Alex Blaze

The (lack of) space between homophobia and transphobia

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 29, 2008 7:21 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: homophobic behavior, Judith Butler, Leslie Feinberg, queer, transphobia

Through an unlikely chain of blog posts, Waymon's entry about a gender identity inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance in Montgomery County, Maryland, started a discussion that made it halfway across the blogosphere to one of the more popular radical feminist blogs out there. Heart, the aforementioned radical feminist blogger, writes about the real transbigotry in an attempt to take advantage of the T-folks' internal disputes to distinguish the good transwomen from the bad ones.

As a queer boy who fully came out among feminists and feminisms (at times misguided), who thought that Judith Butler and Leslie Feinberg were just the bomb, and who saw connections between transgender experiences and oppressions and gay experiences and oppressions as so obvious as to be taken for granted, I was pretty surprised when I was introduced to this (hopefully limited) brand of feminism that characterizes transwomen as men who lived as women part-time just to better oppress them and transmen as nonexistent, and, when they are, see the Gendercator.

The resemblance to homophobia from the Religious Right is striking, and I'm not positing the comparison to say that just because they're similar they're equally bad. (The Nazis liked organic farming, but that doesn't make organic farming anti-semitic.) I am drawing a parallel to show that I can have an investment in this subject.

For me, the reason the T is in the LGBT wasn't even worth questioning. Doctors took one look at our genitalia right after slapping our butts, said a few words ("It's a..."), and everyone started to plan a life for us - school, hetero-marriage, kids, work. We the queers all basically say "no" to that based on something that can't be seen, something that isn't plainly written on our bodies, something that we have to come to ourselves, but something that's still real and powerful. And whatever it is, it's something that will make us different, or queer, for the rest of our lives.

So coming in contact with this type of feminism was a bit of a waking up experience for me. Feminism isn't always queer-affirming. Feminism doesn't always value a person's autonomy over her body. Feminism sometimes simplifies things so far down that they're absolutely ridiculous (I was reading an essay from one such feminist almost, but not quite, laid out the conclusion that Gwen Araujo was the oppressor and Hillary Clinton was the oppressed). Feminism sometimes devalues people's lived experiences in favor of hyper-theorized dogma.

It's important to remember that Waymon's post was about general anti-discrimination legislation and a specific fear-based appeal from Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America surrogates in Maryland that any trans equality meant men in your daughters' locker rooms. Check your logic at the door, imagine the worst theoretical outcome of such legislation, forget the real people's lives it will improve, and then vote Republican.

Compare that to Heart's statement:

Of course someone who lives as a man most of the time but identifies as a woman should freely stroll in wherever women are dressing, peeing, or showering, and if women have a problem with that, they should get over it.

There really isn't any concern in her post about the transwomen and transmen of Montgomery County and how their jobs may be at risk, how they might be unable to get a hotel room, how landlords might discriminate against them so that they cannot be able to secure safe and affordable housing - it's all about men in dresses taking women's bathrooms by storm!

Underpinning this logic is a bizarre fantasy that "transgender" refers to a bunch of rich, white men who manage sweatshops by day, spend their fortunes by night, and every now and then put on a dress to go oppress women, just for the hell of it. Lost in this fantasy are transmen, transwomen of color, and transpeople of limited means. Oh, and the real-live transwomen, who, since their experiences weren't a factor when this narrative was being written, are effectively rendered invisible.

And that's what this really comes down to - whose experiences are legible and whose are not. The oppression of queer people starts with the basic assumption that gender can predetermine X, Y, and Z about a person and that experiences, desires, and identities that differ from that path can't be respected. Under the queer-phobic mentality, our lives are, at best, misguided political statements, at worst attempts to ruin everyone else's lives by simply existing.

