Anime streaming giant Funimation, along with subsidiary Crunchyroll, combined on an announcement over the weekend that they would honor Transgender Awareness Week and stand “in solidarity with the trans community who make anime and its fandom even more incredible” by donating to nonprofits that work to support trans people around the world.
The nonprofit organizations It Gets Better Project and TransCanWork, recipients of the donation of an unspecified amount, are established nonprofits that work to help trans community members. It Gets Better was founded by U.S. journalist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller in 2010 to combat suicide among queer teens as a result of bullying. TransCanWork was founded by Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn and offers professional resources for trans people and promotes workplace inclusion.
Transgender Awareness Week is an annual visibility campaign that runs from Nov. 13-19, culminating in the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20. The annual memorial observes lives lost to transphobic violence over the previous year. The Human Rights Campaign reports 2021 is already the deadliest year in recorded history for the trans community.
There was a wide response to the announcement from each platform on social media. Anime fans are not exactly known for their sensitivity or proclivity to social justice.
Many tweets alluded to the prevalence of transphobic responses from anime fans, while others pointed out that the replies were preemptively closed on Funimation and Crunchyroll’s announcements.
One person responded, “Fuck y’all in the qrts. Trans rights are human rights, science agrees with usm.”
Another noted, “It’s little wonder that after simply asking people not to treat Asians badly a few months back & their replies got swamped w/ hate speech, that they would choose to turn off replies to their support of the trans community. It’s horrific they know their own community is like this.”
Another observer, in a three-part tweet, reiterated a suspicious sentiment towards corporations that make public displays of allyship during specified pride events and remain silent elsewhere.
Others weighed in as well, with one pointing out that trans people have been in anime for decades, sharing a clip from the 1985 OVA Dirty Pair.
Another pointed out that It Gets Better co-founder Dan Savage is a complicated public figure, to say the least — alleging that he’s “a rather vocal transphobe who actively platforms some of the most dangerous anti-trans voices in the country.”
And more than a few people are asking for premium subscriptions, which I personally think is a great idea.