I primarily write about LGBTQ and Democratic party political issues. Although I am on many social media apps and websites, the main two I use to reach my followers are Twitter and Facebook. I opened my Twitter account in 2014 with only a handful of followers. I now have almost 30,000 followers who are mostly Democrats or Independent political liberals. Most of my followers are open minded and believe in listening and having a civil conversation when they have opposing views.
I began writing in several blogs in support of Hillary Clinton and LGBTQ issues in general. Since the election of Donald Trump, I have also been writing about the ongoing anti-LGBTQ attacks in Texas, where I live.
The reason I’m writing this is because of two different threads I became entwined in on Twitter over the last weekend, one political and one on the lack of understanding about the LGBTQ community.
First I’m going to talk about a response I received on one of my articles calling out the anti-LGBTQ laws now being passed in Texas. I’ve been writing quite a bit lately about the “bathroom bills” that the Republican party in Texas have been trying to get passed into law. If you read my articles you know I am gay and I always confront homophobia head on and fight to defend the limited rights we have as LGBTQ Americans. This issue is important to me because so many people are uneducated, ill-informed or choose to remain ignorant regarding the danger of these bathroom bills.
This mainly comes down to the right of transgender people to use the restroom that relates to their gender identity. For so many transgender people it’s hard enough to come out as transgender, but just as hard and dangerous is the fear they have when going into a public restroom. Transgender people, just like gay, lesbian and bi-sexual people, are born this way. It’s not an issue of being who your birth certificate says you are but being who only you can know you are. For many straight people it’s hard to understand or comprehend what the life of a transgender person is like. It’s so easy for many heterosexual people to say: “she’s not a woman,” “he/she was born a man or a woman so they just choose to be another sex,” “he/she is gay or lesbian but you can’t be different from the sex you were born”.
If you do not know a transgender person then you do not know what it is like to be transgender. You don’t know how or what they feel every day of their life. You don’t know their fears and what an emotional rollercoaster they can be on throughout their day. I have many transgender friends but I would never assume to know what they go through. Just as a white gay male, I don’t know what an African American or Latino male/female, gay or straight, feels when they walk out on the street. Are they being racially profiled? In many major cities like New York and Chicago we know this happens daily. Now with the new “Sanctuary City” law in Texas latinos and people of color will be racially profiled and constantly be concerned with this new “Show Me Your Papers” law.
I’m writing this because I had to block a man who identified himself as a straight AA male who tweeted a response to one of my bathroom bill articles. After saying that LGBTQ/Trans people were just making this an issue to draw attention to themselves, I tried to explain to him why this was not true. He then proceeded to tell me his father was gay and his sister was a lesbian and had a wife. He then went on to say they used the bathroom of their sex (not the same thing as transgender). Again I tried to explain to him unless he knows and has talked with a transgender person then he could not understand their situation as far as bathrooms. From there he just became rude and obnoxious. Thank god for the new feature on Twitter where you can mute a conversation. I always try doing this first, however, when a person comes back in a different tweet and continues to attack or be hateful I block them and move on. Their ignorance on LGBTQ issues and choosing not to become educated is their choice and then I use my super power of the automatic BLOCK.
The other situation started after watching Dr. Cornel West on Real Time with Bill Maher. I have always supported whoever becomes the Democratic nominee for president even if the one I have campaigned for does not win the nomination. The election was over November 8, 2016. That is the time to put party differences behind you and move forward. This is the time we reorganize to bring our party back together and prepare for the midterms. But, the Democrats are still fractured from the primary in 2016 between Sanders and Clinton supporters. Most people I know have moved on but there is still a major division.
Everything on Real Time was going well until Bill brought up Hillary while talking to West. Kaboom!!! There it was, the major issue in Dr. West’s life it seems he will never let go of. As he bemoaned the treatment of Bernie Sanders and turned the show into the Cornel West show, Bill Maher had to fight to regain control. It’s time to let the Bernie-Hillary fight die, put it in the past and look forward. But once again I was caught up in a “Twitter War” on a never ending thread. I asked nicely that the two political transformers move on to a private conversation and end this thread. I was ignored. Again, followers are normally civil when commenting on my twitter feed so I used the new “mute this conversation” option. If this begins again and I ask them to leave me out of the thread then I will use my “Twitter Super Power” in the block option. There is always an out when followers ignore your requests.
My point is that it’s time to move forward. If you don’t understand an issue or situation then become educated. Reach out to a person who might share insight with you to help you understand where they are coming from.
There will always be “Twitter Trolls” who are there to stir up controversy or just be antagonists on your account. But when it comes to regular twitter followers who choose not to be flexible or open to listening or becoming educated on an issue then they leave you with no choice but to block them. Sadly, there are times that the BLOCK button becomes your best friend.