Antonia D'orsay

Making Trouble: Why

Filed By Antonia D'orsay | February 24, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: homosexual agenda, LGBT, marriage, political parties, politics, Queer Agenda, Questions, Transawareness

So in my last column, a few statements were made by various commenters that raise issues that go well beyond the scope of just a single comment on one thread.

All of them raised issues with the specter that's haunting the LGBT community right now, and that specter is a complex set of questions that surround the notion of being part of the LGBT.

Normally, I'd pop in and simply pontificate on the peculiar principles of public participation and how patriarchal platitudes do little to promote peaceable accord.

Not this time, alliteration not withstanding. This time I'm going to put it to you, the wonderful and amazing collective of readers here. I'm going to ask a few simple questions, and then I'm going to let you answer them.

I'm not going to comment in this one myself. I am reserving my possibly known thoughts and ideas for later stuff, as what I'm doing here, in asking this, is learning from you.

I will stipulate a few rules to this process. I realize some people dislike that even as a merest suggestion, but I think it's important as people need to do it.

First off, don't critique or criticize another poster's responses. That's going to be hard. In fact, that's going to be damn hard given the questions I'm going to ask. I can say that I will be biting my lip the whole time, if this column actually gets people who are willing to answer.

Second, answer the questions. No vacillating, no talking about subjects that are germane but not part of the actual answer. No guessing about what I mean in asking them, and don't worry about what I might think or others might think about your answers. There's no sinister motive behind this, and if you think the questions are some kind of trap, well, as far as I'm concerned, you have some issues with paranoia.

Third, this is just about the questions. Not me, not other commenters, not Bilerico, not some greater good or lesser evil, not about who did what to whom with that where and if they enjoyed it or not. Just the questions.

Think of it as a poll where there answers get to be written by you.

Now, I'm aware that those rules make the whole idea of Bilerico seem a little odd, but we'll have plenty of time to discuss the answers later. One of the things we want to do here is to air it out.

Because although we talk a lot about the stuff inside, beneath, above, and around these questions, not too many people ever really bother asking them.

Well, I'm bothering.

And now, the questions:

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?


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Why should the LGBT split apart?
It shouldn’t.

Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?
Cis Folk should speak up if they know what they’re talking about and they acknowledge the limitations of the experience and understanding.
Why should the LGBT stay together?
Because we’re all beings who seek to find happiness and avoid suffering.

Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?
They shouldn’t.

Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?
They shouldn’t.

Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?
I think we need to understand ourselves as both.

Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?
Because they fail to see/acknowlege interdependence within the constituencies of the community.

Why do people think there is an LGBT community?
Because they understand and embrace the common ground.

Why don't we start our own political party?
Too many different political strategies - free markets vs gov’t action, etc...

What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?
Putting ego ahead of common good.

1. Because it's an artificial coalition made up of extremely unequal part. Because LGBT is often used to make the trans and bi parts of it invisible. Because it actually hasn't accomplished that much for anyone (at least, not much which can be proven as a result of the coalition). Because it makes associations and connections with groups which are fundamentally different.

2. Because they get it wrong to much of the time. Because they exercise entitlement in thinking they know what's best for us. Because they often inadvertently insult us and then plead "good intentions" when we point it out.

3. There is overlap between the communities (gay/lesbian trans people) and there are some people (like GQs) who clearly fall into both the LG community and, sometimes, the trans community. Because there is way more money in the LG community especially since CDs (who, on average have a lot of money) tend to be rather distant from activism. There may be a duplication of some goals.

4. Because, in their heart, many LGB people really feel they have nothing in common with trans people.

5. I don't want to speak for gay men, however, if they don't want to be in a coalition, they should be free to go. But if they stay in the coalition, they have to know they don't get to control everything.

6. We have fundamentally different experiences and, often, needs. We shouldn't speak for groups we really don't know that much about and haven't walked in their shoes.

7. Because some parts of the community are so ignorant of other parts of the community it's hard to believe they're in the same coalition. Because there's a lot of argument and putdown between the groups. Because some parts of the community erroneously believe they've done all the work and others are trying to bum off their successes. Because there's nothing like real mutual respect between the subgroups.

8. They're told this repeatedly by gay/queer and straight media. They erroneously believe that smaller groups can't survive on their own. Because everything related to those communities says 'LGBT' no matter how insincere it it. Because it's rapidly being used by the government and by NGOs to identify people who fall within that broad umbrella whether they want it or not.

9. Politics are based on political beliefs (and commonality in searching for solutions), not necessarily life experience. I have zero connection politically to either Log Cabin Republicans, nor Libertarian/free market trans women.

10. They don't listen to other people. They dismiss other people's views without really considering them. They try to control others at all costs. They try to control others at all costs. They try to control others at all costs (I had to repeat that 3 times). They refuse to really make an effort to learn about other groups and expect a brownie pin if they make any old lazy effort to show how much they care. They hide behind "good intentions" no matter how much they screwed the other person/group. They think they have a right to speak for other people even though they're fundamentally ignorant about their experience.

I don't know if this is intended for specific people and not me, but here's 2c:

1. I don't believe they should. In fact, I see our struggles as part of a larger picture where trans rights to determine what happens with our bodies overlaps with a woman's right to choose the time and means (and if) she bears children, where the identities of all sex and gender minorities need to be respected and allowed to speak to their own experiences and co-exist, where everyone has a right to employment, inclusion and citizenship, where the medicalization of identity shares common ground with the disabled, and far more.

Obviously, one person can't do (or be) everything for everyone, but I do believe we need to look at our advocacy as contributing to a collective whole, and respect the efforts of other doing the same, rather than working against them or being indifferent toward them.

2. There is a basic reality that was put beautifully by RisingMom on Twitter recently: "It is never ok to tell someone else who they are, how they feel, or what their life experiences mean."

However, that is not to say that cisgender people can't advocate for trans people -- they simply need to know when to defer to trans experience on the matter (would that therapists could do the same!).

We can speak *somewhat* for the identities we've learned about in the absence of people who have those identities if: we take the effort to learn them in reasonable depth, we contextualize our statements by admitting that we only know some of those experiences and not as intimately as someone who's had them, and we defer to the experiences of people with those identities when they become available.

3. See #1.

4. I simply don't believe that incrementalism is a reasonable approach. I'm more of a go-where-the-need-is-most person, and usually that need is most found where people have fallen through the cracks because incremental solutions have left them behind.

5. Same.

6. Because we're divergent enough to sometimes not understand each other well enough to be more than uneasy allies.

7. See #6.

8. Because at the core of our issues, there are some universal needs and universal truths that drive us together, even if we're too busy mincing everything into tiny little sections to notice.

9. Because losing sucks and losing big as a one-issue party [self-censoring expletive verbs which would be NSFW]. Ask the Marijuana Party.

10. Indifference, defining oneself at the expense of another, working to achieve one's goals at the expense of another, and refusing to care about the underlying issues we have in common, such as society's war on sex.

It all boils down to the need for collaborative approaches to dismantle colonial thinking.

