Alex Blaze

Hate starts rolling in for Thomas Beatie

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 05, 2008 3:36 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living, Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Morning Joe, Oprah, pregnancy, Thomas Beatie, transgender

I posted yesterday video from Thomas Beatie's appearance on Oprah. Beatie is the Oregon transman who came out publicly about his pregnancy in The Advocate two weeks ago.

I think Oprah was overall pretty sensitive to the issue at hand. She asked a few leading questions, but it seemed more because Thomas was obviously nervous and hadn't rehearsed his story.

More bothersome than Oprah implying that the death of Beatie's mother somehow made him trans was when he said that he tried to get in touch with organizations to get help and they either told him to keep quiet about it or didn't respond. I've tried to do some investigative blogging to find out who said what, and I'll have more on that next Monday.

What's disturbing and sickening, though, is the way that other shows have handled it. More on that after the jump.

Bil posted last week about Letterman calling Beatie a "androgynous freak show." But yesterday morning Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski called Beatie's pregnancy "disgusting" and "useless," repeating over and over again that they didn't want to know any more about it. Here's video of the general douchebaggery, via Queerty:

He also led into the next story by saying "This is probably why 81% of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction."

Um, yeah. It has nothing to do with that 5-year war for oil or the housing crisis or that city getting destroyed by a hurricane that still hasn't been rebuilt or rampant corruption in the Bush Administration. Americans are just so vapid that this is what makes them upset. Thanks, Joe.

Also, from Media Matters, here's video of Bill O'Reilly calling this pregnancy a "tragedy":

Personally, I feel more sorry for any child out there who's had the misfortune of reading Bill O's children's book.

Last, Pam points out the discussion board over at Oprah's website on the show. The comments range from ignorant to hateful. I wasn't able to find anything positive there after a quick scan, but I'm sure there are a few nice comments.

(Sidenote to anyone who is still under the mistaken impression that we're not all in this together: notice how many of these people, from Oprah to ThinkProgress, to random commenters, conflate "gay" and "transgender." For all legal purposes, Beatie's a man married to a woman. But even some of the most open-minded straight people don't see the difference as readily as we might think they do.)

I'm still looking into what orgs are doing to ameliorate this situation. It seems like the community was caught off-guard here since I haven't seen much positive discussion of this. And even though stupid punditry is their bread and butter, Media Matters is only up on one of these items. I know that there's some behind-the-scenes work going on here, so I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, check out what Scandalous Candice has to say about MSNBC's coverage.


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The reactions from the RRRW types make me sick. They have no problem, it seems, with the families who let their children die because they think prayer is a suitable substitute for medical care. They see nothing morally wrong with a 5+ year war based on lies. They look the other way when countless "moral leaders" are found guilty of the most reprehensible crimes against children, women and society at large. But any time LGBT individuals want to marry and/or start a family the hateful remarks begin and they're worried about the repercussions for the children. Gah!

Thanks for posting the MSNBC coverage, Alex. I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch it happen live and started screaming at the TV. What's truly disgusting is that these so-called "news-casters" interject their own ignorance and bigotry into reporting news.

Thanks Bilerico, for being so smart and sane and for being a beacon of light in a world half full of darkness.

Not coincidentally, I have been reading about this throughout the day and have been following the story with increasing interest since I first heard about it a week or two ago. I saw the Oprah interview and felt it was fairly well done (with similar reservations about the suggestion that the death of Thomas' mother influenced his gender identity). I have also read the largely hateful, ignorant and close minded comments on Oprah's bb and have seen rude and transphobic comments from tv 'news' casters and I have to share, it is makng me SO furious. As a human, a social worker, a femme lesbian with a trans-sensitivity, I just can't fathom why people would put so much negative energy into being mean spirited about a loving couple who want to create a family. THAT is what is seriously despicable.
Grrrr!

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | April 5, 2008 6:00 PM

Wow, not having a TV for the last 5 years and only selectively watching my housemate's since I moved is clearly a blessing, as I've missed all this disturbing, right wing (and predictable) propaganda.

