Mercedes Allen

Why the Umbrella Failed

Filed By Mercedes Allen | June 17, 2011 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: community building, decolonialism, gender diverse, trans movement, transgender, transsexual, umbrella organizing

noumbrella.jpgWhile writing "The Death of the 'Transgender' Umbrella," it became necessary to clarify something in my own mind. The language is changing, yes, but the aspect of the word "transgender" that had especially changed was also the thing that seemed to make it most valuable: its use as an umbrella concept.

While it's true that the specific words we use are ultimately irrelevant to how human rights protections are encoded in law, the way we're framing our issues currently does, in fact, set us up for serious conflict between binary-identified and non-binary trans people when addressing issues of legal documentation and accommodation. It also spawns confusion and misunderstanding when the general public is faced with multiple narratives and tries to figure out how to parse them into a single entity. We need to recognize - and sooner rather than later - how couching transsexual and gender diverse issues under a single umbrella creates an expectation of a single narrative with a single solution to all associated challenges.

I doubt very much that people who embrace a trans umbrella of any sort ever intended to erase these differences - instead, the intent often was very much a spirit of "let's accomplish everything together." But umbrella thinking usually leads us down a path where we're looking to one solution - one neat and tidy accommodation that will work for everyone. It also causes us to give the impression (intentional or not) that a single, one-size-fits-all solution will work for transsexual and gender diverse people. Just like some of the things we struggle against, it too expects a certain amount of conformity. And this is where shedding a trans umbrella hurt most - acknowledging my own hypocrisy.

In my defense, this was largely because I wanted to believe that gathering under an umbrella didn't have to mean erasure, and didn't have to mean forcing a single narrative on everyone, provided we were all conscientious and diligent. But what I know about decolonialism tells me otherwise.

Imply / Infer

To me, the umbrella didn't mean a single narrative. To those I interacted with, though, this was very much not the case, no matter how clearly I tried to communicate it. This was most evident when speaking on trans issues to general audiences or medical groups. What became most organic was to say a bit at the beginning on how diverse the trans community was, and then move on to specifically transsexual issues while trying to remain clear that the medical processes and needs were specific to transsexuals only. Invariably, the question period afterward was fraught with questions from people who were trying to resolve for themselves where non-binary trans people fit into that narrative.

I wanted to believe that unity didn't have to mean erasure, but inevitably, I needed to recognize that's what had been happening, once I started to reflect, in a commented addendum to "The Death of the Transgender Umbrella":

How are we to be identified in society? Are we to be accepted as men and women, or have a third-sex/third-gender designation? As long as we're under a single name, society will look for a single solution and see us as a single entity, so there's a serious risk of it becoming an either/or question, affecting identification, accommodation in gendered spaces, and, to some degree, how we interact with society overall.

We don't get to frame the whole debate, but the way we frame it when we initiate it through lobbying, instruction and protest forms a foundation. Society's understanding of trans people is growing and evolving, and with the "you can't change your chromosomes" attitudes that are out there, it's certainly a risk that as society becomes more trans-aware, non-binary gender markers could become the easy solution for legislators, seeming to appease both trans people and our opponents (because they always, always, always look for an easy way out). Except that a non-binary gender marker becomes a scarlet letter for many transitioned transsexuals. It also potentially becomes an easy way to exclude us from marriage in places without SSM.

We're not consciously doing it, but this is how we're presently initiating the discussion.

It was a particularly difficult article to write for a number of reasons, not the least of which were the facts that I am still personally comfortable with the term "transgender," and that I still realize that there are issues that touch on most or all trans people, requiring a collective response. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is one such reminder that transphobia touches all of us. But points of mutual empathy should not be mistaken as evidence of sameness, and that is why the umbrella failed.

Decolonizing Trans

I've been interested in decolonial theory for awhile, although I look at it somewhat differently than most do. I won't go into depth, but in simple terms, decolonialism is about how various classes lay claim and ownership over each other and impose regulations, will and rules of conformity that run counter to other classes' needs. It's not a popular subject, since the language of communicating colonial struggles - words like "oppression" - tend to trigger immediate defensive reactions, and something I didn't initially recognize as a proponent of a transgender umbrella was how I was slipping into that trap. In this argument, we had people clearly reacting to a perception of colonial annexation. The typical colonial response is to dismiss it as "all in their heads" or simply rationalizing it away as bigotry or reverse discrimination. I didn't like the part I found myself playing.

One problem that decolonial theory has is that academia treats it as its own possession, as though it's their noble responsibility to lead the unwashed masses to salvation, thus perpetuating colonialism yet again. This is something I've experienced plenty of myself, having had no shortage of people throughout my life to remind me that I'm not worthy enough to lick academia's boots, or to decide that they're a better authority than I am on who I am and what I need (it's actually made academia quite triggering for me). In order for real decolonial change to happen, it needs to be something that's recognized and understood by the public at large. When I bring it up here, it's not to be aristocratic, but to simply engage the discussion on a community level.

Most often, decolonial theory is used as an examination of how a primary class governs others, but minorities do it to each other, too. In this understanding of minority issues, privilege is not a you-have-it-or-you-don't proposition, but rather an edge that we find ourselves on differing sides of in differing situations. So I see colonialism not as something that happens between nations but as something that happens among majority and various minority classes as each seeks personal power. Colonialism keeps getting perpetuated because it's the only framework we've ever had with which to view society, and we expect that one collective group (whether democratic, economic class, ideological or characteristic in nature) is supposed to rule, and everyone else needs to be governed or to "get with the program." And when the majority makes accommodations for various minorities, it's often in a paternal, tokenistic way because its privilege blinds it to the deeply-rooted needs that the minorities have, and instead seeks easy and soft fixes. Which is why true beneficial change for a minority needs to be initiated and defined by the people in question themselves.

The whole point is that by looking at the struggles of minorities on a global scale, patterns emerge in how they self-define, seek personal power through the same colonizing behaviours they have struggled against, assert authority (sometimes justifiably, sometimes not), and often succumb to the idea of ownership rather than partnership. Decolonialism attempts to rethink this process, recognizing that either we're truly committed to social justice or we're simply seeking to better one's own class - if we do the latter, we inevitably perpetuate colonial thinking, however much or little we've been able to elevate ourselves.

If There Are Different Defining Characteristics, You Can't Portray Sameness

And when you have a group or groups with unique and strongly defining characteristics (say, a medical process, identification issues that affect citizenship, accommodation concerns in the 24/7 day-to-day) grouped with ones who don't share all or some of those characteristics, all the while claiming to speak with one voice, you have a situation that is absolutely rife with the potential for colonial conflict and attempts at possession.