1) We shouldn't
2) They can, provided they are speaking from knowledge and not ignorance or stereotype driven assumptions.
3) One word: Numbers
4) They shouldn't. If a person is a human being, that person deserves the same rights as every other human being
5) See number 4
6) We are not all allies and with people like Ron Gold, it's doubtful we ever will be. I wish we could all feel compassion for one another but it seems like trans folk are always at the back of the bus while we fight and march for LGB rights but we never seem to get around to trans rights. That's not a perception, that is empirical
7) I don't know. Ask John Aravosis. He keeps insisting that there is no room for the "T" in HIS community. He's not alone but he's probably one of the most strident and influential
8) I have no idea. Certainly there has been precious little evidence of a united community unless something truly heinous occurs, then we unite and make noise
9) Again, numbers. Even if all the LGBT community was united under a single banner and the Log Cabin folks and the GOProud's stopped loathing themselves and having Stockholm Syndrome, we still would have about the same numbers as does the Green Party. Hardly viable in our system, (I'm referring to the United States of course)
10) There is no short answer to that question and the reasons are as numerous as individual human beings but what stands out for me is when someone is behaving purely out of self interest and in total disregard of how it affects other people. (See John Aravosis above)

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?
Do you mean: Why can't people other than trans folk speak out on trans topics?
As a member of the LGBT community, I want full equality for all members of the community.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Historically the greater support a group has had the better their chances of achieving their objectives.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

Traditionally, the support of "allies" has spoken volumes.


7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

Saddly, there has been too much infighting. In my opinion, other members within the LBGT
community are not our real enemies.


8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

All of us within the LGBT community are under attack by various groups.


9. Why don't we start our own political party?

In reality, either the Democrats or Republicans are going to be the party in power.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

Regarding issues concerning LBGT individuals, a person who is part of the problem is someone who promotes infighting and does not truly understand that others within the LBGT community are not the enemy.

The following is an email that Phyllis Frye asked me to share. I'm posting it here in a TG thread to get maximum exposure for those who are most likely to benefit:

if you want on Phyllabuster, send ADD ME to prfrye@aol.com
if you want off Phyllabuster, send REMOVE to prfrye@aol.com
________________________________________________

Phyllabuster: Professional Paper: TG Students: Grades K-12

Recently, I had the privilege to address lawyers and administrators for school districts around the State of Texas. While I have spoken publicly on transgender issues for over three decades across the USA, and even in the UK once, I have always been speaking to TG or TG helping professionals (medicals, usually) or LGBT audiences. If a general audience, it was usually a small classroom. Never before have I been privileged to address a large, general conference of non-LGBT professionals who invited me and who wanted input on the emerging fact that, even in Texas, transgender kids (kindergarten through 12th grade) were coming OUT.

I have posted the conference brochure, my bio page and my paper on my website at www.liberatinglaw.com.

On the home page click on "Check out Phyllis' 2010 School Conference."

As you will see from the brochure, this conference was sponsored by the School Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and hosted by the University of Texas Law School's Continuing Legal Education program. On the top left of page three is my topic. As you can see, this was a general conference on all of school law, and I was but a part. The bio page was required for the conference handbook.

The paper that I presented is loaded with links.

As I explained, the paper is their "toolbox" for the schools that wish to be accommodating and a "toolbox" for the students and parents and teachers of schools that are reluctant or that are resistant to accommodation.

My opening remarks were that my hope was to positively influence the respectful treatment by schools of both transgender kids and teachers during the next decade.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share this email. It is a toolbox!

Respectfully and lovingly submitted,

Phyllis Randolph Frye
a.k.a. THE PHYLLABUSTER
www.liberatinglaw.com
prfrye@aol.com

SkepticalCidada | February 24, 2010 7:09 PM

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

It shouldn't because there's enough common history and shared experience to justify a coalition. But it also shouldn't be read as a single group with no divergent experiences and no divergent interests. That would be a fiction.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

Three things. First, a belief that LGBs shouldn't be speaking for transgender people. Second, lack of full understanding of the trans-specific issues. Third, sometimes vitriolic, silencing political correctness. Get even an obscure term wrong, and you get ripped to shreds. So better to just remain silent entirely.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Same as #1.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

Several reasons. First, because the issues that must be addressed are not perfectly identical--e.g. LGB legislation does not have to address the restroom hysteria of bigots. Second, the level of public understanding and acceptance is not the same. Advocates that gave assurances that adding detailed trans language--like restroom and lockerroom matters--to ENDA wouldn't delay passage, it is now sadly clear, were wrong. The inclusive ENDA is, to all appearances, dead in Congress. Three, we do not get to pick when windows of political opportunity open. One is open now but will almost certainly close in November, as the Dems lose many congressional seats, if not outright control. The last window was 1993, nearly two decades ago, before the last GOP takeover. Postponing ENDA, which is what I assume the question is about, from 2007 to 2009 was fine, because we weren't going to lose Congress and were probably going to gain a Democratic president. Postponing ENDA from 2009 to 2011, however, means in all likelihood postponing ENDA from 2009 to 2020 or later. (The last previous window was two decades ago, remember.) History tells us that the President will never be stronger than in his first year, nor will his support in Congress ever be greater than the first year. If it wasn't possible in 2009, it's not likely to be possible in 2016 either. These are stark realities that too many idealists would prefer to ignore. Fourth, contrary to self-interested claims to the contrary, incrementalism works fairly well and has worked in place after place at the state and local levels. Not everywhere, to be sure, but in more places than it has failed. Fifth, every existing civil rights law has been attacked by the conservative Supreme Court and has had to be amended later--sometimes repeatedly--to correct bad decisions. That means ENDA is not the final word, whether inclusive or not, and will almost certainly have to be revised in the future, meaning no one will just enact the thing and just walk away from it. The subsequent amendments, moreover, are generally less controversial and easier to enact than the initial legislation. Sixth, there is much good we can do for part of the coalition in the interim until spineless members of Congress are persuaded to enact gender identity language. There is a down-side to making the perfect the enemy of the good: LGB workers in places like Alabama, Missouri, Florida, etc. have no prayer of getting any kind of state law enacted in the foreseeable future, but we can get at least some protection to them during this generation's one window of opportunity we now have in Congress. Perfect? No. Better than nothing? Yes. The claim that ENDA with gender identity is completely worthless is a gross exaggeration, and a politically motivated one.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

Same as #4. If the rolls are reversed, transgender folks should go for it, and LGB's shouldn't stand in their way. If we can get coverage in the health care bill for transgender people but can't get, say, the discriminatory tax on DP benefits ended, fine. Get the transgender provision. Although not legislation, the same dynamic currently exists in litigation of employment discrimination claims under Title VII. Transgender employees have actually won several cases around the country lately, in contrast to the past, in which they were always told the Act didn't apply to them. In contrast, there is no movement whatsoever in the courts toward protecting gay workers under Title VII. That issue has been resolved against gay workers and is dead. And LGBs should be cheering every Title VII victory for transgender workers EVEN THOUGH there is no realistic prospect of judicial victories under the same law for gay workers.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

Same as #1.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

Ditto.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

Ditto.

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

Because third parties cannot possibly succeed in our winner-take-all political system. They are structurally so disadvantaged that they have never and cannot ever succeed. We don't have a parliamentary system that awards seats based on winning less than a majority of votes. Unless you win outright, you get nothing under our system. A third party on the left, moreover, does nothing but split the left and result in the election, over and over again, of the right. It's divide and conquer. It's why the AFL and CIO stopped fighting each other and united in the 1950s.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

No idea what this means.

Dawn Dickinson | February 24, 2010 7:33 PM

1.We should split only if we're (trans people) tossed under the bus once again on ENDA.

2.They can, if done respectfully from a trans point of view AND they have a demonstrable knowledge of trans history, origins and issues.

3.Strictly speaking in terms of politics. It serves the greater good to at least have some form of established political muscle that can provide leverage. Without it, I fear we would be far too weak to have any real political influence.

4.I cannot envision any legitimate reason for such to happen. However, I can see "why" they would. Our issues are not well enough known or understood on even the more local levels. Let alone the national.

5.Again, there is no legitimate qualification or reasoning for doing so.

6.We all, LGBTQI... standing alone, would be far to fractured, and marginalized and successfully so from those that would be our detractors. Standing together in solidarity has much greater voice in the call for equality and respect than a singular soul shouting for help from a mountain top.

