Antonia D'orsay

What If...

Filed By Antonia D'orsay | February 20, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Creating Change conference, Dallas, DART, Identity, Legal issues, LGBT, License, trans portrayals, Transawareness, transphobia

What if one day you went into work and your name on everything there is different, your sex on all your records was changed, and you discovered that although you had just gone to the trouble to get everything fixed, you find out that your employer had just gone ahead and changed all of that for you since they didn't agree with the way you went and did it?

What if they'd used a legal argument that held water, too -- so that they actually could do it.

Now let's look into it at a wider extent.  Let's say that you followed all the rules your state has for all of the stuff you need to do to correct your sex and gender markers, your name and identification, managed to contact past employers, correct it all there, basically send a couple months putting your life in order, all to have your current employer decide one day they didn't like that and so they go to court and get it overturned.

And, in one fell stroke, your employer has just decided for you your name and sex.

Now, what if all this happened to you?  How'd you like it?

Now the bad news.  It's happened.

From The Dallas Voice comes this story out of Dallas, Texas, which describes events similarly to the above, and lays it out in a subtitle of

Judge reversed order after transit agency fought longtime employee's gender-marker change last year

For trans people to "come out" is one thing, to come out and then be accepted appropriately is another process entirely, and it's a long, emotionally distressful one where one of the most important milestones -- a trophy of triumph, if you will --  is getting that gender marker changed.

From the article:

According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.

As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria -- including documentation from licensed medical personnel -- since the Democratic sweep of 2006.

This is actually not only common, it's been documented in multiple places at multiple times, and is fairly widely known in the trans community.  Different places have information on how to change markers, policies and procedures that are otherwise unavailable to the general public (as an example, try to find the AZ government page that has the information regarding the policy to change drivers license marker).  In some locations online, this information has even been monetized -- we'll let you know how to do this for a fee.

It is part of the massive information sub-network that trans people have carefully built up, usually through trail and error, over the last 15 years or so.

The article continues:

The DART employee, whose name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency's human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.

But DART's attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART's objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.

This is a very striking action on the part of an employer, and even more so on the part of a judge. This is an action that goes significantly beyond the reach of an employer -- it tackles your daily life and affects multiple things both governmental and personal well outside the eight hours a day or so the average working person has to deal with.

I bring this up for two reasons. The first is that all too often people try to gloss over issues like privilege, or racism, or sexism, or transphobia in the LGBT community. It's enough to make me feel as if I have a need to explain it, yet again, to an audience that already has an intimate understanding of one kind of privilege, and could, reasonably, be expected to have a better grasp on racial issues (given the parallels in discrimination) or sexism (given the nature of the discrimination they face).

I think it's already fairly well understood that transphobia is fairly common, and that there is a particularly virulent strain of it in the wider community.

So here's another example of a privilege that most readers here will have that most trans folk do not have. You do not have to worry about having your literal identity taken from you by an employer. Your name, your sex -- they are not the province of an employer in your case, and yet, through the magic of privilege and its intersection with sexism, with heteronormative social pressures, with people who get into their heads that they own you, body and soul, because you still have to go to them and apparently ask their permission to change your records about you.

And this is in the same week when a new UT-Austin/Texas Tribune Poll shows that 63% of Texas voters support marriage equality or civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

I would love to make an open call for the readers here to take this case on. I would love to make a shout out to the larger orgs like NGLTF and various legal orgs to take on this issue, and find a way to correct the problem. I'd love to see an action item on this particular problem -- a problem that is not solved by ENDA, not affected by DADT, not easily taken care of at all, and yet is essentially required for every single transsexual and a lot of other kinds of trans people just to live their lives as themselves.

And there's the rub. As much as I'd like to do that, I don't think it'll happen. Not because I have doubts about the people here at Bilerico, but because I don't believe that the kind of sustained effort is possible, and that the issue is going to be old news by the end of the weekend, leaving one woman sans her identity, and one employer having decided to do this all on its own.

I feel that way because one thing that I've learned, and that many other trans folk have learned, the hard way, in millions of small personal conversations, is that no one believes that who we are is who we are.

No one "buys into" the whole name change for us -- I still get asked by people "what's your real name?" as if my name isn't my real name, or as if the name I used before that was the name I was born under (which it wasn't). And by a very wide margin, I get that more from within the LGBT than I do without it. And I give out my old name so rarely that tracking me down by it is almost utterly useless.

No one buys into the whole idea of us actually being the women and men that we are. And they say, out of the corner of their mouths, "Oh, but I support you and find your cause is as good as my own" while they say out the other side of their mouth "Well, you were a guy before, right?"

That's what we get -- especially open and out activists, who interact with many of you on a daily basis. Every day. We hear people listen to us, get up, and when they speak to LGBT they mean L and G and B and T, and then they step down and they do the same things to us they always have done.

It is not a game to us. It is serious stuff, and while I'm usually the last person to speak about Identity, this is one case -- one area -- where identity matters. This is who we are.

I will do one thing, one thing important to me, and that's thank John Wright at the Dallas Voice for covering this story, and the editors of the Dallas Voice for at least bringing it to light. I don't know them, never met them, but a couple weeks ago I was there at Creating Change, and there was a lot of talk about trans lives and the importance of trans people to the movement overall, and at least some of that message got through.

Because that's what creating change is about. And I believe in it. I know about it.

But some days, its really hard to believe that others do.


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"This is an action that goes significantly beyond the reach of an employer -- it tackles your daily life and affects multiple things both governmental and personal well outside the eight hours a day or so the average working person has to deal with."

This action could be ruled an unwarranted intrusion into the employee's private life. Attorney Barbara Kate Repa wrote that the Supreme Court's ruling in Lawrence vs. Texas could be a basis for future rulings that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Part of the court's rationale was that sexuality is at the very center of the right to privacy. This situation is also about a sexual characteristic, and again we have an employer intruding, in a fairly sweeping way, into a person's private life. The logic of Lawrence vs. Texas didn't necessarily limit the decision to sexual orientation. So, I think there's a realistic possibility that transgender plaintiffs could benefit from the same or similar logic.

Antonia,

It was a pleasure to finally meet you at Creating Change. There's something about touching someone one-on-one (as Adam Lambert phrased it in his lgbtq anthem, Masterplan) that establishes an empathic link beyond mere word communication.

I wish I could cheer you up about the future, because I think it is a lot brighter and more joyful than you might expect. I feel our community is going to achieve unity of purpose and action that will overturn the twin insanities of socially enforced heteronormativity and cisnormativity and finally put human society on a sustainable, positive track for the new century.

To me, the great variety of human erotic expression provides a vast number of choices in how to relate to and play with other humans (loving). This is a vast universe of trans, in all its varied dimensions, which includes one single point that is all of hetero/cis erotic reality. Inclusive trans provides a framework for embracing, understanding, and socializing all our varieties--gay, lesbian, bi, trans-x/y/z, queer, etc. and even kinky-straight--under one umbrella. No more dividing and pigeonholing queer against queerer.

Who are we? Who are the “inclusive trans”? I call us "Columbians" after Columbia, the deified human ideal of freedom, justice, equality, and liberty. In the 18th and 19th century, Columbia was portrayed as the protector of our Nation in classical female attire. In the 20th century, Columbia appeared in contemporary male attire as our gay uncle "Sam". I see the future ideal Columbia as perfectly androgynous, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

As a group of individuals, we are astoundingly diverse, yet we share a unity of experience and purpose. When we act together in love, nothing dare oppose us. Although we express physical affection in innumerable ways, we are united in our ability to perceive and embrace erotic mutuality. “I feel what you feel.”

At the same time, we exclude no one from our fellowship. “Try it, you’ll like it.” Those who abandon fear will join us in our shared joy. Those who refuse become the pitiful victims of their own inward-directed hatred of themselves for rejecting a wonderful blessing and a chance to live a life of love and service to others.

I have great hopes for the future.

