In the world of top-flight blogging my current viewing total of 440,000 is nothing much. But for a trans blog, it is a significant total, and although the topic coverage has increasingly moved away from 'my journey' and 'being a woman', it remains a trans blog, and frequently touches on aspects of trans life. I don't think it matters much that I do it from a post-op, integrated-into-normal-life point of view. The key issues never go away.
So the fact that I have generated a decent-sized audience is a Good Thing - if you believe that articulate trans bloggers ought to carry on writing, and put the Educational Message across to the general public. Or putting it another way, ten million silent transitioners are never going to make an impact, whereas a few thousand with something to say stand a much better chance of gradually changing attitudes.
In fact I do have lots to say about what happens after the surgery is done. Four years ago, when still pre-op, I got into trouble with some other bloggers because I suggested that transition never really ended, certainly not with the surgery, and that one might continue with it to the end of one's life. I meant that one can never learn enough about the female role. I was shot down in flames for this. There were even mumblings that if I felt like that, I clearly wasn't ready for transition. I'd got it so wrong. Well, phooey. I'm here. I'm living a very happy life. A normal life. And yet despite that, I still think I was right about transition being an ongoing thing, never quite complete. Situations will always arise. And because of that, I will always have something to write about.
Perhaps one day the difficulties will vanish. That will be when the general public accepts trans people as a normal part of society - not worthy of special remark, just people like anybody else. Like one nowadays might accept anyone in a wheelchair. Or think nothing of people with red hair, or those who are left-handed. When that day comes (who knows, maybe in my own lifetime!) I will be reduced to posts on My Holiday In Brazil. Why Brazil? Because it features hugely in the annual record of transphobic murders. I dare not go there. Nobody like me would be wise to risk it. But if things ever change, I'd dearly like to visit Brazil, and post about it.
Blogger keeps automatic statistics for my blog, and the top ten posts since 2009 have certainly been clicked on often enough. The second most popular post has been looked at 3,300 times. Even the tenth most popular has had 900 viewings. But the most popular, published in 2011, three years ago, is way out ahead. It has had 52,000 viewings. In fact, roughly speaking, one in seven viewings since 2011 have been of this particular post.
I don't want to identify it. It's about the crass attitude of certain young men to a person who has a voice that suggests she might be trans. Its purpose was to ridicule these silly people, and defend their victim. Whether she is, or is not, trans is hardly the point. The bad attitudes are the point.
I had no idea that this post would prove so popular. At first I was pleased when it began to attract viewings. Aha, I thought, a lot of other people feel like me, that this lady is being unfairly scrutinised. Some of the comments seemed to come from those silly young men. I deleted those. Other comments were mature, and supportive of her. I left those in. I amplified the educational message by commenting myself. It's one of those posts where the commentary (mostly not mine) is more telling than the post itself.
If the post had garnered 2,000 viewings in its three years, I wouldn't be concerned. But 52,000! What's going on? Have I (and those who made positive comments) together crafted the Perfect Post, that collectively puts across a persuasive point of view? One that has attracted mass support among the intelligent and discerning? Or has it become a standard Must-View Big Laugh For The Lads? In the latter case, I'd think about killing the post stone dead.
The trouble is, you cannot know who is looking, and why.
I read the post again, just the other day. It defends the lady victim stoutly. It roundly castigates the childish stupidity of those lads. (I am assuming most were college students. Surely none were grown men, who should have known better?) It drums home the message that trans people, male or female, are normal people and require respect. That no speculation is ever necessary. And that it's a very big So What, the question whether somebody might be trans.
If I deleted the post, that defence, that castigation, that urging to show respect and not probe, all these things would be lost. The education of the public would be that much weakened.
And it would not just be my words. Other people contributed. It was a joint effort. Should I extinguish the sensible comments that my co-authors made?
And yet, every fresh viewing subjects this lady to a scrutiny that I am sure she would rather not have. That's where the moral problem comes in. Her reputation versus the ongoing value of the post. It is undeniably educational. Anyone going to it for a salacious laugh might well come away chastened and thoughtful. I don't want to kill off a post that does that.
Perhaps one day it will not be read so much, and the moral problem (as I see it) will reduce. The lady herself has not emailed me, begging me to take it down. If she did, I would. Perhaps she tacitly approves of it, and wants it left up there. Whatever the truth of this, it shows how one can, almost by accident, and certainly not by calculation, create something that has a life of its own.
Thank goodness that six out of seven viewings since 2011 have been directed towards something else, such as my caravanning adventures, or my handbag collection...fascinating stuff!