7.Well, when interviews or news events happen, who do you usually see participating in them? It's typically one individual from one aspect of the whole. Don't do these public events without a complete package! If you do, it is far to easy to say "well, your just one person, where's the rest?"

8.On the whole, I don't think they do. Read no. 7.

9.The little bit I know about organizing, I feel confident in asserting that getting enough hard working individuals together to be effective is tough enough when it's accomplished through a wider field of potential operatives. Given the overall economic status of the majority of Trans people, it's doubtful that there would be much success in pulling together a workable political party.

What I think might work is, building a coalition of regionally located, internet based hubs. A system as such that can compile various data from each region, organize and fund a small number of politically savvy and linguistically talented individuals for strategic placement in public offices around the country.

10.Holding the desire to point out where the trouble is, registering those complaints then, standing around and not being willing to work physically, fiscally and mentally to fix the problem.

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

Because LGBT doesn't really exist as an entity. When people write or say "LGBT," they really mean "LGB," or even "LG." The "T" is there, but the issue is almost always about sexual orientation, so it might as well not be there.

2. Why can't people other [than?] trans folk speak out on trans topics?

I can't see why non-trans people shouldn't speak about trans topics, but how often will they really know what they're talking about? In most cases I don't think you have to experience something to speak about it, but being trans might be an exception. If you've never felt it, you won't really understand it. Frankly, I don't really think any trans person should speak on a trans topic is though we were all the same. Just the "T" alone is a group so diverse that it's questionable whether "transgender" as an umbrella term is really meaningful.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

I think there are good political reasons to keep the so-called coalition together, if it's possible. We who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, genderqueer, androgynous, asexual, transsexual, etc. etc. etc. know how to distinguish among ourselves, but to the rest of the world we often look alike. Thus, we often share the same human rights concerns.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

They shouldn't. As was made very clear in comments on the poll that The Advocate ran a while back, when someone is fired for being "gay," most likely they were fired for some kind of perceived gender variance. Legislation that supposedly protects people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual is toothless unless it includes gender expression (if not identity).

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

I can't think of a reason why they should.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. What do you mean by "part of one another"?

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

Who are these people? Do you mean L, G, B, T, Q etc. people? If so, then some might consider there not to be such a community because there is so little that characterizes a community about it.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

I'm still wondering who these people are. Maybe you mean some people, the ones who think there is an LGBT community. I would guess that they think there is a community because we do have common interests, even if we're not very much alike. And each subgroup by itself would be even more powerless than we are as a somewhat fractious coalition. Or maybe these people are members of more than one subgroup.

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

Because it would be a tiny fringe party, and in the United States, that's pretty much useless. Besides, other than a desire for full human rights, do we share any other political positions? Not necessarily.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

Oh boy. I think I'm going to duck this one. Probably any of us can be part of the problem in some way.

I learned a long time ago that "should" is one of the most dangerous words in the English language. As such, I'll admit, I'm not comfortable with deciding what *should* or *should not* be at play here. It's not like our community is one consistent mass -- instead, it runs in a number of continuums, each with its own purpose (or lack thereof).

After all, look at our "community". In many respects, it's like the scene in one of Douglas Adams' novels in which the main character is sent back in time and meets the aliens who are the progenitors of the human race. Sent here in a spaceship because their home world has had enough of "middle men", they've spent weeks, with committee studies and appraisal papers, on the invention of the wheel.

"The wheel?" cries Arthur. "How difficult can that be? It's the simplest machine in the universe!"

"Fine," responds one of the committee members. "If you're so smart, tell us what colour it's supposed to be."

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

Faulty assumption. We only band together dynamically when there is a common enemy and even then, only as much as necessary. Hence, if an individual or subgroup or organization does not feel threatened enough or altruistic enough they might not join in that particular fight. Unfortunately, that latter choice often assumes the existance of issues that neatly affect only one subgroup...which is another false assumption.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

They can, that's the wonderful thing about freedom of speech. Of course, they risk being wrong and this only really becomes a problem if they end up causing harm because they have far more privilege and influence than the group for whom they are speaking. The problem becomes one of who gets to determine if harm is being done or likely to be caused. An extreme example is when someone that belongs to an assumed-ally group uses their greater mainstream-passing-privilege and intentionally speaks out against trans rights and in doing so causes actual harm to trans individuals.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Because we all transgress our society's expectations of how a hypothetical 100% male or 100% female person should look and act. Regardless of how much mainstream privilege any of us think we have there are plenty of situations and subcultures where we are all seen as being exactly the same and that is, "less than".

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

They shouldn't, unless it means that a subgroup such as transsexuals end up losing protections as may happen with the latest ENDA. In addition, there is a separate body of legislation based on TS being a medically treated condition, such as the ADA, Title VII, Tax Law, that sort of thing. Just as there is legislation that is based only on Gay being a socio-sexuality classification such as DADT and DOMA.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

They shouldn't. However, gay men need to share the power a little and allow other groups to participate in the decision making. The point is, they have a disproportionate amount of privilege based on being male and able to pass for mainstream. Enough so that if they really don't like the inclusion of people that (also) transgress gender expectations, they are free to leave. The same goes for HBS/Women of transsexual history. It's a matter of privilege, isn't it, to not have to fight the fight. But don't harm those you leave behind, it won't make you feel or live any better.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

See #1. We have different enough experiences and identities that we need to see ourselves as more of a union of separate equals.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

See #6. Thinking of it as a single hue is a mistake. It's a rainbow, remember? There is a community when we want to celebrate and/or fight together. There are separate groups when we need there to be. All in all, a pretty workable solution, so long as it remains equal.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

See #7, Also because we have a common enemy and common dreams of equality. Most of the time. Except when we don't. Truth is, the common thread is *supposed* to be one of acceptance of the other people that transgress gender norms. Somehow about 30+ years ago, that was muddied when factions of Gay men and Lesbian women started fighting. And Transsexuals got caught in the crossfire. And then the professionals moved in...

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

Right, but then the TS have to also separate from the TG, based on currently available medical evidence. And pretty soon after that it's no longer even a political party, just a medical issues based Yahoo! group. Even the ADA could be invoked, along with Title VII. Which is the practical truth of the matter, even if in a sense it tosses everyone else under our bus if it works. Yet it somehow seems like a false grab for safety. Those laws have to be fixed, the ones that recognize that TS is physical. But so do the ones that recognize that gender variant expression is not a sin (and by extension, that sin does not equal illegal).

It'll only change the legalities, not any social attitude toward gender variance. Which is *fantastic* for every fully stealth TS that can pass %100 and never face discrimination, not so great for everyone else.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

Privilege, pure and simple. If the goal is equality, then one group having disproportionate power and calling for the removal of another is counter to the cause.

11. What else?

Here's what I think: from a legal viewpoint TS needs to be separated as a medical condition, just as Gay and Lesbian need to be separated for issues such as DOMA and DADT. From a social viewpoint however we need to band together to change society to accept gender variance of all flavors.

I'm just going to call them GV issues instead of LGBT, for "Gender Variance". It covers looks, actions, love, attraction, identity. What we need is Gender Variance Equality.

Note: If you are confused by my answer to question nine...so am I. I have no idea what my point was or even if it was an answer to that particular question. I answered the Q's in two chunks of time and obviously did not proofread enough. I think that was my scratchpad area, not sure.

Once again, but with less crazy:

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

We would run two risks that I can think of:

First, further "us verses them" separation from mainstream America. We need to nudge all of our society toward not just accepting us but doing so as a part of the whole. We need to dismantle their leaders' ability to gain power simply by demonizing outsiders. We need to call them on their hypocrisy.

Second, I have a very big fear that it would very quickly become a financial black hole with a very few individuals and orgs at the top, but very little done to change things. I mean, who wouldn't donate to the Sex and Gender Party? But we already have that situation right now with HRC. Better to send what we each can to local orgs that can save lives.