@Dan: "At the same time, we exclude no one from our fellowship. “Try it, you’ll like it.” Those who abandon fear will join us in our shared joy. Those who refuse become the pitiful victims of their own inward-directed hatred of themselves for rejecting a wonderful blessing and a chance to live a life of love and service to others."

Wow, sounds like "our way or the highway." Could you imagine there are people who don't want to join you, but who respect what you're working towards and absolutely wish you well yet who don't feel like being demonized or pathologized by virtue of their need for autonomy and being able to speak for themselves?


The judge is listed in the article as being lauded for past support of the the LGBT community ... and yet when it was a trans woman at stake, she bowed to pressure and threw this woman's life away. And people wonder why we feel like we can't trust anyone.

Angela Brightfeather | February 20, 2010 9:31 PM

Toni,

Where is a link to this company DART?

Phyllis Randolf Frye. You can reach her at PRFRye@aol.com. Please forward this to the individual in Dallas. She is a transgendered attorney who knows Texas law and specializes in identity cases. She will sort this out. Trust me on this.

That's PRFrye@aol.com, just go be clear. She gets a lot of spam so it's important to make the title very clear. Like, "I have identity change issues in Texas" or something. If anybody can help, Phyllis can.

DART also got bailout money. I don't think companies which need financial help should be blowing money on frivolous actions like this that harm the lives of it's employees.

I'd be willing to bet this will be revealed to be a personal personnel matter.

There will be someone in the equivalent of DART's Human Resources Department who had some sort of relationship - not sexual, but a very strong friendship - with the employee before her transition. That relationship, probably, came to an end when the employee began her transition... and this is the ex-friend's retribution, essentially a way for the ex-friend to get their pre-transitioned friend back.

The simple fact, as the news report to which Toni directed persons in her link, that gender markers had been routinely changed via a judge's order in the past, and this one employer would step in and say, "Whoa! Wait a minute!", indicates the action taken by the employer is one of a personal nature.

It is wrong. It is discrimination, and Big Brother-ism, at its very worst, and a higher court should immediately vacate the order granted DART. I wish this unnamed employee all the best.

But, you know, it's Texas.

That is the really tragic part. Even if you move somewhere more tolerant, if you are born in one of the states that won't let you change you birth certificate, such as Texas or Ohio, you are just fucked.

Pamela Curry | February 23, 2010 6:08 AM

"I'd be willing to bet this will be revealed to be a personal personnel matter.

There will be someone in the equivalent of DART's Human Resources Department who had some sort of relationship - not sexual, but a very strong friendship - with the employee before her transition. That relationship, probably, came to an end when the employee began her transition... and this is the ex-friend's retribution, essentially a way for the ex-friend to get their pre-transitioned friend back."

How much was that bet Eric, pay up now because you LOSE your bet! I can assure you this has nothing to do with any personal relationship with another employee. This is entirely religious zealot bigotry, harassment and discrimination because they can. Texas is a right to work state which means even union workers get the shaft.

The underlying foundation of years of ugly on behalf of Dallas Area Rapid Transit is a very long laundry list. Due to print space limits you are simply not privy too the details at this time. Its a VERY LONG LIST spanning several years.

ENDA would indeed have protected her as it would have eliminated that foundation making it unlikely that her employer would interfere at this time. Which such interference is in and of itself another entirely separate issue of great concern. Whats next interfering with single parent, same sex partner adoptions or even adoptions of hetero cisgendered couples wanting to give a good home to special needs kids.

Like I have said before, we are allowed to be who we are only to the extent that it intrudes on what others want. Noone should be complacent or comfortable in being considered any sex or gender other than what they were assigned as birth, b/c we will have that taken away at the whim of anyone who has power. We have none, and won't until some way of having durable gender assignment is in place.

We really have no rights whatsoever at this time. When it really comes down to it, the legal system will tell us, "OK, we played along, let you pretend that you are a woman/man, but we've had enough of that nonsense," and put us back in what the power-that-be feel is 'our place.'

Carol ~

"Like I have said before, we are allowed to be who we are only to the extent that it intrudes on what others want. "


Beautifully stated, Carol, and very true.

Thanks, Gina, that means so much coming from you! I love your posts, they are always just how I feel, though much more well expressed than I ever could!

Carol :)

"a problem that is not solved by ENDA, not affected by DADT, not easily taken care of at all, and yet is essentially required for every single transsexual and a lot of other kinds of trans people just to live their lives as themselves."

I dunno, U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson seemed to think one small slice of it was pretty easily taken care of:

"and in response to Schroer's decision to transition, legally, culturally, and physically, from male to female, the Library of Congress violated Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination."

I realize that Robertson's ruling isn't binding nationally, but it seems like a good start & one that if expanded to other districts &/or eventually taken higher could make that ENDA inclusion stuff somewhat irrelevent and possibly even harmful if ENDA takes precedence in matters such as recovery and religious exemption.

But "sex discrimination" seems to only apply to Title VII.

Title III would take care of the bathroom issue.

Title VI would take care of military sevice.

Trans people of any sex need to team up with other political groups to push for "sex" to be added throughout the entire Civil Rights Act. Three letters and a comma almost seem like a minor revision & one that half the country would likely take into consideration when voting or donating.

The ERA is stuck in the same gluetrap of professional politics as ENDA. Seems like if we teamed up with some of the underlying orgs trying to get the ERA passed again (http://tinyurl.com/ybbvl9c) & convinced one or two of them to push for an updating of the Civil Rights Act of '64 we might be able to slip some change under the radar.

I am founder and co-administator of the Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies. We are all shocked and sickened by the actions that DART has taken. I have been contacted by advocacy groups statewide that have committed their support of actions that the DFW community might undertake in protest, but here is the rub.
The transgender person who was persecuted is a 20+ year employee of DART and has allegedly had her livelihood and pension threatened by Dart before the Dallas Voice article was even published. The purpose of advocacy is to improve the life of transgender people. This may unfortunately not be the case if we protest DARTS abhorrent behaviour. Up to this point the Transgender person has chosen to remain anonymous and If our actions would result in her dismissal or if she asks us to abstain from taking action, we will do so. This will be her call and we at the DTAA will honor that request should it be made. I should know more the week of the 23rd and should the green light be given to take action, the LGBT community in Texas stands ready and willing to make sure DART knows we will NOT ALLOW THIS TO STAND.

In defense of trans allies:

That's what we get -- especially open and out activists, who interact with many of you on a daily basis. Every day. We hear people listen to us, get up, and when they speak to LGBT they mean L and G and B and T, and then they step down and they do the same things to us they always have done.

I often find myself in somewhat similar situations. When I speak about LGBT rights, I mean L and G and B and T. Period. But whenever I try to say something here on the site, for example, I'm either co-opting someone's experience, using cis privilege for one thing or another, over compensating, ignorant, or, well, you name it.

Even in a previous post from this week on a trans issue, someone said in the comments that I should stop posting on trans issues. From the comment, I assume that they're trans. When I asked for a trans 101 on the site, I got knocked for not "reading a book." If I mess something up, I get bitched at for not knowing all of Trans 101.

And in talking to literally dozens of trans allies, I think that's one of the biggest reasons why folks will mouth the word LGBT - and mean all letters - but when it comes to practice, they'll shy away from getting involved for fear of messing something up and getting jumped on for it. See, for example, how many contributors - even some of our older trans contributors - no longer post about trans issues. They've been frightened off by all the nasty hateful comments those threads get telling them what ignorant motherfuckers they are. *shrugs*

Dyss, you know I wasn't even going to post on the Tosh.0 story since I was tired of the same old, same old comments. What did I get? "You should stop posting on trans issues." Yup. At this point, I agree totally.

I wouldn't say that it's the LGBT community who does "the same old thing" that's the problem completely. The other part of the problem is that there's never a reward for doing something correctly. Just more bitching and moaning that some small flaw has been found by one segment of trans or another. As we've seen on this site - and as so many trans allies and partners of trans people have said/written/etc, "Being a trans ally is hard. There's never a reward, only complaints."

