I understand what you’re trying to say, but… as a transgender woman, I avoid reading comments as a way of protecting myself from feeling like utter shit every day. Seriously, I work to stay abreast of developments in the treatment of trans folks, and things are getting better, but… aside from glancing at the first couple of comments to be sure it’s really as bad as I expect (and it almost always is), I don’t read the comments. And when I share links? I explicitly advise people not to read the comments so that they know not to even bother with the first couple.
Every single time a news story, a blog post, a video, or anything regarding trans issues is posted on a site that invites comments and in a space that is not explicitly trans-friendly (even queer-friendly is not enough), the comments are sure to be absolutely vile. They will assert that people like me are freaks, perverts, that we should all die, that we are mentally ill, that it’s good if we get raped because maybe it will cure us.
At first, when you get hit with that sort of thing, it’s no big deal. You roll your eyes and move on. But when it’s day after day after day (and I assure you it is), it starts to take its toll whether you want it to or not. Because it’s saying the same thing that society has said to us for decades. It’s saying the same thing that we beat ourselves up with to keep from allowing ourselves to be who we really are. Because it’s the same thing we fear to hear from friends, from family, from lovers, from people passing by on the street. (And in the case of many trans women, passersby on the street have no problem saying the same sort of thing you see in online comment sections–because society accepts it.)
If it is a trans-friendly space? That still might not be enough, as one of many agitators against trans rights will occasionally pick a high-profile post to share with their friends, and then after that point, well… it turns out that it’s no less distressing to see reams of that shit when you’ve imposed moderation than it is to see it when you’re a reader.
So, yes–I understand what you’re saying, I really do. But at the same time, you’re missing something big. You’re missing how incredibly damaging words can be when they’re relentless and unavoidable.
And that’s why people say “Nope, no more. If people want to engage with me, they can do it somewhere else. Because I have no responsibility to subject myself or my readers to this shit.”