The same writer quoted above pretty much said the same thing last summer:

Critiques of transgender/transsexuality are no more meant as attacks on individual transgender/transsexual persons than critiques of prostituting women are meant as attacks on prostitutes or critiques of pornography are meant as attacks on women in pornography or critiques of motherhood are meant as attacks on mothers or critiques of marriage as an institution are meant as critiques of married women or critiques of high heels are meant as critiques of those who wear them or critiques of lipstick are critiques of those who wear it or critiques of shaving are critiques of those who shave or critiques of boob jobs are critiques of those who have them, and on and on and on, infinity. Some ought to get over themselves and learn the difference between critiques, analysis, opinions, politics and them.

Love the sinner, hate the sin? Even when the sin is an integral part of the sinner's identity? At the heart of the above statement is the same infantilism that the Religious Right uses to render all queer people's experiences non-existent - it attaches a moral value to something that is inherently value-less for the sake of maintaining a clean narrative of what men are and what women are.

And it affects us all, L, G, B, T, or Q, even if some specific writers won't extend it to its logical conclusion. But when an argument is made that the experienced desires of a group of people just don't happen, that their experiences aren't legible under a narrative of what men are and what women are, that no matter what they say they will never convince others that having control over their own bodies, sexualities, relationships, and identities is what's best for them, then we're looking at a mentality that devalues our lives and autonomy, our freedom and equality.

When it comes down to it, people who have an investment in gender roles are going to feel attacked by any sort of queer. But that doesn't mean that queer itself is the attacker, it just means that some people need to make their understanding of the world a bit more complex to take it into account.

I feel like a "We're queer, we're here, get used to it" would be appropriate right about now.

****

P.S. This post is not intended to reignite the HBS/WBT/TG/TS Bilerico War of 2008. Comments are welcome. Discussion of other people's ideas is welcome. Pointing out the errors in other people's logic and fact is welcome (even my own!).

Personal attacks are not welcome. Unrelated comments are not welcome. Using personal information about another person to put them in their place is not welcome.

This thread will be moderated if it needs to be.

Thanks in advance for participating in comments respectfully.


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The resemblance to homophobia from the Religious Right is striking, and I'm not positing the comparison to say that just because they're similar they're equally bad. (The Nazis liked organic farming, but that doesn't make organic farming anti-semitic.) I am drawing a parallel to show that I can have an investment in this subject.

You do realize that Heart, aka Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff, was very actively involved in the conservative Christian Quiverfull movement in the 1990s before converting to radical feminism, right? See this, for example. She seems to have just carried over exactly the same control-freak mindset.

This post is not intended to reignite the HBS/WTB/TG/TS Bilerico War of 2008. Comments are welcome. Discussion of other people's ideas is welcome. Pointing out the errors in other people's logic and fact is welcome (even my own!).

Personal attacks are not welcome. Unrelated comments are not welcome. Using personal information about another person to put them in their place is not welcome.

This thread will be moderated if it needs to be.

Thanks in advance for participating in comments respectfully.

Why the need for this disclaimer? (just curious)

One interesting point not made here (in terms of "queer" or non-comformity) is the idea of str8 people who are also queer...i.e. they are "kinky" in terms of sexual practices, they are "fag hags" (tho' I really dislike that term) or they are non-conformative in terms of gender. So queer isn't restricted to LGBT

(just a thought)

Rodney King said it best as LA was burning for the second time in 25 years.

"Why Can't We All Just Get Along"

That would require Everybody to Give a little space to everyone else.
The real question is
Is everyone ready for that.

Everybody is invested in their won thing If nobody gives a little space to those around them, then all this really doesn't matter.

Sue

MauraHennessey | January 30, 2008 12:50 AM

Reading the comments in Heart's blog was more than a bit disenheartening..

I had hoped that those kinds of attitudes in feminism had matured a bit. Not that patriarchy and entitlement are not isssues, they are, and real ones. It is the vehemence, the knee jerk sort of hatred of all things that they taint with their percieved ultimate poison, the term "masculine."

I respect their right for their own ideas in their own space, but the Goddess protect feminism from ever coming under the control of such angry radicalism again.

