“Omg Ur So MEEN!” PseudoAlly Tears And Why We Don’t Care

27Jan10

Allies. Supporters. Helpers. People who work with you in alliance, to aid your interests.

No doubt they’re important. Alliance is what gives us the numbers we need to fight back against systemic oppression. We can’t go it alone, obviously, so we recruit people to the cause. Alliance is not just giving lip service. In fact allies/supporters/helpers whatever often have a lot of work ahead of them just to avoid harming our efforts and us. So it should be entirely unsurprising that some allies/supporters/helpers are actually not allies/supporters/helpers at all.

Some people just care far more about their reputation, their Liberal Points™, their own privileged person comfort or in being able to retain their reality ignoring delusion that they aren’t really privileged than they are actually fixing any of these problems. And some are just trying to fuck us over directly. But whatever the reason (and trust me, the reason does not matter in the least for whether the actions or lack thereof do damage) these people aren’t really allies after all. They are what I like to refer to as PseudoAllies. For whatever reason, they sabotage, deface, derail, distort, complain and generally do more harm than good. One such type of this is the “gray vampire” described in more detail here and also here, which are well known to attempt criticize the way things are done as an excuse not to commit.

And here’s where I make people get whiny. If you refuse to commit to or operate within a paradigm in which you oppose oppression of a group, for any reason (literally, any) then you are not an ally to that group. Whether you’re a gray vampire, a Liberal Reputation Points™ player who didn’t realize that you can’t be an ally just by having trans friends, a privileged person with shit perspective who believes that your comfort is somehow equal to our survival or any other reason, you still aren’t an ally.

Nope. Not even that reason. Sorry, not that one either. Not an ally. A pseudoally. Literally, announcing your intention to stop opposing oppression of a group means that you are not an ally. Note that I’m not saying you have to stay an activist. One can oppose oppression to differing levels of effort. Don’t have a lot of spoons or energy or busy with a lot of bullshit in your life that self care dictates handling? Just make sure you aren’t doing oppressive privileged bullshit and don’t enable others to do oppressive privileged bullshit and there you are, opposing oppression. And that’s really the rub there, opposing oppression is not fucking hard. It may take a little thought and a little research to make sure your actions are actually beneficial but the actions themselves? Easy as pie. And luckily, there will always be members of the trans community who are willing to subject themselves to multitudes of irritating questions of people who haven’t done the research (hint: I am not willing, so don’t ask me). So if you’re really unsure, ask one of them. (and if they say, hey don’t bother me right now, go find someone else to ask).

But the worst, oh the most deeply enraging of pseudoallies are the comfort mongers. The people who are so dreadfully hurt by how “mean” trans people are, how “aggressive” or “vicious”, how much we’re all “jerks”, “harsh” or “too rough” on them. Of all the ridiculously privileged, shallow, asinine reasons to abandon the paradigm of oppression opposition, this is quite simply the worst.

Let me tell you, pseudoallies who may be reading this (as someone will likely invariably link you my way when you pull your shit), unequivocally, indisputably, if your reason for not being an ally was “omg some trans people were mean to me”, you were never a good ally to begin with. If you are capable of abandoning the fight against the widespread oppression of trans people (or any group really, this applies on all zones of kyriarchy) because some trans people didn’t elevate your privileged person discomfort over our lives with us being upset at your privileged fuck ups (or even worse, at someone else’s fuck ups) then you are not a good ally or even an ally at all, by definition. Allies, as they pertain to marginalization activism, are people who work against and oppose oppression, always, invariably. An ally who purposefully stops opposing oppression is an oxymoron. A pseudoally. And if you’re being linked this post after you just did what I’ve described here, then you are a pseudoally.

This utter lack of being an ally is what informs our lack of caring about tone argument derails, about the whining of failed Appeaser archetypes that forget the need for Nukers, about criticisms of how many “allies” we’ve chased away with our tone.

I have not chased away a single genuine ally from anti oppression activism. Literally. Not even one. Some might not read my blog anymore but that isn’t a problem for me. As long as they’re still reading trans people’s experiences, accepting their privilege, owning their mistakes and fighting oppression, they’re fine. I have chased away many pseudoallies, but as pseudoallies are drains on our resources, who use us and abuse us, who turn us against each other, vampires that drink up our energy and our attentions with their precious hurt feelings and “it’s all about me” self obsessing bullshit, is that really a bad thing?

