Antonia D'orsay

Trust, part two

Filed By Antonia D'orsay | March 16, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living
Tags: LGBT, patriarchy, privilege, transgender, trust

Hi, and welcome back.

For those just joining us, we are in the midst of a conversation on trust.

Specifically, the issue of trust in the larger LGBT community.

Earlier we talked about how many people mistake a deep mistrust -- or lack of trust -- for things like hate and how often times it seems as if people forget that the reason for so much anger is the lack of trust.

The next hour we'll be looking at things surrounding the issues of history, the hostility that comes from a lack of trust, separation, and ways to overcome the problems surrounding that relatively simple concept of trust.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is the issue of trust as it's seen culturally and historically in the United States.

The very term "LGBT" itself is born in part out of a lack of trust, and how that trust affects the parts within it.

Trust was what existed in much of the early parts of the movement -- trust that people who knew wouldn't out you, in a time when being outed was a criminal offense. Trust was involved in setting the assimilationism of the day -- members of the groups were trusted to not "step out of line" and "embarrass" the rest, because doing so placed them at risk.

This assimilationist strategy affected trust with those who were not readily seen as "acceptable" -- those for whom staying in the line was a lie or a falsehood. And example of this is Butch women and Femme Men. At the time, they wee all gay -- that was the word they used, because there was a great deal of trust involved that everyone would look to each other for support and succor in times of need and crisis.

The first indication of a lack of trust came when certain individuals broke away from one group to found another, and did so not long after a major, widely known break in the assimilationist pattern of the time. Those persons who were not readily assimilated -- who didn't meet the standards and the criteria of the day, due to racism, classism, lookism, and heteronormative discrimination -- had been left out of the main groups and so one day they had a kind of rebellion that caught fire throughout the United States and is generally credited with starting the modern rights movement for LGBT folks.

Participants in that event were primarily people of color, trans women, young and poor gay and bisexual men, and butch lesbians and bisexual women. All of those particular groups were involved in this rebellion, which happened at a time when in Europe the Transsexuals were the toast of the town so long as they were performers who kept to the elite classes.

That event sparked the formation of one group, and happened at a time when several other movements were sparking off after years of slow development.

One of those other early movements was Feminism. This was seen as a change from merely liberation in later years, but often was spoken of at that time using the same terms. One of the aspects of Feminism that arose in the early 1970's was the realization among a wide number of people that the culture of the US was that the society that we live in was predominantly structured to be patriarchal -- that is, that men had all the social power.

Among the themes of the day were fierce battles of personal identification and separation, and so Lesbian was added in part due to a lack of trust of the predominantly male leadership of the organizations that were starting to flourish and that had any power at the time.

This led to a further push -- the combination of "second wave" feminism with the drive for assimilationism working together with medical agencies -- to reduce the participation of Trans persons, who at that time called themselves gay or transsexual or tranvestite for the most part, in a manner that was very effective.

This led to a great deal of mistrust -- a loss of trust -- between the Gay and Lesbian community (which generally ignored and erased or put down bisexual people in part because of a large number of bisexual people who were working against L&G interests) and the community that would come to be called Trans.

In the 1980's, pressure built up enough that the trust between the LG and B created a need for a new letter in the structure, although for the most part people still called it the Gay and Lesbian movement due to a social problem the US has with dividing things into "men" and "women". So the LGB was born. This was followed a decade or so later by the active work of what now called themselves "transgender" people that we call Trans today, creating the LGBT by the mid to late 90's.

In the interim, several things were done over the years to minimize the effort and benefit to Trans folk in the areas of local legislation, history writing, and more. This led to increased reductions in trust.

So it was that by the time of the Election of a conservative power in the Executive branch, the degree of trust on the part of B and T folks with the L and G folks was very low.

The L & G had, to some extent, resolved some of the underlying issues that separated them as a result of the AIDS Crisis, which had decimated the G leadership of the movement and continues to be felt today. Lesbians had stepped in and "picked up the flag" to a great extent, and Trans and Lesbian people founded and operated many of the earliest centers and groups that sought to provide relief and comfort to the victims of that crisis.