The state of the trans movement is where the gay rights movement was 20 years ago - too easy to see a villain behind every tree so you open fire indiscriminately knowing you'll hit one of them. But no one notices that they're not hiding behind trees, they're hiding behind people. And they're getting hit with the wide spray of vengeance too.

bil,

That was me and I apologize. For the tone of my comment, for the wording, for a lot of things. I went much further into detail after Alex's reaction to my comment on that story; please read it if you feel like it. But here is a quick synopsis:

I appreciate everything positive that you've done for bilerico, for the greater GLBT gender transgression umbrella, and for the T. And by extension (since I don't know you personally), I appreciate that part of *you*.

I appreciate the effort you've put into the post-
Ron Gold mess.

I appreciate that post-rg, bilerico has become a place where real conversation can take place not just about the issues that affect all of us, but also the ones that only affect a subset of us. And we can discuss the intermix, attitudes and actions of the not-directly-affected of the umbrella.

And I crossed that line by being clumsy and blunt when I should have been precise and private.

I apologize. Please don't take your toys and go home. Keep the strength of bilerico in keeping conversation open.

I was trying to let you know that the last few T-stories you had personally posted were being taken for odd fluff pieces that spoke to "not quite getting our stuggle". They were all on the fringe of what hurts us day to day, not the big issues and there did not seem to be much sense of "part of the GLBT has been attacked, let's fix this". It was an undercurrent, a sort of "guess what bil posted now" that I received in emails. Rather than personally posting stories about the civil rights of T-folk, it seemed that you were purposefully putting up the stories that made fun of T, ones where we were the punchline, but without any activist / here'-who-to-contact to stop this sort of thing component.

Maybe it was just due to the differences between the 500 flavors of GLBT. Maybe it was personal differences in style.

Maybe a big part of the problem from a lot of T peoples point of view is that a whole lot of comments from the G and to a lesser degree, the L speak of massive amount of privilege and privilege protection. We get a little defensive when our supposed allies sound exactly like our worst enemies. No, I am not implying you are one of them, but history did make me a little...wary.

Either way, I should have handled it differently. I tried to frame it in a more humorous, "step away from the X", which was a mistake. I now see I should have privately emailed you to let you know what I was hearing and opened a dialog. I apologize.

Thanks Sara, I hadn't seen the follow up comment. I appreciate that.

Just for a wee bit of clarification though - I don't usually delve deeply into trans issues because we have so many contributors who can do the topic more justice. I limit my posts to stuff like Taysia Elzie's murder (it dealt with Indianapolis police force and horrible language by the local media - and led to a training session for the various outlets by the NLGJA) if I'm doing something in depth, or - as I usually do with trans stuff - try to point out some of the WTF? moments - the Cleveland Show, Tosh.0, assisting Becky with the Greg Grunsburg and Katy Perry transphobic tweets thing.

For the smaller stuff, I try to put in a call to action - see the Tosh.0 post, for example, and I participate in those calls myself. In fact, GLAAD and I tried to set up a complete blogswarm around Tosh, but never were able to get it together in time and by the time we could, the piece was a month old and seemed silly to focus on.

One other thing you said bothers me, but perhaps "bother" is too strong of a word - it bugs me.

I appreciate the effort you've put into the post-
Ron Gold mess.

I appreciate that post-rg, bilerico has become a place where real conversation can take place not just about the issues that affect all of us, but also the ones that only affect a subset of us. And we can discuss the intermix, attitudes and actions of the not-directly-affected of the umbrella.

We're putting in the same effort - and by "we" I mean Alex and I since we run the site daily - we always have. Trans issues have always been a major part of Bilerico and we set up the site so they would be. I'd like to think we've always been that place you crave. :)

And I hope we always will be.

I do love my allies. They're the ones that help keep the world from seeming hopeless. However.

People shouldn't do the right thing because they think they'll get a reward for it. That applies to all types of allies, not just allies to trans people. I'm not a supporter of gay rights because I expect rewards for it, I am because it's the right thing to do. I also don't stop supporting gay rights even though SO MANY gay people have heaped transphobia on me (and I'm talking in person, not online). I had to stop going to gay events because there was always at least one person who would love to out me and discuss the flaws in my looks, but that didn't make me stop loving my gay friends and supporting their rights.

I'm sorry that you get picked at for every little thing (particularly the Tosh.O story, which I would have commented on if the commenter in question hadn't already been called out and apologized by the time I read it), but after last year's big fiasco, it's honestly what should be expected. Such a big screw-up people are on their guard, and some get overcritical, and some just get internet-snotty.

But if you really are an ally you'll shrug off the nitpicking and continue to support trans rights because it's the right thing to do, and that's what will distinguish you from the two-faced faux-allies Dyssonance alluded to in her post.

One of the primary reasons the trans movement (if it is a movement) is 20 years behind the LGB movement is because of the way we were sold out by some of the power structures in the gay and lesbian movements. If we ever jump down the throats of gay allies, it's because those allies have tried to speak for us (not with us) for a long time, whether in media, activism, or in defining identities. And, along the way, so often they got it incredibly wrong and spent a lot of effort making us invisible. That's why Bil and other "allies" don't deserve full our trust. Without being cognizant of that history, you're really talking about a fairy tale, not a reality.

Allies may not speak for the group they're supporting. They may not criticize the group they support. They may situationally withhold their support if there's a disagreement and they may give their perspective as to why they support that group.

Gina, I was with you until you said, "They may not criticize the group they support." I vehemently disagree with that. How many trans people criticize LGB people on these threads? Should we be shutting those down? Cutting off the conversation and only letting gay men (as an example) make decisions about their community in a vacuum without any input or wisdom from an outside group willing to assist, advise and actively work on our behalf? That's ridiculous.

@Bil
"Gina, I was with you until you said, "They may not criticize the group they support." I vehemently disagree with that. How many trans people criticize LGB people on these threads?"

Are we criticizing you because of your self-contained issues or are we criticizing you when it directly affects either the relationship between your community and our community? I suspect the latter. Are the trans people commenting about LG issues either L or G identified themselves... if so, then they're a part of the community. I've been on this blog quite a while and the trans criticism of cis-gender LG is where you interface with us. I can say that going in the other direction.

"an outside group willing to assist, advise and actively work on our behalf?"

Yes, but how about an outside group from which powerful members of which have shafted us in the past, denied our very identities, thrown us under the bus, erased/ignored our activism and represented us in absurd ways in the media, are you seriously telling me trans people need their advice and criticism? Working for certain common goals I get but when one group is clearly stronger than the other and speaking for the weaker group, is that an ally or just dominance?

I'm not going to say what gay men need in terms of outside input... from what I've seen since the late 70s, the gay power structure has be open to precious little outside input from lesbians, bi people, and especially not from trans people. So, you mean your power structure can ignore us but, for some strange reason, we need to pay attention to you and value your words of (often ill-informed) wisdom? That's silly Bil.

"I can say that going in the other direction."

Whoopsie, correction: I can't say that going in the other direction.

Yes, but how about an outside group from which powerful members of which have shafted us in the past, denied our very identities, thrown us under the bus, erased/ignored our activism and represented us in absurd ways in the media, are you seriously telling me trans people need their advice and criticism?

Those shameful things have happened and continues to happen in some areas. True.

But we're talking about trans allies, not trans enemies. I'd thank you to stop lumping us all together.

I'm saying that when your friends give you advice - whether that's on trans issues, how good your new bf/gf is, or whether those pants make your ass look big - you listen and take it for what it's worth. You don't tell you friend, "Stay out of my business. I don't need any advice! I know it all!" or "But he's so sweet until he hits me!" or "My God, I don't want my ass to look big, but my friend wears glasses so she probably couldn't see my ass to begin with. Have you seen some of the outfits she's worn before?"

That's silly.

"But we're talking about trans allies, not trans enemies. I'd thank you to stop lumping us all together."


