25 March 2009

Bil Browning Appropriates Virginia Tech

Update: For those who want a far better explanation of this than what I provide, start at voz's post on LiveJournal.

I really wasn't planning on getting involved into what is turning into a full-on blog war beyond commenting on other people's posts. First, I assume people who read me have no clue what I'm talking about so some background. lyssa, a trans woman of colour, made a comment at The Bilerico Project expressing her rage at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for what she sees as their contributing role to the loss of trans lives. It involved violent imagery. So, rather than just deleting the comment and chastising lyssa via email, Bil Browning, the owner of The Bilerico Project, decides to make an example of the comment and makes a post about it. He says this is not acceptable on his blog (fair enough as it is his blog) and how he would gladly turn over her info to the police for making a death threat. It's that latter bit that's the problem as the police are not the friends of trans women of colour. Anyway, you can see all of that, including lyssa's apology via a screenshot of Bil's post here.

So, in various places around LiveJournal and at Questioning Transphobia, there has been discussion about just how screwed up it is to threaten to call the police for something that is hyperbolic and how much danger that would place a trans woman of colour in. OK, fine. But, what about Virginia Tech? For that we have to turn to Twitter.

From the Bilerico (Bil Browning's) Twitter feed:

12:13 PM Mar 21st from TweetDeck in reply to soofriends
@soofriends And those fantasies get people killed. Think Virginia Tech. He put it all on the internet first

12:11 PM Mar 21st from TweetDeck in reply to soofriends
@soofriends I didn’t threaten her. I said if police come calling over death threats, I would cooperate. Wouldn’t you? Trans or not?

12:10 PM Mar 21st from TweetDeck in reply to soofriends
@soofriends Think how many times you hear about killers “I never would have thought…” You just never know.

Whoa! "Think Virginia Tech" Look, I don't have to think Virginia Tech. I was here at Virginia Tech for 16 April 2007 when 32 fellow students and faculty were killed. That was real. That was the action of an homicidally unstable individual. Not a justifiable expression of rage at an organisation that has over and over again betrayed trans people.

Thanks for reopening an unhealed wound, Bil! I still have my peace cranes from those that were sent in the thousands from other schools as an expression of solidarity for our grief. I still remember the signed cards, the huge signed sheets, the makeshift memorial now made permanent. I'm crying now just thinking about it. Is that what you wanted, Bil? And, I'm not the worst off by far. I've watched people break down repeatedly in tears for months afterwards because their friend was one of those killed. I remember the first anniversary of that horrid day being incredibly difficult for many of us. Oh, and did I mention we're coming up on the second anniversary really soon? We're still struggling with dealing. Great timing there, Bil!

So, Bil, from the bottom of this Hokie trans woman's heart, FOAD.


  1. Oh of all the sputter sputter. No, the lesson of Virginia Tech is NOT "fantasies get people killed," you stupid, stupid, stupid...trails off into incoherent oops garsh better not use language that's too -fanciful,- right?

  2. [voz, fka lyssa, and *never* lyssak]

    Great post. Bil needs to be taken to school for what he did here.
    He still does not get it. He never will.

    ohs...my name? voz, and should be corrected to lyssa in ur post. No need to reproduce a typo, no?

    if you like, u can add this 2 ur blogroll.

    thanks, and peace to u and urs

  3. Yeah, belldame, better watch that language. Even cis women are not immune to having the police sicced on them. /sarcasm

    And, thanks. I really appreciate it.

  4. voz,

    Ooops. Corrected your name in the post.

    And, I added you to my blogroll (which I really need to update anyway).

    Thank you. I'm still really hurt and angry at Bil. Like I needed to be crying.

  5. I'm sorry someone's asshole comment brought it all back. My best wishes for your healing and the healing of those around you.

  6. hey sweety,

    U take care of urself, okay? I hope u r feelin betetr and that Bil hasn't upset u too badly still.

    U will work it all out, k?

    besos y abrazos

  7. I am just catching up on this and from what I can see, Bill really went wrong on this one. All he had to do was state that such commentary was not allowed.
    He further went wrong with his comments on twitter. It was a ridiculous analogy and I am sorry to see that it pained you.