Austen Crowder

Trans Visibility Sparks Right-Wing Blogosphere Explosion

Filed By Austen Crowder | May 20, 2011 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Chaz Bono, conservatism, social conservative, transgender

They say that no press is bad press, and Chaz Bono's making lots of press.

The good news? He's using his fifteen minutes to plant discuss the need for protection and understanding. (He's also pimping his book, but how can I begrudge him that?) I know he's not nailing everybody's wish list with his talking points but he is having the conversation - this is better than the usual "pull out the trannies for sweeps week" media hooks we see once or twice a year.

The bad news? Back at the ranch of sexual repression, the collecitve social conservative blogosphere is waking up to discover that transgender people exist - and having a coronary in the process. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the "make it illegal" offense::

1.jpgIronically, Mr. Bono's introspective interviews and books, chronicling his life-long emotional turmoil and angst, belie the fact that there is very little emotional change from the tormented lesbian of yesterday to the now confused transgendered half-male/half-female who adopts the most arcane gender stereotypes while attempting to be a champion of a new gender identity. The confusion here is almost dizzying. After decades of liberals peddling the idea that gender doesn't matter and is just a "social construct" suddenly we are told by these same liberals like Mr. Bono that gender does matter to the point that the gender we are born in may not be satisfactory. Yet, if gender is just a social construct, as has been maintained for decades by feminists, why not change the "paradigm," stay in the body one is born with and be happy?[...]

And we must say no. As a society, it is time to draw a line in the sand. The human body must be protected from those who seek to do it harm. Until the late 1960s, many doctors regarded sex reassignment surgeries as unethical and would not perform them. We need to restore that consensus. Transgender surgeries and transformations ought to be illegal altogether -- much as suicide is illegal in some states. If we do not render transgender operations illegal, how will we address those who insist they are uncomfortable with two arms or two legs and want amputation?

This brings up a tough question: how can we best communicate the needs of the transgender community to willing conservative minds?

I could take the easy way out on this one and point out that Grace ignores Chaz's life experiences while simultaneously talking over his head, attempting to paint a world where strictly enforced gender binaries and gender revolutionaries coexist in a doublespeak world. (Protip for Gracie: this is called "doublespeak.")

I'm speaking to the echo chamber here when I say that Gracie is misinformed and her simplified view of this issue doesn't encompass the whole biological, social, emotional, and mental mess a transgender experience can wreak on a person. The problem, as I see it, is that this "make it illegal" meme will grow in the conservative echo chambers just as easily as the "protect us" meme grows in liberal choruses. The rabbit's out of the hat on trans people and we need to be ready to have this conversation with people.

The side effect of becoming visible is that we have to deal with being seen. For years the transgender community has survived by laying low. This is especially true in fly-over states, where advocacy often focuses on small policy shifts knowing full well that any large-scale political action would attract attention. Education and visibility, yes, politics no.

We have been successful by being a chance occurrence - an exception to the rule that occasionally interacts with the real world. In order to make any further progress we must bang the drum and show just how common transgender experiences are in this world. In doing so, though, we encourage dissidents to rise up in anger and demand we shut up. It's one of those funny paradoxes of political action - sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

Grace's "make sex changes illegal!" approach is never going to gain traction in mainstream politics. Her position is implicitly enforced by price barriers and lack of medical training related to transition. (Go ahead: ask your GP about transitioning the next time you see them and see what happens. You'll learn a lot about trans healthcare in the process.)

However, we're in the process of seeing an anti-transgender movement being born. Iowa's GOP has added its opposition to transgender marriage to its planks. Texas is moving to ban valid sex changes in light of Nikki Araguz's pending case. Kye Allums created a stir by playing basketball on a women's team. These aren't the usual stories of murder, assault, or rape we see with trans people. These are policy planks being formed before our eyes.

Here's the deal as I see it: trans people are on the cusp of getting their Will and Grace moment. Up until now the trans community has been mostly invisible by din of its small size and history; the standard practice for transitioning folks has always been full stealth, no exceptions, and the quieter one is the fewer chances one has to experience discrimination. (It's still a prevalent attitude today.)

As we become more visibile as a community we become human beings with struggles and desires, and in doing so we enter into the collective media consciousness as a group worthy of more than a couple of oddball bit parts in a sweeps-week crime drama. It's already happening: look at Degrassi's trans character, or Chaz's treatment on Letterman. (Again, not perfect, but did you notice that Letterman fessed up to being a transphobic jerk to Amanda Simpson?) We are more than a curiosity now. We exist.

Problem is that our existence pisses some people off. Now that more people know of our existence the grumblings against trans people is going to become political fodder. This fact alone is going to drag the trans community into politics like never before. The good news is that trans policy and political groups are doing a bang-up job of creating new approaches to activism that seem to be targeted toward a more bipartisan political message.

I want to point out both the Williams Institute's study on the financial costs of transgender discrimination and Injustice at Every Turn for special commendation. I know we've been over the NGLTF's report here with a fine-tooth comb, but the financial costs of discrimination really make an impact. Most "trans people get the short end of the stick" memes don't stick around for long but the money angle has got legs. I keep seeing it pop up in my feed and in articles about transgender bills.

Conservative folks often respond to sad stories of discrimination and emotional appeals with a "bootstrap" speech: "Well, just because that guy beat you up/denied you a job/raped you doesn't mean everybody wants to do that! Buck up and find someone who is willing to work with you! It's the free market, baby!" Having the facts laid bare - especially when it comes to cold, hard cash - gives a framework for discussing trans experiences and discrimination outside of the traditional liberal appeal to human decency.

We're going to have to show that trans people exist, trans people are measurably happier and more stable after transition, and that trans people contribute to the fabric of society just like everybody else. In other words, we have to keep doing what we've been doing for years, only now with a slowly crescendoing chorus of dissidents trying to take our rights away.

Frankly, we're going to have to get good at justifying our existence real fast. With "It Gets Better," the media focus on gay teen suicide, and the increasing acceptance of sexual orientation as a normal human variance we are seeing a changing of the guard at the social conservative whipping post. Gay people are coming off the stage as valid scapegoats for society's ills and we're next in line.