People magazine, dated April 14th, on the other hand, treats Thomas' story surprisingly respectfully.

Odd, though, isn't it that the story has such traction now? Thomas is not the first transitioned FtM to bear a child. The first I knew of was Matt Rice, some 10 years ago, partnered with Patrick Califia--both parents sporting high media profiles, and both FtMs. There might have been others before them. I wonder why the media is all over the story now? Could it be because Thomas' picture of "heterosexual normality" hides a radically subversive truth?

As for the Right's condemnation, they condemn us and our relationships for being "unnatural," saying we can't produce children; then when we prove them wrong by having kids, we're condemned as "unnatural" and "freaks." Voila! 30 years of Republican de-funding of public education bears fruit in a mass-movement totally lacking the ability to think logically or critically.

Thats why most of us who are trans prefer to be low key and even lower key on who we tell what we are. Its much eaiser to disapear in our new sex and start over from scratch thats why so many of us just dissapear after our final GRS.

So when you start on why cant the Trans be out there like us well hate is one of the main things and yes we get our share from Gays and Lesbians to so think about it.

oh yeah public education has never talked about us no matter who funded it!

More bothersome than Oprah implying that the death of Beatie's mother somehow made him trans...

I think he deflected that pretty well, talking about his memories of his mother up until he was 12ish. Made it clear that it wasn't simply a case of never having a female role model. But it did signal to me that Oprah still doesn't "get it" in some ways, though she tries.

was when he said that he tried to get in touch with organizations to get help and they either told him to keep quiet about it or didn't respond.

I missed the context of this. If he's referring to help for when they wanted to start conceiving a child, then I can see most local trans communities you can think of balking. I've experienced some pretty stilted and narrow-minded advice even in the trans community, from "wear only loose and baggy clothing to hide your body shape" to "a 'real' MTF transsexual isn't attracted to women." This is what "Transbigotry?" and its subsequent commentaries were all about, because we admittedly really do need to do some head-shaking to pull our community together.

I think Oprah was overall pretty sensitive to the issue at hand.

Me too, although the comments on her message board are overwhelmingly negative, so I expect that she won't make the same mistake again (Zoe and a few others are now trying to stem the tide).

Um, yeah. It has nothing to do with that 5-year war for oil or the housing crisis or that city getting destroyed by a hurricane that still hasn't been rebuilt or rampant corruption in the Bush Administration. Americans are just so vapid that this is what makes them upset. Thanks, Joe.

Actually, for some -- certainly not 81%, but a noticeable amount -- Joe may be right. I'm not talking about whatever percentage of people are actually not intimidated by our existence or somewhat uneducated, I mean those people who usually don't read / watch news, live a narrowly confined life and are waiting for Jesus to some back. I get this from my Fundamentalist mother, who I've had to virtually disown.

"Imagine a poor kid getting born into that family" -- Bill O'Reily

She'll (or at least that's what the ultrasound shows) have two parents who've experienced what it's like to be raised as and socialized as a girl; two parents who really wanted to have her -- enough that they went to an extreme to make it possible. Aw maaaannnnnn!

Shit, that's more than most kids have today. But I'm sure some do-good will push to have their child taken away.

One caveat:

The one thing I do have reservations about is Thomas' promoting his unfinished and uncontracted book. I do believe that some of this publicity is designed to up the selling price. While I do believe that he and his wife are perfectly capapble and loving as parents, I do see a little exploitation happening here. :(

As deplorable as the comments from the right-winhers are, the thing that really sickens me are the reactions of gay and lesbian people. The comments I've seen at Towleroad, Joe My God, Queerty, and around the blogosphere invariably have a lot of gay men pronouncing "she's just a pregnant bearded lady" or "she's just seeking attention, any negativity she encounters, she brought on herself" or "Crazy shit like this is why most gay people don't want anything to do with the T community" (emphasis on female pronouns highlighted for effect).

