Transphobic and homophobic trolls have been on the internet forever, and sadly it looks like they won’t be going away any time soon. Ain’t nothin new.
I’m a pre-med college student with a wonderful partner and plenty of friends, and I’m happy, loud, proud, and living my life. I came out 8 years ago and never looked back, so nobody is going to stuff me back in a closet. Trolls don’t have any more power over me or my life than the power I give to them, so I’m not going to be afraid because there’s nothing to be afraid of. Like ? Ohh noo, what if someone sends something rude to my inbox?? whatever will I do, I sure wish there was a “block” button …
But while I personally don’t feel concerned about this particular troll effort and I’m no stranger to rude and hateful anons, you should always take whatever steps you feel like you need to take in order to protect your mental health.
If you get anon hate, or are worried about getting anon hate, here are a few options:
Step one: Don’t reply to the ask, and don’t delete the ask- block them! You can’t do this in the Tumblr mobile app, but if you’re on the computer-version of the Tumblr website you can block an anon in the inbox, which will also delete their ask. Often anon hate is just from like 1 user pretending to be different people.
Step two: If you keep getting hateful anon asks from different anons, you may want to check the tags on your original posts. You might be accidentally using a tag that discoursers use, which makes it more likely that you’ll attract hate from people scrolling through that tag. You may also want to avoid tagging or using key words in your posts, so censoring things when necessary can help avoid your blog from showing up in searches.
Step three: If you don’t want to appear in search results at all, you can always remove your blog from all search engine results (including Tumblr’s) by turning off the “Allow this blog to appear in search results” option in your blog’s settings on the web. This means your posts won’t show up in the “recent” posts if you search on Tumblr, and it makes it harder for people to search within your blog itself.
Step four: If that doesn’t work, and you’re still getting anon hate, turn off anon. People can’t send you anon asks if anon asks aren’t enabled. People are less likely to send hate when their URL is attached- it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to avoid getting hate, but it does make it way less likely.
On the Tumblr website on the computer, click “Settings” under the account menu at the top of the dashboard, then on the right side of the page, choose the blog you’d like to update. In the Ask section, enable “Let people ask questions.” Then uncheck the box that says “Allow anonymous questions.”
I’ve turned off anon asks on a number of my blogs, including @brownandtrans because there’s no reason someone has to be sending me questions anonymously in some places. I know you might get fewer asks, but you have to ask yourself if that’s an acceptable trade off, and honestly it usually is.
Step five: Your other option is turning off asks entirely and turning off submissions. You can similarly restrict replies so only blogs you follow can reply to your posts, and you can restrict messaging so only blogs you follow can message you. That way people can only send hate via reblogs.
It’s reasonable and valid to be upset about people being transphobic in your inbox, and I’ve been through the same thing so I know how you’re feeling. It sucks. But you don’t have to be passive about it! If IRL transphobia was something you could control your exposure to and simply turn off in the settings we’d all be a lot happier, but that isn’t the case. But that is true in some cases when you’re online, so why not take advantage of the opportunity?
If you’re getting a lot of hate, it’s worth blocking those asks and then turning off anons or asks entirely for at least a month and seeing how it goes. Your social media is supposed to be safe space for you, and you control what content you want to be seeing and interacting with, so there’s no reason you have to allow people to send you asks at all if it’s going to be negatively impacting your mental health. Even if you haven’t had any trolls yet but you’re really anxious about it and it’s affecting your mental health, it’s okay to take the steps you need to take to protect yourself.
Step six: Hide your blog entirely and password protect it. Only tell your blog’s password to people you trust and want to interact with, like friends or mutuals. This is another option in your blog’s settings on Tumblr. Now the only people who can see your blog are the people you’ve explicitly given permission to.
Note: These are my tips for Tumblr specially, so you should look through your privacy settings and options on any social media site you use to see what your options are!
But honestly, I don’t really predict much more trolling this June than we experience in general. Most of these troll campaigns are a lot of bark and no bite, and they usually end up creating more fear and anxiety when people warn each other about it than from the troll’s actual actions, in my opinion. Sadly, we can get homophobic and transphobic anons at any point in the year.