(Oh, and it's good to be back.)

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"After decades of liberals peddling the idea that gender doesn't matter and is just a "social construct" suddenly we are told by these same liberals like Mr. Bono that gender does matter to the point that the gender we are born in may not be satisfactory. Yet, if gender is just a social construct, as has been maintained for decades by feminists, why not change the "paradigm," stay in the body one is born with and be happy?"

I think this is a decent enough place to start and try to explain to conservatives that there is a difference between sex, gender identity, and gender roles. Sex being the sum of anatomical traits (primary/secondary sex characteristics, hormone levels, brain anatomy, and fat distribution are examples). Gender identity is the feeling of which you are (determined largely by brain anatomy). Gender roles are the societal construct the feminists are talking about.

When these are all different things it can be a lot easier to see there being a difference between sex and gender and why it is possible for somebody to have one sex and one gender and want to change their* sex as a result.

*I am cursing the lack of widely accepted gender neutral pronouns right now.

At the risk of being trashed...

When some right wing nutcase wants to outlaw SRS he is attacking a necessary and highly successful treatment for being born transsexed. It has nada to do with transgenders, but the transgender gender deconstructionist arguments have simply been turned against a medical treatment.

None of those espousing TG dogma seem to realize that you hold the exact same starting positions and promote the same thing Janice Raymond did. The only difference is she called you men.

This is the TG agenda harming women born transsexed. It is the natural progression of the right wing war on women in general and the rights of women to control their own bodies.

This is one of those situations where you can't say Transgender AND Transsexual. This is purely an attack on transsexed folks.

I'm partly in agreement RB. This is clearly a case where talk of "gender" gets in the way of access to medical treatments for trans sexed people. Now, I'm all fine with deconstructing gendered behaviors and whatnot. However, that had nothing to do with my need to transition.

I think if the LGBT/T etc. is going to actually work for transsexual people, we need to take the focus off "gender" and talk as much (if not more) about bodies and the physical. "I can't relate to my body" seems a more real starting point than "I want to live in a female gender role". While gender is important individually (to just about everyone), it has so little to do with any of the aspects of medical transition.

Except the person quoted is not talking about transgender gender deconstruction, she explicitly states shes referring to feminism and certain feminist views of gender as a purely social construct that have been used to attack transsexual women for what, fifty years now? Credit where credit is due.

There's no such thing as bad publicity, true.... but this seems less like "will and grace" and more like "elton john coming out in 1985."

But I'll take your suggestion and try to move this along more quickly: I'll be pitching my new sitcom about a trans woman and her cis woman best friend/ex-fiancee living together in an apartment they shouldn't be able to afford in Manhattan. They'll be visited by their energetic trans best friend who just can't pass and makes one joke about trans stereotypes after another (not an episode will go by without a joke about keeping a secret or tranny chasers or men in dresses or something else that's offensive-but-not-to-people-who-don't-actually-know-trans-people). Oh, and there'll be a rich cis guy who hates everyone and makes racist jokes somehow worked into the premise, so people can say they're laughing at his racism while they laugh with his racism.

It'll be snarky and irreverent and superficial and hated by most trans people but loved in red states. Only one trans person will be a writer; he or she will be forced to do interviews with LGBT media and talk about how inclusive the show is and how wonderful it is for trans people. Also, all the main characters will be white and maybe a black person will be introduced later on, but only after he's been assaulted with racist jokes for several episodes.

Years later, I'll write a column for the Advocate complaining about all those terrible trans stereotypes in the media, wondering innocently and densely how they got there.

Correction Alex, the sitcom will be about a straight women who has a kooky, draggy, clueless, horny and miserably lonely, dressed-trashy transsexual friend.

Austen is talking about "ban sex changes" as if it's something new. It's been going on for 40-50 years. Every time I hear some other queer/non-op person saying "it doesn't give you a real vagina" or "bottom surgery for trans men looks like frankenstein" I cringe and know EXACTLY where that's coming from (and I am NOT a 'hater on the transgender peeps' kind of person).

Sorry you've just noticed this Austen, but virtually every mainstream thread about a trans woman I've read in the past 10 years includes hate statements about SRS. And even more sad, virtually any gay/feminist blog thread about transsexual issues and SRS will include serious haters towards surgical transition. And no, I don't think the backlash Chaz is getting from conservatives is that strong in the least compared with what people were getting 20-30 years ago.

I know, I know, let's all have pizza parties to show them how happy we are then they'll like us... yippeeee.

"Every time I hear some other queer/non-op person saying "it doesn't give you a real vagina" or "bottom surgery for trans men looks like frankenstein" I cringe and know EXACTLY where that's coming from"

I am a bit dense...where *are* they coming from?

(I have complained about the same thing myself about my own surgery, though what i have now is a gazillion times better than what I had before.)

Correction Alex, the sitcom will be about a straight women who has a kooky, draggy, clueless, horny and miserably lonely, dressed-trashy transsexual friend.

Austen is talking about "ban sex changes" as if it's something new. It's been going on for 40-50 years. Every time I hear some other queer/non-op person saying "it doesn't give you a real vagina" or "bottom surgery for trans men looks like frankenstein" I cringe and know EXACTLY where that's coming from (and I am NOT a 'hater on the transgender peeps' kind of person).

Sorry you've just noticed this Austen, but virtually every mainstream thread about a trans woman I've read in the past 10 years includes hate statements about SRS. And even more sad, virtually any gay/feminist blog thread about transsexual issues and SRS will include serious haters towards surgical transition. And no, I don't think the backlash Chaz is getting from conservatives is that strong in the least compared with what people were getting 20-30 years ago.

I know, I know, let's all have pizza parties to show them how happy we are then they'll like us... yippeeee.

angel-girl | May 20, 2011 12:11 PM

I consider myself an "ally" in every sense of the word. There are people I love who are gay, trans, etc, etc, and so I'm willing to do whatever I can to help with this "visibility" issue, through education or in any way it's possible. I'm cis, straight, and in many ways mainstream as hell (also, incredibly liberal, but that's only good sense, as far as I'm concerned). If I can help, I want to know how. Please keep blog posts like these coming; they're amazing, informative, and encouraging.

