Austen Crowder

Counterpoint: trans-inclusion is distracting to LGB legislation

Filed By Austen Crowder | November 11, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: bisexual rights, gay rights, lesbian rights, LGB, LGBT, political strategy, politics, strategy, trans exclusion, transgender

Author's note: this piece is a point-counterpoint, academic discussion of issues currently circulating in the LGBT community. These points in no way represent my personal beliefs on the issue: as a transwoman and LGBT activist I want to see solidarity and resolve in furthering our political goals. I feel that the discussion will strengthen our understanding of the most basic question to a movement: who are we? This is an important conversation that I feel must take place.

We are a diverse community, indeed. Beyond the unification of media messages for political action, the need for solidarity regarding upcoming congressional votes, and the perception of our four (or five, or six, etc) letter acronym to represent a "whole community," we have many opinions on what is important to furthering L, G, B, and T causes. If nothing else I learned from my previous post, it is this fact.LGBt.jpg

It's okay to have differing political opinions on an issue. If we didn't have different opinions, there'd be no need for sites like this, or for that matter any need for political action. The beauty of US politics is that it is an adversarial system, based on voluntary participation, and people can use their voice, energy, or money to support any cause they darn well please. As a wise man once told me, politics is like Baseball for Big Kids, only the game sometimes comes with high stakes for people like you and me. It's a game, and in games we must be willing to take our licks to taste victory.

As proof that a) I'm open to different opinions, and am willing to see beyond my bias; and b) I'm not above a little thought experiment for furthering the discussion, I'd like to offer up a counterpoint to my previous post. Many commentators held the position that trans people have hijacked the greater LGB movement to forward their own needs. Politics are a dirty game, where the most cold-hearted plays often bring the greatest returns. With that in mind I offer a few cold, logical, professional points as to why trans people should be removed from LGB legislation, media, and advocacy. It is strategic: however, it is not kind.

Lack of monetary contributions:

Trans people have little money to fund large-scale activism. Statistics show that 35% of trans people are unemployed, and over 50% make less than $15,000 a year, mostly due to employment inequities caused by discrimination. They are incapable of maintaining the long-term cash flow required to push their needs through legislation.

Lack of numbers:

Few statistics exist to show the prevalence of trans people, but most ballpark figures pin ratio of trans people to total population at anywhere between 1:1,000 to 1:50,000. Pro-trans legislation cannot hope to offer the same return-on-investment as greater LGB legislation, as a ratio of dollars spent to number of people affected.

Lack of activists:

Further reducing the political impact of transgender needs is the lack of activists within the trans community. Some transgender people, faced with abject discrimination and social Othering, choose to live in stealth. This invisible population rarely contributes to discussion, rarely volunteers for LGBT community action, and generally doesn't get involved with the needs of the trans community.

Proportion of opposition to population too large:

Trans people are few in number, but opposition to trans-inclusive legislation is great. Separating trans people from LGB legislation would allow politicians leeway in the form of compromise, as gender identity clauses could be traded away to further LGB rights. (See SPLENDA, and the overwhelming trend of ENDA discussion to hinge on "bathroom bill" needs.)

Social stigma of a mental disorder:

Trans people, unlike LGB people, are considered mentally disordered according to the DSM-IV, which allows a rhetorical "in" to say that the community as a whole is disordered. Removing trans people from LGB legislation allows a "clean-slate" marketing message: "We got rid of the disordered part." This especially allows masculine gay and bisexual men to distance themselves from the "wannabe women" or "feminine guy" stereotype, as the advocacy community would no longer feel the need to include message-confusing trans voices on their docket.

Trans people not accepted by general public:

Finally, the image of trans people - namely, trans women - is difficult for run-of-the-mill Americans to accept. The "man in a dress" message makes LGB legislation too easy to kill. Removing transgender from the acronym would allow the LGB movement to rebrand itself as "everyday American people" that act just like the average John or Jane Doe.

There it is: clear as crystal. Cutting trans people out of the LGB spectrum will undoubtedly make gaining civil rights for LGBs easier. No bathroom bill attacks, no "ugly men in dresses" comments, no attacks on gay men as being "less manly" or "wannabe women," and trans people's rights can be used as a bargaining chip for furthering gay rights. To cisgender LGB people looking at cold, hard political strategy, it is a slam-dunk move, almost guaranteeing that much-needed legislation will happen at a faster pace. The question is this: will it be worth it? Is it worthwhile to banish a minority from a minority to expedite returns for the minority's majority?

Is this the way the community wants to win? I'd rather know the answer now than later, so I can figure out where my advocacy energies need to go.


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As a gay man, I would never argue to exclude the Trans community from the LGBT coalition. However, it is annoying that especially on Bilerico, the most vocal opposition of marriage (for example) comes from the Trans commenters. I think that it is more acceptable for Trans persons to say," although I do not share this as a personal priority, I support this issue in exchange for the support that I am expecting from the coalition." Trans persons should realize that there is a value to being a constituent part of a larger group, especially when the financial and demographic numbers are so against them.
Marriage opponents keep arguing that it should not be the only issue. I think that almost all marriage supporters agree with this. It so happens that at this moment in history, various social forces have come together to give marriage a huge leap ahead that no one was expecting. Recall that originally, the big LGBT organizations were not behind the individuals that pushed the marriage issue themselves in court. it was only after they started winning that the organized movement jumped on board and decided to ride the issue, since it had grabbed all the headlines and engaged all of America on LGBT issues for the first time. In other words, they went for the big time media attention that the movement never had before.
Austen, you are a thoughtful and excellent writer. Maybe you should consider working within one of the large LGBT organizations, and make a major contribution with such reasoned thinking. I read your previous column, and although I did not agree with it, I completely saw where you are coming from. I think that you can do big things on the national scene to bring disparate elements of the coalition together.

Thank you. *blushes*

I do agree with you, despite the post saying contrary. Reading all the comments from this post and the post previous has shown me that marriage and civil rights are hand-in-hand legislation; we must balance both efforts to maximize our effectiveness. The next question is harder: how?

when ever I read anything that mentions distancing from the trans community, I am dismayed that no-one realizes that the trans started the whole shebang with the Compton's Cafeteria Riot.
predating Stonewall. That was the first push against authority to protect queers.
we are all in the same boat.
I say ditch the lgtb..qilxmzthrdk acronym altogether and just say "Queer"
cuz that's what we all are.

AMEN TO ALL OF THAT! YES! JESSI, YOU AND I ARE TOTALLY ON THE SAME PAGE!

Please don't call me queer. That is quite an insult. There are thousands of men and women who transition their sex who DO NOT in any way use that term. Or gay. Or lesbian. Or anything other than woman, than man.

