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Author Topic: Twenty hallmarks of fake trans personae Andrea James  (Read 156 times)   

Mary-Jane

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Twenty hallmarks of fake trans personae Andrea James
« on: July 17, 2018, 05:41:55 PM »
Twenty hallmarks of fake trans personae

Part of my series on Transgender web safety and fake internet transsexuals.

After you've read my overview on trans hoaxes, here are twenty key elements of online trans hoaxes, usually perpetrated by wannabes.

1. Transwomen
Fakes are almost never trans guys. The fake character created is almost always a trans woman.

2. “Transkids”
Fakes almost always claim to be college age or younger, typically between 14 and 19. In some cases, they claim they are older now but transitioned at that age. See the tsroadmap.com section on the transkids.us hoax for details.

3. Passable
Fakes almost always claim to be 100% passable.

4. Intersex
Fakes often claim to have intersex traits.

5. “Post-op”
Fakes frequently claim surgical intervention as minors.

6. Not known in person
Our community is pretty tight-knit, so at some point, we are all connected through someone with an established identity who uses their real name. The key goal of a hoaxer is to gain the confidence of a credible and well-known person. For this reason, anyone who is out and who uses their real name needs to be extra careful about vouching for or giving a platform to anonymous or pseudonymous people. They look for the weakest link, the easiest target. Fakers seek to establish their credibility at the expense of your credibility.

7. Disability
Fakes frequently claim to be disabled: either a developmental disability (like autism), a psychiatric disability (like post-traumatic stress disorder) or a physical disability (like legal blindness). They might also claim to be disabled in order to receive welfare. These alleged disabilities are frequently self-diagnosed and often not visible/verifiable. They often claim they are unable to work but are nonetheless able to spend most of their waking lives online. See my tsroadmap.com essay on disability for more.

8. Online constantly
Fakes frequently live much of their lives online, spending extraordinary time on transgender forums or in other role-playing situations like Second Life, World of Warcraft, etc.

9. LiveJournal and other online interests
For reasons that are not clear, LiveJournal is the service of choice for attention-craving fakes, followed closely by DeviantArt. Other key hallmarks include an interest in Japanese animation, involvement in the furry community, posting on the chans, and posting on transgender fiction websites.

10. Posting on sites primarily for older transitioners
Older transitioners and crossdressers are especially vulnerable to being taken in by fakes, because the fake often represents something they idealize/fantasize about, too. They end up living vicariously through each other in a feedback cycle of codependent validation.

11. Seeking out vulnerable people
Fakes often seek out vulnerable people and try to draw them into their confidence. They want to hear details about the vulnerable person’s life. Sometimes these details are then incorporated into their own hoax to lend credibility. They are especially interested in communicating with people who are in crisis, because it makes the hoaxer feel loved and valued. It also mitigates the response when they are caught. The people who were betrayed have invested their trust and emotion in the hoax, so they want to believe the story even as it unravels. After it unravels, they often blame themselves instead of the hoaxer.

12. Family
Fakes often claim a remarkable family history. This can be extreme tragedy (runaway, homelessness, abuse, etc.), or extreme good fortune (wealth, prestige, influence, etc.).

13. Remarkable accomplishments
Fakes frequently claim they are very talented at something (won a competition, attend an exclusive school, work as a model, hold a state/national record).

14. Sexual/erotic elements
There is often an erotic/sexualized component: obvious ones like stories of sexual abuse from a relative or sexual assault, and less obvious ones like a wedding, loss of virginity, or new/first boyfriend. Sometimes it doesn't seem erotic to most people, like cheerleading or a slumber party, but has an erotic element in how it is reported. Some hoaxers claim to be sex workers or porn stars, or they exaggerate their involvement in these occupations. Overfocus on a specific aspect, like clothes, anatomical development, or detailed accounts of a sexual experience are common.

15. Photos
Fakes take one of two paths with photos. The first path is to steal or manipulate photos. Some steal from either non-trans models or real trans porn stars, preferring glamorous or sexualized images. In some cases they add their own faces to a model's body. These stealers are the easiest ones to catch. Others steal images (trans and non-trans) that look plain or girl-next-door in order to be more believable and harder to catch. The other path is to avoid photos altogether, because there’s a high risk of getting caught when using photos.

16. Escalating drama
In order to maintain the level of attention they crave, fakes frequently escalate the tragedy or problems in their lives past the point of credulity. This tends to happen over time, with the story starting off fairly plausible and getting less and less credible. However, those who make an emotional investment in the hoaxer early on are willing to believe the story as it gets more and more elaborate, even if it goes far beyond what most people would consider believable. A classic example is the “transkids.us” hoax which escalated far past the point of believability, but is still repeated as true by a few lazy/gullible academics.

17. Inconsistencies
As the hoax gets more elaborate, inconsistencies will appear: age, location, year in school, medical history, names of friends and relatives, details in stories, stolen photos which show a different person. When confronted, they often resort to the two options below.

