[Discussion Thread] Trans & Non-binary Members Survey June 24, 2024 4:43 PM   Subscribe

***FYI this is a thread for Trans and Non-binary members only. If you are a cis ally and want to be supportive, please do so by reading carefully what your peers have to say and allowing them to express themselves without being questioned. There will be additional opportunities for feedback ***

Let's use this thread to discuss the questions being posted here, their wording, get help framing concerns, etc.

If you want to discuss something adjacent to the topic, please Contact Us directly, rather than asking them in the thread.
posted by loup (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 4:43 PM (116 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite


I dunno really where to go with this, a blank page is difficult. I guess I'll use this as a scratch pad and either someone can run with these (feel free) or I'll try to come back to it.

Useful link for rating type questions Likert scale answers for different types of ratings

Maybe something about trust of staff, and something about comfort generally?

Open ended questions I'm not sure how to phrase?

How about something like, what's something in terms of policy or practice that metafilter should adopt or adapt from elsewhere?

What sort of concerns that have kept you from making a comment or post on metafilter as a trans/nonbinary person?

What things, if any, that staff did or said in that past were transphobic, and were they addressed appropriately?

What is a repeated issue in terms of cis member engagement on trans issues that should be better addressed?

Are there common microaggressions from cis members that staff needs to be better aware of?

Where do you go for accurate reporting on trans issues? What sites do a shit job when it comes to covering trans issues and should be warned against?
posted by Chrysopoeia at 6:13 PM on June 24 [11 favorites]


I'm a bit confused. The first thread is meant to solicit survey questions and this one is meant to discuss them (as questions for future survey, not the answers)?

If so, I am somewhat disheartened to find that MeFi as an institution has come up with exactly zero questions it wishes to ask of its trans members and is instead asking us to supply them. Not even a "what could we do better?"
posted by hoyland at 10:22 PM on June 24 [23 favorites]


Yeah idk this seems wonky. Is the purpose of the survey stated anywhere? Am I missing something obvious? You say in the other post that the intention is to make Mefi safe for trans and nonbinary people to participate but then the thread is explicitly only for such people to comment. Therefor, anyone who does so in this or that thread is identifying themselves on the record as trans or nonbinary, and that’s, you know, dangerous because Mefi exists in the world and publicly visible online. So the only people who will leave questions or critique of said questions will be the outspoken people who are in positions of relative safety (like myself), once again silencing the most marginalized queer users. I don’t understand why there is not an emphasis on anonymity and safety when the point is apparently to make us feel safe?
posted by Mizu at 10:51 PM on June 24 [31 favorites]


hoyland it was discussed previously in past site updates, as part of the Trans Members Initiative as a survey with crowd sourced questions.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 12:22 AM on June 25


The way this is put together, as open-ended, undefined, and wishy-washy as it is, my (autistic? ADHD? both?) brain just cannot. There is no structure to hang thoughts or ideas onto.
posted by Dysk at 1:30 AM on June 25 [17 favorites]


How about something like, what's something in terms of policy or practice that metafilter should adopt or adapt from elsewhere?

What sort of concerns that have kept you from making a comment or post on metafilter as a trans/nonbinary person?

What things, if any, that staff did or said in that past were transphobic, and were they addressed appropriately?

What is a repeated issue in terms of cis member engagement on trans issues that should be better addressed?

Are there common microaggressions from cis members that staff needs to be better aware of?


These all seem like excellent questions to me, for such a survey.
posted by Zumbador at 2:37 AM on June 25 [4 favorites]


Where do you go for accurate reporting on trans issues?
https://www.thepinknews.com/
https://unicornriot.ninja/category/lgbtq/
posted by HearHere at 4:30 AM on June 25


- have you ever buttoned or asked for an account wipe, and then came back? if so, what thread, memail or comment was the breaking point for you, at the time of your leaving?
- do you know someone else who buttoned or asked for an account wipe? if you know, what thread (etc.) was the breaking point for that person?
- do you talk about metafilter to anyone in your non-metafilter life? what sorts of things do you tell them? can you name specific threads or conversations that you point out to them either positively or negatively? do you feel your description of metafilter to others would be more prone to keep people away, or to attract them in?
posted by mittens at 5:00 AM on June 25 [9 favorites]


The other post feels a lot like a Donald Rumsfeld unknown-unknowns "you don't know what you don't know" sort of we don't even know what questions to ask kind of thing and I appreciate the open-ness and opportunity presented but honestly I look at it and my mind goes completely blank, because seriously -- the trans agenda & the non-binary agenda, is the same agenda everyone else has: peace, joy, prosperity, reasonably priced love (thank you Pterry), the right not to be fucked with, the right to self determination, and the right to express and enjoy ourselves -- in as much as those things do not violate others' rights.

The most common failing I see on MeFi about any of this is the inability for some users to realize that some conversations are not about them and/or do not relate to their life experience, and the best contribution they can make is to either bear witness silently, or just walk away. How do you teach people empathy, though?

I find this kind of thing encouraging, though.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:02 AM on June 25 [12 favorites]


About the "trans and non-binary" part of this: As a non-binary person, I am aware (in general, not specific to MeFi) that not all binary trans people want me included with them in such prominent ways. Is this framing a conscious choice to reject that kind of exclusivity?
posted by teremala at 5:26 AM on June 25 [4 favorites]


Is this framing a conscious choice to reject that kind of exclusivity?
No, the intention was to make clear that this initiative and the survey include anyone who doesn't identify as cis.
posted by loup (staff) at 7:28 AM on June 25


How about something like, what's something in terms of policy or practice that metafilter should adopt or adapt from elsewhere?

What sort of concerns that have kept you from making a comment or post on metafilter as a trans/nonbinary person?

What things, if any, that staff did or said in that past were transphobic, and were they addressed appropriately?

What is a repeated issue in terms of cis member engagement on trans issues that should be better addressed?

Are there common microaggressions from cis members that staff needs to be better aware of?

Where do you go for accurate reporting on trans issues? What sites do a shit job when it comes to covering trans issues and should be warned against?


also

Are there transphobic dogwhistles that staff should be more keenly aware of?

Would you feel confident in recommending to any of your friends who are trans to join Metafilter? Why or why not?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:58 AM on June 25 [7 favorites]


The main question that comes to my mind is: why is it that seemingly every time trans matters are discussed on this site, it all goes so badly that at several trans members feel the need to leave the site?

Follow up question: what is it about this community that compulsively drives trans people away?
posted by june_dodecahedron at 9:53 AM on June 25 [10 favorites]


So, let me get this straight. We're supposed to write the survey, QA the survey, and then answer the survey? All in public, for everyone else to watch? And this is supposed to be an easier, safer and more accessible way for trans and non-binary users to express their views?

Yeah, sorry, I appreciate the good intentions, but no.

If you want to make trans and non-binary users do a bunch of performative effort and talk about very personal issues in public for the entertainment (sorry, "learning") of cis users, just put up a post where we can express our thoughts on the site, in any way we find useful, and learn from that. It's really not that difficult, considering it boils down to the same thing we've been asking for, repeatedly, for years: respect and safety.

I also think asking trans and non-binary users to publicly outline the ways other users and moderators have offended them is just asking for more drama. I've never once witnessed a cis person react constructively or thoughtfully to being called a transphobe. I don't expect that to change.
posted by fight or flight at 11:54 AM on June 25 [44 favorites]


loup, can we assume that you've already done your own homework?

You have a table of users, which I imagine lists the date and time any users have buttoned. I don't know if requests for account wipes are reflected in the same place, but I'm sure you have that information. You also have a record of the feedback people have left when buttoning.

You can cross reference accounts that have requested closure/wipe with the most recent activity on those accounts (favorites, comments) and see what posts, maybe even what users, they were interacting with immediately prior to leaving.

You can look at those posts by tag or keyword search to identify posts involving trans or non-binary topics, or unrelated posts in which those topics came up.

If I wanted to understand what factors were causing trans/non-binary folks to feel unwelcome or leave the site, I would start there.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:27 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


hoyland it was discussed previously in past site updates, as part of the Trans Members Initiative as a survey with crowd sourced questions.

