Call’em Out. The Haters, I Mean.

Y’all. I think it goes without saying that we’re all thrilled for Caitlyn Jenner. And by “we” I mean my friends and family and everyone in my life who matters.

The haters, however, can suck it.

It never takes long for willfully ignorant trash to voice their opinions, concerns, and general lack of social awareness and tout it all as sound, reasonable feedback. Alright, I’ll go ahead and admit it: I let Facebook fools get to me. There you have it. I’m one of the ones who bites when people say dumb shit, and I let my blood boil at their insidiously inflammatory commentary after the fact.

But you know what? I never regret biting. And you know why? Because those idiots need to hear an opposing view. They’re the kind of people who take silence to be passive affirmation – they’re of the ilk to think everyone’s on their side. When, in fact, most of us are laughing at their ignorance, or being the bigger person and letting it roll off us – using it as an example of “not stooping to their level.”

Well, it’s hard for me to let some things go. Especially when I know first-hand the social isolation, fear, anger, and debilitating sadness that can rack a person who’s questioning their identity. And I can only imagine that such feelings are multiplied exponentially for trans individuals, especially youth.

As I’ve said before, the “T” of LGBTQIA often gets lost in the shuffle – trans lives are so often talked about relative to the periphery, rather than in relation to the whole. But I hope that with more education, as more prominent figureheads (like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn) and local leaders speak up and legislation is passed, that being and identifying as trans will no longer have the added social stigma within and outside the LGBTQIA community.

I hope that people will think before they say completely debased, idiotic things that they think are funny or witty or cute, and really register what those callous remarks translate to, and how much damage they can do. It’s no wonder that so many kids are committing suicide – no matter how closely knit their supportive web, it only takes one horrific, monstrous comment to undo so much. Especially when one’s internal dialogue is already so exhaustively ongoing, stress-inducing, and debilitating.

When I was in high school, identifying as gay – much less trans – wasn’t an option. Liking art, or being overly involved in drama, or just being quiet and reserved had a way of casting you in a less than acceptable light. Anything outside the mainstream was never talked about, and if it was, only in hushed tones. There was only one kid in my grade who came out, and his senior year was made a living hell for it. He was even on the front page of the local newspaper.

Years ago, I reached out to him and told him how much his bravery meant to me – and that I was sorry for not being myself back then. By the time I reached out to him, I’d already put myself through my own trials and tribulations, had already pulled myself back from the suicidal brink, and vowed never to let myself sink back into that darkness. So when I see or read or hear people gleefully, playfully pushing anyone around or making intensely insensitive remarks – even virtually, even about celebrities who will always be in a realm all their own – I open my big mouth, or rap away on the keyboard to let them know that they’re not in high school anymore. They can’t bully and not expect resistance.

Haters will always hate – because, really, that’s all they have. That’s the only way they feel relevant. But decent people can always be decent. You can always speak up, you can always push back; you have a voice, so use it – and use it for the right reasons.

Speak up for those who could use a friend. Speak up for those who don’t have the glitz of Hollywood on their side. Do something to help them find their voice, and help them hear it over the ignorant prattle.

And always tell the haters where they can stick it. And remind them that they’re a little fish in a rapidly drying pond.

4 Replies to “Call’em Out. The Haters, I Mean.”

  1. The front page of the newspaper- jeez. Also, I definitely agree with everything you say here! It can be hard to speak up sometimes though, especially in person, and especially when you know and work with the speaker. I know I bit my tongue sometimes with my supervisor in Erie when she said some ignorant things. I don’t think she thought of herself as homophobic- I got the sense she thought of herself as tolerant when she was saying things like “I have no problem with gay people, but there’s no need to be gay in public.” I regret that I never had the courage to challenge her on some of the things she said. The most I ever did was remind her that my brother was gay, which usually did shut her up. But I was only saving myself from what I had to listen to, and not actually making a difference in what she thought or felt.

    1. Yeah, small town gossip is a commodity – so to the paper it goes! And don’t beat yourself up – the fact that you spoke up and mentioned A is admirable; most people wouldn’t even do that 🙂

  2. Very well said, Matt. People need to get angry and go after the ignorant ones who put others in peril because they have nothing better to offer. Thank you for being bold and biting where it’s necessary !

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