Keep in mind that these lines are coming from a Lesbian woman who considers herself a fairly radical feminist, just radical in a fashion associated with the 21st century, not the end of the third decade of the 20th.

i suppose i am lacking intellectually, but i don't understand any of the post. however, aside from my inabilty to comrehend the initial content, i suspect that the following comments are refering to the importance of "playing nice." with that, i totally agree.

those of us who have transitioned, whether to a surgical completion or not, and who live in the gender ooposed to that gender assigned at birth, have experienced tremendous emotional, familial, and societal opposition. our experiences throughout transition have profoundly impacted our lives. it is only natural that each individual would interpret their own experience to be the one defining and correct interpretation. the reality is, no mater how different, they are all correct. there can be more than one interpretation - but they are only correct for that specific individual. no other person can invalidate that experience.

those of us in the transgender community need to learn how to agree to disagree - to explain our opinion without becoming vicious, and without making personal attacks. argue your point, your opinion, but respect the opinion of everyone else. others have a right to their opinion, and for them it can be completely correct. it doesn't have to be your experience, and you have a right to dismiss it as incorrect. you have a right to express why you hold that opinion - you don't have a right to demeaning retort.

the community needs desperately to unite, and to channel our energy into gaining rights for all. in the end, we only have one real opponent, and that is the bigotry that we face from mainstream society. if we want to implement change that will allow us to live our lives with dignity and equality, we have to focus solely on our common oppression, and unite to defeat it. we have a right to exist. we have a right to equality. we must unite to successfully demand it.

Andrea~

I just found that post by Heart by following a series of links and trackbacks and comments (hence the first sentence).

Oh my! What an interesting interview! 15 kids!


Maura~

Yeah, the comments were worse than the post itself, IMHO.


jerindc~

Yeah, sorry, the post assumes that people have been following a conversation that's taken place outside of it.

Short version:

Trans people aren't trans to attack anyone, it's because they know it's what's best for them! Similar to being gay, lesbian, or bi! Let's all respect everyone's decisions and live and let live!

our experiences throughout transition have profoundly impacted our lives. it is only natural that each individual would interpret their own experience to be the one defining and correct interpretation. the reality is, no mater how different, they are all correct. there can be more than one interpretation - but they are only correct for that specific individual. no other person can invalidate that experience.

Hear, hear!

I view two dynamics as work here as I see it, for whatever it's worth.
First, our friends on the religious right of many faiths see the T community's right to exist as a moral issue. If we pray hard enough, we'll just get over it. It's sort of like the mean term, "illegal alien." No one is illegal; undocumented, perhaps, but not "illegal." What the religious right is saying is that we are sinful - simply because we exist. And, the solution is - suicide. Far, far too many of our brothers and sisters take that tragic route. And, that has to end. Being born a gender variant person is not an moral issue; it's a medical one requiring medical intervention.
Secondly, our friends even in the LGBT community whose experiences from our own far too often denigrate them because they don't understand them or their methods of approaching their issues differ from our own. We all have our own stories to tell, and it's time to not only stop denigrating one another because of our differences, but respecting and encouraging one another. We're all in this together, folks. As one of us in the LGBT community is threatened by anyone, all of us are threatened.
Lets work together to make it a better day for each and every one of us. Make sense?

A correction to comment number 8.
"Secondly, our friends even in the LGBT community whose experiences differ from our own far too often denigrate them because they don't understand them or their methods of approaching their issues differ from our own."

(That's what happens when I don't check them beforehand.)

I'll answer Ray's question:

Why the need for this disclaimer? (just curious)

Ray - have you seen the comment threads on the last 3 or 4 posts about trans issues? They've been like war zones with bombs thrown willy-nilly without regard to civilian casualties.

You've not spent a day at bilerico until you've had to spend all day moderating hateful comments and dealing with the e-mails from regular readers turned off by a bunch of hateful women "screaming" insults at each other. Alex and I are still dealing with the fall-out from this!

