On Leaving Twitter

A short explanation

This post won’t be as polished as usual. It’s more of a blog post and a deeply personal one at that.

I want to explain why, exactly, I decided to leave Twitter. It’s not just because of the past few days. It’s a decision in the making that’s been informed by the stress that comes with being a public figure over the past few years.

Some brief background: I wrote a short thread about people who are not trans feminine stealing aesthetics from trans feminine people. This is a common experience. One example: trans women style themselves a certain way, usually with queer-coded clothing or makeup, and cis women will pick up the look and take it on for themselves. Everyone will call the latter “bold” and “empowered” and “Feminist” while royally shitting on the trans women who invented said style.

That’s just one of many iterations in a long list.

People who are not trans feminine did not like this thread and harassed me for it. Some people decided to not just go after me, but start reaching out to others and peddle the lie that I was being secretly transphobic toward people who do not experience transmisogyny. It was an attempt to recruit others into an “Ana-is-bad” harassment campaign.

This has happened numerous times, and I am sick of it. It is legitimately traumatizing. So I left.

But the truth is, I decided to pull away a few weeks ago. This was the final straw. I left because…

Twitter is not a good place for trans women

Twitter users just absolutely love to target trans women for petty, ridiculous things. It’s always the same: a total non-issue or silly (and at worst, slightly cringe) joke gets taken out of context and blown up into a witch hunt. Here is the proof!, people cry, that @TransGirlBirdLover is a secret monster we must expel from our leftist circles!! Then you look at @TransGirlBirdLover’s page and she’s tweeted a total nothingburger like “I’m so glad I pop 8mg E daily because finally I can touch another girl’s titties without feeling like a weirdo about it.”

This happens all the time to trans women. It happens to small accounts, it happens to big accounts. It’s why trans women regularly lock their accounts for a week, have nervous breakdowns publicly, or are just generally extremely scared of their own followers.

Rinse and repeat. It happens all the time. Sometimes other trans women are carrying the torches, sometimes not. But it’s always motivated by the same thing, which is transmisogyny. And eventually, everyone slips up. Even the girls who set the fire to begin with get burned.

I encourage other leftists to stop and think, seriously, about why trans women are here one day and gone the next. Where did they go and why? What are you doing to protect us? What are you doing to stop the harassment before it reaches the public eye? Are you turning a blind eye when people you follow, hang out with, and DM regularly are misgendering trans women and using TERF rhetoric toward them? Because in my experience, yes, that is far too common.

And I want to encourage other trans people to think seriously about whether they’re engaging in this problem too. Horizontal violence in particular — antagonism and intenralized bigotry from within the community — is common among trans women. In many cases, harassment against me began because the call came from inside the house.

Twitter is not a good place for marginalized public figures

Marginalized public figures — again, particularly trans women — are held to ridiculously high standards that are impossible to fulfill. People admire us deeply or despise us greatly, usually in that order. We are never afforded neutrality, we are always on one side or the other of a constantly spinning wheel that is “hypervisibility.” And our every action is stacked against us on that wheel, until finally it all blows up and we become a main character on leftist Twitter.

Public figures fuck up, they make mistakes, they are human. Please understand many of us — especially those from intersecting marginalized backgrounds who are there to give back to our own community — are trying really, really hard to be the best versions of ourselves that we can. This is really difficult when you are 27 and don’t even understand yourself or your own boundaries. When you are dealing with so many different problems offline and online alike. When you didn’t even ask for this level of popularity and visibility; it was handed to you like a dead mouse from your pet cat.

It is OK to criticize or dislike public figures, it is not OK to traumatize them. For many of us, the latter is the rule of the day until we snap.

I have dealt with sustained harassment over the past several years

I have been very open about the fact that people harass me over my online presence. Mobbings, stalking campaigns, sexual harassment, my porn as a sex worker being nonconsensually plastered all over the place on and off Twitter (and sometimes by fellow leftists!) to shame and embarass me… it takes an emotional toll over time. A severe one.

It is not easy to clock out and just exist in meatspace when you know all this is going on over the internet. When you go to sleep and wake up the next day, it is there. When you go for a walk and return to your phone, it is there. It changes your life. You can never, ever go back to normal. And it’s only gotten worse as the pandemic continues, as people increasingly harass marginalized folks to vent their stress, as other trans women turn on each other and bring out the knives to slash at whatever bit of warm flesh they can get at.

I would rather avoid the problem altogether by removing myself from Twitter. It is harder to stalk and harass someone if they simply do not exist in a way in which you can stalk, harass, or reach them. So I am leaving.

My mental health is not in a good place

This, above all, is the biggest reason why I left: for my own stability.

For all the reasons above, and for reasons that I would never share on the internet, I am not in a good place right now. It has been a terrible year. I have suffered greatly during the pandemic. I have dealt with suicidal ideation. I have lost a lot of friends over harassment campaigns and just mean, petty shit. They’ve bought into the monstrous image of me that people with transmisogynistic intentions have peddled. It has been brutal.

I’m sick of it, I’m done. I don’t deserve to be treated like this, so I won’t.


So that is why I left. That is why I will remain off Twitter.

I will have to come back, periodically, to promote things. Podcasts I’m on, articles I publish, games I create. I know I’ll have to. But I won’t be On Twitter. It’ll feel like a ghost of what once was. Not really there, not really reachable. More of an RSS feed, and almost like a robot is posting.

I am taking this time offline to heal. To get in touch with myself, to better understand who I am, and to like myself for no other reason than being me.

Twitter will not grant me those things. I don’t think it will grant any trans woman those things. Not until we, as people, learn to collectively treat us better, it will always lead down this route: a farwell post, a locked account, a ghost of what once was and could have been if things had gone differently.


PS: I’m terribly sorry I haven’t kept this Substack updated. I, unfortunately, just don’t have it in me at the moment to write regularly. I would like to return to it once I do. But I want to be very honest about that fact right now. For my subscribers, 100% understandable if you would prefer to pull out of subscribing; no hard feelings, I’d rather you have the information than not.

Special thank you to Louise Ashley Yeo Payne for your generous Sex-Haver contribution.