Okee, dokee Bil, I'll be sure to look for the label on their forehead to know one from the other. Actually, some of the most dismissive (and backstabbing) words towards trans people I've heard have come from those who would identify themselves as allies. On an organizational level, is the HRC the friend of trans people? Is someone like Jim Fouratt the friend of trans people? Is Christian Siriano the friend of trans people? Is RuPaul a friend of trans people? Is Queerty an ally? (I'm leaving your name out of this list because you've been nice enough to reply).

As to someone telling me my ass looks fat in those jeans (which would actually give me great joy)... it depends. If I think they're telling me out of love and care for my well-being or out of a pure objective fashionista need to make everyone look beautiful, then yes, of course I'd listen to them. If however, I had a friend/acquaintance who was highly neurotic about their own body (and fat issues) tell me that, or perhaps even jealous, then I would take it with a grain of salt. It's more about them than it is about me. That, unfortunately, has been the majority trans experience when it comes to 'allies' speaking up for them and offering critiques.

"But we're talking about trans allies, not trans enemies. I'd thank you to stop lumping us all together."


Okee, dokee Bil, I'll be sure to look for the label on their forehead to know one from the other. Actually, some of the most dismissive (and backstabbing) words towards trans people I've heard have come from those who would identify themselves as allies. On an organizational level, is the HRC the ally of trans people? Is someone like Jim Fouratt the friend of trans people? Is Simon LeVay? Is Christian Siriano the ally of trans people? Is Queerty an ally? (I'm leaving your name out of this list because you've been nice enough to reply).

As to someone telling me my ass looks fat in those jeans (which would actually give me great joy)... it depends. If I think they're telling me out of love and care for my well-being or out of a pure objective fashionista need to make everyone look beautiful, then yes, of course I'd listen to them. If however, I had a friend/acquaintance who was highly neurotic about their own body (and fat issues) tell me that, or perhaps even jealous, then I would take it with a grain of salt. It's more about them than it is about me. That, unfortunately, has been the majority trans experience when it comes to 'allies' speaking up for them and offering critiques.

Gina,

"Allies may not be critical of the group they support"?

C'mon... even siblings are not 100% supportive of other siblings, and feel free to air their criticism of that sibling.

Parents criticize children, continuously as part of the "growing up" process; those parents that don't find themselves the parents of "princesses" and "princes" who believe they are entitled to do anything and have everything, simply because they've mastered the talent of breathing.

Countries who are allies criticize actions of allied countries continuously.

If taken correctly by the person being criticized, the critique can be used as an instrument for change - witness Broadway shows that first endured a road show schedule pre-opening; the producers and directors of those shows are looking for critiques. They know there's something "not quite" about their productions, but are too close to the production to determine what it is that needs tinkering.

No individual nor group is ever going to be 100% supportive of any other individual or group. To demand such is to insist upon toadyism from allies, not support.

@Eric,

Love your analogies Eric... parents criticize children. I think that pretty much sums up what your attitude towards the trans community is, and why I have a hard time even reading your posts.

Love your analogies Eric... parents criticize children. I think that pretty much sums up what your attitude towards the trans community is, and why I have a hard time even reading your posts.

What a crock.

You take one analogy, culled from the middle of a posting, and use that to label me as having some sort of elitist attitude, Gina?

Then let me rephrase:

There is no one individual or group who is free from criticism from any other individual or group who supports them, regardless of the relationship between two individuals our groups.

If someone is expecting unilateral support in all issues, unconditionally - it simply is an unrealistic expectation on their part.

@Eric:

Not criticizing is not the same as unilateral support. I said allies can always withhold support... that's their choice and certainly their right. In reality, I don't know of any ally which supports a group 100%... it's always conditional. Withholding support is not the same as criticism, it's just saying, I'll help on this, I won't help on that.

And yes, you do have a highly condescending attitude on trans issues in virtually every trans-related thread I've ever seen you participate in here. You have a right to your opinions and, to a certain extent, how you treat/refer to other group's issues, but I also have a right to ignore your opinions and attitudes I find offensive.

@Eric,

Love your analogies Eric... "parents criticize children." I think that pretty much sums up what your attitude towards the trans community is, and why I have a hard time even taking your posts seriously.

And no one is speaking in absolutes. There are gay men like Peterson Toscano and Waymon Hudson who I greatly appreciate. I don't think they're "experts" on the trans community, but they can compassionately write about our issues without being insulting or condescending. Alex Blaze has had many good trans-related posts... not always perfect, but I don't expect perfection. He's thoughtful about his subject matter. Mark Leno has stepped forward for the trans community and, even though I don't agree with all of his political machine connections, I truly appreciate what he's done for trans people in California. I respect GLAD and am thankful for the legal efforts they've done on our behalf.

As for you Bil... when it comes to us you're intellectually lazy. You may be curious about us, you might think trans issues are the right thing to do, but from the way you communicate about us on this blog (and frequent naiveté), I see no evidence of any depth on the subject. No one's saying you have to be an expert about everything—stick with what you know and with your real passions and don't pretend you can be a tourist and, therefore, speak for the "natives".

Agreed. I'm sorry if my point came across as "Reward me!" That wasn't my intent.

I was just trying to say that when you feel like you can never do anything right, it's very discouraging.

I'll always shrug off the nitpicking. That comes with being a blogger! :)

Bil,

There are going to be some people who - in their mind, honestly - view anyone besides themselves as never being "right enough" or "good enough." Just let it slide off your back.

That type person, even when they are in a relationship of any kind, normally find themselves, eventually, standing alone... even in an auditorium stuffed with other people.

Thank you, I figured that was likely what you meant.

And I DO want to say thanks for your efforts to make the site more trans-inclusive. It really does mean a lot, even if we're still critical. :)

*sigh*

I suppose now I need to do another post.

On Allies. Because some people think we don't have any, which isn't true, and some people think that we pick on our allies too much, which isn't true, and others think that only trans folk should speak out on our behalf, which isn't true.

As well as a few other things.

Not now though. Couple days.

hi bil and toni,

maybe the problem is the word "allies",
-at all.

if we are not seen as PART of the glb community, but just the T on the end,
that creates a differant idea of who we are.
if we are not gays lesbians and bisexuals, just "t"'s, that then is the heart of this problem.

"ally" means something differant than "us"

bil, who is a leftist, and makes an effort,
does tho say this:

"...Cutting off the conversation and only letting gay men (as an example) make decisions about their community in a vacuum without any input or wisdom from an outside group willing to assist, advise and actively work on our behalf? That's ridiculous. "

*"their community"*

bil, you are someone who has dated (you said)
transmen,but you subconciously or mistakenly
said this, and it is a very common perception,
in straight and gay communities,

...but i'll give you the benefit of the doubt
on your intentions,
as i personally think that that is the right thing to do...

maybe this is the problem-we are still struggling with the "what are Trans people"
problem as a society.
that is pretty personally painful, by the way.

maybe you and antonia can address this comment, if you please.

and i personally haven't bothered to comment much at all on ANY blogs because of so much community disharmony...

but many of us are in limbo, so maybe this can be addressed:

"*ally* is a differant word than US"

as i stated above...
can we all talk respectfully about this?
might be nice...

-best to all...

I may get scolded for this, but it mught be worthwhile to get all of the facts of the case before unconditional support is given by any part of the LGBT.

Not a scolding frome me, Maura.

In fact, as seen in just this listing of postings, there's always going to be one person who is going to insist one side of a question be seen in the most sympathetic way, and another side of the question be viewed as the most reprehensible - even if that "other side" are groups/persons who are, generally, supportive of that first side.

It's not an "us v. them" situation for that person... it's a "me v. everybody".

"It's not an "us v. them" situation for that person... it's a "me v. everybody"."

As written by the Don Rickles of virtually every trans-related thread on this site. :-)


@Maura: There's nothing wrong with more facts, just so long as the 'more facts' aren't an attempt to deny this kind of nonsense isn't at all an isolated instance among transitioners.

As responded to by the "poor, poor me..." self-loathing "victim" of the site.

