Antonia D'orsay

Don't Avoid The Anger

Filed By Antonia D'orsay | December 14, 2009 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Media, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Bisexual, Compton's Cafeteria Riot, Lesbian, LGBT history, Living with anger, Pam's House Blend, problems, rights, soultions, Stonewall, Trans, transgender, transsexual

What some people might not know, since TBP has grown over the last while, and always has not merely new readers, but people who have never considered this before, and people who are newly out every day, trying to find answers, and new allies trying to understand, is why trans people get so damned angry.

At the popular blog "Pam's House Blend" and here at Bilerico, it often seems to many as if trans related posts are always all about anger and rage and people saying the nastiest things to each other. In both cases, there are people who will tell you they avoid anything that has trans in it because they do not want to see that anger and vitriol and all the "drama."

So as we move forward, it's important to talk about why trans folk get so angry, and why they do it so often.

To begin with, I'm going to direct you to the recent posts (Parts One and Two) by Dr. Jillian T. Weiss on Transphobia in the LGBT community. This is related to them, in that part of the reason for why trans folk get so angry so often is the way we are treated.

As a rule, I don't use the word homosexual in most of my writing. When I talk about sexual orientation, I am more likely to use the words "gay," lesbian," "bi," or "straight."

I am a straight gal, I say often. Here's a secret: I hate being called straight. I'm very bent. I'm not bothered by the word queer (then again, I'm not bothered by the other F-word, either, because its inaccurate). I'll bet there are many out there reading this site who *are* bothered by the word queer -- and even more who are bothered by the other F-word. The six letter one.

Why don't I do that? There's nothing wrong with the word's homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality. They are accurate terms, very easily understood. Why would I use a word that I dislike for myself in describing people?

Some would say "political correctness" is why I do it. They would be very wrong, and likely, in person, get a very rude response in back consisting of four words, the first starting with F and Y.

I do it because I am aware that the constant use of those terms by our mutual opponents has given them a connotation of negativity. Those words are slowly being turned into the new versions of the F-word. And, as someone once explained to me (in a very angry tone and with a lot of insults carefully scattered throughout), they hurt a lot of people when they get hammered with them over and over again.

In short, it is not political correctness, but simple human courtesy -- and it is my personal experience that whenever someone says they are not going to be politically correct, it is used as an excuse for them to be rude.

We get angry because every single day, in little ways and big ways, in words and in actions, people are rude to us on more levels than you know. I won't say more than you can imagine, because some of you have imagined it, some of you do have an idea of it -- but you will have a hard time knowing it.

On August 8, 2008 3:17 PM I wrote this in response to a post by Monica Helms:

I have a deep and personal knowledge and understanding of anger, and I'd like to elaborate a bit on that as it may be germane in some cases.

I was raised in an environment that flat out denied me the right to express myself as a child in the manner that I chose.

I once told my mother I was a girl. I was not only told no, I am not, but I had anything remotely resembling a *possible* feminine aspect removed from my life, and was placed in many situations after that for the purpose of masculinizing me.

I deeply resented that, and at some point around the age of 6 I ceased to speak to my sole parent for 6 months solid.

Not once did I utter a word or acknowledge their existence.

If you have ever been around a child of that age, consider *just how pissed off* I was at that age to do such a thing. How deeply that event changed the relationship I had with my mother.

That anger festered, and it became rage, and it stayed with me as I grew up doing my filial duties, being the good son, the first and eldest of several generations of my family on whom so much was dependent.

And I resented all of that, too. I resented my body rebelling against me, changing not to what it was supposed to change to, but to something else that was *horrible*.

That anger affected everything in my life. And these days, as Monica describes, that lifelong anger continues, and for the reasons she pointed out above.

Anger is the most difficult of emotions, as it cannot be bargained with, it cannot be reasoned with, it cannot be confronted with more anger. All of these things feed into it.

Anger is typically based in resentment and frustration, and until those root causes are addressed, it will remain.

Unaffected.

Imagine waking up every single day of your life, when you've had a great night, well rested, and when you start to move you are reminded and you immediately get pissed off again.

Living a life of anger has taken me places that were very dark. I've had to take every sort of anger management course you can conceive of, every type of personal inventory that lies out there. I've had to learn to be all but enraged and still smile and act as if everything is perfectly fine, while feeling my insides slowly decay from the harm that anger does to one physically.

Anger can be righteous, and it can be unrighteous.

Transfolk don't have a lot of unrighteous anger when it comes to LGBT concerns.

Transfolk cannot simply be cut out from the LGBT community, either, nor can they work against LGBT causes, because *we are* LGBT.