You all be queer. Good God, I went through all I have for that label? Hell No!

Sara ...

I think it's important to keep in mind that even though sexual orientation and gender identity are different identities, many of the problems we experience as a queer community are the result of the same sexism and genderism. McClurkin was just going on about effeminate men.

Further, the LGB rights we fight for will never prevail without the support of straight allies. To recognize that we face a lot of the same discrimination as our trans brethren is important. To not support them but expect support from straight allies would be hypocritical.

Yes, there are Trans issues that are unique, and yes, vying to keep that T inclusive might hold us back from time to time. But to ignore the needs of our underrepresented Trans community would be selfish.

I just want to also throw out there that Trans is an umbrella term. Trans isn't just MTF and FTM folks who are post-op! It's cross-dressers, it's drag queens and kings, it's genderqueer, and any other variation you can imagine. Many of those identities overlap with aspects of our culture we take for granted. To assume the T is always so separate is absurd.

Zack--so RIGHT ON! Gender and sexuality aren't mutually exclusive, they're parallel--and not neatly parallel, but overlapping and intertwined. To the general public we're all just about the same amount of weird. You mentioned McClurkin, and folks in the LGB community are quick to forget that gender and sexuality are often linked in the bigot's head--it doesn't matter whether I IDENTIFY as trans or not, a girlie man is a girlie man to them. I'm not a man because I don't fit their box. None of us do.

So rather than push a brother or sister into another box in an effort to please these folks that hate us anyway, I say fuck the box. I may be cisgender TECHNICALLY, but I have WAY more in common with Austen than I do any ole cisgender straight person. We've had struggles akin to one anothers' in different ways. We are more alike than different.

Leaving the T out shouldn't be a matter of strategy, however. Its a matter of doing what's right. I could argue that leaving the T in LGBT IS best strategy, but I don't want to argue that now because that's not what I'm really about.

We OWE it to our trans brothers and sister to bring them along with us for the whole shebang. They tirelessly stick by us in our struggles. We're not leaving them at the entrance after they've come so far with us.

I don't even think its an issue anymore, though. Our big organizations have wised up. They know better now. The voices calling for transgender exclusion are dwindling, and they're being called out more and more. They're not just being accepted at face value. They find their asinine assertions are being questioned more and more. We're getting to a better place. The discussion is moving to the fringes. I am glad.

Austen, I will NEVER EVER ask you to sit back and take the backseat on rights for my own political expediency. And I know when the time comes, and we've gotten ENDA, UAFA, DOMA (overturned), DPBO and an adoption bill, and its finally time for Marriage, you're going to stand up right next to me and fight with me for that final push, even though you're a straight woman. I know you'll be my ally then, so I'm your ally now, and you can count on me to defend you FIERCELY!

I took part in a FaceBook comment thread where one gay man questioned why we include the Trans community in our struggle for equality. He just didn't get it on an emotional level. His views ran somewhere along the lines of "it's not our fight, they're holding us back." He also didn't see the link between gender identity and sexual orientation. For him it was apples and oranges.

Despite the well reasoned points made by other commentors, he remained unconvinced. Some folks just don't get it and probably never will.

For me, whether it's the LGB minority needing straight allies to accomplish our goals or the T's needing the rest of us, it's all the same. I'm old enough to remember when the L's and G's didn't like each other very much and nobody liked the B's.

The irony here is that we live in a culture that celebrates individuality, tells us to follow our hearts and to thine own self be true. When we dare to actually live these principles we get shot down. We are all society's outcasts. We need each other.

For me it's a no-brainer. We're all different points along the same gender identity/sexual orientation spectrum, hence the rainbow symbolism. Besides, wasn't it a bunch of boys in dresses that beat down the cops at Stonewall? We owe them.

I really appreciate Austen's piece. It takes guts and an open mind to consider the other side of a contentious question. I think the above piece does a good job of explaining why it makes little political sense to prioritize trans issues. But it ignores the more basic definitional issue: trans people are defined by gender identity, not sexual orientation, and thus are not logically part of the LGB community (except insofar as individual trans people might also be LGB).

That does not mean that they aren't or can't be allies, like feminists, Democrats, labor activists, other civil rights activists. It doesn't mean that they shouldn't support us or we them. But it does mean that it is incorrect to assume that they are part and parcel of a movement defined by sexual orientation.

It is the difference b/t being a member of a family or a friend of the family. The former has a legal and moral claim on the family's time and resources; the latter may help or be helped by the family when appropriate, but she has no right to demand anything. A labor rights activist has no claim to set our priorities, even though he may be our friend. Ditto for the trans activist.

To this, one might object that gays need to form coalitions and make sacrifices for their coalition partners. All of the points Austen makes above are directed to this latter political argument.

There is LOTS of overlap between the gay and trans community. They are NOT mutually exclusive. Your reasoning presupposes that all trans people are straight. They are NOT. Your presumption ignores genderqueer gay people, it ignores gender-nonconforming gay people.

I'm sorry, but I have a serious problem with all of the generalizations happening in your argument.

Hmmm......I don't know Phil. These concerns are purely definitional.

And communities and inclusion in legislation are purely determined by definitions, not other factors like commonality of interests, history, geography or even the perceptions of larger communities and case law. Let's not even get into political considerations such as how contrary to some peoples statements; inclusion didn't kill the bill last time - but exclusion did.

You can see this clearly in how the civil rights act of 1964 did not include Latinos - definitionally - the didn't belong - as we all know - Latino is not a race. One can be of any race and be Latino. Much the same can be said for the noninclusion of color - as a concept - it seems to differ from race.


I don't think we even need to consider why sex and religion weren't included - it's all in the conceptual framework of the definitions.

Hey Phil,

Before you flame me, why don't you read what I actually wrote:

"trans people are defined by gender identity, not sexual orientation, and thus are not logically part of the LGB community (except insofar as individual trans people might also be LGB)."

I don't think all trans people are straight, and to the extent that any trans people identify as gay or bi, they would be part of the LGB community. But they would be part of the LGB community because they are gay, not because they are trans.

Can discrimination based on gender expression or gender presentation be argued under legislation that only has the words "sexual orientation?"

Austen;

Is this what you believe? That trans folks are - in the balance - a liability to the campaign for equality with the heterosexual majority?

Or are you just 'stirring the pot' to see if you can get a discussion going?

I'm trans. Your words hurt. They said I'm not good enough for full equality. I can't 'buy in' with dollars, I can't contribute anything of value to a 'barn-raising' effort, and you're afraid I wouldn't come even if you invited, that I'd freak out your other invited guests, that 'everyone' (including '4 out of 5 doctors') thinks I'm crazy, and even if I'm actually okay, you seem to be afraid one of your guests would pick a fight with me 'just because.'