The flip side of course, is to create not a political party but a political corporation to sidestep the current impotent process and funnel donations to specific causes with full transparancy and representation. A donation buys you a voting seat on the board, but recipients would have to show that they are working for all groups involved, equally. That sort of thing.

"1. Why should the LGBT split apart?" We shouldn't split apart due to the facts that we all face the same persecution by those who are against us, there is strength in numbers, our greatest strengths are creativity and diversity, and we all wish to achieve the same goal, true equality.
"2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?" (Serious answer.) People other than trans* folk should be able to speak to trans* issues. They should also realize that having not gone through/lived with the issues that their opinions may take a back seat if they do not have a basis in the reality that trans* people have to deal with. (Sarcastic answer.) We can't speak on trans* topics due to the crossfire and friendly fire we have to deal with from the trans* community. It is difficult to have a debate when you get your head ripped off (or are afraid of having such done).
"3. Why should the LGBT stay together?" We are all one tribe of people, brought together through diversity and adversity. (Also see question 1.)
"4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?" There should never be any thought of any member of the tribe being let go or excluded from any legislation. (To use a quote from Disney “Ohana. Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind.”)
"5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?" See the answer from question 4.
"6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?" I don't truly understand this question as my personal view of us all is that of a tribe. Tribal organization is a flexible one and allows for sub-tribes and such, while still maintaining our basic unity. In my tribal view I have always seen us as both allies and part of each other (on many levels).
"7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?" I think that some people have this view due to anger and frustration. This is due to the fact that there are various members of the tribe, who have power and/or privledge, who have lost sight of the fact that they are members of the tribe and act selfishly and ignorantly, possibly not even realizing that as they try to help only a certain segment of our tribe, they only end up hurting us all.
"8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?" See answer to question 1.
"9. Why don't we start our own political party?" We haven't started our own political party because our tribe members come from, literally, every walk of life, sociopolitical view, race, religion and identity on planet earth. It should be possible for us to start one, based on our tribal goal of achieving true equality, but once we accomplish that it would be very difficult to keep the party under one banner due to the incredible diversity of our tribe.
"10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?" (Truly tough question and I'm not sure I like this answer completely, but here it goes.) A person becomes part of the problem when they don't keep in mind that our solutions need to be good for the entire tribe and that there are many ways that a goal can be reached. A person becomes part of the solution when they can avoid being part of the problem. With our tribe, there is no way to be outside the issue, as we are all lumped together by our detractors. Whether we want to be or not.

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

I don't believe we should split apart. We have a shared history of oppression, and from a personal standpoint, I've identified as various of these letters at different times. I feel at home within the diverse queer community.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

If an ally is educated and well informed on trans issues, I don't have a problem with them speaking on trans topics.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Many of our goals of equality are shared, we are more likely to achieve these working together than in smaller groups. In addition, some LGB are discriminated against because of gender expression, and some trans people also identify as LBG.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

Not acceptable to me.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

Not acceptable to me.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

I strive to find commonality with others, thus allies are an integral part of my community.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

Perhaps because they are more focused on differences than commonalities.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

Many of us stand together as a visible community.

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

I am highly in favor of more than two parties, however the party I'd wish to join would not be narrowly focused on queer only issues. There are many other things that concern me; environment, peace, equality for women and LGBT, sustainable approach to living, end of corporate globalization, etc.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

Assumptions based on misinformation and fear.

All of these questions can be simplified as a discussion of the merits of collectivism vs individualism. However, each individual's answer depends on whether they have faith in the ability of a collective to achieve a desired outcome for them as an individual.

Thus a response to the question has a hidden value, like an algebraic equation. That hidden value is this: what does one desire, or what purpose does one expect a thing to serve. This will naturally vary from person to person, but it is usually unspoken, and therefore assumed by person A that person B shares the same desire/expectation.

So that no one erroneously assumes that they understand my desires or expectations, let me state it up front.

I expect humanity to become extinct, all life to perish from this planet, the sun to become a white dwarf, the galaxy to die down into motionless sub-atomic particles, and the universe to collapse into a perfect black hole.

I desire to spend my limited time as a conscious physical being enjoying the truest expression of my nature that is possible without incurring unpleasant consequences. (Another hidden value exists for what my nature is, but you’ll have to solve the equation to determine that.)

The answers may appear contradictory, but that are simply conflicting values (like positive 5 plus negative 3 equals positive 2)

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

The current goals of L&G advocacy for marriage equality leave out B polygamous family rights. T advocacy is largely unrelated to B advocacy. LG&T communities lack adequate acceptance of B individuals.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

This is a false assumption. People other than trans folk do speak out on trans topics. A better question would be “Should trans advocacy be limited to trans folk?” For me the answer is no. If I want to speak out on someone else’s behalf, that is my business, whether another desires my speaking out or not.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Some of the collective goals of the LGBT benefit me.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

People who desire or expect nothing from trans folk may accept their exclusion from potentially beneficial legislation. People with desires or expectations of trans folk must weigh the benefit of accepting trans exclusion vs the benefit of not accepting. I desire the acceptance and support of trans folk more than I desire the potential benefit of current legislative proposals.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

People who desire or expect nothing from gay men may accept their exclusion from potentially beneficial legislation. People with desires or expectations of gay men must weigh the benefit of accepting gay male exclusion vs the benefit of not accepting. I desire the acceptance and support of gay men more than I desire the potential benefit of current legislative proposals.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

This is a false assumption. Individuals perceive themselves in various ways, some as allies, some as collectives, some as neither, and some as other variations of societal constructs. My perception is that we are a fellowship, diverse but sharing some common bond.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

There could be many reasons for an individual to draw this conclusion. I do not hold this view.
8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?
There could be many reasons for an individual to draw this conclusion. This is the conclusion I have come to.

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

Who is “we”? Who is not included in “we”? Both moot points for me. A nascent political party might be fun to organize, but would likely be ineffectual. I’m interested in being an effective advocate.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

Anyone can be a potential asset or liability in a particular endeavor. In terms of potential, no one is “outside the whole issue”. I enjoy recruiting assets to be part of the solution to my concerns.

This might be like closing the barn door after the horses get out, but did you run this study past the Bilerico IRB? :)

I'se confused, lol. (happens.)

What study, and what is the Bilerico IRB?

More importantly -- me, run something by someone first?

IRB = Independent Review Board. This is a required apparatus for institutions conducting human subject research. I don't think it applies to a blog post though. ;)

It was a feeble and ultimately failed attempt at being a good natured smart ass. And as far as Antonia running anything past anybody... what was I thinking. :)

Whew. Scared me for a sec there. The FDA's gotten in the way with their IRB rules of a few sociology studies in the past I've worked on, and I so did not want to jump through hoops if Bilerico had a group I didn't even know about!

Getting some interesting answers, wouldn't you say?

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

Politically, LGBT is a coalition. To the extent that we have common political cause around a unifying principle -- equal treatment under the law -- we should work together. To the extent that we do not have common political cause, we should work separately.

2. Why can't people other [than] trans folk speak out on trans topics?

On some issues, where we share common experience and common cause, we can all speak for each other. On other issues, where we do not share common experience or common cause, we cannot speak for each other.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

In order to win equal treatment under the law, we need political power.

Political power in our society comes from two sources: (a) a relatively large and visible number of people who will turn out and vote for politicans who are issue-allies and vote against politicians who are issue-opponents, who will write and call their legislators, and so on; and (b) a relatively large number of people who will contribute money to politicians and lobbying groups who are issue-allies and withhold money from politicians who are issue-opponents.