The B continued to be generally ignored and essentially tolerated, although most folks inside and out of the broader LGB grouping figured they were just people who hadn't made up their mind. This is much like the idea that trans folks -- who are most often portrayed as heterosexual -- are just gay men without courage to live as themselves (something which erases the variety of trans experiences, inclusive of the trans men and GQ and similar).

From the mid 1970's until the present day, Trans people's needs were used as a bargaining chip. In part due to the shared discomfort between straight and non straight people with non normative gender expressions and identities (and partially roles, though not entirely, since gay people are still seen by society as a whole as taking non gender normative roles -- this is best summed up in the question "which one of you is the woman/man?" or in the casual assignment of such by others), they were seen as a way of making something seem more palatable to the public.

One of the early examples of this is the "well, better than nice young man than that guy in a dress" that was occasionally spoken in some parts of the country early on in the fight for legislative recognition.

This is, as has been noted before, an assimilationist idea, in and of itself -- a holdover from the days where "Certain gays" were allowed to be partof the club, and those that were not masculine enough were excluded, which itself is an aspect of the patriarchy present int he culture as a whole that Feminism outlines so clearly.

This sort of assimilationist mindset traces back to before the current "modern era" movement. As some have said in the past, it is, on the part of Trans folk, a kind of "rage against the Mattachine", evoking parallels with the "rage against the machine" idea of fighting against the poltically conservative policies of the US, as exemplified by the band of the same name.

In the early and middle parts of the last decade, this fight between the old assimilationist inspired movement and the trans body hit full force, with, in a matter of less than 5 years, two successive efforts to pass a national piece of legislation were revealed to be using trans people -- who had, by this time, developed a strong and fairly cohesive political will -- as bargaining chips.

The first was capped by the revelation that after inviting Trans people to speak at a lobby day, the organizers of that event (The HRC) went around and told the various congressional offices that an agreement had already been reached to drop them, and to merely humor the trans delegation (which was conducted separately from the GLB one).

The second was capped when, in front of the largest assembly of Trans persons (and one of the most diverse crowds, in terms of kinds of trans people) that year, the Head of the HRC promised that the HRF would only support a trans inclusive bill.

Six weeks later, that was reneged on.

The trust was shattered on the part of the Trans contingent. In the history of the trans movement, never before had so many trans people suddenly sat up and made their voices heard. It was, in a per capita sense, far more startling than the effects of the Prop 8 vote later on.

To underscore just how effective this sudden uprising was, Representative Barney Frank -- who received a large portion of the blame -- actually did something unheard of. He sent out statements to trans groups and public areas accessible to trans people stating that it was their fault for not having worked harder.

Something they had, until then, been willing to trust the LGB groups to do, the majority of trans people not realizing that the usual way of working on behalf of trans people was to say "well, there aren't that many of them".

This, despite the fact that it's been known since 2003 that Trans people make up 5 to 7% of the population as a whole, with 1.5% being Transsexuals and 2 to 3% being Crossdressers.

The firestorm that this touched off led to hardening of positions on the part of assimilationist sorts within the GLB. Trans people were everywhere -- the internet is absolutely a trans space, in that we use it to communicate, learn about ourselves, and share information in one of the most amazing examples of technology adoption ever.

Much of which is driven by the large number of technology skill workers within the Trans community.

This had led tot he current situation where, for the most part, trans people do not trust the leadership of the major gay organizations. There is no trust there. Even today -- three years later -- the HRC is seen more as an opponent than an aid, and one very public trans woman is often spoken of harshly as a sell out (despite not being such).

This places the HRC in a very difficult situation, as they must work to rebuild the trust, and do so from a position where even their smallest misstep is criticized even by those few trans people considered "reasonable" by the leadership.

By extension, this is applied beyond that to other organizations -- most of which had, since the late 90's, worked to some degree or other to create a stronger sense of connection witht eh Trans community, and especially under those organization which are lesbian led.