Perhaps, Gina, when you get a better handle on your own issues and feelings of self-hatred, you might have a much more clear vision concerning the statements and actions of other persons.

I doubt it, but it's possible.

No, Gina, it is a realistic recognition that we need to look at the courts reasoning in making the decision, and the fact pattern that the decision was based upon.
For instance, was there a valid deficiency in meeting the conditions usual for granting a change in gender indicator?

Maura, just curious what there specifically is in this particular story which makes you think it's not what it seems as opposed to, say, cases you've read about involving same sex marriage? Have you looked at the brief? While I respect your opinion as an attorney (which I know you are) I feel it's a curious reaction when one encounters information about what, one the surface, seems like an injustice. Kind of like saying, "well, maybe they weren't supposed to be sitting at that Woolworth's lunch counter". Do you apply the same standards when you hear instances of seemingly prejudicial decisions when it comes to women's issues?

Eric, I forgot, you're not like Don Rickles in that Rickles is beloved as a charming relic of the Vegas/Nightclub comedy circuit while you're just a (very young and lonely) relic. But I am impressed how you're able to add searing impact to your posts by adding "bold" codes. I bet Rickles doesn't know how to do that. :-)

Gina, I am an attorney and I am notoriously prudent. It is as simple as that.

Your comparing my caution to enabling discrimination is unbecoming and given what I do for a living, grossly unfair. I've lived my principles in such a way as to have witnessed horror and to have put my life in danger in pursuit of justice, as opposed to many of the "morning coat revolutionaries" who are only brave on blogs.

I simply do not with to go charging in only to find that the judge was correct in her decision. Lets look at the facts, see what what was done, and then, if wrong was done, we have a pattern of facts on which to base attack, protest or objection.

Maura, did you actually bother reading the original Dallas Voice article?

"Charging in" is assuming the people who are protesting this in Dallas (including an attorney who's had a lot of experience facilitating gender marker changes in that state... have you?) are somehow incapable/unwilling to check the facts and sounds rather condescending.

And, yes, this is exactly the kind of issue the trans community frequently deals which has no overlap in the cisgender-LGB community and from which we've seen "allies" drop off. That's not to say all allies... Michael SIlverman, the gay cis-man head of the TLDEF in NYC has overseen a wonderful name/gender change program in that city or Chris Daly, the former gay cis-male director of the Transgender Law Center in SF. But those are exceptions and far from being the rule.

In fairness, Gina, sometimes the standards for change of gender marker get, to the say the least, stretched by clients and counsel to accomodate a different set of circumstances than they were defined for.

I am not saying that such is the case in this instance; I am simply saying that I would like to know the complete set of facts.

Maura,

You might as well give up.

In reading Gina's comments, I'm reminded of what happened in several gay advocacy groups in San Francisco, the South Bay (San Jose/Santa Clara/Santa Cruz/Redwood City) and the East Bay.

Persons representing "causes" began appearing at meetings of the various Queer Nation, ACT-UP, and Pride committees throughout the Bay Area. At the meetings, they would complain the groups weren't doing enough in areas that were important to them. Meeting after meeting, more and more persons would appear, making the same complaint, until, finally, the groups addressed their complaints -- with the ultimate result being the groups fractured; some simply vanished (unless one has begun in the last few years, there are neither Queer Nation nor ACT-UP groups in the Bay Area anymore), others ultimately recovered, and reigned themselves in to a smaller, more coherent set of principles -- though, for example, the sheer number of "Grand Marshalls" in Pride parades still reflect how fractious a period of time the 90s were. Now, there has to be a gay Grand Marshall... AND a lesbian Grand Marshall... AND a bisexual Grand Marshall (preferably, both a male and female bisexual Grand Marshall) AND a transsexual Grand Marshall (again, preferably, both a male and a female transsexual), AND a heterosexual Grand Marshall.

Bilerico is now undergoing the beginnings of the same onslaught that destroyed those groups, and has been the sporadic target of individuals like-minded to those (and, possibly, are actually some of the same individuals) who initially derailed those groups.

One or two persons would begin pushing their agenda... week after week, as word spread to the communities of those one or two individuals, more persons would appear at the organization's meetings until, inevitably, those organizations would change themselves to incorporating the ideals of those who'd suddenly began appearing. Then, after the incorporation of those persons' agenda... they'd be gone.

Two months ago, Bilerico published the infamous Ron Gold post... and the feces made contact with the oscillating breeze-making device. A segment of the "community" suddenly appeared, bemoaning that Bilerico was no longer safe for them... how hateful and hurtful this posting was... and screaming about "allowing" Mr. Gold to voice his opinion. Bilerico responded with the equally infamous banishment of Mr. Gold, and removal of his posting.

Then all those new voices went silent.

Now, they're coming back - and even responding to postings that are over a month old, and long gone from Bilerico's main page... meaning those voices are searching the archives for those postings.

Which, to me, adds support to my guess that a "call to action" went out concerning Mr. Gold's posting in the first place - persons were specifically pointed to Mr. Gold's piece and urged to leave negative commentary.

Personally - and I've said it before; I'll repeat it again in the future - I don't feel the gay and lesbian community should be inclusive of the bisexual and transsexual communities to the point it is.

Our opponents in politics always boil down their "points" to two issues: Homosexuality is a choice, and homosexuality can be fixed.

Bisexuality "proves" to our opponents that homosexuality is a choice - simply because the opponents believe the only aspect of homosexuality is that of the physical act of sex. They are unable to understand how anyone can be emotionally attracted to anyone of the same gender. It's completely incomprehensible to the layman partly, I believe, because the layman doesn't understand the intricacies that tie emotions to the physicality of sex.

Transsexuals "prove" one of two things (and sometimes, both, which is a paradox) to our political opponents:

1) Faggots are whacko, and/or;

2) Faggots can be fixed. It means swapping their junk out, but if they won't take our Lord and Savior Jesus into their hearts and repent, then the can be medically fixed.

With people like Gina, your viewpoint will never be seen as valid. She has a specific criteria in evaluating the points of view of anyone: If it doesn't agree with her, 100%, then it is completely "wrong" and the person expressing that viewpoint is dismissed as a "hater," but not before she gets her last, ultimately incoherent, two cents in.

Bisexuals are not just hangers-on who are "invading" your movement, and if it took a bit for you to notice we were there it's because you weren't listening and we were afraid to speak up (because, you know, your comment is a great example of the extra shit we have to take from the LG community because of our sexual orientation). We aren't just allies or special interests, WE ARE QUEER TOO. Our issues are QUEER ISSUES. Bisexual women are attracted to other women. Bisexual men are attracted to other men. It's not a switch we flip on and off depending who we're dating (uh oh, partner has a penis, now I'm straight! oh, new girlfriend, guess I must be a lesbian again!). It's a part of our identity. We are LGBT. Just. Like. You.

Plus, who exactly do you plan on kicking out for bisexuality? Are we okay if we swear up and down that we're gay, or are we out regardless of what we say if we've slept with both sexes? Is repenting our former sins of heterosexual sex enough, or do we have to lie and say we didn't enjoy it? Is there a DADT policy in place here, or are we going to be called "bisexuals" and promptly kicked out of the gay bar if we don't hook up with the first chick who hits on us?

Look, I know the apparent flexibility of bisexuality is scary to some of you monosexuals, but put it in perspective: you're saying the opinions of right-wing homophobes are a good enough reason to kick women who are attracted to women and men who are attracted to men out of the gay and lesbian rights movement. Because we're not gay enough. Since when has "it gives the conservatives less ammunition against our 'lifestyle'" ever been a good enough reason to pick on other queers?

Also, I'll let a trans person take on that part of your comment because I know that sexual orientation =/= gender identity, so T folks may not want to state their desire for inclusion differently than my claim to sameness. But I will say that saying we should kick trans people out of the movement because they make everyone else look bad is fucked up too. Trans people are people and deserve your respect, not your transphobic stereotyping. And even if heterosexual trans people have a more nuanced relationship to the "LGBT" coalition, there are trans people who are gay, lesbian, and bisexual too. They're a part of our community, and you don't have the right to kick them out, so you should probably start trying to learn how to not say offensive things about them, okay?