I expect the neocons to be bigoted assholes. It's beyond disappointing to hear it coming from members of the community.

A little exploitation? How about a lot.

I do not know if he is doing it to fund his daughter's education, just to be greedy, or some other motive altogether, but he is the one pushing the story and seeking the publicity. If he didn't consider the reaction that this would get, well that seems pretty naive of him.

Of course the ridiculous right is going to come out against this, along with all the rightwing wingnuts out there who ridicule anyone who does not tow their party line. Do you think Sally Kern's beliefs came from a vacum? To the christian nutjobs we are evil incarnate. The anti-christ is gay and trans identified in their minds. If it doesn't fit within their narrow definition of what is "natural", then it is the work of the devil, a sin and abomonition in the eyes of their lord.

For them it is a holy war.

The backlash from this could cause irreparable harm to the rights of the transgendered and LGB community.

I'm with diddlygrl on this.

Although I have no problem with the man doing what he feels is necessary to have a child with his spouse, I have a major problem with the self-exploitation - because it is not simply self-exploitation; it is exploitation of his entire family and of anyone who is transsexual.

Had he contacted me beforehand I also would have told him to keep quiet - and I would have graphically described to him the extent to which making a buck off of this could devastate existing pro-trans law, hinder any progress on future law, and endanger the lives of people who don't want to make a quick buck off of their existence but instead simply want to be able live their lives.

Tired of all of the histrionics from the HBS crowd? Its antics like this man's that make their position seem far more reasonable.

Yes there are lots of antiTrans GLB folks one of the things I found out early on.But for every one who whishies we would just go away I meet many more who do want to be friends and allies. Even in the trans community we have those who dont like the CD folks and whish they would just become full trans or go away.I spent years as a CD long before I became Trans.

The backlash against this from Gay Men on the Oprah comments site has hit a new low. One gay guy has now written to his congresscritters asking for them to be investigated for federal tax fraud, as their state-recognised marriage "isn't valid under federal law".

I knew there was transphobia amongst a large segment of the gay male community, but I never thought they'd invoke DOMA to further it. This is rabid. I hope it's only some unrepresentative fringe group, "Gays Who Watch Oprah", but I'm beginning to wonder.

So far there have been zero gay men who have defended this couple. Only attacks on them for being Icky Lesbians with Girl Cooties. I mean, Whisky Tango Foxtrot?? The guy is straight.

Ethan Pleshe | April 6, 2008 2:08 AM

First and foremost I do not have hate for Thomas and his family. I think they have every right to have a child. I do however have concern. I have concern for the child they are bringing into the world. I think life is difficult enough for children. I am not sure it is a great idea for post transition transmen to have babies come out of them. Then add all the publicity, well that's another aspect all together.

Second to give you some background about why I feel this way. I was born out of wedlock in a rural part of Michigan. Not only did I get teased by children but parents in my town were not very nice to my mother and I about how I came into being. Basically I am what you call a "bastard." My mom has told my hard it was for her as well. For example, she was not able to buy a house because she was a single parent.

Now I don't believe there should be laws against transmen from giving birth. I am just not sure it is the best thing for the child. I would not want to explain to my child that I was their father as well as the one who gave birth. I am not sure how that would have affected me if I was the child. What I do know is that I hated feeling different and not just because of my gender but because of how I was brought into this world. I always felt that I was less than.

Signed,

Concerned Transman

Hm. Okay, even though I'd pointed out the self-exploitation, I'm not sure I have a problem with it. We don't know his motives. He may just want to create awareness and open debates just like when Jenny Boylan and Kate Bornstein wrote their own autobiographies. So I mentioned it because it's a potential concern, not earth-shaking. Let's see where he goes with it.