There are gay men, lesbians, straight folk, bisexuals, and all manner of everything else within us.

We have been fighting for our rights and our recognition for thousands of years.

Just like the rest of the LGBT community.

Just like the rest, we can trace the modern concepts to Hirschfield and his peers.

Just like LGBT folks, we can trace the current movement to Stonewall and Compton.

And we can trace the attempts to distance us from anyone else, the efforts to further marginalize us among the already marginalized, the whole time.

I normally hate cannibalizing myself like that, but I'm going to do it because the same things are still true.

When transfolk became angry about something, it's because that something is the same thing we are fighting against. If we are angry at cisLGB folks, its because those cisLGB folks did the same stuff to us that we've had done to us for our entire lives.

And by avoiding our anger, all you achieve is helping to perpetuate it. To keep it around.

Our anger has a reason, and unless you can face that reason, you will never be part of the solution.


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Thank you for providing an insight into your personal struggle with anger, it is an issue many of us struggle with daily. However from an intellectual sense, rationalizing why many of us hold over anger built up over a lifetime is a strawman to the larger issue at hand.

Our upbringings and childhood trauma therein do not nor should they, grant us a license to unleash a verbal barrage upon sincere meaning allies or those who stand in opposition to acknowledging our very existence.

Whatever the reason or root cause for anger and rage, 'tis a poor coping technique and often leads to further alienation and confirmation of stereotype.

Perhaps this is fundamental to understanding why many in the Trans community claim "Red-Headed Step-Child" syndrome at the hands of the LGBT community. People get tired of the constant rage and acrimony.

The fact that many of the readers here in the trans community unleashed such vitriol and plaintive cries upon TBP and Mr. Gold to the point of the Editors revoking his contributor status and removal of his controversial post is a perfect example of just how counterproductive this rationalization of rage is to us as individuals and as a community.

Collectively raging via a verbal meat-grinder at someone who dare offend some transfolk's thin-skinned sensibilities, has accomplished nothing other than to sweep the issue away unto the shelf of denial.

Perhaps instead of raging or making excuses seeking to justify the behavior, an open honest dialog could have brought a mutual understanding to both sides resulting in a further strengthening of the community.

Instead the issue goes unresolved, pushed from sight temporarily perhaps, but nevertheless percolating beneath the surface.

People like Mr. Gold exist both in and outside of the LGBT community, we either learn how to communicate with those opposing viewpoints, or we shall always be the "Angry Tranny" in the corner, too concerned with making others feel just a bit of our pent up pain, rather than working towards solution.

Hi Allison,

While there is absolutely some truth to what you are saying, it becomes problematic in the justifications you use for it.

In specific: "rage... leads to further alienation and confirmation of stereotype" is a two fold aspect of blaming the victim and a tone argument.

It is not the fault of the trans people that they are upset (thereby confirming a false sterotype) but the people making them angry. So the sterotype argument leads to blaming trans people for being stereotyped in the first place.

The second part is blaming their anger and rage for alienation -- the cause of the rage is the actions of others, so the actions of others lead to alienation.

Hence my earler post about ten simple rules to talk trans. By using language which creates the situation in the first place, we end up with greater alienation and worse sterotypes. THat's not the fault of the trans people, that's the fault of the people using the piss poor language.

I do not come from the red headed step child idea. I come from the "well, I'm weird even for weird people" mentality that includes the whole "well, since I;m trans, Im better tan ya'll cause I get both sides while you only get one". Its a nasty combination, and were I not upfront about it, it would be dishonest.

However, it underlies my motivation for ensuring that trans is equally present at all times and in all ways in everything. Becuase, ultimately, all the variances and differences we seek to highlght so much are relatively unimportant in the context of the greater struggle for social justice.

Additionally, I question the value of the argument that our rage is counterproductive as a whole -- part of the reason we can even have the discussion we are having right now, here, in particular, is that two years ago a whole bunch of us lost it. Five years ago, a whole bunch of us lost it.

Our movement as a whole is generally recognized to have been birthed from rage -- Stonewall was not a peaceful thing, by any means.

Two years ago, right here, the level of awarneess about trans stuff was not even close to high enough. Two years ago, the rage expressed now would not have been given voice, and Mr. Gold's article would have remained. Five years ago, had there not been tremendous rage among the trans community at the actions of one particular organization, there would not have been a lie told two years ago that sparked that one.

What is important, though, is that someone -- such as you -- always be there to remind folks that we have to be careful when we burn things that we do not burn the bridges. This artcle is made by me as a contributor, and I damn near burnt my bridges here on more than one occasion. A friend of mine *did* burn a bridge here. Several, in fact.

