Be Nice not Nasty

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Some of the comments we found while doing Girl101 got me thinking –
So many unkind words – so little love.

Be Nice not Nasty,
Sweet not Savage

by Alys Prince

Copyright  © 2016 Alys Prince

Like many of us doing Girl101, I now spend time on the net noticing stories and comments about the whole transgender arena. And sometimes the fingers get atwitching and I spend much longer than I intend – but that’s what modern electric-boxes do for you. Some of what I find turns out to be horribly oversimplified, some of it turns out to be just horrid and some just simple.

But recently I saw this massively incompetent and therefore truly ugly poster :-

Five things you should never say to your trans kid:
Their gender is a sin in your religion.
They’re going to therapy to become cisgender.
You won’t use their correct name or pronoun.
Something they like is for a different gender.
They aren’t beautiful.


I know grammar and accuracy isn’t important for some people – but sheeesh, this is dreadful in so many different ways.

At the very very least …. God made you – that’s how it is.
The doctors can cure you.
Your name is Jeff so that’s your name. Don’t argue.
That’s not for you – that’s for a boy.
You’re perverted, wrong and revolting – Get out.

I mean what sort of a conversation or diatribe involves the phrase ‘their gender is a sin’. Stupid. At the very least, if you are using ‘you’ as the target then tell them ‘your attempt to change gender is a sin’. But why should one expect a person with stupid thoughts and attitudes to be anything other than stupid. Although bright people can demonstrate stupidity.

It does happen. Watch the otherwise or perhaps elsewhen intelligent Malcolm Muggeridge display all the skills of a nasty-minded non-listener in the debate about ‘Life of Brian’ with John Cleese and Michael Palin when the film first came out. A crisp and clear example of the intolerant putting on blinkers to avoid any pretence of dialogue.

But the meaning of the ‘5 Things never to Say’ is clear and there are enough people who can think that ugly. And speak that ugly. And behave that ugly. And isn’t that a comment on the value and efficiency of Christian teaching.

Instead I began to listen, look for and find lots of other comments that might actually be said out loud.

When I told the others, the whole group of us got together to look at the sorts of things that people apparently say to their children when the kids are old enough and strong enough to say that they’re ‘a bit different’ or ‘too interested in girl’s clothes’ or even worse ‘that they think they’re a girl inside’.

We took some of our comments from what the various ‘different’ folks in our group were able to tell us – when they came out as gay or as non-christian or in some dreadful way as ‘other than their parents’. Wow – some of the comments were awful – frightening – enlightening – just wrong.

After a while, Susan went off to her computer and began a set of huge calligraphy-style posters. Each had about 5 comments on to start with. They were headed Things to Say, Things NOT to Say and General Comments But the number of comments grew so very quickly.

Her first poster was

NEVER say :-

The Bible says you’re wrong and will go to hell.
You were born a boy and that’s it.
We’ll go and see a therapist to fix you.
We named you ‘Boy’ and that’s what you are.
Why do you have to be so difficult.
I understand – it’s just a phase you’re going through.

That was the first version.

By the time we had sat down and talked with folks and emailed and stuff – the list was bigger, a lot bigger. And it grows almost every day. But the most common ones are still the ones we hear every day.

NEVER say anything like This:-

  • The Bible says you are wrong and what you want to do is wrong
  • God hates you and says so in his book of rules.
  • We’ll take you to therapy to sort you out.
  • The way you were born is the way you will always be.
  • Pretending the way you do is pathetic and wrong and evil.
  • I don’t understand you and I never will.
  • Why do you have to be so difficult.
  • It’s all about what YOU want isn’t it – just so selfish.
  • Are you trying to tell us that you’re gay.
  • You disgust me.
  • Why don’t you grow up and stop pretending.
  • I’m going to get your hair cut and we’ll throw away all that girly stuff.
  • Come and play ball, get all that stuff out of your system.
  • The whole idea of a man wearing a dress or even panties revolts me – it’s just wrong.
  • Are you sure? Because this decision will affect the rest of your life?
  • But what will people think – they’ll blame me.
  • It’s all your teacher’s fault [or alternative]
  • So you want to be a pretend woman even though you can’t have babies or a period or real breasts.
  • You want this for what – so that you can be f***ed by men.
  • I understand you because I’m gay / bisexual
  • I understand you because I love women’s panties (but do you wear them)
  • It’s just a disgusting fetish
  • I’ll never understand you.
  • It’s just a stage you’re going through.
  • This is because you think I favour your sister over you.
  • Is this why my clothes are being messed up so often?
  • I always suspected something like this.
  • (Mum) I’ve always wanted a daughter
  • (Mum) Oh goody, let’s go shopping.
  • (Mum) Oh, how exciting.
  • My friends said there was something weird about you.
  • You just need to man-u and get these stupid ideas out of your head.
  • Go to your room – I’ll be coming up later to sort you out.
  • Well, this simplifies my will – now I only have one child.
  • Get out of this house, you vile pervert.
  • I never want to see you again or have anything to do with your revolting habits.
  • Get out – and don’t come back.
  • Slap! Thwack! Smash! Kick! Hurt Get Out.
  • I’ll make you cry, you snivelling little sissy – you thing.

