Openly attacking trans people appears to be a cornerstone of the election strategy of right-leaning parties. As members of the LGBTQIA+ community, we know how dangerous this situation is. So how does the trans community protect itself from propaganda and hate speech?
In line with Queerspace’s belief in community supporting community, we have put together a fact sheet with some ideas and strategies that may be useful in helping to keep a level head. These are suggested by our trans staff, we hope they serve you well.
Managing Social Media/Doomscrolling
Apps like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are designed to keep you hooked; Many of us know the feeling of being unexpectedly confronted with transphobic comments and/or targeted ads. Controlling use of these apps can help us avoid being triggered or sucked into online arguments.
- Limit the time you can access social media -dedicate a certain time or number of hours a day for social media use – Apps can help with this.
- If you’ve read something online that hurts – try logging off even just for a short time, to allow yourself to process what emotions you are experiencing.
- Rather than browsing social media for news, Subscribe to LGBTQIA+ affirming newsletters and/or publications in your inbox, to avoid unexpected attacks or targeted ads.
- Rather than engaging with transphobic content, consider teaching the algorithm by reporting and unfollowing hate speech and interacting with trans positive content to boost its visibility. If you want to start fresh on Facebook, there are apps to help you unfollow everyone to clear your news feed of content (see below).
The trans community is tough, and we have survived a lot. It’s also okay to acknowledge how unfair and damaging our political climate is to community. Recognising this doesn’t make us weaker but trying to push down emotions for too long can cause them to crop up unexpectedly.
- Try not to push feelings down for too long – give yourself time to feel them in a safe space.
- If sadness or grief comes up at a bad time, remind yourself you will open up again later.
- If you find things have been bothering you for a while, set some time aside in your calendar. Organize check-ins from someone from community you trust, to debrief, chat and check in around each other’s mental health. Practice some self-care afterwards.
- Remember that who are you is not up for debate – you are valid.
Relieving the Pressure
Intentionally introducing more positive content into our lives can help us feel valid and understood, it can also protect us against negativity and isolation.
- Keep an affirmation or vision board at home, or keep write some cute messages to yourself and keep them in your pocket
- Follow a guided mediation
- Organise a queer movie night with friends
- Follow more positive trans content – Subscribe to a trans youtuber, join a trans discord server, listen to a trans podcast or subscribe to a queer blog or newsletter (see below for examples).
Restoring Balance Through Active Resistance
Creating, sharing and contributing to the trans community can help us feel less helpless and more connected. Here are a few suggestions:
- Try to prioritise time during your day for trans inclusive media such as news, radio, TV shows, articles and Instagram accounts
- Share stories with community to find strength in numbers – Invite some friends over for a chat and cuppa or write a blog post or piece of poetry and show it to someone you know. Give them space to do the same.
- Look out for each other. Talk to your queer and trans friends if you witness something like a negative billboard or transphobic advertisement or encounter unsafe comments online/in person. Create safety with friends by having open conversations about where these attacks are coming from (so we can avoid them) and call on allies in your life to advocate / lodge complaints / hang banners / confront it.
- Get involved in advocacy efforts, like volunteering to support TGD people or community groups, call your MPs that are supportive of TGD people and discuss ways that you can help them. Start or sign a petition about something you’re passionate about or put-up posters in your neighbourhood!
- Enlist your ally friends – Tell them to support queer artists and charities or buy a queer flag, sticker or badge and wear it with pride. Ask them to educate their cis friends.
If you experience overwhelming emotions, frustration, sensory overload and/or can’t stop thinking about being attacked, grounding yourself can sometimes help. If things get too much you could try some of these:
- Take a walk or find a way to change your environment -this can help to break the spiral of negative thoughts and introduce new things to focus on. Keep you head up while you walk, to keep your airway open and unrestricted.
- Try a breath exercise – Breathe in for 3 seconds, then out for 10. This sends a message to your body to lower your stress response, which can help you feel less anxious and more in control.
- If you are in a safe place, focus your attention outwards – to your senses – think about all the things going on outside your mind – smells, temperature, sounds. Take in every detail of what’s happening around you. This can help break a cycle of negative thoughts.
- Practice self-compassion – If it feels comfortable, Put your hand on your chest, or your opposite shoulder (like a hug). Speak to yourself in a way you would a friend you are comforting.
- If you have a councillor or therapist, speak to them about how this is affecting you.
Links and other resources you may find useful
Unfollow your entire Facebook newsfeed and start fresh
Blocks unwanted websites and apps. Can also set a time period, e.g. for controlling social media use
An LGBTQIA+ Guide to Social Media
Trans Reads is the world’s largest collection of free trans-focused literature.
A newsletter and community for unapologetic women, trans and non binary people.
An award-winning print publication about sexuality, gender and identity.
If you or someone you know is feeling unsafe and/or needs immediate support, you can contact one of these services:
Rainbow Door – a free specialist LGBTIQA+ helpline providing information, support, and referral between 10am – 6pm. You can call, text or email.
Call: 1800 729 376 | Text : 0480 017 246 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
QLife – phone and online counselling support for LGBTIQA+ community and family, available 3pm – midnight every day. Call 1800 184 527