Clarkesworld’s Statement About Fall Story

Neil Clarke, Publisher of Clarkesworld, today posted in “About the Story by Isabel Fall” an extended statement dealing with the response to the work, especially on Twitter. (See overview: “Clarkesworld Removes Isabel Fall Story”.)

The concluding paragraphs are:

…Going forward, we will bear these lessons in mind, and hopefully we will become better at fulfilling our responsibilities to our authors, and to our readers.

In the meantime I offer my sincere apologies to those who were hurt by the story or the ensuing storms. While our lives have likely been quite different, I do understand what it is like to be bullied and harassed for an extended period of time. I can empathize, even if I can’t fully understand life in your shoes.

I have also privately apologized to Isabel. She has chosen to sign over her payment for this story to Trans Lifeline, “a non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis—for the trans community, by the trans community.” They have been a vital resource for her and inspired by her actions, I have decided to match the gift.

Through the course of these events, I’ve encountered many deeply personal stories from readers and authors. I’d like to thank those people for sharing and providing many of us with further opportunities to learn from their experiences. Aside from getting to know Isabel, that has been the high point of this experience. I wish you all the best and appreciate you taking the time to share….

77 thoughts on “Clarkesworld’s Statement About Fall Story

  1. Yes, a good statement for a tricky situation.

    If there’s a lesson here, I think it’s that context really does matter with something this sensitive. And I find myself thinking that even without context, some content warnings would have helped create some more trust.

  2. One thing I’ve found interesting about this whole situation is that it mattered who the author was, that the “about the author” section of the magazine told too little about her. This used to not matter, that the story stood more or less on its own.

    I wonder if this is a temporary change or a permanent one. Are we in a shakedown period after which people will become more sensitive about talking about other cultures, or are we fracturing into a society where it will become difficult for groups to communicate with each other?

  3. One thing I’ve found interesting about this whole situation is that it mattered who the author was, that the “about the author” section of the magazine told too little about her. This used to not matter, that the story stood more or less on its own.

    I wouldn’t say so. I would say it mattered enormously in this particular case. The title is a commonly used insult deployed very frequently in original format and derivative formats against trans and non-binary people. If the intent was to reclaim it, to subvert it, then yes, it really does matter who is trying to do so. A white-passing person who hasn’t identified as Korean/Asian-American using g*** brings up a lot more questions than one who has, and most of those questions would be “is this person a bigot?”

    It’s a very similar case here. Someone who hadn’t identified as trans/nb essentially took a slur and began to play around with it. That’s gonna raise a lot of questions, which include, “is this person anti-trans?”

    These questions arise because in the current real world, trans people are primed to be defensive and might have what one could call a siege mentality, because we are constantly being attacked for who we are. There are multiple bills being debated in state legislatures that would restrict our rights; we’re seeing a lot of federal legal protections being threatened on the judicial and executive fronts. The media, particularly the UK media, consistently platforms anti-trans voices; even “liberal” publications often platform anti-trans voices in the name of “balance”. Even when these stories aren’t negative, they’re frequently written by cis folk, and often fall into frequent tropes; for example, that being trans is agony focused on genitalia; watch how many videos about trans women highlight when she puts on makeup, deliberately underscoring how our femininity is an act, a mask. Nerves are already raw, and then this story with a nasty, vile joke for a title comes along…

    It’s a tinderbox surrounded by fuel-air explosive, and into that flies an attack helicopter…

    I 100% believe that had it been clear that Isabel Fall were herself trans, the reaction from the trans community would have been far less speculative about the authorship and motivation and more about whether the story worked or not–because the knowledge that the story was coming from within the community would have been known, rather than the fear that this was yet another attack. Instead of worrying that the author was a bigot, the conversation would have centered more around whether this exploration of gender could work.

  4. Seems like a pretty thorough statement, sincere and honest.

    Neil Clarke has always been a pretty decent dude, and his magazine certainly tends to promote and publish authors of diverse backgrounds and identities.

    He’s probably right to take down the story for the time being.

  5. I saw a thread on Twitter somewhere where someone said they were sure the author was trans because the story had so much “heart” in it. That was my impression on the first read as well. I think a lot of the objections came from people who read the title, read the bio, and then read little or none of the story. In fact, some people boasted that they hadn’t read the story.

    Also, an enemy would have been far more heavy-handed.

  6. I have many thoughts, but I believe the most important right now is that I hope Fall is doing better and I hope all the trans and nb folks who commented on the story (criticizing or otherwise) are in a safe place right now.