Maura:
"In fairness, Gina, sometimes the standards for change of gender marker get, to the say the least, stretched by clients and counsel to accomodate a different set of circumstances than they were defined for."

How so? Specifics please. Are you talking about providing evidence that SRS has occurred?

Yes, I am talking about providing evidence that reassignment surgery has occured.

As far as I'm concerned this has nothing to with sparring between communities. It is all about whether or not one doubts the veracity of the experience of transsexual people.

This story has me very distracted. It is chilling.

Zoe Brain has put together some details that shed light on this particular situation and the inevitable issues that will ultimately affect not only transsexual people but intersex people, as well. People are still working with flat earth, geocentric models of sex definitions. There will be no hope for anyone until it is understood it is a heliocentric solar system within a vast universe where we all reside.

http://aebrain.blogspot.com/2010/02/withholding-franchise-highly-suspect.html

Most states work with a simple binary requirement.
If you have had gender re-assignment surgery and have a "note from the doctor," you get your indicator change.

I understand that. I live in Rhode Island but I was born in Tennessee. Tennessee does not allow a change. I was under the impression Texas did allow a change but what does it mean in light of the Littleton decision?

This gets very messy. I believe the way the law reads in Australia is much different than it does in England where the Corbett v Corbett decision set the precedent. I think the re:Kevin was based on a very different concept of legal sex. I think marriage rights vary from state to state in this country for transsexual people.

I really don't understand how the new gender recognition program works in the U K. A lot of people from Britain complain about it, though. If you are married you have to dissolve your existing marriage and re-unite under a civil union if you want to remain together. Same sex marriage issues make things very complicated in Australia as well as Britain. I think Grace Abrams would have been able to marry a man but she had trouble getting a passport in the legal sex re:Kevin agreed she belonged to because she wanted to remain married to the woman she was with.

Another big problem with the British system is, if you do apply for gender recognition you are put on a registry which can have some pretty dark implications. Having one's gender recognized does not afford a person the same rights as someone whose birth sex a person's recognized gender does if it does not match what the doctor determined the sex was was different than the newly recognized (by the State) gender. For intersex people the British system can be a nightmare. I think Victoria state in Australia now recognizes intersex as a sex identity and has made progress keeping the medical history of transsexual people confidential.

I have dual citizenship. I am also an Irish citizen. I have been told it is possible to have my citizenship papers reflect my legal sex the way the U S does. Ireland is a European Union country. Having dual citizenship is advantageous for many reasons including the possibilty of having options open if there is civil unrest in the country where on resides. I am reluctant to have my gender markers changed, however, because I am married. Same sex issues would complicate matters if I ever wanted to move to Europe with my spouse with my Irish passport.

What is going on in Texas does not portend well for me. If push came to shove, I could find myself in more of mess than I'm in currently. Maybe an anti discrimination statute or national law regarding gender expression would help her keep her hair long but, essentially, the state is telling her she is male without any regard to her endocrinology, primary and secondary sex characteristics and her self identification. The Littleton case based their decision, according to what Zoe wrote, on Littleton having one "x" and one "y" chromosome without even doing a karyotype! The latest research proves that most sex differentiation takes place on the autosomes, not the sex chromosomes, anyway. Sex verification based on the presence or lack of a "y" chromosome could complicate things for more than a few people if it were determined someone's right to marry should be based on their chromosomes.

Sorry for the long post. This gets very complicated for a lot of people even if we only represent a tiny minority.

Maura,

This is the question I wish you had asked from the get-go instead of tiptoeing around and making other insinuations. Because I suspect (but don't know) that's what this case is revolving around. I have long anecdotally heard how in Texas, some judges will grant gender changes to MTF transitioners without them having SRS (but by virtue of the transiitoner having had an orchiectomy). No mention of this is made by either Toni or the Dallas Voice article and there is no mention as to whether the party in question provided proof she'd had SRS and what that proof was. Which is why, you'll notice, I never made any mention of the Judge as an ally or backstabber. (although I do think the "ally" issue and what their entitlements are is a very problematic one in the trans community)

There are some complex legal issues surrounding this. Such as: how come FTMs can get gender change without having genital surgery while MTFs (except by sympathetic judges) can't? The old saw in the trans community is, "well, bottom surgery for FTMs isn't as good, so that would be unfair." But, the reality is, for decades bottom surgery for MTFs was far from good and they still got it and went through the criteria. It could be argued an orchiectomy is to MTFs what a hysterectomy/oophorectomy is to FTMs. An FTM metoidioplasty is the equivalent to MTF SRS. So why does one kind of transitioner get a gender change without genital surgery while others do? That is, I suspect, a question which will be legally challenged in court in the near future.

Many trans/queer people want gender changes to be granted without any surgery at all... and I suspect that isn't going to happen for a long time. There will be a binary standard for the near future.

If it means anything, I had SRS, tried to get a gender change in what's considered the "most progressive city in the US" and it took over 3 hours haggling in court because of a bigoted older court clerk who wanted it not granted on the basis of his misreading of state law. I had to go to Legal Aid and they had to contact the Transgender Law Center to get him to finally give in. So... it goes both ways,

In any event, the most important question ultimately is, why is DART using their expensive legal resources (and public money) to fight a case like this? How much does it cost them to process a gender change in their HR files? Why are they trying to bully someone just because of their transition?

Eric, Act-Up in SF was always fractious from the get-go. It was always split into two organizations, so it wasn't outsiders with agendas which broke it up, it was gay men with differing agendas. Last time I looked, all activist organizations evolve, devolve and get splintered into other groups. Do you have examples of groups where that didn't happen? Your example about SF Pride is just frothing at the mouth—they don't have bi, MTF/FTM grand marshalls every year, etc. etc. They do get straight grand marshalls in an attempt to rope in celebs, which sadly falls in line with much of SFPride's commercialism and promotion of liquor companies.

But thanks for the anti-bi/trans diatribe, it's always entertaining. Believe me, I don't want to be in a coalition with you, either.

Gina,

Your own attitude reveals you wouldn't be comfortable in a coalition with anyone except another trans persons, and then - and only then - if that other trans person had the same experiences as you and had developed the same viewpoints.

It was Queer Nation SF that split into two groups - Queer Nation, Golden Gate and Queer Nation, East Bay. ACT-UP simple vanished.

The Names Project became so fractured, founder Cleve Jones was forced out of the organization... even though it was, for all intents and purposes, being run out of his home. Jones become so disheartened that, for a long period of time, he chose to maintain a home outside of San Francisco as his principal residence. It's my understanding that during the filming of "Milk," Jones re-relocated back to the City, but whether it is now his principal place of residence, I don't know.

Gay AA began having meetings where the main "sharer" was not an alcoholic or an addict... but compulsive cutters... and shoppers.

In the South Bay, Queer Nation vanished. Even BayMEC went through a period of upheaval.

That's not even counting the number of bars in the Castro that were picketed for not sponsoring a "Drag Night" in their establishments.

Or the "Letters to the Editor" of the BAR, the Sentinel, Frontiers and Our Paper/Your Paper. For the most part, Bob simply ignored the demands made by those letter writers concerning coverage of their community, covering news when and if it occurred; Ray closed down the Sentinel, I understand the name has since been sold to a local "entertainment magazine;" Frontiers continued, business as usual, but as a monthly, based in Los Angeles, it was never a source of "local news," anyway; Nikki, at Our Paper began experiencing some personal problems that ultimately led to her closing both the newspaper and her, related, printing business.

Things became so contentious and fractured, Board members of Gay Pride, SF (as well as South Bay) would leave meetings if certain people were in the "gallery," attending.

Do I have anything against "trans" folk? Nope, not at all. For many years, I supplemented my income working for/managing a telephone answering service in the South Bay, the owners of which were heavily involved in the IRLM - the South Bay "monarchy" system. Didn't concern me in the least.

