Chris, you are walking dangerously close to harassment, and I think you are in need of some serious “sensitivity training”. I am a straight married man, not been blessed with any close trans friends, so I cannot speak about “Transaphobia” very well, I defer to Amanda and claim my ignorance ( I do thank you Amanda for sharing as it gave me more insight). However, i am a father of 2 girls, a husband, and a son, so I do know sexual harassment. Ali might have “been joking” but he made this joke in public AND in the presence of people he correctly identified as female. This means, even if he thought Amanda was a guy who would laugh at his crassness, he also knew a joke about sexual aggressiveness in front of a group that contained females would communicate a power message. He might not have “intended” harm, but that is text book sexual harassment. Meaning, had Amanda really been “Steve in drag” the comment would have been aimed at the group, much like typical guys making sexist jokes in front of women, with Amanda (Steve in drag) participating in the harassment. Had that been the case the other people present might have cringed and moved on, and that act of sexual harassment would have slipped through the ether like the common institutionalized bigotry we ignore because we are “grown ups handling our shit like grown ups”. But Amanda was NOT a crass joker in drag, SHE IS TRANS, so she WAS deeply offended on multiple levels by the comment and felt unsafe, so she exercised her RIGHT to defend herself.
The issue of the fallout is complex, we can all feel for Ali who is a person with a family, and his job is suspended. I’m sure he is rightfully scared and angry at this moment, I would be too in his shoes, and I think you are by what you are writing. I think there is a feeling of being “threatened” by the “uncomfortableness” of the issues it has raised that are influencing your lashing out at Amanda. But we need to reflect on the “uncomfortableness” ALL Trans people must live with before we respond. I think that is what Amanda was seeking in publishing her side. She is not responsible for the consequences, Ali is, and I think from his posts he understand that. I hope he can reach out to Amanda and other community members (as Amanda suggested)to figure out how he can start to make things better. I think a no brainier would have been for him to have Amanda’s voice be more present in his apology/article so that he got it right. Like Ali, Amanda writes and blogs, and I think her involvement with these issues suggest she would have been happy to point him in the right direction.
Which leads me to my final point, I think what bothered Amanda about Ali’s actions post the harassment is that Ali was looking to “bury” the fact he actually committed sexual harassment or that he was “Transphobic” in an apology, ignorance, and by eluding to institutionalized bigotry and society as sharing the “blame” for his condition (added to a short lapse of judgement). I have had serious lapses of judgement in my life, I think everyone does, but what he did is sexual harassment, which is serious, as well as bigotry and “Transphobia”. All I will say about Transphobia (I claim my ignorance again) is that it was a magic event, not a Halloween party, so he should not have assumed Amanda or anyone was dressed in drag as a joke. That shows he did not take the Trans issue seriously. But the comment in front of a group, text book sexual harassment!