This contribution comes from Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of SB Nation's Outsports.com.
Dear MMA Fans,
Last weekend I got to spend three days with one of the bravest people I’ve ever met: Fallon Fox. Despite many stabbing her repeatedly with verbal daggers over the last three months, she has persevered. They've taken their best shot, and she’s still standing.
But even brave people have their breaking point. Fallon’s a stronger person than them, so she hasn’t gotten there yet. But as I watched this beautiful, powerful woman inspire a room full of hopeful athletes and media personalities at Nike, as I dined with her and she shared her personal demons with me, as I watched her let a smile crack through the tough veneer, I kept coming back to one question…
Why are so many fans such bullybitches? Why do they treat people with such disdain? Why do they shoot first and ask questions later?
For the last three months I’ve watched their ignorant, hateful, pea-sized brains try to tear down a woman who’s gone through hell. Do you have any clue how hard it is to be transgender in our culture? Have you ever considered that every hateful, discriminatory word spewed into the Internet is like a thousand shards of glass to the human being pelted with such disdain? Do these fans even care?
No, of course not. To them, this human being who’s struggled to find herself is simply an experiment. This woman who’s lost friends and family because of her choice to be herself is a punching bag for them to vent on. They suck.
Did you know that 41% of trans people attempt suicide? That number is 2,500% higher than the general population. Why? Because of these people. Of those who survive, 90% of them will experience harassment and mistreatment in the workplace. Thanks to their vile attacks, Fallon is now in that 90%, closer to that 41% than she was three months ago.
Do they give a shit? No. Not when there’s a victim to torment. Why humanize the person when they’re just a couple images on a laptop? Why hold back while not understanding what makes them different? Why try to understand when the attackers are comfortable on their Lazy Boy shooting video game characters with a remote control?
It’s strange to see some wrap their mean-spirited bile into a bogus defense of safety. Sure, there are legit safety concerns in MMA. But the vast majority of fans suddenly worried about Fallon Fox don’t give a shit about safety.
These Neanderthals claim to tear Fallon to pieces because they've deemed her unsafe in the ring. Of course, they have no problem spending your hard-earned cash watching men try to break each other’s arms. They cheer when blood spatters the octagon. They jump out of their seats when a fighter is knocked unconscious. They watch MMA specifically because it’s harmful, because it isn’t safe.
Yet when the Queen of Swords steps into the ring, safety is suddenly paramount. Despite cheering for an injury every fight, these people irrationally express concerns about what might happen in the ring. What in the Milky Way galaxy do they think is going to happen? Is she going to kill somebody? She’s had three professional fights. Have any of her competitors left the ring worse for wear, other than some bruises and blood? No.
Have you met Fallon? Have you wrapped her in your arms? I have. While many have painted her to be a 7-foot Gorgon able to turn humans to broken bones with a quick glance, she’s a fit, 5-foot-7 woman with no great physical advantage over any opponent whatsoever. While they've asserted that Fallon looks like a Mack truck next to her opponents, each one of them has weighed more per inch than she.
But a funny thing happened recently. While labeling Fallon a danger to society, when she won her most recent fight some raced to the Internet to discredit her. Suddenly many claimed she’s not a good fighter and will lose her next match.
So which is it? Is she a danger to her opponent and has an unfair advantage over the other female fighters? Or is she not good enough to win her next fight?
Neither. The fact of the matter is many hate her because she’s transgender and they’ll use every rationalization to tear her down.
Like I said before: They suck.
And to them I ask: Why is it that your life is so void of hope and joy that you need to take out all of your self-pity on this woman struggling to find herself? Did your girlfriend leave you again? Did you get passed over for another promotion? Which of your dreams got dashed so badly that you feel the need to dash someone else's?
Whatever the reason, it’s not okay anymore. It was interesting when the MMA world was trying to figure this out. There was a short window for questioning when Dana White joined the ranks of the plantation owners and called Fallon a man. But whether they like it or not, they lost. Fallon is licensed to fight, and she’s going to fight until she can’t fight anymore. They. Lost. And there’s nothing they can do about it. No. Thing.
I’m not going to take the bullshit anymore, and neither is Fallon. She’s better than them. Where they tear others down, she inspires them. Where they keep people from pursuing their dreams, she welcomes people to chase them. They are the scum of the earth; She’s the salt of it.
Until you sit down with a trans person and listen to their life story for an hour, you have no legitimate position to tell them whether they can step inside a ring or not. Of course, most won’t do that, because behind the qwerty keys and a computer screen they're a sorry excuse for a human being who needs to tear others down to their level in the swamp of self-pity.
If you're of that mind, please, do us all a favor: Shut. Up.