Alex Blaze

Squeaky clean Facebook

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 04, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Facebook, faggot, page, queer, space

Kenneth in the 212 put up a message this past week from an author whose fan page for the book Band Fags was taken down by Facebook. They didn't give a reason why, though, and since a search for the word "fags" turns up 41 results and "faggot" turns up 80 pages, it seems rather arbitrary to pull one page for using the word "fags" and not all the others.

And a couples of weeks ago the page for the Seattle-based group "We Need Queer Youth Space" was taken down as well. It has since been put back up, which is good, since I hear we need queer youth space in Seattle and destroying an online queer youth space on Facebook for violating Terms of Use seems like kicking these folks while they're down. These kids got the same form message as the Band Fags author above.

Back in January Canadian trans man Dominic Scaia's account was deleted after he put up a shirtless pic on Facebook. Since Facebook doesn't have a problem with other guys putting up shirtless pics, he didn't think it'd be a problem, but his account was disabled, then reenabled, then the pics were taken off, then put back on, then he was banned again, and now he's back again.

Late last year, Bil posted about an ad for a lesbian film that was rejected by Facebook.

What if the page for the film Ticked Off Trannies with Knives as well as the page to protest the film were removed because they both use the same slur in the title? There's context for all this, and it seems like Facebook's overcautious policy is missing the point.

Or is it?

I understand that Facebook is a private company and they're free to post whatever content they want, blah blah blah.

But the reason there's such a need for a website like Facebook is due in no small part to the destruction of public spaces that aren't owned by private organizations or plastered with advertising in the real world over the last half century. There is a real human need for public space, places for people to meet and connect and hang out that aren't in their homes, but in many parts of the country those spaces are in short supply.

Facebook is the sort of thing that can easily build a monopoly on its market, since the value of a social networking site is directly linked to the number of people who are already on it. Sure, if you don't like it, go elsewhere, but if you're all alone on another site, then that defeats the purpose of going elsewhere.

This seems to be directed by our need, now, for these spaces to be as clean, that we're living in an era where people can't stand to run into an idea, a word, a page, a photo that they don't agree with. People have their quirks, and when that gets multiplied out to the scale on which Facebook is operating, those quirks can be tough for them to navigate, much less set up a set of rules and then delegate to someone with little investment in Facebook or people's individual projects on Facebook.

In other words, this has little to do with Facebook and a whole lot to do with us. Why can't we create some sort of public alternative to Facebook? Why is it that we need that sort of public, online space so much for so many diverse purposes and yet delegate the control of that space, and therefore control over ourselves through our need for that space, to a private entity that's motivated more by not wanting to piss a single person off than it is by encouraging people to express themselves?

LGBTQ people will always be at a disadvantage when folks want to clean up a certain space, because we've been historically seen as dirty, disordered, and dangerous. If the powers that be want to make a space safer or cleaner or nicer without even responding to criticism, we're going to be the first ones to get scrubbed away.


Recent Entries Filed under Media:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Oh, my, oh, yes to this:

"Why can't we create some sort of public alternative to Facebook? Why is it that we need that sort of public, online space so much for so many diverse purposes and yet delegate the control of that space, and therefore control over ourselves through our need for that space, to a private entity that's motivated more by not wanting to piss a single person off than it is by encouraging people to express themselves?

LGBTQ people will always be at a disadvantage when folks want to clean up a certain space, because we've been historically seen as dirty, disordered, and dangerous. If the powers that be want to make a space safer or cleaner or nicer without even responding to criticism, we're going to be the first ones to get scrubbed away."

Kathy Padilla | April 4, 2010 4:47 PM

"What if the page for the film Ticked Off Trannies with Knives as well as the page to protest the film were removed because they both use the same slur in the title"

That's not how the world works. A trans woman who protested that movie on FB had her account closed, though.

Actually, Kathy, it *is* how the world works. If a trans man can have his photos removed, what makes you think the pages for both won't be removed? Or that all the people who object to the use of the word "trannnies" in the title won't try and succeed in shutting down the film's page? Or that someone won't object to the other group as well for using the name?

And can you explain, with solid proof, a bit more about why the trans woman got her account closed? Was it because she is trans? Was it because she used the word trannies somewhere? Otherwise, you're giving us the impression that her identity or her protest of the movie is what got her account closed.

The entire Ticked Off Trannies issue has been marked by the proliferation of myths and incorrect assumptions that are taking on the stature of urban legends. Let's not contribute to them.

