On Monday night, a chum showed me a Facebook page about her pal Jamie called: “i’m a women LOL JK i’m the guard from poundland :D”. Grammatically, I was horrified, but scrolling down I also saw derogatory, humiliating comments about Jamie’s appearance and gender identity.
Despicable… pure bullying. The page had over 1400 fans when I joined – a lot of people in one place, abusing one person eh? Simply because they think she looks different. Disgustingly, some people had secretly taken photographs of Jamie and uploaded them to the page in order to further humiliate her. Others described their plans to do the same: harassment.
Some accused Jamie of being unattractive. This was seemingly done without irony, as most of these scumbags were hideous-looking themselves – with ugly personalities to match.
Perhaps most concerning is the casual, dehumanising way in which their victim – “it” – is repeatedly described. Comments included:
“Is it a man or a woman”
Nikki Jade Little
“Shes a freaky lookin fucker like!! Would love to see her take a shoplifter down and shove her man bits in their face :)”
“i always thought it was a man and i cant stop staring at her everytime i am in town x”
“Hahahaha it works in greggs at the top of the big market on a friday night wierd thing like”
“I love this!! Hahahaha the he/she thinks it’s solid standin outside smokin away talkin to all the grannys lmao”
Rebecca BexiBoo Maddison
“hahahaha ive seen this big robot women man thing lmao”
“a heard it wasnt even human but a reptile, and a got telt it lays its eggs under the redheugh bridge…”
Can you believe we have to live in the same world as these bastards?
This isn’t just a case of not knowing what pronouns to use. They could, like many others, have gone down the (absurd) “she’s a man” route. No, the above comments very clearly intend to mark Jamie out as sub-human, in a carefree, public manner, which I personally find deeply sinister.
Even more disturbing is that many of those commenting had images of babies and children as their profile pictures. They bullied an innocent woman under the banner of their offspring’s smiling faces. One mother, who is seen hugging her child, even makes vile sexual comments about Jamie’s imagined genitals. Absolutely sickening.
I posted the page on my wall – and couldn’t help but let loose on the comments. I was livid. Bullies deserve to be challenged, to be described as what they are – and it is right that this should come from the trans community.
Which is handy, because it soon spread like wildfire around trans folk and, thanks to PC Rich Bridger, the case is now being dealt with by Northumbria Police. PC Bridger is the police’s LGBT Community Liason Officer in Brighton, and he uses Facebook to connect with the queer community. I know him through my charity work in Brighton.
The page has now been inundated with comments of support for Jamie; denouncing prejudice which has, for some months, gone almost completely unchallenged. One or two noble souls – who don’t seem to be part of the trans community – had in fact defended her, and it’s these people who give me hope. Hundreds others have also reported the page and individual posts and I sincerely hope that both Facebook and the police will be able to take action against these vicious human beings.
Internet activism scores another goal. Yet again, I sense a growing online community, one with the confidence to stand up to bigots and bullies, pulling together and saying: “We will not tolerate this anymore”.
No. We certainly fucking won’t.