Home » Trans Progressive » Anonymous hostile web commenting … and cyberbullying

Anonymous hostile web commenting … and cyberbullying

Commentary: Trans Progressive

In the Sept. 2 article, SignOn, U-T, moving to real-name comments, the Union-Tribune announced it was ending anonymous comments. They outlined why they were implementing their new, Sept. 12 onward policy:

“But the veil of anonymity also enabled people to publish some dreadful, hate-filled and heartless comments on our pages and those of every other site that went this route.

“… It is self-evident that people are less likely to publish such comments when they are publicly identified. Aside from content, there is the matter of tone. Anonymity also enables hostility.”

Anonymity certainly does enable hostility.

With hostility in mind, I literally regret writing about my recent genital surgery.

It’s not because I don’t think the information was interesting. It’s not because I don’t think my writings on the surgery didn’t succeed in educating the lesbian, gay and progressive communities I was targeting in order to educate them about the variety of trans life experiences. I used my own personal experience to tell a surgery story because many have never had an opportunity to get to know an out trans person in the brick-and-mortar world. Writing about my own life experiences is a tool I use so that you, the reader, have a chance to read about real-world trans experiences from a real-world trans woman.

Rather, the reasons I regret writing about my surgery are two-fold.

First, talking about surgery has nothing to do with the civil rights of LGBT people. There are those trans women who literally want to limit civil rights and ordinary equality for trans women who have not changed the shape of their genitalia with vaginoplasties. By talking about surgeries, some of us may have inadvertently affirmed the misconception that in order to validate gender and the civil rights related to gender identity, surgery and genitalia are the paramount consideration.

The second reason is that a number of trans women are so vested in the importance of vaginoplasties, so hostile in their belief that trans women who haven’t had vaginoplasties aren’t really women, that they cross the line into anonymous (or near anonymous) cyber-bulling.

For reference, Bill Belsey coined the term cyberbullying, and he defined it this way:

“Cyber-bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others.”

By that definition of cyberbullying, I have a handful of cyberbullies who now are incredibly focused on me and intent on doing damage to me in the brick-and-mortar world. One has been posting on the Web under the anonymous user identities of, “The Other Woman,” “A Former Friend” and “Not Your Friend.”

In 2010, when I was selected to be one of the two Champions of Pride, she was making the case that I wasn’t out of the closet as a trans woman because I don’t publicly reveal my former name. She sent me an email with this included in the text (expletive modified):

“You are a liar. You are not out of the closet Adam Sandeen or whatever the f*** your name is. Grow up for once and admit you are still in the closet. I rest knowing you will get what you and your kind deserve soon enough.”

After receiving that email, I contacted police and I contacted her internet provider. Although she has stopped emailing me threats, her cyberbullying – her cyberharassing – has continued. She’s written in the comment section of one blog:

“I have Sandeen’s home address and would give it to you.”

In another comment thread to another post on the Web, a comment that goes to the focus of her continued cyberbullying, she wrote:

“Note to Autumn. In case you didn’t know men have penises Women have vaginas.You are neither.”

And now she’s stating that she wants to reach out into the brick-and-mortar world and to impact my ability to change my gender marker on my birth certificate:

“There are some of us here who would like to make it as hard as possible for that penis packing person Sandeen to change the [sex] marker to female on Sandeen’s birth certificate, if we can’t succeed at that then we would like to make it as public as possible.”

“Not your friend” has an IP address that indicates she lives here in San Diego. She knows who I am, and apparently knows where I live, but at this point I don’t know for certain who she is.

And, “Not Your Friend” is just one of a handful of my anonymous cyberbullies. I have a few more who’ve expressed a desire to inflict emotional and financial damage on me in the brick-and-mortar world.

Anonymity certainly does frequently enable online hostility; it sometimes enables cyberbullying too. The views of commentators do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or editorial staff of San Diego LGBT Weekly.



Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=15291

Posted by LGBT Weekly on Sep 22, 2011. Filed under Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

11 Comments for “Anonymous hostile web commenting … and cyberbullying”

  1. There is so much here that is just wrong….

    First off, Sandeen should keep in mind that many of us do not identify as “trans” women, and find that term offensive. Of course, Sandeen has no problem ignoring the feelings of others, while being oh so concerned about his own.

    Yes, some of us hold to the simple, and quite correct, view that a penis does not belong on a woman. Sandeen, on the other hand, holds the delusional view that women have penises. Now, of course, all transsexuals pass through a period of being “pre-op.” But if one is a transsexual, then surgery is the goal. Being castrated, and being a “woman with a penis” is not the ultimate goal of a transsexual, and becoming a eunuch is not becoming a female. Pointing that fact out is not “cyberbullying.”

    As to being “anonymous.” there are several reasons for this. First off, trust me, Sandeen is even more guilty of cyberstalking and cyberbullying than what he accuses others of. After I posted some facts about him on my blog, he went so far as to contact my church in an attempt to intimidate me into silence. While some members of my church are aware of my past (for example, my rector gave me the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick when I had my SRS, I am not “out, loud, and proud,” So, not only was he trying to intimidate me into silence (Sandeen is very much into censorship) he was attempting to out me. Granted, the result was basically that he was dismissed as a kook by those who received the email. Now, THAT is really cyberbullying.

    Second, as I point out, many of us are NOT out, loud, and proud. I am relatively stealth. I would prefer to be more so, but again, some true cyberstalkers and cyberbullies have worked hard to gather as much information on me as they can. One person behind this is someone I attempted to help some years ago. When I did not agree with her on a minor point, he went off the deep end, and began a vendetta against me. He was the source of much of Sandeen’s information. I know, from comments made on another blog, that this person sent information to me to various blogs and urged people to engage in the stalking and bullying behavior that Sandeen did. BTW, as best I can tell, Sandeen was the ONLY blogger who actually did this. But I digress.

    As I say, some people prefer to be stealth. We do not necessarily want anyone doing a good search to easily discover our past history. Now, of course, Sandeen is out, loud, proud, and quite frankly, in people’s face about being “transgender.” But he thinks everyone else has to be the same, in some cases, whether they wish to be, or not.

    And for the record, though this is a discussion for another time, being stealth has nothing to do with fear, shame, or hiding. It is about simply being a woman. I realize this concept is foreign to some. I realize that for people like Sandeen, their entire identity is wrapped up in being “transgender.” They have no concept of being “just a woman,” and quite frankly, I suspect that idea would be rather unpleasant for them. But, they should recognize that what works for them does not work for all.

    And that, ultimately, is what this is all about. Sandeen talks about “diversity,” but he actually works hard to deny it. He cannot accept that some of us have nothing in common with him, and want no part of his “community,”

  2. I think Autumn you should be more careful in choosing your words.
    The reason I’m posting under a pseudonym has to do with your wall of shame where you outed several women of history over on Pan’s House Blend, one woman even asked you nicely to take her picture down and you refused sighting your right to use her image. You outed Jennifer does your employer this paper know you did that or should Jennifer and I send them information backing up the fact you are a cyberbully and cyberstalker.

    There are 2 things that stand out as laughable in your column that I want to address.

    For starters you know how I came by your address, you sent it to me and I have the original email to prove it. You thought I would fall for the bait, well I haven’t besides your address and phone number are public information, thanks for sending it to me anyway.

    The other issue I want to address is your status as a nationally known activist, speaker, reporter and columnist.
    Autumn you are a public figure and if you think the few of us are causing you pain and embarrassment (because of your own actions) you have another thing coming. We are comparably easy on you, as your notoriety blooms you will find all kinds of people digging into your public records.
    Grow up autumn you are a public figure now, if you can’t take the heat ether talk to your therapist or get out and stop making yourself a target.

    Anybody who does and says the things you do like idolizing fraud to change your birth certificate when you know the law spells out what the requirements are, what you publicly discussed doing is fraud and that is a felony.