And personally, I don't see "creating awareness" as part of a "sky is falling," "now they're going to start hunting us" scenario. Part of the awareness that benefits us happens when the conservative right reacts so irrationally out of hate that the majority of undecided folk can see that homophobia / transphobia for what it is. We do have to work hard to avoid anyone being hurt or legislated into oblivion in the process, but that's how we'll achieve progress. The alternative is to crawl back into hiding and live with fears of being "found out."

Yeah, I know that I'm not trans and that the amount of out and proudness trans vs. gay people feel comfortable with is one of the big differences between our communities, but Thomas already went on Oprah. We can either spin this in a positive direction or a negative one at this point.

I don't see much "exploitation" here. He went on Oprah to promote a book. It isn't the first time someone's done that. We don't know his motivations, and we shouldn't assume them.

Zoe, if any of those Gay Men who Watch Oprah (GMWO) give you any trouble, just send them my way for a "Mary, Please."

I think what they're doing is fantastic. I love the challenging of gender norms. I love the fact that they're not hiding but, instead, forcing the world to see them. If I'm going to be hated, I'd rather be out living my life, not hiding because of it.

I think this case presents a great opportunity for us. No, I'm not talking about helping the non-trans community see through their hangups about gender issues. I'm talking about us transpeople who may be having strong reactions to a situation that makes us uncomfortable (and I'm not saying that everyone in this discussion falls into that category).

As a Buddhist, my spiritual practice involves first examining my own issues, then pondering whether there is a need for me to speak or act. I think Jesus had a similar idea: take care of the plank in your own eye before you try to remove the speck from your brother's.

The greatest opportunity here is the possibility of understanding and compassion: some of us transpeople who are uncomfortable might get a glimpse into how some non-trans folks feel about us. We all need to understand ourselves, then seek to understand others, before laying out our political agendas.

Tired of all of the histrionics from the HBS crowd? Its antics like this man's that make their position seem far more reasonable.

I just love this statement. The use of the word histrionics to describe the “HBS crowd” is priceless.

Just as a reminder, the HBS crowd’s position is that being transsexual is an innate condition from birth, a medical condition, and that complete gender reassignment surgery is the only available correction, and anything associated with one’s natal gender is abhorred, including and primarily their genitals. The main reason the term was invented/used/coined was to distinguish what for 40 years was described as classic transsexualism from the term transgender which included anyone who wanted to express an alternate gender expression. The HBS crowd, like the classic transsexual crowd, does not see their gender issue as a cause celebre, but a medical condition that is corrected with GRS.

Oh, yeah, that is an exaggerated emotional position for sure. At least some now think it is a bit more reasonable. Yeah right!

Part of the awareness that benefits us happens when the conservative right reacts so irrationally out of hate that the majority of undecided folk can see that homophobia / transphobia for what it is.

It is amazing that some think and continue to put forth as fact that anyone who doesn’t understand the gender queer are conservative, right wing, Christian fundamentalist who are homophobes or transphobes.

Go read the comments on Oprah. I don’t know what the demographic make-up of those who comment at the Oprah site are, but from reading the comments (I followed them from the start) the cross section of those who posted on this thread seemed to be made up of a cross section of society from the extreme liberal to the extreme conservative…from the atheist to the religious right…from the informed to the completely uninformed…from the admitted straight, to the out and proud gay. The posts generally fell into the following categories:

The show was a sham…their was no “miracle”, only a lesbian woman who chose to have a baby…no big deal…to each their own – live and let live…but the episode should not have been presented as a “man” having a baby. Virtually all supported the person’s right to conceive.

A “man” does not have a vagina, womb, or uterus. Men do not want to conceive children. Both sexes were insulted that the premise of a man with a natal female reproductive tract was presented…many called Thomas a fraud.

A huge number of the comments revolved around these two questions:

How could the couple be legally married if the man still has the ability to conceive? How could the Oregon court system legally rule this person a man because of a sex change operation if all they had done was have their breasts removed?

A surprising number of the commenters said they had no problem with someone changing their sex, but no one considered breast removal only as sex change surgery…and this included transmen (except for a commenter with the user name of transman17…an admitted non op.

