Sad Follower of Cool Trans Twitter asks:
Though I follow many cool people with great politics on Twitter, something has been bothering me: certain forms of bigotry don’t receive as much pushback as others. While it’s a good thing that racism and nonbinary TERFs get called out, everyone seems to look away when their friends enact aphobia and transmedicalism. I wish that there were less tolerance for this.
Sad Follower of Cool Trans Twitter, your submission reads less like a question and more like an impassioned plea. While I would love to assuage your sadness and disappointment, I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do. You see, I am not cool or popular, and my Twitter-famous girlfriend has little sway over strangers’ opinions. In a similar vein, unless you happen to be on speaking terms with your favorite Twitter users, there’s no way for you to make them care about issues you find particularly salient.
Changing another person’s mind is a difficult process, even under the most favorable circumstances. First and foremost, your target must want to change—a desire rarely facilitated by online randos. From there, you must be prepared to build common ground around the topic at hand, demonstrating willingness to alter your own perspective over the course of the interaction.
Since I assume you aren’t acquainted with the people to which you refer, I recommend saving any effortful persuasion for your friends and local community. I know, I know—a flaccid response, but I guarantee you’ll receive better results than if you were to slide into a stranger’s DMs. In the meantime, feel free to liberally mute any terms or topics you find upsetting or controversial—or unfollow certain accounts altogether! We may be unable to control which forms of adversity confront us in real life, but, at the very least, we can try to curate a pleasant online experience.
HYPER/TEXT is a queer advice column for the digital age: a space for subcultural dilemmas that leave offline friends scratching their heads. Should you block your best friend over lesbian discourse? What on Earth is a “kinnie?” Check in biweekly for answers to these questions and more as we explore the lives of the hyper-online!
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Fox Auslander is a nonbinary poet born, raised, and based in Philadelphia. They are one of three co-lead poetry editors at Alien Magazine and one of two co-editors at Delicate Friend. Find them on Twitter @circumgender.