By: Eli Duah-Mensah
I love the internet.
The internet is an ocean of resources, allowing any person to swim through it, picking up a myriad of items along the way. Along this tide, you find a bevy of positivity or negativity. In other words, you can find anything you want. You are able to do anything you want.
Indeed, I do a multitude of things online. Again, I love it here. It’s how I play games. It’s how I listen to music on Spotify. It’s how I stay in touch with my friends and girlfriend. It’s how I met my roommate. It’s how I buy what I need when no grocery store within a 30-mile radius has enoki mushrooms or gochujang. It’s how I find my recipes. It’s how I get food delivered when I’m too sick or lazy to bike. It’s how I pirate my textbooks for my community college courses because there’s no way I’m shelling out $80-100 a pop for a textbook I will only use once the entire semester, but you didn’t hear that from me. It’s how I stream movies and shows, legally or illegally. It’s how I watch videos on YouTube.
Which is how I stumbled across this video by a YouTuber named SunnyV2 called, “Why Chris Will Soon Be A Nightmare For MrBeast.” I had absolutely no idea about what Chris, co-founder of the MrBeast brand, was doing. Shoot, I haven’t even watched MrBeast since that Squid Game challenge video, or since I ordered a MrBeast Burger on DoorDash (which just so happened to be the Impossible, Chris-style, without the bacon and with beast-style fries.) So, when this video auto-played as I was putting up merchandise at my job while having an already horrible work day as a Walgreens clerk, my hunger for entertainment lit a fire inside of me. The neurons that were seemingly dying from a metaphorical fog that clouded my mind and behavior throughout the four hours prior were about to be firing 5 miles a minute. At last, something interesting! At last, something fun! Drama that I chastise and bow out of in public, but gobble up like a starving, impoverished woman who is unfortunately unaware of refeeding syndrome in private! So, I checked the title and nearly pressed my fingers together like a cartoon villain and listened.
Except, there was just one problem: this drama wasn’t interesting. This drama wasn’t fun. If I was feasting, this drama made me want to throw up, because the food tastes awful. Who let him cook? Worse still, the food wasn’t even food, and I have no idea what I just ate. Because the “drama” in question isn’t even drama. You’d think for such a wholesome channel where the thesis is to do good, spread positivity and kindness, and commit acts of charity, you’d really need to drop the ball for Jimmy from MrBeast to have your part in the channel be labeled as “a nightmare.” Okay, so how bad did Chris drop the ball? Money laundering? Sexual assault? Cheating? Domestic abuse against their family? Secret drug kingpin?
Nope, nope, nope, nope, and nope. No, the problem here is that Chris is gender-nonconforming (GNC.) For the uninitiated, Chris has been posting several Tweets and videos about their transitioning for a while now, from them losing many of their masculine features to the point of needing a new passport, to tweets such as this from about a week and a half ago: “Informed consent HRT [hormone replacement therapy] saved my and many others’ lives. The hurdles GNC people have had to jump through to get life-saving, gender-affirming healthcare in a 1st world country is wild to me. Just let people make informed decisions about their own bodies.”
But here’s the thing: in this world, that is unfortunately, a controversy. Unless you live under a rock, there are millions, dare I say billions of people who don’t have cozy feelings about trans people. These people will come out to play any time a trans person does literally anything in the news. Trans person gets discriminated against in public? Huh well, they deserved it. Trans person does a bad thing? Of course they did, let me just misgender and deadname them because they deserve it. Trans person does a good thing? Well, I just hate trans people!
So these people have always existed, and will continue to exist for the foreseeable future. The main problem is that even with that information, Sunny V2s video is, to be blunt, utter garbage. Some stronger phrases would get me blacklisted from the Herald. I could rattle off a number of things wrong with the video: its insinuation of Chris’ transition over a failing marriage, its subtle siding with a plethora of negative comments surrounding Chris, such as the fact that they will be a worse parent for it now that their child doesn’t have a “father figure.”
But the main reason why this video flies off the rails is because SunnyV2 treats Chris not as a human, but as a character. A plot point for the Mr. Beast channel that has taken a turn for the worse. A new antagonist that Jimmy has to take down to save his career, instead of a close friend that Jimmy has known since he was a child. Once Sunny is done deep-diving into Chris’ marriage for at least a quarter of the video, he spends the rest of the video talking about how any way Mr. Beast spins it, it’s a lose-lose for the brand, as if he didn’t go over the tweet literally 3 minutes ago saying that Chris’ decision to transition has “saved their life.” Man, I wish Chris hadn’t made the life-saving decision to go on HRT. Now, Mr. Beast may have 127 million subscribers instead of 147! What is Mr. Beast’s channel going to do with 20 million less views on their videos?! They might as well be packing their bags to move to the projects, huh?