This is due to the shift in Feminism, which is still going on according to some, or over and going through a new shift according to others, which recognizes that the US version of second wave was sexist, classist, and racist, in the institutional sense. Among the events that changed that were the protests of the Michigan Womyns Music Festival, which started when a trans woman was forcibly ejected and a series of arguments came out regarding the reasons for denying trans women entry. This was a hold over from the second wave, and the reaction was strong. "Camp Trans" was founded, and thus began a reconciliation process with Feminism that is still ongoing. That process was important, as buried within the subtext of the overall discourse around it was the assumption that trans folk were just "pretending" -- so trans men were really women (and therefore allowed) and trans women were really men (and therefore denied).

The responses to much of the negative stuff by people such as Lisa Harney were phenomenal, and used the various concepts already long present within Feminism and the intersections brought to the fore by the rise of third wave to essentially shatter the arguments applied against trans folk, and giving them a strong voice and common basis of reference that was sorely needed.

Among those organizations which shifted rapidly to develop trans related information were NCLR, and Lambda Legal. This was followed by other organizations such as the NGLTF (which has been slowly working to change its name to just The Task Force but still resists).

By the time of the 2007 debacle with HRC, over 300 organizations stood for an inclusive version of the legislation, with one of the most staunch holdouts -- even to this day -- being the HRC.

The anger within the suddenly "much larger" trans community was enormous, and it was based in the utter erasure of trust that was brought out. In the aftermath of the event, discussions around the internet and in rooms focused on how some aspects of predominantly assimilationist members of what is mostly the G community still believed and supported the idea of not needing to cover trans people.

As a result of those discussions, there are gay men who say things like "There are sound public policy exceptions to not covering that", which is an identical argument to that used by the very people they are fighting.

Enter the people who were relatively new to the internet that transitioned during the time when the GL and the T were widely separated by the aforementioned forces. This group of trans folk is aroused in part by the same forces that aroused the trans community as a whole, but in their case, they begin to work against the rest of the community on the grounds of it reflecting something they dislike strongly, as they were taught in the 'dark ages": a relationship between them and cross dressers.

Their words triggered a shift among others within the trans community who harbored prejudices similar (which have long simmered within the T and for much the same reasons in terms of issues of trust among the various parts). Splitting off from the generally socially conservative "HBS" group of Trans people, they came in and created further confusion, often providing those who were looking for support from the trans community in the ideas of assimilationism.

It was a natural allying in terms of philosophy and general heteronormative goals, as it relies strongly on the idea of assimilationism that is present among these groups.

This can be broken down along gender lines as a simple statement of "there are men and there are women -- why don't you just stick with one of them?". One of the things often seen to reflect this is the phrase "men, women, and trans", which seems very inclusive, but is, in fact, ignoring the aspect that some trans people are men, some are women, and some are found along all points in between and outside. A better phrasing would be men, women, and everyone in between or outside.

Of note here is that assimilationism often possesses strong essentialist characteristics, which resemble the same ones found in the 1970's and 1980's among the second wave feminist movement in the United States. The third wave movement is based in a more existential foundation, which is inimical to the essentialist ideals (and, therefore the Assimilationist one).

This has also created a situation where much of the LBT is allied to a stronger degree than the G is with them, since they function on similar foundations and have a great deal of intersections that is seperate from the G segment.

From a gender studies perspective, this is a microcosm of the larger social situation, where the same forces are playing out on a much wider scale without the interference of the specific past history.

Ultimately, in order to rebuild trust, the onus falls on the G segment from the perspective of those whom it has betrayed (which includes the entirety of the rest). THis is not an easy task, and requires that the G segment learn a great deal more about a subjec twith which they generally feel they have nothing in common or relation -- which is Feminism.

To do that, there has to be an overcoming of the various aspects socially which support the G culturally -- privilege and the patriarchy.

For the good of all, that must happen, and it's widely seen and recognized among the LBT population, which is why they are often found saying many of the same things when confronted with an assimilationist point of view.

In our next program, we;'ll talk about Assimilationism and Essentialism and their harmfulness in more depth, and we'll begin preparing this one for wider broadcast.