A coalition LGBT folks and straight allies -- staying together, as you will, on common issues -- provides the foundation for political power. Without a coalition, we become politically invisible, and with invisibility comes political powerlessness.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

We should accept letting trans people go from legislation -- EDNA and DADT repeal come to mind -- when we can pass legislation futhering our common cause but find it politically impossible to include trans people in the legislation.

Windows of political opportunity open and close, and incremental gains are sometimes all that is possible to achieve.

All groups in the coalition -- the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders -- should also be free to advance legislation outside the area of common cause, legislation of special application to the groups.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

It seems to me that the principle is the same for all groups in the coalition.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

We are allies because we have common cause on certain issues. We are otherwise distinct. We are not "family" and do not have affinity bonds except to the extent that we share common experience -- experience with the struggle of living as sexual outsiders in a culture that has been relentlessly repressive -- giving us a level of empathy for one another. But empathy is one thing, common cause is another.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

Because the idea of an LGBT "community" is a cultural construct without sufficient basis.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

Because the people confuse empathy and affinity with common cause.

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

We have no uniting issues beyond equal treatment under the law. Otherwise, LGBT's are all over the map politically. What we have in common is not the material which successful political parties can be formed.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

A person is part of the solution when that person understands, taking into account what is and what is not politically possible, that we need to work our windows of opportunity as hard and as pragmatically as we can. A person is part of the problem whenever that person loses sight of the possible and insists on the perfect.

Angela Brightfeather | February 25, 2010 9:39 AM

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

Keep it real here. We are victims of homophobia, both in that name and in the off shoot of that name, transphobia. Splitting us apart now would only embolden our enemies and undo years of work in activism.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

They can and they do. Often much to our dismay. But those who do speak out and have an acatual understanding fo the subject are often our most valuable assets, such as our families. There is no difference in that between anyone in the GLBT community as we can seer from organizations like PFLAG.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?
To try to fix or change the sexual stigma imposed by society regarding GLB people, you have to address the gender stigma set also, and visa versa. Saying it is OK for gays to marry is one thing. Seeing two gay men walk down the street holding hands or kissing in public is another. Sex and gender afect each other in such a way that if one is left allowed to be discriminated against, then the other is still victimized and marginalized.
4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?
They should never do that because they impune their own causes in doing so. According to the Constitution, equality is not a negotiable concept in a democracy.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?
They should never do that because they impune their own causes in doing so. According to the Constitution, equality is not a negotiable concept in a democracy.
6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?
Because the same type of discrimination is the common problem for all of us. The only reason why we have not moved to equality as fast as we should have is because to many of us see ourselves as not being allies.
7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?
Because they have never experienced it, worked inside of it, or shared the victories with each other. Go participate in a Pride celebration and tell me there is no GLBT community.
8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?
There is a distinct difference between those who believe in equality and those who recognize that some people are not treated that way. When people who believe like that are faced with people in other communities like the religious right who don't believe in equality for GLBT people, then the concept of community become much more real and needed. And I object to the ommission of S in the GLBT expression. By ommitting non-GLBT people we make ourselves more exclusive and less relevant. Everyone knows that cis-people have always been a large part of our community and supportive.
9. Why don't we start our own political party?
Good point. It would be an interesting experiment. But until people stop trying to separate us within the GLBT community, it would also be a waste of time and money. Maybe in 20 years.
10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?
We can differ on many issues and discuss them, but anyone who continues to hate other people because they are not like themselves, becomes a part of the problem.
Anyone who has issues and insists on moving them forward in a positive and constructive way, is part of the solution.
Anyone who has no issues about GLBT people is what people who are part of the solution and part of the problem should probably try to be understand and emulate.

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

The questions presumes a false premise. Neither should the LGBT split apart, nor has it ever been that together in the first place. "LGBT" is a catch-all for non-heteronormative minorities, each of which is distinct with it's own issues, some of which overlap, and all of which are more likely to be addressed when we represent collectively. But that does not mean that only those measures which include everyone all the time can be supported. Any incremental progress is still progress and should be supported by the whole commmunity.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

I believe you mean people "other THAN trans folk." Answer: I do. And then often trans people tell me that since I'm not trans I can't possibly know what I'm talking about, or begin to understand what it's like. If trans folk want greater support from the greater LGBT community at large, then they in turn need to be more supportive of the LGBT community, rather than insisting that being trans is so different from being lesbian or gay people that the rest of the community is unequipped to understand their social and political struggles. Trans folk should do a better job of standing up for themselves, being outspoken as a distinct group, and stop trying with such vigor to assimilate into the heteronormative stereotypes of which trans folk are so dismissive.

Trans folk should support measures which represent achievements for lesbian and gay people if they want lesbian and gay people to be more sensitive to the inclusion of trans people in broader legislation. There is no sense in throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

The question presumes it is together in the first place, which it isn't. LGBT is an umbrella label, like "other." But those identifying with the individual letters in that acronym barely connect with those represented by the other letters. Even now, there is radical division and infighting between the "lettered factions" and this weakens us socially and politically. Nonetheless, we are stronger collectively than we are as independent groups.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

When you write presumptive questions, you are manipulating the respondant into accepting the premise of the question. I reject the premise of the question! It is unacceptable to allow trans people to be excluded, but it is also unfair for the trans community to vilify lesbian and gay people because specific legislation is passed which protects their rights without addressing the specific issues of trans people. You are presuming ideals and absolutes, whereas the real world is a loose conglomeration of compromises, harsh realities, ignorance, and progress which is won in small incremental social steps, not handed to us by political bodies.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

See the answer above. Same answer, because it's exactly the same question, with the letters switched around.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

The question is semantically ambiguous and meaningless, and as such cannot be answered in a meaningful way. Physiclly, it is impossible to be "part of one another." A cornerstone of the current issues we address in terms of civil rights is that individuality and diversity should be respected and valued. I am not LGBT. I am gay. LGBT is a political label indicating a collective representation of similar and connected social and political goals. It is not descriptive of any real community that exists. it would be a mistake to try and homogenize our individuality and diversity in order to conform to the label! Instead, we need to recognize the difference between the map and the actual landscape, between the label on the jar and the contents therein.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

Because there isn't.

Please refer to the answers to #1, #2, #3, #4, and #6.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

SOME people may think there is an LGBT community" because they are deeply confused by the difference between a representative political label, and an actual social group. The very label itself demonstrates that at least four distinct social group definitions are represented under this single acronym. It we were a homogenous collective community, then we'd only need one letter for our acronym, wouldn't we?

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

We don't start "our own" political party because anyone with an ounce of common sense understands that in an overwhelmingly 2-party system, it is far more advantageous to align with the lesser of two evils than to be completely righteous and simultaneously powerless with no influence, a voice in the political wilderness whom nobody listens to except the people who already agree with us.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

If you could used meaningful terms, I might be able to answer the question in a meaningful way. Which problem? The solution to what? What exactly is "the whole issue?" There are thousands of specific issues, and I'd say that someone is part of THE PROBLEM when they ask questions designed to blur SPECIFICS into one nebulous thing and put a label on it. Soren Kierkegaard said, "Once you label me, you negate me," and when you first bundle everything into one big fuzzy-cloud label like "the whole issue," it then becomes impossible to parse or address any specific component of that bundle. Generalizations are the bulwarks of those who would negate us. They're the blunt-force instruments of weak minds and fearmongers, like the Fred Phelps loonies who negate our every issue and every individual with the devilishly simple slogan "God Hates Fags."

By using only that undefined label, they can completely ignore any and all specific social or political issue faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bi, and Trans people.

I BEG you to stay with specifics, to avoid using generalities as a crutch, and to recognize and respect the actual diversity and actual individuals hidden behind the political collective label "LGBT community."