BEcause most of that anger contained strong messages, and pwerful words, and most of those words were focused on educationg and speaking out the truth.

THe same way that when we have pride marches and there's the WBC or their local version and we get into shoutng matches with them. We do not merely hurl invective, we hurl invective laced truth -- and after the emotions are calmed down, once the wave has passed, there is the truth left, sitting there, dispassionate and constant.

And we build on that, because people ask questions.

Turning away from that anger only perpetuates it. It's why I do not shy from the anger of othes -- I stare into it. I ask questions. WHen People hurl bolts at me, I hurl back, but I always, always listen to them.

And often I learn.

My skills with anger, learned hard over many years, may help me there more than some -- I don't know. But I do know that if one human being can go through all of that, then others can as well.

And the first step is to be aware that it is possible to smile and have a good day and still be angry.

Lastly, not all of us are angry trannies. I got stuck with the label because, well, you know.

Some of us are moderates, and mediators, and others are just quietly there, stealthily influencing.

It takes the sum total of all of it to make the difference that I descrbe above -- because that's what breaks the stereotype.

"Our upbringings and childhood trauma therein do not nor should they, grant us a license to unleash a verbal barrage upon sincere meaning allies or those who stand in opposition to acknowledging our very existence."

That is true, but it also needs to be acknowledged that those of us who have been traumatized are going to have outbursts from time to time, whether we are sincerely addressing our histories or not. The task then is to approach what happened honestly, without trying to "win", and decide what was an overreaction and what was not.

That process can be facilitated when others recognize the person is experiencing real pain and give them the opportunity to step back. It can also be destroyed when others are too quick to cast out judgment and just lash back.

In the case of Ron's post, he made it more than clear that he was talking *about* trans people, not *to* them, which means there was no chance of a real dialogue from the very beginning. He was casting his opinion from up high on the mountain. That is part (but definitely not all) of why there was so much anger shown to him, and rightfully so in my opinion.

If the reaction has done nothing but sweep the issue under the rug, then how come we have had several posts and discussions since that incident dissecting what happened? And why are site administrators are working on changing their methods and being more trans-inclusive? This was not an irrational outburst, and it has been very productive.

I agree with what you've written. Unless you can deal with some of the anger, messiness, loss and pain the trans community still deals with on a daily basis, then you don't know our lives and you're not ready to call yourself an ally. Some of the reactions to the anger reminds me how some of the Gay community wanted to distance themselves from Larry Kramer at the beginning of the AIDS era... he was thought to be too irrational and too unpleasant, too much of a drama queen. Personally, I prefer the messy and heartfelt over the neatly-written (say Harvey Milk vs. The Advocate). Too many people on blogs come off sounding like frustrated academics, professional essayists or people who are regurgitating the papers they wrote for Gender Studies 101. Environments like this are about processing. When it's clean and devoid of passion (and yes, in some cases, even anger which might sound irrational to some) it just comes off as pre-processed. I'd rather eat a rich stew than Cheese Whiz.

Anger is passion.

So it shouldn't be strange to anyone :D

A friend of mine gave me a fantastic metaphor to explain why transgender people often come off a little disheveled:

"Taking hormones is like getting glasses for the first time, but for your emotions and your social interactions."

I've heard this sentiment in a lot of places, in a lot of ways, but the long story short is that transition is a disheveling, difficult process. Hormones are powerful chemicals that cause lasting, drastic changes in the way a person processes their experiences. This is a _hard_ process to undergo -- I've been at it for a year and change and I still have troubles processing my emotional responses at times. People who have known me for a long time are especially are taken aback at how differently I approach things now that I'm "under new management."

Part of the reason the transgender population sounds like a mob of teenage kids is because, in a way, we have to go through a phase where we are emotional teenagers again. The very nature of a medical transition means that we may sometimes snap when we should take a breath and think things through beforehand. I know I've had a few times where I look back on my reaction to a situation and say "Oh. My. _God._ I sound like a sixteen-year-old bitch." It happens, and there's not much we can do about it except learn to work through the new emotional framework the hormones give us.

Is it right? Not really. Is it an inclusive explanation of the issue? Not in the slightest. (I didn't even go into the day-to-day assumption of passerbys that I'm "crazy" for transitioning, or that i have to justify my actions to every armchair psychologist/good friend who thinks they have half an argument to stand on.) However, I think it's important to keep this "new glasses" metaphor in mind when dealing with transgender people.

