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Bullshit LGBTQ+ Media

The reason is there is no reason

I politely declined to go on a radio programme last night. The topic was YouTube’s selective enforcement of its anti-harassment and hate speech rules, with a look at the wider issue of online abuse, but the other contributor would be an antagonist who’d argue that the real victims of online abuse are the people who do the abusing.

I’m not going to help legitimise that.

We often assume that someone on the other side of a debate is just like us: if it turns out that our facts are wrong, we change our views. It’s a nice idea that’s been ruthlessly exploited by people who aren’t interested in facts. Demolish argument #1 and they’ll calmly switch to argument #2, even if it completely contradicts the previous argument. The goal is not to be right. The goal is to win, to tire you out or goad you until you snap.

As I’ve written before, what these people do is not a debate; it’s a performance. And you can see a great example of it in Donald Trump’s justifications for his ban on trans people serving in the military.

You may recall that when Trump originally promised to ban trans people, the reason was because the presence of trans people “erodes military readiness and unit cohesion”. It was a “military decision”.

A few months later, that was dropped after the military said “no, it wasn’t”. Suddenly it wasn’t a military decision. It was a financial one. The government didn’t want to pay the cost of trans people’s surgeries.

That one was debunked too. Now, he’s saying it’s because trans people “take massive amounts of drugs”.

Whether they’re true or not (they’re not, of course) doesn’t matter. He might as well tell us that the ban is because a mysterious hooded figure came to him in a dream, or that somebody told him that trans people are fatal to mice. The reason for the trans ban is that Trump wants a trans ban.

We’re confusing the beginning and the end. Trump didn’t decide to implement a trans ban because of X, Y and Z. He decided to implement a trans ban because he decided to implement a trans ban. X, Y and Z are merely flags of convenience; if they don’t fly, he’ll try A, B and C.

It’s cruel, of course, as are the other anti-trans (and anti-women) activities of the administration. They’re not based on evidence, but on a desire to hurt specific groups of people.

The cruelty isn’t an accident. The cruelty is the point.

The same process was visible with Betsy DeVos, the US education secretary. DeVos says that her office “is committed to ensuring all students have access to their education free from discrimination,” and the way to do this is to discriminate against trans students. When asked if she was aware of the negative effects discrimination has on trans students, she said “I do know that. I But I will say again that [my office] is committed to ensuring all students have access to their education free from discrimination.”

Of course it doesn’t make sense. It’s not supposed to. DeVos doesn’t care about evidence because the decision is not based on evidence. She wants to discriminate against trans students because she wants to discriminate against trans students.

The cruelty isn’t an accident. The cruelty is the point.

The same thing happens with the various anti-trans groups that have sprung up from nowhere to agitate against the rights and dignity of trans people, claiming to respect “genuine” trans people while fomenting hatred against them. Their ground is constantly shifting: as each specious argument is shown to be false, a new one takes its place.

Like Trump, the reason they hate trans people isn’t because X, or Y, or Z, so their views won’t change if you discredit X, or Y, or Z. They hate trans people because they hate trans people.

The cruelty isn’t an accident. The cruelty is the point.