An Apology for a Facebook Post That Was Transphobic


As many of our readers know, on Monday morning RH Reality Check posted a graphic on our Facebook page that included a link to an article on another website that, as many people rightly pointed out, is transphobic.

Some of our readers are upset, and rightly so. I want to be clear that it was a mistake to post that graphic and article, and it should not have happened. I apologize.

We are reviewing our internal processes for posting materials to social media to ensure this does not happen again.

We are also making plans to delve much deeper into the issues that were raised by this incident at an upcoming staff retreat, when all our staff members will be under one roof so we can have a productive conversation face-to-face.

Once again I apologize for what happened this morning. We can and must do better.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

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Follow Jodi Jacobson on Twitter: @jljacobson

To schedule an interview with Jodi Jacobson please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • Greg Brahe

    I am not seeing that article as trans-phobic, rather a discussion of issues relevant to transexuals and gender non-conforming individuals abound. To share an apology without a discussion as to why you feel the apology is warranted seems to be inadequate. You shared the piece initial and were since convinced it was inappropriate, can please share why you changed your mind?

    • Jodi Jacobson

      The image with a link to an article in another publication was posted to our Facebook page by a member of our staff. It was not vetted nor internally discussed; we did not publish the piece in question on our site, and I had not even read it. It was transphobic, and not representative of our community values of inclusiveness. And both the piece and the image deeply upset a number of people. Therefore we removed it. Because it was transphobic, we apologized for its appearance on our Facebook page. That is the answer to your question.

      • Greg Brahe

        I didn’t see the original image, I only saw the article you linked to in this one that discusses the very real situation of people being uncomfortable with trans individuals in public bathrooms – I don’t see how discussing something that happens is in some way promoting it or condoning it. The article, as I read it, gives a balanced delivery of the reality of the situation. It states frankly that there are some conflicting aspects to this cultural shift toward trans acceptance, and things that should be discussed.

        To label a conversation about people’s discomforts as “trans-phobic” is counterproductive. These conversations NEED to happen, and people need to be allowed to share their discomforts and misgivings without being shamed into silence if they are to learn to overcome them and not simply resent this cultural shift, leading to polarization. Here is an analogy that I hope helps to elucidate my point:

        My friend is racist. He is ethnically Korean, adopted by white parents, has several black siblings and his son is half black, but he unapologetically uses racial slurs and is incredibly prejudicial. His family and friends have criticized him and shamed him for this, but nobody ever really talked to him about it and addressed his prejudices head-on. We sat down for dinner one day and he asked me if I thought he was racist. I told him I did. We then talked for the next two hours about his past experiences that have lead him to these conclusions, the consequences of his actions on those they are directed toward, and the fallacious logic he was holding to that reinforced these thoughts and feelings. He has since made a marked improvement.

        As I read the article, the author is trying to bring the discussion to the table, to recognize that these fears really do exist and recognize that they are having a very negative consequence on a class of people that does not deserve them. If articles like this are met with shunning and censorshame, how are we expected to bring the conversation forward? I find it incredibly ironic that a culture recognizing the benefit of sex-positive media and candid portrayal of what was formerly considered a cultural taboo would utilize shame and taboo to suppress those that are not in absolute lock-step with their talking points.

        So this author didn’t give things the balanced treatment you would have liked to have seen… fine. Write a response, outlining exactly where it went wrong and how you believe it could be improved. As far as I can tell, the author was trying to be an advocate, and is not in any way promoting hatred or bigotry. We must be wary of making enemies of our most likely allies, would you not agree?

        • Jodi Jacobson

          Your points are well-taken and yes I agree in spirit and in principle. That said, we are talking about an article on another site and an image which itself did not lend to an in-depth sophisticated conversation. We are more than willing and able to have those conversations on our site. This was about an article posted elsewhere I had not read nor vetted, and for which the conversation about that article belongs on the original site. Otherwise, I agree with your thoughts on the discussions that need to take place generally speaking.

          • Greg Brahe

            Okay, I understand your position better then. Thank you for responding.

            On an unrelated note, I broadcast a weekly show on YouTube called Inspiring Doubt that promotes skepticism and critical thinking. Since I have your ear, let me take this opportunity to say I’d love to interview you some time to discuss rhrealitycheck, which is an excellent organization for promoting exactly the sort of thing I think we need to see more of. My email is greg@inspiringdoubt.com, please reply here or send me an email with what the best way to schedule such a thing would be if you are at all interested or available.

    • MadGastronomer

      Suggestion: Since there are LOTS AND LOTS of good discussions by actual trans people out there about exactly this sort of thing, why don’t you go find one?

      Implying, as the graphic does (it’s a dogwhistle, so yeah, it does, even if you can’t see it), that trans women using women’s bathrooms are rapists, or that there are men pretending to be trans women who need to be kept out by keeping out trans women, is certainly transphobic.

      • Greg Brahe

        I hadn’t seen the image, only read the article linked above. I responded to Jodi’s response more thoroughly.

  • Amazing Sandwich

    I don’t use FB so I didn’t see it (and am curious, admittedly), but this was classy. Thank you.

  • Piquette

    So, women’s legitimate fear of male violence, of stranger rape, assault, and fetishistic predation in public restrooms is “transphobic”? Women should know the difference, when they’re cornered in a small space, between a non-threat and threat, otherwise they are bigots?

    Shame on you, RH Reality Check, for issuing an apology for women telling the truth about our vulnerability in these spaces. What an act of cowardice, bending the knee to irrational trans-activist demands. You just approved of silencing girls and women.

    • Mindy McIndy

      So, how many cases have you heard of where men pretended to be trans so they could go into a women’s bathroom and prey on them? I want details and legitimate links, please.

    • LostInUnderland

      LOL This has got to be satire! You canNOT seriously start a paragraph with “Shame on you…” and end it with “You just approved of silencing girls and women.” Are you seriously trying to shame rh for not justifying your irrational fear-mongering? You have not been silenced. I heard you. You don’t feel safe around trans people. Let’s talk about that. You must realize that trans people do not feel safe in men’s rooms. Which fear do you think is more justified? Shall I share some statistics for you? What do you think is the solution?

      • Piquette

        Yes, I did that. I said that. It’s right there; you can read.

        • Arekushieru

          So, why don’t you respond to LIU’s points, then? Oops?

    • http://essaressellwye.tumblr.com/ Hershele Ostropoler

      So the solution to women’s legitimate fear of male violence, of stranger rape, assault, and fetishistic predation in public restrooms is to … force women to use restrooms designated for men?