Nevermind the fact that when the conversations spilled over onto Pam's blog, the comment thread had to be shut down and a notice put up that the topic would never be promoted to the front page again due to the atrocious behavior of the commentors. It gets ugly for some reason.

I'll also have my red pen out today to watch the thread here. I'll give fair warning too - I'm in a pissy mood today and I'm about ready to start banning folks. Today would be the day if I have to wade in here to send folks to corners. I'm not willing to do it anymore.

Great post, Alex. I'm glad you found the discussion over there.

I agree totally with your comments about these fringe feminists, Alex. I'd like to comment about the post-script reference to the Bilerico War of 2008, and to suggest that we need a post on this subject and a discussion.

I sympathize with the moderator of this and other discussions that have become "ugly." But the implication is that the flame wars are a failure of netiquette by some commentators. Rather than concentrating on individuals, however, I think it's more useful to look at this like a (radical) sociologist and think about what social forces have led to such anger.

The truth is that most trans people are treated terribly out in the world. I myself have been conscious of being looked at like Frankenstein everywhere I go, and lost friends, family and career, and been laughed at on the street. The consistent simmering of such treatment is almost like PTSD: flashbacks are a symptom. When I come home from a long day of being disrespected, and then have to see the disrespect for my views coming from my own community, it's like waving a red flag at a bull. This lack of respect from people in my own community is far worse than disrespect from outsiders. It means I am totally alone in the world, and misrepresented by my brothers and sisters. It is, perhaps, a little more understandable why my anger may get expressed in suboptimal ways when the subject of transgender comes up.

I support the idea of firm and fair moderation, but I also suggest that it may be useful to talk about why we feel the need to disrespect each other within the community. It may have something to do with how our identities are more threatened by differences within the community than without.

I absolutely agree, Jillian.

That is the main point of this site - to spur these internal community discussions that we really need to be having. The question is how to best foster those discussions - do we let anything go? Do we strictly monitor?

When it comes to the political blogosphere, I think that we're on the far accepting end of that range, that we allow a lot to stand here that most other sites wouldn't even dream of allowing. We've never banned a commenter, we rarely pull comments.

But freedom of speech isn't that simple, and there are lots of people (trans and not), as Bil pointed out, who don't want to jump in with the piranhas and get eaten alive for expressing their opinions, who'll come to associate rank toxicity with this site. And that does no one any good.

Bil and I have talked about this - pulling a few comments and getting mad at people isn't a long-term solution. Maybe discussing the feelings behind this issue, whether they be like the ones you describe in your comment or different for other trans-people might go a ways to solving this. Maybe not healing the wounds (if only this blog were that powerful), but at least setting the community norm to respect.

Thank you, Alex.

First, for clearly stating something that I have always thought is self-evident.

Second, for supplying that perspective from what is clearly that of a conscientious observer.

Third, for reinforcing a point that I commented on earlier: that from the outside, we (the monkeys in the tranny barrel) look rather demented, and that it all gets a bit tiresome.

I have been a contributor to the War Without End, but I have made an effort here to at least keep the Molotov cocktails unlit. If I have failed at that, and have instead stoked the absurdity, then I apologize to you and Bil, whose work here I greatly respect.

The only voice not heard yes is the voice of
the HBS men and women. Has anybody figured why the separatist movement started in the first place.

When one group is dissatisfied and even has some of their own rights put into question their natural desire is to form their own group.

I can stand here and tell you that i have recieved more abusive treatment from other groups then from the mainstream. I am not the exception rather among post-transition folk the rule.

How many Gays and Lesbians know what it is like to be attacked by your supposed allies?

Y'all have solidified the movement and respectfully ask trans and non trans folk to acknowledger our right to identify as we wish.

There are members of the HBS community who are supportive of the GLBT cause please don't give us reason not to support your cause.
Support our right to Not be a part of the Transgender community. We didn't ask to join in the first place.

Respectfully;
Sue



Bil:
Thanx. I was just curious because I had never seen you all issue a comment like that.

