Antonia D'orsay

A Prom and Pretty (Ugly) Things

Filed By Antonia D'orsay | April 06, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Constance McMillen, fake prom, Fulton Country Club, Itawamba Agricultural, Juin Baize, lesbian couple, lesbian teen, lesbians at prom, Mississippi, prom, school district, Trans, Trans Awareness, transgender, Transgender Anti-Discrimination, transgender teens, transsexual

Secret proms being disguised as birthday parties.Thumbnail image for Julin

Social outcasts being left out and exiled.

A school that has lied in court.

And, once more, an example of some of the issues that surround all of this, and a reason why it is that the T is part of the LGBT.

What's that you say? Not again? Now I'm "stealing" the prom fiasco?

Well, let's look a bit closely, shall we?

Constance asked, initially, in December if she could take her date.

Then she asked again. She was told she couldn't take her date. She was also told she could not wear a Tuxedo, which she had added to the request.

Keep this in mind, please. She was told, before the thing became national news and a court case, that she couldn't take her date but that they could both go there and be there together.

Indeed, that date part wasn't the court issue. The issue was that she wanted to wear a tuxedo to the Promenade Dance.

To put it in terms that are clear: she wanted to cross dress in attending the Prom.

In the interviews with Constance that were published, she made the point that she was told she could take her date, but when she brought up the issue of wearing a tuxedo, the Principal told her that if he let her do that, he'd have to let some boy do it. And he simply was not going to allow that.

Period.

Then we find out about a quieter story. Another story. The same school. The same Principal. The same time as Constance asking to go to the Prom.

One kid. One trans kid. Sent home the first day he arrives at school. Sent home the next day he arrives at school and given a suspension.

Essentially driven out of the school, his entire family was more or less forced to relocate.

Because this kid, who still uses male pronouns from the reports we have, tried to go to school.

No major coverage in the news. Not even a peep about it. No one really talks about it. No invitations to Ellen, no lawsuits, no ACLU.

No outrage.

A school that Constance attended. A school that shut down a prom rather than let a kid attend cross-dressed.

The judgment against the school said that it had indeed violated her right of expression, just as they had violated the rights of that one trans kid. She won the case.

The judge said she had the right to attend the Prom crossdressed since it was a statement of free expression.

Getting that point now?

They throw one kid out of the school for wearing clothing opposite their assigned sex and gender, and move a prom because another kid wants to attend it in the clothing assigned to the opposite gender with a stated reason of not wanting to let a person assigned male sex do the same.

What if, instead of suing, Constance had simply decided to wear a dress?

She and her date could have gone to the Prom. It wouldn't have been canceled. There would have been no lawsuit, no national press.

One gay girl crossing a gender norm. Not a sex norm -- she's not wanting to be a boy. She's a girl, and, thus far, appears to like it.

Do not tell me that this is about being gay.

It is not.

And saying that is an insult to the young person who now lives in Florida, where his family could find work after he was tossed out of school.

Who does not have a $30,000 scholarship and an internship in New York City, who has not been invited on Ellen or been featured in national news stories.

But who's mere presence ultimately started this whole cycle of events.

I don't begrudge Constance her scholarship. I don't fault anyone for giving her the coverage (although there are Trans folk who do and do so rightfully) or the opportunity. I am thrilled to death that such things happened for her.

I also think the bullshit thing the school did -- and the school is complicit in this, no question in my mind, as are the parents of every last one of the children who attended the "birthday party" they lied about the real Prom being, and every single one of the kids who attended that Prom and left the social outcasts to a community joke -- is one of the most unimaginably cruel things anyone has ever done without actually causing physical harm.

All because a girl wanted to wear a tuxedo to a dance, and because some people are so damned afraid of the Trans that they'll even attack a lesbian.

Go on. Say it.

Say the T isn't a part of the whole.

Go on -- advocate for the split, the difference, the breaking up.

The entire thing around this school is because of Trans stuff. So please, say it.

Because I want you to be aware of the hypocrisy there.

And the cruelty that you are supporting to your own when you do that.


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"Go on. Say it.
Say the T isn't a part of the whole."

T isn't a part of the whole.

"Go on -- advocate for the split, the difference, the breaking up."

I don't advocate for a breaking up, because we were never together to begin with, except by fiat of a handful of unelected activists. It is true that sometimes we will have common issues, but that doesn't mean that "LGBT" as a unitary concept makes any kind of sense.

This particular case of Constance does involve both a sexual orientation issue and a trans issue. The prom that is going down in GA involves no trans issue. Sometimes there is a common interest, sometimes not.

It appears that this school also tricked learning disabled students into going to the fake prom along with Constance. This would create an issue of common concern with the disabled community. But it wouldn't make all disabled people part of the gay community or create some hybrid community that envelopes both groups (ex., LGBD).

You are aware of the hypocrisy there.

And the cruelty that you are supporting to your own when you do that.

Elli Pemberton | April 9, 2010 2:33 AM

LGBT is a unified concept because all four of the included subjects go against standard gender expectations in Western society.

Lesbians go against the gender norm by being with females, when women are expected to be subservient to their men.

Gay men go against the gender norm by being, in a stereotypical case, feminine, and being with males.

Bisexual persons are against the norm because they don't necessarily conform to one particular gender norm.

Trans* persons go against the gender expectations at the very core of the definition; by, in varying ways, presenting themselves in a way that is not congruent with the sex that they were assigned at birth.

Gender expectations unite these groups.

This whole thing with Constance is infuriating, and not because it's the worst thing a school has ever done to a kid, but because they're going out of their way to be so cruel.

Anyway, it's definitely both a gender expression and a sexual orientation issue. And it's not like the principal was looking at one student and making the fine distinctions that we make - he was thinking about the boy in a dress and the girl in a tux.

But still, people aren't going to see common cause so long as we're organizing around identity. If we were organizing around, say, sexual liberation, gender liberation, or just personal autonomy, people would see the connections. When it comes to identity, people like the commenter above start thinking that we're all atomized armies fighting to win some zero-sum game called "Me First" instead of individuals advocating a world view, a value, or a system of laws.

Both of these students shouldn't be excluded because they just want to express themselves in a way they're comfortable with instead of being forced to lie about who they are. There's the connection. In fact, that's probably the most important one since it's the ACLU defending her and the First Amendment she was making a claim under, and both of those are about expression more than LGBT identity.

And yeah that's big and huge and encompassing but then maybe that's not such a bad thing. The problem is that it forces us to examine our own politics and how we related to LGBT activism and communities. We can't just "support" or "oppose" a segment or the whole community - we'd have to think for ourselves about what's good and what's not. Which, for some people, is horrifying.

Alex - just when I'm ready to disassociate from GLB activism (thanks Mela - the T will be taking our stuff when we leave BTW) I read things like this from you and I'm reminded that not every gay man appropriates trans people for their own ends, not every lesbian wants to keep trans women out of woman only spaces, and not every GLB activist is clueless about trans stuff.

Thanks for your post.

This is a great comment, Alex.

I've been thinking similar thoughts, and trying to organize them.

Chiming in here. Great comment (and one day you and I will get to meet).

This is why most of my stuff is centered around not the concept of identity, but of description.

Identity is damaging. Indeed, my complain here is more about escaping the confines of identity and recognizing a universal description, that really a trans v gay thing.

