Rebecca Juro

Ron Gold's Post Is Down: What Now?

Filed By Rebecca Juro | December 12, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: ronald gold, transgender, transphobia, transsexual

Around 9pm Friday night, Ronald Gold's first and only post as a Bilerico contributor has been removed from the site and his contributor status has been withdrawn. Gold's post had amassed over 300 comments, virtually all of them negative. In response to the outcry, Bilerico Project Publisher Bil Browning posted to apologize for the trauma and hurt feelings Mr. Gold's transphobic attack on transgender identity has been responsible for, particularly among Bilerico's transgender readership and contributor staff.

This is frankly a really uncomfortable position for me to be in. I'm a Bilerico contributor and former editor, but I'm also a transwoman who found Gold's post to be not only transphobic, but also completely outside the boundaries of good taste, quality discussion, and basic civility and politeness. As one of the transgender contributors who has been posting at Bilerico the longest and cares deeply about the site and about my publisher and friend Bil Browning, I feel the need to say something more coherent on this than the many short comments I've posted and tweeted on this topic since this became an issue.

First, Ron Gold:

Frankly, I think Bil made a bad judgment call in giving Gold's post the green light as it was written. In my opinion, the content and tone of Mr. Gold's post was in direct violation of the Bilerico Project's Terms of Service (TOS) and should not have been allowed to post on the site without revision to ensure that it was in compliance with the TOS. As a former Bilerico Project editor as well as a longtime contributor, I know that I and many other contributors have been asked to rewrite or revise posts from time to time which the editors felt exceeded the boundaries of the TOS, usually due to what was found to be unnecessarily inflammatory language.

In this case, I don't believe Mr. Gold's post was subject to the same level of editorial oversight as other Bilerico contributors usually are. While I certainly cannot and will not speak for him, I suspect that Bil felt that out of respect for Mr. Gold's age, ninety, he should be allowed more latitude in the use of language and opinions that would be seen as controversial than the average Bilerico contributor. I also strongly suspect that Bil seriously underestimated how deeply hurt and offended transgender people and allies would be by Gold's words and opinions.

I'm not going to dissect Ron Gold's post here. Other contributors and Projectors have already done a far better job of that than I ever could. I don't need to pick Mr. Gold's post apart line by line to be able to say that in my opinion the level of hurt and trauma his words have caused our Bilerico family far outweigh the value of his continuing contributions to the site. And yet, as angry and offended as I am by Ron Gold's words, I can't place the blame for this completely on his shoulders.

I believe Bil should have known better than to publish this inflammatory piece without revision, and I am frankly stunned that someone with his level of skill and experience as Bilerico's publisher didn't see the backlash coming. Then again, we'd spoken on the phone earlier that day and we'd talked about Mr. Gold's upcoming post and that it would no doubt be controversial. I hadn't read it at the time, and I too was caught by surprise by the size, speed, and intensity of the response to it. I cannot direct the blame for this toward Bil with full force either because I believe that it was allowing his compassion and respect for Mr. Gold to cloud his better judgment that led to the outrage directed toward Mr. Gold, Bil, and the site as a whole over the last day or so. It's hard to be upset with someone for being too nice and too respectful to their elders.

As far as Mr. Gold himself goes, I'm far less charitable. The man is ninety years old, but that's no excuse for being hurtful and demeaning toward a persecuted minority group. I'm glad the editorial team decided that he and his work are unsuitable for the Bilerico Project and should not be featured on the site. In my opinion, no contributor's participation is worth pain and hurt this post has caused so many, and the damage that may have been done to the Bilerico Project's reputation by featuring it. It just wasn't worth it, not for any of us.

Now, the Bilerico Project:

After Marti Abernathey introduced me to the site in 2007, it didn't take me long as a reader and commenter at the site to decide to get in touch with Bil and ask if I could become a contributor. Some months later, Bil offered me a slot as a contributing editor and I accepted. At that time, the editorial staff had not only gay men, but also lesbians, as well as Marti and I. One of the reasons we were brought on board was because Bil and Alex wanted to increase the level of transgender representation at the site. We hadn't gone to them and demanded more transgender bloggers, they'd come to us and asked that we help them find some. We worked hard to find and nominate top-notch transgender bloggers for contributor and guest contributor slots such as Monica Roberts, Monica Helms, and Donna Rose. I eventually stepped down as an editor while back, but I remain a Bilerico Project contributor to this day.

I've been with the site for almost two and a half years now, and in a very real way I consider it my online home. During that time, I've been thrilled to see the number of transpeople as both contributors and Projectors steadily rise. I'm extraordinarily proud that the Bilerico Project boasts what I believe is probably the single largest and most diverse group of transgender bloggers and site users of any LGBT-relevant blog out there. When I'm asked to describe the Bilerico Project to those who have never visited or heard of it before, I'll often say it's like a Huffington Post for LGBT people and allies. While HuffPo has a much larger number of individual contributors blogging on their site than we do, I think we're definitely in their league as far as diversity of thought on important issues goes, and their equal (and often even their better) in terms of the quality of the discussions that take place on the site.

The Bilerico Project and our online family of editorial staff, contributors, and participants are precious to me, and because of that when I feel that family is threatened, as I have here because of the fallout from Ron Gold's post, my first instinct is to do whatever I can to protect it. I spent much of the last couple of days trying to encourage and plead with angry, offended transpeople not to turn their backs on the Bilerico Project because of this single offensive post. I saw the community we've worked so hard to build starting to fracture and crumble over this, and I feared for the future if it continued.

In the Bilerico Project, LGBT's have a unique and special kind of online community which can be found nowhere else, and I, for one, am not going to give it up without a fight. If you were as offended by Ron Gold's post and as disappointed in Bil's decision to run it as I was, I ask you, I plead with you, please don't leave, but instead join me in helping to ensure that something like this never happens again at our online home. The Bilerico Project is ours too, every bit as much as it belongs in part to each and every one of us who take the time and effort to contribute and participate.

I ask you, especially if you are a transgender or gender-variant person, to join me in pledging our help to Bil, Alex, and the rest of the editorial staff, to make ourselves available to them and ready to assist if there's ever a question again as to whether upcoming postings for the site might be seen as transphobic or otherwise potentially offensive and/or hurtful to transpeople, or to anyone else for that matter. I ask you to join me in pledging to do whatever we can to help the editorial team to ensure that the Bilerico Project, our online home, remains free of content that can be hurtful and traumatizing to anyone, even if that potential damage might not be immediately apparent to the non-transgender eye.

Most of all, I ask you to join me in standing our ground. This is not a time to turn our backs and walk away, this is a time to join together as transpeople, as LGBT's, and as people who care about the Bilerico Project and this amazingly diverse, intelligent, active, fun, crazy, wonderful online family of ours and work together to protect it from something like this ever happening to it again.

No one is perfect, not me, not you, certainly not Ron Gold, and not Bil either. A mistake was made here to be sure, but it was a mistake of too big a heart and too much compassion. Lessons learned, and lessons yet to be learned (and taught) from this experience will serve us all well going forward.

The post is down. The war is over. Let's tend our wounds, have a good cry, and then come home together, as a family, and resolve do whatever we can to make sure something like this never, ever, happens to us again.

Who's with me?


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thank yo for being the voice of reason, integrity in the aftermath of this mess.

many have said much about this - so I will add only one thing - let's not make this about Gold's age. while of course there had been a serious amount of progress in understanding LGBT people - let's be clear - Ron Gold has thought this way for the 30+ years he has been part of the "movement"

he has been left behind by many others, let's not add ageism (always an easy swipe to make) to the mix

Many gay men who are much younger than Gold share his views, so age doesn't really explain away what he wrote. But I wonder if age is entirely irrelevant?

As you mentioned, Gold has likely felt this way for 30+ years, perhaps based on his experiences and his reading earlier in life. However, my sense is that the scientific understanding of transexualism has changed quite a bit during the past decade. Moreover, the transgender community has matured in its self-understanding and expression markedly during the past 15-20 years. I really do wonder if Ronald Gold kept up with all those changes. He did not address them in his article.

But, yes, ageism did seep into some of the negative comments regarding Gold's post. This was harmful, unhelpful, and may have contributed to his failure to respond to criticisms.

In this case, it sure is Bil's fault, and it's not my job to 'help' him. For myself, it's obvious to me that my self-respect as a woman (who is trans) is more important to me than whether all the LGB(t) people can stand in a circle and sing Kumbaya. It you want to occupy the "transgender" in their hollow, ill-conceived version of LGB(t), be my guest, but don't expect rousing support... that ship has sailed.

The issue of Ron Gold's post is not in the least over. The very alive issue is how many in the LGB community (and in the younger Queer-identified community who are taught much the same nonsense in their Gender Studies Departments) believe much the same as the 90-year old Mr. Gold. These deeply entrenched opinions aren't going anywhere and, believe me, they haven't been 'brought to light for purposes of healing' by Gold's bigoted diatribe. Moreover, the persons posting on Gold's thread are not representative of the vast majority of people in the 'gay/queer' community, because, otherwise, there would be a LOT of people agreeing with him. I live in San Francisco, and hear it all the time. The question is, are you going to move forward pathetically attempting to get acceptance from people who've repeatedly disrespected you and, moreover, not lifted their pinkies to find out about your communities? Or, alternatively, are you going to forge ahead and get it done yourself as our community did for the 25 years before we were pushed onto the caboose of the "Gay train." I'm tired of supposed "leaders in the transgender community" repeatedly ignoring the nasty realities Mr. Gold's post reiterated all too well for purposes of maintaining their own sense of status.

So, anger and vitriol are the only way to deal with a mistake? Attacking your allies when they fail to understand you issues is going to win you more allies?

I say, go for it. Be as nasty, hateful and insular as you wish and see how many friends you have when it is over. Sounds like a resounding recipe for success since it has worked so well for so many other marginalized groups.

You'll have plenty of "self respect" when your "self" is all you have.

Jerame, way to be objective. We know you have no vested interest in Bil's rep, now do we? Tell you what, when my partner encourages some homophobic jerk to disrespect you I'll blindly defend him him as well and then we'll be even.

The truth is you all got scared by the out-of-control negative response. For the first 100 posts against Mr. Gold's essay, I didn't see much concern on Bil's part about what had been communicated.

At least try to be honest, you weren't "pushed" you INVITED and even encouraged Mr. Gold. You gave a green light to a post that anyone with a brain in their head would have known to be highly offensive and inflammatory and you did it to the population which doesn't really have representation on your 'editorial board'. And it's dismissive characters like you who make this a not very inviting place for honest comment. See, you'll always be presenting yourself as reasonable and inclusive no matter how many times crap like this happens and try to characterize many trans people as paranoid and overly-combative.

The truth is, sometimes real enemies aren't clear in the present. It takes perspective to know who your friends, allies and enemies are. I believe the trans community has had several decades to find out how they're really viewed by many (but not all) GLB people and it's only self-delusion and lack of self-confidence and self-esteem that keep us from doing by ourselves instead of pretending we have a status in a larger community that, for the most part, doesn't really give us much respect and little equality.

Disclaimer: I've always been gentle, and I'm trying out something new - being direct and not coddling anybody. If it comes off badly, someone please let me know!

GinaSF said:
You gave a green light to a post that anyone with a brain in their head would have known to be highly offensive and inflammatory and you did it to the population which doesn't really have representation on your 'editorial board'.

Jerame said:
His past of being transphobic only came to light AFTER this post blew up.

GinaSF didn't criticize the board for Ron Gold's past, she criticized it for greenlighting that post. Forget his past - his present of being transphobic came to light the minute the editorial board received his submission.

Jerame, if you'd like to defend the board, you should address her actual criticism and not a straw man. It makes you sound like you're a bit reactive, and looking for ways to justify what happened. I think that's what she refers to when she calls your attitude "dismissive." And I understand why some would see it as a big turn-off.

Actually I would be interested in hearing your response to that line of criticism - that the problem isn't that Bilerico pushed the boundaries, but that you published something without realizing the effect it would have, which targeted a group that's under- or not represented on the board, and perhaps because the people who are on the board have problematic blind spots about trans stuff.

Is that a fair critique?

Also, would you confirm for me what is the trans representation on your board? I hear people saying trans people are not represented at all, but I'd rather not operate on hearsay from strangers - I'd rather hear it from someone like you, as I have no doubt that you're involved enough to know. Thanks!

I do hear from you that TBP's intent is to include trans people fully, and that it's always been that way; that you're proud of your successes along those lines; and that people are throwing some unfair accusations your way. Indeed, the first two are something to celebrate, and the third is something to... well, whatever the opposite of celebrate is.

Matt, first off - read my post on the matter and it will answer a lot of your questions.

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/12/whats_the_plan_answers_to_your_questions.php

Secondly, I have addressed ginasf's concerns about the post being greenlit - we've gone around and around in several comment threads about it.

But to answer again. Yes, it was a lack of understanding of trans issues that got the post greenlit. Bil has taken responsibility, but the reality is that two others of us share that responsibility. I won't speak for the other person involved, but while I said it was offensive and shouldn't run - I didn't argue my case effectively or strongly enough and I didn't use my power as an owner to stop it outright.

Bil's email to the two of us he sent the post were clear - he thought the post was worthy of someone else to look at it and inform his judgement. He said, very directly, that we rarely scrap a contributor's content, but if there ever was a post to scrap, this would be it.

The entire ed team was not involved in the decision - but keep in mind it was a pretty strange event that more than one ed team member was involved in the decision. We don't usually have situations like this, so the fact that Bil sent it on to others is an indicator that he wasn't sure what should be done and wanted advice.

He should have reached out to the trans community too. That was an oversight and won't happen again.

Regardless, if you find defensiveness in my responses it is because I'm trying to focus on what happened and not let the conjecture and false statements fill the void. I'm trying to explain a situation that others feel are inexplicable - when the reality is that some situations are inexplicable to one person but there is some doubt or uncertainty in another person's view.

That's why I talk about education and understanding being a journey and not something you just have or don't have.

And, finally it isn't a straw man to say that we didn't know how transphobic Gold had been in the past. If those facts had been known, it's very likely his post wouldn't have run because it would've been viewed as coming from a known transphobe rather than coming from someone who has divergent views that are shared by others in the LGBT community who wants to air those views.