I've only recently been following these threads so I'm not familiar with the issue as much.

This is a good post!

Bil,
If you'd like, I can create a military ribbon so you can decorate those who survived the Bilerico War of 2008. You should decorate yourself first, and add some clusters to it. I'm sorry I helped to put you through that.

Monica

"Heart" and other separatist feminists are by no means representative of feminists as a whole, despite their self-designation as The Real Thing. I was so over separatism about 34 years ago, and it didn't have a thing to do with lust. Separatism just seemed so regressive to me, planning to avoid the outside world on a more or less permanent basis (those were the women's land days).

Oh, thanks, Monica and Val, but, really, after the War, none of our hands are truly clean. I only hope that we can all learn to move on with our lives, to live a little, day-by-day, and see the beauty that surrounds us....

But seriously, the people who were really out-of-line aren't on here apologizing, and I contributed to it, too, I know. But that's not really the point, I guess, if we can learn from it. I know I learned a boatload about trans-people through the War. And I hope that some of those discussions were productive to the trans-people who participated too.

So maybe we didn't all die in vain.

Monica, is the medal pink and fuzzy with rhinestones? It'd be great if it matched my Official Marti Abernathy Jack-Booted Thug Jack-Boots!

O . . . M . . . G!!!! Pink and fuzzy rhinestones? Did Marti make you pay full price for those Jack-Boots? Hell, I got some butch tendencies, but even I wouldn't wear those. They would clash with my butterfly skirt.

(Hold your watches in the air and save them. Monica has just ruined our jack-boots again.)

Hi Alex
I hope you and others were able to take away the sense some of us have of being burried in a movement that for whatever reason and maybe by accident has marginalized our needs.

This is after all how the women's movement was started in the beginning of the last century.
it was not out of hatred but out of need just as our need to stand under our own umbrella is.


I am sorry things got out of hand
There were a lot of nasty things said toward people.

Take Care
Susan Robins

An interesting and informative article, thank you for the information, it is always good to know your enemies and where they may come at you.

I have to admit, I have not suffered(yet) as bad as many of my brothers and sisters. I transitioned on the job, at a place that had very inclusive and broad policies. The only fight I had was on being able to use the proper bathroom, which was quickly resolved in my favor. I did have some trouble with a few individuals on my team, but HR took care of most of the problems.

While transitioning, I was so focused on the goal of completing it, that I was not very politically or socially aware, beyond just locally. I did help on getting signatures for a petition to add transgender protections to city ordinances, which passed easily. It helps to live in one of the few "blue areas" of the big red state of Texas.

Slowly, since I have completed transition, I started becoming more active on the internet, reading, posting, seeing what is going on in the wonderful world of equality. I was aware of Janice Raymond's anti-trans streak of feminist rhetoric, but I had thought that type of bigotry was a thing of the past.

Guess I was mistaken.

I am also a bit peeved at the problems we, as transgender/queer people create for ourselves. There are too many enemies and too many obstacles arrayed against us for us to resort to the "eat our young" feeding frenzy that is apparent at many sites and in many posts. My bitterness and anger is against those that are trying to deny us the same rights as everyone else, not at my own kin.

It is not a matter of understanding everyone else in the community, that is an impossible task as we are all different and unique individuals. I will never understand how anyone could be attracted to men, doesn't mean I will discount their experiences and who they are.

I think it is time that we all realise and accept each others differences and seek to get over those differences and come together as an entire community, not just TG but LGBT as well.

Okay, that is my feel good post, if anyone wants to attack me, go ahead, I made it through transition I can take just about anything anyone can throw at me. ;-)

Thank you Alex for some insightful analogies and balance.

diddlygrl,
Can you handle a fast ball, or a change-up? Don't worry. This bitch can't pitch . . . a baseball.

I think you seem to have a healthy attitude on transitioning. I congratulate you. Are you a veteran? TAVA could use someone with your strength.