There's a difference between crowd-sourcing additional questions or soliciting comment on the design (god knows I'm good at finding ways surveys of trans people suck) and seemingly making us do all the work (in public, as fight or flight noted--the offer of private comment is not that useful if we're having a discussion) while telling us it's what we wanted and/or to benefit us.
posted by hoyland at 12:56 PM on June 25 [9 favorites]


Honestly, I'd feel a lot better about this if a) the staff had done any work on questions and b) cis people were asked to submit questions (not that I necessarily think anyone would base on past experience...). Fundamentally, change for trans people on this site has to come from cis people.
posted by hoyland at 1:02 PM on June 25 [13 favorites]


loup, can we assume that you've already done your own homework?

Yes, data from buttoning has been tracked and reviewed on several occasions (I've been going over data all the way back to 2018) and we started monitoring reasons for all account closures a lot more actively this year.

Yeah, sorry, I appreciate the good intentions, but no.
I'm sorry about that, the Idea of crowdsourcing a survey came from the feedback provided by capricorn when we brought the original project plan in a site update. The two-post structure and framing of these two posts was reviewed with a trans MeFi user who reached out to offer help and advice.

I decided not to add any questions from our end because I didn't want to take space away from the survey that would otherwise be filled with actual questions chosen by the community.

I understand if you or anyone is not comfortable participating in this part of the initiative. However, at this point I don't see a point in stopping an initiative that was already requested, supported and put in place.

What we can do, and I think that would be a great use of this thread, is open up space to instead propose other initiatives and approaches that you would like to see happening. At the end of the day, the idea behind this proposal is to open up space for trans folks to help shape the future of the site and its policies and we won't be able to achieve that with just the survey.
posted by loup (staff) at 1:23 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


Yes, I suggested that the questions be crowdsourced from trans and nonbinary members because I wanted us to be in control of what goes into the survey. (I'm nonbinary.)

I don't think the full text of the answers to the survey should be made public. I think a very small group of MetaFilter staff or volunteers should be given access to the anonymized text of the answers in order to pull out themes and recommendations. I personally offered to read the responses and summarize the recommendations (because I have the time and I'm interested in helping) but I am willing to step back if someone else wants to take on this work.

In my next comment I'll suggest survey questions.
posted by capricorn at 2:58 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


I too would be interested in helping to read the responses and pull the data.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:08 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Here are my suggestions for survey questions:

-Thinking specifically about your experience as a trans or nonbinary person, what do you like about MetaFilter?
-What could the moderators/staff do to improve your experience on MetaFilter? (Could optionally add something here like "without changes to the current staffing levels or functionality/technological capability of MetaFilter")
-As we redesign MetaFilter, what tech functionalities would make you feel more welcome here as a trans or nonbinary person?

Chrysopoeia, thanks for getting the ball rolling on questions and I like the ones you suggested! One I'd like to brainstorm a little more is the question "What things, if any, that staff did or said in that past were transphobic, and were they addressed appropriately?" It feels like it could solicit commentary on events from past years that no one can change or rewind the clock on (and for me, it would probably be pretty stressful to answer and dredge up those memories), but I think it could be tweaked to be more actionable for current mods/staff. A few options:
Option 1 - "In your opinion as a trans or nonbinary person, what should MetaFilter mods or staff stop doing to improve the experience of/reduce harm to trans and nonbinary people?"
Option 2 - "How would you like to see MetaFilter staff or mods respond if another mod or staff member says or does something transphobic?"
Option 3 - "What policies around moderator/staff conduct would you recommend MetaFilter adopt that would make you feel more welcome/safer here as a trans or nonbinary person?"

A recommendation which is backed by some professional expertise: fewer questions = better. So if my questions get left out so we can avoid survey fatigue, no hard feelings. :)

A purely personal preference, not agreed upon by people who do this professionally: I hate Likert scales and would prefer open-ended questions only. If you asked me "how good is my experience on MetaFilter on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best": the worst and the best compared to what? The entire internet? The entirety of human existence? What does it mean if we determine that the average trans experience on MetaFilter is a 2.3/5? What action would we take? It would be useful for comparing how the trans experience here changes over time if we repeated the survey, but not sure it's useful as single-point-in-time data.
posted by capricorn at 3:16 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


Mod note: I too would be interested in helping to read the responses and pull the data.
Thank you! Noted.
posted by loup (staff) at 3:19 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


What sort of concerns that have kept you from making a comment or post on metafilter as a trans/nonbinary person?

Or something that asks what thoughts/concerns the respondents might have when contemplating making a gender-related post/comment on any part of the site, and/or what current expectations/worries they have when clicking into a gender-related post? That's too wordy, I know, but I'm thinking about the point that dredging up specific prior experiences could be rough, particularly if it was bad enough they decided to just skip it. Whereas this references ongoing site engagement that they're doing anyway, or they can just say "I avoid such posts/comments" and be done with it if they'd rather.
posted by teremala at 3:49 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


One thing people haven't mentioned are demographic questions. Yes it's a whole minefield, but at a minimum I think we need to ask whether someone joined before/after identifying as trans (sorry to the people who joined while questioning--it probably needs to be a ternary).
posted by hoyland at 4:00 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


For the record, I had understood the crowd-sourcing proposal to be "in addition to (at least) an obvious starting point" not "do it all yourselves". It is probably telling that I didn't stick around in that MeTa for subsequent discussion, so it's entirely possible "you'll have to do it all yourselves" was agreed there, but the framing of this survey is ironically up there on my list of staff missteps on trans issues. (Most of the past clangers have been more general missteps, vs directly tied to trans people being a marginalized group.)
posted by hoyland at 4:12 PM on June 25 [8 favorites]


Hi, I am a trans MeFi user with extensive background in survey research including regarding soliciting suggestions on organizational changes to support marginalized members.

Do you have anyone with a background in survey research involved in this project? Capricorn, unsure if your “backed by some professional expertise” is referring to your personal background or based on consultation with professionals, but if this is an area you work in regularly that’s great.

I ask because the accessibility of online surveys can provide a veneer of “this is a quick and easy way to get actionable feedback” and good, useable survey research is in fact a much larger project to take on than a lot of people think. Having been The Wrangler of many projects full of passionate people who wanted to collect qualitative data from stakeholders to improve their services, this sort of thing can quickly get out of hand and be unintentionally detrimental, so before diving any further I would like to know if there is any professional/practiced hand in this project.
posted by brook horse at 4:44 PM on June 25 [18 favorites]


(I did end up posting a question because it came to me almost pre-formed and I wanted to jot it down somewhere before I log off and forget it, but I am still interested in the answer to the above before getting too invested.)
posted by brook horse at 5:00 PM on June 25


brook horse - I work in research but not survey research
posted by capricorn at 5:52 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


Since the first question in that thread is about deleting accounts and wipes--

I'm non-binary, I understand the impulse here, but I feel very strongly that just deleting everything you ever posted and commented is a bad solution? I use Metafilter as a kind of history of the web sometimes, and more and more often I search for an old post that I know I saw 10 years ago, and it's just not there. I think that removing old posts destroys an important part of internet history. I believe strongly in the preservation of Metafilter's archives.

I think a better solution would be to anonymize posts. Change user names or remove them, maybe selectively delete comments that reveal personal information, but the subjects of the posts themselves, and the links to them, should remain. Maybe that would be difficult with Metafilter's current structure, but maybe it could be made easier with the upcoming rewrite, or some other solution might be found that could preserve the links and text while also allowing users to cut ties with their old account and names?
posted by JHarris at 6:00 PM on June 25 [11 favorites]


Capricorn: Thank you, that makes sense!

JHarris: Thank you for sharing your perspective. That’s why I offered a version of each of those suggestions (though more could be added) as a potential option to determine what trans and/or non-binary users feel would be important to be able to control their personal identity and safety; this way, many people can share their perspective on these solutions.

It may be that few users endorse that option, and prefer the others. It may be that many endorse it, and then one of the outcomes of the survey is that we have to decide if the preservation of internet history is more important than trans and/or non-binary users having control over their identity and safety. But we have to know what trans and/or nonbinary users want first, which includes options we may not choose ourselves.
posted by brook horse at 6:09 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


No, the intention was to make clear that this initiative and the survey include anyone who doesn't identify as cis.

