6 Myths Dispelled by the Hashtag #AskTransFolks

May 24th 2016

Tricia Tongco

With the certain states’ recent controversial “bathroom bills” and the subsequent trans “bathroom panic” after the implementation of Target’s new bathroom policy, trans people and their rights are a hot button topic in a growing public debate.

A group of transgender activists and creatives from Papel & Caneta, Mesa.do, and FLAGCX have come together to engage those who may not understand the transgender community — or even oppose protections for trans people. They’ve created #AskTransFolks, a hashtag project based on the notion that “understanding starts with asking.”

poster for #asktransfolks

The fact that transgender people are being murdered at a historic rate lends even more urgency to the project. Writer Tiq Milan, one of the many trans activists featured on the platform, told ATTN: via email:

"Not knowing leads to a lot of fear," Milan wrote. "That fear is what drives hostility and violence. We’re trying to replace that fear and arm people with knowledge instead. It’s about liberating all of us — not just trans people."

poster for #asktransfolksQuestions are submitted via Twitter, then vetted by a moderator, and finally, answered by a trans person in a short video later that day. The purpose of the hashtag can be found in the #AskTransFolks mission statement:

"We know that the biggest barrier to acceptance is lack of understanding — which is why we're on a mission to demystify the trans experience for everyone. And we believe the fastest way to understand more about our community is to ask questions about it.

"We’re here to help. Ask us the questions you have about trans folks. We’ll answer. Not with theories, rules, or prejudice. Just our honest, real, personal experiences."

poster for #asktransfolks

The thread of questions and answers offers a clearer picture of transgender people's lives and dispels the following myths about trans people:

1. Caitlyn Jenner is a trans icon

2. There’s nothing rewarding or valuable about being trans

3. Transitioning is an automatic choice

4. Trans people are gay

5. The trans experience is one experience

This myth highlights the different experiences of transgender people in terms of privilege as well as visibility:

6. Transgender people want to leave behind all traits associated with their original gender

While the new social media campaign is meant to open up the conversation between transgender people and non-transgender people, it is important to note that there are some questions that transgender people are sick of hearing:

(ATTN: also highlighted some questions you may want to consider avoiding in the below video.)

Beyond those questions, you can join the conversation here, because, as #AskTransFolks puts it:

"Change can be scary. But the sooner we all adapt, the kinder and safer the world will be for all of us."

Watch a behind-the-scenes video on #AskTransFolks:

[h/t Fast Company]