But I've discovered that if I don't at least put that little bit in there, people utterly miss the point.

That's why I wrote the article on what is Trans, and why it was separate from the article on affinity groups and that was separate from the points on situational membership.

They are all key components of a larger puzzle, and I'm slowly making my way into the smaller parts of the whole.

But the key to getting out of identity is to recognize how harmful it is to social activity, and how useful it is to the person.

Identity ends at the surface of your skin.

Juston Thouron Juston Thouron | April 6, 2010 7:57 PM

Thank you Antonia for not forgetting about Juin. His story has been essentially forgotten and I find that atrocious.

Mela, with respect, I think you are missing the point here. No one is saying that there are not nuances involved in different cases. Juin was not even allowed to ATTEND Itawamba, much less go to prom. He was literally kicked out of Itawamba and scared out of Fulton, MS for being himself.

Antonia has given you facts regarding issues of cross dressing at Itawamba. She has also pointed out the lack of response from the community to Juin's situation. If we cannot agree on facts then there is no conversation, just meaningless cross posting.

We should unite because we are hated and excluded from society by the same injustices and the same people. And we should unite because it is the right thing to do.

For LGB's to withhold inclusion in the wider community because of some fear that including T's will delay equality for the rest of us is moral cowardice.

Thanks for responding!

I didn't and don't challenge any of Antonia's facts as they relate to Juin. I absolutely oppose and condemn the treatment that these MS idiots gave to Juin. The only thing I object to is Antonia's conclusion, which is that these prom wars in any way justify the concept known as "LGBT".

You say:
"We should unite because we are hated and excluded from society by the same injustices and the same people. And we should unite because it is the right thing to do."

Sometimes they are the same, and sometimes they aren't. Sometimes our interests overlap and sometimes they don't. I am not opposed to LGBs and Ts being allies on particular issues when it is to our mutual benefit. So if by "unite" you mean "be allies", I have no problem with it, just as I support gays allying with Black civil rights groups, liberal groups, or, as might happen in this prom case, disability rights groups.

The problem comes when you go beyond that. Ts cannot be satisfied with an alliance b/c that won't give them control over gay groups, gay money, and gay autonomy. We could always say "no" to an ally, and Ts cannot tolerate that. So they have co-opted and distorted the gay community by insisting that it now become a hybrid of gay and trans, sexual orientation and gender identity. This is a completely different ball of wax than an alliance, and I believe that more and more gay people are waking up to it.

Why does it matter whether we are allies or are considered one solitary "community"? Simple. Gays lose the right to say "no". We may not want to ally with you on some issues. Some issues might be irrelevant to us. Some positions held by Ts might be offensive or objectionable to gay people. Some might just be irrelevant. And in some cases, we might just want to make a strategic decision not to get caught up in issues like bathrooms and hormone therapy for convicts. Or we might decide that we do want to be involved with those issues. But it should be our choice, not yours.

I don't blame Ts for supporting LGBT, since they benefit from it. But it is a raw deal - and a destructive deal - for gay people.

Going to ask for support for the following statements which rely on unproven or unestablished assumptions without evidence:

1. Sometimes they are the same, and sometimes they aren't. Sometimes our interests overlap and sometimes they don't.

2. Ts cannot be satisfied with an alliance b/c that won't give them control over gay groups, gay money, and gay autonomy.

3. Ts cannot tolerate that (being told "no").

4. So they have co-opted and distorted the gay community

5. Gays lose the right to say "no".

6. Some positions held by Ts might be offensive or objectionable to gay people.

7. ...It is a raw deal - and a destructive deal - for gay people.

I will, for this moment, skip the inherent privilege and intentional marginalization that you mention that is based in sexism and heteronormativity.

Please support those particular statements with evidence that is applicable to the wider populaces concerned.

I am *especially* interested in point number one, as I'd like to know of a particular issue that gay people face that trans people do not have to deal with.

Are you "playing" with one of your "close-minded" and "prejudiced" commenters? Why would I waste my time responding to someone who admits that she doesn't take this discussion seriously and who, BTW, refuses to provide evidence of her own bizarre assertions. Still waiting to see some authority for the constitutional right to organic food in prison.

"I will, for this moment, skip the inherent privilege and intentional marginalization that you mention that is based in sexism and heteronormativity."

LOL! Anyway, thanks for the laugh. You really should take this on the comedy circuit.

The raw deal thing is part and parcel of the "more normal than thou" thing that some activists use to explain legislative failures or successes purchased at the price of a part of the whole.

On that basis, we Lesbians ought to stand alone as we would likely have the easiest time improving our political position without "crossdresers or sodomites"

But, the reality is that ALL THE LETTERS in LGBT have interlocking issues, and we stand alone or they will come after us separately

Juston Thouron Juston Thouron | April 7, 2010 1:23 AM
"THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up."

Pastor Martin Niemoller.

Mela, if you don't get the message it's because you don't want to.

I'm a white, gay, cisgendered male. Every time I read about the struggles for freedom endured by black Americans I feel great pride and feeling for them because I know that if they are protected my rights gain further protection and I, as a white male, do not have to cooperate with the bigotry in my own race to 'pass.' I've lost two jobs in my life because of anti-black racism that I refused to comply with when it would have benefited me to do so. I feel the same way about L's B's and T's. I had a female coworker come into work one day crying because her lesbian friends had blown her off for having sex with men. She literally lost all of her female friends at once. I've seen all of this crap with my own eyes.

You quote me when I wrote,

"We should unite because we are hated and excluded from society by the same injustices and the same people. And we should unite because it is the right thing to do."

but I can see that the meaning and implications of my words escape you. With respect, I think you need to take some time and think it over. You have much to gain from it.

For Mela:

At this point, no, I am not playing. I asked serious questions and I'd like an answer to them.

These are all statements of opinion you have made, not fact, and therefore what I am asking you to do is support your opinions, not search for facts that I can already seek out myself.

As to your question, because those questions go to the heart of what you *said* -- the message you carry -- and since you want that message presented (evidenced by your making the statement here), you would have a willngness to answer questions for clarity about your own statements when those statements directly contradict items others know (namely that there is an issue that trans people and gay people do not share in common -- something I know is not true).

Incidentally and off topic:

I take everything seriously, even my humor, and I've never said I don't take it seriously.

I did not refuse to provide the answers requested. Pointedly did not refuse. I made a reasonable offer after answering the basics for a googled listing and that offer is still open. You are most free to do the work yourself or pay me for the time I spend looking up specific factual references that you can look up yourself.

You wanted authority, however, and that authority is in the Constitution of the United States (cruel and unusal punishment consists of denying medically necessary treatment).

There ya go (not the same thing you asked before, and I suppose you will now ask for a court citation that you can look up yourself and is outside the context of this thread so youll have to wait on that one).

I am not sure what you thought I asked for. You made assertions about prisoners getting organic food and cell re-design as a matter of right on the grounds of medical necessity. I just asked you to back that up with ANYTHING other than your own words. I would accept a court decision, or a newspaper article, or a reference on a credible website. It ain't my job to source your comments and I am not going to pay you to do it. It isn't your job either, and I am not sure what your real job actually is. But if you choose not to back up the statement, no one needs to give it any weight.