Thanks for that clarification loup, I'm here to give the feedback that that didn't work. I identify as agender, as in, the whole concept of having a gender is one I don't vibe with, and specifically I do not have a trans, cis, non-binary, or indeed any other gender. (Please use she/her, he/him, or zie/hir pronouns for me.) So until I saw your clarification, I was really reading this as meaning I was being invited to kindly fuck off from this thread. I'm also not loving that I've had to out myself to participate.

I second brook horse's query about what survey design has been done; it is easy to do badly and hard to do well, and I don't really want to pitch in to yet another well-meant survey aimed at LGBTQ+ people that ends up concluding that we're freaks who need to shut up.

I just scrolled through the non-binary tag on the blue and it's made me feel quite fighty so I'll keep this short. The second thing on there is the Nex Benedict thread, in which a mod deleted some comments condoning what happened (!), so yay mod I guess. The comments about how marginalized people should just all get bodycams stayed up.

Anyway, I think for the survey, just counting how many non-cis Mefites there are will be a start. Then publish it to the members. Publish it and say 'Think! There is a one-in-[however many] chance that the person you're about to memail to say lol we're all terfs here except for a couple weirdos, so when you said you were trying to dismantle internalized transphobia, yeah, don't bother may not be cis!' That would maybe go some way towards avoiding a recurrence of the least-good gender-based experience I've had on the site.
posted by ngaiotonga at 6:24 PM on June 25 [6 favorites]


I would prefer not to answer demographic questions in the survey for reasons similar to what ngaiotonga outlines in hir comment above btw. Do not want to discuss my history or my body just to make suggestions about MetaFilter policy and moderation.
posted by capricorn at 8:02 PM on June 25 [5 favorites]


This goes back to the question that I don't think has been answered: what is the point of this survey? I suggested the question I did because I hypothesize that you'd find a lot of people who joined before understanding themselves as trans who have stuck around and not that many people who joined while identifying as trans. I expect I'm not the only one who would have bailed in mass trans exodus numbers one through ten had I not been here so long.
posted by hoyland at 8:06 PM on June 25 [9 favorites]


In other words, I'm implicitly trying to get at "is MeFi sufficiently hostile to trans people that they don't join". (Ironically, I joined while identifying as trans, but at a time when cis Mefites didn't think they were allies.)
posted by hoyland at 8:08 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I would prefer not to answer demographic questions in the survey

So... don't? The questions can still be in the survey, right? Participation in this thread is not mandatory for any of us, taking the survey won't be mandatory, and if it comes out with instructions that suggest you have to answer every single question or none of them I'll button right then and there.
posted by Dysk at 11:50 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


(I'm sure there's already plenty of help, but in case there isn't, I am in a position to have time to dedicate to coding survey responses for example, and some experience doing this kind of research donkey work.)
posted by Dysk at 12:27 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Is there a list of notable transphobic threads on MetaFilter?
posted by i like crows very much at 1:58 AM on June 26


The main question that comes to my mind is: why is it that seemingly every time trans matters are discussed on this site, it all goes so badly that at several trans members feel the need to leave the site?

As someone who's been on this site for nearly 20 years, out as queer for the entirety of that, and trans for half of that

1. this site is not specifically like, a queer discussion space. It's just kind of, everyone, but in a specific way that is much more web 1-2 forum/messageboard/blog culture, than what most people would consider "online" now. This is not social media, but in a lot of ways it predates the "more involved" things a lot of younger people think of now like like, ugh, reddit. There are very few peers to this type of site anymore, and like other dinosaurs along the lines of SA, it does not draw in new young users very much.

The userbase ages, and their approaches, positions, and mindsets shape the culture of the site in a way that drives it further and further away from the "norm" of online. I am not here to paint this as a positive or negative thing, and if forced to, i would probably lean a bit positive honestly. I'm not a hater. However,

2. People just did not talk about transness, or even queerness the way or the amount they do now outside of queer spaces. No one gave a fuck about this really until the mid 2010s. It's actually remarkable how little people cared, honestly in a more positive than negative way, about trans people or trans "issues" in like, 2014. It was very actively forced into being a Big Topic and Political Football. Because of #1, a lot of people on here are not really Hip To The Norms of these kinds of conversations, which have also changed over the past, i dont know, 8 years or something. It's not so much about people being fed up with 101 level stuff, or even goofy stumbling with issues, its pigheaded wallbanging reactionary things.

3. Also because of 1, there are not a lot of young trans people on here(in fact i might be one of the younger ones? and i'm in my early 30s). There are also a lot of older, but relatively newly out trans people on here who, when butting up against the compound issues created by the previous points, are ill equipped to really deal with it. Many of them, in my observation, are also more newly out as queer in general, not just trans. This is a delicate place to be at to take well uh,

4. Something thats been discussed on the grey many times but... the lack of tone, intention, and connection displayed over some white text on a computer monitor that may come off more compassionless than it was sent, even worse when written by someone who may not have even realized how much compassion was needed, or who understood enough to even get how much they don't understand.


Even after all these years, watching cis people talk about transness, transition, and specific trans people comes off like rich people on tv guessing how much they think a gallon of milk or a carton of eggs costs. Out of touch in a way that anyone who gets it often finds not just cluesless but in poor taste. When you've seen it a lot, you just laugh. When you grew up poor(as it were) and hear it for the first or second time, you're mad as hell, or it drives you mad.

Honestly, i only ever really talk about this stuff with other trans people anymore. But i really, truly do care about this site and community so this felt worth writing out. I can't even remember the last time i wrote a post this long on here, but i've been reflecting a lot lately on how interesting it is to watch this site, and its userbase age and navigate the bizarrely changing, quickly turning to garbage "web" that's barely the fucking web anymore. I'm left wondering how much of this we even can address therein.

But, it feels worth trying. I don't know.
posted by emptythought at 2:40 AM on June 26 [46 favorites]


Oh, as a bonus epilogue:

5. i guess this in and of itself was basically 10 years ago, but it wasn't that long ago in my head that the Stupid 2016 Election was practically taxing the technical resources of this site, and spiritual and operational ones. A big, notable point that not necessarily most but enough people rallied behind was that the Good Republicans(especially women!) who didn't like trump needed to be supported, or you were like... bad or ideologically unreasonable or something. Maybe not feminist. It eventually ended with a pie in the face for these people as the snake ate its tail, and everyone who wasn't right wing enough was run out of the party etc as we all watched on here through a series of posts.

But, the few of us on here sat and watched it be a debate(sometimes even backed by conservative queer people!) over how you like, couldn't dislike a group of people whose main tenets were Fuck People Like You, especially for those of us who aren't white... without being like bad or something or Taking It Too Far and needing to chill out and not threadshit or whatever.

And as much as i've honestly, remarkably watched the ideological grounding point of this site shift over the years and the community really, and honestly try and do better even if a bit awkwardly and stumbly at times, that feels really recent to some of us. The stench has not 100% washed off.

So i think for some, watching jackassery play out, even if it eventually gets pushback or mod action, is just too much. Especially when you consider #3 from above.

I think i have a thicker skin than some of the trans people on here, but from all the posts i've seen over the years and people i've known on here, i'd really hope that at least some of the older, more like seen it all gay people will relate to where i'm coming from with that. Some people just really aren't set up for it.
posted by emptythought at 2:53 AM on June 26 [15 favorites]


JHarris I think anonymization should be an option, maybe even a strong recommendation, but ultimately we need to give people the option to wipe their contributions if they feel they need to. And given that we now have long stretches with no moderator on duty, or any reliable turnaround time for a deletion/wipe request, there needs to be a self-service option, at least for individual posts.