18. Sockpuppets
Fakes often have defenders appear out of nowhere for the first time when inconsistencies come out. The defenders are often friends or family who vouch for the faker, claim to know the faker in person, and provide additional details. Sometimes the fake will get in a conversation or even an argument with the sockpuppet to make it seem like a different person.

19. Persecution/need for secrecy and privacy
If they continue to be challenged about inconsistencies, fakes often move past sockpuppets. They will claim they can’t confirm details of their story because they are being stalked, are under police protection, are not out at work/school, work for the government, or are in fear for their lives. A key to perpetuating the hoax is avoiding any details that can be independently confirmed, so they will prey on your respect for their privacy.

20. Death
The final stage in the hoax is usually the murder or suicide of the fake persona. Sometimes the person dies of a disease, usually suddenly. Sometimes this is preceded by the death of a friend or relative, to test the waters. The "death" can be triggered by being on the verge of being caught or by a need for the highest amount of attention possible. The death of the hoax persona is the ultimate fantasy for many fakers, because the outpouring of attention and the eulogies are the most distilled form of the validation they seek.

How to avoid trans hoaxes

Part of my series on Transgender web safety and fake internet transsexuals.

Once you've read the overview on trans hoaxes and the 20 hallmarks of fake trans personae, here's how you can avoid falling victim to this kind of fraud.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

Violent crimes and deaths require independent confirmation from the press or police, or from someone well-established in the community who has personal and direct knowledge of the matter. Do not rely on web postings. Do not rely on friends or relatives unless they are known to you personally, as in you have met them in person face-to-face.

Trust, but verify

Hoaxers seek your attention and your emotional response. It’s very easy to get caught up in the immediate emotions of a situation and not be able to step back and look at things objectively. They are counting on that emotional response from you. Don’t let that cloud your judgment.
An ounce of prevention is always best

If you run a forum or blog which has contributors or moderators, you have a responsibility to your readers and members to confirm the identities of all staffers and contributors. If people wish to contribute anonymously or pseudonymously, they should not be placed in a position of authority or trust unless it has been definitively proven that they are who they say they are, including their medical history. This is especially true when they are dealing with minors.

I recommend that you get copies of government-issued IDs from all contributors and try to meet them all in person. If that is not possible, have someone you know personally and trust completely meet them in person in their area. If you are doing work like suicide prevention or giving contributors or moderators access to personal information about your readers and members, those people should be even more carefully vetted.

These simple steps will protect you, your audience, and our community from those who would exploit and betray our trust and love. We need to have a zero tolerance policy on this kind of fraud, because someone who does this once will almost always do it again unless they are made to answer for their actions.
   

Trans community hoaxes: 20 clues and how to avoid getting scammed
Part of my series on Transgender web safety and fake internet transsexuals.

In June 2009, a “transkid” murder hoax perpetrated by “KuryousKyooty” aka "Rachel" aka “Roo” aka “Raychel Edeyn Wilson” was greatly exacerbated after being spread by a number of normally credible people who didn’t bother to confirm any basic facts independently:

    Laura Amato at Laura’s Playground
    Zoe Brain at A.E. Brain
    James/JayTee on YouTube
    Cindi Knox at Pam's House Blend
    Tobi Hill-Meyer at Bilerico
    Anonymous poster at SoCal Voice
    Vanessa Edwards Foster at Trans Political

Repeating these rumors without any independent verification is the height of irresponsibility for citizen journalists. These kinds of hoaxes do incredible damage to the community at large and to the credibility of the people who post them without any independent verification. These hoaxes and unconfirmed reports cheapen the real violence our community faces, and they make people less likely to take us seriously in the future.

I have been exposing fake “transkids” for about ten years, and this latest hoax had all the hallmarks of fakery. It is a classic case of something that has been happening on the internet for decades and has had an official name since 2000: Münchausen by Internet.

Some people seek attention by feigning illness or injury, happening either to themselves or to others. Unfortunately, what psychologists call “factitious disorders” and “malingering” are not uncommon among trans people. A lot of trans people take the sick role as a form of identity. Identifying as disordered or diseased is much more common among people who embrace professional and populist disease models like “gender identity disorder” or “Harry Benjamin Syndrome.” It’s part of a culture of victimhood that unfortunately lends itself to fakery and hoaxes.

If you have a forum or blog, you have a responsibility to the community to avoid spreading misinformation and lies. To help avoid these problems in the future, I have compiled twenty key hallmarks of fake trans narratives/personae.

The key points in the section:

    Hoaxers seek to establish their credibility at the expense of your credibility.

    Hoaxers avoid any details that can be independently confirmed.

    Hoaxers will prey on your respect for their privacy.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Trust, but verify.

    An ounce of prevention is always best.

Definition of Hats aka "Conflict of Interest" Statement: Mary-Jane is Editor of Perth Gay News, The Media Annuncio of the Perth Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence of the Abbey of the Black Swan & Editor @ HIV Institute of WA.

#Twitter @AbbeyBlackSwan1

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Twenty hallmarks of fake trans personae Andrea James
« on: July 17, 2018, 05:41:55 PM »