So, what are you proposing? Bottom Line Up Front, young man. Grow a pair and tell the trannies to take a hike.

Better yet, why don't you look for value in the people who are transgendered, and propose solutions to develop that latent talent pool so we do have money, and time to devote to activism, and a feeling of belonging and deserving so that the Stealth option is less desirable.

Or so help me I will single-handedly find ways to deny you your arrogant goals.

I think you need to read Austen's bio before you start making assumptions about her...

I'll echo Phil here. As a young trans-woman this is not what I believe. This is pot-stirring and supposition. There's a definite issue here and I want to see it dragged out into the light. In other words, you and I are on the same side, as it were.

(Who is working on a better photo -- the one on here was taken before I was full-time.)

By the by... you echo the exact point I was trying to make with this piece. I just took a roundabout way of getting there.

Well, I remember when people wanted to not include the B. I also remember when we were fighting against a medical definition that said some sex attraction was a mental illness. We could say anything to our teachers because we could be put in treatment.
As far as I am concerned the T is here to stay. We should finish this together.

Well lets see if you do drop us out it will be your loss.As we do indeed contribute to the greater community.Have we hugh checkbooks no as you said many of us cant get out education accepted when we present ourselfs in our true self not that we are not highly educated but when John Doe shows up as Jane hmm daa sorry no job for you.Are we a wide group not a narrow one yes as some one who was CD long before I was TG. I know all about being the wrong kind of person in the larger group.So what dose the LGB want now is the time to get it out in the open and show your true colors so to speak.Id rather wait a bit and get our rights than see some get them and the rest of us tossed once again to the dark side of the alley and not be allowed out becacuse were one of them.

Check out my bio and my previous post to see where I really stand. This piece was a thought experiment. I'm a trans woman.

The scary part is this: even as a trans woman, this piece was _easy_ to put together. Too easy, in fact. I was hoping the comments would provide logical defenses for trans-inclusion, and so far I haven't been let down.

Samantha Skookum | November 11, 2009 10:50 PM

It would certainly be poetic to kick the group that gave your community Stonewall under the bus for the sake of pandering to the straight majority.

It seems like, via HRC and a number of other venues, this is what the LGB community has already done. It hasn't done you a lot of good so far, but I'm sure eventually if you keep trying to point to us and say that you're not "like them", you'll see some kind of payoff.

As a community and as individuals, you've taken the benefit of our own struggle for yourselves, and now you want to discard us entirely? Maybe there really is hope for you in the mainstream after all...

Be sure to read the previous post and my bio. :) Like I said, this piece is little more than a thought experiment. I wanted to see what kind of responses an opposition piece would gather.

(It's become obvious to me that I need to change that bio pic...)

Samantha Skookum | November 12, 2009 11:26 AM

Upon reading the previous post I see where you're coming from -- I would politely suggest that you call a bit more attention to it than that if you want to head off such responses; it's not unexpected or unreasonable that someone reading this article would decline to click that link, particularly someone who doesn't regularly read Bilerico Project at all.

"As proof that a) I'm open to different opinions, and am willing to see beyond my bias; and b) I'm not above a little thought experiment for furthering the discussion,"

OK - just so long as the post isn't about the issues, but about documenting your sterling qualities - have at it.

I was actually hoping that people would take a clue and see that I didn't honestly believe what I was saying in the post, but no dice.

Austen,
as an entertainer I can tell you, people in general do not understand humor in the styles of
irony,sarcasm,factitious,wry or dry nor dark. it often takes 5-10 minutes for folks to get the fact that my performance is meant to be laughed at. often waiting to see my reactions or expressions before reacting themselves. this is why there exists a laugh track
on tv shows. and it really must be difficult to express that in writing. in particular, when playing 'devil's advocate' I got it right off.
Jessi

I guess the devil is in the details, right?

*rimshot*

Seriously, though, I should have made it more obvious to folks. Instant commenting does allow people to put their foot in their mouth too quickly, doesn't it?

I guess we're in the same boat. I was hoping someone would take a clue and see that I might be questioning your methodology.

Besides the obvious aid and comfort concerns when people repost your arguements as being from a transperson - the whole putting oneself above others tone so you can cherry pick their thoughts for the greater good may have some consequences to consider.

battybattybats battybattybats | November 11, 2009 11:19 PM

1. Lack of monetary contributions

Contributions, sure, but as most T folk by numbers are closetted crossdressers with jobs (your figures are for out folks) no-ones trying to get money from thats not surprising now is it.

2. Lack of numbers

Just the male to female population of the Tiwi islands is listed as 4% and rising. Crossdresser population numbers get estimated as 2%-10% of the population. Good figures are not available but the ones we have suggest that the full spectrum of T may be equal to or more G and L put together!

3. Lack of activists

Hey i'm working on it! All the constant exclusion by transphobic bigots in some areas of GLB communities and the double standards in stomping on racist stuff but not transphobic stuff doesn't help any.

4. Proportion of opposition to population too large:

Newsflash? Which passed recently the trans-inclusive policy in Maine or Same-Sex Marriage? What were the recent Australian polls? Oh yes, gender-identity inclusive protections 85%, same sex marriage just under 60% So the exact opposite of what your saying appears to be true!

5. Social stigma of a mental disorder

And surprise surprise prominent Gay psychs like Dr Zucker are substantially responsible for this being still the case. And the same argument that was used to remove gay from the DSM, that the problems issued from societal discrimination, would remove plenty current ones including transvestism and GID should be treated as a neurological not psychological issue. Which is the growing situation in Europe.

6. Trans people not accepted by general public

Not in my experience and not in the above polls nor in Kalamazoo. The problem is a small number of very loud bigots with plenty of dough, the ears of senators.. and people willing to cave to those demands in order to get other things across the desk.

So there it is. In the broader T population is a vast untapped resource of money and votes of crossdressers and the public against all expectations is surprisingly trans-friendly despite being treated as the achilles heel by anti-equality opposition. And much of the lack of progress on T issues and the inactivity of much of the T population is the fault of GLB bigots kicking us out of organisations, dropping us from initiatives and keeping us declared mentally ill.

So here's a tactic for you! Fight transphobia in the GLB community, reach out to the crossdressers and help folk like me shed the homophobia and internalised transphobia from parts of the population and so dramatically improve GLB as well as T politics, fight to stop dropping us out of things as that merely breeds resentment (and gets some of those Cds voting against rather than for gay issues!) and how about this thought...