Personally, I don't think that transsexuals have been completely annexed by other gender diverse peoples (and yes, I realize that "gender diverse peoples" is itself an umbrella phrase, but I am currently using it for now because it at least acknowledges diversity), nor gender diverse peoples completely annexed by transsexuals. In my local community, I see more danger of the latter happening. But by setting up an umbrella communal framework, we've created a colonial structure, and we're now seeing the push-pull. It's happening more often online because that is where our self-definition has been mostly taking place, and that is also where people feel most empowered and safe enough to speak about it.

It only escalates from here, unless we rethink how we've defined things. And we may not have had a conscious will to annex anyone - but the conviction that it is advantageous to present ourselves as a single whole is all the seduction we need to do so unwittingly.

The idea of an umbrella is that we can all stand under it - race, ability, sexual orientation, age, gender identity and/or expression - and that is why the idea is so seductive. It appeals to a sense of strength through unity. But an umbrella implies one people, one collective narrative and one solution, allowing colonial thinking to set in as we try to define a singular course of advocacy, thinking that anyone who doesn't initially like it will one day thank us anyway.

We also often rationalize a transgender umbrella by equating it to a spectrum of gender expression. While some of the conflicts can be separated between binary and non-binary -identified people, we as individuals cannot always easily be sorted that way. Some gender diverse people feel a need to transition to a degree; some transsexuals don't completely adopt one gender or the other for a myriad of reasons - this all seems to validate the idea of a spectrum, and maybe it does. But we can't use this as a reason to ignore the potential for conflict along binary and non-binary lines. In fact, the impulse to see everyone as part of a whole has caused us to completely fail to understand how people at either end of the question can feel triggered or erased when someone else's narrative becomes perceived as dominant.

Decolonialism is Not Simply Divorce

That said, if a "divorce" of transsexuals from gender diverse peoples were to take place, we still need to take care and be conscious of those who identify as both. Historically, it has always gone very seriously tragic when communities have jettisoned people who don't fit narrow idealized definitions (gay men to effeminate gays, lesbians to "butch" dykes, racial communities to "halfbreeds," women's movements to transsexual women, transsexual men and sex workers, the middle class to the poor, gays and lesbians to bisexuals, and more - these did not all occur in exactly the same way, but all were nonetheless damaging). Folks in the in-between are often not the exception that challenges the rule, but rather situated where they experience compounded ostracism that perpetuates even more isolation and marginalization. Simply divorcing ourselves from each other doesn't actually address colonial structures: It merely draws a new border and creates one more class to seek advantage over. If we are to claim a true decolonial approach, that will involve both defining ourselves as distinct and working with people outside our own bubble for our collective empowerment, without assuming that a single solution is going to accomplish that.

Longer Than We Realize

The "don't call me transgender" argument stems from peoples' desire to distinguish themselves from the relatively recent but large proliferation of genderqueer and transgressive narratives. Those, in turn, stemmed from peoples' desire to distinguish themselves from the medicalized and clichéd "man in a woman's body" -style narratives before them. We've been seeking to define ourselves the whole time, and that's a necessary part of emerging as a movement. But because we're trying to present ourselves to the world as part of a single whole, doing so affects the self-definition of others. This tug-of-war has been taking place for longer than we realize, and unless we reconsider why and how we're trying to assert a oneness, this will only get more bitter. And it's unnecessary: total sameness is not a prerequisite for undertaking activism as an allied whole, nor for empathizing with people who share some of our struggles.

We're drawn to the idea of community as some kind of nebulous ideal where we all share kinship, as a kind of family. Many of us have sacrificed a lot in search of it, and perhaps we even need it. We've been emotionally buoyed or wrecked by interactions because of it. As romantic as the idea of community might be, there are obvious flaws with that logic - which is why The Community™ always seems to fail to live up to that promise. There are kindred spirits to be found, yes, but not everyone in our neighbourhood can be seen as one. Community can only ever be a loosely-knit coming together of diverse individuals who are unified only by the fact that they happen to live near each other and perhaps have some political needs in common.

Where Alliance Differs

We sometimes see the concepts of umbrella and alliance as interchangeable, but that is very much not the case. During the beginning of the "don't call me transgender" argument years ago, I wondered at times if some of us were arguing about the same thing. But there are very clear yet subtle differences in thinking that go with each concept, whether we've intended them or not. Coming from an umbrella standpoint, we're inviting people to "come over here and stand with me." From an alliance standpoint, it's a bit more of a realization that sometimes we need to stand with someone else, too, and that sometimes requires stepping out of our own protective zone to do so - but also realizing that it's needed. An alliance acknowledges that we're not all going the same direction, that we can only speak to our own experiences, and that it's not up to everyone to focus on us but rather agreeing to exchange support among people who don't always need the same things. It also means realizing that our needs aren't all the same, will sometimes conflict, and should probably be examined carefully before pushing solutions in order to minimize the harm we do to our allies.

That is, in an ideal version of alliance. No approach is perfect. Umbrella or alliance, both are vulnerable to paternalism, conflict, tokenism and betrayal. Alliances still need the ability to recognize when they're seeking to define others and the will to change it. The primary reason for shifting from umbrella thinking to alliance between transsexual and gender diverse communities is to better recognize and empower the parties in question to voice their own perspectives and needs. It becomes easier to recognize when troubles occur, since the collaborating partners have been more empowered to speak. It's a small difference that can mean everything.

And since umbrella thinking is the issue, many of these things will have implications for other advocacy structures. It's also worth examining what this says about the "Queer Umbrella," as well as how trans isn't "in" or "out," but still very reasonably allied (more on this in part 3 to follow).

So if it seems sometimes like I'm talking about platitudes, it's because I am. The practical application is still entirely dependent on our commitment to achieving an ideal and equitable result.

LGB, People of Colour, Canada and Alliances

Many other communities have settled into alliance-based frameworks, even if they haven't consciously done so or have later forgotten why. Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals probably have a clearer thread uniting them - sexual orientation - but still have a myriad of differences, distinctions, and places in which there is outright conflict. For a gay man who is trying to communicate that his sexual orientation is innate and something he can't just change through conscious choice or aversion therapies, for example, the very existence of bisexuals would at first seem to undermine him. We choose to ally, and if we listen, we start to understand what's at the root of those conflicts and see where both can coexist.