Many were concerned with the social stigma that might surround the child as she grows up and expressed hope that the HRT the mother underwent prior to surgery would not harm the fetus.

Aside from the fact that most of the readers thought the show was a sham because a “man” was not having a baby, but a lesbian woman who wanted it “both ways”, the majority of the comments were of the vein that a woman removing her breasts, calling herself a man, then conceiving and becoming a mother was just plain ridiculous, tabloid in nature, Jerry Springer like, and downright disgusting. The whole issue was just wrong…on many different levels. Certainly there were the outright hate mongers who commented, but this was not the majority by a long shot; most were simply blown away and considered Thomas a confused individual.

Overall, I can understand why these viewers commented as they did.

Irrational reaction? Hardly. What is so irrational about it? What is irrational is to expect society to accept a man with a functional female reproductive tract as a male…or a female with a functional penis as female. (And forget about arguing DNA, Chromosomes, and Intersex issues with me.)

What did any of you expect them to walk away with after watching that Oprah episode? The comments on the Oprah show came from a wide variety of people and cross section of society, and many of the issues they raised were legitimate in my opinion. The posters were not made up of just neocons and religiois fanatics by a long shot…they were made up of society as a whole…over 2,000 posts as of last night. This was not just what the bigots and hate mongers thought, but what everyone walked away with. It is only the LGB and homosexual T that would support the gender portion of this issue, then again that group will support any gender issue, no matter how outrageous; everyone supports the mother’s right to conceive and the happiness of the couple as a whole.

Have any of the trans activists come out in their blogs fully supporting this? No. Why not? If you all fully support that this man’s gender is male, then why not support him completely? Why not support his national attention and argue his case? Why the hesitation? Well, we know why, don’t we? Of course, the GLB blog supports the couple whole heartedly. Why? Because they have nothing to lose whatsoever, that’s why. The GLB has nothing for the transgender and even less for transsexuals. Support in the blogs and support of the hundreds of thousands in the gay community at large are two entirely different issues. Already one gay man commented yesterday at Oprah’s site, as Zoe pointed out, that even though he lived in California he had contacted his representative to look into the legitimacy of the couple’s marriage. The GLB as a whole would like nothing more than to torpedo the marriage rights and legitimacy of post operative transsexuals…still, the “transgender” activists cling to their causes as if their very lives depend on it…selling post op transsexuals nation wide down the river every time they do.

Exploitation? Absolutely.

Attention? Certainly.

Damage? Incalculable.

But in the big scheme of things, it’s just another nail into the coffin of transsexual credibility and legitimacy…and each of you can lay that right at the feet of the LGB and homosexual T’s feet.

The whole thing is a pathetic embarrassment.

What’s new?

Dexpat Mike | April 6, 2008 11:49 AM

Hm, a lot of interesting comments and thoughts. I cetainly don't think they Thomas should be attacked or that newscasters should be so absurdly close minded, but that said, if he is a transMAN then why did he get pregnant?

I think that there are a number of people who, perhaps while not understanding transpeople, are willing to let them get on with their lives and will recognize them as the transperson wishes to be recognzied.

But from where I stand, that works both ways. If you are a female to male trans, then it seems to me having a baby is a rather odd thing. Men don't have babies - or at least my partner and I keep having sex and gosh, no babies yet (sadly) - so I have to say I do sympathize with a lot of my very liberal friends whose reactions range from whatever to disgust. Progress in soceity is really a two way street, I think that GLBT people should be out and proud, but we also have to work towards progress in a way that promotes our equality, not a lot of hate and backlash. Those nasty homos on the Oprah website probably don't realize that their comments don't just hurt trans people, but also the rest of the community.

Anyone, I am sure that the kid is going to turn out fine. So long as it has a great home to go to, kids pick on kids for every reason under the sun, so I really don't think it should be a major concern.

Lots of interesting comments on this post.