If the 'big guns' of the enemy that you describe as such a problem can be defeated it leaves little ammo to the enemy doesn't it? And we've seen several defeats of the bathroom-nonsense at the ballot box. So timidity and caving in on this is a bad idea not a good one.

Yay! I was hoping someone would do this. ;)

(Who suggests reading her bio before going any further on the anger track. :) )

What ridiculous nonsense. You concede points 1, 3 and 5. Your responses to 2, 4 and 6 are laughable. The Tiwi islands? Can anyone cite a single published study showing that self-identified trans people account for anything more than a small fraction of 1% of the US population?

Most egregious is your assertion that the passage of "inclusive" anti-discrimination legislation somehow indicates public acceptance and support of trans people. There is no one involved in any of these battles who thinks that. These measures pass in spite of their being inclusive, not because of it. To the extent the opposition feels like it has a good "hook", it is to focus on the inclusion of cross-dressers. They wouldn't do that if 85% of the population thought that cross-dressing was just peachy. And if you really thought that, you would have no problem introducing legislation adding trans protections separately. But you and everyone else knows that it is better for trans protections to parasitically ride on the coattails of sexual orientation protections.

More to the point, cross-dressing isn't a sexual orientation and neither is gender identity. Therefore, even if you could refute all 6 points, it would not explain or justify the inclusion of trans in the LGB movement.

Read the thread, David.

Citations provided. All you had to do was scroll down :D

You know I have to respond here, Austen. :)

Lack of monetary contributions:

Don't worry - the orgs are already geared towards the well-moneyed. And they do get political capital off saying they represent us... all of us... so they should be expected to take that into account every now and then.

Lack of numbers:

The numbers you cite are different than the ones I've read - do they only include pre-/post-op transsxuals or do they include CD's, non-op transgender folks, and other T people? Because I've usually read it's somewhere around 1% of the population, and LGB folks are around 4 or 5%.

Lack of activists:

Before Prop 8, you could have said the same thing of gay and lesbian people. And now they're more out. This won't change unless people work on these issues now and make it easier for future generations.

Proportion of opposition to population too large:

Actually, I don't think starting in a compromised position would help give anyone leeway. It's not a good negotiating strategy, and the needs on these specific bills (usually ENDA and state and local level antidiscrimination bills), aren't hurt by the bathroom issue (evidenced by Kalamazoo and Gainesville).

But it's not a good strategy to walk into Congress saying: "We've already cut out the people you don't like from this legislation.... wait, you want us to compromise some more?"

Social stigma of a mental disorder:

Bah. If gay men have insecurity issues because of trans women, that's kinda their problem to get over.

Personally, I think this points to the need for a different way to discuss "disorder," but, on a more concrete level, I don't think that most people read the DSM on a daily basis and base their politics off it.

Trans people not accepted by general public:

But it's not like we are, either. Don't let Ellen and Elton fool you - we're still taking a lot of shit out there in the real world.

Thank you. ;) I was hoping for point-by-point deconstructions of my arguments here. I feel like I set up some targets downrange with the hope someone would take aim.

I sort of feel like LGBT activists and lobbyists are just insular and making up their own language and definitions of terms that don't exactly apply to me.

I don't understand how an LGB can be cisgender. I understand that LGBs are cissexual and some have cisgender privilege. But I don't understand how an LGB can be cisGENDER. The only LGB that isn't crossing gender roles is a celibate one.

I'm also not sure if transgender is supposed to be synonymous with transsexual now. Or if a gendergueer gay is also transgender. I don't particularly want a gender identity.

Great point!!!!! The only gay not crossing gender roles is a celibate one! Ha, we call him Alan Chambers... and he's the biggest drag queen of them all!

We're ALL QUEER. ALL OF US. TOGETHER! Not in pieces. Together!

I can't argue against any of Austen's points.

I can only say that to cut out the T's would be wrong, and would mean that GLBs would have lost the moral high ground. That in the longer term, it would be counter-productive.

I left the moral argument out on purpose. Talking points I could do, sure - they're not hard to drum up - but the moral argument was just a step too far. I already felt pretty icky from writing down all these points.

If people were willing to take Machiavellian measures to gain this political capital, the playbook is simple. Pare everything down, whitewash over gender variance, and use gender-variant groups as bargaining chips to get their needs covered. It'd be shady as hell but it'd get the job done.

Thankfully, our world is not poplated with copies of "The Prince."

I disagree. I think that's short-term thinking, penny-wise and pound-foolish.

What keeps us going in the face of discouragement? Knowing that our cause is just.

What gives us support from any of the 90-something percent who are not GLB? The fact that our cause is seen to be just.

If MLK had thrown latinos under the bus, saying that they didn't deserve the rights Blacks did, and yet claimed his stand was based on justice and equality, how many of the fence-sitters would have still been persuaded by him?

Never underestimate the long-term power of moral persuasion. It's a tool in the fight. Also beware of the old saw about those who fight monsters becoming monsters too. That's another way of losing.

Machiavelli was very much aware of such issues.

A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.
It's very cynical to think of moral right as just another weapon in the armoury. Very Macciavellian. But that's the way I think of it, and think those who would throw it away for short-term gain aren't considering the long-term consequences.

It's not that they're Macciavellian; it's that they're not Macciavellian enough.

Well, my dear, you certainly stepped into it, didn't ya :D

Amazing how fast the misgendering strikes, as well. Now worries, hon, I still know you are a girl :D

The points you raised all have some flaws in them, and I've heard them many times from differing people.

As a note, it was *two* posters in the previous thread, iirc.

I'm also quite open minded and willing to hear and consider other viewpoints -- its something I do automatically, as I converse :D

And that leads to the following, presented without further argument (since I know this is purely a mental exercise):

1 - Lack of Monetary Contributions

Statistically speaking, if the numbers from the report you don't cite but use (The NGLTF/NCTE survey) are adjusted for general population shift and full unemployment adjustments, then the percentage of transfolks is in the area of 44% suffering from unemployment, with another 30% suffering from underemployment. This number is even higher in socially liberal areas such as San Francisco.

What's flawed here is that transfolks tend to be more involved in such efforts than people realize -- drag shows, for example, are a common venue for fundraising, and what do you know -- drag performers are trans.

Furthermore, if those people could achieve employment, funding levels would increase, so it becomes a matter of investing in future advocacy with more funding and better involvement.

2 - Lack of numbers

It might surprise you to learn there are several different statistical measures out there -- indeed, the IJT did a comparison of various one's earlier this year for just one small segment of the trans population.