15 minutes of fame? S/he's been famous all her/his life.

Excellent post, and great to see you back.

That's why the SF move to ban male circumcision is another concerning potential precedent: http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/05/18/Circumcision_Ban_Heading_to_SF_Voters/ I'm probably not going to get to blog on this, and have mixed feelings (& a bit of ambivalence) on circ overall, but I see that as needing to be more a question of the medical field reassessing ethics of any non-essential pre-puberty surgery as a question of consent, rather than any real justifiability of explicitly banning based on types of surgery. The consent question has positive potential implications on sex reassignment of infants, as well.

You wrote:

"Grace's "make sex changes illegal!" approach is never going to gain traction in mainstream politics."

That's the concerning thing, though. Because a year ago, we didn't think the abortion debate would be reopened, either. And the ways that the religious right have been fighting that are exactly the things we have to be on guard for regarding GRS.

"That's why the SF move to ban male circumcision is another concerning potential precedent: . . . but I see that as needing to be more a question of the medical field reassessing ethics of any non-essential pre-puberty surgery as a question of consent, rather than any real justifiability of explicitly banning based on types of surgery.

Well said.

Things are seldom a matter of absolutes. What is correct and incorrect is based on the particulars of each individual situation.

Transgender surgeries and transformations ought to be illegal altogether -- much as suicide is illegal in some states.

This statement alone shows how Ms. Vuoto is mis-informed, living in the past, or both. It has long been realized that making suicide illegal merely keeps the troubled person from seeking the help they may need. I'd like her (or any reader, kindly help me out!) to name one state where suicide is currently illegal.

I never get the "what if someone hates their arm and wants it cut off?" argument. Yes, if someone is distressed to thepoint of wanting their arm removed, they should be allowed to! It's their body, let them decide! I think people should be allowed to modify their bodies as much as they like, even if some people are squicked by it.

Kathy Padilla | May 20, 2011 2:37 PM

I don't get it because the loss of an arm does not equal the gaining of a vagina. One entails the desire to remove a functional body part and the attendant loss of function. One involves the desire to gain a functional healthy body part. That's only a equivalency to a very strict Freudian.

Bekah Dixon | May 20, 2011 5:17 PM

Well, generally you must "lose" the penis to add the vagina (or vice versa). I know that isn't literally how the procedure is done, but I can see the logical thread between that and willfully removing any functioning body part.

Still, it's a dubious comparison at best, especially because I'm not clear on why it would be terrible to allow willful amputation. No one complains about plastic surgery to add things; why complain about surgery to subtract if the patient wants that?

Some people get wicked judgmental over any sort of permanent body modification; they think that if they personally don't want to do it, then anyone else that does want it is mentally impaired and should be stopped if possible.

True dat. The only interesting commonality I see is that people with body integrity identity disorder seem very difficult to "cure" and seem extremely happy if they can get their offending body part removed. Supposedly it may be caused by the brain's body map somehow leaving out the offending limb, and I wouldn't be surprised if some similar disruption of the body map would account for body dissonance in transsexual people.

To me it is pretty similar to the sliipery slope fear-monering about same-sex marriage: "If a man can marry another man, the next step is polygamy, incest, child abuse, and bestiality."

Who knows, if things went far enough, previously sensible ppl might even start fucking right-wingers... (shudders)

Yuck. Right-wingers should be forced to disclose before getting involved with normal people. ;)

Brad Bailey | May 20, 2011 7:05 PM

Sas, I saw an hour-long documentary devoted to this subject a few weeks ago.

Researchers found out through CAT scans that a specific part of the brain is responsible for the condition. Apparently the parietal lobe of these patients does not recognize the existence of a body part, usually an arm or a leg.

According to the show, patients with this condition suffer much the same psychological pain as pre-op transsexuals.

But because physicians take an oath to do no harm, they cannot amputate an otherwise healthy limb.

I would question the healthiness of a limb that causes constant pain to its bearer, but meh. I just hope people with that issue find safe outlets for getting what they need.

There is also precedent for amputating viable limbs. Most amputations in the military are voluntary these days - discounting ones immediately after the incident. Medical advances have made it possible to save legs that would have been immediately amputated just a decade ago. But sometimes they are too damaged to heal fully and can severely impair mobility. So a significant amount of soldiers choose amputation because they are actually better off with a prosthesis.

More importantly, Grace Vuoto: Washington Times writing, right wing pseudo-academic ideologue is mirroring much of the same language many cis-feminists and queer activists have used to criticize and put down Chaz Bono (and medicalized transition in general). To me, this is far more ominous than if right wingers don't like us... because no matter how we act and talk, they will continue to do so. I'm far more concerned with how our supposed 'progressive allies' are attacking who we are and what we've had to do to stay alive.

So, it's 7:35. This thread seems to have turned into (degenerated?) into an "open minded" discussion about body mapping and BIID. Oh, if cutting your arm off makes you happy, if cutting off your . . . go for it, because since 1995 we've known it doesn't matter. Offended by your whole body? Well, just kill it. Your gender will remain. That's all that counts anyway. I guess Vuoto's analysis actually resonates here among many of the projectors, so non-judgemental, so open minded. How much better a world it might be if every day were like a scene out of Fellini's Satyricon - so much insight, so much understanding. What's the new mainstream word for transsexual now? Oh, yeah, I forgot - amputation fetishist - so much insight, so much understanding.

Vuoto actually used BIID as a ridiculous boogeyman against transsexuals, so I don't know where you're getting the idea that sympathy for them equates to "resonance" with Vuoto.

Also, as I was the one discussing it the most; I am a transsexual woman, so the sarcasm about insight and understanding is unnecessary and insulting.

I'm sorry, but to things I have to take issue with. First of all there have been a plethora of gender neutral pronouns available for centuries.

"One could easily say they had wonderful time."

Oh look, I just used some there! Silly me.

Second there is disaster waiting for another set of pronouns waiting for one at the end of that battle of wits. For then we'd be left with he, she, and its, witch is just the doublespeak one sees when narrow minds seek to marginalize us as human beings. A third sex might be nice for the queer folks (no I do not mean gays and lesbians) who fight to be neither, or both genders all at once.

