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Two recent thoughts turn out not to be so seperate after all.

The first, after my recent lecture on "Aging Transgender Patients and Barriers to Care" (Unimaginably specific a few years ago), is that there are MANY more allies out there than I ever knew.  Speaking as an active Ally, we need to recruit them.  The people who say--"What, they can give transgendered adolescents hormone blockers so they don't have to develop physically as a gender they're not?  What a great idea!"  Or, "When my son came out to me, I was a little bummed that I wouldn't get to be at his wedding--but now it's legal here!"  Or, "I got into trouble at school when some kids picked on another kid for being gay, and I punched one of them in the face."  They don't necessarily think of themselves as allies, which is a waste of wonderful potential.

The second, after commenting on a friend's FB post--which was repeating one of the many fear-based hoaxes from the internet--is that hoaxes like that are not benign.  Uniformly, whether they warn of pedophiles, gangs, or incredible super-viruses that will hack your computer back to the stone age, they all serve to enflame paranoia and further seperate "us" from the "other".  Anyone not us is out to get us.  The world is chock full of evil, and if I don't know you,  you're almost certainly someone who wants to do me harm.

I'm not naive enough to believe that there aren't bad people out there--but evil is almost never organized.  When it is, it's in the form of a political party, like the Nazis and the Khemer Rouge.   When people put up harmless hoaxes, of gang initiations, fake police officers, and entire battalions of child-porn seeking fanatics--it isn't harmless.  Fear is the enemy.  People who spread fear for their own amusement are the enemy.  Fear, much more than hatred, is the opposite of love.  In spreading the fear to others, generally good people become enemies to themselves.  Enough credulance, and a potential ally--not just of gay rights, but of religious rights, gender rights, political rights--can become an opponent.

I use snopes to check, but you can pretty reliably evaluate every urban legend with one question: is this designed to make me afraid of someone else's malice?  If the answer is yes...it's a fake.

Date: 2010-10-07 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xanath.livejournal.com

I just read an article about Virginia White, a transgender woman who was recently murdered in Essex County, and saw your post. You're right, there are more people out there willing to help than any of us know--it's just getting to know them.

Date: 2010-10-07 11:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chris-warrior.livejournal.com
what is the quote, we hate what we fear? that would make fear worse. *wry look*

i'm glad your talk went well. :)

Date: 2010-10-07 01:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mewsrissicat.livejournal.com
You are now - and always will be - amazing.

Nice capsule summary for the fast evaluation of mass-email/spam. Like you, I give it the "othering" check, and then pitch it in the trash.

Date: 2010-10-07 02:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mewsgryphoncat.livejournal.com
For some reason, this quote has been dogging my mind the past few days:

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good does nothing."

Thank you for never doing nothing. ♥

Date: 2010-10-26 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aerden.livejournal.com
Fear, much more than hatred, is the opposite of love.

Yes, exactly.

I have come to believe this as part of my study of faith. I no longer believe in religion, but I do believe deeply in faith.

I believe fear strangles our impulses toward love and accountability, and I believe it is why striving to be a truly loving person can sometimes be so difficult, because we have to work hard to consistently overcome our own fears enough to let ourselves behave with love.

Which is maybe not germaine to the topic of Internet hoaxes, but it was so refreshing to find someone who understands the thing that I believe is the most important in life and in spiritual life.



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