According to the APA (reference here: http://www.apa.org/topics/transgender.html), 3% of males engage in cross dressing. In one of the most widely cited prevalence studies, the Olywager/Conway measurement (http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TSprevalence.html), the mean prevalence for transsexuals (not CD's) is about 1 in 1500 *safely* with an upper limit of 1 in 500. So, based on a low population estimate of 300 million, the number of transsexuals is around 200,000, and the number of male cross dressers is around 9 million. Throw in now the various unestimated sorts of variable gender folks (gender queer, agender, etc) and then factor is a slightly lesser degree for women in you can probably come up with a decent figure of around 15 million people who are trans.

I could go higher, myself, but I'm being conservative.

That's about 5% of the total population.

Using the similarly conservative estimate of 6% for the GLB population often cited, the two camps are, roughly, equal in size, so the assumption that transfolks are small is in grave error. Factor in that roughly two thrds of the trans population is GL or B, and that means that the trans population, ultimately, is *larger* than the GLB population, since the GLB number is inclusive of those people who are trans.

Therefore, I assert, that this position is, in and of itself, derived from a consistent failure on the part of both the trans and the GLB populations to understand the reality of the situation, and fallacious.

3 - Lack of activists

The trans community may have stealth, but stealth is part of assimilationism -- it is the trans community version of the Mattachine society -- blend in and avoid detection. Transfolk do not have a Harvey Milk going around *outing* people and calling for them to "come out come out". And the same argument can be made for folks like Anderson Cooper, Jodi Foster, and the like, who either are or have been in stealth mode for some time while everyone "knows" but really doesn't have any proof.

On the other hand, transfolk have done important work (like win the court case in CA that sparked prop 8 and allowed 18,000 couples to marry -- Thank you Trans man Shannon Minter). Including spearheading one of the most impressive lobbying efforts ever - thank you Dr. Weiss.

So, in this case, the aspect of lack of involvement is not merely limited to transfolks.

This is further made worse by a constant social pressure that gay folks are not, themselves, immune to -- the pressure to conform to gender expectations. The leaders of the Mattachine movement moved on and carried their pointedly erasing mindset with them into other organizations, and this led to a wide purging of transfolks from the earliest groups and the intentional denial of entry into the later groups.

A prime example is Sandy Stone, who was influential in gettig a struggling non-political group -- Olivia Records -- into a great position for later growth, but was removed by internal activism because she "wasn't really a woman".

By the time Raymond's devastating thesis was published and made a part of the public knowledge base, the combination of GLB forcing out of activists and the APA's then policy of insisting on stealth and non-contact with the GLB population for transition, the rift between the groups that had existed for literally centuries was completed.

That's part of the source of the "transsexual women are just gay men who hate the thoughts of being gay" meme that led to a paper in the mid 90's trans folk are still fighting against today.

It took the devastation of the AIDS crisis and the reliance on Trans Folk (usually of color) and Lesbians to deal with much of the social care aspects of that. The void left allowed the nascent trans community to begin filling in once more and is part of what gave what voice the lesbians have in the movement today. Indeed, it wasn't until the early 1990's that some transfolk were suddenly not called gay by the medical community (transsexuals were, until 1998, categorized as homosexuals in the literature.)

It was the explosion of the internet which allowed transfolk to hook up for the first time, as well, and it's really only been the last decade that they have finally returned to the table with enough force and an unwillingness to back down.

And none of this is visible *outside* the LGBT community. In the "straight" community, all of the groups are and always have been the same thing, since the general public sees sex and gender as the same thing.

4 - Proportion of opposition to population too large

This is the best of the arguments in terms of strategy for political gain.

However, per the NGLTF (http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/fact_sheets/years_passed_gie_so_7_07.pdf) on average 14.5 years passes between the two if they are not done simultaneously.

So this particular argument, which is "leave one of your siblings in the burning house to save the other two", is saying "we will cover some of the GLB folks who are easy to cover now, and let the rest suffer in poverty and death for more than a decade."

Harsh, yes, but this is a harsh argument.

I suspect that in two years when the first real report on hate crimes is released, that we will see that transfolk suffer a significantly higher number of hate crimes against them on the basis not of their gender identity, but on the supposition of their sexual orientation.

In other words - they look like they are gay. So let's bash them.

Doing this merely provides the excuse to say "oh, that's the kind that dress funny -- we can not hire them or not let them into our club."

In short -- its tactically great, socially asinine and enabling.

5 - Social Stigma of mental disorder.

Three points here, because my view runs counter to many and as a psychologist, I often get flack for reinforcing the system:

A - Psychiatry is a medical field. As in, just like MD (indeed, they require the same coursework).

B - Buying into the idea of a stigma is ableist. That is, its part of the very system of bigotry that is perpetuated against people who are physiologically variant.

Like being gay is physiologically variant.

Being gay, btw, is *still* in the DSM. Its applied only to children under the age of 13, and in 1973 it was called "sissy boy syndrome". It is now called Gender Identity Disorder in Youth.

So the same stigma can be applied to gay people. And you think the straight Transfolk wouldn’t use the GLB kids as their weapon of choice?

C - Alzheimer's is also in the mental illness category. So the arguments used here are *exactly* as effective there, unless one has some form of sexism or similar prejudice applied.

6 - Trans people not accepted by general public

This one has some truth. Lots of it, in fact. Transsexuals, since the 1950's, have been treated with a bit of derision in private, but often supported, and are understood generally to have a medical condition.

It is because of transsexuals working hard to achieve such, that by 1996 transsexuals could marry in every state of the Union -- rights lost in the years following due *directly* to the efforts to obtain same sex marriage.

But the rest of the trans population is not so lucky, and there are a hell of a lot more of them than there are just transsexuals (as I demonstrated above).

However, by this same measurement, if same sex marriage was sought just by lesbians, they would get it. It's more socially acceptable for two women to get married, since they are seen as carrying and nurturing and its a really *hot* image.

It is the gay men who are dragging the entire GLB movement down, since the idea of two men kissing is socially "disgusting" (although why is beyond me) and having sex is even worse. Marriage arguments by the opposite side almost uniformly focus on the men, with women as a grudging second thought.

So if we are going to jettison the T on this basis, then we need to jettison the G(M) as well, and come back for them later, when its more socially acceptable.

This is pretty doable, too. You just do the laws for women only in marriage and insert transsexuals, specifically, into the ADA coverage.

We'll come back for the rest later.

Honest.

See, it'll be easier since we'll already have shown how two hot babes getting it on isn't all that bad a thing, and those trannies are sick anyway so the ADA is fine for them, and the world hasn't collapsed...

And no, I won't be coming back. I'm more focused these days on seeking solutions than re-hashing old problems.

It just reminds me that I need to change my bio pic. ;)

Oh, and nice extrapoloation of the post's argument. I hadn't thought of that -- in hindsght, it'd have been a great way to lift the post into satire. "Okay, so we slash the gay males, the trans women, the trans-guys (unless they're hot), the butch lesbians, and the bisexuals."