  7. Clarke’s statement seems to me to be very thoughtful and nuanced.

    In the statement, he mentions that Ms. Fall had not been out at the time the story was published, and that the harassment she suffered forced her to out herself. That is appalling. The people who were bullying her should be ashamed of themselves. LGBT+ people have the right to choose when, where, and how to come out. If Ms. Fall wanted to publish this piece anonymously or under a pseudonym because she feared censure from family/friends/coworkers, or just because she didn’t feel ready to go public with her identity yet, that was her right. She should not have had to come out before she was ready in order to prove to a bunch of people on Twitter that her story was really written by a trans person. Authors do not owe you the details of their personal lives.

    I hope Ms. Fall is feeling better, that she resubmits the other stories she had under consideration and apparently withdrew, and that the people who attacked her think real hard about the harm they’ve done and make better choices in the future.

  8. @Greg Hullender
    Honestly, that wasn’t the impression I got after multiple reads–rather, I had the sense that it was someone who may have read a lot of trans dialogue, but so much of it felt alien to me.

    As far as not reading the story, I also don’t think that’s necessarily a problem; titles are an integral part of work. A banana taped to a wall is just a banana taped to a wall, but when titled “Comedian”, it becomes a $120,000 work of art. Slurs in a title are just as a part of the work, and people have every right to factor that into how they approach it.

    In 2016, a book was published titled with the T-slur. If it were anonymously written, trans folk would have had every right to judge the book based on the title alone. The added context of it being written by Laura Jane Grace, a trans woman, allowed it far more space; even then, because it’s a slur, some haven’t read it.

    In 2018, a movie was released titled with the slur G–k. Again, Asian-Americans had every right to avoid seeing it and judging it based on a slur that has been shouted at us. The added context of it being written, produced, and directed by Korean-American Justin Chon created a space where many could engage with it.

    So when “I Sexually Identify as a Attack Helicopter” was published and no additional context is provided, and a community that has heard it as attacks time and time again, I don’t know if it’s fair to demand that those hurt by it must read it to push back on the work. Even then, though, so many of the criticisms I’ve seen, including my own, did engage with the actual text directly, where those who criticized it very clearly read it and still did not come to the same conclusion that you may have.

    And finally, I don’t know if I agree with the oft-repeated statement that an “enemy would have been far more heavy-handed.” There are many examples of hostile writings that appear subtle or reasonable at first glance; the assumption that an “enemy” must be inelegant or brutish strikes me as wishful, more than factual.

  9. @anem0ne: ISTM that your response to @Jeff Smith works around to something like a contradiction of your opening. It used not to raise concern (among anyone who “mattered”) when authors of centrist/majoritarian/… nature wrote ignorantly or even viciously about people who were different from them; now such work — or even something that seems like such work — will immediately raise the question of whether the writer has any idea of the facts about the people they portray. I can imagine a world in which this doesn’t have to be asked because authors no longer write out of ignorance — the various seminars on “writing the other” may be a first step toward this — but I have no idea how long it might take. More realistically, I suspect it will never be complete, because humans are a fractious bunch too often inclined to define Ins and Outs and slam the latter, and because people’s experiences of being not-the-same-as-others may always vary so widely that one such person’s plain facts (not even bluntness) will come across to another such person as ignorantly cruel. I’ve seen this latter happen here, on a small scale; some Filers find terms painful that others are reclaiming and even proclaiming. But one can hope that we will edge our way toward a world in which differences are valued — isn’t homogeneity boring? — rather than attacked.

  10. One thing I’ve found interesting about this whole situation is that it mattered who the author was

    I say it really does, more than simply attaching an identity or background to the name. Have you noticed that the people who’ve been forced to withdraw stories or who’ve been placed under group attack recently have all been new authors from marginalized communities? Not name authors.

    A Steven King or JK Rowling can pretty much say any kind of shit, and any internet storm won’t affect them. A Scalzi or a Stross say, have hardened their access to the point they can weather all kinds of abuse. But it’s the new authors with limited influence and resources that get attacked.

    Which means since the most diverse authors tend to be new, that this is a hit against diversity and original, different voices. This is basically preying on the new and vulnerable.

    But hey, at least King and Rowling will be able to publish again.

  11. Absent the internet, a statement like “the editor/publisher just had and is still recovering from surgery and will have a statement shortly” would have been sufficient to calm things down until said statement was released. (And might have risen up again, depending upon the nature of the statement.)

