Whirr’s transphobia is no surprise

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Indie’s attitude towards misogyny and transphobia sucks and it has sucked for a very long time

So Whirr, a five-dude shoegaze band from San Francisco, have outed themselves as transphobic dickholes. While they’ve been using endless  drama to advertise their band for too long already, last night they outdid themselves by tweeting evil, transmisogynistic bullshit at G.L.O.S.S, a trans/genderqueer/femme hardcore band from Olympia, Washington (and you can read more about why we think they’re great here). The tweets below are pretty grim, so mind yourself if this sort of gross stuff gets to you.

(UPDATE: They have now deleted the tweets. You can see cached copies below. The comparison made in the last tweet was to Silence of the Lambs’ Buffalo Bill).

The internet has split into two camps: the “WHAT THE SHIT, GROSS” team (correct), and the “oh hahaha, they’re ONLY JOKING” team (predictably terrible). The latter team has been trying to push this weak opinion for a long time now – Whirr love to insult people “because they can“. Thankfully, Whirr have been pointing out that not all of the internet is utterly vile by retweeting all the backlash against them on their Twitter timeline. Here are a few non-trash opinions to counterpoint the Whirr-sludge:

The singer of G.L.O.S.S, Sadie Smith, then created a Twitter specifically to drag Whirr in the best way. Weirdly, they didn’t retweet this godlike takedown:

God bless you Sadie, and thank god you’re not intimidated by this insidious darkness that still plagues the world in 2015. In a fairytale twist to the story, Whirr have now been dropped by their record label…

…but I bet you they’ll be back.

Indie has an insidious beta male vibe that masks this sort of bullshit again and again. This incident in particular echoes Ariel Pink’s insistence on making “outrageous” jokes about women. Alanna McCardle’s Pitchfork Op-Ed, that can be fully applied to Whirr’s shock tactic approach, nails that whole mess exactly. Mac DeMarco also jokes about rape onstage, Pitchfork’s new owner eliminates their female audience completely and Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek writes misogynic rhymes about female music journos to raucous applause on tour. Of course, of course, of course.

None of these people will be seriously negatively affected by their prejudices. They’re all still on tour and in jobs, and they will be forever. You can bet Whirr are being picked up by some shitty dude-run label right now. And that’s the trend: people who love the idea of free speech despite who it might be insulting are often the very people it hurts least, and the people who love “satirisation” of sexist, racist and ableist language via their attempts at “jokes” are also the people who love the taste of those hurtful words in their mouths for real. They’re not going to be spat at in the street, intimidated on the train, or misjudged daily thanks to the normalisation of their oppression, so haha, it’s all fine and funny, right?

Wrong – but you can be sure that this story will keep happening in various guises again and again. All we can hope is there’s someone as rad as Sadie to bat the exhausting whirlwind of awful away next time, and that we’re all there to support them.

UPDATE: The band have now deleted their transphobic tweets of yesterday and issued this non-apology.