It's an attempt to explain the thought process behind how it happened so that folks will stop putting false intent and motive on top of an already ugly situation.

Thanks for your transparency, and indeed for the time/effort you're putting in to be so responsive, period. It helps to hear what your process was. And I appreciate your taking personal responsibility for your role in it. I like accountability, and I see that here.

I apologize for not catching everything the first time you said it and in the first place, or the second/third/etc. I do think it will be helpful to answer the questions as often as they're raised, so there will never be a comment thread where y'all appear unresponsive to the reactions. Sorry, I'm sure it's not fun to have to repeat yourself.

I considered it a straw man because I saw you addressing something she didn't say, and not what she did say, so your explanation didn't refute the actual charge. I understand your explanation.

As a therapist, I've learned the rule that people only repeat themselves when they don't feel they've been heard the first time, or the second/third/etc. GinaSF, I'm wondering if you just weren't aware of the explanations provided in other threads, or if there's still something important they're not getting, and that's why you continue to call it out?


The entire ed team was not involved in the decision - but keep in mind it was a pretty strange event that more than one ed team member was involved in the decision. We don't usually have situations like this, so the fact that Bil sent it on to others is an indicator that he wasn't sure what should be done and wanted advice.
He should have reached out to the trans community too. That was an oversight and won't happen again.
Regardless, if you find defensiveness in my responses it is because I'm trying to focus on what happened and not let the conjecture and false statements fill the void. I'm trying to explain a situation that others feel are inexplicable - when the reality is that some situations are inexplicable to one person but there is some doubt or uncertainty in another person's view.
That's why I talk about education and understanding being a journey and not something you just have or don't have.
And, finally it isn't a straw man to say that we didn't know how transphobic Gold had been in the past. If those facts had been known, it's very likely his post wouldn't have run because it would've been viewed as coming from a known transphobe rather than coming from someone who has divergent views that are shared by others in the LGBT community who wants to air those views.
It's an attempt to explain the thought process behind how it happened so that folks will stop putting false intent and motive on top of an already ugly situation.

Thanks, Matt. We're doing our best here to answer everyone's questions and not let incorrect notions go unchallenged. I know it's hard for everyone to understand and that many find it inexcusable. Those are still value judgements and if I've learned anything out of this it's that different people are at different places when it comes to values and understanding of other people's struggles. There has to be room to have the discussion about that part, at least, if there's ever to be common ground to move forward from.

Jerame, I am torn here. On the one hand, I agree with much of the anger and vitriol. On the other hand I agree with your level headedness and feel I have to ask the following question. Strike that, this is the question EVERYONE that decides to stick around must answer:

What do you suggest we do about the part of our own family that hates us? And, is it worth the effort?

As many TLBG folk know all too well, when one of your close loved ones cannot accept who and what you are, you don't keep banging your head against the wall trying to convince them. The truth of the matter is that it is about them, not you. It's about them losing face in their community. Is this the point we T-folk have reached with the Gay Men and Women of Privilege? And if so, what does the rest of the family do about holiday get-togethers and other awkward situations?

Sara, hang in there... 2 steps forward 1.99 back! This process is slow when compared to the pain we T-People share, especially this time of year! Things have gotten so much better for us already, focus on that, K!

TONE ARGUMENT

"Politeness (under which requests for the "right" "tone" seems to fall: it's not specifically a soft tone or a pleading tone or whatever that's requested, but something more abstract, especially in written discourse) is a product of cultural conventions that grow out of historical and political dynamics. It's a product of society: it reflects the order established in that society. Discourse that upsets the dynamics of society fails to conform to that order. (Sometimes it's on a micro scale, sometimes it's on a macro scale.) There is no way that anti-oppression talk can come off as polite, because it upsets the established order of a society based on oppression. And the rudeness of the oppressors toward the oppressed is invisible as such because it doesn't upset that order (as well as because the people at the top have the material means of getting away with it)."


http://theangryblackwoman.com/2008/02/12/the-privilege-of-politeness/

http://zvi-likes-tv.livejournal.com/429727.html

http://anarchafemme.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/selling-out-to-the-oppressors-and-tone-arguments-pams-house-blend/

http://community.livejournal.com/racism_101/tag/tone+argument

Gina, the problem is that the gay community IS my community - I am a man who loves other men, whatever about my trans history. So unless I limit myself to other trans men as partners, something that is

(a) impractical where I live, where there is only one other gay trans man around, and he's already in a relationship and

(b) plays straight into the kind of social and sexual apartheid that the gay and lesbian communities would only be too happy to maintain when it comes to gay and lesbian trans people,

there is no choice but to keep working on being on accepted as a peer, a fellow gay man, never mind I cannot imagine a more crap, frustrating, depressing, energy-sapping task in the whole wide world.

In my experience, this whole "Ooh, we should really be better trans allies" crap usually only comes up when people realise that I hang around the community for the same reasons as they do - to find friends and lovers - and they want to restore a proper double-arms-length distance to yucky, disgusting old me. Put me in my place as it were.

At least, the next time they venture into: "Wouldn't you be better off in San Francisco?", I can now tell them that gays and lesbians in SF are equally full of s*&t. Thanks for that priceless piece of info! :-)

Thank you.

I would more than willing to help . . . but . . .

...but what, Monica? We need you on this, too. I understand why you're upset, but things can get better only when we do the work to make them better.

You're part of our Bilerico family too and we need your voice as part of this effort as well.

How about it?

Becky,
I maybe part of the "family," but I have always had the feeling as the red-headed step-child of this "family." Things were promised that were never materialized. I constantly got bashed by the same terrorist cell that had attacked Brynn (as he alluded to) and other trans people here. I defended myself in the fashion worthy of a submariner. You know the saying, "Cusses like a sailor?" I admittedly do and do it well. Submariners don't get even, then get ahead. But here, defending yourself in that fashion is frowned upon.

I lashed out at Bil in recent months for not getting an apology for how I was treated last year, and instead, an apology was demanded from me. I went out of my way to not only contribute here (26 articles, with 4 in one month,) and sometimes I wrote things for here only. No other person has Guest Blogged more then me and probably no one ever will. Keep in mind, not all of those articles were good, but none ever had 350 comments demanding it to be removed. That gives me a far better track record than Ron Gold. I promoted Bilerico, I got friends to come here, I talked it up every chance I got, but for what?

And then, Ron Gold shows up and the idea of "Bilerico has a high standard for contributors and articles," became nothing more then smoke and mirrors. How do you think I felt reading his words? Hell, I had comments removed that would be something my mother would have written in comparison. I'm supposed to be "controversial?" With the approval of his posting and the words he wrote, what I perceived as the real reason I was never made a contributor. I wasn't a gay man. It's not true, but it sure felt that way while I was read his hateful words and knowing how they got there.

Now, that said, I stand by what I commented above. "I'm willing to help." You, as a good friend and a contributor here, get to decide in what way I can help. But, you had to know what I experienced here that no others have. Life may not be fair, but sometimes karma has a way to evening things out. Maybe the reaction to Ron's article may have been karma catching up with Bil? We'll never know, will we?

Monica, you know I can't speak to your current status as a contributor because although I helped to recruit you as a guest poster, I am no longer an editor and I don't have any input into such decisions.

That said, I can tell you that you are an asset here both as a guest contributor and an active commenter. In addition, you're also one of the most active and experienced transgender activists I know and as such are a voice we'll need here going forward.

I encourage you to worry less about titles and more about helping us shape the future of the site. If there's anything I think we can know about the future, it's that this experience will help us to make the site grow and improve because of what we've learned here.

I look forward to working with you and with everyone to do just that.

Becky,
The title has lees of a shine on it then it once did, and that happened long before we knew of Ron Gold. I'm more into video production then writing articles these days, which would be unique here. Bil does a great job of doing interviews, but it's not the same with what I do.

I will help, but through you. I don't want credit, and I don't want brownie points. This needs to become a place where all LGBTQSt8 people will want to come to, with worrying about hatemongers. If others in the community want to come here, then that is important. They need a place like that.

But, right now, there's no joy in Bilville. We'll see what the future holds.

You weren't the only one with such experiences...

This Latino was actively invited to apply to be a contributor. But then I guess some of my comments on the board just ruffled lily white feathers...

After I took from my time to submit this invited app... it wasn't even acknowledged. I was asked to submit this app mind you... but it wasn't even rubber stamped with a "no thanks."

I sent a follow up email and the subject of my requested contributor app was just ignored!

I am pretty sure that while they were rushing to kiss the lily white of the slew of new new contributors - they wouldn't have shown such disdainful disrespect to any of them including Ron Gold.

On Bilerico, you can be Latino contributor, just try not to point out disparity in the LGBT and people of color relationships.

But hey, they did have an editor finally respond to a posted comment on this issue and they did point out the contributor who writes in Spanish. Anytime an LGBT org/group etc wants to show how Latino friendly they are, they will throw some words in Spanish, have a Latino or Black person communicate with me and point out their pitifully small list of contributors of color.

So yes, I do think that gay white males and Lesbians do get a different level of respect at Bilerico. This slew of new contributors announced was white as a snow storm and not much written so far...

I am grateful that Bil & Bilerico's disrespect has motivated me to just begin the work on my own blog in between my other netroots work...

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | December 13, 2009 9:47 AM

To be clear Robert, I responded to your comment about people of color contributors and Bilerico of my own accord. The other members of the editorial team didn't ask me as a "black person" to do it.

I listed some of the contributors of color because your comment was in reference to people of color.

After reading your comment above, I have a much better sense of where you're coming from. I've seen it before and I'm sure I'll see it again.

Good luck with your upcoming blog.

I really would appreciate you clarifying for me what you mean in this part of your response:

"After reading your comment above, I have a much better sense of where you're coming from. I've seen it before and I'm sure I'll see it again. "

It could be either a point of empathy and understanding to my point of view and sense of disrespect by how Bil/Bilerico has handled things...

...or it could be a very insinuated passive aggressive and dismissive comment...

Truth be told, I am not sure which it is. But as I was out shopping at Costco after my post this morning, i wondered if i had clearly tied this in to the Ron Gold issue.

In reading Gold's prev guest post, I appreciated the sense of history he shared. He def had many accomplishments and a resume of work for the LGBT community. But I am not sure I would have approved his post as written, and I wonder if his resume is what had it get past any vetting it should have gone through.

I don't care who you keep in your stable of bloggers. If there is a compelling post I will read it and I will comment. But I do think that your team could perhaps learn to have a bit more effort put into a search for Latino contributors. Not just folks of Hispanic heritage or who post in Spanish. I am speaking a Latino Chicano LGBT voice that is sorely missing from your pages...

Robert - we are reaching out and we are looking for latino voices. If you have some suggestions of voices, feel free to point us to them. We'll ask them to apply as well.

We'll take any suggestions for angles we're not covering. If you think something is lacking, we want to know that. Lack of knowledge is not the same as active discrimination. I am not latino. I do not know the nuances of latino culture. I am willing to learn, but there is only so much education one can do when one doesn't know what education they need.

Ascribing the intent that we discriminate implies malice, when in reality, we don't always know what we're missing because we aren't plugged in. You know - there are other LGBT sub-minorities I'd like to hear from that we've been reaching out to for a very long time.

That doesn't mean we'll take the first person that comes along though. We have a vetting process for each and every contributor. The application process is online for all to see. Those submissions go to our ed team - the folks who have to read and approve these posts, mind you - and they discuss and vote on each and every application. Almost every vote we've ever had has been unanimous.

If you think there's a problem with that process, please say so. I'd like to hear what you'd do differently. It is the excellent quality of our writers and diversity of opinion that draws so many readers (and likely what drew you here too). I think we have a pretty good record, with a few exceptions, of finding great writers and content providers that interest and engage a broad swath of the community.

We're growing. We're reaching out to the under served parts of our large and uniquely diverse community. That's why we're here. No one is perfect, but I don't see too many other blogs even trying to do what we're doing. At least we are trying - and sometimes failing - to truly be inclusive.

Oh so what happened with the Ron Gold process?

And no one has stated an over malice steeped in discrimination. So maybe you should fine tune your sensitivities...

But it does seem that with your recent additions that perhaps you haven't spent much effort looking YOURSELVES for such contributors.

And again with the subtle passive aggressive comments about not just taking the first ones who came along...

If you weren't too busy sharpening your claws you would read what I have stated over and over, it is the disrespectful way it was handled or not handled that is offensive. I could care less about your ed teams decisions, I don't have you on that sort of pedestal. It is the lack of respect. What part of that isn't clear?

Ron Gold went through the vetting process. He posted guest posts on the site that were popular, were not anti-trans and brought a unique view of LGBT history that we didn't have in the mix. We were not aware of his history anti-trans issues until after we made him a contributor and he posted, as his first-as-a-contributor post, the infamous "Ron Gold post".

Vetting a contributor is a lot different than editing a post from a contributor for publication.

Also, the fact that WE asked YOU to apply belies your argument that we're not looking hard enough ourselves. Obviously we were looking for more latino voices when we reached out to you, so I'm not sure that line of reasoning makes sense.

And again, I apologize if you weren't communicated with about your application process. As I've said before, we don't always get everything perfect - but we try to do our best.

As one point, note that I am among the PoC present.

The funny part of this particular charge to me is that it wasn't that long ago we had folks complaining that our coverage was too heavily PoC related. I guess if we've been accused of both being too lily white AND too black all in the same year, apparently we have the mix just about right.

Just sayin - having the last set of contributors all be white isn't exactly an argument that proves anything other than you're grasping to prove a false statement.

Not everyone makes it as a contributor. It doesn't mean you can't re-apply at another time and it doesn't mean you were denied because you're of color. It means that the ed team, which is 28% PoC, voted not to approve your application.

The funny part of this particular charge to me is that it wasn't that long ago we had folks complaining that our coverage was too heavily PoC related. I guess if we've been accused of both being too lily white AND too black all in the same year, apparently we have the mix just about right.

Just sayin - having the last set of contributors all be white isn't exactly an argument that proves anything other than you're grasping to prove a false statement.

Not everyone makes it as a contributor. It doesn't mean you can't re-apply at another time and it doesn't mean you were denied because you're of color. It means that the ed team, which is 28% PoC, voted not to approve your application.