I was born a girl, I've lived my whole life as a girl, despite being forced to "pretend" for a number of years that I wasn't. Once ONE person "becomes" a third sex, it automatically means every last one of us is a third sex. I've been female my entire life, I don't want hir, of iz, or whatever some of the other alternate language is.

You want to be a third sex, mazel tov, have it it, I respect your right to be whatever you want to be. Just don't plan to drag me there with you. A Third sex as in he, she, or other is the same invalidation of my life people foist upon me when they insist I'm Transgender. Because I'm not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I eve be, between genders.

I didn't choose to be female. Hell, given the world as I've seen it my whole life I'd often wished I could have actually been born a boy, because then I could leave all this behind me, and live as a clueless little male automaton and not FEEL everything.

I can't argue w/ any of the points Austin makes. The publicity can be a gamechanger for the Trans community. Now that we have the spotlight, we need to stay in it as long as possible.Do this by putting forward info that educates and informs the public about who we really are and our needs & concerns. More exposure will definitely spark debate. We need to shape that debate by having knowledgable spokespersons IN that debate. We need to take part in legal debates that shape the laws affecting us. While the spotlight is on us, we need to dance! And when the music stops, hopefully there will be more acceptance, and understanding of the Trans community!!

What an awesome piece - one that I think really looks at transgender rights as the next big civil rights battle. It's so interesting - and, I think, a testament to our globalized society - how quickly (at least comparatively) the gay rights movement has made such huge strides, but I'm confident that, despite the problems Austen lays out here, the trans rights movement will experience similarly fast gains. Good work.

Wow, you're slipping! Usually you get your derail in within the first few comments.

You remind me a lot of a guy who used to comment here named Andrew W, who had the same thing to say in pretty much every post, esp those even closely related to his favorite topic, getting legislation through the Senate. I once told Bil that he need to just set things up so that guy's standard Eyorism appeared as the first comment of every politic thread, as you knew he was going to have the same cranky story every time.

Maybe Bil could do that for you, just have you submit something about the oppression of transsexuals by gay ppl, most esp those transgenders, and have it automatically post with every trans thread.

Carol you are every bit the poster child of causing problems as you claim me to be. I expressed an opinion I provided a link.My comment didn't single anyone out yours is. Can you say TOS violation?

Amy, perhaps Carol is either Gay or Transgender, Inc. The suppressor's of our own identities.

That's a tough call Dana, she says she partially agrees with both the transgender and the transsexual sides. I guess you could say she's a little bit transgender and a little bit Transsexual.Kinda like a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

wow! This is one of the most erudite things you've ever said here! I find both camps pretty disgusting, and get sick of them fighting here. Can't you do that over on Pam's or something?

Oh, and your link was the equivalent of Sean Hannity linking to WorldDailyNet...

ooooo, you caught me!

Yes, I am a mole, but the conspiracy is as deep as Amy says--it's not just Gay Inc or Transgender Inc, it's Destroy the Str8 Transsexuals Inc!

Although, really, it's kinda like Dennis Miller said about that nut job TV preacher who was always saying God would take him away if he didn't raise enough money: God put out a statement, that he didn't even know about this guy, he had more important things to do, and besides, if he wanted to squish him, he would have done it a long time ago. If we really wanted to rid the world of you, we'd do more than just call you names.

I hope you don't figure which of the major board members of one of the most powerful anti-TS groups in the world I am...

mmmm, don't think that expressing my annoyance at your one-note act is quite a personal attack...feel free to report it though, then I guess we'll see...

Except she's completely right; you post the same link over and over with no regard to the actual topic. You keep thinking that people are out to suppress you when they're really just tired of the repetition.

I'm actually SAS that is a brand new link you might want to follow it you might learn something.

It's the same link you posted in the Ablow thread, and I read it then and failed to be impressed.

If you'd like Carol I can dig through the comments section to show you where you said that you agreed partially with both sides. But since now your saying that both sides are disgusting I would love to hear your opinion on what you think is the best way forward for all concerned?

No, you are right, I do agree with some of the points from both sides. It the whole extremism, all-or-none thing I hate.

What seems the best way forward to me is for each camp to advocate for what suits their needs best and stop with the whole scorched earth attitude toward 'the other side'. I personally feel that what we all have in common overall is more than what is different among us.

Yes, there are ppl in each camp who campaign against the other camp and in particular go about attacking the ppl on the other side in every venue they can. And yes, there are huge differences among the various trans groups. I don't think that most of the ppl in any trans group hate all the other ppl, though. And I don't think that any group is just going to all disappear from the face of the earth or change their culture and terms to please some other group that is calling them names, either.

Unfortunately, you seem pretty convinced that the LGB and their transgenders (god I hate that word) are out to destroy str8 transsexuals or at least are causing them harm by not caring about what they think they need (and I somewhat agree with the latter, though not the former). And you don't seem inclined to even entertain something other than the conspiracy theory.

What I would really love is for you all to just stick to your own echo chambers or if you must have a venue to attack each (since from what I understand each camp is pretty much banned from the other camp's blogs), why don't you start a blog called Transsexual versus Transgender Cage Match and just have at it? Instead of bothering the rest of us who really don't care about your little war.

Carol, forgive me, but your avatar is so small and your name is gender neutral. Are you male or female? And, how do you identify?

Female.

Wow, even Amy figured *that* out...

So, how would you feel if I referred to you as a male? Would that upset you? This is how some of us feel about being referred to as transgender (against our wishes). If we are respected then we can give respect back.

GLAAD and TG, Inc. are oppressing us and trying to control our very own identity. Does it surprise you that we are very upset?

So, how would you feel if I referred to you as a male? Would that upset you? This is how some of us feel about being referred to as transgender (against our wishes). If we are respected then we can give respect back.

GLAAD and TG, Inc. are oppressing us and trying to control our very own identity. Does it surprise you that we are very upset?

(shakes head, then bangs it on desk repeatedly)

sigh...

If nothing else, it is always interesting how different ppl can look at the exact same situation and interpret it in such vastly different ways.