Monica

diddlygrl,
Can you handle a fast ball, or a change-up? Don't worry. This bitch can't pitch . . . a baseball.

I think you seem to have a healthy attitude on transitioning. I congratulate you. Are you a veteran? TAVA could use someone with your strength.

Monica

I am cautiously impressed by your decision not to ban anybody (yet) -- I'm assuming you haven't banned anyone, because you haven't banned the person that I would have banned, after reading the recent flamewars.

I've hung out on forums where it's assumed that the only way to maintain civility is to ban trolls as soon as they make it clear that's what they are. It would be nice if everybody could be allowed everywhere, but some people just refuse to play nice.

Hopefully your troll(s) will learn to have more respect for other people's differences . . . but it looks like they haven't even learned how to apologize yet.

Good luck!

Hi Monica,

Sorry, the military wouldn't take me at the time I tried, had a knee problem.

As far as baseball, well that is just not my game, now I used to could throw a mean post or fade pattern, but it has been too long ago.

When I was in group during transition, one of the mantras we had was that you had to develop a thick skin, and a lively sense of humor to even think of going through with it.

I took that to heart.

I was touched by your response to Barney Frank's blog post telling about the veteran woman who, having lost her job and not being able to find another one, resorted to the "ultimate solution". It is a sad and disheartening statistic that so many of our brothers and sisters do so.

The excuses some people give for their inaction and equivocation on trans issues is just sickening. Political expediency is no reason.

I used to read some of your articles in the Transgender Tapestry, which my therapist used to get. I think you do a great service and fine work for our community in general. Keep it up.

diddlygr

I lived in San Antonio for a year while helping some friends with their business.
I love Texas some of the nicest people in the country life in South Texas.
I am looking froward to moving back there when the economy turns around.

Take care
Sue

Sue,

I have a brother who lives in SA, he seems to really like it down there. I prefer Austin though, it is the town I was born in and am most used to. I know the community in Austin better than I do in San Antonio, since Austin is where I transitioned.

This is a very laid back and inclusive city, which is one of the reasons I like it. There is a trans community here, or at least the nucleus of one, being built up, and the city and most people seem to have no problems and be very accepting of the community. There was not much of a fight when they passed the trans-inclusive anti discrimination ordinance a few years ago, and I have not heard of too many cases of trans people being denied access or having problems with housing or employment. In fact, on an interview for a job today, I brought up the subject and told them about the problems I had with some of the members at my old place of work, and they said, if it happened then whoever caused a problem would be gone. As simple as that.

This is not to say that everything is hunky dory. We are still in the middle of the bible belt, or as some would say, Texas is the buckle of the bible belt, and if you go out to towns around Austin, you can still run into problems. If you get into west Texas, east Texas, and some areas of north or south Texas, you definitely need to watch yourself. This is true for all GLBT people though, not just trans.

Since areas like Austin are the minority, things are not going to change for a long time here. I have hope though, got to have hope, otherwise, what do you have left. ;-)

As far as the RRRW is concerned GLBTs are all predators. They want to nothing more than to prey on children and women (for those are our most vulnerable members of society). Hence the scaremonger tactics where linebackers in dresses will be going into locker rooms to ogle naked women and boys will pretend to be transgender to get into the girls bathroom (which implies the girls will be assaulted).

This is nothing more than a new version of the "if we allow gay men in the military/health club/whatever they'll be ogling me and trying to do things to me" meme. To the RRRW GLBTs are nothing but sex-fiends whose hormones are at a constant fever pitch, and who have no standards at all. Any person they see will do, and they'll attack everybody in sight like rabid dogs on fresh meat.

How everybody can't see through their outrageous claims is beyond me.

Buffy,

It is because many of them actually believe what their preachers tell them. Just because the fundies play fast and loose with the rest of leviticus, and ignore the part where Jesus said that I have come to fufill the law, it suits their own prejudices against those they can't understand, to think they are sinners and are going to burn in hell.