As someone who is Metis (that is, part Native American - enough that I witness and sometimes experience some of the marginalization of Aboriginal peoples but not enough that I could speak to all of it), I can find some kinship with people of colour. But at the same time, my experiences aren't necessarily in line with the PoC narrative. Discussion of issues affecting people of colour sometimes slip into the trap of speaking about only one or two colours. If I were to voice my experiences while identified as a person of colour (I don't, since I recognize that I'm largely seen as white), the first thing that would happen is that people would contest my right to identify that way; the second (assuming we get past that) is that they then try to find a way to fold my experiences back into the existing narrative. As with those who've advocated an umbrella community, I don't believe this is necessarily intentional. But I've found it's certainly more effective for me to communicate my relevant experiences as a Metis person so that those experiences can be seen on their own merits and unencumbered by another narrative. At the same time, I'm perfectly happy to ally with people of colour and do whatever I can to advance their needs and inclusion as well. At that point, I'm more an ally than anything (hopefully a good ally), and inevitably need both my own language to describe my experiences, and a willingness to listen to others'.

We Need to Revisit This, But Without the Mutual Invalidation

If we were to look at how trans theory has evolved over the years, I'd bet we'd find that this is a discussion that we keep coming back to without realizing it because umbrella thinking has started us on a circuitous path that keeps stirring up the same old unresolved conflicts, the same old unanswered questions about where colonial borders should be, the same questions of empowerment and disempowerment and the same resentments from erasure and betrayal, time and again. I'm as tired as anyone about identity politics. But inevitably it needs to be revisited lest it continue to hamper our collective (and hopefully reasonably allied) movements for transsexual and gender diverse people.

Arriving at this conclusion, though, is not at all helped by the fact that there is clearly some invalidation taking place. Yes, some of the "don't call me transgender" argument has stemmed from a few peoples' impulses to dismiss anyone who doesn't fit a narrow definition of post-operative transsexual as either fetishists or extremists. I won't make excuses for people who have spouted those attitudes. But those who've responded have also in turn dismissed absolutely everyone who objects to umbrella thinking as a bigot. Both are destructive impulses we need to stop. Ironically, it took being triggered in a big way by invalidation to open my eyes to just how ferociously we can sometimes respond to it, and just how unconsciously we can perpetuate it. The only thing that taking swipes at people does is to turn them off of the idea of giving serious consideration to the point of view of the person taking the swipe.

The invalidation on both sides of the discussion has to stop now.

Next - Alliance: Why and How

This continues the thoughts from "The Death of the 'Transgender' Umbrella." If you haven't read that part and don't believe that there is a conflict between binary and non-binary needs in transsexual and gender diverse advocacy, please read that part before reacting to this article.

(Thanks to April and Jillian for feedback. Crossposted at Dented Blue Mercedes)


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Thanks Mercedes. I enjoy reading your thoughts on these issues.

Marja Erwin | June 17, 2011 10:39 AM

"The "don't call me transgender" argument stems from peoples' desire to distinguish themselves from the relatively recent but large proliferation of genderqueer and transgressive narratives."

Not necessarily. I personally reject the label transgender, not because I reject transgressive narratives - I don't - but because I reject the reduction of my sex identity to gender identity/role. The institution of gender is part of the problem, but transgender activism seems to portray gender as something individual and innate, instead of institutional and imposed. I suspect that we're talking about different things, but I'm not sure how to work around this; if I were to adopt transgender terminology, it would conflict with decades of feminist terminology.

Changing sex is not a political act. Changing sex is changing sex but it has to with a need to change sexed aspects of one's body. There is a physical need to do this. The genitals are so clearly important for transsexual people because of what the gonads do. It is very important for a person who is transsexual to do this. What the genitals do affects the whole body - a person's brain and their secondary characteristics. This can be accomplished indirectly through hormone treatments, either to reinforce a sex assignment or to change secondary sex characteristics, or directly, through irreversible surgery which requires a need and implies a commitment that hormone treatments do not imply or require.

In reality, sex is not exclusively binary. Sex is a gendered concept. The human mind relies on binaries to logically sort out a very chaotic reality. There are however two basic directions sex development takes overall, the way secondary characteristics develop and then there is the primary mechanical aspect of male and female in sexual relations. These realities exist. No amount of gender theory can erase those realities but they can be ignored.

Culture may emerge from the biological realities of sex but sex does not emerge from culture. You can evolutionary psychology this all you want but sex simply is. Sex characteristics exist independent of culture. Queen Elizabeth was a woman, King George was a man. Queen Isabella was a woman, King Ferdinand was a man. They all ruled vast empires. Women have been oppressed throughout history but women are not oppressed "minorities".

I find politics, post colonial theory, culture all very interesting subjects but changing one's primary and secondary sex characteristics really has nothing to do with that. Self expression is very important. Being allowed to express oneself is a political issue but changing sex isn't. Either one possesses certain sex characteristics or one doesn't. "Gender expression" is cultural and behavioral but it is not sex characteristics. The only political aspect involved in transsexualism is access to adequate medical care. Once transition has been achieved, whether discrimination occurs or not, the person is the sex who they transition to.

Because of human thinking and because of the mechanical nature of physical sex, sex will always be sorted out into two categories. Sex is not completely binary. Actually, there is a lot of diversity within the sexes. Modern science is finding out it cannot simply be reduced to the twenty third pair of chromosomes. Gonads and genitalia are the two most critical aspects where sex differentiation is concerned for the reasons I pointed out above. There are two very basic types on which all the diversity is based. The state may deny a person's categorization as the sex they have transitioned to. The changes for a post transsexual person are irreversible, however. A person's sex exists whether the state or political entities recognize that fact or not. It is not a matter of self expression. It is a matter of being. It is beyond the realm of culture, even if affected by culture through classification by external forces. A person's sexual nature exists regardless of political forces. I think the post colonial frame crops out all the real unchangeable aspects of what it means to be post transsexual. I have to agree. very strongly, that the only real political issue for post transsexual is to be recognized as female or male. Period.

It is probably desirable to develop consciousness to the fact that sex is a gendered construct. A better understanding of why it is might come out of that which may result in the beginning of the end of unreasonable expectations for the sexes and stereotyping, which would lead to more freedom to genuinely express oneself. I don't think post transsexual people should be held hostage in order to accomplish this. Transsexual people are not the ones responsible for sex stereotyping. It is a problem to take up with society as a whole.

Sex is a gendered concept.

Actually, that is wrong. Sex just is. It simply exists independent of classification. The way sex is conceptualized by the human mind, however, is that it is gendered.

I've actually avoided explicitly drawing the line as one between sex and gender, because in some discussions that seems to quickly morph into "real and not real."

But at the same time, I see our differences a bit closer to ones of binary identification and non-binary. Certainly, the conflicts noted in the first article were ones between people who simply wanted acceptance as men and women, and people who wanted a separate designation. Someone can be binary-identified, for example, without completely changing their sex. And someone might need to crossdress as expression without wanting to be seen as in-between.

But I'll probably need to dig deeper into this.