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Seth Emmler | March 16, 2010 3:42 PM

"This, despite the fact that it's been known since 2003 that Trans people make up 5 to 7% of the population as a whole, with 1.5% being Transsexuals and 2 to 3% being Crossdressers."

Mathematics is good. Mathematics is our friend. Let's try to get to know mathematics, especially addition.

Why are the statistics significant? As diverse as we are, you could cut it anyway you wanted to marginalize someone.

Mr. Emmler,

Yes, let's try adding in the kinds of trans people who are not merely crossdressers and transsexuals, shall we?

Seth Emmler | March 16, 2010 6:18 PM

It's your article, not a collective work. If you have more to add to account for the missing .5-3.5%, then pray tell us. Also, be a buddy and share with us benighted readers your source for these statistics. Maybe even include a link, as most honest bloggers would do.

You are way too high. This is something I have done a lot of research on, starting with the numbers Lynn Conway gathered on the number of post-op MtF in the US. We are between 1% to 2% of the population. This includes ALL people who would be considered gender "different" then the population's so-called norm. Even with this, it is something none of us will ever know for sure. 5% to 7% is way, way too much. That's closer to the population of LGB people in the country.

"This includes ALL people who would be considered gender 'different' then the population's so-called norm."

Considering how much of the GLB community deviates from gender norms, that would make 1-2% way too low. 5-7% might even be too low going by that criteria, if you factor in all the straight people (and there are many) who deviate from the "norm" as well.

Your numbers are based on Lynn Conway's data on post-op MtFs. Were they adjusted to include trans women who don't seek or can't get surgery, closeted trans women, trans women in denial, people who don't entirely identify as women, and the entire population of FtMs that fit respective categories?

They were indeed adjusted. That's where I got the figures, 1 to 2%.

Take Conways numbers and double them for Transsexuals only. Her numbers were for Trans Women, not Men and Women. Hence the 1.5%.

Then add the APA's 3% for CD's.

Then add the numbers for all the rest of the populations, such as the IS folk who are also TS. GQ, Drag queens, etc.

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TSprevalence.html

"Adding up the numbers of surgeries over these decades, we find that there are roughly 30,000 to 40,000 post-op transsexual women in the U. S."

Doubling even the high number is 80,000 for both post-op men and women. The US population is roughly 310,000,000 people, which comes to .00258%, not 1.5%. Post-op trans men and women represent about 5% of all transsexuals. 80,000 X 20 = 1,600,000, which is .05% of the US population. Transsexuals are probably 5% of the transgender population that includes all the other categories Toni mentioned. 3,200,000 = 1.03% of the US population. Even if you double these numbers, you are at 2.06%. 7% would be 21,700,000 Americans. That's too high and anyone who has been involved in this community even for a few years would know that.

If someone needs to make a point, then it is suggested they make a realistic point and not stretch numbers to do that.

*sigh*

Ya know what, fine. No really -- fine.

I'm wrong on the numbers.

Because the C/O numbers couldn't possibly be anything but the most authoritative, even though they explicitly note that they are derived from limited data that needs assessments done since then across the US have indicated is actually producing a number that even in their lower bounds is too high.

My apologies. You are absolutely right, Monica, and I apologize for having assumed that in doing the work I do I somehow must have mixed up those numbers and just let it get out of hand, instead of using sources that are not readily found on the internet.

Yeah, trans folk are less than 3% of the population total. I will, henceforth, use only the C/O numbers and never again speak about the numbers so as to not upset the delicate order of the way people think things are, even if they are incorrect.

Forgive me, please, and have a pleasant day.


Er, where did you find figures as high as 1–2% for TS? The figures Olyslager and Conway (2007) give suggest that >0.2% of the general population are MtF transsexuals, and >1% MtF trans of some sort. These are lower bounds of course, and as far as I know there isn't a good reason to think that FtM numbers are any different. Still, it gives only about half a percent for serious candidates for a TS treatment regime – the >2% also includes everyone else 'falling under the larger transgender "umbrella"'.

What have I missed?

The HRC is ebil, ebil I tell you. It meets in a secret bunker under the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival; they are led by Maggie Gallagher and James Dobson, they sacrfice the fluffy dogs of trans-ativists.