Do I support changing the obstacles that are unfairly placed in the path of trans folk? You betcha. I'm right there, beside you.

Do I, as a gay man, support enfolding the community of trans folk into my community, subliminally enforcing that the trans-fight is my fight, too, and as such, gays and lesbians should be at the forefront of removing those obstacles?

Nope.

If, as occurred two years ago when the Dems in Congress were putting on their "we need to get out the vote for us" dog-and-pony show, a new ENDA bill required stripping it of "trans" references to require passage, would I support that action, if it was guaranteed, after that, that the bill would pass and be signed into law by Our Fierce Advocate?

In a heartbeat.

"In 2000, ACT UP/Golden Gate changed its name to Survive AIDS, to avoid confusion with ACT UP/San Francisco (ACT UP/SF). The two had previously split apart in 1990, but continued to share the same essential philosophy. In 1994, ACT UP/SF began rejecting the scientific consensus regarding the cause of AIDS and the connection to HIV, and the two groups became openly hostile to each other, with mainstream gay and AIDS organizations also condemning ACT UP/SF.[19] The group would link up with People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals against animal research into AIDS cures.[19] Restraining orders have been granted after the organization physically attacked AIDS charities that help HIV-positive patients,[20] and activists have been found guilty in misdemeanor charges laid after threatening phone calls to journalists and public health officials.[21]"

You're wrong, it was Act Up.

And I was referring to QN - even specifically used the name Queer Nation.

That you erroneously responded concerning ACT-UP... well... reading for comprehension is always a good thing.

Eric: In your original post you suggested both Queer Nation and Act Up were decimated by outside influence. Re-read what you actually wrote. Remember, you listed both groups and claimed they were ruined by bending to the will of outsiders. Btw, your other erroneous claim, about the SF Gay Pride parade grand marshalls is easily rebuked by looking at: http://www.sfpride.org/parade/grandmarshals.html.

While there have been a couple of trans grand marshals, (both of them were on the SF Human Rights Commission) and Cecilia Chung is as well known as an AIDS activist as she is in trans circles. Teresa Sparks was the head of the SF Police Commission and was in the parade like many other SF officials both gay and straight have long since been. Shannon Minter, who has long been involved because of his involvement with numerous legal cases involving the gay men and lesbians.

But I do apologize for not realizing how much experience you have with trans people. I had no idea you were that guy who worked at the phone answering service down in San Jose. The Imperial Court System is truly the heart and soul of the trans community in 2010. :-)

"In 2000, ACT UP/Golden Gate changed its name to Survive AIDS, to avoid confusion with ACT UP/San Francisco (ACT UP/SF). The two had previously split apart in 1990, but continued to share the same essential philosophy. In 1994, ACT UP/SF began rejecting the scientific consensus regarding the cause of AIDS and the connection to HIV, and the two groups became openly hostile to each other, with mainstream gay and AIDS organizations also condemning ACT UP/SF.[19] The group would link up with People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals against animal research into AIDS cures.[19] Restraining orders have been granted after the organization physically attacked AIDS charities that help HIV-positive patients,[20] and activists have been found guilty in misdemeanor charges laid after threatening phone calls to journalists and public health officials.[21]" --Wikipedia entry on the history of Act Up

I was referring to Act Up, not Queer Nation.

Damn Eric.

You've just been pushing buttons like mad here.

Maura didn't push buttons -- but then, Maura understands things you don't.

Like the privilege that you show here in this comment, and in others.

Be that as it may, you are correct about how the opponents see things.

And, as a result, you should probably put a lot of effort into learning about privilege, about trans people, and more, because they know that's how they see it, and they plan to use it against you.

And the only people who will be able to defend you against it are the ones you keep pissing off.

Damn Eric.

You've just been pushing buttons like mad here.

Maura didn't push buttons -- but then, Maura understands things you don't.

Like the privilege that you show here in this comment, and in others.

Be that as it may, you are correct about how the opponents see things.

And, as a result, you should probably put a lot of effort into learning about privilege, about trans people, and more, because they know that's how they see it, and they plan to use it against you.

And the only people who will be able to defend you against it are the ones you keep pissing off.

If I've been pushing buttons, I'm sure a call for action will go out, and these pages will again be inundated with commentary from people who answer that call.

Who knows? Get enough people, and my IP might even be barred from posting commentary.

After all, banishment is the favored response from the politically correct thought police.

Politically correct language is little more than a fancy way of being polite.

I certainly hope you don't have an issue with being polite. Good manners are important, and good manners are like the oil needed when parts contact each other in constant friction.

Related: "politically incorrect" is the polite way to say one is rude.

Thought police are a fictional creation used to demonize others with whom one disagrees.

The only way I can think of for you to be banned is to violate the site's terms of service. Which I would hope you've read, since you have to agree to them when you post.

As for a "call to action", well, the other theory is that people get so upset about something they have to speak out. Sometimes in ways that they can't speak out on the site where the offense takes place. SO they go out and they write about it in their own spaces. And they provide a link. And then other people read that, and they get upset, and they follow that link.

Calls to action of that sort are relatively rare, Eric. But you'd need to have some knowledge of networking theory to understand that, so it's not surprising you'd use that methodology, given such.

Calls to action of that sort are relatively rare, Eric. But you'd need to have some knowledge of networking theory to understand that, so it's not surprising you'd use that methodology, given such.

In what century are you living, Toni? Calls to action are not rare, and in the day and age of Twitter/Facebook/Yahoo IM/MSN IM are extremely prevalent.

For someone as intelligent as you, obviously, are, you sometimes make the most incredibly stupid comments.

The only way I can think of for you to be banned is to violate the site's terms of service. Which I would hope you've read, since you have to agree to them when you post.

Then perhaps Bil or Alex can detail just where Mr. Gold violated the TOS in an opinion column that was solicited by Bil and/or Alex?

Antonia;
In fairness, it sometimes seems to members of the G/L that any deviation from the agenda of the trans community, which needs to be accepted without comment or reservation on our parts, constitutes priviledge.

Not saying how I fee about this , one way or another, but to some of the LGB, this is how it looks from this vantage point.

In some cases, I absolutely agree. In others, not so much. Depends on the situation.

Which I will be talking about soon, because it does need to be talked about.

You and I both know there's a lot of history there, and it requires that all sides be able to take the crap that the other sides will hurl at them before they can move forward.

Sadly, there's not enough down time for that to happen, with so much riding in the air now, after so long having to wait.

(ouch, troll bites HURT)

Pamela Curry | February 23, 2010 9:14 PM

Got home from the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) board meeting several member of the greater Dallas GLBT community spoke on this. All encouraged DART to adopt Gender Identity and Expression as a brief addition to the non-discrimination policy that already included sexual orientation.

After the meeting finished several of us gathered in a corner in the back. More than one board member approached the group, thanked us for bringing this to their attention. We were assured it would be addressed.

DART now knows that a unified LGBT community is watching this. Job well done to all. Thank you.

Now lets go after ENDA!

...a new ENDA bill required stripping it of "trans" references to require passage, would I support that action, if it was guaranteed, after that, that the bill would pass and be signed into law by Our Fierce Advocate? In a heartbeat.


That, Eric, makes you part of the problem, and one of the reasons trans folk are so angry.

That kind of thinking is the same thinking that created DADT. That's the same kind of thinking that results in the deaths of hundreds each year.

That kind of thinking is exactly the same kind of thinking that allows a person to say that they support your lifestyle, but no way will they let you get married.

That kind of thinking, Eric, all by itself, says that you do not value other people who have aided you in ways you are oblivious to.

That kind of thinking is just as wrong as some trans person thinking that only trans people can speak on trans stuff.

That kind of thinking, well...

Those who think that way are why it's taking so long to win equality and equity, because that kind of thinking is oppositional to it.

It doesn't matter that you think all the other things -- because all you are doing is saying that you support trans stuff, but not really meaning it.