I've been on hormones seven years and I still feel like a teenager sometimes. I think that, in addition to the hormones, many trans people also have to deal with never going through key developmental stages as who we are. We didn't get to be little boys or girls, and didn't get to be teenagers as ourselves either. "You have to be a little girl before you can be a woman." We have to make up for all that in adulthood, and it sure isn't easy.

Austen, yes, hormones are powerful compounds, but saying to someone who's experiencing loss, disparagement, and marginalization in their life "you're ungrounded because of your hormones" reeks a little of when men say to women "must be THAT time of month, har-har." (and I'm not suggesting you're saying this) There are tons of reasons why people get upset, but lets not pathologize the people who are going through those stressors without asking... what are the biological reasons so many people act irrationally towards transpeople to the point of attacking them? What there might be some truth to the 'second adolescence' idea, as someone who has a teenage daughter I can say it's not just the hormones which make adolescence complex—there are a lot of complex developmental and social reasons why kids are whacky. Yes, when I transitioned, I went through some of that, but I also had an adult, fully-formed brain and a lot of life experience teens don't have.

I agree self-IDing as a victim isn't a healthy way to live one's life, but neither is walking on a cloud of entitlement which states "if you can't get it together then there's something wrong with you." Self-imposed ignorance of what other's are going through is a form of heart disease.

I agree with you on pretty much everything you said in your reply. :) I just wanted to point that out -- I'm not trying to pathologize or explain away anger. I just know that it's had a pretty profound effect on the way I work with these kinds of issues.

So yeah. Not trying to denigrate, just trying to share with the class. ;)

Any attitude can be either functional or dysfunctional. Anger being no exception. I'm a MTF TS and can match most people in the MTF community for the reasons I have to be angry to include reasons mentioned by Antonio.

HOWEVER...

Is deciding to become a professional victim a functional use of anger? While many LGBT and other minority group activists might disagree IMO the answer is "no." I do not include in this comment the people who are so beaten down by their CURRENT situation that they do not have the ability to decide not to be victims. As for past situations: bore me. Sh..t happens, life goes on. Make the best of it.

I'm not saying we should ignorantly walk around with a smile despite our life situations while benignly ignoring reality. But if we have a bad attitude let us use it as a motivator to accomplish things of importance to us. For example, most MTF TS get mis-gendered as males frequently due to having masculine voices. Stay peed off about this indefinitely or use the anger to motivate oneself to master a more feminine voice. Voice not important to you? Then disregard my comment and work on something that is important to you. Important: this does not have to be earth shaking stuff. Have some fun along the way.

Finally, for the MTF TSs who think their lives are so horrible I encourage them to take the time to visit with really sick people like end-stage terminal cancer patients. The fact that we get the occasional person dissing us is tame by comparison.

"I do not include in this comment the people who are so beaten down by their CURRENT situation that they do not have the ability to decide not to be victims. As for past situations: bore me. Sh..t happens, life goes on. Make the best of it."

But the past influences the present, and the more intense and traumatic the past, the stronger its grip on the present. Until that root is dealt with, it will continue to affect the present whether the person wants it to or not, whether they claim it's all behind them or not. And it can take time, a loooong time. With a lot of mistakes and overreactions along the way.

There is still a difference between working with intense feelings from older trauma and becoming a "professional victim", but I don't believe it is anybody else's place to decide what a person should "just get over". That is no different than saying "your feelings aren't real"—something trans people are already far too used to hearing.

A person's feelings are real and are influenced by their past. However, just as feelings were changed for the worse by past situations they can be changed for the better by future ones.

The difference between a professional victim and a person with a troubled past working themselves out of it is in their current behavior. I.E. if they continue their current behavior can they reasonably expect better situations in the future?

Of particular importance is research suggests that talking about trauma can be detrimental to our healing. I doubt this implies we should bottle all our hurt up but it makes me wonder if trans people who spend significant amounts of time educating others about transitioning difficulties are harming themselves in the process.

It is easy for any of us to figure out if this applies to us. If we've spent a few years talking to everyone who will listen to us about our difficulties and we're not getting better then spend a few years not talking about our difficulties. We might also spend the considerable time savings on working towards solutions to our problems. Then compare results.


http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/17943

Expressing feelings after trauma not necessary
Email this articleDate: 2008-06-02
Contact: Laura Rico
Phone: (949) 824-9055
Email: lrico@uci.edu
Note to editors: Photo available at http://today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1770

IRVINE — Talking it out has long been considered essential to recovering from a trauma. But new research shows that expressing one’s thoughts and feelings after a traumatic event is not necessary for long-term emotional and physical health, a finding that could change the way institutions devote money and resources to mental health services following collective traumas.