I understand what you are saying, Mercedes, but real and not real is an argument that can cut both ways, if you see what I mean. It's unfortunate things have a tendency to go in that direction. Sex exists, however, independent of gender. Gender is pretty much linguistic.

Anyway, I was alarmed by this sentence in Abigail Jensen's post @ Pam's House Blend the other day:

However, in determining who is allowed access to the men’s or women’s facilities, the employer must recognize the employee’s announced gender identity with the sole exception that, where nudity is “unavoidable,” the employer may require someone whose presence may make other employees uncomfortable to use separate facilities, but only if those separate facilities conform to the person’s gender identity.

particularly this statement:

someone whose presence may make other employees uncomfortable

That is a pretty vague comment. What would "make other employees uncomfortable"? How many ways are there to make a person uncomfortable? Do people have the right to exclude people of the same sex from sex segregated spaces on the basis of "making them uncomfortable". Is it being proposed that this actually be written into law? Is that really an improvement over waiting for a court decision to determine whether someone is male or female, legally? It seems to me the "real" question is being adjusted in such a way that the question becomes whether someone's vagina is real and not whether someone's penis is. As I said, sex can be ignored. A penis can be gendered female and a vagina, vice versa.

Essentially, what transgender activists propose is that post transsexual people be written into the law in such a way that it excludes them from belonging to the sex they transition to. As it stands now, it is up to the courts to decide. To discount the significance of genital surgery is very dismissive and problematic in so many ways that I really don't have time to go into, at the moment.

"Essentially, what transgender activists propose is that post transsexual people be written into the law in such a way that it excludes them from belonging to the sex they transition to."

What? Who has proposed this? I'm a fan of people being able to legally transition to whatever sex they want.

"To discount the significance of genital surgery is very dismissive and problematic in so many ways that I really don't have time to go into, at the moment."

How about this: it's significant for some trans folks and less significant for others, because everyone's body dysphoria is different. Also, some people can't afford it, and it's cruel to deny people legal rights just because they're poor.

OK, reading the original post, I noticed that the quoted paragraph is only applicable to places where nudity is unavoidable, such as locker rooms. It does NOT apply to bathrooms. Given that, the proposed law seems like it would be better for trans folks in almost all cases, since it demands that, e.g. a trans woman, penis or no penis, could not be compelled to share a locker room with men.

"Is that really an improvement over waiting for a court decision to determine whether someone is male or female, legally?"

Unless you're rich, have a lot of free time, and are in a friendly jurisdiction, nearly anything is an improvement over that.

You wrote:

"particularly this statement:

"someone whose presence may make other employees uncomfortable

"That is a pretty vague comment. What would "make other employees uncomfortable"? ....

"Essentially, what transgender activists propose is that post transsexual people be written into the law in such a way that it excludes them from belonging to the sex they transition to..."

I agree that the wording is problematic, and blames the target of the bias for the bias. I don't think that was intentional so much as attempting to negotiate a response to legislators who are running scared of the "bathroom bill" rhetoric. I don't think it's trans* activists (many of whom are transsexual themselves) who are proposing bad language so much as being pushed to find some compromise to appease panic.

At the same time, making genitals the divisor likewise excludes transitioning people, and because nobody's going to (or should be, anyway) doing a "panty check," this would likely end up being policed more through lookism than anything else. And making a carry letter a divisor creates a number of problems of its own, including financial hardship and class restriction (i.e. paying for Dr. visit after visit trying to find someone trans-aware who won't string you along for months before writing the magic letter), further gatekeeperism, potential for inadvertent outing, and becoming a step removed from citizenship through the requirement of papers.

Part of what drives legislators' fears of us -- and the difficulty of encoding into law what we need for enfranchisement -- is the fact that we've framed everything as one problem, creating a quandary in which any one solution has dire consequences for them. I want to get back to the washroom issue soon, because it's currently being used effectively against us despite having no substance, and we'll need to mount a more effective counter. However, before we can do that, we need to pick apart what we're asking and see where the flaws with single solutions are.

At great peril, I'm going to add to what I wrote already. I spent a long time reading your post this morning, Mercedes. I put off a lot of what I had to get done to try to read it as carefully as I could. Personally, I am not crazy about the word transsexual. I don't think of transsexual as a noun. I've already said what I think about sex and gender over and over again, not only here but elsewhere. I read your post again as carefully as I could. I don't think the way I truly feel is too far from what I wrote. What I got from the reread is the invalidating part. I suppose there are those who do that. I don't think the invalidation comes exclusively from the so-called transsexual camp. I don't consider myself "a transsexual". I see myself as someone who will end up classified in a two sex system. Invalidating someone's transsexual experience will not end that system.

Anyway, this is something one seems to encounter quite often at these sorts of blog discussions involving the transsexual/transgender debates. I won't identify the person who said this in the comments at Pam's House Blend on the "irrelevance of the transsexual/transgender debate" but this is the kind of "reasoning" that causes me to be very suspicious:

I'm a man with a vagina, and personally, I'd be terrified to be housed with men who don't have vaginas. The would be a recipe for certain rape.

Where does that sort of reasoning lead???

Well, I guess he wouldn't want to get in a pissing contest with the other dudes? Is that what you meant?

No, I meant I didn't know what he meant by that. Do you?

I was being silly. :)

I am thinking he meant that he would be afraid to be housed with men with penises, being equipped with the very thing most men best like to put it in. Plus, if he is like a lot of trans men, he is smaller than most of the other men. Rape being common in prison, and being condoned on the basis of 'they deserve it, fucking animals, they put themselves here', that seems a pretty reasonable fear to me. Personally, I wouldn't want to be housed with a bunch of men either, whether I had a penis or not.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | June 18, 2011 4:19 AM

I'm the one who made that comment. It was in response to someone else's post regarding the safety of trans people in prisons. Many people who medically transition either cannot afford or do not want (for a variety a reasons) full or partial genital surgery. Others are in the process of transition and simply have not yet obtained genital surgery. Laws and policies must accommodate these people. What I meant by my comment on PHB is that placing a FtM who has not had genital surgery in a cis-sexed men's prison is a recipe for disaster.

The cold, hard truth about us "transsexuals" is that we are neither (and never have been, nor will be) male or female. We are all intersexed. Before transition, we have a brain sex that is different from our gonadal sex, (and who knows how many of us have non-standard chromosomes?). Post transition, we have the same brain sex we started with and a mixture of male and female secondary and/or primary sex characteristics. I'm not proposing that we start having "I" stamped on our driver's licenses in place of "F" or "M," or that we shouldn't identify ourselves as men and women (non-scientific categories), only illustrating that genitals are not the sole determiner of sex, and that science (today at least) recognizes several different indicators of sex differentiation.