    I feel bad for Neil (in addition to the author and those who’ve been negatively affected by this whole thing), having had a self-inflicted kerfuffle take place in the midst of personal stuff that – yes – actually did take priority (whether others agreed or not) over the publicly facing stuff.

    Sure there comes a point at which such “excuses” become just that, an excuse for not dealing with the issue, but there are plenty in the community whose experience with Neil could attest that such is not the way he handles things.

    We’ve got to find a way to cut each other some slack, to let the fact that we’re all human become part of the equation of our responses.

  12. @anem0ne I would say it mattered enormously in this particular case. The title is a commonly used insult deployed very frequently in original format and derivative formats against trans and non-binary people. If the intent was to reclaim it, to subvert it, then yes, it really does matter who is trying to do so.

    @Rose Embolism this is a hit against diversity and original, different voices. This is basically preying on the new and vulnerable.

    I’m putting these together because they’re both true and it’s worth thinking about how they interact. First and most obviously, writers from marginalised communities are much more likely to be writing difficult stories about marginal experience in the first place. Second, as long as these stories are rare, they’re going to suffer from strong female character syndrome – being judged as representation against a set of standards it’s literally impossible for a single example to meet. Third, anyone from a marginalised community is more likely to be considered fair game for a pile-on. And fourth, any controversy that happens around a marginalised author is more likely to attract attention and get amplified by people who aren’t directly involved.

    And this is how structural oppression works: not overt prejudice, but an accumulation of small biases and power differentials that end up excluding marginalised people from what’s nominally an open field, and dismissing their concerns as unreasonable.

    (I should say that last point isn’t directed at you, Rose – you’ve correctly identified the pattern.)

  13. Ok, I read it last night. That’s… disturbing. The sex doesn’t bother me, though, given so many references, they still sort of identify as a woman.

    No, what I find disturbing is something else: I was active in the antiwar Movement during ‘Nam. Well, what I see is PTSD, really badly. What I read in this story is that the military took someone who was having issues, and deliberately screwed them up.

    Sorry, I’m not worried about their internal image/issue, it’s the utter lack of concern of “probably only a few janitors, maybe some teachers working late” who just got murdered.

    [shakes head] If you read the story, and didn’t realize that, you missed a major issue.

    mark

  14. @Chip Hitchcock
    The first paragraph isn’t meant as a contradiction–it specifically points out that if you’re going to work with a slur against a community, it helps build trust if you mention that you are a part of said community, even if, on first glance, you don’t appear to be. It give enough space and trust at the start in order for a different conversation to start.

    @Sophie Jane

    And this is how structural oppression works: not overt prejudice, but an accumulation of small biases and power differentials that end up excluding marginalised people from what’s nominally an open field, and dismissing their concerns as unreasonable.

    I’m well aware–and I think this cuts both ways. As @Chip Hitchcock mentions in his comment, it used to be that criticism from marginalized communities was excluded and ignored. Even today, all too often, such criticism is dismissed often as unreasonable; small biases here and there lead to things like Peter Watts’ comment that chooses to dismiss those who found the original story hurtful.

    I think there’s a weird assumption that I wanted the story to be retracted; that’s far from the case. I think it’s possible to criticize the story, the work, without wanting the author to disappear. But honestly, at this point, I’m tired of arguing. It’s not going to change anyone’s mind, and ultimately it seems easier to just find ways to stop talking, go stealth, and avoid ever more places and topics.

  15. @Rose Embolism
    Yes, it does seem remarkable how effective Twitter mobs are at targeting minority authors. And if you look closely at the people piling on, they tend to be straight white people. Something is seriously wrong here.

  16. @Greg Hullender
    Are you really going to argue that? One could argue that if you look closely at both the initial fervor for the story and the pushback to the pushback, the people involved also tend to be cishet white people. It strikes me that, at the moment, much of the discussion is being done by cis white people. Interesting indeed! It couldn’t be, perhaps, that cis white people tend to dominate certain specific places of discussion when it comes to this, or the limitations of people’s networks and where people might be looking.

    Being neither cis or white, I think the conversation could do with a lot less of that sort of pontificating from cis white folk. But it probably won’t.

  17. Looks like the term “twitter mob” is being redefined out of all recognition. Of the many different opinions given about the Clarkesworld story on Twitter which ones count as a mob?

  18. Of the many different opinions given about the Clarkesworld story on Twitter which ones count as a mob?

    Whichever one is conveniently opposed to the views you’re sympathetic to, I would wager.