I agree that it sucks to see holes where there used to be valuable contributions, and I wish we could have it both ways, but ultimately the things people share here remain *theirs*. If they no longer feel safe or comfortable sharing them here, they need the option to remove them, full stop.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:58 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


This survey is framed as a response to the changing legal and social landscape, but without an explanation of how the broader legal and social context influences the community. Is the argument that there will simply be more and more transphobes and we need to batten down the hatches? Maybe so, but the problem runs deeper. In past threads, moderators have regularly dismissed trans peoples' concerns or acted in defense of transphobic members of the community. I have witnessed and experienced this myself. Where does a survey fit into all of this?
posted by i like crows very much at 3:56 AM on June 26 [11 favorites]


i like crows very much, concurring, I don't think the "changing legal and social landscape" has much to do with the problems around here. That feels like a deflection from the underlying issue that "this community has been shit about trans issues, and shitty to its trans members for a long time, and has been slow to improve". That's a much less flattering statement of the problem, so I can understand why they're not putting it in the tag line. But I think it would be a more honest way to frame what's going on.
posted by june_dodecahedron at 4:52 AM on June 26 [6 favorites]


If we're discussing questions to include, could we maybe include something about whether there are particular users who routinely say things that make you uncomfortable? I don't always trust my instincts and sometimes there's a person whose interactions bother me but I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that it's just a me thing and getting a sense from the broader trans community about whether there are individuals who in aggregate make this a more hostile place might be beneficial.
posted by an octopus IRL at 5:10 AM on June 26 [8 favorites]


Dysk: So... don't? The questions can still be in the survey, right?

Yes, that's exactly what I meant. If there are demographic questions, assuming they are optional, I wouldn't answer them.
posted by capricorn at 5:27 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Honestly, for me, this all just feels like too little, too late. We've already lost a lot of valuable trans voices thanks to poor decision making. The community around here isn't what it used to be (both good and bad). The damage has been done.

As seanmpuckett has already said, the issue is that some users on here just lack empathy for trans folks, and fixing that is kind of beyond the jurisdiction of the mods. Most posts about trans issues these days remain decent, as far as I can tell. There are some eye roll-worthy comments, some borderline tedious cis opinions, but nothing as bad as it used to be. I think a lot of us have just learned to live with it. I don't see how a survey can possibly shed any more light on anything that the staff don't already know about. Maybe I'm just too tired and jaded, though.

Is there a list of notable transphobic threads on MetaFilter?

I was going through past MeTas on this subject last night and was reminded of this shitshow (unfortunately many of the more egregious comments, some of them from a moderator at the time, have been cleaned up). This post was brought up in this MeTa post (again, some comments have been removed from the conversation which makes it a little difficult to follow).

I'll leave what happened in both of those threads to speak for itself in terms of why some trans users might not be jumping at the chance to engage.

If we're discussing questions to include, could we maybe include something about whether there are particular users who routinely say things that make you uncomfortable?

Personally I don't think this is a good idea, especially if the answers are made public. I don't need the people I know are a problem getting irate about being called out on it (especially because they already know who they are and they don't care) and I don't think it will be helpful for cis users to feel like they're being targeted by trans users.
posted by fight or flight at 5:27 AM on June 26 [11 favorites]


I think it's way more useful for staff to ask about what bad behavior looks like, rather than who it's coming from. Behavior can be corrected, or can be met with appropriate consequences if not addressed.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 11:46 AM on June 26 [8 favorites]


Maybe examples of bad behavior that stood would be useful? The historic weakness in moderation has been not understanding why something is a problem. (I definitely flag things via the text box and only later realise my explanation wasn't very clear, but you can't flag something twice, so unless I go to the contact form, no clarification is forthcoming.)
posted by hoyland at 1:17 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


Will the survey be anonymized? I don't think I would want to participate if my name is going to be attached to my answers.
posted by jordemort at 1:36 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


loup, where is the channel for anonymous feedback or suggestions? or is the policy that only people willing to out themselves as trans or nonbinary can participate?

(the Contact Us form is not anonymous, it requires an email address)
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:09 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


(the Contact Us form is not anonymous, it requires an email address)

To be fair, it doesn't need to be the email associated with one's account. It likely doesn't need to be a real email address either.
posted by hoyland at 10:06 PM on June 26


No, probably not, but in a discussion about (among other things) users feeling safe and having control over their information, I'd like to think we'd have a better solution for this than misusing the existing contact form.

I'd say, maybe this should be a question on the survey -- should the site have an anonymous-by-design way to interact with mods? Would you use it if it existed and under what circumstances? -- but hopefully someone will go ahead and implement something in advance of the survey, so that folks can respond anonymously if they want to, otherwise we're just not going to hear from some percentage of users.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:00 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


You also want to make sure that there's at least 2 trans men (or one trans guy and an enbie) in every trans-related thread kind of running the show, condescendingly dismissing the opinions of trans women, and leaving no space for trans women to share their experiences if any do happen to wander in.

Bonus points for weaponized AGAB discourse, and simultaneously being authoritative and yet "female socialized" so you can kinda just skate on any and all accountability.

(Trans) chicks dig it!
posted by She Vaped An Entire Sock! at 11:22 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Bonus points for weaponized AGAB discourse, and simultaneously being authoritative and yet "female socialized" so you can kinda just skate on any and all accountability.

I don't necessarily recognise the rest of the comment in my own experiences here, but this definitely speaks to something that has been an issue repeatedly. "socialized [gender]" is just the lefty-allowed version of "man in a dress" a lot of the time in practice, and I have definitely been in the receiving end of that here on several occasions.
posted by Dysk at 11:37 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


In the nicest way possible, and heaving my considerable and regrettable personal experiences aside, it would be wise to recognize how transmisogyny shapes and feeds lateral violence - and how the lateral violence is overwhelmingly used to shut down transfeminine voices and de-gender trans women.

How bout that, then?
posted by She Vaped An Entire Sock! at 12:23 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


(maybe you missed the 2016-2019 period where two transmasc users formed the bulk of comments in any given trans thread, had some really terrible takes, and generally proved the old adage: "trans men are the men of trans people.")
posted by She Vaped An Entire Sock! at 12:25 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying I don't necessarily recognise what you describe in my own experience. Different people have different experiences!
posted by Dysk at 12:44 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


That's why I asked for a list of threads that were sites of transphobia. We need a shared frame of reference before we can have a deeper conversation. Even if we did nothing more with that list, it would be a useful resource for trans members to decide how and if they want to participate in this community.

Off the top of my head, I can think of the tully_monster thread because that one was so egregious. You had multiple trans people pointing out that this person is a TERF and they deleted our comments, threatened to ban me over mefimail. After tully_monster was banned, cortex characterized the whole incident as "we try to actively keep an eye out for on the site and we slipped hard on it in this case." A mod sent me one of those mealymouthed apologies like (paraphrasing) "I'm sorry for the distress of the thread."
posted by i like crows very much at 4:04 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


"socialized [gender]" is just the lefty-allowed version of "man in a dress" a lot of the time in practice

ranks right up there with "biological [gender]" as a replacement for AGAB (which in itself is seldom relevant in most given contexts). cannot stand "socialised" when "assumed" is right there; has a whole other set of implications and is far more accurate.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:50 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


Well, I’m sorry two trans men sucked. What can we implement in the survey or elsewhere to address that?

(To the rest of the discussion, I believe the comment on socialized gender is referring to trans men claiming to have some authority on women’s issues due to their experiences of misogyny, not cis people using it to call people “really x.” It’s a common intra-community talking point which is sometimes rightly pointing out trans men not making space for women and is sometimes entirely dismissing the reality of trans men’s experiences of misogyny, which includes bearing the worst of sexualized violence, more than trans women OR cisgender women. I don’t know She Vaped an Entire Sock!’s intention on bringing the point up because I’m not familiar with the users in question.)
posted by brook horse at 5:06 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


ftr i appreciate your point and i get how the comment is being used. i won't derail the topic further though.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:41 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I believe the comment on socialized gender is referring to trans men claiming to have some authority on women’s issues due to their experiences of misogyny, not cis people using it to call people “really x.”

I have very much been on the receiving end of "but you were socialised male" here on mefi, from a cis woman.
posted by Dysk at 6:00 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Yes absolutely, but I don’t think that was what She Vaped an Entire Sock! was referring to and was instead alluding to a particular talking point about trans men—that’s all I was saying. What you’re referring to is 100% a thing that happens and it happens here and it’s bullshit.
posted by brook horse at 6:06 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


generally proved the old adage: "trans men are the men of trans people."

Holy fucking shit, did I just read this? You know, after panicking about whether I was the one being accused of talking too much? This plays directly into one of the top ways transmasculine people are discouraged from transitioning. One of the things I had enjoyed about the Metafilter trans community is that is we managed to actually function as an all-gender group without the "lateral violence" you are literally perpetrating while pretending you're not!
posted by hoyland at 6:36 AM on June 27 [15 favorites]


this trans woman agrees hoyland. pretty jarring and shitty, have flagged.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:50 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


To get back to the survey, what's a good number of questions for such a survey?