The thing is, there are *plenty*, in fact loads, of ppl out there who call me 'male' or a man just as directly as the 'TGs' or GLAAD or whoever is calling you TG. And guess what, those same ppl are calling *you* and your sister TSers that too! Did you see the thread just after this one about the nut job psychiatrist from FOX? Have you ever been to separatist or other extreme lesbian site?

That is what is so frustrating to many of us, is that we have some many enemies in common, ppl who actively hate us (right wingers, religionists). And yet you want to fight over a distinction that mean almost nothing to the vast majority of ppl, and the ppl who *really* hate us are going to use the worst terms they can think of, no matter what.

I mean, you are aware, I am guessing, of the TS women who have been legally declared men b/c it suited someone's purpose? I don't recall the substance of those cases being due to the term transgender. It was that those women were assigned male at birth, and *that* was used against them, not how they identified, or b/c GLAAD called them TG, none of that. It was b/c they were living as and claiming to be something different from 'how God made them and intended them to be', NOT the exact details of what surgeries they had or anything else. In fact, it was in spite of all they had done.

You wanna know something? I don't much like GLAAD, or how they define or 'defend' trans women, either. I can kinda see how their definition works, if I squint just right, but mostly it sucks. (For one thing, whether you want to admit/accept it or not, there are many different groups who use the term 'transsexual', and to mean different things, so it is hard to cover all those without just picking one and going with that. I realize that is what you folks want, but if GLAAD did pick one, it likely would be the one the gay male community uses, not yours).

Really, I feel GLAAD is mostly just another part of the of the cis gay community that doesn't really much care about trans women, and isn't that interested in learning enough to know what they are talking about.

I find this with the vast majority of cis gay ppl I know in rl, and we even have cis gays who decide to explain trans issues in columns here on Bilerico, most of whom just have some kind of limited personal experience and try to explain global trans issues or how trans ppl feel about whatever ("I knew this trans man in college, and here's the big issue for trans men..."). Reminds me a lot of white upper-middle-class liberals trying to explain POC (it's esp bad when they try to explain the experience and issues of POC *to* POC).

In my mind, GLAAD doesn't much care about trans ppl. They let Glee and Rachel Maddow and such get away with stuff that they would be rioting over if it were about cis gays. To me, the vast majority of cis-gay-led national orgs are the same way. They seem to want to include 'trans' in stuff, and reflexively use 'GLBT' when what they are doing has nothing whatsoever to do with trans ppl, or is even against trans ppl's interests. I used to donate to these groups, but I have learned, and don't give money to any of them anymore. I certainly have no interest in being any kind of 'important person' in any kind of movement in any way.

Oooo, but guess what? The 'mainstream' cis gays do a lot of the same to those who are not nice str8 looking and acting gays. And what about cis bi's? They don't get too much understanding and love either.

Yes, it would be great to have better terms and clarity. It would be better if ppl knew the diversity in the trans community. On the other hand, most of your cohort seems to feel that there *is* not 'trans' community, and *should* be no 'trans community', that 'trans' is not a valid word, only 'transsexual' is, and that everyone who doesn't fit *your* narrow, excluding definition should stop using the term and just go away. That isn't going to happen, and I get tired or hearing the same complaints over and over and over.

Although I can tell you, if I had the power to make ppl separate the uses of TG and TS, and to explicitly distinguish between str8 and gay TGs, I'd make it happen in an instant just to shut the lot of you up. As it is, I am thinking I should just stop reading the comments in Bilerico articles so I don't have to see this same crap over and over and over again.

Oh, and I forgot to ask...

I assume that all you hard-core TS's are carpet spamming ppl like Keith Ablow, the FOX News psych who said that you are what you are assigned at birth, and can't change that? That TS's are psychotic and deluded, and are practicing self-mutilation? I would guess he has a site, or an email. For sure FOX News does.

Are you correcting all the other right-wing and religionist sites that are saying that same kind of stuff? What about the separatist lesbian/rad fem sites? Writing letters to the editor to newpapers who get things wrong, to Glee and Rachel Maddow, all those? I mean, fuck the TGs, but what about the TS women? There are plenty of places that seem to hate them even more than TG Inc does.

I really don't know whether you do or not, b/c I don't go to sites where I am hated. But are you girls taking the good fight to these ppl, in your unrelenting search for justice? DO you have any links?

One thing I DO know is that I have been to sites that published something accepting, supporting, and positive about TG women, and seen comments from WBHers/WOHs/PTS/other TS extremists (In particular, Ariablue). Comments calling the person in the article crossdressers, men in drag, men in dresses, sex addicts, all that. Comments which just confused the hell out of ppl, b/c Aria or whoever didn't explain their distinction, and really cast TS's in the same light as TG's. So in trying to hurt TGs, really they just hurt TSs too.

So, do you have some examples of where you actually stood up for TS women against the outside world, instead of just annoying ppl here and running a little echo chamber?

Jaime Dunaway Jaime Dunaway | May 21, 2011 10:31 PM

Why can't some of the effort that's put into tearing each other down be put towards showing those outside the community that there is diversity within our group just as there is in every other group out there? And honestly, I don't think most of society cares about the distinctions y'all are arguing over in the first place.

Diversity is what they are all fighting over. Each side wants the other to drop dead. And the argument that the vast majority of ppl make absolutely no distinction among trans anything, and that we have a lot of common cause we should be working toward (for example, even 'true transsexuals' have to transition and need some sort of public accommodations) just makes them angry (most esp the transsexuals).

Jaime Dunaway Jaime Dunaway | May 21, 2011 10:53 PM

Yes, sometimes I do wonder what they did during their rlt time if they want to restrict others based on operative status. I'm a properly diagnosed transsexual with 5 years of fulltime behind me but lacking funds to finish things, so I get that in the eyes of the law, I'm not much different than a crossdresser aside from legal name change. I have no issues with non-ops or those that strictly id as transgender. Personally, I often use trans for myself as I know that much more info than that just clicks something off in many people's heads and you may as well be talking to a stump at that point.

I've always been of the view that if you don't respect others for who they are, you can't much expect it for yourself.