  19. Of the many different opinions given about the Clarkesworld story on Twitter which ones count as a mob?

    The one baselessly insisting someone HAS TO BE a nazi and a terf because of their birthdate that has a quote from Requires Hate in it’s bio? This is not rocket science.

  20. @anem0ne

    Sorry – no criticism of your intended either. I was more trying to get beyond the usual clichés of “internet mobs” and “civility” and the rest to see the wider pattern. And for what it’s worth I’m not cis either, though I am white.

  21. @Camestros

    Of the many different opinions given about the Clarkesworld story on Twitter which ones count as a mob?

    Definitely the ones where people boast about not having read the work in question.

  22. Astonishing. A rank display of cowardice. Apologizing to the mob for publishing art. Paying the danegeld. I know where to go in future for bland stories that could not possibly offend anyone.

  23. Y’know, I don’t do twitter. I figure it’s for twits.*

    But if I was on it, and someone threatened me, I think I’d take great pleasure in a) reporting them to the twitter admins; b) reporting their threat to either the local police or the FBI, assuring them I’m willing to press criminal charges.

    The protocol for tweets is the one used for sending messages to pagers. As I spent more than a year and a half in the mid-nineties wearing a pager 24x7x365.25 (except for the two months I wore two of them), you’d have to offer me a hell of a lot of money to pay attention to that ever again.

  24. Miles Carter:

    So you are insulting the author and calling her a rank coward, because she decided to withdraw her story. Really shitty of you.

  25. @Hampus Eckerman
    I’m pretty sure he’s blaming Neil Clarke, not the author.

    @Miles Carter
    What was Neil supposed to do when the author begged him to remove the story?

  26. Greg:

    Calling an editor a “rank coward” for caring about the welfare of his authors? That’s as shitty.

  27. Art on January 17, 2020 at 10:53 am said:
    Me: “Of the many different opinions given about the Clarkesworld story on Twitter which ones count as a mob?”

    Art: The one..etc.

    You might want to rethink what constitutes a “mob” if your example starts with “the one” 🙂

  28. Greg Hullender on January 17, 2020 at 11:04 am said:

    Definitely the ones where people boast about not having read the work in question.

    I read many thoughtful pieces from people who stated why they weren’t going to read it. I didn’t necessarily agree with them but they certainly weren’t lacking reason or being particularly mob-like. So, that would be a very poor criterion for a ‘mob’.

    Wait, if there is a lot of people criticising people for being a mob can I call that pile of people a mob?

  29. I would say that blaming the author for withdrawing the story is really horrible victim blaming. I’m not sure what blaming the editor for following the author’s wishes would be called- victim ally blaming? But either way is putting the emphasis on the wrong people.

  30. Rose Embolism on January 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm said:

    I would say that blaming the author for withdrawing the story is really horrible victim blaming.

    That same or very similar comment was there as the first comment on the post and then vanished. It was just as wrong the second time around.

  31. Reason magazine weighs in, at least on Clarke’s statement: “A stronger defense of Fall and her work was merited. This is capitulation.”

    Then quotes Jesse Singal:

    “Clarke could have easily published a short statement with the general shape of, “Unfortunately, the author of this story, Isabel Fall, received a wave of harassment after it was published. She requested it be unpublished and I have regretfully agreed.” Instead, he chose to stoke the idea that because people were offended by this story, there is something wrong with it. How else can one interpret his claim that someting was ‘missed’ and could have been ‘fixed’? This is what I mean when I say he’s pretending to support Fall but throwing her under the bus: He’s absolutely accepting the framing of the hysterical online critics when he didn’t have to at all.

    “But nowhere in this almost 1,400-word-long statement will you find a clear explanation of exactly what is wrong with the story. That’s because the only accurate answer to that question is something like “Some people have very superficial but dearly held ideas about what gender is, and because this story took a more complicated and fraught and creative approach to its theories of gender—one which challenged those ideas—those people became deeply offended.” That’s why a story in a major sci-fi outlet had to be unpublished.”

    Just FYI. I haven’t read Fall’s story, (I’ll have to find it somewhere) but I agree the whole thing is a clusterf__ for everyone. Sympathies to Isabel Fall (the writer here doesn’t seem to understand that Fall wasn’t out as a transgender person when the story was published).

    To be clear, I used to subscribe to Reason for years, liked about half of their opinions and stories and disagreed with the other half.