Jerame:

You I noticed before I left for my morning errands that you were on bulldog duty today with some rather aggressive responses to folks. I stayed out of them because most them seemed just fine in standing up to you.

But let me tell you, that in your response to me, I won't let it pass... How in the flcuk dare you! First off, I never said my contributor app was denied. What I said is that I was ASKED to apply and then did not receive the dignity of neither a response nor a "no thank you."

So thank you for publicly finally acknowledging that your project's REQUESTED app was even looked at. So before you try to subtly and passively aggressively try to shame me with the public "not everyone makes it as a contributor" comment.

Until NOW I never even KNEW my app was even looked at by your team. And that is disrespectful and I do not feel that your team would have treated Gold or any of the other white folks with such disrespect. I mean lately I have seen all the notices of contributors and some have had some very ho hum guests posts but they were white with impressive resumes.

So yeah thanks for letting me know I "just didn't make it" in such a public and disrespectful manner. I will take it as a badge of honor and I am glad you are happy with your POC percentage. And no, you couldn't pay me to apply as a contributor for your bird cage rag, because this week that is what you are defining yourselves to be! Any final esteem I had for TBP was just shat on by you today!

And trust, the vast majority of Latino LGBTS, in LA at the least, don't know about your blog - much less read it. Between my mailing lists, online pages, groups and profiles, I communicate to many more than you ever will.

I applied because I was asked to apply... but if this nastiness comes with a Bilerico invite, keep it...

I apologize, Robert. I was not aware that there was a communication issue or that you weren't notified of where you were in the process. That was my mistake and I own it.

I'm also sorry that my tone offended you. It's rather wearisome engaging in all of the attacks and accusations of the past few days and I know that silence would not fuel anything but further speculation.

I think the fact that we're transparent, we're engaging with those who are pissed off and that we're not just ducking and running is proof that we mean what we say and we'll practice what we preach.

I may make mistakes, but I'd like to see anyone not get testy after the things that have been directed at us over the past few days. It's not just comments, but threats to contributors, hateful emails, nasty phone calls, degrading tweets, horrid facebook messages and more. It's things you haven't seen that we're also dealing with...

So, if you got a disproportionate amount of my frustration - I'm sorry, that wasn't my intent.

Sweet mother Goddess, Monica,
You are no more the redheaded stepchild than I am. Lesbian, pro-trans-inclusion, resentful of the neglect of Lesbian healthcare issues, sick to death of the pre-occupation with the objectives of a movement lead by neo-mattachinist whitebread accomodationists and incrementalists..pissed about the complete and utter neglect of the unique issues of Hispanic women, cis and trans...

Shall I go on, oh redheaded sister?
Maura

And, to Lyssa, concerning a disagreement way back when:

You were right and I was wrong.
I was wrong
I was wrong, I am sorry, and I am trying to change people with attitudes like the ones that I had.

Thank you, Becky. Really, you have given this whole episode the proper perspective it needs.

Can we go back to fighting our real enemies now?

There is also an opportunity here. People like me who are now looking at the site for the first time.

While I've been aware of Bilerico, and have read a few articles in the past, it hasn't been a place I've ever gone on purpose.

The Ron Gold piece was eye-gougingly atrocious. I couldn't believe such a piece was on a site I had heard so many good things about. So now I'm looking at it closely, trying to figure out if this was an aberration, or something more deeply-rooted.

Organizations screw up, sometimes badly. I'm more interested in seeing how they recover.

So, you know, impress me, Bilerico. I figure you've got about a week. Maybe this transwoman will stick around. Maybe you'll lose her forever. I wonder which it will be.

I'd answer this a couple ways:

First, look through the archives - you won't find another LGBT blog with as much excellent, inclusive, and informative trans coverage than this one. We're one of the few blogs keeping the heat on ENDA, we've got the most trans contributors of any non-trans-exclusive blog out there.

Trans inclusion has been something we've intentionally and deliberately worked on from the very beginning. The trans contributors who are writing and commenting in our defense know that. They are part of the family too.

We are provocative, controversial and we like to push the boundaries. They were pushed too far this time, but I feel confident we can stand on our credentials as a truly inclusive blog and that one incident is no reason to paint with a broad brush like many of the pissed off people have been.

The decision to publish Ron Gold's article came from a fundamental double standard. So too, as MonicaHelms has pointed out, is how different the standards are for status between those trans contributors and cis contributors. If we're trying to build an LGBT movement, than anyone who attacks queer people's identities is, by extension, an enemy of that movement. Don't expect us to applaud Bilerco on it's past work when it so horribly misses the T on its keyboard with this one. Trans phobic cis gays and lesbians are just as annoying as homophobic transgendered people. Only difference? There's almost always some GLB transgendered person in the room to confront the latter, and we're not expected to applaud said homophobe because she's *so* committed to trans rights.

california panda | December 12, 2009 9:45 PM

Being balanced and fair is a two-way street for sure. But in the words of the immortals, the archives are yesterday, (as is Gold's post), what have you guys done for me (a transwoman) and mine today? Does that seem selfish? Or self-centered? Perhaps, but I come here as much to read about my trans sisters and brothers and other viewpoints regarding us as a community as I do to read about gay issues such as the marriage fight. In one perverse way I'm a bit grateful the piece was published. It reinforced, for me, a valuable lesson in trust management and where I place that trust. Please, live up to the "T" in LGBT and we may yet be stronger for this. Allies help each other over the hard spots. They don't apologize for or try to minimize or justify abuse. If you gave me flowers yesterday, and beat me up today, which is the real you and which should I be cautious of? And, more to the point, how do I tell when that part of you is going to surface again? That trust, for me, has been savaged, now Bilerico will have to earn it back.

Valerie

I can see that point and agree to some extent. As I said in another thread, I realize that trust is more easily broken than gained.

However, I think a lot of different things are going on here that are both unproductive and very detrimental to trans issues. That's what I'm trying to address.

Ron Gold is a fool. Bil clearly needs more lessons on trans issues. But jumping on the "you're not a trans-ally" bandwagon only serves to make more folks less willing to take the leap and become a trans ally. If someone who is so clearly trying to be an ally can be savaged so quickly and forcefully when they make a mistake, who in their right mind is going to run out and make the next attempt?

Again, I'm not trying to justify any of this. What I am trying to do is get folks to realize they are firebombing someone who has done exactly what the trans-community regularly bitches about not being done - reaching out to the trans community and willingly working to BE an ally.

Bil has done no such thing. He has covered his ass, he has made a few fauxpologies and finally he decided that this whole post from Ron wasn't worth the backlash.

He has not done the legwork to be an ally. And he's got a history of failures there.

It isn't cynical. It's us being tired of the damn tone argument derail and cis folk telling us how good of a job they're doing when we've told them otherwise.

Who do you think knows better about who's helping us the best? Us or you?

I've got to stand in here and defend Bil a bit. I'm not going to deny that this was a screw up and Bil does not deny it himself. The very first post that I saw on Bilerico was by Bil and I hammered him in my response.
I don't think that there was any ill intention on his part. He has asked what type of editorial policy we would like to see in the future.
I admit that the post by Mr Gold was outside of my expectation of Bilerico., I remember reading that I was just mentally ill as a kid and I appreciate that Mr Gold was instrumental in changing that but I do not think that grants him license to say anything that he wants.
I just simply can't throw the baby out with the bath water. Bil and the other editors have done a generally good job IMO, this case was a problem.
I feel like the editorial team have made every effort to accept responsibility and have been willing to take the heat for a mistake.
I don't think that Bill or the editorial team are running for cover or trying to play CYA. I think that they are asking for guidance and support.
I believe in the idea that is TBP. I also think that this project needs to continue. I'm not ready to pull the plug on it. So I want to be here and I hope that others want to be here.

I'm a little late on this, but I'll comment anyways. His intent is irrelevant to me. His actions are what matters.

Unless you're using his intent to delineate what methods should be used to get through to him.

california panda | December 13, 2009 3:18 AM

Ok I'll give y'all a couple of my ideas how people here can help mitigate some of the damage. Y'all wanted ideas so here's a few of mine.

1) Question: Why is everyone fighting so hard for a state-by state gay marriage thing as opposed to a federal trans inclusive ENDA. Marriage is no good to me or anyone if they can't find work to pay rent or mortgage or buy food to put on the table for their families. Push for that over the Gay Marriage bit. Up the ante. Up the discussion and you'll target a hellova lot more people than a single state's gay marriage issue. We need to be going for the throat not messing around with side issues.

2) Another suggestion -- DOMA. We should be pushing for a national debate and exposure on the federal level. Y'all can see how well the state-by-state strategy has worked out so far. This affects all of us not only GL's but BTQIA's as well.

3) Finally how many post op trans people do you know of in the U.S. military? Why do we even have to SUGGEST that gay service members need "immunity" from being rif'd simply because they want to testify before congress on the issue of DADT and discrimination in the military? And another question. Is a closeted trans person in the military considered gay or not and why, even if they aren't gay, are they treated as such and what can we do about it? Personally, if I'm going to put my tush on the line in a country like Iraq or Afghanistan, when I come home I want exactly the same rights and privileges that my het military buddies have no more and certainly no less. Would I, do I, have that now? No way in hell.

4) The minute I mention the word "Transition" I become a pariah to far too many companies who would gladly give me a job the instant before I even whispered the "T" word to them. Where is the discussion on that? Oh, yeah, right. That's part of the ENDA that's been put on hold, isn't it?

5) And what about trans health issues. Anyone bothered to think about those? Where do I go to get help and who pays for it? Hormones. Surgeries, Family counseling. Gender counseling. HBIGDA standards of care. I know you can't be hearing this for the first time. Research those, dear Bilerico and lets have a discussion.

We've all be screwing around trying to do little crap state by state while national anti-lgbt orgs have been killing us at the state level. Time to up the ante and go for the federal throat. You want to bring the equality movements together? Work on stuff we can ALL get behind.

6) Finally I would like to see gay men and women crawl up transphobic tailpipes everytime one fires off. Not 3 days later and not by saying, "Gee, sorry, they didn't know any better; maybe next time!" Or, excuse it with "But she's a well known and "respected" member of the gay-activist movement". It needs to be jumped on fast and hard. And, with no excuses or get out of jail free cards.

Is that asking too much? If it is, maybe I really am in the wrong place.

It all begins with discussion and ends with positive action.

Valerie
Let the games begin.

I am new here, and trying to determine whether tbp is a "good fit" to be reading. though it is disheartening to know that some editors felt that the legitimacy & validity of trans experiences are "controversial" and up for debate, I trust that it's still possible the majority of contributors here could be worth reading.

you have said that this is an inclusive blog, that (essentially) mr. gold's post and its approval by the editors was an isolated incident, and thus I/we shouldn't paint the blog with a broad brush based on the inaccurate and blatantly transphobic piece that he wrote. if I am correct in this (and feel free to call me out otherwise) then I have a few questions...

-do tbp's terms of service apply to posts like his?
-in the spirit of inclusion, what measures are currently taken to prevent transphobic content here?
-in what ways are trans contributors supported?
-if there is disagreement over whether content will be hurtful to trans people, which voices in the debate are granted greater credibility: trans voices or non-trans voices?

and most importantly

-what changes will occur to prevent this from happening in the future?

MHS,

If you read my post, you'll see I'm suggesting we join together to help the edteam take on exactly these kinds of issues. Of course, it's far too early to see exactly how this will take shape, but I also believe that if people are willing to participate and lend their experience and skills to the effort, we can help to make sure not only that what happened here doesn't happen again, but that we all understand each other and where we coming from a little better in the future.

To my way of thinking, if we can do that it may not make the hurt caused by Gold's post any less, but it can help to take that negative experience and turn it into the inspiration for something very positive for all of us.

rebecca-

fair enough :). I will keep watching, possibly commenting* and give it some time to see whether the editorial team is open to growth. my experience in similar situations has been that some, when given appropriately strong backlash over a serious lapse of judgment, will go on the defensive and dismiss their critics as mean, oversensitive, angry, etc (see also: tone argument). others will have the strength of character to focus their energies not on dismissing criticism, but instead on listening and learning, even when it is difficult-- as this is the key to building community despite tensions & power disparities.

I am going to be here at least long enough to get a feel whether the non-trans powers-that-be are of the former (defensive) category, or the latter (growth) category.

anyway... if you don't mind my asking, what is your response to my point about support? how has the ed team and the tbp community supported you, specifically against transphobia and cissexism?

with great respect,
MHS

Well, that depends on what you define as support. I mean, this is a blog, not a therapy group (though I'll admit that at times it's felt like one ;)).

I came to Bilerico at Marti's urging, and later I proactively contacted Bil to become a contributor. Bil, Alex, and Jer recruited Marti and I as editors precisely because they knew they needed more transgender representation at the site. Helping to accomplish that goal was one of our key tasks and it's the single thing I think I'm most proud of regarding my time on the edteam.

We have the large and diverse collection of trans contributors and Projectors we do here today because these guys proactively went out of their way to reach out to people like us to make that happen, and in my mind, it's been a huge success.

In my opinion, that's exactly the kind of support we need, the kind you don't see very much at other LGBT blogs, and none I know of to the extent we have here.

It's been due to the work of a lot of people that we have the kind of trans community here that we do today, but none of it would have happened if these guys hadn't taken those first steps to set the wheels in motion and then actively supported the effort and participated in making it happen.

If that's not support, I don't know what is.

I used your comment to spark a blog post I'm writing to respond directly to your questions. Look for it around 5:30 today. Thank you for the level and meaningful discussion.

I've read your post. you have addressed all of my concerns very thoughtfully... thank you! I feel I have more than enough reason now to stick around (and get an account...)

may this experience (or, its fallout) continue to fuel growth and understanding within and among our communities :)

Thanks. I am looking through the archives and will continue to, but I am less interested in what the site *was* and more interested in what it *is*. We'll see.

Stop telling, start asking. Your attitude will speak louder than anything. Thanks.