Also, if you write people off as prejudiced and then say that you are just playing with them to see how long you can draw out a discussion, that isn't taking the discussion seriously. I might just as well post the single word "Why?" after all of your comments and see how long you can go. That wouldn't be respecting you or taking your views seriously.

SarasNavel | April 7, 2010 3:05 AM

Hi Mela,

I think that perhaps you are oversimplifying things a bit. You see, to most non-LGBT people, the sexuality issue *is* a gender issue. We can chop it up twenty different ways internally but to most outsiders, all transgender people are gay and all gays are transgender. Up until not so many decades ago, there weren't even separate terms for us. We all cross the divide and are therefore sinners. Or social deviants; choose your poison.

-If you wear the clothes of the "wrong" sex you are trans.
-If you need the body of the "wrong" sex you are trans.
-If you perform the social role of the "wrong" sex you are trans.
-If you love or lust after the "wrong" sex, you are trans.

Each crosses the line of "pure" male and "pure" female in peoples' minds and all must be eliminated if the false assumption of a pure gender binary is to continue standing.

You can argue that "gay" money should only be spent on "gay" causes, but all that'll do is repeal sodomy laws. Everything else *is* gender. Gender role, gender identity, gender appearance, gender expectation.

Let's see how far you get with pure sexuality-only employment, housing or military anti-discrimination laws. Because ultimately, gays and lesbians aren't fired for the act of having gay sex at work. They are fired for crossing the lines of societal gender expectations.

Fight for all who transgress a false pure gender binary and you win in the end, regardless of your place in the acronym. Fight only your battles and for your causes and the others will always be used against you successfully. Divide and conquer at its finest and most subtle; play the pieces against each other. And we fall for it time and again.

The assumption of a pure gender binary has seeped into our society at a very low level and it there that it must be challenged. Not up at the academic level of teasing apart role from identity from appearance from sexuality. Only when that falsehood is exposed will gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and all that call themselves queer stand equal to the other 85-ish percent of the bell curve currently labeled "real men" and "real women". And only then will we lose our luster to those that use us for their own political, egotistic or monetary gain.

Sorry Mela - gay men need trans women. Do you honestly think the T was added because trans women asked for it?

Leaving out the fact that trans has always been part of the G & L and it's only in the western industrial nations that there is even any hint of distinction, and even there it's primarily in white and/or middle class communities.

gay men need the history, context, and yes mythical spirituality of the trans woman to add validity to the movement. How important in the early "gay rights" movement was it to establish that gays were in all cultures and all times? Who got used as examples of historical gays - Hijra, Waria, cross dressing priestesses of Ishtar and Cybele, Two-Spirit First Nations folks. How many times have you read or heard "In some cultures "gays were respected as healers and played an important part in the religious life of their people." - those are all trans (or better, what is closer to trans culturally than "gay"). If you remove the T and (as many want the B) the G gets left with some serious problems trying to prove an identity beyond industrial age Europe.

If one looks at political stuff, trans folks were quietly getting stuff done at least a decade before Stonewall. We can get our documents changed or amended in 47 states - this stopped right around the 70's when we seemingly allied with gays at Stonewall.

Trans employment and violence statistics are added to anti-GLB statistics as padding, because we provide some healthy numbers for when it comes time to dole out grants or give soundbite numbers to the press and drum up public support.

GLBT is named such because the G and L have ALWAYS used the B and T - it was an exercise in honesty to name it. The T was well on our way to silently getting what we needed, setting up our own support groups, and expanding existing laws to include the transitioning folks not just the surgery-tracked post-op folks. We put our movement on hold because our communities in many places are so interconnected as to be indistinguishable. You need us way way more than we need you - remember your history, because it's mostly mine.

SarasNavel | April 7, 2010 1:10 PM

One other not-so-minor point that I might mention is that transsexuals were absolutely crucial to the depatholization of gays. The creation of the classification of GID in the DSM-III can be seen as a swap for the declassification of homosexuality. From the point of view of the "gays can be cured" psychiatrists, this merely reclassified the focus from a deviant desire to a deviant identity, which is mere semantics for the diagnosis and treatment.

Thank you, laughrioTgirl, for the history lesson, I'm going to save off the page for my daughter for years from now. Can you provide any good books or other sources on the topic and time periods you mentioned? I'm not questioning your statements as they corroborate well with what I've read, but I am looking for full texts and dead tree docs that might not be available 10 or 20 years from now. Much of LGBT+ history tends to only get a single print run.

Gay American History by Jonathan Katz for some appropriation

The Zuni Man/Woman - By Will Roscoe

Gay Spirit and the Cult of Extacy - by Stonewall Press are also good starts.

SarasNavel | April 11, 2010 4:38 AM

Thank you.

(& sorry for the odd partial repost)

SarasNavel | April 7, 2010 2:03 PM

One other not-so-minor point that I might mention is that transsexuals were absolutely crucial to the depatholization of gays. The creation of the classification of GID in the DSM-III can be seen as a swap for the declassification of homosexuality. From the point of view of the "gays can be cured" psychiatrists, this merely reclassified the focus from a deviant desire to a deviant identity, which is mere semantics for the diagnosis and treatment.

battybattybats battybattybats | April 7, 2010 12:07 PM

Mela... Gender diversity is a very large group.

Intersex is about 1% of the population. Transsexuals are a tiny proportion.
MtF crossdressers are estimated as between 2% and 10% of the population! (just as many estimates of GL combined come to 2%-10% of the population)

A significant overlap exists of Intersex GLB people, Transsexual GLB people, Crossdresser GLB people et al.

So before you draw that line to firmly be wary that you may be about to seperate out what may possibly be the largest under-tapped resource of money and votes.. the still as yet clossetted TG folk like the crossdressers.

One that may rival G and L combined!

Think of what good could come from mobilising the cash and votes in that and then think of the loss from either losing access to that or worse an angry backlash from it.

Renee Thomas | April 6, 2010 9:03 PM

Mela,

Can you honestly maintain that those who hate us all are able to draw the distinctions that you seem capable of?

As it relates to the definition of the gay community, why would I care what distinctions they can or can't make? Homophobes associate gays with a lot of things and a lot of groups (pedophiles, commmies, spies), none of them intended to be flattering. They also disassociate gays with a lot of things (morality, patriotism). I don't define myself based on what some homophobe thinks and neither should you, whether we are talking about adding a T or any other aspect of our self-definition.

Tab Hunter’s Ghost | April 6, 2010 9:07 PM

If this article had been written to point out the fact that Juin deserved the same kind of support that Constance has received I might agree with many of your points.

Constance reached out and sought help and she very bravely continued to stand up for herself. From what I’ve read Juin and his family (I don’t know which pronoun this person prefers but have read he so I’ll use that) has shunned the spotlight, chosen to flee the vicinity out of justified fear, and they are trying to keep a low profile to keep their lives as normal as possible. That’s their right, of course. If they asked for help or support from the community as Constance did I would imagine it would be forthcoming.

Does that situation rise to an accusation/shaming level of offense? What do you hope to accomplish by taking this approach? I’m totally baffled at this point. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Support Constance and feel ashamed for not supporting Juin, when Constance reached out and Juin has chosen to remain hidden and near-anonymous, for whatever personal reasons?