Do we need a better spread of specific vs more open ended, or are the questions already suggested balanced enough?
posted by Zumbador at 7:51 AM on June 27


Mod note: generally proved the old adage: "trans men are the men of trans people."

The moderation team do not agree with or condone this statement in any way, but are leaving it up to allow people to understand the following responses. Please avoid posting these types of comments in the future. If anyone does, the mod team may reevaluate whether to remove those comments and whether people who make them should be removed from the site.

Our goal in posting this MetaTalk and everything that follows is to make MetaFilter a safer, healthier, more accepting site for ALL trans and non-binary people. We very much do not encourage insults or attacks on the many based on the actions of the few and hope that people will participate with a view towards how to improve things for all trans members.



Otherwise, please note that a mod gap is coming up, so it'll be awhile before we're able to comment further, if any commenting is needed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 7:55 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


The moderation team do not agree with or condone this statement in any way, but are leaving it up to allow people to understand the following responses.

fwiw i am ok with my response being deleted if it also means the deletion of some bæddelist garbage on full display
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:58 AM on June 27


To get back to the survey, what's a good number of questions for such a survey?

Do we need a better spread of specific vs more open ended, or are the questions already suggested balanced enough?


I wasn't being sarcastic when I asked above what we were trying to learn from the survey. (Maybe other people know and it's just me who doesn't?) I'd expect some of the design questions to be answered if we knew what the "research question" was.
posted by hoyland at 8:01 AM on June 27


Possible question:

Are the current posting guidelines (link to the guidelines) sufficient to address transphobia, or are there adjustments /additions needed?

If so, what changes should be made to the posting guidelines ?

posted by Zumbador at 8:16 AM on June 27


MetaTalk post on trans issues where no one buttons challenge 2024.

C'mon folks. We can do this.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:10 AM on June 27 [11 favorites]


You’re welcome to message me for the information i like crows very much; if I’m feeling up to it I will pull up the sources (it’s not just one study) but it’s a hard topic so it may take me a bit to get around to it.

Also, thanks to those speaking up about a comment which made me feel very uncomfortable but which I’m used to being told “well that’s just because of your male privilege” (me and my [redacted]-cups would love to see some of it) when responding to comments like that so I did not feel I could speak on it.
posted by brook horse at 9:30 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


The moderation team do not agree with or condone this statement in any way, but are leaving it up to allow people to understand the following responses.

It's pretty damn discouraging that this kind of thing is still being handled this way. That comment is an implicit attack on many of the trans and nonbinary people who are still hanging on and following this discussion. Removing it would not significantly derail the thread, and leaving it means people in the groups it's attacking will have to keep seeing it.

We don't need to know the details of why an unacceptable comment was removed. If the mods think it is necessary, delete the comment and give a summary in the mod note ("comment removed for attacking trans men and nonbinary people") so at least the original isn't sitting there stinking up the thread.
posted by Lexica at 9:47 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


Well if the goal of that comment is to get fewer comments from trans men in various threads I think it's likely to work as I will probably comment less on trans issues or in gender-related threads in the future which may or may not be a good thing, I genuinely don't know. If I have been taking up too much space I apologize and will try to step back.

Please feel free to delete this if the comment to which it's responding gets deleted.
posted by an octopus IRL at 9:51 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Mod note: A comment and its replies deleted as requested by the OP.

That comment is an implicit attack on many of the trans and nonbinary people who are still hanging on and following this discussion.

Yes, the decision to let it stand is not because we think it is OK, but because we believe that by letting the comment stay, it allows other MeFites to make informed decisions about the people posting said comments. If you think it should still be deleted, let us know, as Brandon said: we may reevaluate whether to remove those comments and whether people who make them should be removed from the site.

loup, where is the channel for anonymous feedback or suggestions?

Thank you for bringing it up. We don't have a seamless solution for anonymous feedback yet, but I think we need it, so I'll start looking for options. For now, please feel free to email me directly (from any email, doesn't have to be your MeFi mail): loup@metafilter.com

What changes should be made to the posting guidelines ?

Side note on this: There's plenty of work to be done towards the goal of making MeFi safer for trans folks and this included the site's policies and guidelines. As part of this, we released some changes to the microaggressions page yesterday to include a mention of Gender Affirming Care in response to constructive engagement by a trans MeFi user who reached out directly.

posted by loup (staff) at 11:33 AM on June 27


Yes, the decision to let it stand is not because we think it is OK, but because we believe that by letting the comment stay, it allows other MeFites to make informed decisions about the people posting said comments. If you think it should still be deleted, let us know, as Brandon said: we may reevaluate whether to remove those comments and whether people who make them should be removed from the site.

casting my vote for "it's ok to delete hateful comments and leave a mod note saying not to be hateful" bc there is nothing to gain by leaving the comment up that cannot be gained by telling folks to not be bigoted towards our trans masc users, and sparing them from having to see that specific ugliness. which may be a moot point by now given how long it's been up but oh well
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:43 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


The idea that any non-cisgendered mefites are taking up too much space on this site is kind of goofy. Statistically we are few and far between, socially we are talked over, and in our own minds we often invalidate ourselves! I’m talking as a genderfluid person who is only on the very fringes of trans-ness; if it’s this much for me I can barely fathom what it’s like for others. Don’t let a few people with bad takes or impolite posting history silence your voice, please.

Tangentially it would be cool if there was a better term for non-cisgendered. Gender-atypical? Is there something floating around in niche online spaces we could borrow? Language must evolve.
posted by Mizu at 11:45 AM on June 27 [8 favorites]


In my field we use “transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals” but I’m not sure if it’s the best term we have. An option, though.
posted by brook horse at 11:56 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I feel quite strongly that GNC does include cis people. In my experience "trans and gender non-conforming" means "people who do/have experience/d social consequences for how their gender is perceived, regardless of their specific gender or identity". Cis butches don't lose the option to be women when they get harassed in a bathroom, after all.
posted by hoyland at 12:38 PM on June 27 [13 favorites]


Mod note: One comment and its reply deleted. Addressing with the OP directly.
posted by loup (staff) at 1:32 PM on June 27


MetaTalk post on trans issues where no one buttons challenge 2024.

C'mon folks. We can do this.


Too late. i like crows very much seems to have closed their profile.
posted by Dysk at 1:34 PM on June 27


"people who do/have experience/d social consequences for how their gender is perceived, regardless of their specific gender or identity".

Yes this would be an overly inclusive (to not miss anyone) rather than specific (to only get non-cis respondents) option. As in it would cover everyone we are looking to cover but would also include more than that, but I’m not sure if there’s a way to be more specific without excluding some of the people we want to include. If that makes sense?

But that may not be the best approach either way.
posted by brook horse at 2:59 PM on June 27


Yes this would be an overly inclusive (to not miss anyone) rather than specific (to only get non-cis respondents) option.

Yeah I'm saying that I don't like using GNC as a means of defining "not cis" precisely because it includes cis people.

I'm honestly not sure there is a good term. Maybe say "minority gendered experiences" and then say "by this we mean people whose experience of gender/lack thereof does not coincide with that assumed at their birth", which, yes, is a reasonable working definition of "trans", but also seems like it covers the identities I can think of where people commonly sometimes explicitly don't identify as trans.
posted by hoyland at 4:41 PM on June 27


I like "cisn't," myself.

Definitely agree that GNC folks can be cis. I want to recognize however that, trans, nonbinary, and agender people can also be GNC, but don't have to be. So to me, "trans and GNC" actually doesn't include everyone we'd want, since not all non-binary and/or agender people will identify with either term.

On preview: I could get behind "minority gendered experiences," I think. It reminds me of Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minorities (GSRM), meant to summarize and condense 2SLGBTQIA+. And, actually, perhaps "gender minorities" is sufficient on its own for this purpose?
posted by teremala at 4:54 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Though maybe that still excludes "gender does not apply to me"? I originally thought it didn't, but am now uncertain language works that way.
posted by teremala at 5:09 PM on June 27


whether people who make them should be removed from the site.

can i put in a belated vote for "not banning trans women for talking about experiencing transmisogyny, even if its inflammatory or mean about men, which ive never seen be bannable offenses on mf," please. deleted a carefully worded and softly stepping version of this comment bc it felt like a waste of time, but im so confused by the collective response to that comment and this specifically.
posted by gaybobbie at 5:27 PM on June 27 [8 favorites]


im so confused by the collective response to that comment and this specifically.

