Optimus Pride would be proud:
You tell 'im, Anode!
Yeesh? Explain without sounding like a bigot.
I can give it a shot.
I stopped reading the IDW comics in a large part because of stuff like this. I was initially supportive of Chromedome and Rewind being in a relationship because it really fit the story that was being told (i.e. both of them had a lot of emotional baggage, and it makes sense that even though most Transformers we see are treated as 'male', some of them would fall in love with each other). And even in the past, you had several Transformers who had body structures that could be male or female (e.g. in Transformers Animated the Scout-class body used by characters like Bumblebee were also used by female characters like Lickety-Split or Glyph, in Beast Machines Strika was a big, hulking, heavily armoured behemoth, throughout the franchise in general some of the Seekers using Starscream's design were female).
But I really didn't want to have discussions about transgender stuff in my Transformers stories because I _knew_ that people would be making "Haha, Transformers are TRANS!" jokes and memes, and honestly I was pretty tired of having these sort of things pop up in the entertainment I consume.
Like, of course people make a big deal about it. "OHHHHH! How brave! How modern! How current year!" It just felt like more 'progressives' patting themselves on the back, you know?
It's probably a culture clash thing coming into play, but I personally, and I know a lot of people who live in South-East Asia who feel the same, just get annoyed with this sort of thing because we already have stuff like this. Like, in Japan you have Matsuko DX, a big celebrity who's a cross-dressing gay guy. You have non-binary Vtubers or celebrities (I even follow and interact with some of them). This kind of thing just isn't all that impressive, and it overtakes the actual story.
Like, in the Japanese Legends expanded universe, it's implied that Megatron had a male lover, and Starscream arranged for his death out of annoyance that Megatron valued him so much, leading to the G2 Wars. Nobody made a big deal about it, no one went, "OMG! Megatron is GAAAAAY!" or anything, because the writers and story didn't make a big deal out of it. It was just what happened and treated as nothing unusual. That? That I was more than okay with.
Unfortunately, we're not that progressive here. We've got Florida banning the use of the word "gay," Texas mandating that any kids who go to a doctor for gender-affirming care have their families reported for child abuse, and ACTUAL bigots who want to generally legislate away the very idea of anyone who's not straight. So it's the same concept as a pride parade: when you've got assholes loudly proclaiming something is wrong and shameful, it's important to have representation saying "no, don't listen to them, you're perfectly natural and deserve to be alive." That means putting queer characters in fiction and allowing them to actually BE queer (*cough cough Dumbledore cough*), so readers can see representation that's in a positive light. There are plenty of examples of the "evil transsexual" in fiction, so yeah, it's a good thing to have good characters who just are what they are and who, when they're questioned about it, just give a matter-of-fact answer...
Yeah, I get that. A lot of Western entertainment is made for Western audiences, so over there it's a big deal. Fair enough.
But unfortunately those matter-of-fact things get turned into memes like the one above that can easily be taken out of context, and that's the kind of thing that I find just gets obnoxious.
Especially compared to, say, a full page so we actually get some context. Like, in the story, if I remember right that other Transformer literally doesn't understand what Anode means by "she" because the concept of gender is genuinely alien to him (since Anode was part of the military and so actually encountered alien races that have genders, while he has never left Cybertron). As it is now, it can just as easily be used by someone who wants to claim, "see?! Even Transformers is woke now! Godammit!" cos you could claim that Anode's being a preachy 'woke' progresssive by talking about how she's a "she" now or something.
Optimus Prime in rainbow colours? Hey, back in G2 there were some really crazy colour schemes (I'm looking at you, Thundercracker). Stuff like the meme above? I actually got more annoyed at the "they made the formers trans" thing because of the language aspect. Like, WTF is a "former" that has been made "trans"? They're "TRANSFORM-ers" not "TRANS-formers".
Why not, "The madlads have done it... They put the TRANS in Transformers"? I'd have rolled my eyes, sure, but I'd have at least chuckled.
