An Open Letter to Felicia Day About the Value of Trans Women's Lives
Dear Ms. Day:
Hi. I'm Anna. You may know me as the partner of the person Jim Sterling kept calling a "feminazi slut" two years ago - until you said something to him.
A couple of days ago, a woman game developer attempted suicide on a live video stream following internet harassment related to an Indiegogo campaign for her game. While she lay in the hospital, Destructoid writer Allistair Pinsof, in the interest of clarifying her Indiegogo "scam," outed her as a transgender woman on his Twitter account.
(In the interest of the privacy of the woman in question, I'm avoiding using her name. If you really want to know it should be easy enough to find, thanks to Pinsof.)
Destructoid announced today that they're docking Pinsof's pay and putting him on a temporary leave of absence. But not firing him. I couldn't help but remember when, less than a year ago, Destructoid writer Ryan Perez was fired for comparing you to a "booth babe."
Now, this was disgusting, unfair and certainly worthy of a firing as far as I'm concerned. But Perez's gross comment didn't directly threaten your life, did it? Nor your career - I can't really imagine you've lost much work as a result of Perez's tweet.
The woman Pinsof outed has had both her physical and economic well-being threatened by Pinsof nonconsensually exposing her as a trans woman. She is in direct danger because of his actions. Figures on the risk of a trans woman experiencing violence in her lifetime differ - I've heard that one in seven trans women will be murdered. A year ago a trans woman was shot dead in her car across the street from my favorite local restaurant, for being trans. This is a threat of violence that I live with every day.
Pinsof put this woman's life in danger in a real way - as she (according to his tweets) lay in a hospital bed following a suicide attempt. He still has a job. The man who called you a booth babe lost his.
Why such a momumental difference in response? Why, for that matter, wasn't Jim Sterling fired for calling my partner a "feminazi slut," while "booth babe" was over the limit? I have to conclude that the reason is your fame. You have over two million twitter followers. The woman Pinsof outed had a handful of tweets.
The idea that the name of a famous cisgender woman is more valuable than the life of a poor transgender woman is deeply upsetting to me. I'm hoping that it is to you, too, Ms. Day.
Since it seems that the only thing that will result in a Destructoid writer getting fired is a big scandal - a Felicia Day-sized scandal, apparently - I'm writing to you in the hopes of transforming this into that kind of scandal.
Ms. Day, won't you join me in asking Destructoid's founder, Niero Gonzalez - @dtoidniero on twitter - for accountability? And to make him realize that trans lives are not worth less than celebrities'.
I don't know your email address, so I'm posting this letter publicly in the hopes that it will, sooner or later, be passed on to you.
Thank you for reading.