Stop being part of the problem, Eric.

Let me be perfectly blunt.

As long as my civil rights are inexorably tied to trans folk, I'm never going to get them.

If that link is broken, however, gays and lesbians have the chance to be elevated to the same status that is held by most other citizens of the country.

At that point, it becomes a helluva lot easier to reach down and pull those up who are still facing oppression.

If it comes to the choice of standing by your side and saying: "It's all of us, or none of us," or to cut you free, then work from the other side for you, I think you'll find a majority of gays and lesbians are going to be looking for scissors.

Why do you think you will never get them?

"to cut you free, then work from the other side for you, I think you'll find a majority of gays and lesbians are going to be looking for scissors."

In my experience, people who are willing to shun you as untouchable in public can rarely be trusted to do you kindness "from the other side".

battybattybats battybattybats | February 25, 2010 9:54 AM

"As long as my civil rights are inexorably tied to trans folk, I'm never going to get them."

If for one moment you let someone elses human rights remain undefended and unchampioned your rights? You don't DESERVE them! Not till you undo every iota of damage your actions or inaction would have done. And you cannot VALIDLY claim them either! Because all rights are based on the assumption that they are universal and equal and upon the obligation and responsibility of defending all others rights!

So if you drop us your own 'rights' are lies. You will have obtained invalid power at the expense of and trampling upon the rights of others.

And newsflash, Transgender usually polls better than GLB! So in fact the opposite is true. And i for one wont invalidate my claim to my rights by leaving you behind.

Wanna bet?

Watch me validly claim them.

I'll be sure to send you an invitation to our wedding.

battybattybats battybattybats | February 26, 2010 10:47 AM

Sure. Lets giveit a try shall we?

Explain to me how you can in a way that is 100% consistent with Human Rights Philosophy without any inconsistency with that philosophy.

Without the philosophy upon which they are based and founded and reliant they are not truly rights merely powers. Rights come from Philosophical Principles.

So then how can you do so without invalidating the basis upon which they fundamentally depend for their legitimacy?

The power to do something is not the right to do something, being prevented from excercising a right by others with power does not mean the right does not exist, merely that it is abused by others.

Oh and while your reading up on the enlightenment to understand what Human Rights are and how they work (and what modern democracy is, where it comes from, why America joined in the war against Nazi Germany (hint: the four freedoms speech will help)) don't forget to catch the Yogyakarta Principles before you are done.

"Mr. President, we urge you to veto this civil rights bill giving the homosexually oriented citizens of this country the full rights and responsibilities afforded the heterosexually oriented because the bill does not extend to 'trans' persons."

Uh huh. Riiiiiiight.

Nobility is a great concept, but - to be succinct and grammatically incorrect - that ain't gonna happen.

battybattybats battybattybats | February 26, 2010 10:25 PM

Eric, you are still failing.

Maybe living a life of any integrity and worth is too difficult or you to envisage. Maybe your education on Ethical Reasoning was so minute as to leave you unaware that the abuse of human rights legitimises action neccessary to end them, including, and i kid you not here, murder and war, and before you dismiss that remember the sovereignty of your own nation and its democracy can only have legal legitimacy with that being true.

Now i'm not about to advocate Trans militant death squads and violent revolutionaries or encouraging other nations to invade to protect Trans Righta as practical and personally I'm a pacifist except where absolutely neccessary, but see if you dissmiss that possibility as Ethically legitimate then you dissmiss the legitimacy of every modern democracy that exists because of any violence, as well as the entire legal system itself which uses violence to protect rights.

Fundamentally you seem unaware that the view you consider perhaps pragmatic would make you as bad as those who pragmatically allowed your human rights to be abused through your life to this point. Does not that possible hypocracy gall you to then become the monster? To become a Human Rights Abuser by deliberate Negligence? To be a cheat by tasting the illicit fruit of recognised rights fraudulantly obtained by the lack of the equality which justifies the entire existence of those rights? Are you not repelled by the idea of being a cheat, a thief, a tyrant, an oppressor of others at the most fundamental philosophical and political and social level?

Remember too that the naiive and ignorant who do not know any better are less guilty than those who act with full knowledge. Someone brought up on a diet of hate who knows no better would be comitting a far less heinous act than someone who knows what human rights abuse feels like and yet condemns others to suffer it in order to make their own existence better first, or worse, instead of.

Do you really want to be Ethically the same as or worse than those who prospered through your life at the expense of yourself?

Or to put it plainly in geek speak, this is the moment you choose the colour of your lightsaber. Ponder that.

Simply provide me with your home address, I'll make sure you get an invitation to the wedding. Would you prefer an aisle seat? Will there be a "plus-one"?

As far as I'm concerned, your asking - no not just "asking," but, rather, expecting - others to intentionally hold themselves back is both ludicrous and unwarranted.

Trust me, I'll sleep nights.

battybattybats battybattybats | February 26, 2010 11:53 PM

Eric, Clearly your not understanding.

I'm not wanting you to do anything. I;m not expecting you to do anything.

I'm trying to point out that your view is morally and more importantly Ethically wrong. Indefensible. Unjust. It matters not that you'd sleep fine, most people who trampled your rights your whole life and those who oppose their recognition now sleep soundly too.

If you sent me the invite and I could practically attend I'd be morally and Ethically obliged to protest it as your selfish choice of advocating dropping the MORE at risk and MORE needy people was for your own material gain at their expense. Contributing if effective to the cost of lives. Lives!

I could morally and ethically do so violently, or provide material support to campains to ban marriage in your area from a reciprocal ethics argument but would not do either of those.

You don't understand Ethical and Moral reasoning, thats clear. You don't understand what Rights are, how they work, what defines and validates them, their history, is all also clear. You don't understand why its wrong to not just allow but to actively advocate for the suffering of others for your own sake when conversely were you to fight for universal rights and equality the net suffering and coat would be massively reduced.

But lets be clear about this. You are advocating climbing on the backs of others and pushing them underfoot in order to get ahead faster.

And worse it's an inverse version of thr trolley dilemma (i reccomend you google that before you reply) because you are sacrificing a larger number of people (broad-umbrella Trans is estimated at about the same population as GLB combined, plus there is crossover and add Intersex too) for the sake of a smaller number! Thats like killing 3 people at great risk to save 2 at lesser risk!

Read some Rawls on the Veil of Ignorance. Read about what the issues are for trans people that your choice would extend. Try undersanding the consequences of your actions and their ethical implications before you make any more decisions that could effect other people. ANY such decisions!

And as Trans issues often poll better than marriage and Trans people are more statistically numerous than Cis GLB and ENDA would save more lives than marriage even a utilitarian argument demands it'd be you who should go under the wheels of the troley if either were to. I'd rather neither did.

Can you honestly give even one example of the LG(B?) community pulling the trans people up to their level after getting non-inclusive rights? 'Cause I've heard that promise get made a lot, but I've never seen it kept...

In response, I'll simply paraphrase your inquiry:

Can you honestly give even one example of anyone fron any minority community pulling the anyone else from any other minority community up to their level after getting non-inclusive rights? 'Cause I've heard that promise get made a lot, but I've never seen it kept...

yeah, that's what I figured you'd say.

You know what, Toni?

My lungs are filling with fluid, again. I've been next to coughing up a lung for three weeks now; it's 10:28 AM and I only just woke up after not getting to sleep until almost 5 AM, so perhaps you should consider the fact other people have lives on which you have absolutely no bearing.

That being said, it's time to medicate, shoot up some insulin and try to get back to sleep.

THanks MErcedes! I'm going to do a follow up/update, whatever shortly.

These comments show the depths to which people go just to fight with one another. To all of you who are doing it, try to stop ripping into one another just long enough and you might be able to fight for something positive. This is sickening! And I continue to see trans people not wanting to be in the community of gays and lesbians. If that is the case, I am not sure what we can say to you. For those who want to work together and not fight with every breath you take, you are part of the solution. I read some of the comments on these posts and think, what is being accomplished?