I think that if Beatie and his wife want to have a kid, then Goddess bless them. I don't want kids. If they've got the love and the patience to share with a little one, then I wish them the best.

What I don't understand about this story is why not adopt? And I think this applies to the LGBT community in general. Why the obsession with birthing babies? It used to be if you were queer and you wanted a child, you went out and adopted one. Now it's all trendy to go to the sperm doctor and spend lots of money to get knocked up by the sperm donor of your choice. I just don't get it. There are thousands of kids in foster care who need to be adopted. A lot of those kids are there because they are LGBTQ. Who would be better parents for them than a nice LGBTQ couple?

I get why Beatie is having this baby. He and his partner really want kids. I just don't get why that kid has to come out of your own body to qualify as being "your child." Perhaps this is because I'm adopted myself. But I really just don't get it.

I do not know if he is doing it to fund his daughter's education, just to be greedy, or some other motive altogether, but he is the one pushing the story and seeking the publicity. If he didn't consider the reaction that this would get, well that seems pretty naive of him.

I couldn't agree more, diddly. He's been pushing this story hard. From the book to hoping maybe he'll get a movie deal, this seems more like him exploiting himself than anything else.

Of course he knew there'd be backlash. While he claims to have contacted all these orgs, as far as I know none have said they talked to him. Instead, most are complaining that they wished he had contacted them.

This isn't the first time a transman has gotten pregnant. It's even been covered in the media. What's turning this into a circus is him. It's not that he doesn't have a right to tell his story - we all have that. It's that he should have prepared better since his story is going to have repercussions across the country for everyone else in the LGBT community.

everytime a trans man or woman goes public there is a "backlash". they are too feminine or masculine, or not feminine or masculine enough. they should have surgery or are crazy for having surgery. they are pathetic or they are deceivers. God help us, because no matter what you do you will be wrong. Some feel we should be stealth and hide who we are. who will defend the rights for our youth? who will fight for justice? why speak for those ashamed of their own existence?

thomas beatie is just a man. i am not ashamed of him or his decision. i am not angry at him. he is not the cause of hatred and bigotry. injustice and ugliness do exist, but they are not what grows in his belly. injustice exists because it brings us comfort. we aren't like "them". we aren't gay, or effiminate, or butch, or pathetic. we aren't deceivers. we are men and women white and black or anything but them. well, fuck it. because i am them. "they" are all our brothers and sisters. i am not going to hate anyone because i am worried about backlash. i am proud of any who decide to be open and out. we need to have pride in who we are. we need to fight injustice with our every breath. not each other.

Have any of the trans activists come out in their blogs fully supporting this? No.
Guess I'm not a trans activist then, because I did. Back on March 15th too.

In just a few generations, it could be possible for non-TS men to carry children, though obviously the birth would be by ceasarian. We could do it today, though surrogacy looks better at this point, and until more animal experimentation is done, it would not and should not pass any Ethics committee.

But some guys - non-TS ones - have expressed the view that if they had to, if there was no other choice, they would do it.

I hold transmen to the same standards as other men, no more, no less. Most wouldn't do it, but some would.

Have any of the trans activists come out in their blogs fully supporting this? No.

Count me as #2 (I hate being #2). I've been pretty much out there in several places except my blog thus far, which is focused on the destigmatization debate at the moment. But I will be discussing many of our "pariahs," Beatie included (as well as Michelle Kosilek, Lana Wachowski and possibly Michael Jackson), soon.

In just a few generations, it could be possible for non-TS men to carry children

If you think cloning was an issue, just wait until this comes up. But the science isn't there, and there aren't any volunteers yet, because the risk is still far too great. Give it five years.

It is amazing that some think and continue to put forth as fact that anyone who doesn’t understand the gender queer are conservative, right wing, Christian fundamentalist who are homophobes or transphobes.