"But that just leaves the hot lesbians making out in the corner"

"BRILLIANT!"

Actually, I do have one more thing to say.

Since Austen went to the trouble to spend her time giving "the other side's" ideas a voice and consideration, can someone on the other side make a post that does the same thing?

That is, someone who opposes trans inclusion making a comment in support of such using a format similar to Austen's, in order to show they can see the other side just as she has?

Strikes me as a perfectly reasonable request.

And I do like reasonable requests :D

StoicLibertine | November 12, 2009 2:07 AM

Ok, where do I start.

Austen is arrogant, self-righteous, lacking any sort of historical perspective, but unfortunately she's just saying things that happen to be an accurate depiction of our political reality. Just because her logic is rooted in narrow minded cissexist bigotry doesn't make it less true.

I'm a transgender woman. I was at one point a homeless transgender youth, and know all to well the plight transpeople suffer at times to be true to themselves. I'm also originally from the deep south, trust me that was a fun and exciting childhood. Of course I'm much more interested in social and economic justice than marriage equality. I'm still trying to get some cake, and you guys want the icing. Anyways, that's a whole different discussion.

I live in Brooklyn these days, and like most transpeople of course I'm aware that we get thrown under the bus for political expedience with gusto.

We are marginalized and basically have the same sort of political pull that the Gay community had in the early 70's. The gay community, composed of white middle class gay men is driving this bus. They're mostly ok with lesbian women as copilots but that's it. Lesbians didn't really get a voice until the Women's Lib movement gave them one, and they claimed their power from the gay men in charge. Also what's this B. I mean who are we kidding LGB community. If we're going to start being honest, then let's be honest. Yes of course there are bi people, but they don't have any say more than Trans people. Probably less. Transpeople have more visibility than Bi people. Old white gay men, when asked will tell you there is Gay, Straight and lying.

The entire acronym is a polite fiction. The true acronym is GL, in that order.

Just ask the LGBT Center in Manhattan. They added the BT sometime in the early 2000's. The url is of course still proudly www.gaycenter.org. They spent as half as much on a yearly party, the Garden Party, on one day as they spent on everything related to Transgender people for the 2008 tax year. 90k on the Garden Party, and 180k on Gender Identity Project (god I hate that name, goes back to having our identity medically pathologized). Yes, the LGBT Center in NYC gives trans people the same funding priority as initiatives supporting Lesbians with cancer and an LGBT centric tobacco cessation campaign. If you dispute my numbers, then feel free to look at their 2008 990.

Anyways my point is that we're extremely marginalized within the community and speaking to that is the first step. I mean an inclusive ENDA is all well and good but it's DOA in the Senate and isn't going to be a legislative priority now or anytime in the immediate future. Obama isn't going to fight for us. He's hardly willing to fight for Gay people, much less thans people. He's post-partisan. Which means, he's going to tolerate the crazy people (ie. the far right evangelicals who hijacked the GOP), until they slowly commit political suicide. It would be nice if he would just kill them off like the Whigs were in the 1850's. But it looks as if they're going to become a rump party. At which point we might get some crumbs. Sometime in the next 5-10 years.

You see, Obama is a very good politician. Very good politicians, I think have world views rooted in realpolitik and machtpolitik. Yes I'm talking about hardcore Machiavellian stuff here. The Bismarcks and LBJ's of the world get things done, granted accoriding to their own agendas. Bismarck was a cold hearted ruthless bastard, who utterly destroyed the French in the Franco-Prussian war, but he also gave the German people universal healthcare, old age pensions and universal education. LBJ stole his first election, he was pretty brazen about it too. He was a master politician, kind of like Obama, just with bigger stones and not as much charisma. He gave us the civil rights and voting rights act. If he hadn't been a Machiavellian arm twister he probably couldn't have done it.

Anyways, let me recap. Austen is arrogant, self-righteous, narrow minded... (well I could go on.) and factually accurate. The sad fact though is she's just saying, putting into words what is the reality. We get thrown under the bus, over and over.

As a transperson, as someone interested in political activism, I have to understand that I'm a member of an extremely marginalized minority group within a still marginalized group. Granted we do have some positives, Middle America is generally more ok with "ugly men in dresses" these days than they are with graphic descriptions of gay sex. Yay Oprah!! I don't think she'll be discussing the acceptance of rimming anytime soon but she gives a voice to transpeople.

I'm not going to make the same mistake, that Austen's making though. She has to understand that a fundamental component of the political process is subterfuge, both open and covert. You let sleeping dogs lie. Because if you do; you might be able to squeeze some advantage out of them.

AS transpeople we should more focused with claiming internal power, than playing sacrificial lambs. We need to be more focused on getting inside the dominant power structures that govern our movement. The HRC for one. That's a perfectly good place to start. We just need some good Manchurian candidates.

Thank you. :) That's really all I can say.

The short response is this: this blog post is not me. In fact, both this post and my previous post on strategy are not me. They were built to get these comments into the open. Different? Yes, certainly. But at the same time these points aren't uncommon knowledge, and by putting them together i don't feel that I tipped the hands of LGBT activists.

So yes. If nothing else, I do hope that you based your ad-hominem on my entire body of work here, not just these last two posts. That's not who I am.

oh I get it, StoicLibertine is being facticiuos.
heheh good one.

Robyn Carolyn Montague | November 12, 2009 7:51 AM

Remind me not to invite this 'person' over for tea. And when the LGB's come over yet again and again looking for donations and handing out invitations for fundraising events for the 'cisgender agenda,' remind me to give them a copy of this article instead.

What is infuriating about this article, is that it cheerfully and without caution, threatening all the efforts and energy expended towards Trans inclusion as part of the Community. And the Tran's inclusion of the L's and G's and B's (said as a Community, of course). These comments make the old HRC / Trans rift seem like a childrens spat over which Barbie doll one gets to play with...

My point is simple: We should be working together as a Community for a purpose, that being inclusive and not devisive. Working my activism in the (St Louis) Community (which I do inclusivly for the ENTIRE community), I was appalled to find that in room of about 75 people (95% LGB), at a fundraising event, over two thirds of them thought that ENDA was something special for the Trans! When they heard that here in Missouri that they could be fired for being "LGB" they were totally shocked. Activism? Where in the hell were the LGB activists of STL? How come it took a TRANS activist to get them to listen?

This article is incredibly dumb. And don't get me riled up on the numbers of the Trans population, the fact is we haven't been counted. And with her transphobic approach to activism, maybe we never will. Thanks. Hmmmmm, checking in my bag, I have a few extra dollars...since I no longer need to earmark this for LGB causes, maybe a new pair of shoes is in order....(and the Revlon Red claws need sharpening).