Or feel ashamed because Constance was really fighting a trans battle and not a gay battle so we in the gay community were fooled into supporting something we didn’t realize in our stupidity?

The intersections between gay and trans are not a secret despite what is said frequently here. Many of us gay men suffer and have been victimized precisely because we do not conform to gender expectations in dress, presentation, or action. There is an implied premise here, in my reading, that Juin was more deserving of support or at least he suffered more and that rings hollow and flat to me.

I hear you saying that the “gay” community has fallen short of whatever it is that we are expected to do to uphold our part in supporting the trans world and you presenting that as some kind of challenge but the challenge isn’t quite clear to me.

It’s good that you don’t “begrudge” the lesbian her scholarship and all the perks she’s received from her community embrace. It’s sad that you undermine that declarations by presenting a compare/contrast laundry list of what she gets and what Juin doesn’t get to make your point because as I read it you do sound miffed that Juin gets nothing out of this when he is the original victim.

The point of this posting seems to be to emphasize a commonality that should spur us to work together but the divide could just as easily be deepened in this context. I’m sure that is because of gay privilege and gay appropriation and gay ignorance and I’m sure that will be pointed out but I don’t see that moving many people who don’t already know that.

A little self-reflection and self-examination could be brought into the conversation from the trans side, however, and that might help to build community and strengthen ties.

When I read this I immediately made a connection with the vehemence of the protect against that movie that premiered today and wondered why Juin’s situation didn’t seem to provoke the same amount of heat and light in the trans community. Of course that’s inviting an accusation of my attempting to impose a hierarchy of action argument in an attempt to silence but I think it’s a legitimate question.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Excellent Response.

1 - The article was written to point out that the underlying issues here are part of why we are the LGBT, not the T added on half assed to several letters.

2 - Juin's family *did* ask for help or support.

3 - Is it something shameful? No. It is a wrongness? Yes.

4 - What do I hope to accomplish? Raising awareness.

5 - Yes, damned if one does and damned if one doesn't is exactly the situation.

6 - I will note that "whatever personal reasons" most likely includes threats of violence, which is not only not a stretch but signficantly statistically likely, and, therefore, citing "whatever personal reasons" given the risk to family members above and beyond Juin himself, is kinda derailing.

7 - Who said constance was "really fightng a trans battle"? TO do that would require seeing a separation between the two. That the coverage has fairly uniformly avoided speaking to any of the trans related issues is something worth noting.

8 - Agreed the intersections are not secret. THey are, in fact, bluntly and boldly obvious. Yet some people persist in pointedly avoiding such and making excuses.

9 - More deserving? Or just, at the least, deserving, of say, at least more than he had?

10 - there is a falling short -- it's a form of erasure that's common and matter of factly done. Consistently so, and one of the things I do is point that out.

11 - THe comparisons are still valid. She did deserve all those things -- and when one says begrudge it generally means that they aren't miffed by the variation, just pointing it out. Being miffed would mean I have a grudge there.

12 - Not much Gay privilege (what there is is Cis privilege or male privilege, most often, with some economic privilege tossed in for spice). Appropriation has a long history, well known, and everyone is ignorant.

Move them? No. Make them aware, yes.

13 - This is the product of self reflection and examination on the trans side. It is not the fault of trans people that they are erased and ignored and left for second thoughts. Part of the goal is to inspire such on the other side.

14 - It is a legitmate question. Several of us, on hearing about Juin's story, spoke out about it. It was covered here, as well. But a great deal of the coverage in Trans spaces is, for the most part, ignored by cis folk.

THe Trans outrage is there. That you don't see it, however, is not a fault of the Trans community, either. IT is a reflection of just how heavily oppressed we are within the LGBT as a whole. I literally shudder to think what it might have been had it involved a Bisexual.

When we provoke heat and light in the LGB community, we get eye rolls. When we provoke heat and light in our own, people talk about how dark it is.

You aren't silencing us when you do that. You are saying youdon't pay enough attention to the entire community, just the L and the G part.

I don't have that luxury.

And that was at least a nickle :)

Tab Hunter’s Ghost | April 6, 2010 9:07 PM

If this article had been written to point out the fact that Juin deserved the same kind of support that Constance has received I might agree with many of your points.

Constance reached out and sought help and she very bravely continued to stand up for herself. From what I’ve read Juin and his family (I don’t know which pronoun this person prefers but have read he so I’ll use that) has shunned the spotlight, chosen to flee the vicinity out of justified fear, and they are trying to keep a low profile to keep their lives as normal as possible. That’s their right, of course. If they asked for help or support from the community as Constance did I would imagine it would be forthcoming.

Does that situation rise to an accusation/shaming level of offense? What do you hope to accomplish by taking this approach? I’m totally baffled at this point. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Support Constance and feel ashamed for not supporting Juin, when Constance reached out and Juin has chosen to remain hidden and near-anonymous, for whatever personal reasons?

Or feel ashamed because Constance was really fighting a trans battle and not a gay battle so we in the gay community were fooled into supporting something we didn’t realize in our stupidity?

The intersections between gay and trans are not a secret despite what is said frequently here. Many of us gay men suffer and have been victimized precisely because we do not conform to gender expectations in dress, presentation, or action. There is an implied premise here, in my reading, that Juin was more deserving of support or at least he suffered more and that rings hollow and flat to me.

I hear you saying that the “gay” community has fallen short of whatever it is that we are expected to do to uphold our part in supporting the trans world and you presenting that as some kind of challenge but the challenge isn’t quite clear to me.

It’s good that you don’t “begrudge” the lesbian her scholarship and all the perks she’s received from her community embrace. It’s sad that you undermine that declarations by presenting a compare/contrast laundry list of what she gets and what Juin doesn’t get to make your point because as I read it you do sound miffed that Juin gets nothing out of this when he is the original victim.

The point of this posting seems to be to emphasize a commonality that should spur us to work together but the divide could just as easily be deepened in this context. I’m sure that is because of gay privilege and gay appropriation and gay ignorance and I’m sure that will be pointed out but I don’t see that moving many people who don’t already know that.

A little self-reflection and self-examination could be brought into the conversation from the trans side, however, and that might help to build community and strengthen ties.

When I read this I immediately made a connection with the vehemence of the protect against that movie that premiered today and wondered why Juin’s situation didn’t seem to provoke the same amount of heat and light in the trans community. Of course that’s inviting an accusation of my attempting to impose a hierarchy of action argument in an attempt to silence but I think it’s a legitimate question.

Just my 2 cents worth.

This article spurred me to do some light internet searching for more on Juin. I found an article by Dan Savage up in Seattle that contains a few more facts. Here is the url ---> http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/03/24/itawamba-agricultural-high-school-suspended-a-transgendered-student-back-in-january

At the bottom of the article you will find a solicitation to donate to help Juin with his relocation.

It appears to me that Juin and his family made a very intelligent choice that had as a consequence the undermining of any possible ACLU action on his behalf in MS.

SarasNavel | April 6, 2010 10:18 PM

I read that too, and a few particular paragraphs really caught my attention:

The ACLU was contacted before the child was forced to leave to live with relatives in Florida:

"So the ACLU sent a letter to the school on Baize's behalf asking the school administration for the reasoning behind his suspension—information the ACLU would need in order to challenge Baize's suspension in court.

