Marti Abernathey

You Aren't Like Me, Susan Stanton

Filed By Marti Abernathey | January 02, 2008 5:14 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: HRC, Susan Stanton, transphobia

One of the many rumors flying around the transgender blogosphere is that the next Human Rights Campaign (HRC) golden (or token, if you like) transgender person is Susan Stanton. If true, it's an sign of just how desperate the HRC is to "Win Back" the transgender community.

One of the most obvious reasons that she should not represent the transgender community is experience. This time last year, Susan was still Steve. Susan was still closeted. She transitioned from Steve to Susan in May of last year. The words "newbie" and "neophyte" ring loudly through my ears when the name Susan Stanton is spoken. A recent story in the St. Petersburg Times shows just how unprepared Stanton is to lead this community.

Susan has met hundreds of other people like her. She was among the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people lobbying for a law that would make it illegal for others to discriminate against them.But Susan has said all along that she's not like other transgender people. She feels uncomfortable even looking at some, 'like I'm seeing a bunch of men in dresses.'

On the face of it, that is one of the most transphobic statements I've ever heard spewed from the the mouth of another transgender woman. It's saying, 'I'm not like THOSE people, those MEN IN DRESSES!'

Eventually, she decided it was too early for transgender people to be federally protected. People need more time, more education, she says. "The transgender groups boo me, now, when I speak. Isn't that ironic?

"But I don't blame the human rights groups from separating the transgender people from the protected groups. Most Americans aren't ready for us yet," Susan says. Transgender people need to be able to prove they're still viable workers -- especially in the mainstream.

Gosh, how would Susan know the pulse of American's feelings on transgender people? The numbers from HRC's own polls done in 2002 and 2004 suggest something much different than her conclusions. Her words sound hauntingly familiar to Barney Frank's verbal assaults against gender identity inclusion in the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Stanton wonders why she's getting booed? HRC is clearly not speaking for the "good" of the transgender community. They have been actively working against transgender inclusive legislation. They are hardly the people to be judging nor picking who should or shouldn't speak on our behalf. The booing isn't ironic, but inevitable when you are a shill for an organization that threw us under the ENDA bus.

The less obvious reason is that her life experience as a transperson is of one of privilege. She has little concept of the struggles of most trangender women.

'I'm still getting used to so many things about my new body,' Susan says. "It's intoxicatingly enjoyable and absolutely right." She loves the feel of soft sweaters on her hairless arms, the new curves of her hips, her smooth cheeks and chin. And there's still one leap to make.In May, Susan flies to Arizona for the $15,000 gender-reassignment surgery.

The majority of trangender women who want surgery, can't have it. The cost is just too much, most of us are barely getting by. Most transgender women who are unable to find work because of their transition don't have to means to have an apartment and support a family in another house, while unemployed. I don't know any women that can have electrolysis done while not working (do the math $70 to $150 a treatment X 52 weeks X 2 to 3 years) . For most of us, life is a constant struggle to survive. We can't jet off to another state and have surgery on the first anniversary of our real life test. Stanton is obviously a person of means, even in her unemployment. Such is not the state for the majority of the transgender community.

But the biggest reason of all, is the kind of rhetoric that she is spouting is dangerous to our movement. Her comments are nothing short of misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic.

Six months ago, I would have said, 'No. Never. I'm not gay.' Now it feels nice, natural, when a man buys me a drink," Susan says. "It's nice to have someone order dinner for you, choose the wine.

Inherent in her message is that women are submissive, men are dominant. Note to Susan: this outdated rhetoric went out in the 1970's. Maybe she hasn't heard that "women are doing it for themselves."

Six months ago, I would have said, 'No. Never. I'm not gay.' Now it feels nice, natural, when a man buys me a drink.

Note to all gay men: If you take hormones, and wear a dress, you'll be heterosexual.

"I was a good city manager. I know I was. I had high expectations and held people responsible for achieving results," Susan says. "I could've made it work. I'm not some drag queen in a pink miniskirt with 6-inch heels. And I'm not Aunt Bee.

The divisive and patriarchal attitude Stanton is spewing will throw us back years. Instead of being the leader of the transgender community, she sounds like a better fit for the transsexual separatist movement.

Many of us are trying to find work, even if we don't pass so well. Many of us are a secure in our own sexuality. Many of us do not spew self hating homophobic and transphobic statements. Some of us do sex work because we can't find any other work. Some of us live in the streets because our families have abandoned us. Some of us look like Aunt Bee.

If she don't understand us, and in fact has contempt for us, she probably shouldn't speak for us. She isn't helping us.

I'm not like Susan Stanton, and I hope some day she isn't either.


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Marti she is right she is different....

First off no tact. Like a man in a dress.
Perhaps Stanton needs to look in the mirror a second time before judging others. While i don't identify as TS anymore since transition I don't pull that kind of crap. Here is what takes the cake...

'I'm still getting used to so many things about my new body,' Susan says. "It's intoxicatingly enjoyable and absolutely right." She loves the feel of soft sweaters on her hairless arms, the new curves of her hips, her smooth cheeks and chin. And there's still one leap to make.In May, Susan flies to Arizona for the $15,000 gender-reassignment surgery.

Can you say Autogynephile? One of J. Michael’s Girls.
They do exist and they are in my opinion Not TS.

This also reminds me of something else.

Back in 1994 there was a young woman who was an embarassment to the partially sighted community.
You might remember for her lack of social grace, lack of tact and they way she held her self was king size embarrassment to those of us who are partially sighted, her name was Nancy Carrigan.
Yah..
Her the Olympic skater.