I can understand wanting to be even-handed, but is are there even really two sides on this issue? All I usually see are the usual suspects attacking transgender, LGBT, and anything else that hits the HBS buttons (usually without any regard to the thread topic), and the other side is just people either defending themselves or expressing frustration with the anti-TGs' tactics. I don't think I've ever seen a transgender (or trans-positive) person on here claiming that transsexuals should drop dead or that they're not really their genders or anything like that.

I don't think I'd even argue with them if they'd quit pretending to speak for all straight transsexuals.

SAS care to explain how the LGB and transgender contingent is any less prejudiced then straight people? As far as I can tell SAS the number of straight transsexuals that post on here are very slim or that associate within the LGBT on a regular basis are even slimmer.Even more surprising when you take a look at it is the number of Post-op lesbian identified Transsexuals that want nothing to do with the word transgender. Those of you who support being fit in that transgender box are by far in the minority.The day is no longer coming when the word transgender is no longer acceptable to hang on all transsexuals it has already arrived.

Except you have no proof of that other than your own assertion. You keep claiming to want people to stop stealing your identities but you are happy to speak for all transsexual people without their consent. It's rank hypocrisy and I won't accept it.

SAS who's trying to speak for all Transsexuals? Who can even be heard over the Transgender crowd and the LGBT.

Jaime Dunaway Jaime Dunaway | May 22, 2011 2:10 AM

Sas, I do agree that the worst seems to come from the hbs or wbt or woth or whatever flavor of acronym they care to claim. But in all honesty, I'm tired of seeing the posts and comments on it from either side consume so many blogs along with all the rehashing of past mistakes/whatever by lgb. People need to keep in mind that anyone can see that stuff and it really doesn't give a good impression of our community and that is something we should all be concerned about if we want to be taken seriously by cis people.

I'm honestly tired of it as well. I would love to be able to read a trans thread on here and see an actual useful discussion instead of the same tired crap every time. The only reason I even argue with these folks is that I don't want everyone to think all of us straight transsexuals agree with them.

Tell the main LGBT groups and Transgender groups to acknowledge our existance publically.Its happening anyways it will save the the embarrassment of a pissed of person MTF or FTM dogging them in the media for pretending to speak for all of us. Believe it not I'd love nothing better than to get on with my life.

Anyone who cares to, can easily find where I'm not exactly loving the history of the LGB and T/T movement or the power dynamics within that grouping - or even the practicality of the relationship. So, I get that people want to question why it is that groups headed by LGB people think it is fine to speak for TS folks who don't also ID as LGB. This makes sense even more when you see how often wrong/bad/harmful messages get sent.

OTOH, I really don't see TS being erased in the ways you and Dana are insinuating. If anything, most non-TS TG people I know almost feel ashamed when they are talking to me about trans politics or trans issues "I'm *just* a cross dresser so my voice doesn't count" kinda stuff. If anything surgery tracked transsexuals dominate the messaging. EVERYONE knee-jerks to "trapped in the wrong body" language when I disclose my status. Every.single.time.

I think having our focus on "gender" is a problem when the actual issue is with our bodies (not the crap society tells us is appropriate for men or women). So we need to move beyond that, we need to clarify the needs of the folks who have cross gender issues are important and different from people with cross-sexed issues. WE need to make this clear without even implying that one is more critical or life-impacting than the other.

For all the talk of "moving on after SRS" it seems the HBS/WBT sure want to maintain the primacy of "wrong bodies" narratives to the exclusion of all else. Any other narrative or way of navigating what it is to be trans-sexed is deemed an attack on the legitimacy of TS and post-corrected women. All this does is attack the legitimacy of genuinely trans-sexed people who had to develop alternate survival methods. The HBS/WBT SRS-primacy harms women and until they acknowledge that they are no better than Virginia Prince.

Laughriotgirl Believe it or not I left a comment not that long ago asking where are the other transgender people? It is obvious your being silenced to protect the TS portion of the supposed transgender umbrella.I don't think the gender queer,cross dresser and transgender messages should be gagged and bound.I'm not the transsexual telling you can't speak I'm the Transsexual saying put some space between your message and ours. Separate T's are the only real solution to stopping both groups from hurting each other or silencing each other. I can't think of one legitimate reason that the transgender T isn't a great LGB fit. If anything I think many that are under the Transgender umbrella are to gay and that's why they are pushed over to the T. I really believe those who are LGB and pushed into the transgender box are getting screwed.Whether they are drag queens or gender queer or even Lesbian or gay identified transsexuals. I think some people are afraid of a non LGB attached TS movement. But I think they are not looking at the bigger picture or the fact that even as a separate movement we can still be allies with the LGBTg movement.

Amym- here is a chunk of the problem. I'm not particularly trans gender. Gender isn't really my issue - while I chafe under the expectations that society places on women, it had nothing to do with my understanding of myself. My transition was not about clothes or getting cute guys or because I liked dolls or was nurturing - because I could have been/done all those things easily as a man. It is because I would have been miserable and probably died had I not.

Because my personal way of ensuring my survival was to make some sort of peace with my genitalia, my legitimacy as a woman is negated by the SRS-primacy camps. My way of dealing with my body is seen as not a deeply person survival strategy, but rather as some affront to "Classic Transsexuals". My claim to an unqualified womanhood is dismissed by the SRS-primacy camps. My access to medical and legal remedies is scoffed at by these same people and my (and many other) needs are discounted as transsexual needs.

This is how the SRS_primacy camps harm women. This is how you are harming women. My body does not reflect on anyone's needs to access surgeries. My advocacy and political actions do not address issues or "gender" but rather on issues of legal and medical access as well as social acceptance. None of these issues are important to the larger LGB movement.

In all seriousness, the only person to ever call me a "shemale" (rather people who have bodies like mine who date men in a blog post that directly quoted me) was on EnoughNonSense - as you are well aware, this is a site for the distribution of SRS-primacy and deligitimizing the womanhoods of women who had to make peace with their bodies or go insane.

The LGB has a history of ignoring straight transsexual women. It is a history that needs addressed. The HBS/WBT/CT blah blah blah has the same history of undermining the legitimacy of other transsexual women. Doing real and measured harm to women.