I'm very new to Bilerico, having occasionally read it and never commented prior to yesterday. I haven't really been commenting on many blogs since Aravosis had a Ronald Gold like meltdown at Americablog. I don't expect a safe place but I don't have a whole lot of desire to spend time with people who are deliberately unpleasant. I have had a much, MUCH harder time in my past and my transition from out and proud gay men than from straights, christian or otherwise so I'm very leery of opening myself up for that kind of abuse again. Some of my very best friends are gay men but some of my most vehement detractors are also. I think I may go back to lurking to get a better feel of the place first. I'm not ready for a group hug after that poisonous rant and some of the comments it generated.

Please stick around. One thing Bilerico hasn't addressed is the silent I - issues such as the medical ignorance and lack of care for IS people.

Oh, I'll still be around Zoe. Now that I have an account I'll even comment from time to time if it seems welcome and helpful. Thanks for your vote BTW. :)

Hang around Margaret.
We need more women here.

I feel that you are giving Bil too much credit. His experience, the trans people he could go to get advice on this before putting it up, the level of knowledge he should have as the person running a major LGBT site... no, this is inexcusable.

Too much compassion? Hardly. Compassion isn't selective. Stabbing the trans community through the heart is not something you do out of compassion. What Bil did as an editor was just as indefensible as what Ron wrote.

Beyond that? No, I don't think Bilerico should be written off for one post. If it was just one post, I'd agree with that. But it isn't just one post and it isn't just transphobia either. I'm still reeling from Brynn's rape apologism for Polanski more than 3 months later.

This site has a plethora of problems that need to be solved. This was merely a spike, an obvious explosion of issue among a subtle aura of problems with transphobia, victim blaming, ableism and probably a good chunk of other issues that I can't see due to my own privilege axes. For instance, I don't know how much racefail has been here, but good god would I not be surprised if there was a lot.

But even that doesn't make me feel this site should be written off. I don't think the multitude of transphobic crap that feminism is poisoned with makes it unsalvageable either. What it does make me think is that you folks are going to need a lot more than apologetic words and taking down one post to fix things. Especially when those apologetic words are tainted by excuses made. It is learning time, big time. Bilerico has a lot of work ahead of it, a lot of consulting with trans folk that it has previously ignored, a lot of looking back through the archives of posts for where serious mistakes have been made and revising guidelines and standards for what is allowed here. There's no single easy solution, because there's no single problem. It's a multitude of little things that makes this site lose the trust of those it tries to speak to.

This site, like much of GLBT, operates closer to GL....b....(t?) much of the time. Fix this if any of you want the trust of the community. Ron Gold did nothing more than show how far down Bilerico has gone.

And no more of this excuses bs and "well they mean well" or "respecting one's elders" or "I'm trying to challenge you" or "he was just compassionate to an older man". None of that. Call this what it is. Ignorance, privilege and bigotry. Bil has it. Much of Bilerico has it. Having trans contributors, like yourself, doesn't change this. What this site needs to do right now, without excuses, qualifiers, ass covering, public relations image protecting, is admit that it has a problem. That the editorial staff has a problem. That Bil has a problem. That some of the contributors have a problem. And that this problem is ignorance, bigotry and not checking privilege. First step to fixing an issue is admitting it's there. Time for them to work on that.

I appreciate you trying to make peace. But one cannot make peace in such a way that will allow one to continue to be walked on without discretion, without remorse, only a light apology as our bones are crushed by steel toed boots.

You are falling into the same trap as far too many others - you're applying motivations to someone's actions without knowing the facts or how they actually feel in their heart.

Essentially, what you are saying is that when someone doesn't fully understand an issue, they should be burned at the stake for making an error in judgement. That's really kind of sad, because it pretty much precludes the ability to rationally and effectively deal with anyone's concerns.

Attacking someone who wants to be and generally is an ally to your cause will only ensure that person takes less interest in your cause in the future. It doesn't fix anything, it makes things worse. Just because someone SHOULD know something doesn't mean they DO know it - it just means they haven't met YOUR expectations.

No. I'm not. Not even remotely. The man's actions speak far louder than your words.

He is either extraordinarily foolish (which I sincerely doubt) or he is willfully ignorant and uncaring. His actions do not allow for any other options here. He has been reminded, time and time and time again. He has been educated, time and time and time again. His fauxpology is the wording someone does when they not only have no clue, but have no intention of learning. His disclaimers were ass covering. Blatant.

He isn't being burned at the stake at all (all I'm asking for is accountability, a real apology and a committment to change, none of which he's given), but his lack of understanding in and of itself is pretty damn inexcusable with the resources he not only has but has accessed before. This isn't a single error in judgment. He's made similar errors over and over. He has pulled cis privileged bullshit on the turf of others not just here. There is a pattern here. And that pattern does not fit what you are saying.

Do not treat me as though I am stupid. I am not so easily fooled.

And your tone argument derails have been noted. How very allylike of you, to pull a tone argument on trans folk.

Jerame,
Let give you a much cleared idea of what happen here, using an analogy that all of us here understand.

Ron Gold was a suicide bomber you (the Editorial Staff) sent in to explode on the front page of Bilerico. He didn't need explosives, because he had words, which can be deadlier. When those words exploded on Bilerico, they acted like hundreds of tiny pieces of shrapnel that ripped through the hearts of the trans community, injuring hundreds.

Boiling down all the comments on how he hurt our community, this is what you get. This was a terrorist act with words. It can't be any simpler then that.

If you begin to understand the level of hurt that was caused here, then you will finally understand the level work that has to be done to fix this. This was far more painful and hurtful than what would be labeled a "mistake." This needs to be treated like a "Hiroshima moment" on Bilerico, with the trans community at ground zero.

You may think I'm "blowing" this out of proportion. Maybe a little. But, keep in mind the higher you set the baseline on beginning the recovery process, the better results you get in the long run. If you refuse to see the enormity of the problem and you set that baseline low, then you risk the "mistake" happening again.

But, hey! What do I know? I'm just a lowly ol', 59-year-old trans woman from the South. We ain't got no ed-ja-ma-cay-shun down he-ah.

QFT

Bil,

Go back and read this . . . perhaps a couple of times. The post is spot on - you've got a hell of a problem on your hands. The question is will you see it as an opportunity to address all that is broken and roll up your sleeves to fix it? Or will you throw up your hands, retreat behind your privilege and your stated good intentions and do nothing?

After ripping Ron Gold into very small pieces it should be clear that business as usual is simply not gonna fly . . .

How you going to play it champ?

Your move

I'm sorry, but your response shows that you really don't know how things have happened. He applied to be a contributor. He put up 2 or 3 guest posts that were very popular among ALL of our readers. His past of being transphobic only came to light AFTER this post blew up.

The truth is, you don't know what you're talking about. The truth is that you're putting your own spin on incidents and actions that you weren't involved in and have no clue whatsoever how things happened. The truth is that you have your own biased agenda that you cannot see past for the real truth.

You weren't there. You weren't part of any conversation that happened before the post went up. You weren't part of the team that approved Mr. Gold's application after his guest posts ran. So, put bluntly, you just don't know anything about this situation other than you're pissed by something you read here and you don't like the response that was given to it.

So, stick to that and stop trying to put intentions and spin onto the actions of others. It's self-defeating and rather unbecoming of anyone who claims to want to further their cause.

We've had plenty of posts that have gotten hundreds of comments. We've had plenty of posts that have gotten ugly. We don't sit in front of our computers watching the blog all day every day - some of us have jobs, activism, and other things to do.

Speak to what you know - and you know nothing of me or Bil or how any of this actually happened. You're just making shit up to fit your own narrative.

Oops...This was intended as a response to ginasf - please read it in context.

Let's see, the first post by a man who hasn't been active in community politics for a while, who is a cisgender man writing about trans people (mostly transwomen) totally dismissing who we are, and you're BRAGGING about how you didn't get any direct trans input about it before you published it? If you didn't know about his transphobic attitudes, why wouldn't you have questioned him about this before publishing it? And after it was published anyone who was sincere could tell the highly inflammatory impact it would have yet, stil,l nothing was done until well into the thread when it became clear you had an avalanche of criticism on your hands.

Jerame... get off your high horse and sense of privilege. How about your biased agenda? Where's a sincere post by a straight man about how gay men are really sick and need reparative therapy... why wasn't that ever on Bilerico? Right, I WASN'T there, no trans person evidently was or they would have told you WTF are you doing in an instant. Yet you decided to go ahead anyway because you thought we somehow needed to hear this? It would be good for us (and lord knows, a lot of non-trans people don't even bother reading trans-related posts) So are you our therapist now as well as being our 'editor'? And btw, where was your post criticizing what Gold had done... I notice you were conveniently absent during the sh*tstorm (which is just as well).

Yes, I do work and am also a single parent but, unfortunately, due to the often precarious situation of my community and how it impacts me, I still choose to pay attention to issues like this. Obviously, I can't trust the likes of 'allies' like you to watch my back, now can I?

Who is bragging? Did anyone say they were proud of what happened? Your need to apply motivation to what has occurred here clearly indicate far more bias than me trying to defend activities I have concrete and complete knowledge about.

There was a lot of discussion between Bil and myself about the post. I strongly encouraged him to not post it. He got the opinion of another person on the ed team, who differed from my opinion. Regardless, Bil DID see the red flags and he DID question the post, but he did not comprehend the level of hurt it would cause. That is not a bad motivation, that is a mistake.

No one thought you or any other trans person needed to hear it - again, you're applying motivations that fit your bias and narrative rather than dealing in facts. The fact is, Bil wanted the guy to get his ass handed to him for his ignorance. The fact is that there are a LOT of people we have both met who have said similar things and he felt this post could work as a tool to educate those people. It wasn't about the trans community needing to hear anything, it was about the LGB community needing to face their demons.

You too should get off your high horse and sense of moral authority. It's easy to throw around a word like privilege. Yes, as a white man I have a level of privilege that others do not share - but I'm also an out and outspoken gay man in one of the most gay-hating parts of the country. I've had friends beaten and killed too and I've been harassed, fired, and discriminated against for my sexuality. When you speak of privilege, you should also realize that you're not the only person who may lack privilege.

If you think you cannot trust me or Bil to have your back as an ally - well, then you're screwed I'm afraid. In every discussion with legislators about ENDA, Bil has made a point of asking about trans-inclusion. Don't believe me? Watch the videos. Every time there has been an attempt in Indiana to remove trans-inclusion from legislation, it's been Bil or I to stand up and shout and make sure it doesn't happen.

We've had trans-inclusion on this blog from its inception. We have been dogged about covering ENDA and making sure it is inclusive. We were one of the first blogs to sign on to United ENDA. We excoriated HRC to the point Joe Solmonese left as a contributor and has not returned. We have more trans contributors than any other LGBT blog on the web. We cover more trans issues too. Who covered the death of ENDA yet again first? We did. Who brought the trans-phobia of The Cleveland Show up first? We did.

And I could go on and on.

But, in the end, one mistake is enough to wipe all of that away as if it never happened. How can ANYONE meet that standard for being an trans-ally? Seriously?

Finally, to answer your direct question about where I was - I was helping my husband deal with being called names by thousands of people. I was helping him cope with the phone calls, the emails and other messages of hate and vitriol coming from people who've never even been to this site before. I was there for him when HE needed to cry, vent or whatever because some very nasty things we happening to him.

We had plenty of people posting about what a douchebag Gold is - I didn't need to pile on. I also don't feel a need to prove I'm a trans-ally when anyone and everyone who knows me already knows that I am.

And besides - would it have done any good for me to post? When you've already made up your mind about who we are and what we're about, is there anything anyone could possibly say to change your mind? I'm pretty doubtful. You've already gotten it all figured out. To hell with the facts.

This comment has persuaded me to stay. Though I didn't unload on Bil, I am one of those people who had never commented before. The tenderness that you exhibit when talking about your husband is topped only by the ferocity with which you defend him. He's a very lucky man. I know this comment wasn't directed at me but I got caught in the fallout. I'll stay and give Bilerico a chance. Thank you.

Jerome - Bil screwed up. Badly. Truly an Epic Fail. A Charlie Foxtrot of legendary proportions. One that will echo down the ages.

I'm not sure he knows how badly he goofed, even now, but he must be getting the message that it was pretty bad.

Knowing Bil, this must be agonising for him, just as it is for me when I screw up.

Even Jove nods. Even the Great and Powerful Zoe, a legend in her own mind, very well respected in concentric circles, has been known to Err. Difficult to believe, I know.

I just don't want him crying too much over it. Yes it was bad, yes, damage was done, and although I wish I could say that some of the bad consequences others have predicted were exaggerated and hyperbole, the harsh fact is that they're not.

You have to accept that, and recover anyway.

OK, pick yourself up, learn lessons, move on.

Because people need you and Bil. And because just as every doctor worth his salt eventually ends up killing a patient through making what is sometimes a trivial mistake, and has to keep on practicing medicine despite that, it would do no good for him to give up because he's only human.

As I said, give him our love. I think at this point in time, it's appropriate to remind him of just how much good he's done, and how much good he has yet to do. And that we care.

Please give him the support he needs, and deserves. I'm glad you're there on-hand for a friend of mine who means a lot to me.

Hugs, Zoe

What you do fess up to is that you were, on some level, trying to manipulate a senior citizen contributor into posting something foul because you knew all the transwomen would be up in arms about it. In other words, you (or at least your husband and the other, unnamed editor) were trying to manipulate all parties involved. That is arrogance and hubris. Whatever else you want to lay on me, I would never ever invite someone onto an GLB blog to have them say something incredibly nasty about gay men so those men would feel hurt and stampede all over the bigot as "a learning experience". Wanna know why I don't trust you... THAT'S WHY. You wouldn't do it to yourselves to challenge your own bigotry, but you decided you could throw Ron to the lions because you knew how the 'trannies' would react to it. This was no learning situation, this was a need for cynical entertainment. And yes, from all you and Bil have let dribble out about the situation, this is an entirely fair assumption to make.

That's not how you treat equals, that's how you treat people to whom you feel superior and can, on some level, play with their emotions. If you don't fess up to that, I have no interest in your other 'pro-trans' accomplishments.