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

I'm not persuaded that they should. I think it is important, however, to realize that we are a coalition of communities with sometimes differing priorities, not a single community with hive mind, and that within the communities making up this coalition there is likewise diversity of thought. We should work together where we can agree, but not break up the coalition over our disagreements.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

It's not a question of can they, but should they? Personally, I will speak out against transphobia when the opportunity presents itself, but I won't pretend that I know or understand everything trans-related. In the end, an individual can only speak of what they know from personal experiences and the opportunities to acquire knowledge those provide. As I'm not trans, I obviously do not know first-hand what it's like to be trans. At best, I can try to draw on the parallels between our experiences.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Do we not have any shared priorities and interests? Discrimination is discrimination, and when it targets all coalition members, it should be obvious that we have some common ground on which to stand and fight. Does that mean we should only care about what affects our branch of the coalition and ignore the trials faced by others? No. As the saying goes, none of us are really free until we all are.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

I'm not persuaded that they should. It's a question of politics vs. principles, and I favor the latter.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

See my answer to #4.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

See my answers to #'s 1 & 2. A gay man is not a lesbian is not a bisexual. A trans person could identify as any or none of those. It would be silly to say that I, as a gay man, know and understand everything about being a lesbian, for example. As a man, I have no way to accumulate the experience of being a woman, much less how being a lesbian interacts with that.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

See my answer to #1. It's a coaltion of communities encompassing considerable diversity.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

Popular usage of the term, and perhaps broader experiences outside their own group that provide a feeling of community.

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

Speaking as an independent who thinks the idea of political parties does more damage than good, completely wrong question to ask me. Parties are founded on shared ideology, and that isn't necessarily something that exists in the communities that make up the LGBT coalition. Plus, you'd need to have a sufficiently broad set of ideals to attract people from outside those communities as allies. Since such a party would as a matter of mere mathematics have to contain more non-LGBT people than LGBT people to be effective, one has to pose the question: "what's the point"?

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

Tunnel vision. An inability to see beyond their own personal priorities and appreciate the ideas, experiences and feelings of others.

The first 8 questions have, as an underlying assumption, something that's not true - that there are no trans lesbian and gay people so it's actually possible to split the community along those lines. I can't answer these questions without accepting this assumption, something I cannot do without denying the existence of at least part of who I am.

As far as question 9 is concerned, well, what possible good would it do in the political structure that exists in the United States? Even if it were possible to unite those who hold the extremely divergent political beliefs within the TBGL community it would use up so much energy and have so little beneficial effect on the fight for equality that I think it would be a waste of time.

The last question, #10, "What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?" That one made me stop and wonder. How do I define someone who is part of the problem? How do I define the problem in the first place? I have to do that before I even start to consider the criteria for answering question #10. Is this referring to the problem of unity within the greater GBLT community? Is it the problem of the entire community's political and/or social oppression?

I suspect Ms D'orsay framed these questions in such an ambiguous way on purpose, to explore and expose LBTG people's prejudices and bad assumptions. The Deity knows there are all too many of us that hold such prejudices and bad assumptions, many times without even realizing it. It behooves us to follow the old advice about making the world a better place: Start with the one person you are certain to have control over. Yourself.

laughriotgirl | February 25, 2010 12:49 PM

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

Because of significant differences in goals and needs that only sometimes relate.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

They can, but they often get it wrong/speak over trans* voices/don't consider their own assumptions

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Without B & T folks L&G people don't have historical context. Because many trans* people find themselves within the LBG pre- or post- transition, so there are established affinities and relationships.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

No reason I can think of that isn't dripping with cis-privilege or the (wrong) assumption that incremental legislation wrt GLBT rights has actually worked (Think Wisconsin, NY GENDA, and on and on and on)

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

They tend to be the ones to elicit the greatest "ick" from the population and make it hard to pass laws.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

I don't feel like we are either. It would be nice if either of these were the case, but I don't often feel it

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

#6

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

G/L historians and media needing to prove a history of gays and cultural contexts to counter the dominant Western/Judeo-Christian paradigm. For example: Calling Indian Hijra "crossdressing gay men who are believed to have supernatural powers" or using obviously Bi people (Sappho, Hannibal, etc.) to prove "gays have existed in all times and places".

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

Considering we can get together to prioritize what we need ...

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

Unchecked priveledge

Meta Goforth-Zinn | February 25, 2010 1:36 PM

I am posting my comments before reading the answers of others, sorry if there is duplication.

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?
it is a myth that it is "together" now. i don't think we should perceive ourselves as split into LGBT categories. It is naive to think that any of those letters have anything in common as a whole. We stress that we are part of EVERY community, perhaps we should work inside those communities.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?
I think they can. However, lots of people put their foot in their mouths. People need to educate themselves before they speak. Sometimes better to be silent and guessed a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it.
We should all be able to speak respectfully about anybody and about anything.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?
we shouldn't. where is that getting us?

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?
we absolutely should not.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?
same as 4.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?
Speaking as someone who has not just been "burned" by the community as much lit on fire and doused with gasoline....I don't think we are allies now. We are our own worst enemies. We do it to ourselves.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?
we say it is not about what we do in our bedroom or what is in our pants, but by defining ourselves as LGBT that is what WE make the definition. That automatically defines us by the very criteria we reject.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?
delusion
9. Why don't we start our own political party?
we will spend too much time knifing each other in the back for it to go anywhere

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?
most of the problems I see are too much ego. people can be part of the solution by looking themselves in the mirror and asking what have I done today to change the world.

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

Split apart? Stay together? Do we have a choice?

I choose for all of us to get together and form a coalition by next Monday. I trust the in-fighting will stop by then... right?


2. Why can't people other than trans folk speak out on trans topics?

Well, do they know what they're talking about or are they talking out of their asses?

Gay people love to speak for others they think are like them, and not just trans folks. Bisexuals and non-American gay folks come to mind. Telling them they sound like idiots when they say something that makes no sense isn't going to stop them.

Now, if they have something intelligent to add to a conversation, I've found no one really objects. Other than a few hard-liners, but it's best to ignore most hard-liners.


3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

See #1.


4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

They shouldn't. The votes are usually there. Our activism shouldn't be run 100% by scaredy-dems.


5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

Haha. Luv it. But no one's talking about that!


6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

I don't like the idea of "allies," since usually it means "Toe the mainstream line in X group without thinking too much about it." Either we all have ownership over this or we don't. And if we're talking about legislation passing in a democracy, we all do.

Asking people to be good "allies" is usually just a means for a minority to try to control some people on the outside of their group with the threat of rejection and social ostracism if they don't agree with the speaker. Really, I haven't seen it used for anything more productive than that, and since minorities usually can't bully their way into being accepted, it accomplishes nothing. Let others on the outside keep ownership of their thoughts and invite them to participate in the process and understand the reasons we feel the way we feel.

LGBT provides a special opportunity for people to do that.


7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

Because they assume communities do weird activities like "get along" and "don't fight." Communities do. Nothing wrong with that.

We just need to expand our idea of a community. It doesn't meant that we're all equal or always get along - it just means that we have something in common that makes it likely for us to meet and talk. That does exist.


8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

Because they're usually a lot more optimistic than I am.


9. Why don't we start our own political party?

We aren't the ones that need a political party. The left does. If the left got a political party, we'd do OK there.

Otherwise, we'd just be wasting our time.


10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

Depends on the issue, but someone is usually part of the problem, in my book, if they actually expend energy to advance something that hurts people. I know, there are times when apathy is the problem, but usually that's the most we can hope for.

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

LBGT should not split because we are considered to be alike by the majority of non LBGT's and there are strengths in numbers!

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

Other people can speak out on Trans topics! Just don't try to say that we are represented by you or your organization knows whats best for us! (HRC does not represent me! I really wish that they would stop saying so! They sold T-people down the river with the ENDA vote and have not made any apology for using us as bargaining chips!)