Heck, with the fundie christians anything that is fun is a sin, along with anything that does not fit their narrow whitebread view of the world. They are brainwashed from the time they are old enough to reason into that mindset, and every sunday and wednesday they get it reinforced. it is not the peoples fault really, they are just repeating what they are told.

We could of course shoot the preachers, but then that is against my faith to do no harm, so there you go. I am sure however, the Goddess will have a few choice words for them, and probably make them have to go through life quite a few more times to learn the lessons they missed this time around. Shoot, maybe just for fun she will make them come back as cockroaches!

We can only hope.

Before i had moved there my roommate at the time here in SanDiego had lived in Dallas. She passed on all kinds of warnings about how bad San Antonio was ...
I found out she was mastaken, the job i had in San Antonio was a home repair related business i was helping some friends. We dealt with people of all types and i found the people there to be very friendly in that down home sort of a way.

I lived in Huston for a time and enjoyed it also except for the black mold. I spent 2 months in Houston and a couple of weeks less then a year in San Antonio. My girlfriend and i lived in the north east end of the city just north of Randolf AFB.

The only i am even out at all is because i am living in the city i transitioned in when in Texas I didn't get involved in any GLBT stuff.
My girlfriend and i just lived our lives and those around us never had a second thought, save the one comment i overheard from one of the children on the playground while i was doing my landury. he said "my mom thinks that lady and the woman she lives with are lesbians. That was the only thing that was ever said. Everyone was friendly and knew me and my girlfriend by our first names.
Life really doesn't get much better..
Take care
Sue


Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | January 31, 2008 12:40 AM

Alex, another thought-provoking and excellent post!!!

I really appreciate your take on queerness and feminism, it really resonates with me.

Sue,

Northeast San Antonio is pretty cool, it has a nice eclectic mix of people. I think maybe the part you were being warned about is more south SA and possibly west. There is a strong catholic presence in some parts of the city, which isn't always conducive to good relations with the LGBT community.

In many of the larger cities it is not too bad, though in every city there are areas that are not lightly tread in. Mostly it is the smaller cities and towns that are troublesome. The good ole "family values" type are strong in the smaller towns and cities here. One good thing we have going for us is a strong streak of independent, live and let live thinking on the part of many people. Too bad it doesn't translate to the state legislature, which is in the pocket right now of the conservatives and religious right.

I can only hope things will change in the future.

Rock on Alex!

The sort of "thinking" you describe boils down to a failure to realize/acknowledge that "my way" isn't everyone's way and/or reality is messier than my nice, neat theories -- and both are by no means limited to LBGTQ issues.

Though it should be pointed out that it's not always folks who are invested in traditional definitions who fall into this sort of thinking. I've seen plenty of "more alternative than thou" rigidness here in SF. Julia Serano has a good discussion of what she calls "subversivism" (as in the romanticization of...) in "Whipping Girl."

It saddens me to see a group of women who are obviously standing up to claim their own space and worth at the same time being discriminatory in who's worthy of their space and worth too.

Very sad. One step forward, but two steps back...

Only "two" steps back?

(Monica waving at Bil two "miles" back . . . at least that's how I see it.)

Actually Bill it is not that way.
All we want is our space. We are willing to let the T community have the community all to their own we just want our space. Nothing discriminatory about it. It's called laying claim to our space.
-------------------------------------------
new thought....

diddlygrl

Our job took us all over Bexar county and the three adjoining counties including the hill country. i dealt with people (strangers) several times a day.
I found the people to be warm and friendly much more then those in Southern California.
Part of it could have to do with how i see myself.
I am susan first and formost
A women second
My children's parent
My girlfriend's girlfriend
Everything else next.
The fact that i am a lesbian and in a relationship and have a trans history doesn't mean i have make those things the center of my personal universe.

That is where my space is,
life is too short to let sexual or gender identity rule it.

By the way my employer a wonderful Catholic woman knew about my history and didn't care she happened to be a friend of my girlfriend who is Pre-Op/IS The two of them have known each other for most of thirty years. I think we need to be careful when we put people in a box based on their religious convictions. Being white and Christian i take a lot of flack for both sometimes.