@ Woflgang I completely disagree with you and your opinions you said "The cold, hard truth about us "transsexuals" is that we are neither (and never have been, nor will be) male or female." I'll have you known my Birth Certificate doesn't say Transsexuals it said "Female" period. I believe Transition is a process one begins goes through and comes out the other end as the gender one is transitioning to I don't agree that Individuals diagnosis as GID are Intersexed nor do I agree that they aren't for all intense purposes women n men once they have completed transition and by completed I mean having complete GRS for mtf and having histo and top surgery for ftm.
You also said "Many people who medically transition either cannot afford or do not want (for a variety a reasons) full or partial genital surgery" Many people ? Many people shouldn't be transitioning at all without a diagnosis of GID and the fact that they don't want surgery is a clear Indicator they aren't Transsexual and should be transitioning to begin with. The fact that they can't afford surgery is just an excuse to try and trick cities into changing birth certificate policies. Likewise I disagree that laws should protect Individuals that DO NOT want surgery or protect common crossdressers or any other Individuals who don't have a diagnosed gender Issue. I do however feel that Individuals who have a diagnosis and haven't "YET" had surgery should have documentation stating such and should have access to restroom and such.

There are many, MANY cis people that feel that even medically-diagnosed transsexuals with GID should not be allowed to transition or have surgery, and if they do, should not be afforded full rights as their transitioned sex. Luckily for all of us, they, and you, are not in charge of who can and can't transition.

I love how the fact that many transsexuals cannot afford surgery is just an "excuse". Because we all know, you only deserve rights if you have the money for them.

You wrote:

"Many people shouldn't be transitioning at all without a diagnosis of GID and the fact that they don't want surgery is a clear Indicator they aren't Transsexual and should be transitioning to begin with. The fact that they can't afford surgery is just an excuse to try and trick cities into changing birth certificate policies.

You can have cancer and not want chemotherapy. There are many good reasons to not want to undergo nearly any major medical procedure -- even if the consequence is death. I can't think of any other case where someone would posit that doing so means the person was never afflicted.

I'm trying not to lose it here, and I know you're not the only person in the thread who has posited attitudes like this. I'm calling out the attitude, and not the person. But if these are the kinds of narrow, unwavering requirements we want to place, to the invalidation of all else, then I cannot and will not support those positions. Period. The fact that there is a fundamental structural conflict in how we name and frame our struggles is not a license to impugn anyone who doesn't exactly fit certain expectations.

And you wrote:

"Likewise I disagree that laws should protect Individuals that DO NOT want surgery or protect common crossdressers or any other Individuals who don't have a diagnosed gender Issue."

The whole concept of human rights is that everyone needs to be treated according to their individual merits and actions, and not be prejudged based on a real or perceived membership in any particular class. If you truly believe in the concept of human rights, then yes, you believe in human rights for crossdressers. If you are seeking to make exceptions, then you aren't seeking human rights, you're seeking special rights. And that's pure and utter oppression. We don't put into place protections for disability and then seek to exempt mental disabilities simply because people with schizophrenia intimidate us.

I think male-born men are also terrified of being raped in male prisons, and being small and having a vagina makes that more likely. I think we should be outraged at prison conditions generally, conditions that put any prisoner at risk of rape.

I am wary of any system that makes us a third gender within a society that is still rigidly binary, much as I would hope the gender binary would go away. In such a binary system, third-gender or intersex status just makes us "other" and human history doesn't have a good track record for how people "othered" get treated.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | June 18, 2011 4:36 AM

Edith wrote, "...this is the kind of "reasoning" that causes me to be very suspicious:"

Suspicious of what?

Edith quoted, "I'm a man with a vagina, and personally, I'd be terrified to be housed with men who don't have vaginas. The would be a recipe for certain rape."

then wrote, "Where does that sort of reasoning lead???"

What do you mean? First, it isn't reasoning, but rather a statement of fact. Where does such a fact lead? Hopefully to sound policy that ensures the safety of trans men in prisons.

Is the question what do I mean, what do you mean or is the question what does what you said mean? I am not up for a spirited discussion. All I have is questions. What is sex? Does "gender identity" trump sex except when the "facts" get in the way? Are certain "facts" only "facts" when they pertain to certain people?

I don't know. I have a million questions. The last thing I want to see happen is for this to turn into a discussion about the Michigan Women's Music Festival. I could care less about the MWMF. I never wanted to force my way into a place where I am not wanted. I don't want to spend my life living in Camp Trans, either.

I just can't get over the fact that I'm being pressured into an alliance to support anti-discrimination law that will discriminate against me under threat of being characterized as transphobic if I don't go along with it. I am way too far down the rabbit hole.

O K, you mention intersex. There is a parallel thread running here written by someone from the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. Jack Drescher is listed as the president elect of this organization. Jack Drescher who wrote: “QUEER DIAGNOSES: HOMOSEXUALITY, GENDER VARIANCE, AND THE DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL (DSM)”, Jack Drescher who is a Member, Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group for the DSM-5 who upholds the concept of "gender variance" which many people find offensive and the concept of "gender identity disorder". The same Jack Drescher who wrote:

"An environmental role is further suggested in Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Although AIS children have male XY chromosomes, they are born looking like girls. They are usually raised as girls and most develop adult relationships with men. Are people with AIS heterosexual because they think they are women and choose male partners? Or homosexual because they and their partners both have XY chromosomes? Either interpretation may be correct, depending on one's point of view: an individual's subjectivity vs. chromosomes.

We are speaking of women who have been recognized as women since the beginning of time. There are people who would skew reality to portray women as gay men to support a political agenda.

The person who wrote this article I have taken the quotes from is intersex but she goes on to say:

It is evident that most of what Jack Drecsher is saying is relative to himself (Being a gay man) which is perhaps understandable from his perspective, but would not be from the perspective of either someone with CAIS or someone who is Transsexual. As by Drescher's logic, they would have "chromosomes contrary to their presented sex" (Which in itself is an artificial argument as chromosomes are not the final markers of sex anyway). Either way it does not give him any particular insight into the people he is discussing. If anything his waving his "Gay credentials" illustrate the potential for him to not understand the issues surrounding another group of people.