Don't forget the infant sacrifices! And the Drug trafficking!

Angela Brightfeather | March 16, 2010 4:19 PM

Fourth Wave.
I think you need to start thinking about them.

Younger people who are advancing from the grade school to college levels that are now living in a more open environment and themselves coming out and demanding equality and support at a much earlier age. Also the fact that they are interconnected and privy to information on the internet, through things like My Space, Twitter, etc. to a point that they can communicate, form groups and work through ideas more than any group before.

Acceptance is increasong among this group due to the simple fact that they know and understand each other much better than any previous GLBTS grouping of people. Also the fact that they have shown the ability to openly revolt by creating in school and on campus acts of non-violence against those who attempt to discriminate against them and allow them equality.

The fact that these young people are the answer to the problem of lack of trust is a given, so long as they do not turn against each other and adopt the old ways as they mature.

The fact that many of them are now obtaining the support they need in their own families and helping to educate parents in their process of growing almost has created a unified Fouth Wave unlike any before that includes large numbers of non-LGBT people who are relatives, parents and friends.

In the process of the Fourth Wave advancing in age and getting larger, the hope of unity and trust comes in the fact that many of them simply don't understand the lack of trust created in previous waves of GLBT people. As many young people I have met put it, "I really respect and want to thank you for what you have done so that I can be more out in my life. But don't ask me to separate my feelings and choose between GLBTS people. I happen to have lots of friends who are all of those things."

Dan Massey | March 16, 2010 4:48 PM

I find I support both assimilationist and antiassimilationist orgs. I support the assimilationists because, even though I think they are full of bulshyte, they are the ones right now in the face of the machine and throwing their wooden shoes into the works. They speak a truth of sorts to a power of sorts and, short term, they are able to reform and/or interfere enough to create worthwhile progress at the moment.

But I know the assimilationists are wrong for the surprising reason that the social order with which they are trying to assimilate has itself got its own identity backwards. Joining the status quo in this case can hurt you. Acceptance by the status quo is a terrible mental and spiritual prison for the soul.

Rather than lgbtqiaabdsm seeking acceptance for our social arrangements (e.g., "gay" marriage) by broader society, we should be converting broader society to be part of and acceptable to lgbtqiaabdsm. After all, we are the people who are endowed with the extraordinary gift that enables us to derive supreme joy from mutual erotic play unrelated to species reproduction. The jerks that cause so much trouble for us are actually defectives, lacking in empathic endowment or spiritual capacity for love, or both.

For want of better terms, we are all queer and kinky in different ways. It is not the way we are queer and kinky that unites us, it is the reality that we all share and experience joy in a range of alternative erotic play. I tend to think of "trans" as an all-embracing concept for the gamut of sex/gender expression.

I recall you asked this question about what we all had in common a couple of months ago. Back then I said we were all "queer", as I recall. My thinking has obviously advanced because now I'm saying we are all "trans". What will be next?

Chitown Kev | March 16, 2010 5:41 PM

Hmmmm.

The "Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?" question from a previous time and place.

I get both the "assimilationst" and the "anti-assimilationist" POV and I could probably argue it either way. You outline some of the strengths and deficiencies of both.

Seth Emmler | March 16, 2010 6:26 PM

Mr. Massey:

I am very offended by your exclusionary and hurtful language. I thought we settled this issue when we ran Ron Gold out of town on a rail, but apparently some people like you still think that you are free to exclude people from our community. lgbtqiaabdsm? How dare you? There are Two-Spirited people in this world, Mr. Massey. And Same-Gender Loving (SGL) people. And oppressed sexual minorities who are into CBT, GS, and FF. Where are they in your bigoted exclusionary jargon?

Also, oppressed peoples need to have their groups capitalized. Where do you get off using lower case letters? Male privilege shows its ugly face. Take a cue from Antonia, who actually capitalizes "Cross-Dressers" and does so without irony.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 16, 2010 7:29 PM

And I find your self superior irony boring. Why don't you start your own blog rather than trolling others looking for excuses to gratuitously insult people in order to make yourself feel more adequate? I think "digme.com" might be still available.