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Because we do have similar problems and similar solutions will solve most of the injustices that occur to us!

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?
Wow! Hot Button! Accepting the dropping of T-people from any LBGT legislation is a HORRIBLE way to treat anyone! That is why HRC annoys me so much!

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?
Accepting the dropping of Gay people from any LBGT legislation is a HORRIBLE way to treat anyone!That should not happen either

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?
Everyone should be allies to everyone! Allies do not have to think the same or have the same rationals, just support each other with out problems! We can never be a part of one another! Each person is a unique individual

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?
We seem to fight each other for (it almost seems like) dominance! We step all over each other trying to speak for someone other than our selves.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

When we show togetherness it scares that Heck out of people that dislike us!

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

A-Men! Probably due to infighting on who we would want as our representative to take office or run the party! I would want nothing to do with HRC!

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

People are 99.99% of the problem! put 10 people in a room for a month. Throw food in three times a day. Keep them there and the 10 will most likely want to kill each other after only a few days! Being part of a solution is a awesome goal. As long as it goes my way I am fine with it! LOL

I've not read any of the other comments posted concerning this; forgive me if my answers are repetitious.

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

Because it's three entirely differing groups of people who's share only a marginal commonality, and then that commonality is, pretty much, only viewed by our political opponents as simply the gender of the person with whom we "choose to engage in sexual relations.

Many years ago, the "Donahue" television show did one of their "theme" episodes; the theme of that show was (paraphrasing) "The Different Types of Homosexuality." One of the participants of that show was a trans black woman who had, in the state in which they resided, legally married her white husband.

She was quite pointed: She was always a straight woman who had been born with a birth defect, that defect being misshapen genitalia. She had that birth defect corrected surgically, had her medical records (including her birth certificate) altered to reflect that change, and she had "absolutely" nothing in common with "these people," she said, waving her hand at the other men onstage, simply dismissing them.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

That's a question best left for trans fold to answer, I guess... especially the pointed few who are fast to respond to any commentary within Bilerico's pages - whether a published column or in response to a published column - they dislike with a "you don't know what you're talking about!" or a "you're taking a sense of privilege here!"

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Who said it should?

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

Because there's a mental health aspect of "trans" with should not be draped over gays and lesbians.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

If you do that, the legislation will die; gay men (and women) will simply get it restarted.

Of course, I'd love to see "trans only" positive legislation get through the Federal Congress.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

We're cleary NOT "part of one another." The schisms between various parts of the "gay male community" are wide; the canyon between gay men and female transsexuals is, in my opinion, unbridgeable.

Some of the running commentary, just here in the past few months on Bilerico, shows some of the divisions in the "trans" community go beyond schisms and canyons - they might as well be in two different solar systems.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

When have we ever showed a commonality of purpose? It took gay men dying by the tens of thousands to impart the importance of monogamy among gay men - yet it's a concept gay women have always embraced.

Homosexually oriented persons seem to show commonality - and a severely fractured commonality of purpose, at that - only during political campaigns in which our personal freedoms and/or lives are threatened... or when there's a party/parade involved.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

Because we do manage to show commonality - albeit a severly fractured commonality of purpose - during political campaigns in which our personal freedoms and/or lives are threatened... or when there's a party/parade involved.

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

Let's start small... let's meet in small groups at someone's home and test whether we can stand to be in each other's presence for two hours at a time, first.

Since we know the answer to that... what chance would such a political party have for success?

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

Where'd this question come from? What's the problem being identified? If there's no problem identified, then how can someone be part of that problem, or part of the solution?

Are you asking how we can all join hands and sing, turning our faces to the dawn of a better tomorrow?

Get a married closet case elected president... a homosexually oriented President and First Person who can work, subversively, to advance civil rights in this country, instead of Our Fierce Advocate who seems to be afraid if he actually keeps any of his campaign promises, people might think he's on the down-low.

Whoa, there's one glaring thing in here that makes a lurker like me feel the need to respond... the trans/mental health thing.

1) Presuming that your mental health reference is (charitably) a reference to the inclusion of GID in the DSM, then the GID diagnosis only covers a subgroup of the trans community. This diagnosis has already been removed in certain other countries to recognize that it is not a mental health issue, so much as a social issue that has a medical component for some.

2) Childhood gender identity diagnoses in the DSM do have direct applicability to the gay and lesbian community, since their primary usage is to stigmatize non-gender conforming children who (in many cases) grow up to be gays or lesbians.

Oh, and re: the huge schisms between gay men and trans women and what have you... you're overlooking the presence of trans men who are gay within the gay male community, and trans women who are lesbians within the lesbian community. You seem to be comparing the interests of gay men and straight women in your argument, and clearly those interests will diverge from time to time.

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?

Because the set of diverse experiences and characteristics do not lend well to political action.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?

Because they often do this from a place of ignorance and unintentionally hurt trans people in the process. Because they often get it wrong. Because they have biases that direct their understanding of trans people. Because they lack commitment to understanding the issues facing trans people. Because they can only see what's staring them in the face and trans people's identities are often invisible to the casual observer.

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?

Because they share many common experiences of discrimination, bigotry and biases. Because homophobia affects everyone, not just gay people. Because transphobia affects everyone, not just trans people. Because there are gay trans people.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?

Because trans people are so misunderstood, it would be best for LGB folks to just forget about us altogether. Because the problems we face are different than those than GLB people face.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?

Because the general public has the most contempt for them and they hold us back from mainstream acceptance.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?

Because mainstream culture insists on highlighting our differences, which we not only accept but also use as fuel for the fire.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?

Because community means family and I have yet to feel welcome in the gay male community, as have many other people. Because we find reasons to distance ourselves from each other. Because we can't accept our differences any better than mainstream culture can. Because we don't listen to each other.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?

Because we are considered different from the mainstream and therefore should band together for the cause. Because we get together once a year and pretend we like each other. Because we all look the same to the casual outside observer.

9. Why don't we start our own political party?

I have no answer for this.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?

When they assume they have the answers. When they insist on being right rather than building bridges. When they speak for people they have no real understanding of. When they use their activism to whitewash the issues or make themselves the star of the show. When they insist that our differences make us unlikely bedfellows. When they insist on rehashing old arguments and ideas because they can't see that things have changed. When they can only see the world from their own shoes. When they want power and money but disguise it as wanting civil rights.

Bob Jenkins | March 1, 2010 1:12 PM

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?
There should be a concerted effort to directly address social problems specific to the trans community. Strong affiliation and coincident action from the LGBT and the amenable straight communities is, however, necessary and encouraged.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?
I am speaking out from the position of being a straight friend of the LGBT community

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?
The LGBT community should be a united voice and power because it shares many issues of discrimination that are more effectively addressed jointly

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?
Why should people accept shoddy legislative action? No group should be excluded when a joint social problem is addressed.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?
Why should people accept shoddy legislative action? No group should be excluded when a joint social problem is addressed.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?
We are allies when our individual and collective identities differ. When I can identify with you, I am part of you. Otherwise we are allied.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?
I had no idea some people think so..

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?
It is a visible, outspoken, active political entity, to say the least about it

9. Why don't we start our own political party?
The LGBT community is in a better position to strongly and positively influence established political parties

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?
Ignorance.

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?
When the parts have issues to work out that needn't involve the whole, and then only insofar as is needed.

2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?
I dunno; why can't they?

3. Why should the LGBT stay together?
Because we go together, like bacon and chocolate. We learn from one another, and we support one another. And it's really kind of fun to hang out with other people who aren't like us but also don't expect us to be just like them.

4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?
We shouldn't.

5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?
We shouldn't.

