Actively providing a public platform to typically oppressed voices is necessary, noble, and complex.
Recently, one youth educator decided to do their part and rise to the task. They quickly learned about the complex part of that undertaking, and told Reddit all about the ordeal.
Known as bdnxhxkdnx on the site, the educator explained it all in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The title of the post laid out the key variables.
“AITA for not letting a trans woman give a motivational talk to underprivileged girls?”
First, the Original Poster (OP) began with some context.
“I currently work at an inner city school with some very underprivileged kids, mostly due to financial status (I will avoid race here).”
“We are planning a motivational event for the girls since the amount of bullying and family abuse they endure is insane and we want to show them that they can overcome it.”
“I found some amazing ladies already but it wasn’t enough, so I put a post on my social media asking if anyone knew some inspiring ladies that arose from bad conditions and thrived, that would be willing to talk to young girls.”
One response wasn’t such a no-brainer.
“One of my friends immediately commented, ‘Yes of course, what day and time is the event? I’ll clear my schedule.'”
“I replied, ‘Sorry, we are looking for people who have the experience of being underprivileged/oppressed young women.'”
“And… all hell broke loose.”
OP offered a little biographical info to explain their rationale.
“I’ll call the friend (or rather acquaintance) Dana for clarity sake.”
“I went to school with Dana. She is trans and came out at 25 (early thirties now). But Dana was never oppressed.”
“Her parents are rich, she was an extremely popular kid, she bullied others. She had college paid fully, has a trust fund.”
“When she came out she transitioned quickly and with amazing results.”
“Right out of college she started working at her dad’s company, she makes big money now and does fitness modelling on the side.”
Then OP painted a contrasting picture.
“The kids I work with are girls raised by single moms, girls who never knew their parents, girls abused by their family members…”
“…girls who can’t afford menstrual pads, girls whose entire family never even entered college campus or graduated high school.”
“Dana has definitely worked hard, but simply she is rich and she never experienced what it is to grow up as an underprivileged girl.”
Nevertheless, public response already took on a life of its own.
“I commented something like that (but more polite) but at this point Dana made her own post calling me a transphobe and we (school and I) are facing so much backlash we are considering cancelling the event altogether.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to give feedback by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
The overwhelming majority of responses sided with OP.
“Nta, as a trans person from relative privileges, I would recognise that as not the place for the economically privileged to speak.” — kindawonderingthings
“NTA Dana doesn’t seem to actually know what these girls need (and I assume she doesn’t really care and just wants to get some attention).” — niida
“NTA – As a trans person that grew up poor, Dana can go suck a lemon.” — TaterThotsandRavioli
“NTA it would be great to have an amazing trans woman talk BUT coming from a low income background I wouldn’t want someone that had so much handed to them talk to me about how I can succeed…”
“…that kind of scenario just builds resentment and makes things worse.” — Skreeching
Some highlighted that Dana’s response only illustrated OP’s point.
“NTA. Let’s not even think about her gender and just focus on this.”
“She was a rich, privileged bully in high school and she is a rich, privileged bully now. She has never struggled financially. She does not fit what you need.” — Silent_Tome
“NTA, and it sounds like she’s absolutely using her privilege to shut you down.” — omega12345A
“NTA. And if at all possible don’t cancel the event. It would be another example of privilege getting it’s way over the under privileged” — Fleegle2212
Otherwise took a more dispassionate approach to supporting OP. They simply stated the objective facts.
“NTA. No offense was given, so none should have been perceived. ‘Dana grew up trans, which may be a form of underprivileged, but not the same type as your students endure.”
“You’re not an arsehole if she doesn’t fit your brief.” — 92-LL
“NTA. You don’t want just any woman, but women who have been through the specific struggles that the girls are going through.”
“Dana simply doesn’t fit the description, transition or not. She needs to calm down and stop playing victim.” — SimonSpooner
“NTA. This is about growing up underprivileged, which she didn’t.” — SereniaKat
“NTA. You are seeking someone with specific life experiences. Your friend does not meet the criteria you have set.”
“This has nothing to do with being a transphobe. Your friend is upset at being told no.” — sirharryflashman
Clearly, Redditors deemed the situation straightforward and simple.
However, as is the sad truth about an internet post like this, we’ll never know what the ultimate, real-world conclusion turned out to be.