These last nearly four years of the Trump administration have been, well, trying to say the least. It seems like each day, there was some new outrage, some new national embarrassment, some new foolishness happening. It has been so very easy to be angry. Even now, 37 days after Joe Biden was elected by a margin of more than 8 million votes, the outrage and the embarrassment continue.
In fact, it seems to have gotten even worse over these last 37 days as Trump and his minions literally try to flush our democratic processes down the toilet in his desperate efforts not to be a one-term president.
Like I said, it has been easy to be angry, to be frustrated, to be flabbergasted by the things we’ve seen happening. But you know, despite all the anger and frustration, I have never felt or expressed the desire to vote a certain way for the chance to piss off somebody else, and I cannot comprehend this burning need some people seem to have to do just that.
How many times have you seen someone on the more “conservative” end of the political spectrum declare that they have, in some way, “owned the libtards”? Have you seen similar sentiments from the other end of the spectrum? Why? Why is it so satisfying for these people to feel like they have somehow “put one over on” someone with whom they disagree?
In the last few months, it seems, we have seen more and more people coming to the Dallas Voice website, commenting on articles to let us know how much they hate us and everything we stand for. I’m not talking about non-LGBTQ folks, either. I am talking about commenters who are — or at least claim to be — LGBTQ people who are just disgusted with the fact that other LGBTQ people actually want equal rights, equal responsibilities and equal treatment.
I mean, how dare we!
Surely we know we are destroying the fabric of our society by expecting that we not be fired from our jobs simply because of our sexual orientation or gender identity, that we be given the same access to civil marriage as non-LGBTQ folks, that we not have someone else’s religious beliefs forced on us, that we not be beaten and murdered because someone hates us for being LGBTQ.
Of course, we at the Dallas Voice are certainly not strangers to hateful comments and insults and even threats directed at us because we are an LGBTQ media outlet. But like I said, it seems in the last few months — as our country dealt with a pandemic, with unrest over injustice and the growing lunacy of an outrageous and hateful presidential administration — the trolls have come crawling from beneath their crusty old bridges at an ever-quickening rate.
And I just cannot understand it.
I mean, if you think Dallas Voice publishes dreck, why come to our website or pick up our print product to read that dreck. I have in the past been able to understand why some LGBTQ people supported the Republican Party; they put what they saw as economic concerns over civil rights concerns that they didn’t think impacted them. But I have never understood how any self-respecting LGBTQ person could continue to support the GOP as it has skewed ever more extremely toward the LGBTQ-hating right-wing extreme.
How can you justify support for a political party that promotes hate against you?
And yet, those people are out there. And they have decided (at least some of them have decided) that their favorite thing in the world is trolling Dallas Voice and those of us who work here.
At first, back in about July or so when the influx started, I tried a few times to reason with them through responses to their comments. I even tried to do it politely. It made no difference.
Then, I got disgusted enough with their hatefulness and obvious self-loathing that I decided to troll them in return. There was one, in particular, who chose a screen name declaring themself to be gay and a Trump supporter (they never use their actual names, of course). This particular commenter had repeatedly insisted on calling people names and posting comments intended just to insult whomever had written the article they were commenting on or sometimes another commenter.
At first I politely informed this person that comments using anti-LGBTQ slurs or promoting unfounded and insulting accusations against victims of crimes would be deleted. But they persisted, seeming to find special delight in insulting transgender murder victims and using anti-transgender slurs. Then I trolled back and, in one exchange, got this person to inadvertently expose their own internalized homophobia: “People like you make me ashamed to be gay.” “I don’t think you need any help with that.” And then, fed up with the childishness of it all, I told this person I felt bad for them and that I felt sorry for them because going through life filled with such hate for one’s self must be absolutely exhausting.
Their response: “Whatever, tranny.”
Ah, there it is, this person’s idea of the ultimate insult.
At that point, I just began deleting the insults and the slurs because it is unacceptable that such slurs would be allowed on an LGBTQ website where someone whose skin is not so strong as mine could be hurt by them.
I don’t understand it, though. Why do these people feel the need to try to hurt others with their insults and their slurs? Why would one LGBTQ person want to pull down other LGBTQ people? Is there any way they can ever clean the hate — for themselves and for others — out of their souls?
In the meantime, we at Dallas Voice will just keep deleting the insults and the slurs, letting the hate bounce off us as we try to shelter others who aren’t as strong from those barbs. Go ahead and send in the trolls. We knew there had to be trolls.
Tammye Nash is managing editor of Dallas Voice. The opinions expressed here are her own. Prohibitions against insults and slurs in comments on DallasVoice.com will be enforced.