(Sorry moderators, I normally don't address such people personally)

"Male privilege shows its ugly face."

It sure does. Though not in the way you're thinking.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 16, 2010 7:13 PM

I have always been a trusting person, sometimes much to my detriment. No matter what has happened in the past, my default position has always been to think the best about people. This isn't a boast as much as a lament as this trait has caused me no end of grief.
As I get older though, I've become more and more cynical. People who I've helped, donated to, assisted, worked for and been a friend to so many times have thrown me aside or actually done me harm for the most shallow of reasons at the slightest hint that it may be beneficial for them to do so or that our relationship may become inconvenient for them. Some of these people even come back later and want to make it all better and insist that they had been forced to act as they did by irresistible outside forces. When that happens, I try to keep in mind the axiom "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me", though I'm not always able to cut people loose even when they have done me harm. I keep believing in them and wanting them to change and thinking that if only they could get to know the real me, they would never treat me like garbage again.
I would love to be able to trust the leadership of the LGB community but I haven't been given any reason to. In fact, I've been only given reason after valid reason to not trust them. I remember when many states were debating LGB anti discrimination laws just in the last decade or so and one after the other the states, most of them anyway, dropped trans protections. Our "leaders" told us to be patient. Politics is the art of the possible. As soon as we get this bill passed, we can add transgendered people to it. It's a piece of cake! So I was patient. I worked, I gave, I lobbied and when anti discrimination laws were passed in my state, our leaders promptly dropped me and my concerns and started agitating for same sex marriage while I still don't have the "right" in my state to work and support myself, to have housing to even patronize retailers and entertainment venues. But I'm supposed to be patient, after all, isn't same sex marriage a right everybody should enjoy? Aren't civil rights for all a worthy goal? Shouldn't I give my money and lend my voice to such a noble cause?
Here's the reality: I can't legally marry anybody in my state of any gender, nor do I have the basic rights of adult human beings though I have the same tax and legal liabilities as everyone else and the leaders of the LGB community are still offering nothing but platitudes, while at the same time alternately entreating me and berating me in order to get me to push harder and give more for same sex marriage.
The worst part is how stupid they apparently believe I am.

Toni, when the villagers are coming with torches don't hide in the windmill, it never works in any of the movies.
All the distractions of math aside, since math is nasty and distracts people from the point. And a few minor historical nits aside. Your post here really does drive the nail home on one front and that is the issue of trust or the lack of it, I'm not so sure to what extent it is a loss of it though. I mean in the 1920s a homophile organization founded in Chicago made the conscious choice to exclude the concerns of bi people even though one of the three officers of that first US legally registered organization to work for our rights was bi.
I agree that trust is lacking and I understand some of the reasons why trust is lacking I'm just not so sure how much trust was there to begin with. People faced with charges could often get off by rolling over on others. For instance at the time when Jimi Hendrix was discharged from the Army for homosexuality if one were charged one generally went to jail unless he or she were willing to turn in others.
Somebody told the cops the color clothing codes on parties that were busted and raided in the early 20th century when cops would show up undercover dressed with the appropriate color and be allowed to enter the back rooms and upstairs where these parties were held.

I never really liked windmills, actually. Except the one in those two really cool Gorrillaz videos...

Math is interesting. It is, admittedly, not my friend, but when people make the assumptions that just because there are transsexuals who are x, and CD's who are Y, that thee can't possibly be any others despite the evidence of various readily found sources (say, the All Gender Health research, for example) that probably require one be part of the team to use or pay a fee to access unless one wants to go plop down the funding for a major research publication.

Among the things I've learned over the years are that everyone underestimates the number of trans people simply because to most folks, there are only two kinds. Kinda like how people underestimate the number of LGB folks because they only ever count lesbians and Gays.

I don't erase them, and I pay attention to such, but, in this series of late in particular, I'm pretty much tired of being told that I have to do someone else's work for them when they claim to be a journalist of sorts and I pointedly don't.

Eh.