Here is the whole article:

http://www.intersexualite.org/Bay_Area_Reporter.html

What does homophobia, transphobia, intersexphobia or anything along those lines have to do with enacting laws that will inevitably segregate people, separate their gender from their sex and manipulate sex and gender in a way most convenient to achieve an agenda most favorable in any given circumstance to those who have power to manipulate definitions? What does being characterized with a disorder mean to someone who is as healthy as the next person do to somebody? How is their integrity compromised when something like that is done to a person, whether it is GID or DSD? What is more important to a person functioning in a real everyday world, their physical body, their abstract concepts or their karyotype? Why is someone considered disordered when their body and gender identity match but their karyotype doesn't? Traditionally, people who are assigned a sex are assigned that sex based on physical characteristics, not a karyotype? What is the justification behind allowing discrimination against certain people who share the same physical characteristics? If your gender identity is more important than your physical characteristics why should your physical characteristics keep you from being segregated with people who do not share the same physical characteristics as you? Answer: because physical characteristics do matter.

ENDA appears to be a law that will benefit LGBT, erase what it means to change sex, and create a situation that effectively creates a third sex in a culture that only recognizes two, resulting in a situation where a person who was born with a penis and who has vaginoplasty and gonadectomy is rendered as a man with an amputation fetish and totally disordered, particularly if that person is gynephilic or bi-sexual. I say foul! “QUEER DIAGNOSES: HOMOSEXUALITY, GENDER VARIANCE, GENDER IDENTITY DISORDER, DISORDER OF SEX DEVELOPMENT - two sexes, only; homosexuality - gender variance; transsexual - gender identity disorder, no sex change. The message is clear. The dismissiveness is as obvious as is who the legislative agenda is tailored to suit and who it erases.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | June 18, 2011 9:21 AM

Edith wrote, "Is the question what do I mean, what do you mean or is the question what does what you said mean?"

You've lost me here. I'm also not sure why you brought up the MWMF. For the record, I believe that they should be free to allow or disallow whomever they please. I've never identified as a lesbian and didn't come out of the lesbian community, so I don't have a dog in that fight.

Edith wrote, "ENDA appears to be a law that will benefit LGBT, erase what it means to change sex, and create a situation that effectively creates a third sex in a culture that only recognizes two, resulting in a situation where a person who was born with a penis and who has vaginoplasty and gonadectomy is rendered as a man with an amputation fetish and totally disordered, particularly if that person is gynephilic or bi-sexual."

Why do you think this will be the result of ENDA or the recognition of a third sex? How would either erase what it means to change sex? The purpose of ENDA is to protect a wide variety of people who are sometimes discriminated against based on characteristics that our society tends to associate with sex or gender or both, if the two can truly be separated. What is your opposition to that? What do you propose in its place?

Woflgang ENDA would do nothing to protect a transitioned man or women who has followed the SOC and has completed transition and blended back into society for they have been assimilated back into the the male and female set as the gender they transitioned to and therefore have the same protections as any other male or female in society. ENDA is solely meant to force business to hire or not fire Transgender Individuals so they can support themselves while living out their fantasy.

By 'blended back in', do you mean they are stealth? The problem I have seen with that many, many times is that unless you transition at a very, very young age, you have plenty of records and things out there that have your old info on them, and if just one of them pops up in HR or Finance or some other area that deals in such things (and of course there is the company health insurance to out you, if the company has it these days), you are going to be out. Although it is totally wrong, noone keeps such info private, it's just to shocking and salacious. Sooner or later (generally sooner), everyone in the will know, and you likely will be fired or at least forced out.

Carol I disagree for my experience doesn't support your opinion. I've found that most people who once explained the depth of the transitional experience one who is diagnosis with gid must go through are generally accepting, especial of someone who's had GRS as it is seen as such a commitment. I think the problem comes when someone tries forcing themselves onto society while all along saying They do not want surgery to fit in with society and that they have NO plans to have any, but yet they demand that you give them the same rights and respect as you would someone who does fit that category in society. Also Carol records can be changed if one is diligent enough I've changed ALL of mine and by all I mean All school records,college transcribes, diplomas degrees birth certificates,house deed,social security driver lic all of them. Likewise for the most part carol the most extensive record check is for a credit check which goes back seven years so once one passes this seven year mark their passed life is pretty much gone gobbled up by the digital monster.

And I have had people who, once they were explained the depths of the transitional experience and all the requirements of medical transition, come back with, "We treat delusional people with psychiatry, not surgery", or "Why can't you just wait a little longer to see if you grow out of it?". The funny thing about experience is that it isn't the same for everyone, and yours is not definitive of what everyone goes through. The way you constantly refuse to acknowledge that the lives of others are valid does nothing to help your position.

Ah, ok. Your experience is very different from I have heard and experienced. :)

You wrote:

"Woflgang ENDA would do nothing to protect a transitioned man or women who has followed the SOC and has completed transition and blended back into society for they have been assimilated back into the the male and female set as the gender they transitioned to..."

Aside from using someone's medical history to undermine who they are as men and women, you mean? We've seen that happen enough times -- can't say it doesn't happen.

Hi Wolfgang,

I find the more one writes the more difficult it is to follow and the easier it is to misconstrue what someone is saying. Add to that the fact that people generally have a tendency to see things like opinions on various issues, especially when things get political, as either/or binary oppositions. I don't feel as if I am in a particular camp. I may strongly agree with something someone says and at the same time strongly disagree with many of the other things they have to say.

For the most part I think I am in favor of most of the ENDA legislation. I see a big problem with this part, however:

Section 8(a)(3) CERTAIN SHARED FACILITIES- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee's gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.

As I said before, I don't think I have a problem with Leslie Feinberg. The only thing I have to go on is the row zie is having with hir sister what zie has written about it and the passage about him in Jay Prosser's Second Skins. Zie is transgender. I was impressed by his narrative involving the invisible hand that prevented him from continuing on hormones . I don't know how the words translate in other languages but I think that narrative points out clearly the difference between transgender and transsexual in this language. If there are problems with the ways words translate, find a way to accurately convey situations and things. There is no invisible hand preventing me from continuing hrt. Why should I equate myself with someone who does not wish to change their sex characteristics by describing myself the same way? I am sorry, I digress. I should also say, however, I don't think crossdressing should be pathologized. I am for everyone's right to be who they are where self expression involving self presentation is concerned and I strongly believe in the right to be with who it is you love regardless of their sex.

The problem is what about people who are transsexual? If there is something wrong with the word what about people who have different things to contend with than Leslie Feinberg? The way Section 8(a)(3) CERTAIN SHARED FACILITIES reads in the proposed ENDA statute is something I see as a big problem. Worse than that, I feel people who believe they had legally transitioned have been mislead. I probably should have followed this more closely. The statute clearly discriminates between those who are led to believe they have changed gender and those who were assigned the same gender at birth. I am becoming redundant now but why has this not been emphasized and talked about more openly? Why is a bill that discriminates characterized as a "non-discrimination" without qualification? Why doesn't this impress anyone? I should read the entire statute more closely but I think I would be able to support it more if it didn't cover the vaguely written part of Section 8(a)(3) covering an undefined "gender transition". There is no mention of what "gender transition" means. Does it mean transitioning into a gender or simply transitioning out of a gender? I don't think these are pointless questions. I don't the questions and the implications they involve are being given adequate consideration.