    Whole article here:

    https://reason.com/2020/01/17/canceled-transgender-story/?fbclid=IwAR1koLw8Snr3TFRNXkB-LDNQVs3zdcH4qFABxl8SL8Lm51tnHTWwDxsHFag

  32. Yes, Clarke chose not to lie and dealt with situation with sensitive and care for all involved.

    Of course “Reason” are disappointed. They wanted their usual cultural bloodshed.

  33. John M. Cowan on January 17, 2020 at 3:22 pm said:

    Reason magazine weighs in, at least on Clarke’s statement: “A stronger defense of Fall and her work was merited. This is capitulation.”

    Inevitably, the story is then weaponised against trans people in yet another way.

  34. After musing on it a bit, I’d like to voice some of my thoughts. First, can I request that we be very clear which behaviors we’re talking about? I’ve seen conflation of criticism and harassment around, some of it by careless implication.

    EDIT: Eesh, yeah that excerpt of the Reason article is exactly why I said this^. People weren’t offended; they were hurt. Criticism of the story (even to the level of ‘this shouldn’t have been published’ or excerpting a passage and commenting ‘this is literally terf logic’) is not the same as attacking the author, especially in a cissexist way.

    Housekeeping aside, I’m curious how the sensitivity readers were approached. I know next to nothing about the process, but I doubt Clarke sent off an email consisting of “Oy, can you have a look at this? Thnx” and a pdf attachment. It seems more likely that the message to the sensitivity readers went something like “I have an author here with a story satirizing that transphobic attack helicopter meme and she wants another set of eyes on it”, which adds context that the published magazine’s readership didn’t have. A few commenters on twitter did say that a couple more lines of context in the bio would have been enough to assuage their fears, for whatever’s that’s worth.

  35. Khitty Hawk on January 17, 2020 at 4:52 pm said:

    After musing on it a bit, I’d like to voice some of my thoughts. First, can I request that we be very clear which behaviors we’re talking about? I’ve seen conflation of criticism and harassment around, some of it by careless implication.

    Yes. ‘harassment’ in particular is shifting in the narrative. That’s not a criticism of the way people have used the word in the thread above because it’s clear in context what is being referred to (eg questioning the author’s gender). However, the new spin elsewhere is the implication that the author was being personally harassed on social media (i.e. something more like having hostile comments/replies on her social media account). Unless I’ve missed a huge part of the story, that didn’t happen as “Isabel Fall” wasn’t on social media under that name and only her friends know both her identities. That is not to say that manifestly some of what people said was hurtful and that the overall discussion was hurtful to her.

  36. The interesting thing is that the story was available on Clarkesworld‘s website for a week or so, before the wider genre sphere took notice. I visited the Clarkesworld site shortly after New Year, read the Naomi Kritzer novelette (which is very good BTW) and also clicked on the Isabel Fall story, because the title intrigued me. I started to read, got a transphobic vibe from it (mistaken, as I now know), closed the browser and forgot about it. Then, a week later, a hell suddenly broke loose on Twitter, triggered as far as I can tell by the Clarkesworld Twitter account tweeting a link to the story.

  37. Cora Buhlert on January 17, 2020 at 5:22 pm said:

    The interesting thing is that the story was available on Clarkesworld‘s website for a week or so, before the wider genre sphere took notice. I visited the Clarkesworld site shortly after New Year, read the Naomi Kritzer novelette (which is very good BTW) and also clicked on the Isabel Fall story, because the title intrigued me. I started to read, got a transphobic vibe from it (mistaken, as I now know), closed the browser and forgot about it. Then, a week later, a hell suddenly broke loose on Twitter, triggered as far as I can tell by the Clarkesworld Twitter account tweeting a link to the story.

    It was picking up buzz by January 4 but Jan 10/11 seems to be when it exploded in mentions, first positive and then negative.

  38. I’d also like to give my thoughts.
    The discussion around the topic seems to hinge on this idea of the difference between criticism and harassment, having been on both sides of what some might describe as mobbing behaviour, I feel like I can give some insight.
    When one person leaves a tweet, they see it as an individual act but if there are hundreds of tweets all with negative or less than positive views expressed, the person on the receiving end can easily become overwhelmed.
    They might read the first few or few dozen tweets and conclude that they are personally being attacked and that there are hundreds of people who want to drag them over the coals, without reading the nuances and differences that the various individuals have, it will becomes like one big undifferentiated wave of negativity and criticism.
    It’s always good in these situations, in my view, to take a step back from the Internet for a few days and come back to it at a later time when one can read through all the comments and understand the points people are making because in the moment there is always a sense of defensiveness for oneself and one’s work, but that what seems like a wave of negative criticism and hatred is just hundreds of people expressing very different opinions and making good points that might not previously have been considered.

