‘Tranny Alert’ Site Taken Down Thanks to Rapid Response Online Activism

Tranny-alert.com–an site aimed at alienating and attacking trans people–was taken down after a flurry of online activism this weekend. A highly effective Call to Action against Tranny Alert was started by a Livejournal user named gudbuytjane and circulated widely by GLAAD and a chorus of other blogs.
Thanks to our own community blogger basketcasey who mobilized the feministing community to do their part. We’re so grateful that we have voices in our community that can lead folks into this kind of rapid response when we’re not on the ball.

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26 Comments

  1. Siby
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Thank goodness.

  2. Lance
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m thrilled. As near as I can tell, it was taken down by blogger simply because of the backlash. I rather like that it’s increasingly becoming a smart business decision to listen to a bunch of angry feminists. Good work everybody.

  3. gudbuytjane
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m the same gudbuytjane who the GLAAD post refers to. Thanks again to basketcasey for reposting my post about the action.
    Also, thanks to everyone who was on this and sent in complaints to Blogger about the site, and later to Twitter about the harassment I received by the site owners. Thank you, too, to Ann, who replied quickly to my email on Friday.
    I’m beginning to sound like an Academy Awards speech.
    Anyway, it says a great deal about their ethics and character (and their alleged “love for the transgender community”) in that once we had the site shut down they turned nasty, fabricating stories about me endangering a youth’s safety, misgendering my pronouns, and other despicable things I’d rather not revisit.
    In the end, though, the site is down and their bullying only shamed them in the queer community. The irony is that had they left it alone on Saturday it would have been done with, but they kept harassing me and posting slander about me, so I started digging, and eventually found the RL contact info of the creator, his boyfriend, and some other people involved in the creation of the site. It’s funny how quickly they backed off when they realized their privacy could be violated (not that I would ever publicly post information that could harm someone, regardless of how much of an asshole they are). Now we know who they are, where they live, and if the site comes back we’ll be filing complaints with state and federal agencies.
    The real tragedy is that this site was created and run by adult white gay men (not a youth, as they were trying to disseminate to make the response of trans women look like we were endangering the safety of kids). I have some writing I need to do about gay men and transmisogyny, because this kind of appropriation of trans identity by some gay men happens more often than you might imagine.

  4. Courtney
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for chiming in gudbuytjane–and more broadly, for taking action and being courageous despite the harassment. Please let us know when you do that writing so we can highlight it.

  5. perfect is the enemy of the good
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    “In light of the murders of trans women such as Gwen Araujo, Angie Zapata and others, it is indefensible to run a website that requests readers submit photos of trans women (or people they’ve read as trans women) without their consent and publicly out them. This site threatens the safety of every person they post a photo of. Please spread the word and take action.”
    I never saw that site, but I am glad it was taken down.
    But what is the difference between that site and the various hollaback sites that post pictures of people, usually men, and make all sorts of unverified allegations against them, don’t provide a way for the accused to defend against those remarks, and often don’t respond to requests to take the pictures and posts down, and do all of this on an anonymous basis so that the accused is left with no way to face his or her accuser, and no way to defend his or herself against libel?
    Why is tranny alert bad, hollaback good?

  6. aerdrie
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I think that sites like hollaback should have a system for people to clear their name in cases of libel. However, the analogy to tranny-alert.com ends there. People post pictures on hollaback to shame people who are allegedly committing harassment. People post(ed) pictures on tranny-alert to shame transgendered people, period. There is no crime in being transgendered; there is, however, a crime in harassment.

  7. Dymaxion
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Because there’s a power differential at play here. Straight men harassing women on the street are not being oppressed, they are being oppressive. Trans women going about their daily lives and trying to simply live are not oppressing anyone, and an interaction like this is directly oppressive. Using publicity as a tool to fight oppression is acceptable. Using publicity to oppress and directly endanger the lives of others is not.

  8. perfect is the enemy of the good
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    “Straight men harassing women on the street are not being oppressed, they are being oppressive.”
    That’s my point. Almost everything through hollaback is anonymous with no way to verify. All we often see is a cellphone picture accompanied by some story.
    Your assumptions on what happened in that picture and who to believe is a statement of your own belief system projected onto artifacts of unknown origin.
    Hollaback offers no verification, validation, or ability to rebut.
    And yet, Hollaback is good, Tranny-Alert bad.

  9. gudbuytjane
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Are you just trying to make a point about this Hollaback site, or do you really not understand how tranny-alert.com put trans women’s lives at danger?
    No straight dude is going to be murdered in ‘straigth dude panic,’ as happens to trans women.
    Really, I’m kind of shocked at the lack of comprehension going on here, or that you’d use this example to make your point.

  10. bifemmefatale
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Translation: “What About the Menz?”
    How predictable.

  11. gudbuytjane
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Look, we aren’t Hollaback, we aren’t talking about it, we aren’t defending it… and comparing it to a site that seriously threatened the safety of trans women, on the comments for a post about that site, feels pretty cis-centric.
    And, no, I don’t care if you’re arguing the tranny-alert example as Devil’s Advocate. That is a smokescreen for privilege and bias.
    To put it more clearly: We don’t care about whatever cis experience process you’re working through, stop using our lives and our oppressions as you see fit. This is at best rude and insensitive.