You raise a really good question, Rob. How much was there to begin with? I suspect that there wasn't a whole lot during the time you highlight, and I tried to avoid using dates and specific hallmarks on purpose -- the idea was to create a flow, not a pointed timeline, as timelines often interfere with such unless they are multiple and of a small enough scale (which for a lot of the above would like be a three month scale over 165 years adjusted for locale).

And yet, I think that by the time of the "modern movement" -- which, really, was the birth of a new movement somewhat separated from the extant groups of the day -- there was a great deal of trust in two basic collectives.

And the years since have been a struggle between one general philosophy and another -- with both of those parts, each of which can be identified as LGBT -- and I see it as the hard corp struggle between those two factions still.

But when it comes to those L and G and B and T parts -- which tend to have more impact with people than trying to talk about the broader conflict that rages within -- they have their own trust issues, and I think that there has been a lot of trust there at different times.

For me, personally, that overarching polarity is ultimately more important, because its what informed much of the various issues noted above. They are, ultimately, symptoms of the struggle.

As was once said: you have siblings in a burning house, and you have problems with all of them but are only going to be allowed to save two of the three.

Do you buck the system and go for all three, potentially sacrificing yourself, or do you leave one to burn knowing they will come back and do a poltergeist-style ass kicking on your family afterwards?

Of course, last time it was asked, people left out the poltergeist bit.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 17, 2010 10:21 AM

Hang in there Toni. Some people are just here to disrupt and only care about drawing attention to themselves. You can cite every scientific study result in the world, you can be a credentialed expert in any given field and somebody will come along with something they found on the internetz that "prove" you wrong. They will never let go, they will never admit they are mistaken or just being disruptive, they will never give the subject of their attacks the slightest concession because that would mean directing attention away from themselves and that is not their purpose. And you can't close off all avenues of attack. If you close one, they attack from another angle. Again, their purpose in not to discuss or even to engage in debate, it's to be RIGHT. It's to be BETTER than you. At all costs.
Some of it comes from any number of psychological issues but I'm not a Psychologist so it all comes under the heading of seeking attention and notoriety as far as I'm concerned. It's also important to point out that when the previous administrations and their supporters, especially in the media began to talk about scientific data as if it were actually opinion, rather than empirical, life became a lot more "interesting" for those of us in science. Now we are all accused of "having an agenda" and "fixing facts around a result" and so forth. Everybody feels entitled to have an opinion on any given subject regardless of background or knowledge. They accuse people of science of doing exactly that which they are engaged in. Take one example: Because of their overwhelming hatred for Al Gore many people deny global climate change is occurring in spite of all the empirical evidence to the contrary. While many of these SAME people supported the last administration when they decided that not only could they "redefine" CO2 as not a greenhouse gas but could also redefine it's properties. get that? They decided not that they could "reclassify" it as not a greenhouse gas but went further to deny that it could be in spite of it's well defined properties.
Of course the prior administration did it for reasons of greed but regardless of motivation, regardless of how much one hates Al Gore, the empirical evidence is that anthropomorphic climate change is happening and accelerating but no amount of evidence is going to prevent people from citing sources like Alex Jones to "prove" that it's all a hoax to get your money, property, freedom, whatever. They invariably resort to condescension and insults in order to bolster their beliefs because they have no substance. The fact is that no matter what they have been told by politicians, family, friends, clergy, etc., science is not opinion, yet many of them continue to present distorted or discredited or just fictional "evidence" to make the point that no matter what, you are wrong and they are right. They are as relentless as they are unalterable in their opinions. They are also quite predictable and I predict a personal attack leveled at me both for coming to your defense and for what I've said about the attackers.
As for the number of TG people: very few studies have been done, almost all of them qualify the results because A) the sample size wasn't adequate and B) Responses were compromised due to the stigma attached to being TG in this society. I would think it axiomatic that there are many, many more cross dressing males in our culture than will admit to being such. I know I wouldn't even admit that I was TG to myself for the first twenty years of my life or so. There is also the matter of Human Subject Research being expensive and time consuming. A drug study is one thing, a sex worker study in regard to HIV/AIDS is another but simply going out and counting transgendered Americans would be a monumental challenge that nobody has taken on seriously and nobody could reasonably expect a scientifically accurate result. There are just not enough TG people to make it profitable for a pharmaceutical company to fund a hormone study on transgendered Americans, the government won't get involved with such a thing as long as they are held hostage by their terror of what the religious establishment will say about them if they did. There have been some university studies but I'm not aware of anything long term or with more than a handful of participants. Trying to count transgendered Americans by counting how many prostitutes are still or used to be biologically male is like trying to count alcohol users using just arrest records. And alcoholism has a lot less social stigma attached to it. Far more transgendered men and women choose to fade into society rather than be out and active. They go from one closet to another but are still closeted.
I didn't mean to make this so long so forgive but it needed saying. I have run across disruptive people on any number of forums on any number of subjects and they all seem to have one thing in common: an overwhelming desire for affirmation of their influence and their superiority. We used to have a name for such people. Bullies.