No. It isn’t. In fact, chasing away draining pseudoallies is something that helps clean the sides of the barnacles in activism. One of the main benefits of having Nukers is the loss of pseudoallies like gray vampires, comfort mongers, Liberal Reputation Points™ players, concern trolls and trapdoor trolls, all of whom supremely and easily fuck with Appeasers on a regular basis.

So no, we don’t care when we chase away pseudoallies. I’m amazed that anyone expects us to care. Do mention if we actually chase away a real ally (but don’t hold your breath for it). Until then, I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing.



16 Responses to ““Omg Ur So MEEN!” PseudoAlly Tears And Why We Don’t Care”

  1. good piece :D

    I don’t have pseudo allies. I also don’t have allies who happen to have trans people as friends, relatives, whatever.

    An ally is allowed to screw up. They get chances, and far more than three, and Im willing to overlook some niggling stuff with some allies, and not so willing with others.

    It’s one of those case by case things.

    Then there are the people who claim to be allies, and are actually enemies, as their actions are what define them, not their words.

    I’ve known some damn fine allies who say some of the most god awful stupid things — stuff that if they weren’t an ally you’d be inclined to burn them at the stake. So this isn’t about them.

    No, this is the one’s who say nice and good things — the right things, even — and then go out and do the most god awful stupid things. *They* are the enemies. Everybody says stupid shit, Hurtful stuff, stuff they might not say in other situations or at other times, and sometimes they aren’t in their right minds. Hell, I’ve said stupid stuff (and likely will again). It would be hypocritical of me otherwise. And the bad kind — the kind of hypocrisy where someone says they are going to be politically incorrect, which is, after all, the politically correct way to say rude.

    But the one’s that do stuff that actively works against my interests, those are the one’s that matter, that need to be called out, dragged out, put on display, and, if I’m there, kneecapped.

    ‘Cause I’m a violent sort. Even if it doesn’t solve the problem, it sure as hell feels good.

    I’m off to prep my jars for making pickles. Stay good…

  2. 2 Sas

    For lack of something more substantial to say, I will just say you’re accurate like a laser-guided hammer on that nail.

  3. Could not agree more. XD

    Also, I love pickles! I wish we had the stuff we needed to make our own but my partner hates them.

  4. I knew getting that laser scope installed on my head was a good idea. XD

  5. 5 Sadderbutwisergirl

    Ugh… I hate pseudoallies. One characteristic of a pseudoally is that they treat support for the minority movement like giving candy: generous, non-required, and a small act of kindness. Another characteristic is that they leave you feeling grateful to them. Why should we feel gratitude for someone doing their duty as a decent person?

  6. 6 Valerian

    I’m reading through because I’m interested, though I’m wondering if I can be much of an ally when I don’t actually know any trans-people. I’m a cis-person with autism, and I think we run into some of the same kinds of assholes. I get the ones who totally get me because they saw Rain Man. Joy.

    Anyway, I don’t want to take up your time, just wanted to say that I appreciate your writing. If you were around, I’d show that appreciation with tasty pickles, but alas.

  7. Good ally work is often just fighting back against transphobia when you see it. Friend makes a dickgirl joke? Tell him that it isn’t okay. Etc etc.

    Mmmmm pickles.

  8. 8 Sadderbutwisergirl

    @Valerian: I can relate to facing assumptions since I came out of the closet about being autistic. Since I came out and publicly said that I was autistic, it’s constantly been, “Oh, you’re like Rain Man.” Sometimes, I find people saying, “Oh, you’re like Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time?” It irks me off that people make these assumptions. And as genderbitch said, you can be an ally without having any trans friends. In fact, in some cases, having a minority friend can impede someone from being an actual ally. They’ll sometimes think, “Oh, I have a [fill in minority group here] friend, so automatically I am not intolerant towards them” while enjoying some easy Liberal Points. I have noticed myself being in the position of the “Attribute Friend” since I came out about being autistic.