  12. perfect is the enemy of the good
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I am trying to make a point about feministing, and how often one thing is good, another is bad, and underneath, they are really very similar and the judgments are mainly based on fashionable political considerations, not on considerations of civil liberties, equality, or human rights.
    I saw tranny-alert only from the one page that google cached. On it, I saw no real evidence that anyone’s life is going to be in danger any more than they are on any of the web’s “rate this” sites. At the hollaback sites, I see very real evidence that the pictures posted and the unverified stories that accompany them are posted to actually cause harassment from women, men, employers, and anyone in the community. I see what appears to be libel, slander, incitement to violence, and many ways in which a persons life can be unjustifiably ruined by employers, by police agents, by other members of that person’s community. All without a way for that person to reasonably address the accusations.
    And in case you don’t get it, I think both tranny-alert.com AND the hollaback sites are terrible and un-democratic and anti-civil-liberties and unjustifiable.

  13. gudbuytjane
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Here’s some breaking news, your opinion as a cisgender person on what is or isn’t transphobia, or what is or isn’t endangering trans women’s lives DOESN’T MATTER.
    I saw tranny-alert only from the one page that google cached. On it, I saw no real evidence that anyone’s life is going to be in danger any more than they are on any of the web’s “rate this” sites.
    Please, your misogyny and agenda is showing. I’m not going to waste any more time discussing this with someone who obviously has an agenda to make about how bad men have it.

  14. perfect is the enemy of the good
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to leave this as my final comment as I don’t wish to abuse feministing.
    Hollaback is defended at this site many times. Near as I can tell the two sites are the same and rely on the same gimmick and are similarly close to the various gofug sites and the “rate this…” sites where such sites take pictures of unsuspecting people and post them and allow them little recourse.
    tranny-alert and hollaback are the most egregious especially hollaback since it actively incites libel, slander, and perhaps even calls for some form of revenge, payback and even violence.
    It’s hard to take feministing seriously as a site promoting civil liberties when they defend sites like hollaback.
    I am sorry you find any such comparison to tranny-alert offensive or believe I am somehow endangering the transgendered with my comments, but that’s what makes humans human, the ability to generalize and contemplate, analogize, find similarities, and make comparisons and critiques.

  15. gudbuytjane
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Does Feministing track IP’s? Pardon my paranoia, but I’ve just spent a weekend of being attacked by the creators of that site, and if this is them trying to create “controversy” over tranny-alert’s actual danger to trans women, I’m done with playing nice.

  16. ghostorchid
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    You remind me of the people who say “BUT ISN’T SAYING RACISTS CAN’T POST HERE REALLY JUST THE SAME AS BEING RACIST??? CUZ UR BEING INTOLERANT??? AND I THOUGHT U WEREN’T COOL WITH INTOLERANCE!!! NYAH NYAH NYAH!!!”
    I call them hippo trolls (short for “hypocrisy trolls”). They run around the Internet, desperate to prove that a community is hypocritical, sure that the lack of response their inane comments get is proof of the community’s inability to defend its craaaazy thinking. You can distinguish them from genuine people concerned about hypocrisy because hippo trolls are only interested (somewhat ironically) in perceived hypocrisy that affects the privileged.

  17. gudbuytjane
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    No one in these comments has defended Hollaback. It wasn’t mentioned until you shoehorned it in. Making this about both sites being equally bad is a straw man argument, privileged, and transphobic.
    deleted section
    If you’re just another boy with a chip on his shoulder, go find somewhere else to feel sorry for yourself.

  18. perfect is the enemy of the good
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    And, let me make this clear: If I discover you are one of the tranny-alert owners, one of their sock puppets, or one of their friends, we’ll be posting some of the many pictures of @leospy and his boyfriend we found online. The dozens of activists who have been working this action behind the scenes have many contacts in New York’s gay scene and at orgs like GLAAD, and we’re more than willing to out @leospy and friends as bigots. I am dead serious about this.
    Oh, well in that case let me emphatically state that I AM leospy and I dare you to post my pics and pics of my boyfriend online.
    Perhaps after you have posted those pictures you will understand what I mean about hollaback and how your own actions may not be that far off from either hollaback or tranny-alert.

  19. kisekileia
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    What you’re not getting here is that trans women are regularly killed for being trans, and often cannot rely on the justice system to protect them. This is not true of straight cis men, even those who sexually harass.

  20. Citizen Lane
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I like you. Keep up the good work, fellow LJer.

  21. Borea
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    First of all, thanks a BUNCH for all the work you’ve done for trans-people. I go away for a weekend, and shit like this happens? Wow.
    And thanks to all of you who sent in complaints and generally made sure people knew WHY this is so fucked up. I feel good knowing the Feministing community is willing to support their brothers and sisters in solidarity when they need it!

  22. j7sue2
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    As a trans woman I’d like to thank all those who made the effort to get this site closed. I find it very hurtful to then read the comments and see some troll claiming an equivalence between trans women’s experience of lack of safety in the world with that of harassing privileged cis men.
    That just sucks.

  23. zp27
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Yikes. The more I read, the more I see why the anger in the trans community over some of the posts on feminist web sites…

  24. Daeva
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I think that you are a little unjust here, because “perfect is the enemy of the good” is just another MRA troll who hickjacked a thread, as it happens so often, and his views are really far from those of the normal users of feministing.

  25. ghostorchid
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    well, that’s certainly optimistic of you

  26. zp27
    Posted July 2, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I understand that. But this kind of hijacking alway seems to happen when trans folk are involved. Always.

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