This 'T' isn't silent.

RevlonRobyn


Okay. Quick bit of full disclosure? I'm a transwoman myself. ;) I wrote this article as a counterpoint to my previous piece -- I wrote up some talking points for trans exclusion, mostly as a thought experiment to better understand the other side of the argument, and this article sort of happened from it.

I purposefully left out moral and ethical arguments. For one, I wanted to see what would happen in the comments; and for two, it was really a bridge too far to make a moral argument as to why trans people should be thrown out of the house. The comments have proved this as well; nobody has come up with a sound, moral argument as to why trans people should be taken out of legislation. (There's something to be said here about stones and glass houses...)

So to put it another way, the "person" who wrote this article doesn't really exist. It's a thought experiment. But thank you for seeing that I'm a woman -- some posters didn't even get that. :(

told ya, people just don't understand the style in which this was written

"Separating trans people from LGB legislation would allow politicians leeway in the form of compromise, as gender identity clauses could be traded away to further LGB rights"

This is to me one of the most frightening arguments that people in the gay community make. I would like my rights, but I would rather we not be included at all and told to go away than be used as a bargaining chip.

The last time we went down the ENDA road, transpeople, specifically transwomen, were used as human shields by Mr. Frank and the HRC. We absorbed months and months of bitter and disgusting abuse and grandstanding by anti-GLBT hate groups and then were ditched in a form of "compromise."

What needs to be remembered is that the anti-GLBT hate groups will always pick a group to be demonized. If it wasn't transwomen in the ladies room, it would probably be gay men abusing children.

Do not use us as human shields.

StoicLibertine | November 12, 2009 10:57 AM

Austen, of course I didn't base my ad hominem on anything other than this article. I didn't even see your previous article on strategy. You know it's sad but I took the bait.

In my experience, Bilerico project is famous for being horribly cissexist and just not getting it when it comes to Transpeople and their issues.

So if I were more familiar with you I probably would have left off the ad hominem. Honestly, the attacks happen to be accurate at least to the persona you constructed to write this piece.

It is sad that what you're saying is nothing new. But it's refreshing to hear you say it out loud.

These ideas generally don't see the light of day, although they're conventional wisdom in some parts of the LGBT rights movement, say in Barney Frank's office or at HRC's headquarters.

I think visibility is a key part of our strategy.
I'm really looking forward to a show that's in development for HBO. It's called T, and follows the life of transman in the Midwest. It's being produced by Dan Futterman who developed In Treatment and wrote the screenplay for Capote, so I have high hopes.

We need that, because are such a small minority,
even if we're all counted. We're hard to count too. I think it's a little shy of 1% of the population though. That would be 3 million transpeople. Which could be accurate if you lumped every person who showed any signs of gender variance under the trans umbrella.

Claiming internal power is another. We need to respected by the institutions and organizations that define our movement, first and foremost.

It's criminal, the neglect, and sheer disrespect the Manhattan LGBT Center heaps on transpeople. Their name for the programs that we're supposed to work with is insulting. The name, Gender Identity Project needed an update about 10 years ago. It actually predates the adoption of the word transgender.

battybattybats battybattybats | November 12, 2009 9:36 PM

Actually there are nassive numbers of us, as is mentioned in other comments when you include the full T umbrella you get a number equal to or more than the G and L put together.

But most are deeply closetted. The rest of GLBT need to help bring the rest of T, the biggest chunk being the crossdressers, out of the closet and face them with the big questions that can lead them to greater activity.

Right now they have few safe spaces and what ones there are are primarily hijacked by homophobes and cisnormative notions. Heck the biggest crossdresser forum on the net is run by a ciswoman and it's not a remarkable exception and GLBT issues are often beanned or minimalised in such spaces either for being 'political' like same-sex marriage or the marginalisation of GLB and TS in groupls like tri-ess because of fears their presence will play into the fears of cis-wives of the het Cds.

Breaking down this divide will vastly increase the numbers of T within GLBT providing more econiomic and political power and dramtically improve the lot of many TG people. It's not easy though, I got banned from the aforementioned forum for 'forceful activism' and 'political innuendo'. Cisprivilage, TG-guilt, cisnormativity are defended within relationships with TG people. Millions of crossdressers hide who they are from everyone, sometimes even themselves, and those that come out to their partners often lose the relationship or lose all power within it having their gender expression controlled by the circumstantial permission of their partner.

And its the crossdressers that are perceived as the weak link in GLBT, its the word crossdressing bandied around in the bathroom-panic hate-ads. We need to get them active.

Gays and Lesbians have as much to gain for gender identity/ expression inclusion as do Trans people. Get real! There are so many feminine gay men and butch lesbians and they face discrimination based on their gender variance. We are all in the same boat if you ask me.

Frankly, I find people more comfortable with many passable Transgender people than effeminate gay men or butch lesbians. Your assertion that straight people are more comfortable with gay men and lesbians shows your own bias. To be real, there are people who are non conforming to gender stereotypes who are G,L,B, I, Q, T and straight. Do you want to ignore rights for all of those people who don't "pass" as heterosexual, including ones who are gay and lesbian?

Are we going to have to pass some sort of binary gender exam to attain employment or not be fired or to be able to rent an apartment or eat in a restaurant? Who is going to give us that gender stamp of approval? Will it be a governmental agency run by Barbie and G.I. Joe? Bigotry is shameful and Gay bigotry is even more shameful. I understand that Gays and Lesbians want full equality but are you so selfish that you are willing to throw the Trans Community under the bus to get your rights when in reality many in your own community do not conform to gender stereotypes and you are throwing them away too?

Austen, I have not met you but your photo appears very androgenous. Maybe you should look in the mirror because many straight and gay people might think you're a bit too fem. Think about it.

i would suggest reading my bio before taking the "femmy gay guy" assertion any further. :) I've been full time woman for about half a year now. the pic there is, unfortunately, very old.

your response was exactly the thing i wanted to elict; people who propose trans exclusion think that only trans people break gender binaries, but in truth everyone in the lgbt community walks these lines.. I was hoping that people like you would step in and make that point for me - I purposefully left out my personal opinion on the issue - that everything I just wrote about trans exclusion is horse manure - and left the assembly of talking poitns up to discussion.

I'm glad you did not disappoint when it came to filling in the moral blanks. :D

Maybe you should look in the mirror because many straight and gay people might think you're a bit too fem.
Austen - they couldn't have given you a greater compliment, could they?