We all can find our space like i said above that means that sometimes we have to give up a little to let others have their space.

Take Care
Goog talking to you
Sue

i wanted to state that your comments #8 and #11 were very well thought of and good points of view. i am a gay male and i finally understand the struggle that my trans brothers and sisters have had to go through pre, during and post transition. i belong to an mcc church in l.a. and we have quite a few transgendered members. i have several transgendered men and women i have come to know and have learned so much from. one of them i am extremely close to and has had a profound impact on my life. prior to meeting any trans person, i didn't know a lot about them and i must admit that i had to become educated. however, prior to my education i never felt that those men and women were any less then i or anyone else. i never once felt the need to ridicule or make them feel small. as a matter of fact i have found myself standing in awe at the great strength and abundant courage it takes to be a transgendered person. it took me a few years to come into my own, but it wasn't a too far stretch for me to be who i was, because the makings were already there. my closest friend who transgendered from male to female unfortunately had a previous marriage and other things to struggle with as well as making the journey to her own identity. i am there for her now and talk with her on a regular basis and i see that she is much happier now that she is coming out on the other side. she has told me of the many struggles that the transgendered community has to face, which are very similar to the comments i have read here today. i have learned that the transgendered community is the salt of the earth and the most wonderful people i have ever met. talk about keeping it real you guys are the best. just so you guys know you have a lot more supporters out there amongst the gay and straight community than you know. they may not speak up as loudly as the bigots and the other haters but we are there and we are strong! We are the ones talking to our other straight brothers and sisters to include them on our journey to a full acceptence. it may be happening slowly but it is for sure a change that is taking place!.....you'll see!

Great post, Alex... Now, the last thing I would want to do is shatter Heart's label of herself as a feminist, instead I'll just say that she is the type of feminist that very plainly-does not "get" it. And, unfortunately, to her credit, there are more like her out there- acting more like the patriarchy than actually pushing against it. The problem isn't so much with her opinions, but that she shares them.

Heart wrote:

"Of course someone who lives as a man most of the time but identifies as a woman should freely stroll in wherever women are dressing, peeing, or showering, and if women have a problem with that, they should get over it."

This just does not happen. Sorry, but someone who "lives as a man most of the time" and truly "identifies as a woman" is not going to "stroll in."

As a lesbian, who has researched ad nausea all things trans, and who personally knows a handful of transpeople, and who is acquainted with many others... the last thing they want to do is send women screaming for their safety from the locker room. It just doesn't happen.

What does happen, almost never, is a fucking crazy person who is not at all trans, will come in to a so-called "womens space." And then someone like Heart will come along and make a gigantic leap backwards- trying to make an association that does not exist.

Kelly,

Right on. As a transwoman, when I go to the rest room, it is for a specific purpose. Since I would now find it next to impossible to use a urinal, and would likely turn more heads and cause a bigger ruckus going into a mens restroom, I will stick to the womens restroom.

The same was true when I belonged to a gym. I was not about to bear my breasts in front of a bunch of men, just to assauge the fears of some hung up femi-nazi. As someone who is now outwardly as female as any of them, I feel it is my right to use the appropriate facilities.

Please refer to comment number 38: First of all, thank you for your kind comment about my comment number 8.
Education is an ongoing process, and may I offer a suggestion? It's concerning the use of the word, "transgendered." There is someone in my general vicinity who feels as though it's her mission in life to see that this word is never used. I understand her position, and I share it here. People are not born "maled," "femaled," or "transgendered." It is male, female, and transgender.
Having said that, one doesn't become transgender; one is born with the condition as hypothosized by many in the medical community. I agree with that.
Your being supportive of your transgender friend is, I'm certain, much appreciated. We in the "T" community have many issues, one of which all too often is one of isolation.
You do understand the need for all of us to work together. One convert. How many more to go????