6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?
Because we have similar, but not identical types of stuff to deal with.

7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?
Because our community doesn't work exactly the same way as other communities? We don't tithe, we don't require the memorising of a catechism, and the like.

8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?
Because our parades annoy them? And because we have become visible. That's important.

9. Why don't we start our own political party?
Any idea how? I'm in.

10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?
When they actively oppose civil and human rights for anyone, including people like themselves.

Why should the LGBT split apart?
We shouldn’t. There are not enough of us split like that to fight the oppression. Not to mention, we are of the same ‘people’ almost as if we are a different race or something. I often refer to the community as MY community or MY brothers and sisters.

Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?
I think they can if they have accurate information and are willing to retract or correct if they said something wrong.

Why should the LGBT stay together?
SEE QUESTION 1

Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?
I am Trans, need to say that first. Arguably we need protection the most. I also understand taking things in steps and claiming what victory we can. As long as we do not stop there and leave trans out to dry, then I have no problem.

Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?
I don’t understand this question? Do you mean just forgetting about rights period or only for lesbians and Bi’s?

Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?
Because we are petty and separatist humans like all of mankind. Seriously though, I think it stems from all of us trying to break the gender norms we are trapped in. For women, this often translates into rebellion against the male and visa versa. I happen to know a lot of gay men who think women are nothing more than emotional and unreasonable creatures who do nothing but bring men down. Often these men have some seriously patriarchal views on society.

Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?
I am not sure anyone does, do they?

Why do people think there is an LGBT community?
Because there IS! We have entire neighborhoods in some cities. We have our own bars, hollywood stars, other gathering places, rallies and parades.

Why don't we start our own political party?
I think that is a GREAT idea! Count me in! What should we call it?

What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?
When someone disregards the rights of hetero’s and insists on coming on to them or otherwise harassing them, just because they know it upsets them. Thinking it funny to send a straight running. It’s not funny and it does not help our cause. Stop trying to deliberately offend, just be yourself because to these people that is offensive enough.

1) Because the LG don't really understand the T ( and the LGT don'r really understand the I)

2) They could if they could become educated, which would include "Home" experience, i.e. they had to spend some set amount of time in a controlled training environment that duplicated some of the life experiences that T dealt with, just like they mead Home Economics teachers go through to become ceritifed in the 1960's.

3) Because the T just provide so much "exceptions" to typical arguments used against gays and lesbians. Examples like all effeminate men are gay. Or two women can have been legally married in states that outlawed same sex marriage.

4) Only when better trans only legislation has already peen passed and signed by the executive branch head that overides the earlier LGBT inclusive legislation.

5) If the legislation hurts the LGBT as a whole because of the G inclusion. I cannot think of a situation where this would be a possibility, but there may be.

6)Because our differences are so great. While we do have points of congruence, we have wide differences. We band together for mutual protection from a common threat. Some G & L can blend, some cannot, some T can blend, some cannot. G, L and T can have differing opinions, needs, solutions that make each other separate, but still in need of support from the others. And while our stories are not the same, they and the resultant feelings and reactions are similar enough that we can empathize, and hence come to the assistance of each other.

7) Because we spend too much time being closeted before we come out. If we are not visible to the public, how can they understand that we are already there and that we have been around them all our and their lives and we didn't change just because we called ourselves by our true names.

8) groups of peole start protesting, or pushing for change, they just naturally assume there is a driving force, either a business or a community behind the change. After all, they say, how can they be a driving force if they are not banded together.

9) Because I do not think we can get enough allies to reach a 51% majority. We would be as powerful as the American Green Party.

10) Depends on what the problem is. If the problem is votes, a supportive person that does not go out and vote support is a part of the problem whereas an non-supportive person not voting is part of the solution. But let's face it, a person that changed from a transexual person to a woman or a man, and lives their life without continuing to be "Out" is doing a disservice to those who have yet to transition. It is kind of like when you have a group of climbers tethered together and several fall into a crevasse, and one who is pulled out to safety, unties the rope to others that are still in the crevasse. The climber that untied the followers was just looking out for themselves and not thinking about the others on the same trail.

John Pierce | March 3, 2010 3:18 PM

1. Why should the LGBT split apart?
Divvying up sexual minorities into four neat categories is a massive oversimplification that gives inclusion for its own sake precedence over inclusion from common values/circumstances/struggles/issues. Bs may want more education with respect to the Kinsey continuum while Ts may want more education with respect to the concept of gender identity, etc. Being glued at the acronym by default rather than by decision creates cognitive dissonance within and without the movement.
2. Why can't people other trans folk speak out on trans topics?
They certainly can. But, like any issue, speaking without knowledge is pointless at best and detrimental at worst. I am certain that I do not have the tools and information at my disposal to speak substantively about trans issues because I don’t live them. My board of directors and I once had a thirty minute discussion concerning which term, transgender or transgendered, was appropriate. If activists within the community are this underinformed, how much more so are regular, garden-variety community members?
3. Why should the LGBT stay together?
Much like the Progressive Caucus, the African-American Caucus, et al work together on issues of common import, the allies implied by the LGBT acronym are empowered by mutual support. But the various caucuses (cauci?) work separately on issues of primary concern to their own agendas without much overlap, and it would make sense for Ls and Bs and Gs and Ts to solidify a meaningful identity (branding, to use market-speak) to galvanize support for issues specific to one or another.
4. Why should people accept letting trans people go from legislation?
A large part of working for social justice is understanding the process of creating social justice in our lives. It is a process, it takes time, and it moves forward incrementally. Suppose legislation extending “protected class” status to orientation stood a damn good chance of becoming law, but legislation extending that status to orientation and gender identity stood no chance at all of becoming law. Do we compromise our noble ideology for substantive progress, however incremental? Or do we scrap the whole initiative for an all-or-nothing position guaranteed to win us nothing? It’s a thorny problem ideologically. But, practically, it’s a step in the right direction. It sets a precedent and opens the door for future inclusion.
5. Why should people accept letting gay men go from legislation?
For the same reasons as 4.
6. Why are we all allies to each other instead of part of one another?
There are many issues we share, but there are also many issues of specific concern to one or another subgroup. Why should trans folk subordinate their struggle for gender identity protections to a gay agenda? Or why should bi folk subordinate their struggle to have their very existence acknowledged to a lesbian agenda. We are one, but we are not the same.
7. Why do people think there isn't an LGBT community?
Until you actually meet one, the picture in your head of who LGBT are comes from media, parents, peers, etc. who likely haven’t met any either. That picture is obviously distorted by myth and misinformation and speculation. Whether it is ultimately fortunate or unfortunate, we are a self-identified minority which relies on revelation to the public rather than immediate recognition by visible and invariable characteristics, like skin color, etc. It is easy to overlook the community under your nose when you can’t tell who is what just by looking.
8. Why do people think there is an LGBT community?
The work we’ve done on the national, regional and local levels to effect social change has compelled coverage from the mainstream media. So while mainstream America may have nothing immediate to point to, and say “That right there is the LGBT community”, they are aware, however vaguely, that such a community must exist somewhere.
9. Why don't we start our own political party?
LGBT persons span the political gamut from the radical left to the reactionary right. Rather than being a minority with ideological unity, we are a subset of humanity that spans socio-economic, racial, political and religious spectra.
10. What makes a person part of the problem, instead of part of the solution or someone outside the whole issue?
Much like progressives and liberals and moderates can’t decide how best to prioritize the Democratic agenda, disparate elements of the community push and pull and weaken the movement by insisting on a “me first” approach to addressing issues. It is axiomatic that we do not live in an ideal world, so the ideal of full inclusion in every issue is not always pragmatic. Insisting on the ideal at the expense of making progress toward the ideal hamstrings us as a movement for social justice.