If they can pull down Band Fags, or a queer youth group, what stops them from using the same "criteria" to remove something with trannies in the title, regardless of the content? Alex, I believe, wrote a piece on the issue of the trans photos which provides some interesting insights on how FB's "policy" lends itself to arbitrary decisions based on political whims and, more dangerously, on who gets to be loud enough to make themselves heard.

I just have to shake my head at your comments, Yasmin. It's pretty condescending to make a statement that a.) we have to have "solid proof" for you to believe it. That seems code for "you crazy ass people are known for misrepresenting the truth, you better have irrefutable proof" And b.) the person that got their FB account suspended was me. I wrote about it on Transadvocate (http://www.transadvocate.com/update-facebook-ban-and-lost-corporation-status-of-ticked-off-trannies-film.htm) and you can see the moment my account was suspended (I had Picasa open at the time and I just did a screen shot). I was posting a link to the GLAAD petition. The only reason I got my account re-enabled was because I contacted GLAAD and they contacted Facebook on my behalf.

Oh, TOTWK reinforces the stereotype that transwomen are "dirty, disordered, and dangerous".

Ironic.

But Marti, I know some transwomen that are dirty, disordered, and dangerous! In the most fabulous, depraved, and inspiring ways, of course!

Sorry, I don't think there's anything fabulous about stereotyping an entire community this way. There's a condescension in this that feels a lot like sexism. How far from stupid, worthless slut are we?

Followed the links there... What does Luna's past sex work have to do with anything? Is there something more going on there than just shaming him for having worked as an escort?

I know, I know, this is war and he's an empty-headed, cis gay whore.

But, yeah, your account got suspended for saying something somebody didn't like. Sorta proves the whole point here. That shouldn't happen.

Haven't seen you around in a while, Nick. What's been up?

Well, Marti,

Neither you nor Kathy nor anyone else has told us why you think your account was suspended and that's all I was asking for - take a look at the questions. There isn't anything to believe or disbelieve if we're not even told the reasons why your account was suspended, given Kathy's vague point.

And, as Alex points out elegantly here, doesn't it simply prove the point he's making? And that perhaps *all* of us need to be cautious about how censorious we get?

And...I just followed the links as well and saw the entirely superfluous point about Luna's past life as an escort.

So, if I have things down right:

Some people are really upset with Luna for having dared to suggest/make a campy and deliberately trashy revenge fantasy flick that represents ticked off people referred to as themselves as trannies (a name used by many of the trannies I know and love), that there are transgender people who are also flamboyant drag queens and/or whose gender presentations are messier and more incoherent than some would like. Such representations are deemed disrespectful and shaming and shameful.

In order to correct this, these same objectors resort to shaming Luna for his past life.
Do I have all this right?

This entire set of objections drips with irony, does it not?

And, as I understand it, people should only dare to create artistic representations about things that they've experienced.

I trust that every trans film director out there sees this and remembers that they, from now on, must only make films about trans people. Said films must be vetted by a committee of trans and straight people (because in a few years, straights will be in the minority, and we need to be sure that nothing potentially offends straights). Any trans film director who dares to make a film about, let's say, a labour union strike, will be roundly drummed out of the film and trans communities. And if said trans film director has ever done anything remotely considered disreputable, like sex work, that fact will be raised in all public discussions in the straight and queer communities in order to slyly discredit them.

I mean, seriously, folks, come on, can we all just start thinking about the long-term effects of this censorious and shaming discourse?

As for "A comedy about Matthew Shepard coming back from the grave and eating their brains..." Well, I for one, think it's about time. And I'd go see it. And, no, it wouldn't mean I support violence against gay men.

Kathy Padilla | April 4, 2010 8:07 PM

I wouldn't go that far. Which isn't to say that there aren't some people who should eschew us in their work.

Alex:
1. Did I comment somewhere that I don't remember, saying that I disagree with you? I don't remember disagreeing. Maybe I'm getting some kind of dementia, I forget. ;)

2. Before the film controversy, "Trannies" wasn't a flagged word (and still doesn't appear to be universally banned, witness "The Royal Society For The Prevention of Ugly Trannies" http://eo-eo.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8190883321 It does point to someone being upset with either my post or GLAAD's petition.

As far as the mention of his sex work, it is germane to my previous post. I included it in the previous post because I find it ironic that someone who's probably experienced hate violence up close would chose another community to objectify in his movie. And that points to how offensive the movie is, if you'd put images up in the trailer of say, Matthew Shepard.

