SomethingAwful FYAD and the Trans Movement

I’ve been very upset the past few days about meaningless things going on in the internet. It’s been very distracting and I’d like to leave it behind. I’ve tried ignoring it but that doesn’t work. I need to work out my feelings on why this bothers me so much.

A group of trans rights activists are trying to get a forum I never read removed and a bunch of people I don’t know banned. And it’s gotten me into such a tizzy. I suppose there is some backstory on why I am in this position.

Long ago, when I was in High School, and it was the early 2000’s, my friends and I frequented Something Awful. We would read the front page on the library school computers, we would read the forums at home or at each others houses. We loved it! We would joke constantly with each other about things we read on Richard “Lowtax” Kyanka’s website. We even got to meet Lowtax once in either 2005 or 2006, he seemed like a really nice guy and was also super funny. It was just fun, these were my people, it’s like I found the last community on the internet that still allowed intelligent and humorous discourse.

We also found FYAD, and we became obsessed. It was brilliant. There were jokes there that seemed to transcend comedy. We learned about irony, how the more irony you could cram into a joke the better it was. Some of those classic posts are still ingrained in the Internet’s comedic lexicon today.

FYAD also contained a lot of politically incorrect language. It was racist, misogynist, homophobic, and just generally uncouth. But it also wasn’t. In a way they diffused the impact of terrible language by wrapping it in irony and delivering it with nonchalance. They would take something so offensive and take it to such an extreme it couldn’t possibly be taken seriously. Much of it wasn’t even offensive, just take something that is going on and twist it in an unexpected way.

I thought this was the peak of comedic writing and I tried to emulate it as best I could. In truth, I never did post in FYAD, or much of anywhere for that matter. I never thought I was good enough. My anxiety wouldn’t let me. I thought they would make fun of me and my fragile ego couldn’t take it. But deep down my plan was always to improve my life, practice my humor, and someday I would be ready to post. But that never happened.

Over a decade went by and I focused on other things. Now today, I hear that this forum I once respected so much is in a war for its very existence. And it bothers me because the history is being overwritten by people who don’t remember. And it’s failing for one of the dumbest reason a once great forum could.

And the reason is the core of my displeasure. A forum that used to be able to post literally anything(so long as it was legal) has finally found the one topic they are not allowed to talk about. And that topic is one of the diagnosis listed in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A diagnosis that people in the trans community fear will delegitimize their movement. I don’t care if it’s “true” or not. I’m not a gender specialist. It hurts my mind to see one of the greatest forums that ever graced the internet die because some of its members were discussing a psychological scientific theory. What does it matter if it’s “debunked”? I’m pretty sure I’ve read posts in FYAD about the earth being flat, that Bush did 9/11, The war on terrorism was about oil profits. I could go on and on. What if a psychological theory hurts someone’s self esteem? Then as they used to say in FYAD: Get out.

But, in the end, it doesn’t matter. While I was going through this I found most of my favorite posters aren’t even posting anymore. They moved on with their lives. They’re on Twitter, writing books, and still being hilarious. I’ll move on too. The world changes, and that’s okay! I hope Richard gets through his current batch of problems. And boy, the trans community sure can use all the help they can get. I hope someday they don’t get as persecuted as they do now, that they can be comfortable being their true selves either online or in person. Then maybe we could all hang out, just chill and do whatever and totally relax. “Take it easy”.