The study, led by UC Irvine psychologist Roxane Cohen Silver, looked at the relationship between immediate expression after a traumatic event and mental and physical well-being over time among a nationally representative sample. Study participants were questioned following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Silver and colleagues say participants who chose not to express thoughts and emotions about the attacks when given the opportunity to do so through an anonymous, Web-based survey, appeared to cope successfully and reported fewer diagnosed physical and mental disorders. In contrast, individuals who communicated their thoughts and feelings about the attacks reported more physical health problems and emotional distress over time, even after controlling for exposure to and distance from the attacks. The study followed participants over a two-year period. It appears in the June issue of the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

The results have important implications for understanding the role of expression in the coping process and for early post-trauma intervention, according to Silver.

“Some people don’t need to express thoughts and feelings after trauma and do just fine, and it’s a myth that you must express your distress in order to recover,” Silver said. “Mandatory or required psychological counseling is often unwarranted and universal intervention is likely to be a waste of resources.” ...

If you are talking about an event that is seriously traumatizing, with chronic impacts in health and behavior, a two-year study isn't going to cut it. Oftentimes the initial "worsening" in condition is not a matter of feeling worse, but feeling *more*. Coming out of numbness. Sometimes you have to get worse before you get better. The decision of whether that is the case or not should be left up to the individual.

It's hard for me to imagine living a life of anger. Not that I never get angry, but I seem not to have the temperament to sustain it. I have a brother who is angry all the time, and it literally makes him ill. I wouldn't want to live with that kind of stress.

We're all different, and I'm not going to tell you what's right for you. Just saying that anger is not my normal reaction to things that bother me, including the Ronald Gold posting. I think my first comment was more incredulous than angry.

I do think I might be angry, or at least annoyed, at the Google ads for "lady boys" that show up on every trans-related post. I wonder if anything can be done about that.

Anger is, in fact, quite bad for the health. I'm quite well aware of it, and wile I would like not to respond with anger off the bat, it is not always possible -- living with it in me all the time, I had to develop many different coping skills and ways to channel it.

When I suddenly lost the hard, burning center of it, which happened when I finally came out to myself, I had to begin learning new ways of filling in the gaps hat were left by it. That much raw energy has to go somewhere and for me I ended up using it to power most things in my life.

But stuff such as the attacks on trans folk in general (although not so much on me, personally) tends to reaching and touch the old nerve, which is still raw, and sparking off that old resentment and frustration.

insofar as the google ads, no, not really. Google doesn't allow for that degree of exclusion, and functions off the keywords. The advertisers put in terms like "transgender" as a keyword and then google "reads" the page for those keywords to determine what content to put up.

At least, that's how it worked for my business site. I do not have ads on any of my personal sites at present now because of that lack of appropriate context.

People talk about hormones in many different ways. It's always a very personal experience -- for me, my first shot was like coming home. Things just felt right.

Iwas very, very happy.

After living somewhere in the "middle" for a time, I decided my path was toward a sex change. SRS, etc.

This required a "real life test", coming out, etc.

It was about time, and I felt truly a part of the world, connected, for the first time.

The anger and rage that I had felt all my life had dissipated during transition -- I was becoming whole.

Imagine my reaction when all my "friends" deserted me, when the organizations I'd been a part of for many years, turned their back on me.

All the old anger, along with a new more cynical version rose up.

Then after SRS, those folks who did maintain somewhat friendly relations with me also "booked".

I attempted to rebuild some sort of network -- going into Manhattan to the Center. I did that until the day I got there and did not want to leave my car. In fact I felt safer on the street than in the supposedly safe place of the LGBT Center.

At that point, my rage just grew. The anger almost always just below the surface.

I spent years being the dutiful daughter, taking care of my late Mother until she died (at 94 - she was a strong, amazing woman).

That gave me time to calm down, heal, see how time can change folks (my Mom, for one).

I was, and am, very lucky.

After her death, we (I have a partner now) moved to a totally new area, and city.

Looking back, I'm still amazed at how many gay guys and lesbians are so willing to tell me how I feel, what my motivations are (were), why I misread my history. In addition, many seemed so surprised that I was so "articulate" (I wonder if they also thought "clean"). In fact I was much more comfortable among the girls at Edelweiss (a well known "tranny" bar - also well known for "tranny" hookers). At least some of the girls there saw I was "serious", that I was truly surgery tracked.

I was told I was "Transgender" -- even though I saw myself as a post-op transsexual. I was told I'd never "really" be a woman -- even though my everyday life was that of a woman, and I was treated like every other woman of my age and class by those who did not have prior knowledge.

