Update 16:11: Laurelai Bailey has given a comment to PinkNews on the reasons behind the hashtag, and what it is meant to achieve.
Several prominent trans campaigners have condemned the recent use of a hashtag on Twitter attacking non-trans people.
The hashtag “#fuckcispeople”, appeared on Twitter two days ago, reportedly started by Laurelai Bailey, @stuxnetsource, It has been used in many tweets to highlight trans issues misunderstood by non-trans people, however has also been heavily criticised for generalising, and for attacking all non-trans people.
On the reason for starting the hashtag, Bailey said: “My reaction to the few who have issues with the tag, sorry your feelings got hurt when trans people are dying daily and all you can think about is cis peoples fragile egos.
“The message being that transgender people are systematically oppressed, trans women of color especially are at the highest risk of rape, murder and other forms of violence. We have every right to be angry about this and we have every right to express that anger.”
The word “cis”, is sometimes used as a general term to describe non-trans people, but has in this instance been criticised for creating a divide between trans and non-trans people.
Speaking to PinkNews, prominent trans journalist and campaigner Paris Lees said: “I understand that people may be frustrated, but reacting in this way is counter-productive to advancing trans rights. It is much better to engage in a positive dialogue than through angry abuse.
“For example, would a ‘fuckwhitepeople’ or ‘fuckmen’ hashtag look good? So why would ‘fuckcispeople’ be good? My mum’s cis. How can we lump everyone together like that, and also ‘cis’ is a really useful word, and it is really annoying to see it gaining negative connotations. It should be no more offensive than using the word ‘heterosexual’, but using it in this context is really going to put people off it.”
Lees added: “It makes me really sad because I can vividly remember a period of my life when I hated the world and would have jumped on a hashtag like this. Being abused in the street can do that to you. This anger is very real and I think that non-trans people need to take this into account before they condemn people using this hashtag, whether they agree with it or not”.
Mary-Ann Penniman, who supports the use of the hashtag, said: “Twitter now swells with stories of the day to day violence faced by trans people, declarations of solidarity from trans* allies, and the righteous poetry of a people who refuse to be silenced any longer.
“But, apparently, this is unacceptable – because this visibility has come at an unacceptable price: it has hurt the feelings of cis people. Judging by the hysterical reaction of some privileged Tweeters, you’d think this simple hashtag was on par with the prejudice reaped upon trans* people every day.
“Perhaps this is to be expected: for many of the privilged (sic), cis, white people, the experience of being lumped together, brandished and dismissed will be a new one.”
Twitter user Dana Taylor said: “There is venting about our brothers and sisters being killed, attempting suicide, being denied healthcare and a lot of other atrocities at the hands of CIS PEOPLE. Of course it isn’t all cis people but a tag that says #fucksomecispeople doesn’t have the impact we need to heal ourselves. I started tweeting to the tag last night and felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I have been a victim of violence due to my status as trans where a man crushed my eye socket and my nasal socket. Brain fluid was dripping from my nose.”
Trans campaigner Tara Hewitt criticised the use of the hashtag on the microblogging site, and told PinkNews: ”Cis its self is a academic elitist term that most people in society don’t use or understand and just creates a new ‘binary’ or box to put people in too. All in all saying ‘fuck cis people’ isn’t going to win you many allies.”
She continued:”Trans people have often been accused of being an angry mob, and small groups of people pushing a very visual online use of inflammatory language and negativity will just help reinforce that image
Hannah Buchanan, writer and human rights campaigner, said: “This hashtag is not a masterclass in ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ For those of us who feel naturally part of the wider community, as well as the trans community, it is a backward step.
“What does it say to people who are friends with those of us who are trans? It says back off, you are not wanted. That’s a vile message to send.”
Also, some were heavily critical of former Tory MP Louise Mensch, who said she was “offended”, by the term, and also tweeted that the term “cis” is “used exclusively by a tiny group of online nutjobs who mostly rant at themselves.”
She went on to say that the use of the hashtag “removes the truth of the journey, still insisting on difference.”