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May 28

Let’s talk about “Die Cis Scum” one more time

And keep talking about it till everyone is clear.

For my first two main posts and a clarification on DCS go here, here and here. For Natalie Reed’s post on DCS go here. For April Gardener’s commentary on DCS go here. For West of a White House’s defense go here.

Those are just some defenses I have come across when reading about DCS.  I didn’t have to read them to make my own defenses of Asher’s anonymous guest post. The gist was pretty clear to me from the start. It wasn’t to everyone.

So I want to clarify my perspective a bit.

Some of this will be a repeat. Some of this will be a conglomeration of others’ ideas meshed with my ideas. I showed you readers the posts I have read so that you can determine how I came to my current stance. None of this is meant to silence trans voices. If I misspeak for the whole of trans people in this post please call me out on it. I don’t want to do that but I am not immune to mistakes. I just want to defend a portion of the movement’s use of DCS  from this one cis woman’s perspective.

Does DCS only refer to cis who are scum rather than all cis people?:

IMO no. Die Cis Scum seems to be clearly directed at ALL cis people.

Does it matter?

That kind of depends. I have seen the argument why isn’t it called “Die Trasphobic Scum” over and over again. That begs the question do all transphobic scum deserve to die. I mean if you are insisting that a change in the words makes Asher’s post all better, then you are insisting that “cis scum” deserve to die. That is a blanket determination on all cis who are scum. I can imagine plenty of cis who are scum who certainly don’t deserve a death sentence for their transgressions.

So if you think DCS is a real threat that may eventually be enacted against any cis people scum or not, the distinction doesn’t matter. Murder is murder whether the person is a transphobe or not.

On the other hand if you think DCS is not a real threat then who it is directed at is important. We will get further into that later.

Is DCS a real threat of murder?

I think you know my opinion on this. I mean especially if you read my earlier posts that discuss the post.

Let’s hash it out one more time. There are two ways to envision DCS as a threat.

The first is whether the author means it as a threat. The second is whether members of the trans movement mean it as a threat. Surprisingly the two aren’t actually related. A rallying cry for a movement can mean something far different than it’s original intent. Consider the nature of reclaiming a pejorative. I am going to still address both because I think they are both important.

Does the author mean DCS as a threat?

Well, in the OP ze states that yes, ze intends it to be a threat. I can take this at face value or I can attempt to analyze the truth of the statement. I don’t take most things at face value but a person’s stated intent is hard not to take at face value. I am still going to analyze it. The first thing to consider is the sheer ridiculousness ot DCS as a real threat. The instant the author starts trying to act out that desire for harm, the instant the boot pushes hard enough to choke the life out of that author. I mean really, audience, you think the author hasn’t thought about the implications of acting out harm on their oppressors? I mean, directly in the post ze expressly discusses the harm and fear of living as a trans person.  The author knows. The author is pushing back on that boot. The author is defending hirself. Will the author defend hirself to the point of committing murder? I can’t say for sure but considering that there is no system in place to support the author if ze turns murderous and in fact the reverse (systemic discrimination against trans people) is very true. It makes the idea of being afraid of DCS’s author seem kind of ridiculous.

That being said, the post is meant to create that kind of knee jerk visceral reaction. There is no doubt in my mind that the author means to scare the readers into believing that their lives might be in danger. I said it before, I felt the same exact thing.  I just decided to think about it for a minute after I felt that reaction. I just realized how unlikely such a scenario would be.  I just realized that in the event the author decides to go on a killing spree, I can rest easily that justice will be quickly served. That is a privilege reserved to us cis people, we get to sleep easily at night knowing that the threat of trans on cis violence is effectively nil and that it will never effect us directly. Not one trans person can say that. No trans woman or man can ever say that they get to sleep easily knowing that the likelihood of themselves or one of their friends being murdered is slim.  Because it is never slim. It is real. It is every day. It can’t be forgotten. Asher’s post is meant to be a reminder of that. For the author, for hir cis allies, for hir trans brothers and sisters, Asher’s post is meant to serve the function of both reminding us of the reality and pushing back against that reality. It is defensive violence in its purest form.

What about DCS as a rallying cry for the trans movement? Doesn’t it mean that some will consider it a call to arms?

When people ask that question, I immediately think they haven’t been listening to the members of their movement. Every corner of the internet I have seen DCS discussed the only people that consider DCS a call actual violence is those who are against the phrase. Everywhere I see it used as a rallying point, the people who find solace in thre simple words express that they are NOT violent. They express that they do not advocate actual violence. They express that this phrase helps them cope with the reality of violence in their lives. They ask for understanding in their use of DCS as a rallying point. And allies on many fronts don’t listen. They insist DCS is a threat against them. They insist that the trans people who use it are advocating violence. That is not listening. Over and over again trans people who use the term have described how and why they use it. They have explained patiently why using violent rhetoric as a mirror to real violence does not mean that they are advocating real violence. You aren’t listening.