It became very clear that many in the LGB communities saw me (us) as the backward children they were forced to bring along. Along with that, it appeared they just knew what was best for us -- without ever walking in our shoes.

Gee ----- I wonder why the anger, why the rage, when many of our "friends" treat us worse that much of the "general public".

"Gee ----- I wonder why the anger, why the rage, when many of our "friends" treat us worse that much of the "general public"."

Sadly this is a common experience for ftm also.

(how does the reply to comment function work??)

Antonia- I love what you say about political correctness and rudeness. It's what I always felt.

You click on reply to comment, and the software will tke you to the comment field. It "remembers" you you are replying to when you hit submit.

And thanks -- part of it is that people don't actually know what real political correctness is, and just assume its being nice for no good reason.

GrouchyTheGrouch | December 14, 2009 5:18 PM

This is a really important message, and I think it applies not just to trans people, but to lots of different oppressed peoples.

Trans people, collectively, are a community in crisis. I think that's a really important thing to know when doing any community-building work in/with trans communities. You are dealing with a people under siege. It is not a good idea to f*ck with us.

This post is good evidence of why we should all be wary of accepting moral and political guidance from trans activists. This post is honest and sincere and I agree with it. Many if not all trans activists are seething with anger. And they bring that anger to their politics. As we see with other anger-driven movements like the segregationist movement of the 1960s and the militia movement of the 1990s, politicized anger leads to a lack of empathy, the atrophy of sincere, open-minded debate, demonization of one's opponents, and in extreme cases, violence.

We already see the beginnings of this in a lot of the posts on this blog. This is a good time for trans activists to consider whether they would be better served working through their anger issues rather than coopting a political and social movement to resolve emotional conflicts.

Hi Danielle,

In a different column of mine you wrote:

"I am very concerned to learn all of the rules to discussing trans issues so that I may be sure to break them as often as possible."

under the name Sara.

So its already apparent to me that you say this out of animosity towards transfolk in general and likely me in particular, but I do appreciate your caring about the issue enough to take the time and comment.

As a note regarding your argument, it forgets that the civil rights movement as a whole was born in anger and violence, and that even the LGBT part of that movement was born of anger and violence as well.

The response to oppression is most often anger and violence -- this is so strongly correlated that it was known in the early 1800's (and, iirc, far earlier, as I'm pretty sure Tacitus wrote on the subject).

So, by that same reasoning, no group that has ever been angry should ever be allowed any sort of role in any movement that seeks social justice.

Your argument is a fallacy of guilt by association, and fails to take the points raised in it to task directly, preferring instead to malign from a position of anonymity. That is not an action of goodwill.

Since you aren't commenting on posts other than mine at this time, I'd like to say that being angry with me is fine. Taking it out on an entire community is not.

I didn't post that comment. Apparently, there are at least 2 people out there in TPB land who think you are an overbearing bully.

Your knowledge and understanding of history are superficial at best. Neither the civil rights movement or the gay movement were borne out of anger. More importantly, neither is driven by anger. Although there are certainly points in time over 40+ years when there have been displays of anger, it is simply a lie to say that the gay movement taps into or is driven by anger. It is far more likely to tap into humor, self-awareness, and appeals to a common sense of fairness than anger.

The trans anger you describe (not me, you) is IMHO more akin to the emotional outlook of a member of the Montana militia who feels that society is passing them by. A resentful seething sense of victimization that entitles one to treat others badly as righteous payback for real or perceived "oppression". The perfect setup for a bad second act.

Hmm. Posting to a different thread as well, as Michelle. So, if, as you claim, you did not write it, then you share the same IP address as two other people with the same style of writing and explanation and exceptional antipathy towards me coming out of your locale.

Just saying.

In any case, a strawman ad hominem meant to discredit me personally while avoiding the points in the column and derail the thread coupled with a further false evidencing of the previous logical fallacy (Stonewall was a bloody riot and the Civil War was, well, a war, not to mention certain other elements over the next 100 years) do not do you any credit.

Your assertion of a false premise, as you noted in your comment to Jillian, does not make your own fallacious argument any better.

Thank you for commenting, and please avoid derailment in the future.

Thank you for exposing your racism to this blog. The Civil War was an act of white men, the culmination of a clash between federalists and anti-federalists, as well as two competing economic systems. The decision to wage the war, and the decisions as to how it was conducted, what its objectives were, and how it concluded were all made by white men. It is not the civil rights movement as any non-racist would understand it.

