How to Treat People When You Disagree

I have argued that we should stop calling people TERFs, which stands for “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” The problem comes when everyone who disagrees in the slightest with the transgender political behemoth is labeled a terf.

Case in point: a single hyperbolic tweet on Twitter does not mean that “TERFs believe transwomen should die.” No. They don’t.

And even if the tweet was intended to be entirely literal, we ought not judge an entire group of people on the basis of the worst among them. After all, I hate this same tactic when it’s used against the trans community.

I believe that we should all extend grace to our opponents—whomever we are, and in whichever conflict we happen to be involved in—and never use our perceived slights as a justification for returning abuse. I value peace, understanding, and treating others with respect.

I try to model that in every conversation I am involved in. This week alone, that has made me the target of the alt right, transwomen, and radical feminists. I’m not talking about disagreements, which can be productive. I’m talking about outright attacks.

Still, I hope that when someone slaps me on the cheek, I will always be the one who refuses to hit back, but instead turns the other cheek. And I welcome you to call me out on it if you see me violating this principle.

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