My issue (and I assume that of others) was not complaining about transmisogyny (which we all know abounds and commonly in the "socialised as ..." language referenced, as others noted), but the part where their second(?) comment decided to put the blame for that at the feet of transmasculine people (who are certainly capable of engaging in transmisogyny, like all people), which doesn't pass the smell test in the context of Metafilter, but whatever, they can say they're talking about specific individuals (who, I don't know), and then to top it off, specifically invoked a supposed "adage" (that I have literally never heard) that is evoking "you just want male privilege", which is pretty much top of the list of transphobic tropes specifically targeting transmasculine people.

tl;dr the issue wasn't that the comment was reporting experiences of transmisogyny.
posted by hoyland at 6:31 PM on June 27 [8 favorites]


And, actually, perhaps "gender minorities" is sufficient on its own for this purpose?

I avoided that because, at a population level, I think it includes cis men (and perversely could similarly by read to exclude trans women).
posted by hoyland at 6:32 PM on June 27


How many enby and/or trans folks identified as GNC first? I don't want to recreate the bullshit idea of a clear demarcation that leads people to gatekeep themselves as not being whatever term we pick, not being it enough, or not being it in the right way.

I don't think finding the exact right term is what's important. No one term will be perfect, because we are all constructing our own identities from terms that abstract the rich complexity of our individually experienced internal states into the limited subset of shared experiences that we can more easily describe.

All terminology is necessarily invented and socially constructed, and when attempting to delineate who is something or not, there will always be border zones, and those who dwell in those border zones. I'm not interested in guarding that border, not when I know people who don't just cross the border, but diffuse it.

I'd argue self identification is the only real possible metric for inclusion, and that people who are questioning their identity or who don't fit neatly into the gender box assigned to them should be respectful of other voices talking about their own experiences, and speak about themselves, not about others (as we all should), but also have a place here.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 7:24 PM on June 27 [9 favorites]


Agreed, Chrysopoeia.

What would work for the title of the survey that's specific enough to be useful, and relaxed enough not to feel gatekeepy without being clumsily long ? (is this a "you can have only two of the three" situation?)

"Trans, nonbinary, or anyone else not cis gendered "?
posted by Zumbador at 8:36 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I realise this is an somewhat idiosyncratic take, but "trans" to me means "not cis". So I'm happy to welcome agender, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, etc. people under that banner. I realise that not everyone who isn't binary trans considers themselves trans though, so it's not necessarily useful for language to include everyone.

Imperfect as it was, I guess this is what "trans*" was trying to be: a broader, more inclusive term.
posted by Dysk at 9:08 PM on June 27 [9 favorites]


Dysk, that's what trans means to me as well, but a significant number of people (a lot of them nonbinary or agender) don't use trans that way, and don't identify as trans.

One of the reasons I've seen mentioned is that many people associate "trans" with "binary trans" so either trans men or trans women, excluding the spectrum of other "not quite that" identities like "nonbinary women" etc.

We could argue about what trans should mean, but for the purpose clear communication with people where they actually are, it might make sense to accept that not everyone understands trans to mean what we do.
posted by Zumbador at 9:13 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


...I specifically acknowledged that in my comment, yes.
posted by Dysk at 9:14 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Same, Dysk. It breaks my heart when I run into people who don't identify as trans because they never got the memo they could and it has happened more than once. (To be clear, these are not the people expressly making a choice against identifying as trans. They're the people who get invited into a trans group and eventually make a comment about not being "really" trans and then someone has to say "you're not obliged to identify as trans but you know you can, right" and it turns out, no, they didn't know.)
posted by hoyland at 9:15 PM on June 27 [7 favorites]


The annual Gender Census is broadly speaking a census of non-binary people but it avoids using that term in the framing for potential bias reasons. It uses this as a screening question:
I confirm that I don't really fit into just one of the two boxes of "always, solely and completely a woman/girl" or "always, solely and completely a man/boy".
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:19 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


"I do not always, solely, and completely think of myself as the gender I was assumed to be at birth"? That has room for questioning people and people who feel that being GNC pushes them personally outside of their assumed gender, as well as the other populations we've discussed, I think. I wanted to avoid "identify" since it's a bit jargon-y and I've seen people get hung up on it in other spaces.
posted by teremala at 2:54 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Presumably anonymising the responses would be at least a little more difficult if any demographic questions are asked?

I would really *like* demographic questions to be asked. It was only a few months ago I tried to figure out the age of the userbase and found that the information just... didn't seem to be being collected? But I'm also pretty sure that age + gender would bring me down to what, at most there could be a two or three of us, and possibly just me in this particular survey?
posted by Audreynachrome at 4:32 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I waded through above responses, lots going on there.

Some thoughts I have about this in no particular order:

- I mostly just read Ask Me, not other parts of the site, since I was in high school in 2011 or so. I didn't make an account until 2020 when I saw someone ask a very specific transition-related question and not get much response and I had relevant experience and knowledge to share.

- With the knowledge of gender that I have now, I would say that when I started reading Ask Me, I was agender but not thinking about it. Within a couple of years I thought of myself as nb, and I now consider myself nb and trans in that I have been publicly explaining myself and living in a way very different than my ASAB, and taken many steps to change my body to suit my own needs. It's been about 10 years, most of my adult life now.

- I personally haven't wanted to hear the thoughts of a random cis person about transenderism since probably ever, so I don't read the shitty convos that other gender minorities are linking upthread.

- when I have asked questions looking for relationship advice, people have generally assumed that I am a cis man with a cis wife even when I explicitly stated otherwise. I see this happen to others here all the time. Reading comprehension is bad here, even though it's better than a lot of other places. Cis people are kind of stupid. It is what it is.

- I don't think metafilter is a good context for discussions of close-to-the-heart personal experiences of marginalization, and asking for it to be so is a good way to get really hurt. I think there are a good number or recently self-realized (0-3 years) trans people here and that's a particularly emotionally vulnerable demographic. I wish that metaflter could be a safer place for them to discuss the difficulties associated with that experience but it just isn't.

- If metafilter had separate sections of the website that were just for people of XYZ identity, that might help. I'm not sure. I think a lot of 0-3 yr gender minorities might not have yet built supportive in-person networks so they are looking for it here, a space which is currently not equipped for it, and that creates a lot of unnecessarily hurt feelings and probably sometimes trauma.

Therefore: it would be helpful if the mod team were to do an assessment of
1. What gender-minorities are looking for from the site and,
2. The resources yall, as mods, are willing/able to put into those things.

And then as a follow-up, you should publish the results of that. I would be much more likely to engage with a trans-specific part of the website and I imagine I would get a lot out of that. I would be a lot more likely to post, Ask, and comment on gender-minority issues there. I never do that currently, because frankly most cis people are like toddlers about gender. However, I do respect metafilter users generally and would be interested in reading other meta gender-minorities' perspectives on gender. I don't know if there are resources to make that happen.

If the mods are unable to set up another section of the site, maybe an explicit statement of the inability and some compiled resources for other places people might look for help: specific discord servers, fb groups, and subreddits. Not that those places are free of drama either, but the mods of these groups are more experienced in gender-minority specific issues and I would appreciate an honest statement of meta's abilities more than the kind of mess in this and other threads. I say that with a lot of appreciation for the hard work you do! We all have our own skillsets and this is just one I have seen yall lacking in. Personally, I lack the patience to moderate anything at all so I really can't judge. I just think it's good to be honest about what your broader capabilities are.
posted by Summers at 7:04 AM on June 28 [10 favorites]


I'm a trans woman and honestly I can't say I have any concerns about MeFi.
posted by egypturnash at 8:05 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Can you elaborate on why? Do you have no concerns because you view MeFi as a great place to spend time online as a trans person? Because it's doing as well as you expect a cis-dominated space can? Because you think MeFi has more urgent, more existential problems?
posted by hoyland at 9:41 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I feel pretty safe and able to participate here myself (despite shit like the medium blue stocking palaver) but I'm still concerned because of how many awesome names and voices I miss.
posted by Dysk at 12:05 AM on June 29 [9 favorites]


I think the mods did a good job shutting off the anti-trans stuff of old. It's no longer a space where people can make their little transphobic jibes then mug for the crowd and collect their high fives, and if they get called out be like, "what??? le troll face ;)" I don't miss that!