The civil rights movement is, first and foremost, a movement of African Americans. And that movement is not an anger-driven movement. Although, as with the gay rights movement, there are violent incidents over the decades of struggle, it is overwhelmingly peaceful in both rhetoric and action.

If MLK were alive to read your posts, he likely would tell you to seek therapy. He certainly wouldn't feel any kinship with what you espouse.

As for the gay movement, the "bloody riot" you refer to in 1969 was one of only 2 significant violent acts over a 40 year period. It was not the beginning of the gay rights movement, as any marginally educated gay activist would know.

Moreover, even the 2 historic gay riots in 1969 and 1979 were tame by almost anyone's standards. No fatalities. No serious injuries. Property damage limited to some broken windows, a parking meter, and a few cars. The 1969 riot barely merited local press coverage.

There hasn't been any significant violence related to the gay rights movement in 30 years. Even when we suffer catastrophic defeats, as in Maine, there is no violence, no bigoted demonization of our adversaries, and no seething paranoid anger of the variety you demonstrate.

But that is the best you can do to try to bring the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement down to your level. Sorry, but you and your fellow trans activists are alone in your hatred and anger. We won't join you.

PS

I live in a communal house with 5 other women, all of whom read TPB regularly. We do share a computer. Just sayin.

Well then, that explains the similarities and the subnet of the IP, at least. Thanks for that, and I sit corrected on posters.

Danielle;

Like it or not, the erpution at Stonewall produced the first instance of a real LGBT community; everyone got in on the act and every category fo LGBT was represented somewhere in the three nights of the event.

Maura,

The poster came into the thread blaming a victim, and used that victimization as the basis for exclusion.

At best, it provides me with material for further examination later, but that they used racism (with me, in particular) as an assault only establishes the pattern they have of seeking to discredit me on the basis of my nature as a person without knowing much about me.

Which is fine. People have done that to me for years, and the best solution I have for it is to listen to their accusations, think on them for a bit, and then explore it at a later time.

Its apparent they want to talk about me and exclusion, whereas I want to talk about all of us and inclusion.

People decide what they want to do from there.

1. "I didn't post that comment. Apparently, there are at least 2 people out there in TPB land who think you are an overbearing bully."
2. "I live in a communal house with 5 other women, all of whom read TPB regularly. We do share a computer. Just sayin."

Ha, seriously? "My BFFs think you're a bully!" Look out, Antonia, they might not let you sit at the cool kids' lunch table.

"Why are many gays so angry? Why can’t they just civilly and intelligently make their case?

Gays are basically angry because of the fact that they ended up “gay”

Now they try to ground that anger on anything that stands in the way of them living the lifestyle that they’ve chosen or feel forced to live.

Also, gays will always fight for social acceptance because deep down they don’t accept themselves."

Before you shoot me, note that this quote comes from an anti-gay blog that makes essentially the same argument as you, Danielle, but as applied to gay people. It is wrong as applied to gay people, and it is wrong as applied to transgender people. There are some angry transgender people, and there are some angry gay people. Sometimes their anger is productive and sometimes it isn't, but that's no cause to assume the whole bunch are crazy.

http://theplagueofliberalism.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/why-are-gays-so-angry/

No shots from me, Dr. Weiss. I enjoy reading your posts and comments.

However, your comparison is inapt. Why? Because the anti-gay writer you quote is asserting a false premise (that many gays are angry and incapable of civil discussion) and is then purporting to conduct a mass diagnosis of the cause of the alleged anger.

In this case, by contrast, it is Antonia who insists that "transfolk" are angry and it is Antonia who tells us why. I am simply agreeing with her post and am further concluding that the gay community should not follow allow her and her fellow angry transfolk to lead us down that path.

Here's a few examples:

"it's important to talk about why trans folk get so angry, and why they do it so often."


"We get angry because every single day, in little ways and big ways, in words and in actions, people are rude to us on more levels than you know."

"Our anger has a reason. . ."

So your objection to the generalization is better directed at Antonia rather than me.

california panda | December 15, 2009 12:48 AM

Danielle,

You state, "This post is good evidence of why we should all be wary of accepting moral and political guidance from trans activists."

Just who exactly is this "we" you refer to when advising people to be wary of trans activist advice? And, additionally who do you define as a trans activist other than those trans people are apparently angry enough to make you uncomfortable supporting them. Oh, and which social justice movements, precisely, do you cite as those which haven't begun with a generally angry uprising of a marginalized population including areas not even related to GLBTQIA, etc. issues like MAAD for instance?

You mention in your post,
"This is a good time for trans activists to consider whether they would be better served working through their anger issues rather than coopting a political and social movement to resolve emotional conflicts."

