Transphobia, the Interrupting Cow

Prejudice obstructs continuous and coherent thought

Tucker Lieberman
12 min readAug 29

sketch of crying long-haired person
Crying by Saydung89 on Pixabay

Seven months into covid, we who were paying attention to Twitter were horror-tickled by this Kim Kardashian tweet:

Screenshot of tweet: After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time. — tweet by Kim Kardashian, October 27, 2020

Let us pause to admire the perfect insta-celebrity of the sentence. Every reader felt “2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine” was highly relatable; no one related to “I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island” (except that on Twitter a second billionaire sometimes chimed in to affirm the first billionaire’s alternate universe, which was part of the magic of that platform in its glory days); “pretend things were normal” seemed a stage direction (say it with an exclamation point, as if it were normal!), and by such abracadabra magicianship, a fantasy might have become a reality (but we know this only applied to reality TV stars like Kim Kardashian); of course, as a covid-era sentiment, wishing for pre-covid normality was understandably common, but it easily translated to ignoring the virus which was controversial behavior, and controversy plays well on Twitter (at least from an aerial view when you’re a reader, not the main character); and “just for a brief moment in time” paid homage to the evanescence of fame, health, beauty, and life, or indeed of 280-character statements and of Twitter itself, which is no longer even called Twitter.

Three years later, another terrible tweet rhymes with that rhetoric. Against the backdrop of a shared crisis to which it directly refers, it first gives the average reader something we can relate to, then something we can’t, and alludes to the fantasy world created by performative comments, especially those on social media, which is to say that if you aren’t online a lot you may not immediately understand what this tweet means.

Screenshot of a tweet: Today at work I learnt of the death of a colleague. I retreated to the toilets to cry & was joined by other women as we hugged & mourned & remembered a wonderful person. Imagine if our grief had been interrupted by an entitled man with a sexual fetish #TransWomenAreConMen - Tweet by Kassia @FemaleInTheWild, Aug 24, 2023

Transphobia is the shared crisis that forms the backdrop. Augmenting transphobia is the point of the tweet. I’m speaking as a trans person. From a…

Tucker Lieberman