We didn’t bother to list the names that we get called - Faggot, Sissy, Crybaby, Pussy, Pervert, Pxxdophile, and all the ugly words which should be forbidden so they shouldn’t be said to anybody. I know the law pretends to say it’s wrong and sometimes people get prosecuted. But isn’t it strange how it’s hardly ever anyone white or powerful or famous who gets hammered.

Susan soon finished her second poster.

Nice things to say.
I don’t understand – but you’re my child and I love you.
You may feel or be unusual – but you’re not alone.
Never forget – there are others who have taken this path before you.
WE need to talk about this – openly - and maybe a cup of tea.
So – I love you anyway.


And there were other good things which people said or should say.

You could or should say This :-

  • God made the world complicated but beautiful – just like you.
  • I don’t understand – but you’re my child and I love you and I’ll help you.
  • What’s the best thing I can do to help right now and for tomorrow.
  • I know you feel you don’t have a choice, but let’s look at the options.
  • If you didn’t already know – being different is a really difficult place
  • It’s not wrong to be different - but it can be harsh.
  • You may feel or be unusual – but you’re not alone.
  • Never forget, there’s others who have taken this path before you.
  • Well, it’s not a disease or a mental disorder – whatever anyone else may say.
  • I don’t know much about this issue – what can you tell me?
  • You are unique in your life and style – be confident.
  • It doesn’t matter to me – I love you.
  • It does matter a bit because I don’t understand – but I still love you.
  • I think this needs a cup of tea and a chat.

It was horribly much easier to find nasty comments than nice ones. Probably because the nasty ones hurt and the nice ones only heal a bit. Like one of the girls said, ‘It’s hard to feel good when people you have never met say they hate you.’

And Susan’s third poster had just one sentence at first.

Being gay is not a choice;
Being Trans is not a choice;
but some people do choose Homophobia


And after trawling the web for a little while for well-written quotes, our current list includes the following.

And some General Comments :-

  • Being gay is not a choice; being trans is not a choice. But some people do choose – they choose homophobia.
  • People do not choose Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Race, Appearance, Age, Mental illness or Disability. People do choose to be an asshole.
  • Until we had a Voice we had no Choice.
  • It hurts coming out as transgender – but keeping it secret hurts too.
  • Gender does not change personality; gender does not determine who you love.
  • When I ask for equality .... I am not asking for special treatment.
  • You know you’re doing something important when people you don’t know hate you.
  • Being trans can be terrifying – it’s not all hairdos and sleepovers with nice girls.
  • Trans is nothing to romanticize or fantasize about – it may be a choice but it’s very hard.
  • Homosexuality occurs in many species – Homophobia in only found in humans!
  • Never change who you are because ‘they’ disapprove.
  • It’s not about changing me – it’s about others understanding who I am.
  • And to steal from a truly lovely lady
  • Nothing is impossible – the word itself says I’m Possible (Audrey Hepburn)

When we put the posters up, we placed a a packet of stickers nearby with a notice . “Please add a sticker if someone has said this to you.” Nobody was willing to guess which of these will get the most comments.

By the end of the month, we had so many more comments which people had heard or found. And it was hard to decide which were the most significant. Some were uncommon or only heard once but truly vile. Others were so frequent as to (almost) have little effect.

Then Jason found the Transquote files on Tumblr. Some comments were stronger and clearer than others but too many said variations on ‘You hurt me but I’m getting past it’. Well done to anyone who can say that.

And ‘We would have loved you if we knew’ to all those who didn’t make it.

As always, we aim to reduce intolerance by making people THINK. Some people do think but not very well. Some people want to think but their minds are stuck in an ugly groove. Some people can only think what they’ve been told to think. Let’s hope for a better future.

I don’t like people who exaggerate, but if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times ‘I hate people who hate people’.

** If anyone offers a really suitable quote for any of the three categories above, I may well steal it and add it in – OK. AP

I am sorry if this almost comes out as if it were a blog – it’s actually a section which I cut from another story Girl101 and then extended. AP

I was TRYING (and mostly failed) to show the 'posters' as well-coloured text, red, orange etc, in boxes, ... ooops.

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