As for enough TG nonsense believe it or not I would hardly know about it. I have commented on there a couple times. I haven't really followed it but now that you mention it I'll have to follow it more often. I do think it is well written and some excellent points are made. Now you say women like me are hurting you how? I'm telling you to speak out for yourself. I think the whole umbrella thing is nothing more than political stupidity now attempting to be turned into junk science. I mean seriously follow the whole evolution of the word transgender its like a crappy soap opera that you can tell whats going to happen next.We all have different needs and objectives we should be allowed by respective grouping or situation to speak out. I'm all in favor of letting cross dressers, transvestites and transgender their turn to speak all I'm asking is to leave me out of it. I think way to many people claim the title of transsexual without fully understanding what they are getting into. Those I've met that have de-transitioned or are wishy washy about it I think seem to be the most ardent supporters of the word transgender. So it does serve a purpose just like the NCTE survey does in proving those who identify as transgender should be watched more carefully going into SRS. I had never seen or heard of such a ridiculously high suicide/suicide attempt rate for post-ops. I think that it could also be indicative of the loosening of the rules,the DIY hormone takers, and internet attraction by fetishists all pointing to the word transgender and the LGB another high risk marginalized group. Each group for the good of each group and science have to be broken apart so that each groups medical and life needs can be met.You can not do any kind of serious scientific study any other way.You or some mad scientist might want to call it a sprectrum fine but realize at each point along the sprectrum a different reality and set of needs exists.If you lump it all together it is neither science or really caring for the needs of those who are being pushed together.

Still you seem to think I'm some huge advocate of the umbrella. While I think in most cases it has its uses and in many individual cases there isn't a clear line between a TS and a TG. Are women who work in drag shows funding HRT and SRS TS or TG?

The evidence of the harm you and the SRS-primacy folks do is littered within your post. Read what you wrote with the absolute understanding that I am transsexual. There is no question to me or anyone in my daily life that I am a woman. My womanhood is only really questioned by SRS-primacy transsexual women and gay men - with the occasional radical Feminist (in that order). The real harm comes in when the SRS-primacy groups carry the water for the Radical feminists and the religious right in questioning my use of women's restrooms, having my sex marker changed on documentation, and dismissive commentary on how easy it is to call oneself transsexual these days - darn kids and their internets.

If you look at the comment I left for Carol I'm not a darn kid with the internet. You asked about whether I think someone doing drag is TS or Tg. Using the same model of saving for hrt and srs thats up to their doctors to decide. Hopefully they have a good ones that care enough to make sure they are doing the right thing for the right reasons. Hate to see them turn up as a statistic in a future LGBT transgender survey seems contagious.

The "darn kids and their internet" comment was in direct response to this comment by you:

"I think that it could also be indicative of the loosening of the rules,the DIY hormone takers, and internet attraction by fetishists all pointing to the word transgender and the LGB another high risk"

Now, if you ask many post-corrected women why they transistioned the reason is "I had to" with the very real implied "or I'd have killed myself" left hanging. So, taking the suicide stats from the NCTE/NGLTF survey as indicating anything other than that undermines the whole justification to medically transition.

I'll give you one thing. You dogwhistled calling TG folks and TS women who don't follow one of the SRS-primacy dogmas crazy in a way that you could easily side out when someone called you out for it.


Laughrio if you go to any trans group at any LGBT center in America it is common knowledge all you have to say to get hormones is I'll kill myself.It is also easy to find out what doctors will just let you take them with out all that. I honestly believe some don't fully understand what they are getting themselves into. I also think there are more than a few post-ops that had they had better therapists wouldn't be post-ops.Case in point the ones who have detransitioned then look at those who support autogynephilia or simply did it because they're gender queer.I'm not saying no one should be able to get SRS what I am saying is that better safeguards should be in place. I think the NCTE NGLTF survey is proof of that for anyone who associates with the word transgender and the LGBT community.

Amym - more dogwhistling. Guess any time a post-corrected woman states she transitioned because she "had to" (dum dum dum) - everyone else can now minimize that stated need because, after all, you just claimed that hordes of Drs are giving out HRT just because... and people in support group meetings seemingly pass them out, without license, like candy. No reason to actually believe her when she says transitioning is a life or death proposition.

Keep digging under the only real justified reason for SRS. I'm sure you or one of the other SRS-primacy people will find a way to blame CDs or non-ops. It's how you roll.

For the record: I am not fond of the LGBT movement. I think trans issues got sidelined the Sunday after the Stonewall Inn got raided and we haven't been able to recover since. I'm a straight woman who may have an insiders view of gay male culture, but I'm quite firmly a straight woman who supports LGB folks. Nothing more or less.

Laughrio you can try to spin it any way you wish but online pharmacies and a lot of doctors are making a ton of money off people who are victims of themselves. That's not blowing a dog whistle that's telling the truth.

You ask "how" are folks such as Susan and the others there hurting people -- how you are, in fact.

You are ostracizing people, often in direct opposition to what they state.

And ostracizing people is a very real harm, a very real hurt.

http://www.dyssonance.com/?p=11064

Well, the extreme TGs haven't shown up in this thread, and aren't participating in fights here so much later, but they have been here a lot in the past, and they are still 'out there' fighting with the extreme TGs. A couple of the extremist in the TG camp are just as bad as Ashley Love, IMO.

I just wish they'd *all* find someplace else. I try hard to ignore the TSers that are using every thread for a soapbox for the same crap, but after a while I just get fed up and can't take it anymore. I guess I'll never learn, they aren't going to listen to anything that doesn't 100% agree with their position, b/c they are like all the other 'ers' (birthers, truther, all those), but I keep getting sucked in b/c they annoy the shit out of me...