You act as thought this is all one incident, but I also recently saw the post where Bil was ready to invite Simon LeVay (a very transphobic researcher) onto Bilerico because another post was lauding his statements about a gay gene. Pedro Julio Serrano's ludicrous post on the Lopez Mercado murder was talked about in a lot of trans forums as a prime example of trying to erase any transgender aspect from this crime and put a gay spin on it. How can I trust people to have my back if they pretty much know jack about many of our community's issues to the point where they're ready and willing to make godawful stupid decisions when it comes to the trans content on their site? Want to come off as an ally... you don't have to be perfect, but you DO have to listen and genuinely own up to your mistakes and not try to come off as "I'm the mature adult ready to deal with the enemy and you're just being immature." I don't care what you support, with that attitude you're not getting anyone's trust.

And as to Ron Gold, if you'd actually asked anyone trans with a sustained history in the movement, they could have told you that most gay/lesbian movement people from the 70s are highly transphobic (with a very few exceptions) and anything they're likely to write about transpeople is likely going to be vitriolilc. But see, like a lot of younger (and I include you in that category) activists, you refuse to admit to the gaps in your historical perspective about who Gold was and all that he brought to the table. So you thought we were all going to sit around grandpa and have him tell stories from yesteryear and roast marshmallows and, instead, you very rightly got burned. And now, every time anger about your behavior and poor decisions are brought up, it's our intolerance and close-mindedness that's supposedly causing it. Listen to yourself for once. Take some real responsibility for your actions and grow up.

Gina, the only manipulation happening here is the manipulation by you of the facts at hand. You've drawn so many conclusions and attributed so many motives to others that you've proven yourself unreasonable.

I do not know you, but I can see your agenda isn't to help, but to destroy. You don't know me, you don't know Bil and you clearly don't know a whole lot about this blog. If you think you cannot trust us - ask some of the trans people who know us what we're about. I feel confident you won't find a real person who knows me or Bil who thinks either of us are anti-trans.

Is Simon LeVay a contributor? No. Was he ever considered to be a contributor? Nope. One of our contributors said nice things about him in a blog post and nothing more. That same contributor was horrified when she learned how transphobic LeVay has been. You're simply wrong and cannot see past your own anger and prejudice to actually get your facts straight.

Pedro Julio Serrano is on staff at NGLTF. Have you lodged a complaint with the Task Force about his supposed "transphobia"? How many trans staffers have left the Task Force in disgust because a senior staffer is so "transphobic" and writes such supposedly objectionable things? The reality is that the kid identified as gay, not trans and Pedro was pointing that out. PJ is actually IN Puerto Rico working with the family and you're sitting behind a computer screen lobbing grenades. Who is more credible here?

Besides, where does it say that what gets posted here is the opinion of the editors or the owners of the site? I know that we very openly and clearly state that the opinions of contributors are their own and no one else's. Read the Terms of Service. Considering we allow contributors to directly and regularly disagree with Bil's, Alex's, and anyone else's stated opinions, you'll be hard pressed to say we all think with one mind here or that any opinion can be attributed back to the blog owners or editors.

We do listen, we have owned up to our mistakes, but we're not going to admit something that is patently false just to satisfy you or anyone else.

There was nowhere in the Simon LeVay thread where any disgust over his transphobic unscientific opinions was mentioned except by Jillian and myself. The OP pretty much ignored what we said about him. Your husband said this in the thread: "Did you get his contact information, Betty? You could ask him to guest post on Bilerico!" Granted, that's not contributor status, but it is him wanting to invite someone with a highly transphobic reputation into Bilerico. Just wondering, if you don't know something, do you bother asking someone who does know about it?

Once again Jerame, on the Pedro Julio Serrano thread you show your total dismissiveness on trans issues. Did you actually bother to read that thread? Did you notice how virtually all the trans participants on the thread mentioned it as a prime example of 'trans' erasure? Did you see the large number of links to the thread (including Pam's House Blend where an excellent essay by Peterson Toscano called Serrano's transphobia into question). Many recognized trans activists around the country like Ethan St. Pierre were discussing Serrano's intentions... maybe you think they were all nutjobs? Who cares if Pedro was in PR. If he can't know that someone who did sex work presenting as a woman is NOT the same as a gay man who entered the occasional drag contest, it doesn't matter where he is. Yes, Serrano is on the task force and as a latino gay men that makes total sense. But, in fact, there are virtually no other trans people on the staff of the Task Force (there are a couple of genderqueer-identifying staffers like Lisa Mottet) so... who are these people who had an option to quit because of his statements?

Again, your main ploy is to be dismissive and deflect rather than to really honestly evaluate what being an 'ally' actually means AND TO OPENLY LISTEN. Now how about fessing up to your own anger and prejudice. You feel resentment toward the many people who were angry and upset because of your actions and called the judgment of your husband to question, but refuse to really acknowledge their feelings with anything other than a lame, tacit mention because it would force you to examine your real feelings and responsibility of what went down. Btw, I've worked a lot with publicizing anti-trans crime, doing a lot of media advocacy around trans issues, set up a FB site (co-partnered with the TLDEF) about Lateisha Green which had 6,500 members and had a lot to so with getting people to cover the case, was very involved in recently setting up a protest against Buju Banton performing in San Francisco and am a facilitator of a transgender parenting support group here. Oh, yes, I'm sorry you were fired for being gay in Indiana, but I was, in effect, fired for being trans teaching elementary school in San Francisco. So... let's not mouth off about your reality and me sitting in front the computer. Unfortunately, many LGB people who try to dismiss the trans community like to position themselves as the "real" activists vs. the crazy trans people in their hovels... it's an old ploy.

It isn't my job to challenge every stupid notion put forth on the blog, nor is it Bil's. That's exactly why I say you just don't understand what you're talking about. We include all voices so the discussions can happen. Being blog owners, often it doesn't serve to further a discussion when either of us weight in. Some contributors still aren't square with the notion that it is OK to disagree with the owners of the blog.

No, it's not like that across the board, but it does have an effect and we are cognizant of that.

We have a comments section so folks can point out the biases and give feedback on the articles. We're not going to simply expunge someone's opinion because we disagree, don't like it, or feel like it may not make every reader happy. That's not what we're about and, again, shows a lack of understanding of why we exist.

Did we stop anyone from rebutting Serrano? Did we deny a contributor from taking him to task for his "trans-erasure" as you call it? That would be evidence of bias, but you won't find it so you're using the words and opinions of our contributors to someone infer feelings about us.

Again, as to LeVay, did it happen? Don't you think, perhaps, that it is possible Bil hadn't read the comments about LeVay's transphobia? Is it now our job to know everything about everyone's views before we can speak? You sure haven't taken that position in how you're dealing with me.

Also, are we going to silence someone who is transphobic simply because they are transphobic? What level of transphobia do we call too much? Barring derogatory and painful language, what level of discussion would you say is allowed about transphobia? Since LGB transphobia is such a problem in the community, should we deal with it by ONLY hearing from the pro-trans point of view? Is that really a discussion or just preaching to the choir?

You've setup a double standard in the process of accusing us of double standards...

Considering our contributors have posted on and disagreed on just about every topic imaginable, which points of view are appropriate to ascribe to us? Just the ones you don't like or the ones that you do?

Airing the views and disagreements within our community is a huge part of what we do. We give minority opinions an equal footing here.

You're right that we made a mistake, but you're way off base when you say we're not listening. You're even farther afield when you try to point to some sinister plot to fuck over the trans community or somehow denigrate trans folk. What sense does it make to cultivate and attract an audience to then turn around and insult them? That's sociopathic, but it's essentially what you're saying and it really belittles the parts of your argument that ARE valid.

If you feel you are being dismissed, you cannot always throw up the privilege and tone argument. You seem to forget that, while I may have a different level of privilege than you - I'm still part of a marginalized group just the same. Not as marginalized as trans folk, but certainly marginalized.

So lets stop weighing our victimhood and work toward some real solutions. Neither I nor Bil or going to repeatedly apologize when the apology has been made. I realize you don't think it was real, and that's your right - but you cannot possibly know how seriously we take it because we've yet to have the chance to prove it.

You have a right to be angry. You have a right to express that anger. And you have a right to read this blog or not. You do not have a right to ascribe intent to my or anyone else's actions. You do not have a right to speak to anyone any way you want and expect them to hear you. You do not have a right to make up your own facts when the truth isn't known to you.

Erm, also, the word crazy is ableist and psychophobic, could you please not use it? Eccentric would easily replace it in your post.

Thank you, Rebecca. I'm not quick to anger. I have strong emotions, but I try to look at things reasonably, being a veteran of a very contentious but monitored forum where ad hominem arguments are against the rules. I tend not to assume malice where ignorance is at least as plausible an explanation. In fact, it takes a lot to convince me of malicious intent.

So Bilerico remains on my RSS feed, and I'll continue to scan it for articles of interest. If in the end I find that I've been played for a chump, and I know it for sure, then I'll walk away. Until then, I remain.

GallingGalla | December 12, 2009 6:48 PM

i'm sorry, ms. juro, but i will not be joining you in your project to 'reform' tbp.

i am too busy wondering how many days i can last in my de-transitioning state, without a job, with a totally wrecked career, before committing suicide. thanks to gold's words, i am stuck with a non-choice - attempting to live as a non-passing trans woman who cannot get medical care thanks to gold's words, or de-transitioning back to male mode in an attempt to to get a job; neither are choices for me because both will lead to an early death.

and the thing is? tbp gave him the platform. bil *knew* that gold's diatribe was hate speech, was an incitement to continued violence and discrimination, was the very words used by those who bash our faces in with fire extinguishers. bil *knew* that, but it is no skin off his back - at worst, he is embarrased and maybe his site traffic will go down a couple percentage points. the cost for trans* / gq / gender-variant people is far, far higher.

i really don't give a damn about gold. he will wither away at some point. what i give a damn about is NO PLATFORM FOR HATE. i therefore put the biggest responsibility on bil's shoulders, since he did the exact opposite: he gave a platform for hate, the hate that kills people like you and me.

Been there, done that. I feel for you, I really do. I feel it as if it were yesterday when I was going through the same thing. I hope that you don't suicide because I came so close to succeeding myself. I'm damned lucky that my second attempt at hanging myself didn't leave me a drooling vegetable as I was told that I was dead for most of a half hour and I was comatose for over three months. I won't insult you by offering platitudes or bullshit, our society makes it damned near impossible to live our lives, (see Ronald Gold) but perhaps a change of venue might do you some good? It worked for me and trust me, My resources were extremely limited when I made the move and yes, I had to go back to male mode for a time too. It sucks, I know. I know through personal experience. But every life is precious and offing yourself just gives the bigots a victory. Hang on for spite, if for nothing else, that's what I did and what saved me. The "poa" in my name stands for "pissed off artist" and I wasn't mad at myself. Hang on if you can, just to piss the assholes in this world off.

Rebecca, I understand your wanting to stay, and I generally like Bilerico. One thing I don't see much attention paid to isn't how feelings were hurt or how this was triggering and made people upset and angry. It's that what Mr Gold posted was simply not correct, beyond inaccurate, into blatant fantasy created to make his position appear defensible.

Feelings are important, to the one who had them hurt. However, given Mr Gold's past involvement with early G (L) activism one would think that word choice, research, and logic would have been important. He did after all go after the media for problematic depictions of gay men.

To chalk this up to age and then plead anger and outrage sidesteps the fact that this was simply a pack of lies thrown at trans people (mostly women) in a deliberate attempt to do us real actual political and social harm in the flimsy guise of "debate" and "controversy".

Agreed, but you also have to understand that the edteam is not omnipotent. They're people, not computers. People make mistakes sometimes, and people often have to be educated about that which they don't understand.

Do I think they need more input from transfolks than they've been getting? Absolutely, which is why I'm suggesting we, the experts, put our time and effort where our mouths are and help make it happen.

It's easy to complain that people should know better, and it's quite often valid. As I said above, I think Bil should have known better in this case. The fact that he didn't, however, isn't a reason for me to attack him for screwing up this time, but rather to do whatever I can to help make sure that it doesn't happen again.

That's where I'm going to focus my efforts, how about you?

I'm past blaming anyone for posting anything. What happened happened. At this point I'm looking forward - what should happen? This stuff happened here before, it happened at PHB, at both Feministe and Feministing. Any trans person who is surprised either hasn't been on the Internet long or is new to activism. Every.single.time the fix for the problem is the same thing - "education". Education on the same issues all the time. What does this mean?

One of two things is happening. Either trans people are rubbish at explaining things, or cis people aren't trying to get it. In either case, Is more self-disclosure and hand-holding going to make anything better? Is more "I don't like wearing skirts"/ "I'm a gay trans guy" going to have any impact?

Rather than trans women rushing in to do massive education campaigns, I think cis GLs need to start doing some convincing. They need to convince us that they want to understand, that they are, actually, trying to be inclusive and being allies.

Dr. Weiss' Posts on Transphobia in the Gay Movement is a wonderful series. One thing I would like to add, is that the Trans movement was slowly but surely making it's most effective political gains before the GLBT combo-platter. In essence, we stalled so they could come along. Trans and Bi folks gave up *our* combined historical figures to make "Gays have been in all cultures and all times" a factual statement.

I'm tired of being told I need to go over the same basic stuff, when what I really need is some proof of a return on the investment. Anyone in business should know that an RoI is often the deciding factor is whether a project continues or not.

I like the idea of still working together, as a cis dyke, but I am thinking at this point the "T" should come first. Yeah, I said it. TLBG.

Because there's the most ground to be covered legally and socially under "T", and because there are enough trans people who are also queer that I feel quite comfortable that most if not all of my own shit will be covered as well.

He did after all go after the media for problematic depictions of gay men.
**********************************
Which makes his rant so inexplicable. I had to read it a couple of times because I was sure that it had to be irony or snark. He has come to resemble that which he fought against so brilliantly in the past. What a waste!

Manuel Rivera | December 12, 2009 7:23 PM

You still need a better copy editor.

It is outrageous! This person had opinions different than yours! Obviously, it is not enough that his contribution be sent down the memory hole, but now we need to debate the "trauma" you suffered from hearing an opinion with which you disagree.

What a joke. This affair only underscores the totalitarian mindset of the trans activist set and their gay allies. You don't debate. You don't engage. You label and accuse and silence. The 300 comments represents the classic swarm tactic: barrage the dissenter with hateful attacks to create the impression that there is no real issues to debate.

