to say I didn’t find some peace in saying something. Even if in the end, it was really just for the claws-out mother I have come to be lately. The claws-out mother is needed in a way I never imagined even a couple years ago. And while I’m proud of her, she makes me a little tired, too.
I sort of forgot about the entire thing by breakfast. Rory and I went for a run with the jogging stroller. We caught the sunrise. He used the correct pronouns for Finley multiple times this morning — and it makes my heart burst with pride that our 3 year-old understands she has a sister.
Later on, in my classroom, a few of my students were having a discussion about Rory and Finley’s ages. I wasn’t necessarily in this conversation, but I was listening. One of my students misgendered Finley. Before I could even open my mouth, another student jumped in. “She,” they interjected calmly and kindly. The conversation continued. No one missed a beat.