This commodification and talking around trans people rather than about them has always been a problem in the media. Every time a famous celebrity comes out as trans, the humanity of that person in internet discourse no longer comprises their skill, wit, or the talent that the person had prior to their transitioning, but rather the fact that they are trans. For a while, Elliot Page — who you might know as Viktor (formerly Vanya) Hargreeves from the hit Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, or, if you’re a bit older, you might remember them as the eponymous Juno — received this treatment. There were also Indya Moore and Jaime Clayton. But the hate that these actors receive is unfortunately commonplace: what may be worse is that they’re not free from it on the big screen. It can be strange when a trans character in a show or movie is not just dealing with being trans so much as they’re trans and have other issues surrounding them. Hunter Schrafer, who plays Jules in Euphoria is an exception to that rule — I know, go figure, Euphoria of all shows. Schrafer hopes this can become more commonplace. In an interview with Variety, she said, “We’re so much more complex than just one identity,” which is perhaps the largest counterargument to Sunny’s video.
When trans people come out, they don’t become a husk of their former selves where the only thing about them is that they are transgender. When you ask them about their day, virtually none of them spout out every negative infographic that they read about trans rights or news and how it needs to change, or talk about how the day was okay, but they imagine someone’s going to be transphobic in the next five minutes, or that the weather looks mighty transphobic today. They’re not AI who can only list off facts about trans/non-binary people.
What I’m about to say may be life-changing, health crisis-causing information, so have your doctor on speed-dial, and I hope you have an AED in your house…
Trans people are people. They’re not mythological creatures. They aren’t supervillains. They aren’t the titans from Attack on Titan that will destroy everything around them, eating your mother, brother, sister, and niece, so they need to be killed immediately.
They’re people. People are multi-faceted. The same person could be a straight-A student who is horrible at waiting tables and is blunt, honest, funny, and oh wait, just happens to be trans. Person B can be a kind, mild people-pleaser who likes to write and play music and who may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but is generally very helpful and popular, and oh wait they happen to be non-binary (a person who is not definitively male or female.) Person C can be an introspective, philosophical person who likes to read, sing, and is the woodwind captain of her high school marching band, and oh wait, she just happens to be a drag king. Did you notice how all of these traits still exist in the person even though they are gender-nonconforming? A gay lord doesn’t shine down upon GNC people who come out and zap every trait of our personality out of us.
We are still people. It’s another ingredient to the pizza. And people deserve to live without being told that their existence is “a nightmare.” People don’t deserve to be kicked out of a friend group just for their existence. People deserve to receive access to proper healthcare that could save their lives. People don’t deserve to be told that their identity is a “distraction” to them receiving help for a mental or physical health condition. People don’t deserve to be harassed online and offline for who they are. People don’t deserve to be victim-survivors of violence just for who they are. You know what, fellas, should people be allowed to exist in peace?
Every time I hear a story about a bad trans person being called out, immediately the person is misgendered and degraded, denying the basic qualities of who they are. I may give you another heart attack by repeating this information, so I apologize if your hospital bill quadruples.
Yeah, trans people are people. People can suck. That isn’t exclusive to trans people.
An argument that came up in Chris’s opposition was that they’d now be a bad influence on their kid. Well, I have yet to meet an abusive, cis, straight father be called a bad father because he is straight or cis. Conversely, a trans father could just be existing, and they’re called a bad father. Now the kid doesn’t have a “real” father figure. Or if the person transitioned while in a heterosexual relationship, now the kid doesn’t have a mother. Though…in all honesty, it can be a significant thing for a parent to come out as trans. And in fairness, none of my immediate family is trans. I’m not sure how it would impact a family dynamic. There’s no denying that would impact a kid.
However, the main issue with this notion is that children are far more malleable than adults. Multiple studies have shown that it’s mostly adolescents who struggle with such things, not as much as younger children and adult children. In tandem, multiple studies, dating back as far as 2014, have shown that trans parents’ relationship with children is just as good, if not better, than they were before, even after coming out. The vast majority of these studies combat the belief that a transgender parent coming out negatively impacts a child. In tandem, a lot of times, it can be hostility and aggression in the family, including from the partner or other family members, who can weaken the family dynamic. The main message that both children and parents have in these situations is to just love the child the same, and act normal. The daughter of a trans parent, LaAsha Nelson, had said when asked to give advice, “When I got older and understood it still had no effect. [I would tell kids] not to worry, because even though their [parents’] bodies change, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to change. Love them the same.” Another kid, Sophie Marnin, said, “Just act normal when you’re telling your child.”