It won't work. You can remove the post and cast aspersions, but you haven't eliminated the issues Mr. Gold raised.

Oh look, surprise! Someone without a basic level of education in privilege and marginalization.

Differences of opinion are not hate speech and vicious attacks on marginalized people. You should do a little 101 self education before you open your mouth. Maybe you'll embarrass yourself less.

Oh look, a glaring hypocrite! Surprise! You decry "hate speech" but your reaction to my comment is to mock my level of education and to insult me. If you want to see intolerance and hate, look in the mirror.

Unless Gold was using slurs, he should be allowed to post. "Hate speech" is in the eye of the beholder. I would say that many of the posts on TPB are hate-filled. But they generate no controversy because these posts hate the right people.

I would have welcomed the opportunity to read Gold's views. But we live under the tyranny of feelings. If it causes hurt, it must be squashed.

"Unless Gold was using slurs, he should be allowed to post."

Um, he was using slurs.

california panda | December 12, 2009 10:53 PM

Dear Terrence,

I give you the dignity of a response. It is the last dignity I will afford you.

Hyperbole much? Totalitarian mindset? Swarm tactic? I'm surprised you didn't include the Trans-Facist card in that weak-kneed response. Get real! If anyone physically abused you with that same intensity you'd be peeing blood in the street (if you were still conscious afterward that is). Abuse, physical or emotional, is not a personal opinion and the harm or fallout caused by it is not illusory. And, as for the "issues" Mr Gold raised. Which part of "trans gender identity (or "personality" as he so blithely dismissed it) doesn't exist" or "surgery as body mutilation" would you like to address? Perhaps we could discuss the merits of Reparative Therapy or the efficacy of Electroshock Averion Therapy during Penile Plethysmography during the quiet times in between my hysterical trans-activist outbursts.

Better still, let's discuss why you feel even remotely qualified to discuss anything related to my, or anyone else's, trans experience. And if you say you're trans, pardon me if I don't believe you.

Valerie

Well, here you have 70+ comments from a braying mob, determined not only to attack Mr. Gold, but also to stand in judgment of Bill Browning's soul - even after he caved to their demand for censorship. It is not enough that Browning did their bidding. He must be pure of heart or else destroyed. If it isn't fascism, it is certainly a form of t(y)ranny.

Trans activists tend to be virulently intolerant bullies. In NY a few years ago, they harassed a leader of a gay organization at his home to intimidate him into adopting their political views. In my opinion, bullies need to be confronted, not appeased.

We should feel free to discuss anything, including reparative therapy and the other topics you mentioned. When a group has a 30% suicide rate, it is not unreasonable ask questions about the overall health of the members of that group and to question assumptions about how GID is treated.

Not once have you shown any empathy towards the people that were hurt by Ron's intentional speech designed to hurt trans people. Why are you here?

Mr. Gold didn't "raise issues", what he did was cast aspersions and engage in attacks based on the rankest, most uniformed stereotypes. It was analogous to a pray the gay away type coming along and accusing gays of having made a choice to be gay and engaging in "recruiting" children to "the gay Lifestyle". I wonder how you would feel about that? What he said wasn't based on science and in point of fact was in direct opposition to the findings of scientists and doctors on the issue. I'm not aware of Mr. Gold's expertise on the issue but I have very strong opinions about space exploration but that doesn't qualify me to speak about those issues as an expert as Mr. Gold pretended to do about transgender issues. As for the "totalitarian mindset" and the "swarm tactics", if Mr Gold had gone to a website frequented by a lot of African Americans and started throwing around the "N" word, he would get the same treatment and justifiably so.

Since the post was removed at the demand of a braying mob, how do you know what he said? And how do I know that you are accurately characterizing it? That is the problem with censorship. If you censor ideas, they can't be evaluated, analyzed and, if so deserving, rejected.

As far as the "N" word goes, I doubt that Gold used any slurs, although again thanks to the trans mob here, I can only guess at what he actually said. What the braying mob finds objectionable are his opinions and ideas, not one or two highly provocative epithets.

GallingGalla | December 13, 2009 8:33 AM

Hey Maestro, the water you've gotten yourself into is swirling so deep all i can see is your baton.

you have not lived my life nor the life of any trans person, so shut your ignorant trap.

Terrence;
It was not just a matter of disagreement with the trans-community. It was a total negation of the reality of their existence. It was no different than the Christian Right saying their are no inherently gay men, just sick and immoral men who spread aids and recruit children.

Both postitions are beyond inaccurate, they fly in the face of science and even human decency.

And I stand here, say so, and I am NOT trans.

Angela Brightfeather | December 12, 2009 8:38 PM

Well Becky, in retrospect I don't think that this has hurt me any more or less, than when we tried to make some kind of impression on Kerry when he ran for President and we got the summary boot and cold shoulder from the gays running the supposed GLB less the T of his camapign. We are used to the Mr. Gold's. But I have also met some pretty outstanding GLB people on this blog and I have admired their thinking and their inclusivenes. Bil has been one of them.

Mr. Gold has displayed a good knowledge of only the things that he may have wanted to learn about Trans people over the years. The things that enforced his arguments. And if not for Bilerico, he would continue to spread his views and there are plenty of people who have and would listen to those views and think that they were being educated by a seasoned gay activist who should know about Trans and gender diverse people due to his experiences.

Well that isn't true any longer and although it would have been better if Bilericio was not dragged into this whole thing, fate dictated that Mr. Gold and Bilerico were destined to be educated differently.

I believe that Bilerico and other blogs are presently the best tool to educate people about many things, but specifically about the "T" Community. All they have to do is participate and read. Bilerico contributes to my belief that GLB people have less of an argument when they say thefre needs to be more education, and when I in turn say, if you want to be educated in the subject of Trans people, get on Bilerico and educate yourself. No more excuses to be lazy about it.

Exactly, Angela. We've been down this road before, not just with the Kerry Campaign, but in many other quarters as well.

With the Kerry campaign, we were basically told to go fuck ourselves as far as recognition as a valid minority constituency by the campaign, but oh by the way, could we please do them a favor and promote their transphobic candidate to our community so he could become President?

In those days, all we could do was respond in kind and tell them basically (as I did) that they could kiss our hormonally-altered rear ends as far as expecting any sort of public endorsement for Kerry on behalf of our organization to our community.

In this situation, there's a lot more we can do than simply refuse to participate. Here, we can be proactive in helping to create positive change. Here we're not a political problem to be avoided and swept under the rug, we're an integral part of this community and a driving force in the discussions.

I know you Angela, you're a doer. Join us on this. I want to work with you again. This time, we're dealing with people who are ready and willing to listen and make change.

Let's do it, huh?

To Bil, Jerame, Cathy, Rebecca and especially “ginasf”

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Ben Franklin uttered those profound words at the signing of the Declaration of Independence!

We in the trans community are fighting a revolution of our own now! The colonists needed an ally to help defeat the British and slogged on through defeat after defeat (but for the Battle of Trenton) and finally the French showed up just in the nick of time! It took much schmoozing and cajoling to get the French to back us, but back us they did and we won!

We in the trans community represent one of the smallest yet most oppressed minorities in the whole history of human existence on this planet! We can’t possibly succeed without more powerful allies!

This new revolution we fight is about comprehension and understanding. This trans revolution of ours cuts to the core of what the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights are all about!

Look how long it took African Americans to finally win freedom and total acceptance! Our LGBT fight dates back at least 1600 years!

At Dr. Jillian Weiss suggestion I read all of Mercedes Allen’s brilliant 6 part series on transhistory here on Bilerico… Find those links in Dr. Weiss’ comments to this post:

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/12/transphobia_in_the_gay_community.php#more

People, I don’t use the analogy of the American Revolution here lightly! No we don’t fight in the farm fields and forests of the 13 colonies with musket and cannon… We don’t have to shed any blood ourselves or cause the blood of others to be shed!

Our battlefields are the halls of the U. S. Congress, state capitols, city halls and courtrooms all over America. Our weapons are words, most effectively communicated to one person at a time but almost as effectively communicated via sites like Bilerico!

I’m not advocating passivity… Every time I read of yet another trans-person raped and/or brutally murdered I too wish I could catch the culprits and see them “tried then fried” for what they did! The truth is I can’t. If I’m and others like me are to have any hope of justice, acceptance and inclusion I/we need allies!

Bil and Jerame are way, way better allies then the French were in the American Revolution! Bil and Jerame sought us trans people out and began to try to comprehend then maybe understand who we are! The French reluctantly supplied aid to our Continental Army only when they felt sure that victory was at hand! Our allies, Bil and Jerame, threw “all in” with us from the get go!

Our lives are very, very short. At 90 Mr. Gold has very little time left. I’m thinking of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” right now… Maybe, just maybe 3 trans ghosts will visit his sorry bed chamber this Christmas Eve and show him how horrible our trans “prisons and workhouses” are! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one of Mr. Gold’s dear but dead friends appears to him in a dream carrying the “chains forged in life!” Maybe not… I’m an optimist though so I wonder if, hope that reaction to his post teaches him something.

More important are all the “Ron Gold’s” in our own LGBT community right now! We MUST reach and teach them! Bil and Jerame are committed to helping us! We need Bil and Jerame!

Bil, Jerame… Both of you need all of us trans people! Why? Because we represent the smallest in numbers yet greatest of the oppressed on this planet! Both of you like Ben Franklin took it upon yourselves to become publishers. In many ways your tasks are exceedingly more difficult than Franklins… Franklin stoked up his printing presses when it suited him… You guys, Bil and Jerame have taken on a 24/7/365 Internet publication! Bil, Jerame as responsible publishers you need to be aware that many, many of our trans sisters and brothers battle extreme depression day in and day out. Many, many of our trans sisters and brothers succumb to suicide, especially at this time of year.

Bil, Jerame, you need us because if you can begin to comprehend then maybe begin to slightly understand the daily horrors we face then both of you and all you touch with your publication, Bilerico will be way, way better off for it!

“Whatsoever you do….”

To all my trans sisters and brothers reading this… CHILL! Life is short and if any of us really want to succeed in furtherance of our cause we need good, honest, genteel people like Bil and Jerame to “roll up their sleeves” and help!

Bil and Jerame don’t need our forgiveness and we trans people don’t need any apologies! We all need to get on with our LGBT struggle to have are birthrights under the constitution and bill of rights enforced! We all need to focus on our mutual goals and objectives together!

My thanks to anyone who read this… Now go spread the word!

I'll "chill" when vile transphobic bullshit stops flowing out of this site. Ron Gold isn't the only one.

Life may be short, but I sure as hell don't want to spend it getting treated like shit and then told to chill when I am rightfully pissed off.

Then please tell us when the bull shit flows and where it flows. I'm not picking a fight or challenging you. I am asking you what you are seeing and feeling. Because if you are seeing and feeling these things I want that to stop but if I don't know what you are feeling and seeing I can't respond.
I got called out today, and I'm OK with that because I know that I screw up from just simply not being aware or informed sufficiently. Please call us out because we call people out ourselves.
Don't dismiss this out of hand. Tell us what you see and feel because I am sure that Bil and others of us will respond.

Late on this one too. Hopefully you'll see this response.

I do stick around and call stuff out. When I have the time, when I have the energy. It isn't my job though and I don't always have the time and energy. Y'all need to do the research and legwork too yanno. I can't babysit you always.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | December 12, 2009 10:50 PM

Very well said.

I find a lot of trans people have huge anger issues but being one myself and having had those same issues, I totally understand unfocused, (but justifiable), rage. We do need to be better at hanging together because the reason we are downtrodden is that we don't have the numbers to effect change as it is and any internal divisions just exacerbate that and discredit us and our causes. We need to have each others back because no one else will.

Annise Parker wins in Houstopolis! WooT!

"Who's with me?"

I am, Rebecca. I concur with what you've written. Taking our marbles and going home won't build community or educate anyone.

If this happened in a vacuum, it might be different. But I think that Bil and Bilerico has earned the benefit of the doubt, without overlooking this matter.

I've also been impressed with the large number of commentors who've identified themselves as somewhere on the trans spectrum. That shows how much that we're a part of this community.

No, Rory, the number of "commentors (sic) who've identified themselves as somewhere on the trans spectrum..." doesn't show the trans numbers in the community, it's merely a number of persons who've decided to become vocal - some falling just short of demanding the head of a contributor, others taking the "high road" and smugly declaring "this is how I would have done it!" - over a very minor matter.

It's shown how many people are willing to be unfair, in the name of those same people being treated, in their eyes, "fairly."

It's shown how many people are completely unwilling to practice what they are, supposedly, preaching.

And - from what I've read - it reveals just how amazingly close some of the TG are to their contemporaries in the heterosexual world when it comes to their loathing of gay men who dare "step out of line."

Oh Jesus. Projection, much? That post wasn't "stepping out of line," it was bloody eliminationist. And, newsflash? A number of those trans people who were protesting ARE gay men. Too. Really.

Exactly who is "running a line," here? Tell me, who runs this site? Who has more influence-not enough, yes, but even so-on national-level politics? Who's more likely to get kicked to the curb first when it comes to such things as ENDA or immigration rights or pretty much anything else?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Signed,

a cis queer woman who is good and tired of the attempt at revisionism.

Oh, boo hoo, belledame.

No one said anything about "running a line."

What I said was how closely related in hatred of gay men the TG and heterosexual communities are anytime a gay man is seen as "stepping out of line."

Your reply merely bolsters that statement; you couldn't even be bothered to quote my statement correctly, yet felt the need to post a reply based on your incorrect reading of my posting.

As I've stated, previously, in other postings related to Mr. Gold; I support the fight for the bisexually oriented and the transgendered in their quest for equal rights - but not at the expense of the homosexually oriented.

For gays and lesbians to spearhead the fight for the "Bs" and "Ts" of "our community" merely cements into place a belief The Great Them out there have concerning the homosexually oriented: We make a choice to be have sex with a person of the same gender, or we "suffer" from a physical/psychological disorder for which there is a "cure" (even if that "cure" is to have genitalia surgically altered to that of the opposite gender).

And then, of course, the homosexually oriented (and, primarily, gay men) get the type of abuse that's been heaped upon Mr. Gold - again, I reiterate, a man I've never met, nor have I ever read the man's writings - if he dares say anything outside of "accepted speech."

