TOL is a growing site, and being the type of site that we are- we get a lot of shares and a lot of comments both here and on social media. I also get emails as well. I actually do read all of these- even if I don’t respond. Some of the feedback I see has been fairly negative, and being a young site, I thought I would take the opportunity to give some insight and answer some of our critics.
“Why don’t you use images of trans people?”
First of all, I think it’s presumptuous to assume whether someone is cis or transgender based simply on a photo. However in many cases we do not use images of trans people. The reason is simple, there isn’t a lot of stock photography of trans or gender-variant people. And I don’t want to just go search for images of trans people and use them willy-nilly. I wouldn’t want to “out” anyone. I do look for official news images or stock photography. But I often use whatever I can find. Sometimes that is an image of a trans person- sometimes it is not.
If you are willing to send in images that could be used for stock- please feel free.
“This article could be for anyone- why are you just trying to exploit trans people?”
I will let you in on a secret- getting traffic to a site is hard, just in general. When you run a niche site and you are trying to get targeted traffic it is even harder. That is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. In order to make sure that our content gets to the people that need it, we have to use certain keywords to hit our demographic. If we don’t say “wig tips for transgender women” and instead use “wig tips you can use” then we can’t guarantee it will get to the right audience. After all, think about how you search. If you are trans and looking for certain information then you probably put “transgender” in the search somewhere. This isn’t trying to exploit- it’s just trying to direct users to the site. That’s just how social media and search engines work.
“That’s ableist.” “That’s racist.” “That’s not inclusive.”
Here is something you probably never think about. Writers usually write from what they know. I’m a mtf trans woman in her late 30’s who makes a good living, has a house, has a girlfriend, suffers from depression/anxiety/ptsd, not religious, and has an incredible support circle. I’m also in good health, no disabilities, and white. And I am the main writer here. So, no- I am not as familiar with the experiences of people in other demographics. On our article about 25 things to do to help with dysphoria, I saw comments about it being ableist. Many of the things in that list are not exclusive to able-bodied people at all. But being a piece written from my experience, it includes things that have helped ME. And the hope is that they can help you. I’ve never had to consider things to do if blind, bed-ridden, deaf, etc. I can’t apologize for that. Because I can’t write from every perspective. Also, I saw a comment that meditation was ableist because those with mental illness shouldn’t do it. Which is ridiculously dumb. Meditation an help anyone. It helps to focus the mind and allow you to strengthen it.
That’s also why there are more mtf articles. Because that’s what I can speak to more. I wish I had some trans male writers that could contribute and talk about things I don’t know. The best I can do is try and be inclusive as much as I can.
Yeah, some people get mad. I can’t help that. But what good does it do to get enraged because you disagree with an opinion? Get mad at news reports that shine a light on bad things. But don’t go into a blind rage because someone lives differently than you. Your way isn’t the only way.
That’s not the way to do it- what you should do it ::insert terrible idea here::”
I one posted about covering beard shadow. And actually had someone chiding anyone who doesn’t do permanent hair removal. As though that’s possible for everyone by situation or cost. Then they went on to suggest that everyone pluck out every hair on their face with tweezers. Yeah, please don’t suggest self-mutilation to readers. That’s OCD type behavior. Again, don’t slam people for doing things differently than you. You don’t know their situation or circumstances.
“Ads? Money grubbing sellout!”
Yes. We have ads. We have kept them minimal in order to not interfere with the experience of reading the page and not breaking the layout. The site is small, and the money made by the site is also very small. I started this page because I had trouble finding information that was good, up to date, concise, and wasn’t turned into a fetishized fantasy version of being trans. Also I wanted it to be something that catered to trans people. Not crossdressers, drag queens, sissies, etc. And I didn’t want it to turn into a pick up site. I wanted to perform a service. However, running a site costs money. And
it takes A LOT of my time. I spend hours a day on the site writing articles, doing security checks, moderating comments, and running social media. So, being able to make a few bucks for my time is nice. And, I’d like to be able to make enough to start paying writers. I’m certainly not getting rich on this. But hey, turning into buzzfeed would be nice 🙂
Well, that’s it. That’s the biggest complaints I see and get. I know it probably won’t change anything. But I wanted to try and explain a few things, and get some stuff off of my chest. Try to keep in mind, even if I don’t do exactly as you think I should- I am trying to contribute to the community. Ask yourself what you have done to contribute.
And hey, don’t like what you see? We are always looking for writers.