True. Some of them are right-wing HBS transphobes who can't believe that other transgender people might be experiencing the same gender dysphoria but only to a lesser degree (i.e. crossdressers), or dual-identified. And of course, people like myself, who live 100% as female (or male, in the case of FTMs), who would put a gun to their head if they were ever forced to live as male again, who have seen their libido completely die off (ruling out the notion of them having a sex fetish) and who opt to keep their existing bits for spiritual or other reasons (i.e. to have a child that their partner can't conceive) will never be "true" transsexuals by HBS standards either.

God help us if the medical community ever takes seriously a theory born of bigotry, snobbery and hate.

Have any of the trans activists come out in their blogs fully supporting this? No.

There was a convention or something this past week. Expect reactions this week.

It is not that I am against his concieving and having the baby. From what I understand, his wife could not concieve, and they wished to have a child, so he decided to do what he had to in order for them to have a child together. That is all well and good.

My concern is in what might happen due to his publicity. It is very possible that marriage rights for transpeople across the country will be affected. Here in Texas, it has already been dealt with, in the negative. A transman or woman can not marry someone of the same sex as determined by their DNA. In other words, an XX can't marry an XX and an XY can't marry an XY. Legally we can not get our birth certificates changed from our natal gender either (I just last year went through the process and ran into this.).
I know in other states things are different. But then, what is going to happen when people start asking how and why a "woman by birth", is allowed to marry another woman? Not just in Oregon, but in other states, you know people are going to start looking into this, and the whole question of "gay marriage by proxy" so to speak, is going to be brought up.

The potential for backlash and the loss of rights that some of us now enjoy is just too great. The nefarious "they" are always seeking ways to attack us, what better than to close the loopholes that allow transpeople to marry?

To Zoe, though I didn't read either of your posts as supporting the national attention and publicity this is getting whatsoever, if you say you think it is a good thing here then your position is clear.

To Mercedes...I didn't see you address it at all in your blog, but as with Zoe, if you feel all of the national attention and publicity this is getting is a good thing then your position is clear as well.

I'm sorry, I don't feel all of this attention will come to any good at all.

Mercedes, if you want to keep your bits for "spiritual or other reasons" and call yourself a female then splendid. But you are right about one thing, you will never be a "true" transsexual by HBS standards, or any standard for that matter and no one on the planet except the transgender community will ever see you as anything other than a male...just like no one went for the pregnant man sham either. Either way, you don't have to sell me on anything, do as you please.

Some of them are right-wing HBS transphobes who can't believe that other transgender people might be experiencing the same gender dysphoria but only to a lesser degree (i.e. crossdressers), or dual-identified. And of course, people like myself, who live 100% as female (or male, in the case of FTMs), who would put a gun to their head if they were ever forced to live as male again, who have seen their libido completely die off (ruling out the notion of them having a sex fetish) and who opt to keep their existing bits for spiritual or other reasons (i.e. to have a child that their partner can't conceive) will never be "true" transsexuals by HBS standards either.

Mercedes, I'd remove the "right wing HBS transphobes" phrase as being inaccurate and inflamatory, but otherwise couldn't have put it better myself.

I'm right wing, a believer in the neurological theory (too much evidence not to, but I won't go into that now). It's because I think it's neurological that it has to have degrees, and it has to affect different people differently. Biology Isn't Binary. Brains are not M or F, they have structures more typically M, or more typically F, or neither. Some configurations lead to a female gender identity, others to a male one.

However... just because Ebola and the Common Cold are both viruses, that doesn't mean they should be treated identically. It may be useful to categorise various forms of neural intersex into different artificial compartments on the basis of required treatment.

I really don't think it's always helpful to talk about "true" transsexuals. There are women who have masculinised bodies (and the reverse), that's all. Some are intersexed in other ways, some aren't. Some absolutely require surgery to survive, some don't. In many it's indicated, even if not necessary to save their lives: but they may choose not to have it, to temporarily maintain fertility for example, as you said.

There are also men with masculinised bodies, but some gender dysphoria caused by mild neurological intersex. OK, same basic condition, but the difference is so great, it's more useful to see it as a difference of kind rather than degree.