"But the school would not talk to us about the situation," said Bennett."

The school wouldn't speak to the ACLU about it, so that was that.

"The ACLU won't be pursuing Juin's case.

Juin not being in Fulton makes it difficult for us to pursue any kind of legal action here,” says Bennett. "And personally, I feel it may be a better decision for Juin to relocate and move on with his life.”

That last sentence is the key.

Regan DuCasse | April 6, 2010 11:26 PM

The kid stays in the picture.
Juin is a cutie. It's against the law to deny a young person an education, especially based on their LOOKS.

It seems to me, when we're bombarded with having to accept vile 'expression' that comes from the likes of the Phelps family.

Or situations like the tragic suicide of Phoebe Prince, over how her savage school mates 'expressed' themselves against her.

Gender variant expression in one's clothing isn't hostile, or cruel, or exceptional in that way.
It's the most innocuous of what we protect among expression in our society.

But let some punk asses call names, throw things, carry obnoxious signs and harass specific children (and with the apparent blessing of their school officials)...oh well, THAT has to be accepted!

What a parallel universe this is turning into!

You're missing one very vital piece of information. And I think it's important because it shows how LGBTs in rural places work.

Constance decided to cross dress to protest the fact that Juin was sent home.

This is an instance of LGBTs working together just fine at the local level. But when it gets blown up to national level it gets distorted.

I had to go digging through my browser history to find the February article I had read. (I also posted this in one of my comments back in March. I guess to make the same point I'm gonna make again.)

http://www.wtva.com/news/local/story/School-Dress-Debate/ykCINbiIaUC-t4jOCXDpng.cspx

The article was published 2/04/2010. So it is before the prom story broke. And in the article, Juin's situation is the topic and McMillin is the witness. It appears she added the request to wear the tuxedo because of what happened to Juin.

Baize said, "They told me that I can not come to school dressed like a girl."

And that's unfair...says Juin's friend, senior Constance McMillen.

She says a group of girls came to school Thursday morning, dressed as guys in support of Juin dressing like he does.

Constance says the principal immediately told Juin to go home.

McMillen said, "Mr. Wiygul came to Juin and told him he had to leave and I stopped Mr. Wiygul and I said Mr. Wiygul why are you making him leave? Because he's dressed like a girl? And he said yes, and I said you know that's not fair because all of us are dressed like boys. Why aren't you telling us to leave? And he just said I'm following orders from the school board and I said you can't rightfully make him leave and not make us leave because, I mean, it's the same thing."

I've lived in places with small queer communities all my life that included trans people...not as a coalition, but as actually part of the community, not separate.

Well aware of that story and the particular realities there (I grew up in Sedona, after all).

I was hoping that someone would bring it up -- and glad you did, in specific.

This isn't merely conjecture. This is really the situation.

And instead of reporting it as a protest around the treatment of a trans person, it became an issue around the treatment of a gay person.

This is the difference between on the ground and in the air, between the institution of activism and the ground troop reality.

Between how LGB issues are covered and dealt with and rewarded, and how trans issues are covered and dealt with and rewarded.

This is what it means to be part of the LGBT to Trans people.

This is what it feels like. This is what happens to Trans stories.

This is the hypocrisy that all us "angry trannies" rail against, the harm and cruelty inflicted on us by the wider scene -- even when its not the local scene.

This is reality. Every day, all the time.

I did bring it up a month ago. I had a damn fit. The kind where if I could reach through my monitor, I'd punch someone.

And, not gonna lie, I was angry and bitter about it and still am. I'm really pissed that folks are more interested in helping this one girl and not at all interested in rallying around the entire Mississippi LGBT youths.

That $30,000 scholarship? I had actually convinced Tonic to donate that money to Mississippi Safe Schools initially. Someone apparently changed their mind, and it was instead given to Constance as a scholarship.

http://www.tonic.com/article/lets-throw-constance-mcmillen-the-prom-she-deserves/

Go back and read the comments from page 3. And then note the UPDATE section after I posted.

And here's where the funds get diverted: http://www.tonic.com/article/tonic-ellen-degeneres-getting-results-constance-mcmillen/

And if people want to call me an angry dyke. I will totally own that.

For me, this is what it feels like to be rural. Everything I do is pretty much futile.

GrrrlRomeo: I feel as if you just turned on the theater house lights on these two stories which were previously illuminated by a pin spot and a big spot light. This is the first time I've heard that connection and helps my thinking about it a lot. Thanks for making the connection!

That said, I still agree with Toni's OP.

All this crap is why I've said for many years, "there's no future being the 'T' in LGBT".

What I once saw as a natural alliance has, over the years been destroyed by both L and G folks who really do not get it at all.

There are also some T folks who don't get it -- they get all strange about being allied with either L or G.

It just doesn't make sense.

The "L" person goes on TV while the "tranny" leaves town.

again, there is no future (for T folks) being the T in LGBT. It's a sad state of affairs. It will lead to a further closing of L, G, and T minds. It will make it much more difficult to work on issues that affect us all (and quite a few do), but, too many folks just don't give a damn.

And so, the 21st Century continues.

You made this connection in the comments section of my post that you linked in this piece, and I believe you were the first person to make that connection publicly. I am so glad you wrote this post, it honestly gets to the heart of this issue like no other analysis I've seen. Thank you!

I agree with you wholeheartedly on how it was twisted into just being a Lesbian issue and the Trans was excluded. I could elaborate more, but I pretty much agree with your statements. I am a Bisexual, and (at least where I live) I don't exist-"all bisexuals are just confused and going through a phase before we figure out what we truly are". In some ways it can be identified with the Trans-as both are generally shadowed by the LG issues but the terms are still clumped together. Of course most of the issues are hugely different, but I can feel a kinship to the other group on the back burner. I do have one issue though-that Trans people are so defensive over everything. If I'm talking to one of them and I happen to have something wrong, it's not enough that I'm trying to learn and help support them, they have to go off on a rant about how uneducated I am in Trans issues. I know that not all Trans people are like this, but that is the image they set forth for themselves. I find myself constantly apologizing and watching my words carefully in fear of being chewed out for having something wrong. It makes me kind of think sometimes. (I believe this was the subject of a post on Bilerico some time ago, but it reflects my beliefs accurately)
As far as this issue goes, I do think that Juin deserved to get much more than he did as far as help goes, however I try to not be fixated on what happened too much as there are many mistakes people make and we cannot build a time machine and fix it, so instead of how many people talk about "what should have happened..." I believe it would be more productive to look towards the future "what can be done to fix this now and keep it from happening in the future".
Of course, I am "too young to understand these issues" (as I have been told before, though I am in high school and have surpassed every comprehension, literature, etc test they give you in school. My reading level in fourth grade was college level) and an eternal optimist on occasion (which makes no sense, but that's how I am). So feel free to disagree with me on any given issue or to point out flaws in my logic-I am always trying to learn from everything.

Hi Aly,

Have you ever walked into a space occupied by black people when you are a white person and started talking about issues and suddenly people are all up in your face and arguing with you and you are wondering "wtf!?!".

The defensiveness is, indeed, pretty heavy duty. Trans activists are making a rather concerted effort to get our voices heard, to make our concerns a part of the awareness of others, and while I can sit here and type a long winded story once more about how there's a long history of it and all that stuff, it really comes down to one moment not too long ago.

