YouTuber and popular nerd culture personality Liana Kerzner has been dogpiled and accused of transphobia after asserting that the term “chaser” could be used as a slur against pansexual individuals.
Following the announcement by CD Projekt Red that their upcoming and highly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 would be facing another delay, Kerzner shared her thoughts on the situation, stating, “This is a common problem with games at this point in the cycle, but… perhaps at this point it makes more sense to delay until January and stop crunching staff?”
In response to Kerzner’s tweet, transgender individual Rae O’Neil, who goes by the Twitter handle of @RaeGun2k, stated their opinion, “Would be nice if some of that dev time could be used to address their shit handling of trans ppl.”
O’Neil then pointed to an in-game ad featuring a woman with a sizable male penis, an advertisement meant to promote the cyberpunk idea of intense body modification rather than any sort of transgender related message, and a tweet made by the studio in 2018 that asked “Did you just assume their gender?!” after a fan playfully demanded “more guys” in the game, as evidence that the studio mishandled its treatment of transgender individuals.
“Sigh, it’s sad after so much effort to put this out there, including by queer journos at major sites,” lamented O’Neil.
Further confused by O’Neil’s accusations, Kerzner asked “Why is a model on a billboard fetishization, but you having “neovagina evangelion” in your display name is not?”
She added, “What’s the difference? Both are calling attention to body parts, aren’t they?”
This question would prompt a lengthy discussion between Kerzner and O’Neil, in which Kerzner would take issue with how “the identity of the person creating the art” dictated who could or could not engage with a certain character while O’Neil would compare the existence of the billboard, as well as a cosplay costume of the billboard model created and modeled by Estonian cosplayer Yugoro, to white individuals cosplaying black characters.
As the conversation continued, O’Neil would state that the reason both Yugoro’s cosplay and the in-game billboard were unacceptable was because the creators did not have the correct identity.
“The cosplayer [Yugoro] is cis. And a TERF,” O’Neil stated. “The artist [Kasia Redesiuk] is cis. And a chaser.”
Confused by the use of the term “chaser,” Kerzner would look up the term and describe it as “a bigoted slur against pansexuals,” the clinical term for individuals who are “not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.”
When pressed by another user, @tidenx, who said “Chased is a word for fetishization” and asked “how are all pan people fetishists?”, Kerzner responded with a screenshot of the Wikipedia definition of the term.
According to the Wikipedia entry on “Attraction to transgender people” cited by Kerzner, the term chaser is “predominantly used to describe men sexually interested in trans women, but it is sometimes used to refer to those interested in trans men as well.”
“Transgender people themselves often use the term in a pejorative sense,” the entry elaborated, “because they consider chasers to value them for their trans status alone, rather than being attracted to them as a person.”
In layman’s terms, a ‘chaser’ is an individual who has a specific attraction towards an individual, in this case towards those who are transgender, solely because they present a certain trait or identity.
From Kerzner’s perspective, it appears that she considers the fact that the term is so commonly applied to any individual who has an attraction to a transgender person to be insulting towards pansexuals, who are attracted to trans people not because they are trans, but because of who they are as a person.
The citation of the Wikipedia entry would prompt another discussion, this time between Kerzner and @tidenx, as the latter pushed back against Kerzner’s reasoning.
“If something is a reference to a slur, then it is, itself a slur,” argued Kerzner. “Try to see my position.”
During the course of this conversation, Kerzner would note that she identified as “she/her because it’s the easiest, but I don’t feel connected to it.”
“Hence why being prejudged that way is so frustrating,” Kerzner said. “So all these people calling me cis…they just seem like bullies.”
This admission, combined with her stance on the term chaser, would spark a wave of backlash against Kerzner, who soon found herself ‘dogpiled’ by vitriolic users who disagreed with her position.
“Get over yourself for a hot minute and stop speaking over trans people,” ordered @FullMetaDuchess. “They’re the ones who get to MAKE that call. Not you.”
Responding directly to Kerzner, @Rynda asserted that “even if you were trans what you have been saying is still incredibly transphobic.”
@Oni256, themselves a “pansexual trans woman,” stated that chasers are “not interested in us as people, they see us as sex objects,” before asking Kerzner to “do us a favor and maybe stay in your f***ing lane.”
One user, @xlashe, stated that Kerzner was “not the first person ive seen to pull out “genderfluid” when theyre questioned by trans people” before presenting her with a baffling litmus test in an attempt to shame Kerzner for not ‘properly’ presenting herself as gender non-conforming.
@foxeditall accused the YouTuber of being “offended because you’re a f***ing chaser yourself.”
“It’s beyond obvious. Learn to respect the people you’re so eager to jack it to,” they concluded.
As the backlash continued to mount against Kerzner, the YouTuber would push back against her critics and observe that “the way Twitter manufactures straw men is quite interesting.”
“Apparently I have now insisted that it’s okay for trans people to be fetishized,” explained Kerzner. “I never said anything of the sort. When people have to manufacture outrage like this, I have to wonder what’s really going on.”
Eventually, Kerzner would offer an apology, stating that she was “sorry I used a term in a way people didn’t like,” while simultaneously observing how the “screaming hasn’t given me more understanding to work with.”
However, Kerzner’s apology was rejected by O’Neil, who claimed that she was promoting a “manufactured narrative” and that “literally most of the blowback has been about her speaking so far out of her depth and doubling down on something she literally knew nothing about but decided she knew more than the rest of us who suffer from it.”
“One shouldn’t get credit for being too narcissistic and daft t listen to others and immediately decide a two second misread on wikipedia is better than the marginalized communities one is attacking,” concluded O’Neil.