With that as well, kids do not need a gender conformant upbringing to be happy, be it in their own lives or the lives of their parents. For the most part, a person being a child from a same-sex relationship for instance, does not mean they won’t be as well-adjusted as a child from a heterosexual relationship. A good parent is a good parent; a parent is not any greater or lesser than for them dating a person of the same sex, or of being a different gender than they were assigned at birth. By allowing people to discover who they are, it can actually benefit a parent’s relationship with a child, with the parent improving their mental health, thereby being more involved and active in their child’s life. By allowing a child and/or a parent to explore their identity, it can ultimately help improve their overall life satisfaction, which is something that I would hope any parent or child would want for each other.
And, no, a trans or any sort of LGBTQ+ parent will not mean that a child is more likely to be LGBTQ+ themselves. And even if they are, and in this case, particularly if they are gender nonconforming, it’s important to recognize that being accepting can improve a child’s mental well-being overall. If a child has been stating for a significant time that they identify as the opposite sex, or repeatedly correct that they want to use different pronouns or wear different clothing, then they are likely transgender. Attempting to bar them from socially or physically transitioning can lead to a plethora of mental health problems, some of which leading to substance use disorders, eating disorders, self mutilation, or suicidal ideation. This is why many people say that trying to “convert” a person through conversion therapies or generally not accepting their transition and gender identity can kill. In a 2018 study of 120,000 children, 42% of non-binary adolescents had been found to have attempted suicide. The Trevor Project has stated that 1 in 5 trans or nonbinary youth have attempted suicide. It’s hard enough to have to deal with a changing home situation due to one’s identity. You simply don’t have to be the person who makes it harder.
With all of the anti-trans legislation, particularly targeted towards the youth, I suppose that’s the message that orbits around it all. Just don’t be the person who makes it harder. Laws such as SB150, what many organizations are calling some of the harshest LGBTQ+ laws in recent history, are hurting the youth much more than they are protecting them. So no, Mr. Walls, I don’t believe that the vote to override Governor Beshear’s veto of SB 150 “is a win for children and their parents in Kentucky.” You know, I honestly feel like there is virtually no benefit to that decision, because, at its core, it damages a person’s sense of self and can perpetuate a lot of violence towards GNC people and their allies. I don’t really think that’s a win for anybody. The only people it benefits are people who already have a negative perception of trans people. For the kids, they now just hate themselves. For accepting family members, now they want to move. For many medical professionals, they believe it will harm their patients’ wellbeing. So, I have to ask: who is winning?
But, in fairness, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
We’ve come a long way from Sunny’s video, but Jimmy himself posted on his Twitter that Chris was not “a nightmare, he’s my f— friend.” Many people spoke out against the video, with Jacksepticeye for example, of all people, calling it a “garbage video.” As well as that, this video managed to bring one of my favorite YouTubers, D’Angelo Wallace, out of hiatus, so there is a bright side in a way.
And, for what it’s worth, Page has said that his life has become much easier now that they have come out as trans. His fans note that he seems happier. In an interview with the Late Night Show with Seth Meyers in 2022, Page said, “Now I’m finally getting myself back to feeling like who I am, and it’s so beautiful and extraordinary, and there’s a grief to it in a way.” He’s revealed that he also feels more creative, which is wonderful. Many trans actors are getting recognition for their work in Hollywood, such as Laverne Cox, who became the first trans person to receive a daytime Emmy. For now, unfortunately, it seems to be a 1-step-forward, 1-step-backward kind of thing, but any support from people can go a long way.
I’ll end with three students’ advice at Heritage High School for speaking with trans people. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, simply said, “We are human.”
A second student, Rio, wrote “you don’t need to understand how we feel one-hundred percent, we just need you to accept and respect our identity.”
Lastly, Andrew McGraw said this: “A little kindness goes a long way. If you’re unsure of someone’s pronouns, asking can make them feel seen and heard. Using the right name shows respect for the person’s identity. Being trans is difficult for those who are open about it or not open about it. To choose between living in uncomfortable hiding or taking the risk of being out is scary. Be kind; it’s the least you can do.”
One thought on “Why Shouldn’t Trans People Be Allowed To Exist?”
This blog post is very informative and eye-opening about the discrimination faced by transgender people in media and society. It’s sad to see how individuals are being attacked just for being who they are, and it’s nice to see allies pushing back against this kind of hate. I do have a question, though: what can we do as individuals to support the trans community and help promote acceptance and understanding?