My commentary, so far, has only been focused on those people who have clamored for the equivalent of Mr. Gold's head, simply because he voiced an opinion. Was his opinion uneducated? Possibly; I don't know the man's level of education/understanding on "trans" issues.

I will say I've seen exactly two postings from persons who, instead of merely screeching, ranting or raving, actually went the distance to calmly rebut the man's statements.

But, please, by all means: Go ahead, scream. Rant. Rave. Continue to bar civility from any discourse.

Need I remind you that it was the Transgendered at Stonewall that began the movement that allowed all of us out of the closet? This is something that some in our community seem to forget over and over. How convenient. It must be nice to be able to revise history to suit your world view. Your rant merely confirms what I've said: The Transgendered are perfectly welcome to march beside you, tom work with you, to support your efforts when we are fighting for your rights but when it comes to trans issues or when it becomes uncomfortable for you to be associated with us, some of you disappear faster than Dick Cheney from his draft board. Spare me your sanctimony and your outrage that we are such a detriment to gay and lesbian rights. You wouldn't have the limited freedoms you enjoy now if it wasn't for us.


It is quite amazing.

I find it beyond hypocritical that many commenters on here who have torn Ronald Gold apart - in the same posting that they rip him a new one and talk about sensitivity make broad generalizations about gay men. Its hilarious, just take out the words "gay men" and insert "transgender" and they would be going ballistic about their own comment.

I came to this blog during the ENDA crisis and I know personally that Bil and close to 100% of the contributors were vociferous activists for keeping gender identity in ENDA.

This blog became a virtual online organizing tool for activism and getting grassroots protests off the ground and mobilizing a never before seen amount of people lobbying congress on behalf of LGBT people- all LGBT people.

As I walked Congressional offices talking to staffers - I heard one thing over and over again - these staffers had NEVER, ever, heard our community speak up so much for any issue- and we spoke up for inclusion.

To see people on this blog tear apart an ally - when they don't know any history - makes me feel like what's the point.

I work in the labor movement - and one of the things I love about it is that we all come from very different backgrounds but we all come together because on some base level we all know workers, regardless, deserve dignity and respect on the job.

That has meant for me a rich addition to my life - where I have seen so many people and myself have difficult conservations, where hurtful words were said, on both sides, but also where real bridges were made and new understanding evolve.

We are all allies here. That does not mean I will agree with you on every issue, but we're all working to get to a better world.

I still just keep wondering if we had in the last week- generated 600+ letters to Congress on ENDA if the bill would not be stalled.

Then maybe Jerame wouldn't have to be worried about being fired from Exxon for being simply who he is, which happened to him.

Or my new trans co-worker wouldn't feel afraid to come out of the closet for fear of being fired.

The amount of anger over 500 poorly construed and poorly argued words is something I'm finding very hard to get my head around.

Thank you for your post Rebecca - and maybe you would consider being an editor again - your voice is needed.

What's going to be the good that comes out of this?

Ultimately -- fewer people espousing the ideas that Mr. Gold has, and greater awareness of the trans community.

Good question.

Well I can only speak for myself. But its got me asking a lot of questions and wanting to become more informed, so I can make an informed decision for myself and family members.

What am I thinking about-

Well it has me asking..

1. What are the long-term effects of testosterone or estrogen on the body. I know that HRT can have negative affects on women- what would life-long estrogen taking do? Is that danger less dangerous than the anguish someone faces in a body that does not match their gi?

2. It has me asking the hard question of if I had a son, or my brother had a girl and they started presenting their gender differently at a young age- would I permit them to take t-blocking drugs or make them wait until they are 18.

So for me, it has me trying to look deeper at the medical consequences of SRS, hormones, and also the real medical affects of non-treatment mentally.

For me, that's good. But I can't answer it for you.

1. What are the long-term effects of testosterone or estrogen on the body. I know that HRT can have negative affects on women- what would life-long estrogen taking do? Is that danger less dangerous than the anguish someone faces in a body that does not match their gi?
There have been no studies on estrogen in post-menopausal women.

There have been studies using ethinyl estradiol, and various other estrogenic molecules, but none on 17B estradiol or estradiol valerate, the bio-identical molecules found naturally in the human body.

There have been far too few studies of the long-term effects of HRT on trans people. What little evidence we have shows no obvious problems, but there may well be problems that are not obvious.

Trans people have had to become experts on hormones, far more so than 90%+ of endocrinologists, just for our own safety. Most endocrinologists are clueless when it comes to treating us, and often prescribe medications at doses that are totally ineffective, or worse, medications with known problems (e.g. Ethinyl Estradiol vice 17B Estradiol, Medroxyprogesterone Acetate vice Micronised Progesterone etc).

Yes, we do need more studies here. But try finding funding for them. It's made worse by the fact that so very many successful transitioners "blend in" and don't want to ever be reminded of their past. For one thing, if it became known, they may be killed for it.

We do know though that any risks are several orders of magnitude less than the risk of not providing treatment. Whether 100 times, 1000 times or 10,000 times, that we don't know.

It has me asking the hard question of if I had a son, or my brother had a girl and they started presenting their gender differently at a young age- would I permit them to take t-blocking drugs or make them wait until they are 18.
If you want, I'll dig up the studies - but the clinics with the most successful track records have gonadotrophins - puberty delayers - administered at the beginning of puberty, hormones at around the age of consent, and surgery a year or two later, usually at age 18.

Making them wait till age 18 before starting puberty blockers is in my opinion unconscionable, and the science shows no suggestion of how this could be justified. There is an argument that gonadotrophins should be delayed to age 14-16, but this is controversial, and the matter is not settled. We need more data to be utterly certain, but the indications we have are that the disbenefits outweigh the benefits.

See Dr Spack's presentation to the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting recently:

S10. The Neurobiological Evidence for Transgenderism

1. Brain Gender Identity Prof. Sidney W. Ecker, M.D.
2. Transsexuality as an Intersex Condition Prof Milton Diamond, Ph.D.
3. Novel Approaches to Endocrine Treatment of Transgender Adolescents and Adults Norman Spack, M.D.

It's difficult quantifying the effects of having a normal teenagerhood on a trans person. I... would have only transitioned after having gametes stored. No matter what the cost in my appearance, or social ostracism. Children were that important to me, and were since early childhood. Motherhood (or as close as I could get) was more important than Femininity.

But that should be a choice, kids should have the chance to avoid having the wrong kind of puberty inflicted on them by others.

(And as it turned out, with my Intersex condition, I didn't have a normal puberty anyway, but I digress...)

"Bil has done no such thing. He has covered his ass, he has made a few fauxpologies... "

How do you know the apologies were 'faux'?

"He has not done the legwork to be an ally. And he's got a history of failures there."

If he hasn't done the legwork, than how could he have a history of failing at it? If someone wants to be an ally, should we be drumming them out if they don't live up to our expections? Is this a 'three strikes' situation?

"Who do you think knows better about who's helping us the best? Us or you?"

Do you speak for all transpeople?

The above comment from me was meant to be stacked under ginabitch's. Sorry.

Crap. I meant genderbitch. Sorry, again.

it's ok rory- it is kind of late...

"How do you know the apologies were 'faux'?"

That's what we call "apologies" that are more excuses, justifications and defensiveness then "I'm sorry". It is literally not an apology. He may be plenty sorry, but he failed to communicate it.

"If he hasn't done the legwork, than how could he have a history of failing at it? If someone wants to be an ally, should we be drumming them out if they don't live up to our expections? Is this a 'three strikes' situation?"

He was failing at allydom, something that is quite easy to do without legwork. No, it isn't a three strikes situation. Nor is it permanent. Ally status is in flux constantly based on how accountable you are and how much you screw up.

"Do you speak for all transpeople?"

Obviously not. But I'm clearly not the only one expressing the same damn thing. In fact, the opinion I raised here has been expressed by a ton of other trans folk. Guess that requires you to listen a bit more.

crescentdave crescentdave | December 13, 2009 2:48 AM

I'd like to thank Rebecca for her post ... she gives some breathing room to everyone who's felt hurt or betrayed by the Gold posting. Part of the pain also comes from both named and faceless editorial commentary intended to blunt the overwhelming (and justified) negative response to such an ignorant and bigoted story. Part of the pain also comes from posters who evidently feel the need to challenge anyone who disagrees with their facile mea culpas.

We won't be removing the post from the site and would instead encourage readers to join the conversation there to ensure that we make clear this one point: Transgender people are not mutilated or deluded; they are not damaged in any way. Instead, all of our friends, family, and internet acquaintances are beautiful and worthy of respect just as they are.

And the post remains ... for awhile ... as negative commentary pours in and other LGBT sites pick the story up and submit Bilerico to a scrutiny which might seem as merciless to Bil and needling apologists like Jerame Davis as the following words, editorially stamped as being acceptable and consciously allowed to remain must feel to Trans folks:

So where does that put the concept of transgender? In my view, down the tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how transsexuals got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas.

Yes, I feel that respect by Gold, "just as my friends are" when he says their very existence is Down the tubes ... in a dilemma. Lots of respect there.

And yes, I was so happy to read that the anonymous, editorial "we" asserts

Transgender people are not mutilated or deluded; they are not damaged in any way.

The editorial staff felt SO STRONGLY about this, they took the bold stance of publicly announcing they would not be moving the Gold post which advanced a slightly different POV, namely:

... to mutilate the bodies of the deluded.

So ... "beautiful and worthy of respect." And "mutilated, deluded and down the tubes." What a paradox ... it must be true! In jumps Bil with his very own post entitled --My Responsibility: The difference between "challenging" and "offensive." Here's the money quote:

While Bilerico might not be a "safe space," it should also be a spot where our community can visit without feeling personally vilified and condemned. In my zeal to protect our goal of free speech and frank conversations, I neglected to realize exactly how hurtful Mr. Gold's language would be to many of our readers.

Let's take this point by point: "It should be a spot where our community can visit without feeling personally vilified and condemned." Sounds good!

Gold on Transgender reality:

... down the tubes!

And that leaves the further questions of how transsexuals got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas.

Well, hey ... I didn't hear anybody's name being mentioned so there must be no personal vilification or condemnation going on ... just a blanket dismissal of the legitimacy of an entire group's existence. Damn ... Bil was right!

Saving free speech, Bill sez: "I neglected to realize exactly how hurtful Mr. Gold's language would be to many of our readers."

Sounds good!

It must be hard to realize that any group might find it hurtful to be denied the legitimacy of existence, pathologized, described as deluded and mutilated and then be the object of a discussion as to what can be done "to resolve their dilemma."

Bottom line? Gold wrote an incredibly insensitive, inaccurate and bigoted post. Bad enough. It got published. How, most reasonable people looking at the issue objectively will never know. Even worse.

But the worst thing is Bil first stating he's not going to take the bigoted POS down when it most CLEARLY and definitely argues against his feel-good affirmations accompanying the announcement.

The post is yanked. Bil writes his piece. Does ANYONE seriously expect me to believe he didn't realize "how hurtful" Gold's language would be? Recap: Trans existence down the tubes, mutilated, delusional?

The philosophy of CYA is what incenses me. Obviously Bil is lying when he says phrases like "the concept of transgender is down the tubes," and words like "deluded" and "mutilated" didn't strike him as "hurtful."

That's the most hurtful. That's the twisting of the knife. There is no excuse. All a person can do at that point is say: "I'm sorry, I screwed up. I tried to make it better. I made it worse. I'll be looking for community ideas and other input to make sure this kind of incident is never repeated. And I'm sorry. No excuses."

Because the way it stands now ... there's a lot of well intended people. But not those still trying to look good. They can only further the hurt and feed the rage ... because, at the heart of it, this is a very simple deal.

People screwed up big time. Other folks need to be brought into the process to make necessary changes. Apologies, not excuses, not explanations, are due. Period.

And then we can return to Rebecca's post and see the good that can from this. But please, no more bullshit explanations. It's hurtful, insulting and demeaning.


I don't know why I didn't speak up when they ran that article so similar to Gold's entitled almost exactly the same as this one:

"No" to the notion of gay

Given Bilerico's record, support is easy to give. Trust is an entirely different animal. What failed here was, at least in part, a failure in editorial procedures which need to be addressed so that we can ALL feel safe. This time the system failure affected trans people, but if nothing's done about it, then everyone will feel less safe. How this can be done - some informal minority blocking rights on articles on groups where the writer is both non-member and non-expert for example - is not something that readers/commenters on this site need input. Whats necessary is that editor/ contributors that command respect can say, 'Yes, we believe the system now in place will adequately protect everyone from such offensive writings'. Thats when support and trust may reasonably be asked for.
Whilst I can applaud Bil's courage in taking responsibility, it does have some problematic side-effects in covering things up. It would be great to know just why 50% of an editorial group wanted this piece published. Thats not to have loads of mea culpas,or individual confessions, but to have some notion of the motivation, because I can't believe this was published because of support for the views expressed.
The recent Phil Reese thread on 'who are the real women?' attempted some sort of understanding/dialogue with anti-inclusivist sections of the trans community. It would be good to feel that similar treatments are on offer for anti-inclusivists elsewhere.
I, for one, am happy to agree that this site is run by good, competent and committed people who deserve my support. That's clear from the record. But this has also been used as a hate site in this one instance, and questions about whether the system is adequate to prevent repetition of such an event, still remain.

Gold is begining to get martyr status with the Neo-Mattachines already

Those evil trans people....and those couple of uppity Lesbians who joined in...

Shame on "the Bilerico Project" for crumbling in the face of those who sought to whitewash away an uncomfortable point of view in lieu of offering reasoned objections and counterpoints to Mr. Gold's narrow view of the transgendered community.

Whether those who cried foul realize it or not, Mr. Gold's point of view is a reality, both in the LGBT community and general society; yes much better to pretend it does not exist by pulling down the post.

His post offered a most perfect opportunity for the formation of a true dialog and education of both sides of the equation. Mr. Gold perhaps might have gained much needed insight and those reactionaries to his poorly worded ideas could have been given insight to the root cause of individuals who share Mr. Gold's limited understanding.