And frankly we already have a queer Facebook, if I remember correctly.... Didn't Jereme work on the project? GlEE?

And...I just followed the links as well and saw the entirely superfluous point about Luna's past life as an escort.

I don't have a problem at all with his sex work, but I do think someone got a hair up their hind quarters someplace  either over the post, the petition, or revelation. The guy is shady not because of his sex work, but because he's working for a shadow corporation that hasn't existed for years. There is no LaLuna Entertainment incorp. in Texas, and hasn't been for quite some time.

So, if I have things down right: Some people are really upset with Luna for having dared to suggest/make a campy and deliberately trashy revenge fantasy flick that represents ticked off people referred to as themselves as trannies (a name used by many of the trannies I know and love), that there are transgender people who are also flamboyant drag queens and/or whose gender presentations are messier and more incoherent than some would like. Such representations are deemed disrespectful and shaming and shameful.

I'm not ok with white people making Blacksploitation movies either. IMO, it comes down to context and privilege; for the same reason that a person of color saying "hey nigger" isn't as offensive (though just as derogatory) as someone saying it who is white.

In order to correct this, these same objectors resort to shaming Luna for his past life. Do I have all this right?

Shaming? So by mentioning his sex work, I'm shaming him? Pointing out his sex work is shameful? I think it's mighty relevant in the context that he's chosen to make a movie about trans-women instead of gay men. He has a history he could pull from, but choses this instead. I think it's good to ask why.

And, as I understand it, people should only dare to create artistic representations about things that they've experienced.

I've never said he shouldn't make the film. But when he does, he shouldn't be surprised when he gets criticized.

As for "A comedy about Matthew Shepard coming back from the grave and eating their brains..." Well, I for one, think it's about
time. And I'd go see it. And, no, it wouldn't mean I support violence against gay men.

Ya, that's all well and good, but it's NOT being made. The fact it isn't points out that a comedy about hate crime victimization is more acceptable when the victim is trans.

I trust that every trans film director out there sees this and remembers that they, from now on, must only make films about trans people. Said films must be vetted by a committee of trans and straight people (because in a few years, straights will be in the minority, and we need to be sure that nothing potentially offends straights). Any trans film director who dares to make a film about, let's say, a labour union strike, will be roundly drummed out of the film and trans communities. And if said trans film director has ever done anything remotely considered disreputable, like sex work, that fact will be raised in all public discussions in the straight and queer communities in order to slyly discredit them.

Um, this isn't censorship, it's criticism. Well, unless GLAAD is a government agency.... They aren't saying the government should come in and stop the film from being seen, they're asking Tribeca not to give it a pedestal.

As far as shaming, it's only shameful if you're ashamed of it. Are you saying that sex work is shameful?

Demanding that films be yanked from film festivals is censorship, not criticism. And censorship does not only happen within or by government-funded institutions. Yet another one of those bits of misinformation that's being traded in this whole fracas.

How about this - we'll wait for the perfect trans picture to be made, by an all-trans cast and crew. And then arrange for it to be yanked on the grounds that it offends someone's religious/moral/artistic sensibilities. And then we can all discuss whether or not that's censorship. I have a feeling that the current protestors would then have somewhat different views on what constitutes censorship.

Luna is not obliged to make a film about his own experience or one that draws from it, just as no trans director is obliged to make a film about being trans.

As for "As far as shaming, it's only shameful if you're ashamed of it. Are you saying that sex work is shameful?"

Cheap shot. No. And my work, which is widely available for public viewing, makes it clear that I don't believe that to be the case. But just in case people are wondering, here's proof:

http://www.bilerico.com/2010/03/wtf_nbcs_dude_looks_like_a_lady_edition_of_mug_sho.php

Your words on Transadvocate, make it pretty clear that you do think pointing out his work as an escort is a worthwhile and shaming tactic:

"I can’t figure out if the petition itself has been reported as abusive, or the fact that someone *cough* *cough* might have been a tad pissed that my blog post mentioned the producer’s part time escort gig?"

Anyone who wants to can read the entire post and the preceding one by following the link you provided above. The contexts of both posts make your intentions abundantly clear.

I'm bowing out of this conversation about Ticked Off Trannies at this point because I find that commenters like you and Kathy and, oh, so many others, are deeply disingenuous and willing to exploit every shoddy and cheap rhetorical strategy to make your astonishingly flimsy points.