And so, to make it simpler as to why you are feeling that "eggshells" issue, blame Barney Frank.

No, really. Blame him. He's the one who said that Trans folks weren't doing enough to make people aware of us a short while back.

At the time of the ENDA debacle, there was a festering sense of resentment that lay beneath a lot of the trans community and it's interactions with the rest of the LGBT. Like a big keg of gunpowder, all it needed was someone to light the fuse and let it go off.

That happened at the Southern Comfort Conference. We were lied to. And, from all signs, knowingly so. Indeed, there are several archives of this information all over the place -- Trans people are, simply, not going to forget that any time soon.

And the only cure for it is to get ENDA passed with trans stuff included.

Barney Frank, in defending the stripping of the provision, said that Trans people needed to do more to make people aware of their issues.

And while most of us called him some really nasty names and such, we did exactly that -- we started making damn sure that no one was going to able to say they didn't know in the LGBT community.

Do not underestimate the depth of the anger that raised. Ever. Do not think that it was something that was passing. It was, I'm reasonably confident in asserting, *worse* than the Prop 8 stuff. At the very least, it was equal, in terms of the degree of anger and the spark of activism that it inspired.

It was the Trans 9/11 in some ways, although I don't mean to detract from the violence and loss of life that day -- but it was that level of anger.

And it's still there, and it will stay there until an inclusive ENDA is passed.

That event told us many people think like Mela above. A mindset which is ultimately assimilationist and essentialist, which is all about Identity and not about justice.

Trans folks can't escape it: there is nothing a gay person deals with that Trans people do not deal with. We have all the stuff that gay folks have and then more on top of it to overcome and deal with.

You are correct -- we cannot change what happened. And we are well aware of that. But to know why we do the stuff we are doing, and why there is so much anger (and it's really just anger, not defensiveness), you have to know and be aware of the history behind it.

We can't fix it. BUt the sad part is that there are people who still, today, think there was nothing wrong with dropping the T from ENDA last time.

That's what is being worked on now -- to make sure that ENDA does pass. There's no more important piece of legislation to Trans people right now.

And the reasons for that sense of it being ok to do so are pretty varied and fairly wide. Some are just plain bigots against trans people. OThers have some form of other issue -- sometimes including that feeling of walking on eggshells.

And it is supposed to make you think. Look at the response Mela gave -- in it she suddenly makes it all about me -- she turns the post into a set of opinions about me as a person, making several assumptions and stating an outright lie, even.

That's what happens when we speak out -- instead of looking at our message, we are thrust into a situation of having to defend oursleves, our very persons. And that just makes us more angry. Not to mention that it leaves the important stuff left unanswered.

What can be done now? Pay attention. Look at events like this and see the fact that it was becaue of Juin that all this happened. That Constance took a wrong done to a Trans person and took it onto herself and then when it got big, the message changed -- it ceased being about a trans person.

Recognize it. See it. Know that this sort of thing happens a LOT. KNow that it's merely one incident in a constant series of them that stretches back ages -- literally back into the middle of the 1800's.

(and arguably even further back than that, lol).

Because if people are not aware of this sort of thing, and not looking out for it, and not confronting it when it does happen, then it will keep happening.

I haven't been in high school for a very long time, and yet I get told that I am too young to understand issues like this, lol.

This is a Case Study, then -- an example of what has happened and something to examine and study for how it happened.

And once we are aware of such things, then we can move forward in a manner that keeps them from happening time and time again.

Learn something new every day. Great or small, it matters.

Identity, and more importantly the right to define one's own identity, is not separate from justice. It is unjust for gay people to be denied the opportunity to discuss the wisdom and logic of LGBT. Any who do so get barraged with hate and labels. That is unjust.

As noted above, I have no difference of opinion as to the injustice suffered by Juin. But that doesn't mean that the concept of LGBT makes any sense. As noted, learning disabled kids also suffered discrimination at the same school and at the same prom. That is wrong and should be fought. Those kids should be made part of Constance's lawsuit and they should all fight together. But it doesn't mean that all learning disabled people are part of an "LGBLD" community.

I wonder if TPB will ever accept a gay writer who challenges the notion of LGBT, or if this is one of those matters of religious faith that can't be challenged, like papal infallibility.

battybattybats battybattybats | April 7, 2010 10:03 PM

Ah rights and justice.. my favourite topic.

All rights are based on equality, on all rights being applied equally.

As yet they are not.

So any claim to ANY right at any time by ANY person is essentially borrowing early from the assumed later availability of those rights to everyone.

Thats a debt. One that must be paid every day till that equality exists or the right claimed was inavlid, theft, stealling, oppression, injustice.

So now Mela you are indebted. And untill all human rights are universally accessed respected and enjoyed by every living human that debt is not repaid.

I'd suggest that starting with the cause of the Transgender attempted suicide rate of 37%-54% in those countries that have looked for such a stat is a good place to start Caused by rejection, ostracism, transphobia, abuse of a vast host of human rights in identity, education, healthcare, social inclusion, housing, political and social representation, and on it goes.

Your correct, you do have a right to self-identitification but your also obliged to the rights of others, not just to respecting them but to fighting for them, every one without exception.

So you may question the T in GLB but must also successfully and fervently fight for the rights of S&GD (Sex and Gender Diverse) people at the same time and for every day of the rest of your life that they are not equal to everyone elses.

Go read the Yogyakarta Principles. You just volunteered, you conscripted yourself contractually by the essential precepts of Human Rights. EVERY person who uses or claims any Right is indebted to fighting for equal rights for all others! No exceptions no excuses.

Welcome to the front lines Mela. Your integrity and worth and dignity as a human being is on the line. Damn yourself with hypocracy and Ethical Bankruptcy, losing any valid claim to any of your human rights in the process, or take up your obligation and do whats right.

Grace Annam | April 10, 2010 12:09 PM

Mela wrote:

I wonder if TPB will ever accept a gay writer who challenges the notion of LGBT, or if this is one of those matters of religious faith that can't be challenged, like papal infallibility.

Wow. It's not often you see a false dichotomy that brazen. I just had to pause and admire it for a moment.

Grace

The issue here is that WE, the LGBT people are overly educated in the nuances between G, L, B & T people. Unfortunately, if we cover 10% of the population at best, then how educated are the other 90% of the population? And, we have seen many times on Bilerico that many gay, lesbian, bisexual AND trans people are not very educated about the differences within our community.

When people look at a HETEROSEXUAL crossdresser as being gay, then it proves there is little education about our community. When people think that all gay me are into anal sex, it proves they know nothing. When straight people think that all lesbians are into oral sex, they are living in a fantasy world. And, when people (some G&L) say that bisexuals are just confused, they're showing their ignorance.

This article not only shows the lack of distinction that people made between the two individuals, but the lack of support the greater L&G community constantly shows toward trans people, when they spout off examples of their undying support that really doesn't exist. Toni is right. Hypocrisy.

I have to put in my two cents on the "ground vs. air" distinction made here. I think that we sometimes get lost in the nuances surrounding LGBT intersectionality, which while making for fun discussion does not exactly reflect what life is like in these flyover states.