I'm still a bit disgusted that certain people weren't just banned BITD, when they clearly should have been. And I shudder sometimes at the TERF-compatible feminism that cis people here gobble up. But that's okay. It helps me keep a healthy distance from this place.

More recently I've thought a bigger danger to the trans community was coming from inside the house, with people going on little crusades: the danger there is that cis people are quite willing to "help". The mods can't really help us there; I think they did an okay job staying out of it and not, like, heeding calls to implement weird social protocols based on the notion that trans people who criticize a short story or youtube video are the same thing as harassers, abusers, and murderers. It's on us to not freak out, and so I try to say that we should talk more about material things so that we keep ourselves honest and hopefully avoid the perils of lazy labeling.

Though it feels like that time is gone too.

Anyway those are just my opinions. I don't know to put them into question form, or if they would be teased out by other questions. I'm not really in the trenches on this site so I'm sure they're a bit out of date and out of touch.
posted by fleacircus at 2:01 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


Okay, I'm splitting my comments here into two pieces, because I'm concerned about things derailing and/or getting deleted.
First:
includes bearing the worst of sexualized violence, more than trans women OR cisgender women
Really? Are we actually going to descend into comparing marginalization as a trans community here? I could argue this, but it looks like the trans men versus trans women stuff above has quieted down. I'm going to just say that we need to stick together as a trans community and not bring each other down.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 3:49 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Second:
To the original post topic - I've read through the other thread with its list of questions. These may be related to those questions, but here goes:
1. Please explain what most afraid of in society related to your trans identity. I'd like to ask this because the cis community here needs to understand better what it's like being trans in 2024. This is a profoundly dangerous time - as bad as it was decades ago for other marginalized groups. We're experiencing potential extinction events politically, and otherwise well intentioned MeFi members don't know it. Like, we are coming onto your doorstep, in ragged clothes, wet, and hungry, and afraid of those hunting for us outside. And you're sipping lattes and discussing liberal ideals.
2. Please describe your experience of marginalization as a trans person. Here, I'm worried about how otherwise accepting people don't understand microagressions - already covered on one question, but I think it needs more digging into marginalization. For example, I know people button here because they think trans women are seen on MeFi as too loud, too assertive. And I suspect we are, in any number of otherwise allied or accepting spaces.
3. Please detail your concerns about Metafilter as a safe space for trans people. Related to the questions above, but tailored specifically to this space.

posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 3:56 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


A Disheveled Non-binary (me) stumbles in

me: oh you want me to what

me: reads the room discussion

me: .

me: .

me: absolutely not

Exeunt Disheveled Non-binary, absorbed into a hedge
posted by knock my sock and i'll clean your clock at 11:56 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Gender fluid, outlier here.

I don't know if Metafilter handles trans issues well or not. I know I feel safe mentioning being trans here in threads that are not specifically about being trans, but not safe talking about it in trans threads. Trans threads seem to always turn into a s***show where upset people are talking past each other.

I am the wrong type of trans because I grew up in a trans positive home before being trans was something most people even knew could be a thing. This means I don't represent other trans people here in any way and my experience is different enough I think it makes some trans people uncomfortable.

I don't need more account protection or anonymity. If MetaFilter gets unpleasant for me, I'll just move on. I'm not afraid of being doxxed, or harassed or arrested. Those things do happen, and I feel it is reasonable for other people to be afraid of that, but I am confident I won't be arrested, and that I can avoid the other two being an issue for me by simply not interacting with anyone on the internet.

I am more concerned that I might make someone else here uncomfortable, and trigger them as a result, because my different experience can feel to them like I am trying to invalidate their experience. The problem is that the only guideline I can work out for safely discussing trans issues here is to not do it at all.

I've never yet started reading a trans thread without it turning into what feels like an unsafe space because different trans people are upset with each other. Any cis person trying to work out how to be inclusive isn't going to learn a whole lot from that.

What's something in terms of policy or practice that metafilter should adopt or adapt from elsewhere?

I don't know. Being trans is an important part of my personal identity but the whole trans political theatre seems like an unsafe space so I stay out of it.

What sort of concerns... have kept you from making a comment or post on metafilter as a trans/nonbinary person?


Offending other trans people. That would be worse than being harassed or doxxed.

What things, if any, that staff did or said in that past were transphobic, and were they addressed appropriately?

I have not observed any, but I now ordinarily stay out of trans discussion threads so I wouldn't see them unless they turned up in a discussion of "can I eat this chicken?" or "climate change can be mitigated."

What is a repeated issue in terms of cis member engagement on trans issues that should be better addressed?

I stay out of trans threads, so I haven't observed any.

Are there common microaggressions from cis members that staff needs to be better aware of?

I have never observed any. It doesn't mean there aren't tons of them. I have probably committed myriad microaggressions, unintentionally, despite being trans, so I assume that cis people are doing it even more than I am.

1. Please explain what (you are) most afraid of in society related to your trans identity.

Appearing ridiculous or vulnerable and being ridiculed and taking ego damage as a result.
People trying to coerce me to take sides in drama wars.
Offending other trans people.
Getting upset if someone attacks me and losing my grip on my hard won happiness.


2. Please describe your experience of marginalization as a trans person.

I present as weird, and cis, in person. I expect I present the same way here and in any trans circles. I don't fit group norms because I'm not a real woman, I'm not a real man and I'm not a real trans person. There's no niche.

I can't change how I present, and even if I could I'm not motivated to do it, so I am going to remain on the outside. It's kind of a wistful feeling. On the other hand, life is too sweet to dwell on it and I know what I am, rock solid, and who I am, and I am comfortable with that. I am really lucky to be trans, because I got the best of both possible worlds. If I can't get validation here, that's okay, because I know what I am and I don't need the external validation.

I have been MUCH less marginalized than other trans people, because I've just been excluded from one group or another for being the wrong gender, which to me is not a big thing. That is, of course a big thing to other people who were wounded by that experience. I think of myself as barely marginalized at all because I've never experienced violence or feared violence from cis people because of being trans, nor have suffered economically, or found it more difficult to obtain housing. This is probably why I think of being trans as so much a net positive in my life. I've experienced gender violence and discrimination of course, both as a male and as a female - but it always matched my gender presentation.

3. Please detail your concerns about Metafilter as a safe space for trans people. Related to the questions above, but tailored specifically to this space.

In my experience there are no safe spaces. No matter how limited and small and protected a group is there will be members who deserve to be in the space and who need it, and yet who make other members feel unsafe. On a bad day, someone trans will say and do something that is anti trans, just the way that women say and do things from internalized misogyny.

That said I think that trying to create a safe space is always a good thing to do because being kinder and being more understanding is never wrong.

Someone mentioned making a specifically trans specific category, presumably to post trans links, discuss trans questions and chat generally. That could be nice for the trans people who would feel comfortable in that group, but wouldn't do anything to make MetaTalk or the discussion threads in the other groups any safer.

I think it could turn out to work very well if we did that, and I think it would be slightly more likely to turn out very badly.

It's bloody hard handling so many different people's needs for validation and their desire to belong and have control over the space. If it's working out badly here, that's probably because it's incredibly hard, and not because we are bad at it. I can't say I know of any group who has handled trans issues and trans members any better than Metafilter. I can't point to any role models and say we should do it like that. Believe me, the trans discussions on facebook that I have been involved in have not made Metafilter look bad. And as for discussions of trans issues in my gaming groups.... LOL!

I am reminded for some reason of someone close to me, who was AFAB but kind of, sort of had been using male pronouns wherever he could get away with it. The company where he worked decided to make their trans employees more comfortable by getting everyone to list their pronouns in their e-mail sig line. But because he visibly presents as female, and has no desire to transition, he did not feel safe using he/him with people who actually might interact with in him in person. He was given the option of opting out - but was aware that doing so would immediately mark him out as being a TERF or a closet trans. They/them felt no better than he/him so he went with she/her. The result was that he felt a shudder of revulsion every time he sent out an e-mail. It was one of the reasons he took early retirement. This is someone who is internally comfortable with he/him, but just doesn't think they will ever feel ready to share their gender identity outside of a really, really tiny circle of maybe four people.