Here's the actual text of the Florida bill.
It's not banning the word "gay" at all. The "don't say gay" slogan was just a buzz word that got a lot of momentum because it's extremely catchy.
The bill is about banning the teaching of sexual and gender concepts to young students in school.
Just saying it like it is.
Yes, and? What's your point? Because my point is that there have been more anti-LGBT bills proposed across the country already this year than there were in ALL of last year, and this hateful piece of crap is one of them.
HB1557 does indeed claim in its preamble that one of its goals is to prevent classroom discussion of sexuality "in certain grade levels or in a specified manner" (the body of the bill swaps the word "discussion" for "instruction", but you're a lawyer from the Philippines who's interested enough in a US law to make your first public interaction on our site be about it, so you're well aware that courts will look at the preamble of a law to help interpret its enforcement), and allows parents to sue a school district if they feel the directive has been violated. It's a lazy conservative talking point to point out that the bill doesn't specifically SAY "gay," and a typically disingenuous one (aka, "a lie") to claim it's not targeting teachers who would talk about being gay. American Conservatives want to legislate away any progress society has made in recent years and, but they know their head-up-the-ass set of opinions is unpopular; so when they write these laws, they use vague, weasely words to talk AROUND what they're actually trying to say, leaving bills with no guidelines.
Is it "instruction" for a teacher to explain what gay marriage is? To point out it exists? To have a photo of their spouse on their desk? How about on their phone, a kid might see that. With no guidelines, how do teachers know what is "age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards"? The law doesn't cite any. It just gives parents who "feel" something was done wrong the ability to sue a school. And be honest, who is more likely to sue: smart people, who know LGBTQ folks exist and have every right to live their lives in public, or Karen who watches Fox News guests claim nightly that anyone who admits LGBTQ lives are valid is performing some sort of predatory grooming? The goal here isn't to "protect" children from something that isn't even threatening them, the goal is to make school systems so afraid of nuisance lawsuits that they'll silence themselves without Republicans having to. Because then they can say "oh, WE didn't censor their free speech, they did it to themselves, it's a choice and we're innocent." You know, in legal terms, "a lie." And meanwhile they get to stand back and pretend that they're just running on pure logic by pointing out that the bill literally doesn't say gay, and therefore it's not exactly what it seems like it is: a naked attempt to limit the rights of non-straight students and teachers.
The bill was written, with no question, to target LGBTQ education and educators. Whether or not it uses the word "gay" does not change that foundation. And THAT's saying it like it is.
"Making the formers trans" is just purposefully using words wrong for fun purposes. "Putting the Trans in Transformers" is an unremarkable joke, a bit of a groaner at best, but this is the equivalent of a cat saying "i can has cheezburger": it's the internet being incorrect on purpose because that's fun.
(Leaving aside the fact that "transform" literally is "trans" as in "across" and "form" as in "shape", so they absolutely are TRANS-formers.)
Yes, I'm aware that "transform" is "change" or "across" + "shape", but my issue is that in English, "former" on its own isn't a noun (other than, say, when you say, "the former spoke to the latter about their agreement" when referring to two or more people, or an alternative to "a founder of a company/group"). Like, yes, in the Transformers franchise you have "beastformers" and the like, but what're the odds the general public who see this kind of thing is going to know that?
This is admittedly one of those "humour is subjective"-type situations because I'd rather have the groan-inducing pun than the incorrect-on-purpose one, myself. Part of it is because, like I mentioned earlier, this was roughly around the point I stopped reading the IDW comics (among other reasons, I really, really hated their take on Star Saber) so I have pretty strong feelings about it. At least part of that is because I've had way too many experiences where students find these kinds of jokes online, and then copy them thinking the language is accurate.
Using that "i can has cheezburger" example, there was a time that a bunch of students spelled "cheeseburger" using that spelling, despite them knowing how to spell "cheese" and "burger" separately. But because they'd seen that spelling so much, they kind of internalised it.
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