Notes on faking it

Got weirdly upset last week about the impostor incident on flickr. I've normally dealt with these things quietly but somehow this one bubbled over and almost added up to a weird campaign on my Twitter, Facebook and flickr. I'm very grateful to all the people who supported me, but a mention from a friend about my reaction during the day of the "campaign" gave me pause...


@the_draGnet it must REALLY annoy you that someone tried to pass off your lovely torso as your own, Good job......

Thing is, it really did!

But why did I get so put out? I guess there are a few immediate reasons why this incident got to me...

  1. The offender didn't back down immediately when challenged privately
    This irritated me because I normally expect pathetic microbes like this faker to submit immediately to my will.
  2. I've been fighting a chronic illness for the last few weeks - feeling pretty fucking low to be completely honest, for pretty much the whole of July
    This probably made me more than usually needy of attention and, dare I say, love?
  3. They chose a faceless torso shot rather than anything with my face on it
    I felt an unaccoutable and probably quite complex and embarrassingly revealing rage at this choice.

Look back in angora

All these minor factors and more led me to erupt and run my lynch mob into town campaign, but deep down, the existence of fakers in the online trans community is something we should all be angry about.

Friend and tranny blogger (retired) Becky Envérité is a great champion of outing the fakers. She once described herself as "the James Randi of Tranny Fakers".

Floating, as I normally do, in a slightly vague and rarefied cloud of pseudo intellectual distance, I used to find Becky's regular bitch hunts a little... dare I say, visceral. Let's just say I was glad someone else was doing it, not me.

But now, I think that I was plain wrong. These fakers need to be challenged and eliminated. People along the trans spectrum all walk a tightrope. We're viewed with a mixture of suspicion, prurient fascination and outright hatred because, deep down, the trans haters, the trans beaters, the trans killers, suffer from the delusion that we're all trying to fool them in some way. To snare them in a trap created by some sick desire to fool them. To make them look fools for accidentally being intimate with a transperson.

Reaction formation of course, but it doesn't make such individuals any less dangerous. Quite the reverse.

And these transfakers, who are using other people's photos as their own, be they photos of genetic women, doctored photos of themselves superimposed on models' torsos, or (as in my incident) photos of other transgendered people, are playing right up to the haters' prejudices. By creating their fake photostreams and profiles, they're building up a compound picture of the trans community as a desperately insecure, fake, lying bunch of cowards hiding behind fake pictures of real people. In turn they're surrounded by a fawning coterie of commenters and admirers all too keen to reinforce the lie with a facile few words of coy praise. It's almost too pathetic to be dangerous, as Becky herself mentioned in response to my original tweet.


@the_draGnet makes you wonder what mental somersaults they go through to actually gain validation from the comments they get on stolen pics.

But nevertheless they're laying mines in the already treacherous ground we have to tread; undermining the porous soil of our self images. In many ways, in the transgender war, they're actively collaborating with the enemy by spreading their deceitful propaganda in our name.

So they must be outed and shamed.

The comedown

The sad thing is the offender will never realise the harm they're doing by perpetrating these falsehoods. I imagine them to be sad, closeted, possibly isolated or lonely individuals - fantasists who can only dream about gender identities they'll never have. Part of me wonders whether they deserve my sympathy rather than my approbation.

That's why, despite my deeply felt need to act on the incident, I felt misgiving tinged with guilt when I discoverd my faker had removed their flickr account, undoubtedly as a result of the comment bombing I had inflicted using my friends as my weapons.

There's never any winners in war. Only losers.

It's just that some lose more than others.

And some are bigger losers than others.

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