That's easy Carol I comment under the name not all transsexuals are LGBT here are a couple of links to comments I've left. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/storyComments.php?storyId=136358903&pageNum=2&pPageNum=2&pCommentKey=CommentKey:e78efad4-2fb4-4c1a-86c0-9695c4f7e3da
If you scroll through the comments section I left two of them the first is the most important because you will see that while I separated Transsexuals from both the LGBT and Transgender I didn't leave the transgender under the bus.
Here is a comment I left about walmart and Target I got lambasted for it but again I didn't forget to include the LGBT.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/05/18/136435972/who-has-cheaper-prices-wal-mart-or-target?plckFindCommentKey=CommentKey:14b3ca01-b71e-4df2-92b2-1697cd1b8c41
I can assure you that for every comment I leave about wanting to be separated from the LGBT I leave comments trying to help all of us.Also just so you know I have and am in the Process of trying to lobby both the religious right and Republicans on TS issues. I have also sat in support of Gay Marriage at the Iowa State Capitol and lobbied Democrats in this State. While I was in Arizona I ran an add in the local dollar saver supporting gay marriage the first time the state tried to write it into its constitution. I had to put my name an address with that article and I paid for it myself.Since Christmas I have let two people one transgender and one Transsexual that were homeless stay at my house for short stays.I have also spent money out of my pocket to help them and others less fortunate. Add to that I volunteer for local State and Federal Parks while I am there without saying a word only working hard I'm promoting all of us.
Now if LGBT and Transgender organizations would not only recognize that not all Transsexuals wish to be identified as either transgender or LGBT but make it known publically I would go back to volunteering for LGBT organizations in my spare time. Now Carol and all you others how can you seriously say recognizing me as non LGBT or transgender is hurting you?

"Now Carol and all you others how can you seriously say recognizing me as non LGBT or transgender is hurting you?"

I never said that, that I know of. I have no problem with recognizing you as non-LGBT or non-transgender. I don't think I have ever called you either of those. I just get tired of hearing you go on and on about all those horrid ppl who are oppressing you in ways that seem far more dehumanizing and judgemental to me than them lumping you in as TG or some kind of gay. But no doubt you will have some reason to discount what I say, or will at least deflect it into yet another tirade on the TGs and LGBs, that what they do is far far worse than what you say about them...

SamanthaQ | May 22, 2011 6:23 PM

An herein lies the reason so many women (and men) slip quietly into stealth and leave all the madness behind.

Makes me think of the punchline to an old segregation era joke:

"You are all GREEN! Now, back on the bus ... Light green in the back of the bus, dark in the front of the bus."

In the 70's I was a man hating militant radical lesbian feminist. I thought Gay men were and are awesome because they were no threat to me and mine. I had a Butch haircut, bitch attitude, fought with everyone that didn't see it the way the rest of us MRLF's saw life, even other feminists. So while we MRLFs bitched at the other feminists, they bitched back at us, and all the while men were laughing their asses off and calling feminism a joke. I also viewed bisexuals with a similar attitude, cause after all, they couldn't pick a side right? That was the BS then, and it's lasted to this day in many ways.

Then I grew up. And got married. TO A MAN! Ewww!

So now you have first wave feminists fighting with second wave feminists (don't ask, I don't even know) but I'm sure it's the same old stupid fighting. There's still a largish amount of energy being directed towards those of us who are bisexual [one little mistake, and you get your lesbian card revoked, and I do mean little!] because we can't (or won't) pick a side and I'm every bit as lost and confused as I ever was, now there are just different people being bitchy. And with the visibility of other, other people, the whole "T" of doom becomes the tipping point for additional people fighting and being targets, and aggressors. And it gets worse from there, men in dresses as opposed to women born male and the endless deconstructionist slippery slope of getting nothing done.

You know, it seems most of the time to me like people who have been targets for discrimination think it's okay to discriminate, because well, someone else did it to them. It's like adults who were abused as children. About half of all abused children will grow up to BE abusers, and half will grow up to be abused. My later husband grew up to BE an abuser, and I grew up to be abused. TG/TS/IS/BS! The people making the most noise, grew up to be abusers because it was the way you learned to survive. Those of us NOT fighting? Yeah, we're the ones with no voices because being abused comes naturally and we never really learned how NOT to be abused.

So now, I pay my NOW dues, sleep with who I love (which is currently no one, so I'm ASEXUAL!) and stay out of the ongoing stupidity. Speaking of the alphabet soup of alternate lifestyles, when all you GLBT folks going to add the A? I'm asexual daminit, and I'm not sleeping with anyone because I'm mad as hell that all you glbt folks are discriminating against all the asexual folks out there.

Gay INC? TG Inc? OMFG Inc!

You folks are going back and forth, back and forth fighting, fighting, fighting, and getting NOTHING done except burning bandwidth and pissing each other off more while the "normies" sit back, laugh and continue to tell us were not straight enough, or normal enough, or male enough, or female enough, or gay enough, or lesbian enough, or trans enough while all the greedy INC's keep taking people money, throwing expensive, wasteful bullshit parties, balls, and galas that all the rich people go to to gather together and lord over all of us who don't have enough, of anything.

Grow up! Really. If you cannot, or will not stand together, you will surely fall apart.

DeAlana Bruce | May 22, 2011 10:03 PM

The Human Race really needs to get away from milking these irrelevant arguments of personal opinion, phobias and factitious misinformation.

Sex is a physical act of pleasure between two living beings who have strong feelings for one another, but even that is an extremely general statement.

Gender Identity, Brain Gender and Brain Sex are bio-chemical processes that determine ones gender on a very personal level.

Physical Gender and Genetic Gender are merely suggestions of our presumed gender. The majority of people can't see beyond the physical world because they view life with their eyes, not their souls

The thought that the Human Race is considered an intelligent species makes me cry in mourning for our existence.

The unfortunate fact that the Human Race is the only species on this beautiful planet that has split a single race into sub-races and sub-cultures with the belief that one is better than another or more deserving than another is quite disturbing.

IT'S TIME FOR THE HUMAN RACE TO LEARN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND STOP PERPETUATING THE SENSELESS HATE BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS TAUGHT YOU THEIR JUDGEMENT AND HATRED BASED ON EMPTY FEARS OF SOMETHING THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND.

I KNOW THE HUMAN RACE IS CAPABLE OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
LOVE Always DeAlana.

Whilst I agree with the main thrust of this article, I am unhappy with the way the writer seems to assume that trans = transsexual. Not all trans people are transsexual, and the way the writer presents this in effect erases the identities of non-transsexual trans people.