The reach — and power — of social media is amazing these days. No wonder traditional media outlets seem to be caught in a time warp. Even hip alternative publications are having a hard time keeping up with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Still, though, traditional media outlets can use social media quite effectively.
Case in point: In my Gazette blog for the past week or so, I’ve been covering the “bathroom issue” faced by transgender people in Canada and four U.S. states. To recap, here is the lede from my most recent post there:
Is the message starting to sink in to the general population? If not, here’s a recap: Women in Canada and parts of the United States — Kentucky, Florida, Minnesota, Texas — better get used to having some trans men in their public washrooms and dressing rooms, thanks to hysterical, and what many are calling transphobic, legislation proposals put forth by a few Conservative Canadian senators and conservative American politicians. And men in those places better get used to having trans women in their public facilities.
This is happening because of legislation politicians are trying to push through that essentially discriminates against transgender people.
In Canada, a young lady by the name of Brae Carnes decided to take a selfie of herself in a men’s washroom, standing in front of the mirror putting on her lipstick, with the men’s urinals showing in the background. The Victoria Times Colonist — where one of my best friends works — took a picture and put it on their front print page, as well as online.
I caught wind of it, and did a post predicting that a new “bathroom” protest movement had been born, and tweeted the link out on my personal Twitter feed as well as on my Facebook page. That post went viral. I did followup posts, including one showing a trans man in the women’s washroom in Minnesota. That post has gone more viral, bringing in almost 30,000 page views in 16 hours — and still climbing at the rate of 100 hits per minute as I write this.
Not one of my posts were tweeted out on the Gazette’s media account. In other words, it received limited publicity — only on my personal accounts and, most important of all, on the google news wire.
And, as I predicted (one did not need a crystal ball for this one), the trans bathroom selfies movement has gone global, no doubt coming to a newspaper near you. The media are having a ball with it, trans people are having a ball with it . . . and a good time is being had by all, except for the politicians who are being made to look like fools. In their zeal to discriminate against trans women under the pretext of protecting women in washrooms from sexual predators who might dress up as women and pretend to be trans, they forgot about trans males who would be forced to use the women’s facilities — and that it would actually make it easier for sexual predators who now won’t have to even dress up as women: they can just pretend to be trans males.
Kinda reminds you of Arlo’s Alice’s Restaurant Massacre, doesn’t it?
So, it started with one young lady — Brae Carnes — in Victoria, B.C., got picked up by one newspaper there, and blogged about by one journalist (me) in Quebec, and spread like a prairie wildfire.
Social media is bringing power to the global villagers!
A MUCH better solution would be to provide a “family” or “gender-neutral” restroom in all public places, but there are very few places that do. Getting that universally-accepted will be difficult, because it will require many public spaces to retro-fit their space with a third restroom. I have seen them in several malls, and newer WalMart and Lowes stores in my area (central Florida) have them. I haven’t seen any “family” restrooms in any of the restaurants I have been in, even though it would seem natural to have them in “family-restaurants”. The other option is to make ALL restrooms unisex, which would go over like a lead-balloon.
But now the cat is among the pidgeons: Rocking the boat too much?:Is society ready for this? Somehow, I don’t think it will make it to the school reading Lists any time soon http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV%20Shows/The%20National/ID/2658672846/