It's HARD being inclusive and supportive, and it is triply so if you include us non-binary people. I don't HAVE third-person singular pronouns. Monday morning, I might want to use she/her, Monday afternoon I might want to use he/him, and there is no way in hell I can keep up with keeping anyone else informed which pronouns are correct, let alone dealing with it being wrong retroactively. At any given moment I may not know until I think about it for awhile. There's a miniature flinch when I see myself referred to in the third person regardless of which pronoun they use. I stiffen up inside, "you don't know me..." But meanwhile pronouns are an urgently important issue to a great many people who are counting on us to support them with gestures like listing our gender in our sig lines. They need that support. They need to have assumed pronouns discouraged as strongly as possible.

You can't resolve something like that. It's trans people with conflicting needs who can't see anything except that other people are refusing to validate their gender identity and are probably imposing a gender identity on them or marginalizing them to boot, even before you get to the problems with decades of conditioning making people flub the pronouns they intended to use, and having crappy reading comprehension.

All you can do is try to be kind. And try to be supportive. I don't think we are doing things that wrong. We are trying.
posted by Jane the Brown at 12:30 PM on July 1 [19 favorites]


Oh goodness! This thread isn't meant to be the survey itself, just a place to brainstorm questions. It was always my hope (as the person who first pushed for some kind of survey-like thing) that the survey would be anonymous and no one would have to respond to it under their own username.
posted by capricorn at 4:14 PM on July 1


Someone mentioned making a specifically trans specific category, presumably to post trans links, discuss trans questions and chat generally

We do have a Slack, btw.
posted by hoyland at 6:35 PM on July 1


I'm non-binary, I understand the impulse here, but I feel very strongly that just deleting everything you ever posted and commented is a bad solution? I use Metafilter as a kind of history of the web sometimes, and more and more often I search for an old post that I know I saw 10 years ago, and it's just not there. I think that removing old posts destroys an important part of internet history. I believe strongly in the preservation of Metafilter's archives.

i have requested deletion of my old post history on a previous account. i can't remember if it was over yet another failure of moderation around race or queer/transness.

fuck your history of the web. places that are cruel to their marginalized populations deserve the swiss cheese holes left behind: the absence and the loss speaks loudly to any who would care to look.

at least, that's my take. i regret nothing, and should the site drive me away again i 100% will likely ask for complete obliteration of whatever i contributed.
posted by i used to be someone else at 8:14 PM on July 1 [10 favorites]


That makes it sound like you're doing it punitively?
posted by Dysk at 8:55 PM on July 1


I understand why people value historical records, and I don't think mentioning seeing value in those means that people don't value the people who left. If anything it means that they are acknowledging the value of their past contributions.

But that loss seems like an appropriate consequence of someone who doesn't want to be here anymore. It is just making the recorded past of their participation congruent with the future without them.

Personally that future feels like the bigger loss; We have at least have some memories of their past involvement but we never will get the living thriving future participation and voices of marginalized people who left here, or in a few cases like homo neanderthalensis, were tone-policed and banned.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 12:34 AM on July 2 [8 favorites]


Really? Are we actually going to descend into comparing marginalization as a trans community here?

This was specifically in the context of the assertion that transfeminine people experience “the overwhelming majority” of lateral violence, when the poster was engaging in lateral violence against transmasculine people to dismiss them using language that is frequently a dogwhistle for ways people dismiss transmasculine experiences with misogyny, including sexualized violence. This was one example of transmasculine people experiencing more of a certain kind of violence which is erased and dismissed (how many headlines have you seen on the rates of violence transmasculine people experience?), which was to show how comments like that are often used to shut down our discussion of these experiences and I wasn’t sure which way it was intended.

That’s the only point; I’m not interested in making a competition about it. It’s a complicated intracommunity issue that taking a single soundbite out of a full sentence and paragraph is not going to properly encompass.

But that loss seems like an appropriate consequence of someone who doesn't want to be here anymore. It is just making the recorded past of their participation congruent with the future without them.

Agree with this. It’s action -> consequence. It is a loss and it’s once that I accept because of the current state of both Metafilter and also society regarding transgender individuals’ participation and contributions.
posted by brook horse at 8:11 AM on July 2 [4 favorites]


the swiss cheese holes left behind
Actually, very timely for me: tigrrrlily is livid right now having found out that the 'trans friendly' name change policy of a notable scientific journal was to post a 'clarification' notice linking my deadname to my correct name going forward. Effectively outing me if people dig a bit on my publication list. Ugh.

And brook horse, I want you to know I appreciate and respect the contributions you make here on trans subjects and others. Thank you for the clarification - didn't mean to take one comment out of context.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 6:11 PM on July 2 [7 favorites]


wait theres a slack? CABAL REAL
posted by _earwig_ at 6:01 PM on July 4


uh i don't know if i have much to contribute, i'm too much of a lurker to engage with other ppl online. this miiiiiight be related to being trans - in my time lurking i've seen how people treat us online and it stresses me out loll. never posting means i never have to have skin in the game and frees me up to be anxious about how i am perceived IRL only ;P
god this is so off-topic sorry..
metafilter is like the one place i actually post bc it's small enough it doesn't feel like i have to present myself to the entire world at once.. weird to say but i feel like the site culture of "well meaning older liberals of an intellectual bent" is something i can understand and relate to even if its not like. my culture as a mid 20s trans stoner dropout. basically i come here to find interesting things online. for trans sttuff i bitch to my irl friends. um ok thanks for reading my comment ilyyy <3
posted by _earwig_ at 6:18 PM on July 4 [15 favorites]


Posting late but have read through both this thread and the Questions one. I'm not seeing intersectionality being acknowledged or thought about either on the mods end or anything else I've read here.

Considering that Metafilter has also had a very bad history with keeping members of color safe on this site, which made for some very slow and small changes... metafilter has a very long way to go here which intersects with trans and nonbinary issues because, duh, Black, Indigenous and other people of color exist in the trans and nonbinary community of course, but it's not acknowledged here on this site.

There's tons of lateral violence within the communities at the site of all these intersections and of course there is a lot of erasure from non-BIPOC and cis people of all the intersections of these identifies here on Metafilter and IRL.

This speaks to also the bad history of disability issues on this site, which is another intersection that duh, we can have BIPOC, disabled, trans or nonbinary users on meta. And we can go on and on with class, religion, language, etc. etc. etc.

The point is that within the trans and nonbinary group we need to be aware of the IRL crap that is lateral violence and erasure against others in the group when all these intersections of identity are not acknowledged and are not handled appropriately. And I already see that everything thus far relating to the topic has been NOT intersectional AT ALL. And it's probably not on purpose but it's again, Metafilter's historical blindspots rearing its head.

I'm thinking of stuff I remember from 2018 on when things were coming to a head because oh guess what, there are users of color on Metafilter! And with very marginal changes over the course of 2018-2022 or something. A lot of users with intersections that crossed being queer, trans, nonbinary, BIPOC and disabled, different class, regional, etc.etc etc were pushing the site to be better and there was a big hemorrhaging of these users because of the inability of Metafilter to even acknowledge these users and our experiences on the site.

So, I would hope that with this history in mind, pre-Loup and pre-travelingtime, pre-BIPOC board, we would move forward in an intersectional way and not forget the many intersections of privilege and inequity that we trans and nonbinary users experience IRL and on this site. In other words, let's not reify colonial ways of being, white supremacist ways of being, that crap. I specifically mean within our already marginalized group of trans and nonbinary folx... let's not forget our Queer trans nonbinary Black, Indigeous, other folx of color, who are and may be also, disabled, poor, etc etc etc. Which, to this day, this comment will get a huge eye roll from many users I AM SURE. But I had to say it.

*please forgive any typos or weirdly worded areas
posted by mxjudyliza at 5:36 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


mxjudyliza, absolutely, intersectional voices are essential to this work.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 6:59 PM on July 12


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