This wouldn't be a veiled attempt to silence our views on why we feel what we do now would it? Who's social movement are we, in your opinion, co-opting that we don't already belong to? And why do you feel that you know better how do deal with our anger issues than we do? If I didn't assume you were honest in your position I might be tempted to apply the appellation "Troll" to that posting. Please convince me that I'm mistaken.

Valerie

You ask a lot of questions, but it is pretty obvious you couldn't care less about the answers. Also, I love the anti-intellectual tactic of feigning confusion over the meaning of words. Trans activist? Whatever could that mean? My heavens, we can't tell a hawk from a handsaw when it suits our purpose.

Although all of your questions are posed in bad faith and reflect your intellectual dishonesty, I will entertain the following two:

"Who's social movement are we, in your opinion, co-opting that we don't already belong to?"

Social movements are creations of the human mind. They don't exist in nature like asteroids or stars. There is an "LGBT" movement only because fallible human beings decided that that was the proper way to define the movement. Human beings make mistakes and this was one. You can declare your status all you want. The citizenry of Slovenia can declare themselves part of the gay movement. It doesn't make it so unless gay people themselves accept it. We shouldn't.

"And why do you feel that you know better how do deal with our anger issues than we do?"

I don't know that. I suggested that you work through your anger issues; I didn't presume to provide you with a blueprint for recovery. I think that the folks who should be listening carefully to your perceptions of the world are helping professionals. I don't think the gay community is served by giving any weight to moral or political lectures from people who demonstrate through, inter alia, their delusional statements on this website, that their grip on reality is tenuous.

Now, in the same spirit, some questions for you: LGBTQIA? Are you serious? When did an "I" and an "A" get added? And what do those letters stand for? I haven't a clue what the "A" stands for. I assume "I" is for intersexed, but that is included under the banner of "T", or does this also change week-to-week, depending upon whatever neurosis drives these decisions? What will really give you peace of mind is to get every consonant in the alphabet into the movement. Only then will you live happily ever after.

california panda | December 15, 2009 1:50 AM

Thank you, Danielle.

Your response stands, bared, as it's own condemnation.

Valerie

Any time. My pleasure.

Love,
Danielle

Danielle,
I wonder why you read and post on a blog that is dedicated to LGBT inclusion, while you think that LGBT was a mistake? This makes little sense to me.

By the way, I know a bunch of lesbians who don't want to be part of anything to do with gay men and vice versa. Still you are talking about the "gay movement" (meaning obviously lesbian and gay). At what point did "you" get to decide that there is such a thing when large parts of lesbian and gay male communities were opposing it?

I'm actually rather fortunate, I think. I never really felt anger at the world as a result of my experiences growing up trans. Instead, I seemed to cultivate a profound feeling of disappointment in humanity. Every trauma that I sustained at the hands of those around me pushed me farther and farther away the bulk of humanity as I felt less and less human by comparison. Needless to say, the concept of "trust" is somewhat underdeveloped for me. I'm not exactly paranoid, I just have a difficult time trusting anyone not to hurt me. Even the best of friends, I sometimes find myself trying to guess how many days until they stab me in the back like all the rest. For me, it's not about "playing the victim"... I've been the victim too many times, and have no desire to continue being victimised.

Is it bad that I feel fortunate for having had this reaction, rather than simple anger? It hardly seems as if isolation and alienation are any better as substitutes.

The simplest explanation being the best.

If you don't like it when I get angry...
Then STOP PISSING ME OFF!!

Don't tell me I'm not the person I am.
Don't prevent me from making a living.
Don't equate my sense of self as an illness.
Don't tell me who I can sleep with.
Don't tell me who I can marry if I choose to do that.

Just stop!

I don't ask for much and I will get it.
Someday.

People trying to portray trans people's anger in response to oppression as some kind of unhealthy, freakish reaction makes me wonder if we are all living in the same world.

How many people have read feminist writings from the 70s? The anger practically jumps right of the page... and hell, those women had every right to their anger.

I also seem to recall a group of lesbian feminist separatists in DC who called themselves The Furies. Did that choice of name have anything to do with anger? Or did they think it was just a cool sounding name?

I was an abortion rights activist for the better part of the 90s. The women who participated in this activism were quite pissed off over this issue, believe me. Again, they had every right to their anger.

Oppression creates anger in those who are oppressed. Activists who work to challenge oppression are often motivated by their own anger over injustices that they personally experienced or injustices that people close to them have experienced. There is no mystery in this phenomenon and this dynamic is by no means limited to trans people.