Yes, I know, we're not supposed to care to much about superficialities. But "vanity, thy name is woman", and if we're honest... yes, it does matter to many of us. We've looked so awful for so long, that many of us have real issues with body image.

As do many women who are standard factory models, and don't have the excuse we do.

You may feel differently of course, and my own experience should not be over-generalised. But I bet this line brought a warm glow to you.

It gave me a little smile, yes. At least I lean more towards fem! :D

Well Austen, you had me fooled. I did not realize that you were Trans so I obviously didn't realize that you were being sarcastic. Good job. You did stir the pot. Unfortunately, a few extremists in the Gay and Lesbian community would have agreed with your post. Let's hope that it's not the majority. My experience is that most Gays and Lesbians are totally cool but I have been treated rudely by a few. My feeling is that the few rude gays and lesbians are usually very insecure about their own gender identity/expression and therefore act out on people who touch that nerve.

Oh Austen, you rabble-rouser, you. Were you temporarily channeling the spirit of Chris Chrain, former editor of the Washington Blade? ;)

I'm glad to see so many supportive people coming to the fore.

Chris Crain is and has always been a self-promoting jack-ass.

sylvia flores | November 12, 2009 12:50 PM

I've read this post three tmes and I can't tell if you are serious or if this is satire. Maybe I need to drink more coffee or maybe I'm dense. Can you please clarify?

It's not sarcastic so much as it is diametrically opposed to my own personal beliefs. I tried to see things from the opposition's eyes.

In the spirit of stirring the pot, one could also argue that it is the gay population that is holding back progress on transgender rights. For example:

Gay sex:

Many straight men with political and economic power are disgusted by the idea of sex between two men and will never accept it. Trans people aren't trying to push acceptance of their sex lives, so they don't have that hurdle to deal with.

Marriage:

Many straight people, especially those who are religious, believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, period. Many of these religious people are comfortable with transgender people in traditional marriages, as long as they conform to traditional gender roles post-transition.

Global acceptance:

In many parts of the world, trans people are accepted, while gay people are not. For example, in Iran, the government will pay for sexual reassignment surgery for trans people, but homosexuality is a crime. There are more trans people than gay people in SE Asia. Globally, trans people have more natural allies than gay people do.

Sex Scandals:

There often seems to be a gay sex scandal afoot somewhere (think Larry Craig). This is an obstacle towards accceptance for trans people if they are tied so closely to the LGB movement.

Perhaps the NJ experience will shed some light on whether legislators are more troubled by sexual orientation or gender identity.

The NJ legislation that outlawed discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression was passed in December 2006. It received overwhelming legislative support: 102-8-6-4. Compare that to the vote the same day (12/14/06) approving civil unions in NJ: 79-31-5-5. And remember that the NJ Legislature had no choice re civil unions as the NJ Supreme Court mandated civil unions as a matter of NJ constitutional law.

Religious bigotry, the same bigotry that won over Bill Clinton when he signed DOMA into law, is the main barrier to ENDA. That bigotry is generally directed at gay and lesbians. The right-wing groups seem to lump trans people within their concept who are "homosexuals".

The main downside to trans people in the ENDA equation is that opponents can focus on bathrooms. Potty politics. The reality is that the bathroom issue can be neutralized. The "slippery slope to marriage equality" ploy cannot be so easily neutralized because marriage is the battleground that the right wing will not back down from.

Christine

And if Trans people throw GLBs under the bus, how are we ever to convince others that our cause is just in the future?

Sometimes the right thing to do is the pragmatic one too, in the long term. And the pragmatic one now is destructive in the long term.

I leave aside questions of moral rightness. I'm talking about winning.

Once upon a time, not so long ago (back in high school, actually), I was a wrestler. I had a good record. The reason I was good was simple: it burned my ass to lose. I'm glad to see somebody else has that "let's get the W" attitude here. :)

But I have to ask what defines winning for you. For me my idea of winning is inclusive and if we divide so that some get something while others do not that isn't a win even if I am getting something.
I can't consider the idea of what it means to win without considering the idea of right action and ethical behavior.

Austin what a tongue in cheek post! Hope that you rise to a great leader in our t-community! grat post again!

I think trans have a lot to add if we would get our shit together.

I believe we have many beautiful spokes models who could make our case with grace and elegance. I think there are many men in high places who could be tapped to help if done discretely.

Yes there is a lot of poverty in the trans community, but there is also a lot of wealth... it is just too easy for some to hide and be known only to themselves.

In my opinion, trans need more individual self respect and more care and nurturing of those who are closeted. To gain respect, our community needs to be respectable. Owning up to ones image 24/7 in every situation is the first step to unity of our community and greater acceptance by society. That does not mean there is no place for extreme fashion expression, but it does mean, there is a place sexual fantasy and being anonymous does not change that. The rest of the community living out does not appreciate answering to the sexual images of over the top imagined femininity, for instance.

Your arguments against "t" because they are poor could have easily have been made against blacks during the civil rights movement. It is exactly why "T" should be included. The discrimination is on the surface.

battybattybats battybattybats | November 15, 2009 10:09 PM

I agree right up till you say "The rest of the community living out does not appreciate answering to the sexual images of over the top imagined femininity, for instance."

I'm a Goth. A decade ago there was a lot of hostility towards goths, now there is Ruby Gloom on kids tv and Abby on NCIS. Even the current increase of mainly Homophobic and Transphobic related violence against Goth and Emo people is far less than the constant barrage of hostility and media-vitriol we got a decade plus ago.

Conformity IS the enemy. Diversity is key.

As I explain to conservative heterosexual crossdressers who blame Drag for the hositilty they face they are just scapegoating. Everyone got hostility in the past. The drag Kings and Queens have been the ones to have the guts to be vivible. If the het conservative CDs want people to see them as the main image of crossdressing they can get out of the clost and get that result with integrity rather than whining that Drag should go back into the closet.

So if the less extremely feminine folk want people to recognise the diversity they can go and get more visibility! Don't demand others fit in to your comfort zones at the expense of their rights. Instead make yourself more visible. and in an Ethical manner without disparaging others.

I'm not shucking off my black velvet and goth make-up no matter my gender presentation to 'fit in'. Instead the world will continue to adapt to the existence of my culture and it's diversity because by our visible existence we insist on it.

What happened when someone made an 'i hate goths' group on facebook? Heaps of Goths JOINED it to swamp it with pro-goth comments and Goth visibility. http://www.facebook.com/#/group.php?gid=2257427689&ref=mf

No if the T wants to make progress we must be ready to make waves. More visibility and of more diversity, reach out to the huge closeted crossdresser population, raise the difficult questions and find and broadcast the answers to them, build large diverse welcoming community for mutual support and defence. It works. So lets do that then.