Your (and I mean by that a general "your") main tools are prevarication, obfuscation, and outright lying - and while those might provide you temporary respite in these sorts of online forums, they're not likely to do you much good in the real world.

But then, hey, I could be wrong. And we now have a really crappy world of really bad art (well, worse than what we've got) and lousy, pedantic films to look forward to.

LOL, call me a liar and condescending (thanks for the life lesson *eyeroll* ) on the way out the door? Nice.

With that, I'll bow out as well.

Kathy Padilla | April 5, 2010 6:27 AM

"Your (and I mean by that a general "your") main tools are prevarication, obfuscation, and outright lying"

I'm glad you can finally admit that you were and are calling specific people and a class of people liars. Thank you. I still disagree that your desire to effect their speech is censorship.

Kinda scared that TOTWK is considered the exemplar of quality we'll look back on fondly when crappy art is all we'll have. Good times, good times.

CAfurrball | April 4, 2010 6:21 PM

I believe you hit on the most important part here. In the third from the last paragraph, one sentence stands out:

".....People have their quirks, and when that gets multiplied out to the scale on which Facebook is operating, those quirks can be tough for them to navigate, much less set up a set of rules and then delegate to someone with little investment in Facebook or people's individual projects on Facebook....."

More than anything, the last paragraph hit the reason square on the head:

".....LGBTQ people will always be at a disadvantage when folks want to clean up a certain space, because we've been historically seen as dirty, disordered, and dangerous. If the powers that be want to make a space safer or cleaner or nicer without even responding to criticism, we're going to be the first ones to get scrubbed away."

Unfortunately, someone is always going to find something "objectionable," especially so when the loudest voice within a community is so very FAR off the end of the scale of the average citizen." Even were the most shocking/envelope-pressing behaviors/affected behavior and mode of dress toned down, there would still be objection, simply because the experience is in the "ob-jective," rather than the "sub-jective" for the greatest majority of society. Frankly and honestly, I don't foresee that changing anytime in the next 20 years or so.

Summarily, it MAY BE time for a LGBTQ "Facebook-"-like website, if the community wants to stop being subjected to the seemingly arbitrary "censorship," for lack of a better word.

Absolutely. Someone will always be offended, and considering how off the wall the American right has been for the past... 40 years, I'm guessing there have been lots more stories about Facebookers getting shut down for making statements about Christianity or the military than about actually doing something to offend a minority.

But there have been attempts to start LGBT (and sometimes just G) social networking sites. They've either turned into cruising sites or haven't gotten too big, though, since everyone wants to be on the facebook where everyone else is.

How is that not how the world works? A published book was pulled for using fags in the title. If Facebook ever finally gets it that the word "tranny" is offensive, I don't see why they wouldn't start pulling pages for using it.

Kathy Padilla | April 4, 2010 7:42 PM

It's not how the world works because defaming us is considered acceptable - trans women who stand up are obviously liars. In that assessment, Yasmin has excellent company. Like J Michael Bailey, her desire to characterize us is both unwelcome and motivated by her own interests - not ours. If I'm wrong - I wish she would provide some solid evidence otherwise.

Perhaps that's a fair assessment of people's attitude towards trans defamation right now, but that might change in the future. At least, I'm hopeful that people's attitudes will change.

I don't see where Yasmin is "charactarize"ing people here. Are you referring to another thread? Because, really, I see Yasmin get compared to Religious Right all the time on TBP mainly because she doesn't follow gay orthodoxy, so to compare her to J Michael Bailey because she wanted at least a link when it came to the story about Marti's account seems like more of the same.

Yasmin's the sort of person who'd walk through a cemetery and say, "Do we really know that Matthew J Hanson from 1834 was a 'loving father'? It's such a cliche at this point that one would think they'd want to have some sort of proof before making that claim."

Kathy Padilla | April 4, 2010 9:36 PM

I hope it changes in the future. But that hoped for future isn't where we're currently residing.

Kathy Padilla | April 4, 2010 10:09 PM

"so to compare her to J Michael Bailey because she wanted at least a link when it came to the story about Marti's account seems like more of the same"

Agree - check the time code. The comment wasn't made until after Marti provided her link and Yazmin commented afterwards.

So, Kathy, it's okay for Marti to write:

"I can’t figure out if the petition itself has been reported as abusive, or the fact that someone *cough* *cough* might have been a tad pissed that my blog post mentioned the producer’s part time escort gig?"

So, it's okay for Marti slyly defame Luna?

