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With gratitude: A defense of the TA tifo

06/13/2023 12:36 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

The following is a post by Nash Drake.

I was floored by the tifo on Pride night. I looked at the display and the rail banner and thought to myself, “Perfect. No notes. 12/10.”

The trans community is in crisis. We’re there for a number of reasons, and none of them have to do with anything we have done. We aren’t groomers, pedos, or rapists. We aren’t imps, devils, or monsters. We are actually a community of people who just want to live their lives with some dignity, respect, and access to all of the same things as everyone else, such as medical care and public restrooms.

In 2023 alone (that’s only six months, folks), more than 300 pieces of legislation that specifically target the trans community have been introduced. We are the number one wedge issue, and our lives have been relentlessly picked apart and scrutinized by mainstream media, legislators, and the general public. The rhetoric surrounding us is increasingly suggesting that we are a menace to society and must be eradicated. (Yes, the word "eradicate" has been used.)

This is happening right now — today — while you are reading this, and one of the biggest issues is that we aren’t getting coverage of it in mainstream media. If this tifo spurs the conversation about what is happening: excellent. We need folks to wake up and listen to what we’ve been trying to tell everyone for years: They are trying to eliminate us. It’s real. It’s happening.

Major companies and organizations are abandoning us, as was predictable, when they get pushback from the far right. Over and over again we have been let down by people we thought were our allies or had hoped would show up when the time came. That time is now and the majority have simply walked away.

Enter the TA with this tifo. Lord have mercy, there are an awful lot of cisgendered people with some OPINIONS. I’ve also seen some trans folks’ opinions, and while I disagree on some points, I have nothing to say to y’all about your feelings other than I am deeply sorry you are hurting. I wish this could be perfect for everyone. I really do.

That tifo was, in my trans opinion, a multi-faceted work of resistance and allyship. It took a direct quote from one of the most high-profile and prolific transphobes on the planet and threw it right back in her face. The crest included both the trans flag and the non-binary flag. That’s an important distinction because non-binary folks are so often lost in the discourse by cis and trans people alike and need to be focused on. Then there was the addition of Tetris and the sunflower. Both of those symbols carry their own connotations, but Tetris is for closers, yes? And the sunflower for Jim and his call for spreading the love. That crest represents the TA and their trans members in unity to me. I feel it is clearly supportive of trans and NB people and will translate well to a world-wide stage. It is recognizable to the masses while also speaking directly to the trans and NB TA population. Perfect.

When taken with the rail banner — which is even more clear in saying that transphobes are not welcome in the stadium — it takes on another dimension. That banner was in every panned shot on the broadcast. Very large letters with a simple message that also let terfs know that they are known and not welcome. The exposure is priceless and the message is very clear. Front and center.

The head boss transphobe is very much online and so are her followers. She is supported endlessly by the UK media, and her messages of hate have emboldened transphobia in the US to a shocking degree. The TA, in my opinion, didn’t do this to just have a fun dunk on her. They were saying, “We don’t care who you are. We don’t tolerate that kind of crap here and fuck you. If you come here, you will get the fight of your life. And we don’t care who knows it.” They painted a gigantic target on their backs. That a group of mainly cisgender folks decided to put themselves in the way of what is surely going to be a constant stream of harassment to stand up for trans people is not something I am upset about — it’s something that I am grateful for.

I would offer up this observation on the rush of criticism coming from cisgendered people who don’t have a stake in this:

It seems to me that a lot of people are “uncomfortable.” What is causing that discomfort? Do you honestly think that the TA was platforming her? Or have you not yet dealt with your feelings about having a beloved childhood author turn out to be a terrible human being? Because what I’m seeing is quite a few people who have a lot of feelings about something that has nothing to do with the trans people that it was made for. And folks who really think that they are allies to the trans community are saying not a thing about what is happening to trans people, not asking how trans people feel about the display, and ending their thoughts with things like, “not saying it’s a bad message, but it doesn’t hit the mark for me.”

It wasn’t made for you. Trans people don’t need to care about your feelings about it. In fact, we would all like it if you would please care about what is happening to trans people as much as you care about complaining about this tifo, because for a not small amount of you, it’s the first and only thing you’ve publicly said about it … ever.

To the TA — and particularly the trans woman who designed the entire thing: Thank you. You did a fantastic job of welcoming the trans community, standing up to a famous bigot, and hopefully making a ton of cisgendered people stop and think about what they are actually doing in this fight. I fight with you and for you.


  • 06/13/2023 3:39 PM | Paul Navarre
    Why is this so difficult? People were hurt by the choice. While it is crystal clear that the intentions and motivations were quite different, the fact remains: people were hurt. Shouldn't the response be something like this:

    The tifo, along with banner, was created as a work of resistance and allyship. Many people have told us how they found the message and symbolism affirming and poignant. However, we have to recognize that many other people did not see the words and imagery in the way that was intended. Instead, many people felt betrayed. We are deeply sorry that people were hurt on a day that should have been only about love and support. Please know that we love you and will endeavor to show our support in the future in the most loving and inclusive ways possible.
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  • 06/14/2023 5:23 AM | Anonymous
    learning that the designer was a trans woman did a lot to curb my frustration about this piece, however it is pretty clear that this tifo did not make everyone feel safe and welcome and cared for. JKR thinks that we are monsters, she has turned something that i genuinely loved as a young person into a poisoned horrible thing and using her imagery to spread a message of inclusion really misses the mark for me. we obviously have a lot of differences in opinion within trans communities and i think (in my trans opinion) it is important to remember that just because you’re okay with something doesn’t mean we all are.
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  • 07/04/2023 10:28 AM | Rick Rider
    I wish a photo of these would have been included for those of us that couldn't be there.
    Otherwise, from what I gather from the post, terrific. It seems to have generated at least a bit of discussion if nothing else.
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