Take pride in the fact Stanton is different, and that there are few like Stanton.

Take care
Sue


You Hypocrite | January 2, 2008 7:09 PM

Let me get this right, a trans person is moving up into becoming a visible leader of the trans community and you can't stand it that you didn't get to approve her in advance?
The ego! The gall! The hypocrisy! You complain non-stop about non-inclusion and discrimination and marginalization then complain even more when one speaks up.
Ms. Stanton is lucid, logical, sane, normal, and was fired for being trans. She is a wonderful role model for all oppressed peoples.
Learn to live w/ it and her. Appreciate the fact that your movement HAS a spokesperson working for inclusion.
Then, for once, stop complaining and work for change instead of against it.

There is a reason why there is a minimum age limit set on members of congress and the office of President. It has every bit to do with experience that being life experience.

Stanton has not lived even a year full time yet.
Stanton has little useful experience living as a member of TG let alone female society.

Regardless of what You Might Think Leadership requires a certain amount of experience and apprenticeship.

Most Gay People i know wouldn't tolerate someone trying to buy their way into a leadership position with little piratical experience living that life.

To be honest i usually don't respond to people hiding behind a handle but you are the exception.
Count yourself lucky.


Sue

Be kind Marti. You know what happens to transgender people who spend too much time with HRC:

"Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger (or at least risk) in which the hostage has been placed. Stockholm syndrome is also sometimes discussed in reference to other situations with similar tensions, such as battered person syndrome, rape cases, child abuse cases and bride kidnapping."

That David Smith is such a brute.

Let me get this right, a trans person is moving up into becoming a visible leader of the trans community and you can't stand it that you didn't get to approve her in advance?

You got that wrong, not right. She's not " moving up", she's being elevated. It would be like elevating Larry Craig to be President of HRC.

The ego! The gall! The hypocrisy! You complain non-stop about non-inclusion and discrimination and marginalization then complain even more when one speaks up.

One? There are about 150 more qualified folks to stand up, than Ms. Stanton. And those folks don't make blatantly transphobic and homophobic remarks.

Ms. Stanton is lucid, logical, sane, normal, and was fired for being trans. She is a wonderful role model for all oppressed peoples.

Maybe in Uncle Tom circles, she might be a good role model. She was fired for being trans...wow, what a concept. She now joins the majority of us. The difference is that she's shilling for an organization that ISN'T SUPPORTING US.

Learn to live w/ it and her. Appreciate the fact that your movement HAS a spokesperson working for inclusion.
Then, for once, stop complaining and work for change instead of against it.

Complaining? Many of us are working for change, and writing commentary at the same time. We can chew gum and talk at the same time. She doesn't speak for me and she doesn't speak for inclusion. If you can't see that, you need a new glasses prescription.


You Know Marti...
Is scares me how often we agree....

Take care
Good post by the way...

Sue

Ms. Stanton is lucid, logical, sane, normal, and was fired for being trans. She is a wonderful role model for all oppressed peoples.
Learn to live w/ it and her. Appreciate the fact that your movement HAS a spokesperson working for inclusion.
Then, for once, stop complaining and work for change instead of against it.

You Hypocrite
=====================================

She's such a good tranny - knows her place. Don't rock that boat - 'cause history is always made by those woman who are well behaved.

What you're hearing hippo - is just about the entire community saying "ew - I didn't vote for her"

I'm rather proud of that.

Damn right Kathy. HRC and Barney Frank are trying to pick our leaders for us. The problem for them is that we'll choose our own leaders, thanks, and those who speak out against treating us fairly and equally under the law don't qualify as viable candidates.

Susan Stanton is no more credible on our issues than those trying to promote her to a position she is completely unqualified for.

Gee bet she never went the im a CD ie Cross Dresser for years part only to figure out yes you realy are a woman. O wellshe will learn sooner or laters.

She could be another Renene Richards....

...
No comment..


Hugs
Sue


Gee bet she never went the im a CD ie Cross Dresser for years part only to figure out yes you realy are a woman.

The scary part, Cathy, is that (IIRC) she actually did. :c/

Hi Maudite
Now that realy is scary! I started Cross Dressing when I was 13 and for time line that was way back in 1968! Just try being a CD teen in the deep south during that time line!During the 90s I discoverd the CD support groups and learned the hard why where not to go dressed as a woman why im now armed when I go out That does not mean carring a gun a nice sock filled with ball bearings or marbels and a wide belt with a wicked buckle works wonders for most drunks so learn to fight dirty if you ever have to defend yourself.Also your purse can be a hefty weapon.

Oh well.

While it's nice to suggest that HRC should pick a trans person to represent the T who's supportive of trans-inclusion in the ENDA, they're not going to. They need someone who agrees with them on every major, divisive issues, and the ENDA split was one of those.

The problem isn't Stanton, although I agree that someone who hasn't been out that long and doesn't have even close to representative experiences isn't fit to "represent" or "lead", it's the way the system works.

Someone's gotta make Aravosis feel like he isn't transphobic while he talks about "men who want to cut their penises off".

Wait, wait, wait. No one addressed the most important part of the post... Was Aunt Bee a trannie? Holy cow! That show does have a redeeming trait!

I lost all sympathy and respect for Susan Stanton when she refused to sue those bastards for firing her. She is one of the lucky minority of trans Americans who actually had a local law protecting her from this kind of discriminating, and she wussed out of utilizing it and let them get away with it. She clearly needs to work stuff out a little less publicly before anyone makes her any kind of poster child.