Fox Taylor
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Protection Magic in the Age of Internet ...

Protection Magic in the Age of Internet Insults

Feb 13, 2023

I'm accidentally bringing back Moonday Musings. It's not even on purpose. I guess Monday afternoons are when I like to sit down and write.

I have a lot on my mind today. I've had a lot on my mind all weekend, and it results in me doing tasks a lot more slowly because I keep getting lost in thought. My Instagram has felt like a surreal place, where I have to brace myself before diving in. ICYMI: I posted this:

and this:

I posted these on Friday. Friday was shaping up to be a soft day. A bonus day off, just a couch day spent making art, cuddling cats, and watching all three Lord of the Rings movies (the extended editions, no less). It was a good day. Jeff and I were talking about the new Harry Potter universe video game, discussing how we feel about the attempts the studio was making to temper the boycotts that address JK Rowling's transphobia. JKR and her transphobia is a regular topic of discussion in our household. We're two nonbinary people. We care about other nonbinary people. We care about trans people. I consider myself trans nonbinary, because I don't feel like the gender I was assigned at birth, but I don't feel like I'm in the wrong body, either. Still, I feel like I lean "masculine", and I'm more comfortable being called "sir", or "dude", or anything like that, than "miss." I'd like to get the X marker on my driver's license and my passport (though getting it on a passport opens up a lot of cans of worms in terms of safety). Even if I wasn't trans nonbinary, I'd like to think that I would still give a shit about trans rights and trans safety. I mean, it can't possibly be that radical to think that every human deserves safety, security, and freedom to be themselves. I believe in "do what you will, but harm none (but take no shit)." Being trans doesn't harm anyone. Trans people are treated as scapegoats, to direct anger and fear away from the people who are actually harmful (here's looking at you, cis-het white people with deep pockets).

Apparently my views are radical to some people. After posting the above, I started getting comments that leaned.... How do I put it? They leaned towards transphobic skepticism? They leaned away from allyship? The comments leaned away from believing victims. That isn't to say that every trans person is a victim (and we certainly shouldn't be victims of anything, but that's not the world we live in). It just feels a little yucky when someone asks you to prove and validate why you feel a certain way. To prove the violence. To prove the hatred. It's just asking someone to relive fear and hurt while doing all the work to prove why someone IS hateful and cruel, instead of acknowledging that maybe it's enough that someone is making the post in the first place. Apparently it's radical to ask to consider how actions may make people feel unsafe, and uncared for.

I turned off the comments on the post. It was too much. Now, when you turn off or restrict comments, you'll start getting direct messages. Someone will go through the work of sending you a full message. So... that's great.

This isn't the first time I've gotten venomous messages on Instagram. The biggest difference is that the older I get, the better I handle these messages. My skin is thicker. I have armor. I know that I don't have to cross my boundaries to engage with people who don't understand, nor do they want to understand. It's hard to completely let those messages bounce off of your body. It's hard to not embody them completely.

I think magic saves my sanity, and my life, daily. The tools I've learned through witchcraft and magic, and the tools I've learned in therapy, come together to make me more resilient. I'm still a tender baby, but I no longer get as overwhelmed by my emotions or the words that are fired at me. Being properly medicated helps, too. Because of the tools I have, and my position of privilege, I can say what I feel needs to be said, and stand up for people like me, and people who aren't like me. I don't think every hill needs to be died on, but I do feel like some battles are important. But battles can't be fought without weapons or protection.

My art is my weapon. My word is my weapon. Those weapons are protection. Every day I start my day by drawing a pentacle in oil over my heart. It smells good, but it also sets the intention that I'm not open to being wounded. I'm choosing to set boundaries.

I don't need to get into the hateful messages I received. I don't need to give them further power by repeating them or sharing them. Will those messages inspire artwork? Absolutely. But I can transmute them without sharing the original words.

Some messages that have come from the transmutation of hate:

  • Being 2SLGBTQ+ is not a mental illness.

  • You are worthy of safety.

  • You are worthy of security.

  • Trans lives need to be protected at all costs.
    The goal is not to be normal. "Normal" is subjective. "Normal" is exclusive, and too easily weaponized. But here's the thing- you are normal. You just need the definition of normal to change.

  • You are not asking too much.

  • If someone doesn't get it, don't waste time or energy trying to change their mind. Change the world instead.

How to banish hatred you've encountered on the internet:

  • Have a shower or a bath. Water cleanses the body. Light candles. Fire cleanses the mind.

  • Repeat: "I am rubber, you are glue. What you say to me bounces off and sticks to you."

  • Repeat: "Every time someone points a finger at me, they point three fingers back at themselves."

  • Dance. Put on the loudest, most empowering music you can. Dance poorly. Dance like a wild waving inflatable balloon person. Dance with reckless abandon, and radical freedom. Dance away that hatred, and empower yourself with music. A lot of songs are my true gospel. There is some divine truth in music, and we can embody it.

  • Seek out the people who are like you. Find their social media. Find their writing. Find them, and remind them that they're not alone. Remind them that their art, their work, and their labour are important and needed. This is how you built community.

  • Make art. Write. Make music. Let hatred galvanize you like steel. Their anger means that you're doing something important. Keep going.

If you're a trans person and/or a nonbinary person, I want you to know how much I care about you. I'm happy you're here. We're changing the world. The old world didn't make space for us. It's really fucking scary and upsetting how many people are dead set on erasing us and saying that our lives don't matter. It hurts. It hurts every time someone validates our pain. It hurts every time someone chooses to attack us. Sometimes it just hurts to exist. We ask ourselves, "Why did I choose this life? Why am I like this?" We didn't choose it. No one would choose to feel this much pain. No one would choose to feel like a pariah. No one would choose a life where their existence feels threatened. That's how we know that this is real, and it's important. That's how we know that our existence matters. We didn't choose our gender, or how we feel. It's just who we are. We can only hope that our lives are going to become easier, that the future will be better for the kids who are like us, so that they don't have to live in the same world we did.

Keep going. Keep existing. Keep living. You're too important. You matter. None of this is easy. I'm just so thankful for us. I'm grateful that we can find each other, and empower each other, and support each other. All of the negativity is so loud sometimes. But we don't have to suffer any of it alone.

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