I have said it.

I will say it again.

Die Cis Scum is an effigy. Die Cis Scum is a symbolic reflection of the fear, the actual violence that trans people (especially trans women of color) feel with every breath. Die Cis Scum is not about promoting actual violence. That does not mean some people won’t take it that way. Just as some people take the symbolic violence in books, movies, and video games and realize them in the real world. It doesn’t mean that symbolic violence is inherently dangerous. It is only dangerous in the hands of the few who might realize it.

Has anyone yet realized the violence of DCS? Has anyone pushed it past a symbolic representation?

Well there is that one time a trans woman of color defended her life against some white supremacists. We sure showed her. We sure showed any trans person who dares to defend their lives that we don’t trust you.

There is nothing even approaching reality that suggests that systemic trans on cis violence will ever happen. There is no system in place to protect trans on cis violence. There are systems in place that protect cis on trans violence.  I can’t say this enough: Any trans on cis violence (even defensive) is met immediately with swift justice ensure that it will never become systemic. Never. Won’t happen. There is no more reason to be afraid of a being murdered by a trans person who supports DCS than there is reason to be afraid of someone who enjoys Natural Born Killers.

So why are you afraid?

Probably because it feels directed at you. You are cis. You don’t want to think about dying and Asher’s post makes you think about dying. Really the post even goes a bit further and makes you think about being the victim of a hate crime. The post makes you feel fear.

That is ok I think. That is what generates these discussion. That is where we learn. Change isn’t motivated by comfort. Change is motivated by discontent. Change is motivated when the majority senses (feels) the discomfort of the minority enough to motivate change.

That is why I feel the threat of Die Cis Scum is directed at cis allies. To motivate change by making us uncomfortable. I let that discomfort motivate me to help change the world for the better. I let it be one of the many catalysts telling me that supporting trans issues is the right thing to do. I don’t let it scare me into washing my hands of a movement.

How are you going to let the discomfort of Die Cis Scum motivate you?

 

5 comments

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  1. 1
    Xanthë

    Die Cis Scum seems to be clearly directed at ALL cis people.

    Funnily enough, I read the question and had the immediate reaction of “No”… and then processed my thoughts again in the complete opposite direction. To the extent it is aimed at cis people (rather than being a statement of trans empowerment not to be cowed by intimidation), it is a challenge to actually prove you’re part of the solution, not the problem, by standing up for trans people.

    I have a hard time believing DCS is a real threat of murder, not merely because of the ludicrousness of imagining the (in reality, non-existent) mass pogroms against cis folk, but since I tend to read hyperbolic insults such as “Fuck off and die” as having an implicit and unspoken phrase “I wish you would…” attached to it, rather than it asserting an active role in ensuring the person either fucks off, or is helped to their death. It literally means, I want nothing to do with you; you might as well be dead to me for all that I would wish to return sympathy, in response to your mistreatment of me.

  2. 2
    Anna

    When I used it I generally did not mean all Cis people. I did however mean all Cis people in my proximity at the time I used it.

    It was a cry to give me space, to respect my boundries, to stop hurting me, to think for one fucking second.

    Its use to me as a cry of rage and frustration have sadly now been overwhelmed by the battering I have taken for my use of the phrase. I will have to find something else I guess.

  3. 3
    Xanthë

    Anna,

    having been a party to the same discussions I think you would have been completely entitled in venting every bit of your anger at the appalling people who were badgering you with questions in bad faith. That you didn’t lose your cool in the face of that shouldn’t dissuade you from using the phrase again. But then I’m heartily sick of having to explain 101 level crap to fuckwits who show no inclination to learn a single thing, and the effort is draining.

  4. 4
    RM

    White cis dude here.

    You are cis. You don’t want to think about dying and Asher’s post makes you think about dying. Really the post even goes a bit further and makes you think about being the victim of a hate crime. The post makes you feel fear.

    But that’s not what I felt at all.

    The post just made me feel alienated. Like, as if someone I thought of as a friend was turning out not to be who I thought they were. It made me feel like maybe I wasn’t an ally after all. It made me feel like the person in the picture, who I thought was just a person like me, wasn’t just a person like me. It gave me a gut feeling that this movement was going to a place I couldn’t go, that it was time for me to walk away.

    It made me feel sad.

    1. 4.1
      WilloNyx

      There are other pingbacks and links in this post that I feel are necessary for you to read so I don’t have to repeat myself on this matter. Furthermore not all trans people adopt or use the “die cis scum” banner. You are not prevented from being an ally to a cause if you disagree with some people’s tactics. It is that simple. If you care about trans people then you won’t let this set you back.

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