All the ballyhooing merely results in a parrot victory. Some people with hurt feelings incapable of expressing themselves past crying "foul" are appeased.

However, the demands of such thin-skinned individuals coupled with the editorial team's decision to "erase" the post in favoring appeasement over conversation, clearly demonstrate why the LGBT community as a political people group will continue to fail in forwarding its agenda.

For if we cannot tolerate dissent and differing points of view within the community, how are we to stand against the acrimony and narrow views held by all the other political people groups, which make up the body politic?

Thus, the result demonstrates succinctly the intellectually weak tactic of a minority imposing its demands on a community as a whole.

Shame also upon those who allow the validity of their identity or lack thereof to be based on another individual’s point-of-view.

crescentdave crescentdave | December 13, 2009 7:06 PM

Could you please cite all the previously published and editorially supported (we will not withdraw this-until the sh*t hits the fan) posts made in the last year which deny the legitimacy of a group ... as in the various concepts of lesbians or gays or bisexuals being so flawed they're "down the tubes?"

Could you please cite all the posts in the last year which specifically assert lesbians, gays or bisexuals as being a disorder, made up by psychiatrists, and needing to to address

the further questions of how [substitute lesbians, gays, bisexuals) got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas?

I must have missed those posts. Or is this just one of those "trans are special moments?"

MitchInOakland MitchInOakland | December 13, 2009 7:38 PM

There's an elephant in the room! It's the fact that transsexuals (in particular) insist that their bodies (as born) were incorrect: in effect, they insist that they were born with a deformity.

Gay people have been fighting for at least two generations for acceptance of the realization that being gay is NOT a disability -- that it's not in any way a semblance of deformity or dysfunction!

For that matter, I happen to believe (based on my own unique experience) that it would be far wiser to recognize being gay as a choice. As one who abhors hypocrisy, I never lived in the closet, and I started to realize I was gay during a (far better and saner) time when experimentation with sexuality and drugs was accepted and gender boundaries were in the process of dissolving.

I simply realized I was not interested in girls; acceptance of this was a subset of being a hippie, not of feminism. (Given that background, consider my perception of the internalized homophobia implicit in someone who now runs an "m4t" personal ad that says, "Must be passable"! Today's gay trade, tomorrow's trans competition! Talk about hurtful!)

In any event, my experience (however unique, as, incidentally, is everyone's) is that being gay was a choice -- one that I made as a result of experimentation -- one that I'm proud to have made -- as it's a choice any person can and should be proud to make!

Nonetheless, it's a choice that involves the rather fragile notion of accepting one's feelings as consistent with one's body -- society and gender be damned! Yes, calling myself "she" (as anything beyond silliness), on account of my having "deeply feminine" feelings, threatens that fragile identity -- and throwing the neologism "transmisogyny" at me doesn't change that. As trans folk should realize, "sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but names..."

Just don't call me sick or crazy, as trans people have actually done (oblivious to the bitter irony implicit in their doing so)! We live in a crazy world, where I'd be considered sane if I told my mother I'm a girl, but crazy if I denied the notion that time is money. As for science? That, too, is notoriously political, a matter of what questions one asks and of how one defines terms. Trans folk should also know better than to rely on "science."

In any event, enough of "I can't help it, I was born this way." There's nothing trivial about choosing one's identity. Suffice it to say, I believe that's a major factor in how we've reached this impasse.

More relevant here is that -- from issues of "nondisclosure" (i.e., relegitimization of the closet) to those of self-acceptance of a unitary mind/body self -- gay and trans identities are implicitly somewhat opposing viewpoints.

One can be a gay person who's supportive of rights for trans people on human rights or disability grounds, but we're only a single community in the eyes of our enemies.

As for terms like "mutilation" or "delusion," that's obviously someone's perception, and they (as much as those who take issue -- both, incidentally, by way of experience) have a right to express themselves accordingly. Considering someone deluded is not tantamount to being complicit in murder or maiming, and implying that this is the case is nothing short of a smear!

There's an old statement attributed to Voltaire and beloved by civil libertarians: "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

The attempt to stifle certain forms of expression is hurtful, too. Who decided that one should be silenced because expressing a particular view is "hurtful"? Life (from birth trauma onward) can be hurtful, and it's not necessarily because of malice; sometimes it's the result of a genuine difference in lived realities. One such genuine difference involves whether one accepts the reality of a mind/body duality itself -- which is pivotal in accepting the very notion of transsexuality or transitioning.

Deal with it. There is no real "LGBT community." That's life.

Couldn't have said it any better, Mitch. The trans activist try to impose "LGBT" as a fait accompli and try to squelch any debate, lest thinking people see the that "LGBT" makes no logical sense. They can only intimidate us if we let them. So don't let them.

I take it that you are not trans friendly, Michelle. A Lesbian activist myself, I find that position somewhet dated. Most modern feminist theorists, beginning with Butler, see Homosexuality and Lesbianism as inherently transgender in nature, and Irigaray argues for the existence of an inherently and existentially feminine voice, without reference to born anatomical gender

No matter what side you are on, it should be clear by now that the attitude of gay men towards the transgender component is by and large hateful. You can dress that up any way you want, but the truth won't stay hidden forever no matter how much denial comes out of the two sides. Just look at the arrogance of the gay men in this thread. They drip with contempt while they issue their haughty dismissals.

How much abuse will the TG accept before they say enough is enough? And what will they do to fix their place in the GLBT? It's an interesting study in group dynamics, if a little sickening. Nothing more hypocritical than a minority stepping on a smaller minority, but probably par for the course with primates.

Yes, only gay men "drip of contempt" in the comments sections of these posts.

I see a lot of contempt being thrown at gay men from certain commenters on here. Once again- you're so upset about a post where one man paints a broad brush of an entire community, yet in your reaction you do the damn same thing. the irony is just overwhelming.

I'm not upset about anything. I find the GLBT too amusing to get bent out of shape by it's normal operation. If it ever calmed down too much it would probably fade away entirely, depriving us of an entertaining show. Yet your anger and post is dismissal of your opponents by its very nature, isn't it? You refuse to acknowledge that a great insult has been paid, and that in itself is proof.

But controversy is good from the survival standpoint; it seems the GLBT thrives when there is venom and languishes when everyone is happy. Such is the nature of movements.

I do think that nationally the gay movement is beginning a downward slide. It starts as a long drawn out affair, but when the collapse ultimately comes it will hit very abruptly. It is unraveling right now, as more and more people experience the crises in confidence in an elitist leadership that has been given far too much latitude.

The tremors are felt all through the GLBT construct, down to little old Bilerico where recriminations and fingerpointing have exposed the frayed edges, and now worry them to tatters.

No I'm not upset. But you should be.

No you're not upset. Ok, then you're not upset- but you're still a hypocrite.

But regardless you sound like Captain Chaos from South Park.

I'm so flattered! Yet it's still probably for the best if gay men keep their yaps shut about trans* issues. They know nothing about them, but they all seem to have a big fat opinion on the topic. See if they'll take advice on the subject though, fat chance lol.

Another funny thing is listening to what trans* people say about gay men. And don't let them kid you, they all feel the same way about homosexual men even if they deny it. You lot are just meant for each other. Enjoy!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | December 13, 2009 11:48 PM

Rebecca, thank you for this post. The only way that anyone progresses is through their mistakes. "Learn from this and do better next time" is something probably etched in all our memories by well meaning mentors of all types.

I appreciate how distressful this unwanted and unnecessary drama has to be for Jeramie, Bil and the whole ed team, but some things Jeramie states above REALLY concern me. I hope they come from only a place of hurt in his family and not conscious decision making, because if they do I can't read Bilerico either.

Many of the things Jeramie states above are absolutely right: "It isn't my job to challenge every stupid notion put forth on the blog, nor is it Bil's."

But HERE is where it totally went wrong:

"There was a lot of discussion between Bil and myself about the post. I strongly encouraged him not to post it. He got the opinion of another person on the ed team, who differed from my opinion. Regardless Bil DID see the red flags and DID question the post...The fact is, Bil wanted the guy to get his ass handed to him for his ignorance."

Wow, a teachable moment totally missed.

A chance to throw a 90 year old with dated and incorrect ideas under the bus. Is this for entertainment or education? Someone who themselves went through psychiatric treatment multiple times when it was it's most barbaric toward us. Someone who also had the courage of his convictions to confront the biased attitudes toward the American Psychiatric Association. When I came out I was someone with a sickness according to this professional group. Hell, even "Dear Abby" was on record saying we had a sickness and a "dysfunction." The joys of a sharp memory at age 56 of things and horrors I would rather forget.

*Why would any one want to see this man's "ass handed to him"? What does this serve at all?*

*Why was Ron Gold allowed to embarrass himself?*

*Can it be assumed that a 90 year old person will be as sharp as they have always been, or as "current in GLBT theory"?*

*When Ron Gold wrote for a major magazine does anyone think that his work was not subject to editorial review?*

Is this TOTALLY PREVENTABLE mistake going to be left on his 90 year old shoulders? I don't think it should be.

Should he have been given the courtesy of having his initial posting returned to him with notes respectfully telling him why it was unsuitable for publication with specific reasons? Yes!

Anyone who has authored anything is used to getting rejection letters. Mr. Gold would have understood, thought further, revised his language, researched and done a first posting as an elder in our community that would have done him proud and done this blog site proud. The only difference is it could have been a week later.

Another commenter on a different thread repeated over and again "This is just a blog" as though this makes this sort of treatment of an elder all right. It is actually what will *be our history someday* and this was not a proud moment.

Early on in the comment thread following this unfortunate posting Fr. Tony tried to make this point but no one wanted to hear his gentle reasoning. They wanted blood because they were speaking from their own hurt and isolation. I know the feeling of hurt and isolation, I know the anger, I know the desire for anonymous revenge against all who have marginalized me and those I cared for. I know what it is to be shunned by other GLBT persons because being seen in my company at Purdue University threatened their cover. I have held the hands of those who thought suicide was their best option. I am CERTAIN that I know what it is to argue truth to power and bear an unpopular message.

All of this is solvable. But at it's core we have to learn that it is less important to "play gotcha" and "wanting the guy to get his ass handed to him for his ignorance" *on his first posting*. Who is being ignorant here?

It is time to go about the work, skill and craft of editing responsibly and to BUILD the reputations of posters through the editorial process. Having only five to seven postings per day would be a good start. Having no more than one posting per day by any contributor would be better. As people get to know their jobs in a process they can handle more daily postings than this.

This is not a call to timidity, but to excellence. Nor is it a call to conformity or a lack of controversy, but just getting reality in sync with what is posted. Mostly, it is a call to people to stop feasting upon one another, and to cease finding pleasure in insulting one another. You can get that on the street.

This should be something more elevated. I do want to thank all of the Bilerico family for the many opportunities I have had to learn from contributors here. I particularly want to thank the kind members of the trans community who have dialoged with me off site because I had a heck of a lot to learn when I came here and much that I had to get my mind around because my close trans friends had died or (in complete transition) had assimilated into "conventional" America.

Robert, as always, you make excellent points. I believe this Gold post was ill-conceived from the start, a bad idea that horribly, terribly backfired, harming many in the process.

I would submit to you, however, that this is not only a learning process for us, but for Bil as well. As Jer said, Bil made the final call on this and it was a bad one. I believe he knows better now, but nonetheless I am glad to see that there will be trans input into future decisions of this sort, and I am heartened to see that transfolks are stepping up to help.

It's kind of like that old real estate commercial where the guy says "I didn't know enough to know what I didn't know.". I think that's very on-point here.

Bil didn't realize the level of offense and hurt this post would generate, but he does now. To prevent such things from happening in the future, it is we, the experts on these issues, who have to share our insights and experiences with the edteam to ensure that they have an understanding of how we see these issues, at least as much as it is possible for a non-transperson to understand.

I would ask you to stick around as well and add your perspective to the conversation as we grow and learn from this. I hope you will. :)

Suzie Lefkowitz | December 14, 2009 9:59 AM

As an older transwoman who had GRS 3 years ago, I can tell you that many older transwomen I met as friends and clients desperately wanted to believe that one could find satisfying outlets for gender dysphoria without changing one's body and losing one's job and family in the process. Alan Alda and the idea of a " New Man" or the gender bending glam rockers were role models: "If I can do this, I can stay a man" type of deal. I think Ronnie "Fools" Gold's issues are so painful because we wish it were so. But it's not. Ronbaby is clueless as to what transpeople go through and expounds an idea dating back to the 1979 tome called "The Transsexual Empire". Wonder if the Ronster read that book.

Hey, this sounds dangerously like an attempt at a rebuttal to Mr. Gold? We cannot have that. Far better to call him names and erase him from the blog and then call the blog a lot of names.

By responding to Gold's arguments, which must never be seen or read, you are lending credence to him. And he is the enemy! Are you an aider and abettor of the enemy?

Suzanne Lefkowitz | December 15, 2009 5:00 PM

Aiding an abetting? WOW-that sounds so subversive!. I do know that almost 100% of transpeople I know at some point wished they could find a way out. I thought when I got myself appointed the chair of the agency "dress code", I could write it so I could wear feminine clothes to work and to an extent I did. That was 1974 and I spent 25 years finding ways ways to get over before getting over got old (very) and I just transitioned. There were years watching Rolling Stone videos and wishing I was a rock star cause that seemed a way around this. Then there was the mystery of Way Bandy (google him). Believe me, if Ron "old" Gold's ideas worked, I'd still be running around with a pageboy and spandex pants. Try being a feminine man. Really feminine. It is actually harder than being a "successful" transsexual. Maybe Ron (ette) Gold is doing his own rationalizations as to why he didn't transition.

Being very new to Bilerico I have never seen the offending post and I am glad I didn't. But having seen the reactions is enough to understand what it was about.
It is a pity such negative material slipped past the editors and it is good they corrected that mistake. Let's please leave writing negative things to the outside world, they do not need help from inside the LGBTQ (plus intersex) community to bash us.
From what I have seen so far, Bilerico seems to be a great resource for all our community and, yes, I am with you when you want to keep up and extend the amount of coverage of trans issues in these pages.
I will wait with passing Bilerico's URL to my followers on Twitter for a few days, when hopefully the sprayed vitriol and other acids have settled to the ground.