I also strongly believe that sex/gender distinctions exist implicitly. I think the implications lead to concepts such as gender identity disorder which are very problematical for people who have been diagnosed that way. Also, I am aware how recent equality legislation has had an impact in the U K. It has affected people who have GRC's in such a way that their gender is not actually recognized equally in certain situations.

I strongly agree with those who say the most important thing for people like me is to have our sex recognized so no distinction is made between us and others. I don't pretend to understand the issues involved for those who wish to transition from legally female to legally male. More and more I am coming to believe it is not an equally opposite situation. For those transitioning from legally male to legally female genital surgery is a crucial thing to consider. For those who need it, the issue is not elitism. It is an issue of medical rights for all, transsexual people and non transsexual people. I believe in single payer healthcare. There are countries where access to transsexual medical is not denied because of class, race or economic status. Why are people so quick to blame people who do find a way to pay for surgery in this country for the economic inequality that exists here? What does it say about those who live her who can find a way to pay for transsexual medical but who feel "the invisible hand" keeping them from choosing an available option. There is a lot of disingenuousness in many of the arguments here against people who do choose transsexual healthcare options. It isn't too difficult to see through.

I re-read what I wrote. I fumbled the gender neutral pronouns when referring to Feinberg. I find them very awkward, honestly. I think it points out a lot of what is problematic while, at the same time, recognizing that it causes one to pause and think about sex/gender. It doesn't seem practical in the every day world, however. As far as the way Lisa was handled over her objections to the way gender neutral pronouns were being used at PHB, I consider it very high handed but I don't make the Hitler/Stalin connection at all but at the same time, I am very wary of newspeak especially when it is forced down people's throats.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | June 20, 2011 11:12 PM

Edith wrote, "I see a big problem with this part, however: Section 8(a)(3) CERTAIN SHARED FACILITIES..."

Admittedly, I'm not fluent in legalese, so I don't really know what that means. I assume you are. So, how common are these types of shared facilities? I haven't encountered one since high school gym class. That aside, the solution to such situations is simple: If you "pass" naked, use the facility that corresponds to your gender. If not, find some alternative to the shared facilities. This assumes we're not talking about restrooms, of course.

"I also strongly believe that sex/gender distinctions exist implicitly."

I agree. None of us would have undergone transition if they didn't.

Edith wrote, "I think the implications lead to concepts such as gender identity disorder which are very problematical for people who have been diagnosed that way. Also, I am aware how recent equality legislation has had an impact in the U K. It has affected people who have GRC's in such a way that their gender is not actually recognized equally in certain situations."

I too dislike the term "gender identity disorder." I certainly don't see my gender identity as disordered. But how has equally legislation led to inequality for people who have had GRC?

Some of what I think is going on is that the general public is just becoming more aware of us. And any time the general public becomes aware of something, that brings new challenges and setbacks that have to be dealt with. That's no reason to keep the knowledge hidden. Increased media coverage has helped people--and gods know how many--who needed to transition but weren't aware of the resources available for doing so. If it seems more people are transitioning, it's probably because they are. Four decades ago, a lot of people were forced to just resign themselves to a lifetime of suffering--or suicide. Am I making any sense?

Edith wrote, "I strongly agree with those who say the most important thing for people like me is to have our sex recognized so no distinction is made between us and others. I don't pretend to understand the issues involved for those who wish to transition from legally female to legally male. More and more I am coming to believe it is not an equally opposite situation. For those transitioning from legally male to legally female genital surgery is a crucial thing to consider."

I felt the same way about my mammaries that you felt about your genitals (I've had top surgery, and been on HRT for 5 years. I also followed the SOC--The standard SOC for men can be found at www.nickgorton.org, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wishes to deepen their understanding.) Of course, I don't pretend to speak for all men--only myself--however, it is a fact that the vast majority of guys do get top surgery and for most of the ones I've met, that is a huge priority.

One of the differences between transitioning men and women is that testosterone has a more significant physical impact than estrogen, so for us, HRT may be a bigger deal than it is for women. And because HRT takes many years to manifest complete changes, transition tends to be a more open-ended process for us.

Another difference is in regard to our experiences growing up. While those are unique for each of us, in general, society is more accepting of female-bodied people who dress and behave in masculine ways than it is of the opposite. This doesn't make the childhoods of transitioning men any easier--there are other issues that we had to deal with that transitioned women didn't--it's just another area where our experiences diverge.

But all that's just another reason why we all need to work harder to understand each other. I strongly believe in the power of unity after all.

You wrote:

I don't think the invalidation comes exclusively from the so-called transsexual camp.

It doesn't. The transgender camp does it too, when it dismisses the issues people raise as simply being bigotry, or non-existent.

I don't consider myself "a transsexual"

Excellent point, and that's probably somewhere that the language still needs to change. I was one of those who adopted "transwoman" and "transman" briefly (instead of "trans woman" etc.), until it was pointed out to me just how othering they are when used as nouns. "Transsexual" very well probably needs to be adjectival too. I've been using it out of convenience, since the more we deconstruct, the more complex our language becomes, and the scarier it sounds to people.

"For a gay man who is trying to communicate that his sexual orientation is innate and something he can't just change through conscious choice or aversion therapies, for example, the very existence of bisexuals would at first seem to undermine him."

First comment, I'm surprised in an article devoted to trans and gender diversity, that there was no mention of pansexuality or omnisexuality here. Bi means two and therefore implies that there are only two genders, hence that is why terms like omni and pansexuality were introduced.

Second, I never saw a conflict between the innateness of sexual orientation and bi/pan/omnisexuality. Some people are innately gay or lesbian, some are innately bi/pan/omnisexual and some are innately straight. There are of course grey areas, and a healthy questioning/exploration of ones sexuality is always a good thing. But really, I cannot imagine there being any sort of conflict here. Why must people be innately born into only two possible sexual orientations?

Overall though, this is another fine article from Mercedes Allen. I thank you for it.

Thanks, Mercedes, for your thoughtful analysis of community issues that are complex and divisive. I have many questions, though. The term, transsexual, is commonly used in three contexts with three entirely different meanings: as an opt-in social identity (as I use it), as a phenomenon and as an ICD psychiatric pathology (offensive to many in Europe and other parts of the world). If the TS word is to be redefined as a term of segregation, who gets to define it and in which of these contexts?