And if you can, at some point, back up all your assertions without making veiled personal attacks, please do so.

And let me be clear, as I know I have been: I'm not calling you a liar and I couldn't have because I wasn't challenging your truthfullness. I'm simply asking that you tell us under what circumstances Marti's FB account was yanked and I wanted to make sure you did it with proof to back you up. If you're wondering why I was particular about proof, well, read my first statement above and then this:

"Like J Michael Bailey, her desire to characterize us is both unwelcome and motivated by her own interests - not ours."

Sorta proves my point about proof, no?

And, at the end of the day, Marti's account being yanked really just proves Alex's point quite eloquently.

Kathy Padilla | April 4, 2010 9:30 PM


You implied that not only was I a liar, but other trans women who disagreed with you in these discussions were as well. A tactic Bailey is associated with. When your mistake was pointed out you did nothing to correct that suggestion but double downed on it. Please show how the analogy isn't apt.


Kathy,

If you cannot or will not read what I wrote and choose to simply make things out of whole cloth, that's entirely your prerogative. At this point, you're arguing with yourself and losing.

Kathy Padilla | April 4, 2010 9:39 PM

At least it's an argument with someone I respect.

"Flagged or Fagged?"

This is a problem that exists on all mainstream sites where people can report things they find offensive.

People flag things gay people post simply because a gay person posted it or it has gay people in it regardless of the content.

My original YouTube account was suspended because I posted 3 clips of an Indigo Girls appearance on Georgia public television. It was a Georgia arts awards show. So, as you can imagine, totally G rated.

Do you think people flagged it because they were offended by the copyright infringement? No, they "fagged" it because there were gay people in it. When enough people "fagged" it, it automatically got tagged with the "May be inappropriate for some viewers" message.

And when the folks at YouTube got around to checking out why it had been flagged they removed the clips and suspended my account. Not because it had objectionable content, but because of apparent copyright infringement.

And I understand that they had to under their rules, but it never would've been brought to their attention if it wasn't for the homophobes flagging it. I mean, considering all the rampant copyright infringement on YouTube.

That's just one example, but you can imagine mainstream sites getting flooded with complaints everyday by folks who are just offended that gay people exist. And those who are weeding through the complaints are taking content down because they find it has broken the terms of service in some way, even though that's not why it was really reported in the first place.

Ever since the Ron Gold mess and the ensuing fallout, I've begun to wonder if sticking around here is a very good idea. I've tried to remain optimistic, but given the failure of cis people at Bilerico to truly value the underlying matters at stake with this deeply problematic film, I've reached a decision. I feel that for sanity's sake, I simply need to bow out from this on-line community.

Sadly, I'm beginning to wonder as to the tenability of a viable coalition between the T and the cis LGB. I'm trying really hard to remain optimistic, but some of the less than stellar attitudes at The Bilerico Project make me wonder. The wretchedly bigoted attitudes at other queer websites make me wonder even more.

Goodbye, Bilerico. Here's to the hope that you can become more than you currently are.

"Sadly, I'm beginning to wonder as to the tenability of a viable coalition between the T and the cis LGB. "

While I'm not planning on leaving this site or any of the others for a while, I'm beginning to wonder the same thing. I just want to make sure we get our stuff back if we leave.

Well this seems appropriate to reproduce in this part of the thread:

This seems to be directed by our need, now, for these spaces to be as clean, that we're living in an era where people can't stand to run into an idea, a word, a page, a photo that they don't agree with. People have their quirks, and when that gets multiplied out to the scale on which Facebook is operating, those quirks can be tough for them to navigate, much less set up a set of rules and then delegate to someone with little investment in Facebook or people's individual projects on Facebook.

In other words, this has little to do with Facebook and a whole lot to do with us. Why can't we create some sort of public alternative to Facebook? Why is it that we need that sort of public, online space so much for so many diverse purposes and yet delegate the control of that space, and therefore control over ourselves through our need for that space, to a private entity that's motivated more by not wanting to piss a single person off than it is by encouraging people to express themselves?

I figure we've got 100 contributors. We publish 20+ posts per day. If you have a problem with the comment threads of a couple posts per week, here's a suggestion. Skip them. Move on to something that makes you more comfortable if you can't take the conversations there. Hell, each contributor has their own RSS feed so you'll never have to read anything but someone you'll never disagree with if that's your thing.

But the rest of us will be here having a discussion about the topics we find important to the entire community. Don't let the door hit you in the ass. We'll still be here when you come back.