I will say there is a huge and often frightening disjoint between the loud, widely spread discourse on these matters available online, and what you encounter when among queer people in person. It bleeds into the "real world" in terrifying ways, but it also creates the illusion of more of a fracture then there really is, I think.

Case in point: before I came out officially, I spent a few years on Trans tumblr and other online spaces for trans folks. I was terrified of saying the wrong thing in those spaces -- do I call someone amab? Or transfemme? Do I say I am afab, or do I say I am transmisogyny-exempt? Or something else? It seemed like everywhere I turned online, people were so mad about so many things and it was so easy to misstep.

When I finally joined a real-life genderqueer discussion group, I found it was a diverse space with people from a variety of walks of life and ages, ability levels, races, and gender identities. People all said and thought different things. We disagreed about all kinds of stuff, and some people phrased things very inelegantly or used really "old school" language (like transexual for example). And it... was fine. Nobody got mad at them or "cancelled" them. Nobody hated me if I disagreed with someone or had a unique experience or opinion. The fractured, infighting-filled spaces I had seen on the internet didn't line up with reality.

A similar thing happened to me and my view of cis gay men for a while. Though I had always felt an affinity for gay men and had been friends with many gay men, my time in trans spaces had started leaving me feeling worried that cis gay men would never accept me and didn't give a shit about me or people like me. I never felt hateful, just wary and sad. Then I went back into the real world... book readings, bars, queer community events, activist spaces. And I met all these cis gay men of a variety of ages and backrounds and they were all trying really hard to be trans inclusive and curious and humble about the whole thing.

I think, and this is a bit of a shallow take, a lot of young closeted or recently-out people get online and can be so angry and hurt and arrogant and that eventually with real-world contact, many of them do outgrow it. But that doesn't make it any less harmful or dangerous! Many older trans people "get" homophobia because they have experienced it in their lives, or because they've had enough life experience that illustrates for them we're all in a similar boat and that we are allies. A lot of young trans people that I've met are in this very defensive, angry place, and a lot of it comes from basting in these really intense, insular online communities for too long.

Okay, at the risk of being long winded, another example of this: online discourse about "hypersexuality" at Pride. Every June, Tumblr and Twitter are alight with fights about whether Pride needs to be a "family friendly" event or if it being an openly sexual space is a good and nourishing thing. There are always so many young queer people weighing in on this who have *never* been to pride! And who have the most heinous stereotypes in their heads of gay men as hypersexualized, predatory, perverse, not respecting of boundaries... just really old school homophobic stuff. I posted some example of Tweets like these in this piece I wrote:


It's so ignorant and people don't realize they are being ignorant. We all grow up in a deeply homophobic world, and a lot of young queer people absorb tons of unfair, nasty stereotypes of gay men, and then retroactively justify those stereotypes to themselves because they are trans, or nonbinary, or asexual, or queer in some other way. And they are really really resistant to being told they are dabbling in old-school homophobia, because hey, aren't they "punching up" at a powerful oppressor class?

At the same time, I do understand some of their pain. It is true that a lot of queer community spaces are largely run by and tailored to cis gay men. There are some gay bars here in Chicago that when I walk into them, I am immediately treated in an othering way. And yeah, that really sucks. But it is so so much more complex than the simple narrative of "gay men are shallow wealthy party animals who don't care about trans people or any other queer folks". And a lot of people seem to base their whole outlook on like, the behavior of a few dudes in the party scene, and some conjecture they've read online.

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