    I have been on the phone with someone you and I both know, I have been trying to get her to post her experience with you here, you knew her until you stabbed her in the back and forced her support group out of where it met not once but twice all because she didn’t drink Tee-Gee Kool-Aid.
    Rather she posts here or not is yet to be seen.
    From what I gather she knows enough to write a biography but won’t.

    The bottom line Autumn
    You are not innocent, you are guilty of many of the sins you accuse me and others of. When we speak out about how the Tee-Gees and their motley crew have highjacked and colonized our identity you silence us, you ban us from PHB and other venues and refuse to address our concerns and out us, you harass us offline and yes you did call my ISP I sent them a certified letter and received a phone call and an apology.

    If all you have to write about is someone picking on you then you Missy are a very poor columnist. Keep it up and you will show your employer your true colors and you might be out of a job.

  3. Its a common ploy. They claim that they need their anonymity because they are fully transitioned and integrated into society as women and they need to protect that. But then they go and use that same anonymity as a shield that they can hide behind, while spewing hate at others within our community. They remind me so much of GOP lawmakers who vehemently oppose any pro-LGBT legislation, and then are themselves outed as being gay. Self-hatred projected onto others is a very ugly thing, and when done anonymously, it gets even worse.

    Autumn, if you did in fact write a letter to Jennifer Usher’s pastor, then I don’t blame you one bit. What that person spews from her personal blog is just vile, and she seems very much fixated on you. Reaching out to someone who might intervene is totally understandible. But it also illustrates part of the problem with these haters. They think what they are doing is right, and in that respect they are no different from Peter LaBarbera, Maggie Gallager, or the hatemongers from Westboro Baptist Church.

    • Practice what you preach this isn’t your real name Joann.
      You of all people should know better.

    • Alas, John, or perhaps it is Joe, here is just a big old pile of hypocrisy wrapped in in irony. He is clearly not willing to share his full name while supporting causing people harm in the real world, but he complains that others don’t when they are simply pointing out the truth about frauds like Sandeen. Then he goes on to try, in his weaselly way, to try to impose his chosen label on others. He simply cannot accept that we do not identify as transgender and are not transgender.

      And then, he endorses Sandeen’s cyberstalking. And then we have the irony. When someone he agrees with does something like what Sandeen did, it is justified. When someone simply disagrees with Sandeen they are as bad as Westboro Baptist. Give me a break.

      As I have said, there are some who are truly delusional. And when their delusions are challenged, their underlying nature comes to the surface.

  4. Autumn I am sorry that you had to go through what you did with these people. As you are probably aware “Not your Friend” is widely known to be Sue Ann Robbins a person who is just like you and never had SRS. Unfortunately Sue Ann, unlike yourself, has spent years writing hate mail against transgendered people. Self hate much ? More about Sue Ann can be found here : http://www.tsroadmap.com/info/susan-ann-robins.html

    And as you undoubtedly also know, JustJennifer is actually a person named Jennifer Usher who also likely never had SRS either. Jennifer presents an improbable story about getting his California University employer to pay for SRS. Jennifer lives in an assisted living facility for the homeless in San Francisco run by the Tenderloin Housing clinic. She was recently fired from her University job after it was found that she was writing hate emails to transgendered people using University computers and on University time. More about that here: http://transboutique.com/article.php?story=20100607155651843

    Both those people have never integrated into the real world as transgendered women in any manner at all. Both are jobless, live on state supported funds and spend their time spewing hate and vitriol against other transgendered women an a vain attempt to justify their apparently very unworkable transitions. It’s unfortunate that you had to be on the receiving end of their ongoing craziness.

    • Wow, another round of lies mixed with a small amount of truth… Let’s see, it is actually easier to point out what is sort of, kind of, true and ignore the rest… The place where I live is run by THC, and yes, my SRS was covered by my health insurance. Of course, it seems interesting that this would be attacked,

  5. Sorry Pam or Joanne or Willow Paul Fred Dianne Susan or whatever your name is.
    You are misinformed I regret to say. I’m not Sue Ann Robbins.
    You would do yourself a world of good to make sure you know who you are talking about first before opening your mouth and showing the world how much of a fool you really are.

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