I grew up in a small, rural Indiana town, and went to college in a town that, comparatively, was a metropolis, despite the fact that it had around 10,000 inhabitants. My hometown has strong ties to the KKK, and it's very hard to be anything but a white, male good-ol-boy in these areas. My college town had a strong, liberal bend for an Indiana town, but leave city limits and you could hear the banjos twanging, if you catch my drift. In these areas the LGBT community is _too small_ to play these kinds of games. You're all in it together and sometimes that's all you have in a sea of intolerance, hate, and bigotry. As Jenny Boylan put it, we work together because we get beat up by the same people.

Yes, we can complain all we want about how trans issues aren't covered. I am _furious_ that this whole situation has been appropriated as a fight for lesbian rights, effectively whitewashing the situation of any trans issues. However, I think we as netroots journalists have to be careful not to overstep the necessary role of reporting truth and entering into the realm of stereotyping people based on their sexual orientation.

Honestly, Antonia, I have yet to meet a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person that didn't consider me part of their community. Period. The idea that these people exist is a purely academic construct to me.

My very first encounter in coming out with a member of the LGBT community was a gay man who didn't consider the T a part of the community.

He was also a friend.

He wasn't the last. There are people here in Phoenix that are that way (and, in a neat coincidence, I can say that most of them come from somewhere else).

The small town that I spent more than a good chunk of my life in was a tourist trap -- LGBT was considered to "scare off" the trade. And yet my uncle was one of the most influential gay people in that community, and ran a four star restaurant for years.

His partner is that way. I never really got to ask him, as he died before transition. The overall community up there is "fine with it" as long as I don't go making waves.

They are more than academic, sadly, Austen. More than anonymous posters on popular blogs who show up mostly to heckle the regular writers and hide behind their anonymity out of idiotic fears.

Also, I'm not a journalist. I've seen Bil cringe when I say that, lol, but I make no bones about it. I'm a talking head, an opinion columnist, a mean cuss with a sharp tongue.

I take what others report and analyze it, fit it into to the larger scheme of things. And I do it with an admitted set of goals in mind.

I need that reporting, though -- or what I do is sorta, well, improbable. Even I can only stand so much of the basics stuff, lol.

Those people might not be all of them (and, indeed, signs point to people like that being an ever shrinking minority) but they are still there.

And they aren't the worst, really. They aren't the ones who cause the most damage. IT's the one's that let things like the erasure here happen that are seriously the problem.

And they do it without meaning too, but they also do it because they aren't trying not to do so.

That's what we need. For them to try not to do it. Be it Gay or Lesbian or Bisexual or Trans or Straight or Cis or whatever.

It's important, and why I write things like this.

Well, I consider "journalist" to be a pretty wide catch-all for "those who discuss news," but talking head/columnist works fine as well. ;)

I just wanted to put a bug in your ear about the disconnect I feel exists between the LGBT press and the LGBT reality. Air vs. Ground. What I see here is real--very real, even--but I rarely if ever see it in action in my daily travels.

Now this isn't to say that my view may be a little biased, as I met many of my friends in the Indy community through Bil; however, my experience has always been one of inclusion. "We're all a little queer" seems to be the going motto.

Cynthia Lee | April 7, 2010 9:52 AM

/sigh
I feel that trans and bisexual people are mostly ignored and dismissed by the greater queer comunity. I need not point out the times that trans have been basicaly thrown under the bus, by thier peers.
I believe that trans activists would do better to disassociate from the LGBT, and GLAAD and form separate Trans organisations, that will actually stand up for transpeople.
Maybe they should invite the bisexual crowd to join them..........

There is an underpinning to all of this where the question of "Is the T really a part of the GLB" is used interchangeably with "Should I give a $#!t." As long as we confuse the two, there will be custody battles over issues like this and people are always going to be subject to twists of semantics to justify not doing the latter. This is colonial thinking, and a barrier to real progress.

Not a criticism of the intent of the post, but an analysis of the polar positions underlying it.

Lots of interesting debate. I have enjoyed reading it all. I think the core question is can everyone unite or do we succumb to divisions.

Should we fight for passage of GLENDA (Gay and Lesbians Employment Non Discrimination Act)?

or BENDA? ... Or TENDA?

Or should we unite behind ENDA no matter how disparate our perspectives? That is my choice because jobs should not be lost by anyone for what they are but for what they fail at in performance measures. I look at it in simple terms, the "We The People" construct. It is time to aspire to that bold original statement "In order to form a more perfect union". Not an easy thing to do but that is where my heart vibrates in harmony with the diversity of life. I really don't care if someone is attracted to horses or wants to get body mods done to present in life as a Klingon. We The People, not them and us.

battybattybats battybattybats | April 7, 2010 1:07 PM

loss of a prom: dissgusting.

hounded out of town: 1000 times worse.

the dissproportionate media attention from the MSM AND the GLB media: shameful

sociopathicdyke | April 7, 2010 3:11 PM

I am from overseas and knew nothing of this case before reading this article. This is a sad case of discrimination.

It is not GBLT discrimination. It is "discrimination". A noun on it's own without any further adjective necessary.

In my life I have not come across many gay people who exclude or have issues with transfolk. I identify as a lesbian. I once identified as transexual. To me, transexualism is something you get over, it has a cure, and after it is cured nothing is left. I do not consider myself transexual.

The world likes to throw the transexual label around in order to distinguish and persecute, like wearing a yellow star in occupied Europe during the 30's and 40's. The only purpose of keeping the transexual label post-op is to discriminate and persecute.

To me, the T in LGBT refers to people coming to terms with the condition. Once you've been cured, there really isn't any need to hang onto the label, or associate with LGBT groups. Except for the fact that i'm also a lesbian, and really foxtrotting oscared at the state of the world and the views of the conservative right.

However, I also dont really consider myself a lesbian because I don't sleep with women. I sleep with A woman. A person. My partner. If anyone has issues with my private relationship, they can bloody well suck my cock - some of which I gave to AIDS research.

My point is, GLB / GLBT. These are groups we put ourselves into, and as such their definition is personal - it is neither right nor wrong to include or exclude anyone from your personal definition - as long as you remember to stand up against injustice and prejudice when you see it.

And now I leave you with something my cat wished to say whilst I typed this: 96+===============

This post is wonderful and so true.

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans folks all distort the narrative in someone to meet their political ends.

How many have reported that Constance's Mom is a lesbian? That it was a gay male couple, friends of her Mom, that got her in contact with ACLU? That there are other gay kids in her school? Or that the reason she felt like she could do this in the first place was the on the ground support she had from the queer community in Mississippi?

Let's be honest, even though Constance wanted to wear a tux, she's not exactly butch. She doesn't look queer in any of the TV appearances or pictures. And even she seems to be aware that she was in a better position to challenge the school on behalf all the queer kids in her school.

It's politically useful if we let straight folks think she's all alone in that horrible no good town without any support. Or that aside from a singular event, she looks like any other teenage girl. What would straight allies think if it appeared we didn't need them? What would straight allies think if we didn't look like them? Then we'd be pushing it in their face and got what we deserved. But, the funny thing is, she is pushing it in their face in that town. On the national level, it doesn't look like she's being pushy but rather a victim in an extremely conservative town.

