Activism Political Commentary

How to support trans people

Bookmarked Thread by @magpiekilljoy on Thread Reader App (

@magpiekilljoy: if they mean what they say, here’s a thread of ideas about how to stand up for yourself or your trans loved ones (or just be a decent human) during this time of escalating legislative and extralegal threats and violence against LGBT people

Take this threat seriously. Don’t treat trans people like we’re hysterical. Don’t assume this is just another culture war issue.

At the same time, avoid jumping to conclusions or overstating the enemy’s strength. History doesn’t have to repeat itself.

I’ve been feeling a little helpless and anxious over all the hatred towards trans people escalating, and not knowing what to do about it since the legislation is happening in other states. (Washington had two anti-trans bills that fortunately died in committee.)

Charlie Jane Anders shared some interesting info about a historic debate over the best approach in her most recent newsletter. I appreciate the reminder that there are many approaches that can help.

Do we fight for protections for specific vulnerable groups (trans people, but also non-binary folks and other gender-nonconforming people who embrace labels like genderqueer or gender-fluid)? Or do we push a general principle that nobody should be penalized for their gender presentation, even if that person identifies as a cis straight man but happens to wear pink?

Before anyone else says it, I will: these two approaches are, of course, not mutually exclusive. We can do both.


Read The Black Tides of Heaven

Read The Black Tides of Heaven

Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What’s more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother’s Protectorate.

A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?

Got stuck at 30% for a bit but when I picked it back up I read the rest at once. Interesting world building. I have the feeling there are layers I’m missing with the twins. Mokoya I didn’t especially like, I doubt I’ll read her novella. The love interests don’t get much time on page but that’s fine. Novella length worked well. I’ll probably try the sequel.

Comics Memoir

Read Gender Queer

Read Gender Queer

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

Really enjoyed this memoir. The simple art worked well for the story, which focuses on the author’s journey through eir gender identity and sexuality. Nice color work by eir sister.

It’s surprising that e was so resistant to writing autobiographically because this book was very open about super personal subjects, especially eir sexuality and turn-ons. (There are a few uncomfortable admissions that might have been better left out.)

I identify as cis and straight, but definitely have feelings about gender that overlap with eirs. I consider myself more of a tomboy, and reject a lot of what I consider toxic trappings of traditional Western gender as part of my version of feminism. It took me a long time to feel comfortable first getting married, and then saying that I was married. I didn’t change my last name, and don’t wear a wedding ring most of the time (it’s pretty so sometimes I do but I’m squiffy on the symbolism). I stopped shaving. I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a woman when I don’t want children. I have “mothering” and caregiving “instincts” (learned or genetic?) that I struggle with to find the balance between doing what I wish and following our culture’s expectation that women subsume themselves to the care of others.

How e responds to “but you’d make such a good mom!”

There’s a conversation with eir lesbian aunt where the aunt accuses em of misogyny for not identifying as a woman, which reminded me of another claim I once saw that women only enjoy m/m stories because they are too invested in masculine pleasure and can’t imagine women feeling sexual pleasure. I just don’t think women subconsciously hate themselves that much. I’ve always been attracted to dudes, and reading about two dudes is double the dude. Not identifying with the cultural trappings of femininity and what the female gender means in society seems totally legit, and choosing to use different pronouns is one way of resetting others’ cultural expectations for you.