  39. Camestros Felapton: However, the new spin elsewhere is the implication that the author was being personally harassed on social media (i.e. something more like having hostile comments/replies on her social media account). Unless I’ve missed a huge part of the story, that didn’t happen as “Isabel Fall” wasn’t on social media under that name and only her friends know both her identities. That is not to say that manifestly some of what people said was hurtful and that the overall discussion was hurtful to her.

    My impression is that criticism of the story is being conflated as “harassment” of the author, and if that’s what Clarke is referring to when he says “harassment”, then… just no. As discussed previously, stories don’t get to be published in a bubble on a pedestal where they are able to stand alone without comment. I find it hard to believe that someone would submit for publication a story with that title expecting it to not elicit comment and controversy, and likewise I find it hard to believe that a publisher would not know this and make sure that the author knew it would be coming.

    Certainly, some of the comments have been out of line, but the vast majority have been people engaging with the story from their own particular viewpoint, which is exactly what people are supposed to do.

  40. I’m pretty confident in saying that commentry on the story was mixed throughout. When it first came to my attention I saw praise, critiicism, and quite a lot of what I’ll call disquiet. There was an ebb and flow of what people were thinking, but at no point was there some sort of monolithic criticism.
    What I am seeing is an attempt to claim some sort of universal, monolithic criticism by people with an ideological interest in making this all about them.

  41. I do not agree on it being a mob in this case. For me, harassment and mobs means going after someone. I.e tweeting directly at them, continue to do it regarding entirely separate texts, stalking their personal spaces, searching the web for where they are to add negative comments, publicly canvassing votes for cancellation, withdrawal and so on.

    Having a negative discussion around something within your own group without searching out the author is not a mob and not harassment. It might be unfair criticism, but that is something else.

    There are of course grey scales, but I just can’t see that it reached any mob level. Not saying that it couldn’t have happened as bad faith actors started to enter the game.

  42. One thing of the things I agree with anem0ne on is that fewer cis people need to be having opinions about the way trans people responded to the story.

    More productive things to have opinions about would be what else, if anything, Clarkesworld could have done to help prevent this mess, and how and why this is now set to become fifteen-minute cause celebre.

  43. Greg Hullender on January 16, 2020 at 5:03 pm said:
    I saw a thread on Twitter somewhere where someone said they were sure the author was trans because the story had so much “heart” in it. That was my impression on the first read as well. I think a lot of the objections came from people who read the title, read the bio, and then read little or none of the story. In fact, some people boasted that they hadn’t read the story.

    Also, an enemy would have been far more heavy-handed.

    It’s a heck of a lot easier to assume good faith if the potential bad faith is not aimed at you. There were also people finding this who aren’t regular Clarkesworld readers (or aren’t as aware of its reputation). Or aren’t regular short fiction readers who might have less expectation that it was meant to defang the meme rather than perpetuate it.

    I don’t blame someone for not reading it even now knowing it is from a trans author. That title alone is still a hurtle, and the story is still potentially hurtful even if unintentional. (Not that I think the title should have been changed.)

    Still sorry that the author felt that she needed to withdraw it. Hope things are better and that we see more from her. One of the joys of reading short fiction is new voices from different perspectives.

  44. @Hampus I wouldn’t say mob either, but I think some of the commentary tipped into harassment when it started making assertions about who the author could be (e.g., “this passage is literally terf logic” vs “no trans person thinks this way”). Whether it reached the level of ‘mob’ is not something I can say for sure, given how diffuse twitter is, but I know some of the (primarily cis?) backlash to the backlash defaulted to asserting ‘mob’

    @Sophie Jane Yeah, that’s why I’ve been mostly mum about my reaction. A cis person commenting “well, I thought the story was amazing!” after several trans people have said “this hurt me” has the whiff of berating trans folk for speaking up in the first place. Hence why most of my commentary has been about the meta and trying to stem oversimplified narratives about what happened. (I just want trans people to be able to write complicated stories and comment on their reactions to these stories!! Is that so hard to ask!?)

    No one knows anything about how sensitivity readers are approached, then?

    @Laura “It’s a heck of a lot easier to assume good faith if the potential bad faith is not aimed at you.” Oh yes, this.

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