Over-simplified Soundbyte: TGs don't have medical issues, TS's do. TGs have mild legal issues if any, TS's have severe ones.

diddlygirl, Susan - look at what "not making waves" has gotten us so far. Kantaras vs Kantaras and other decisions showing our pretty new Birth Certificates aren't worth the paper they're written on. Exclusion from ENDA. Worse, the continued ignorance in the very conservative medical profession that costs lives.

Flying under the radar was a good strategy to use, until the backlash against the Gay Marriage push happened. But now we're on the Fundies' hit lists, on their screens, we're not going to get off them any time soon.

In the short term, things will get worse, a lot worse. That will happen more slowly if we keep quiet, but will still happen. At the local level, we keep on achieving minor gains in legislation, but at the state and federal level, we're going backwards. The Wisconsin Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act. The Massachusetts situation. ENDA and its children, Verizon not adding gender identity to its protected list as "HRC doesn't think its needed". Gays only need apply there. Expect more rollbacks.

Before, uncertainty and ambiguity in the law were our friends. Now they're not, we're losing every single time. The only way now is to go forward, absorb losses, and start from a firm foundation, though one at a much lower level. We're being pushed down that way anyway.

diddlygrl - who can XXY people in Texas marry?

Susan - a lot of people who are not trans will always see HBS women as men, too. :(

jerindc - yeah, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't, so let's just "do". :)

diddlygrl | April 7, 2008 9:34 AM

Felix, guess they will figure it out when they get a case about it. They didn't take such things into consideration when they made the ruling in Littleton. Knowing the wingnuts we have here, they will rule xxy can't marry anyone.

Felix,

As far as I know, that hasn't come up, but knowing the wingnuts we have here they would probably say no one.

Zoe, I disagree with your analysis and your approach. Many states honor our transition...including marriage and in every other way. And, I can't accept that destroying all of that and starting from a foundation is the way to proceed. And certainly a natal female, who has kept her reproductive system (regardless of HOW she identifies) is not my idea of a poster child to go forward with. We have not lost "every time" and rather than "accept" losses, we should persevere to regain the integrity we have lost in the past years by our association with the GLB...on our on and independently.

The GLB's issues are valid, but they are not the issues of transsexuals...not mine anyhow. We have the right to marry already by virtue of our BC being changed in all but a few states...but that right is being challenged by association with the GLB issue of same sex marriage. THAT is not right.

Felix, I can't debate that, you are right.

Susan, I'm not saying we should destroy what we've gained. I'm saying that our gains are being eroded, no matter what we do. In the USA, no TS marriage is safe, and hasn't been for some time. All it takes is some busybody to manufacture an interest in anullment - say by selling an insurance policy with different conditions for those married and single - and for them to do a bit of venue-shopping - and there you go. We're lucky they're not doing this now.

We also have no say in whether we are associated with GLB or not. About a third of us *are* GLB, so we can't just say "a pox on your house" no matter how great the provocation. More to the point, MassResistance and its ilk will use anti-Gay arguments against us, and anti-Trans arguments against Gays, no matter what we do.

I'll never forget the HRC betrayal over ENDA. I'll never forget the GLB transphobia so evidenced at the Oprah site. But I'll also never forget the hundreds of GLB organisations who supported us in ENDA either.

We could have used the fact that BCs can't be changed in some jurisdictions - leading to some same-sex marriages in fact if not in law - to both prove the idiocy of such laws *and* the intellectual bankrupcy of the bans on same-sex marriages in the conservative heartland. Instead, we have envious and spiteful GLBs actively working to undermine the legality of TS heterosex marriages because "they're actually same-sex, we're not allowed that, so they shouldn't be allowed that either".

This will happen anyway, no matter what we do. So we should plan for that, and take steps accordingly. And not fall into the trap of homophobia either, we have too many GLB allies, we can't commit the same treachery on them as some in the GLB community have committed on us.

Tricky, isn't it?