In honor of International Stand Up to Bullying Day, we sat down and spoke to Cambell Kenneford, a trans influencer using her platform to spread awareness and positivity around transgender-related issues.
Social media can be extremely intense, do you find it a burden to take on the responsibility to spread awareness?
I really enjoy the challenge and using my platform to be able to benefit people, I don’t mind answering the questions, within reason.
Don’t ask me “Have you had the surgery?” or “What was your name before”, I’m here to help and educate people, but at the same time there are boundaries.
I think people believe once your trans, it’s their right to know everything about you.
Some days if I’m already feeling awful and go onto Twitter the first thing I see is people fighting in my mentions about whether I’m a man or woman, I’m sick of it!
International Stand up to Bullying Day is a day where organisations, schools, and individuals come together to take a stance against bullying.
In a 2017 Stonewall Report, they found nearly 45% of LGBT+ including 64% of trans students are bullied for being LGBT+.
Do these statistics surprise you?
It’s sad, but it doesn’t shock me now. LGBTQ+ people have become so desensitised to these figures like it’s just a number, but we forget these numbers are people.
Knowing how many of my friends who are trans, gay, non-binary have been picked on, I’m surprised it’s not more.
From when we go to school, the common phrase “that’s so gay” is thrown around and it’s so weird that’s gay has become a symbol of bad. At the end of the day is a microaggression, instead of “that’s so gay” we should say “that’s so straight”!
What is your earliest memory of being bullied?
People always used to pick on me because I was very feminine and had barbies whilst their other boys would play with action men.
I always used to be called gay, however, looking back it wasn’t all bad because I’ve always been like that. I was lucky in that sense and people did accept me, I got called names but people generally accepted me.
How present is online bullying in your daily life?
It’s quite bad, to be honest, but I’m so numb to it now. I feel like a robot sometimes because it’s not normal to have all of these slurs said to you on a daily basis.
It’s only been bad recently because my following has grown, so it’s quite a new thing for me, but in a short amount of time, it’s been crazy.
I put a tweet up once saying “It really annoys me when people spell my name Campell” and someone replied “Well I’ll call you a tranny instead”, and it was like for once I’m not even talking about being trans and I’m still being harassed.
People tell me to get off the internet, but I don’t want to, why should I? I want to keep doing what I’m doing and helping others, why should I have to deal with that?
Online bullying and trolling is a daily part of my life, but I try to keep it at bay and not share too many things online anymore.
Has COVID-19 Increased the amount of online bullying you’re experiencing?
I don’t know what it is, but through these lockdowns, it’s getting worse. People are getting angrier and more hateful, the abuse has increased in COVID-19.
Munroe Bergdorf has deleted her socials because it was getting too much, I get it on a bad scale but imagining hers doubled in scale is insane. I don’t know when the turning point will be.
What self-care do you practice?
You need to know when to come off and have boundaries, it’s so easy to read through threads and get carried away with it, but it’s not healthy.
At one point it got really bad for me and one day I broke down crying, I couldn’t take it anymore. I don’t use social media as much and I’ve developed a thicker skin.
What advice would you give someone experiencing online bullying?
I would say use the block button and follow people that make you feel good about yourself. Follow those who will add extra value to your life.
Don’t let it get you down too much, there will always be people out there who don’t like you, whether black, trans, cis-genders, and so on, there will be always someone who disagrees with you.
If you own your differences and what sets you apart from other people, then no one can tell you any different.