  9. 9 Kynthia

    In Native American thinking we have maybe one friend, if that. Then we have friendly enemies and then simply enemies.

    okay, so maybe we aren’t the cuddliest of people (Ask Custer – BTW – I am part Lakota) but we also don’t have to worry about pseudo friends taking us down.

  10. 10 moxicity

    Hey, new reader here. As a cis white woman who only very recently came to know about something like transgendered people (maybe 3-4 years ago) and has been reading about transpersons experiences for only a couple of months, I have a question or two, if you are willing to answer? If not, totally fine, I’ll check your blogroll or google for other educators :). I’m not looking for education exactly though, so perhaps it’s okay?

    I have had a few experiences online with some pretty dickish trans people. Now, this has happened on deviantArt, while speaking specifically of art-related things. In the course of conversations it has turned out that this or that person is trans. My first reaction is usually one of curiosity, though I try not to be a nosy ass. As another of your blog posts pointed out, my business and their privacy/body are subjects as far from each other as can be, and I’ve respected that.

    Perhaps I might have come across immature or poseurish people, as deviantArt has these kinds of people in spades. Spaaaaaades. Regardless, it HAS seemed to be that many of them are, well… assholes. On the other hand, I’ve gotten these amazing, worldly and wise trans people that are infinitely understanding (if firm). Is it a defense mechanism? Is it like being bullied and turning to bulling yourself, very remotely? Or did I simply come across dicks?

    Or am I othering them in some wacky way by thinking that marginalized people are all, or should be, tolerant and patient? Or did I simply come across someone who doesn’t take constructive criticism well and am agonizing over my priviledge like a moron? :P (I am sorry if this was a ramble, inappropriate or making-this-about-me post, I do not know what I’m doing and people are screaming next to me so I can barely hear my own thoughts and might really, actually be a total idiot right now)

  11. This should be self evident but… trans people are people. We’re different. Some of us are colossal assholes. Some of us are great people. Some of us are boring and others exciting. Trans folk aren’t a monolith and you will meet trans assholes. You’ll also meet trans cool folk. Same as you would with cis people.

    And yeah, it is othering. Having this expectation that some represents the whole or expecting patience and tolerance from every marginalized person you meet is a little ridiculous and unreasonable, as well as othering. We’re still people. Just like you.

  12. 12 moxicity

    I see. Thanks for the reply! Fortunately or unofortunately, I won’t likely meet many, if any trans people in the near future where I live. I naturally realise you’re just people, I guess I had some unreal expectations due to my first impressions and info on trans people.

    Also, I might have exaggerated a bit – I’m not so unreasonable to think EVERY person from some group carries the same characteristics :) I suppose… ah well, you get what I mean, I hope. I also hope you didn’t mind my question much and that it wasn’t too dumb – honestly, I’d rather make these mistakes in closed spaces like this as politely as possible rather than meet a trans person in real life and, yknow, hurt someone because of inexperience and ignorance. My hope was you wouldn’t be hurt by a question like that.

    So thank you for clearing that up for me! I also, really, apologize if this grated you. Where I live, trans people are exceedingly rare, at least in a way that’s noticeable and I really want to, as you say, own my priviledge and work towards becoming a good ally. I’m just, you know… in the beginning stages. You have to start somewhere, right? and sorry again if I’m being annoying :)

  13. It was a little grating but we’re cool now.

  14. 14 intrados

    Are you of the opinion that it’s impossible for pseudoallies to become allies?

    “[C]hasing away draining pseudoallies is something that helps clean the sides of the barnacles in activism.”

    Is it possible that cleaning off the barnacles now prevents them from growing into helpful flowers later (if you’ll forgive the atrocious metaphor)?

  15. @Intrados: Yes. I am of the opinion that it is impossible for pseudoallies to become allies with one exception. That they learn that it isn’t about them and that our anger isn’t a reason to stop helping us. So they’ll learn that on their own by changing the kind of people they are, not cuz we let them stick around and fuck us over.

    In fact, burning them off the boat may give them the wakeup call they need to grow.


  1. 1 Attitude Adjuster « Dissent of a Woman

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