It's also politically useful for trans folks to paint this erasure as trans erasure. When in fact, a whole community has been erased. Not a political coalition, a community and apparently a queer family as well. But there's a point to be made.

For what it's worth, Constance came out as bisexual in 8th grade. She started identifying as lesbian in the last couple years. Perhaps bisexuals will claim bi erasure, or maybe she's a teenager and teenagers are fickle. She may switch again.

Do we know what Juin's sexual orientation is? What happens if he grows up to be just an effeminate gay man? Wouldn't Mela look silly. Wouldn't everyone look silly.

She and her date could have gone to the Prom. It wouldn't have been canceled. There would have been no lawsuit, no national press.

She was never permitted to bring a same-sex date. I get what you're saying, that they could've just gone to the same place at the same time. But that's not the same as going as a couple. That's don't ask don't tell. That's being allowed to be gay, but not allowed to be openly gay.

The truth doesn't seem to be convenient for anyone. And that's what happens when everyone is interested in making everything about politics instead of about community.

Let me start by saying that I'm sure there is Trans discrimination within the LGB community. Asserting that the T shouldn't be there is ridiculous. We're all one family. Someone is always going to feel that their issues aren't getting enough specific attention.

I had no clue about Juin's story until the other day when I saw a post that referred to a Wiki site entry from a FB group about Constance. I immediately became *more* upset about Juin's situation than Constance's. You cannot fault the LGB community for not knowing about Juin if you're doing nothing to promote and get the story out there. Work *with* the LGB community and make it more inclusive and get your stories told with as much prominence and vehemence as every other story based around discrimination and hate we face.

I identify as a gay man. I'm an activist. I live in Cleveland and I recently worked on a campaign to change our city laws to include Transgender rights, to prevent discrimination in housing, work, and public accommodations. I have plenty of friends that run the entire spectrum as far as gender identity goes. I've not once, ever, considered their rights separate from my own.

We are all responsible for making change and having our voices heard. Transgender rights are just as important to me as my own rights, because I believe that discrimination for any reason based upon sexual orientation, gender identity, et-al is horrible and needs to be abolished.

Tired of 'LGB groups not being responsive to Transgender rights'? Then get a Trans ally presence within those groups in your communities and make a difference. It would be a sad and tragic thing to not be fighting alongside my friends within the Transgender community.

T belongs with the LGB because, in the view of the other side of the culture war, LGB is a subset of trans behavior.

Having sex with women, to their mind, is a male behavior. So all lesbians are to some extent acting as men. Having sex with men is a female behavior, so all gay men are to some extent transgressing gender norms to take on a female behavior as well.

As long as those arbitrary definitions remain in place in the minds of the majority culture, LGB will always be, in some sense, T.

That's why we have common cause. It's why I prefer the term "Queer" -- to bring in the straight women who like pegging, the straight male crossdressers, the people in wheelchairs who aren't "supposed" to have sex at all, everyone the bigots would cast out.

Oppressors and bigots always define the boundaries of a minority. If they'd put you in the camps then you're one of us, whether or not you like it.

SI, just an FYI, many African-American GLBT peeps despise 'queer' as an umbrella term.

some refer to this community as the SGL community or same gender loving community.

I'd have to disagree with the SGL moniker, as it excludes my experience as a straight trans woman from the acronym.

I do use the term "queer" for means of self-definition quite often, and will sometimes use it as a catch-all in conversation. If you don't mind me asking, what is the catalyst that drives African-American LGBT people away from the term queer and toward SGL? It seems the latter would be more exclusive than the former, and you didn't really explain the reasoning behind the terminology.

battybattybats battybattybats | April 10, 2010 1:02 AM

I currently advocate we shift to the new label SS&GD. It seems to me the most inclusive and rational and respectful option. As it covers the whole community sensibly and intrinsicly and leaves EVERYONE's individual group intials OUT of the term to make it fair.

http://caveofrationality.blogspot.com/2010/04/reforming-community-label-complex-issue.html

Newsflash: A lot of bigots can't tell the difference between one person not acting in a heteronormative way and another. So because they think that females who are sexually attracted to females can't possibly exist (because they're also misogynist and don't believe females can actually have active sexualities), they decide these females must be males trapped in female bodies.

Which appears to be not a million miles from what Ms D'Orsay is trying to do here. Deny lesbians and/or homophobia exist. Deny that treatment of lesbians is usually misogynist as well as homophobic. Which is hardly going to win her many brownie points with a lot of lesbians.

Of course the treatment of Constance McMullen was homophobic. Being in the same room as someone is not the same as having a date with them, or I was on a date with everyone I was in a club with last Saturday night. And this was done BEFORE she requested to wear a tuxedo, please note. "Cross dressing" was no doubt just assumed by her equal opportunity offender school to be another example of just what an unnatural female she was. Not only is she trying to usurp male sexual rights over females, now she wants to wear their clothes too!

Most 'trans' people are also assumed by bigots to to be attracted to people of the sex that they are assigned to at birth ie transwomen are assumed to be 'really' gay men, all transmen are assumed to be 'really' lesbians. So it is equally possible that all manifestations of transphobia are in fact homophobia. Just a thought.

I'd expect a trans woman to be irritated if I told her she was really a gay man. Please give lesbians the same courtesy you'd expect from others Ms D'Orsay by not trying to erase their existence. And if you do, don't be expecting a rainbow alliance any time soon.

Please explain how you got there.

I'm very interested in the thought processes you followed.

Very interested -- as the statements you use are one's I've used as well.

So I'm very interested in that...

T belongs with the LGB because, in the view of the other side of the culture war, LGB is a subset of trans behavior.

Having sex with women, to their mind, is a male behavior. So all lesbians are to some extent acting as men. Having sex with men is a female behavior, so all gay men are to some extent transgressing gender norms to take on a female behavior as well.

So by defining lesbians as 'trans' you are adopting the same attitudes as bigots. Saying they are "really men" in other words. This is the problem with this argument, it ends up supporting the attitudes it is claiming to oppose. And you are -I'm going to repeat this - denying lesbian existence just as much as those very same bigots do.

SarasNavel | April 11, 2010 5:01 AM

You are almost there.

The point is that 'trans' refers to the category of people that do not fit the mainstream, heteronormal idealized definitions of men or women based on perceived gender markers, be they behavior, identity or appearance. In this context, it is 'Transgender', not 'Transsexual'. I hate that the shortened version is applicable to both.

The very existence of the label 'trans' implies a society having at it's core the cultural assumption of a male-superior gender binary. Take that away and you'd just have people loving people, people wearing clothes and people with flipped brain-body maps, endocrine systems and other medical issues. Sounds kinda nice, right?

The very existence of the label 'trans' implies a society having at it's core the cultural assumption of a male-superior gender binary.

The use of labels like "trans" and even "transsexual" and "transgender" in specific doesn't imply that this is a misogynist society. The fact that this is a misogynist society sort of spells that out. If we took the label "trans" away, we'd still have a sexist society. We'd still have a cissexist society because cis people think they understand sex and gender better than trans people.

If we didn't have "trans" cis people would just call us other things, like "gay" or "lesbian" or "gender confused."

But it is about being gay. It's both about being outside the heterosexual, cisgendered norms our society throws upon us.

A very thought provoking article, Antonia.