Laughing at ‘stupid, ridiculous’ transphobic hate takes away its power, says YouTuber Jamie Raines
Jamie Raines has documented his transition, as Jammidodger, on YouTube for 12 years. Amid the pushback on transgender rights, the trans influencer has used humour to show how trans people “can laugh” at the hate.
Transitioning is a very personal and individualised journey for many that can take anywhere from months to years, even a whole lifetime.
It’s become common to see people share some aspects of their transition on social media, from videos charting changes in voice to outfits of the day that make people feel particularly affirmed.
This is where Raines found himself more than 10 years ago, when he decided to share his journey on YouTube.
Raines tells PinkNews he was “helped so much by watching other trans guys” on the video-sharing platform and wanted to pass along his knowledge, even if he thought no one would watch his clips.
“I think there were only three other trans people I could find on YouTube 12 years ago, and they were all in the States,” he says.
You may like to watch
“And while they helped me feel less alone, I had no idea what to do from a UK perspective and having that different take on being trans.
“I wanted to offer that and be like, ‘OK, if one person watching it knows these are the steps they need to go through to talk to somebody, then that’s fantastic’.”
He recalls how his introduction video garnered 98 views, and he told his now wife Shaaba: “This is terrifying. I think I need to take it down, too many people are watching it.”
But when he started to read and pay attention to the comments, he saw what representation could do.
Now, his Jammidodger channel is a place where trans people, LGBTQ+ folks and allies can feel safe to learn something through humour.
Scrolling through Raines’ channel, there are numerous videos where he tears apart transphobic or homophobic memes with levity and grace. Videos documenting his transition journey are sprinkled with collabs from other YouTubers or reactions to trans joy posts on social media.
“I do have to step away from finding content from time to time,” he admits, “but the humour I put into it is genuine… If we can laugh at this, if we can recognise it for the loud, but ultimately powerless and baseless, nonsense that it is, it takes that power away from the words, from the memes, from the transphobes.
“That’s why I really want to take a humorous look at it because I’m like: ‘Let’s laugh at it because it’s stupid. It’s ridiculous what these people are saying. It doesn’t deserve to have the power in the world that it does.”
But there’s another reason for his posts.
“The other side of it is for cis people, allies or people wanting to learn more, or maybe even people who aren’t sure and they’re maybe a little transphobic themselves, to show that it’s not all complaining and doom and gloom.
“Although there’s nothing wrong with doing that, it’s important to take some of these things seriously sometimes.
“It’s also like, ‘Hey, come in. Everyone’s welcome. I’m going to show you some things, and I’m going to chat to you about it and it’s going to be funny and entertaining, I hope. Also you will learn some stuff as you’re watching’.”
This light-hearted, yet informative, approach to learning about the trans community is entrenched in Jamie Raines’ new book, The T in LGBT: Everything You Need to Know About Being Trans.
Each section of the book tackles a different aspect of being part of the trans community – whether it is what types of gender-affirming healthcare is out there or what the dating world is like for trans folks – in an approachable way.
Raines peppers his wealth of knowledge throughout the book, alongside portions sharing the experiences of a broad range of trans and non-binary voices, and his wife Shaaba’s advice to other allies.
Much of the book focuses on the happiness that trans people feel when they are able to live their truth. And for Raines, trans joy is about being able to “take back” that happiness and pride which others have tried to weaponise against the community.
“[Trans joy] means being able to take back something that is constantly used as a negative against me, and being like, ‘No, I’m proud of my journey. I’m proud of who I am, and I can’t change who I am and whatever you say doesn’t change who I am either’,” he says. “I think that’s a big part of it.
“And then just recognising the little things and being like, ‘Yeah, there are funny moments’. I can laugh about lots of different things about being trans, and I love that.
“Then, I think Pride gives that moment of taking up that extra space and having voices heard.
“Because, so often, the media pieces, the books, the documentaries, everything that gets the most coverage, is not coming from trans voices. It’s so important to have these times when we’re like, ‘Here is what trans people are actually saying and feeling’.”
The T in LGBT is out now, priced £16.99 (Ebury).
MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.