In the very beginning, when TAVA first started, we kept hearing, "How many transgender veterans are there?" We needed a way to give a realistic estimate for working purposes. Based on the formula I used in a previous comment, we came up with 270,000 to 300,000 TG veterans. Last year, when we spoke with a person in the VA in DC who had worked with trans veterans, she stated tha based on her findings in the VA, our figures appear accurate.

When you have the responsibility of providing credible information from an establish organization, one cannot afford to make up figures because they feel like it. Yes, 1% may not sound so glamorous or shocking, and it may be a little low, but it doesn't make people blow us off for being unrealistic. It's better to be wrong on the low end, but still have people still listen to you then to be wrong on the high end and dismiss you altogether. That comes from experience.

yes, absolutely, because I have no responsibility and I've never done anything like this for governmental or state agencies before, and I've never done meta studies that can, in fact, be wholly researched independently.

I mean, it's not as if I don't charge large sums of money to people for the services I've done in the past, and none of them have ever been used to structure forecasting at all.

I mean, I/m fairly certain that it's never occurred to anyone to actually bother doing a metasurvey of several organizational needs assessments, or that anyone has ever bothered to dig into the numbers for gender variant children or HIV data where trans women are included in the mens segment, even post surgery.

And of course I don't do any representing of an organization at all, so I am, in the end, of no consequence nor authority.

Thank you for all of that, as a person of color such as myself has consistent need to be challenged on my ability to perform something I spent half my life doing.

Going forward, as I noted on my blog, I will, with all due appropriateness, reference my fee for services as requested.

I'm Canadian so maybe I missed something important but it seems to me that she questioned your statistics not your colour. Why on earth would would you even bring that up?

Good question.

Because one of the flaws of the particular aspect being used is that it does not count for ethnicity, and under reports as a result. Which is recognized by people in the field, but generally ignored by the strong tendency towards dogma over fact.

That and there's some seriously ethnically privileged commentary involved that are, ultimately, a particular function of the specific cultural group.

Even if you were to correlate supposed missed numbers of trans people of color, you will not jump to 5% of the American population. If you recall, I stated that we are between 1 and 2%, but I use 1%. 2% can easily cover any missed people.

And, I don't appreciate any accusations of not caring about including people of color, no matter how you try to disguise it. It shows you apparently don't know me very well. Ask Monica Roberts if you don't believe me.

Interesting.

The numbers, though, we'll never know. And maybe we don't want to? If we just assume that everyone's gender non-conforming in some way (my straight military brother loves Meg Ryan movies, go figure), and everyone's basically bisexual, then everyone's queer.

And that's the real fear, isn't it? That if we didn't have all this sexual and gender policing, both literal and figurative, that we'd almost all be queer in some way.

Anyway, the numbers still are important, my silliness aside, and it's interesting to read all those numbers.

I am still waiting to hear from the HRC "We made a mistake in agreeing to drop the T-People from HRC in 2007! Our leader Joe Made a Mistake!" I will still have a problem with HRC attempting to speak for any of us!

Don't hold your breath. I don't see Buffalo Joe apologizing any time soon. He is more of the "Let's just let bygones be bygones... now everyone line up in a really straight looking line... forward march"