The real failure, in my experience, is not in advocating solidarity across human diversity in the face of common prejudice, but in past attempts to segregate "true transsexuals," "primary transsexuals," "real transsexuals," from other scapegoated classes. These definitions inevitably devolved into psychiatric, homophobic and sexist stereotyping. What is different today? By what standard of purity are we proposing to demarcate transsexual people from the others?

Anyone who did not follow the exact path you followed (or are following--some the ppl who are into excluding others from the brand actually have not even had surgery themselves, I think) is 'the other'. At least that is the impression I have. ;)

Oh Thats simple those with a GID diagnosis who desire surgery and are driven to get it may pass those without shall not pass !

You wrote:

"Oh Thats simple those with a GID diagnosis who desire surgery and are driven to get it may pass those without shall not pass !"

This is what I mean by invalidation. It's not helping at all, and if anything, it's turning people off from finding an equitable solution or even recognizing that there's a problem.

You wrote:

"The term, transsexual, is commonly used in three contexts with three entirely different meanings: as an opt-in social identity (as I use it), as a phenomenon and as an ICD psychiatric pathology (offensive to many in Europe and other parts of the world). If the TS word is to be redefined as a term of segregation, who gets to define it and in which of these contexts?"

That's something that can't really be answered until after the fact, probably. Beyond our own attempts to self-define, we still have clinicians defining terminology for us, opponents casting aspersions on those definitions, and culture adapting to it. In our self-defining, there is some push-pull happening between the three, and personally I use it as an opt-in identity, because I believe that the only person who has the right to judge and determine who we as individuals are, are we ourselves. But I can't guarantee that that will be the prevailing perspective. Good question, though, and something that should be looked at further.

The real failure, in my experience, is not in advocating solidarity across human diversity in the face of common prejudice, but in past attempts to segregate "true transsexuals," "primary transsexuals," "real transsexuals," from other scapegoated classes. These definitions inevitably devolved into psychiatric, homophobic and sexist stereotyping. What is different today? By what standard of purity are we proposing to demarcate transsexual people from the others?"

Solidarity isn't the same thing as sameness. I do indeed believe we need to foster alliance between transsexual and gender diverse people. Absolutely. And I do believe that there are many points of empathy to enable that, and many important reasons for doing so. I have a third part to this discussion in progress that is all about alliance. But we don't have to allege sameness to accomplish that. If anything, I think sameness is confusing cissexual and cisgender people as to what we are talking about and complicating how we define our struggles to those outside our communities.

Likewise, acknowledging differences does not have to mean divisiveness. What we're looking at dividing are two struggles: transitioning across the sexes in order to align identification (which does not always require genital surgery), and the need to express gender in ways that challenge or run counter to societal expectations (it should also be noted that at some point, we may also need to acknowledge some differences among the gender diverse, but those needs don't appear to be as vivid at the moment). However, we can't divide individuals in the same way. People can be both.

The problem is that we've been mistakenly assuming that they're both.

Umbrellas are faulty constructs. So are borders. More on this to follow too, but thanks for forcing me to clarify it. :)

I think this is a very interesting conversation and I hope that it all leads to an exit strategy for those who don't wish to be part of the LGBT. I'm old enough that I can tell you for sure I was never asked if I wanted to be pulled under the umbrella. Unfortunately there are many people that can't see the wisdom of allowing people the freedom to support their own political beliefs and to choose their own associations.Just because someone is Transsexual and outside the LGBT doesn't mean they can't be your allie. But take that same person and force them into a relationship they don't want you better be sleeping with one eye open. That is why I've become more radical and that is why I've been taking my complaints about this to the mainstream. Only when I know for sure that I'm clear of the LGBT ghetto will I turn back to help those still trapped in it. Use the boiling lobster pot scenario at your own peril because none of us are lobsters and none of us ever should have been put in the pot to begin with. Like it or not I'm an adult and an American citizen I owe no one a guarantee of alliance nor am I anyone's political football to play with.

Justine-Paula | June 18, 2011 1:11 AM

I am so glad that the idea of a single 1 size-fits-all approach has come to its logical end, it boggles the mind that anyone can think that a 1-size-fits-all shotgun approach to LGBT is valid...

Every subset of the community has individual needs that are unique and distinct to that subset, pre-op mtf v pre op ftm, very different hormonal needs, surgical needs, post op care.

As I am pre-op mtf, I can only really speak on my own views, I have needs in common with both lesbians [as I see myself as transwoman+lesbian] and mtf, so I have needs common to both, but the lesbian community does not have the same common views as I do [lesbians are both trans and non trans], I need to subscribe to more than 1 membership, or create a new clubhouse to argue and fight for my rights as a mtf lesbian.

Sorry to tell you Justine but Lesbians don't got no plan with a man and that's how they see pre-ops/non-ops as men. The vast majority are accepting of post-ops if their passable but I had a feminist lesbian tell me that even post-ops are still men.

I am going to write another post. I went back to Abigail Jensen's post at PHB to reference the actual wording in the section of ENDA she spoke of:

Section 8(a)(3) CERTAIN SHARED FACILITIES- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee's gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.

from Dr. Weiss' site: http://transworkplace.blogspot.com/2007/04/text-of-enda.html

It specifically cites the instance where: "the employee has undergone . . . gender transition"

In other words an employer may discriminate against a person who has transitioned to a gender but doesn't allow for the employer to discriminate against one who was assigned the same gender at birth. This provision, actually, is contradictory. It is so disingenuous to say someone has transitioned to a gender that someone is not equal to and can be discriminated from. It's actually a lie to say the person has transitioned to a place, when once one is supposedly in that place, one is not equal to the others who are supposedly in the same category. In actuality, they are not in the same category but a different category, altogether. How does "purity" play into this except to say that those who are assigned at birth are pure and those who transition are not only not pure but are being told a lie when they are said to have transitioned to that gender?

As things stand now, people can be discriminated against but there are no statutes that exist that say they are not the sex/gender they are legally identified as. What this law would do is actually contradictorily state that they are a certain gender but do not have the same rights as others of the same gender. What is the logic behind that? Why shouldn't wonder if the duplicitous nature of the sex/gender distinction is at the root of that contradiction? How does "real" and "not real" play into this?

What kind of precedents are being set once these things are written into the law? How about the U S Tax Court Decision which validates the concept of "Gender Identity Disorder"? I don't think it is right that some have written here that this is not an issue, that it isn't right to question the equivalence of sex and gender and how it creates pathologies. What does "purity" have to do with asking valid questions? Why the silencing when those issues are raised?

Edith just so you know I'm amym440 but my real name first name is Lisa. I think you might find this interesting. At Pam's they wouldn't allow me to bring up how the language Abigail used changed the meaning and agenda behind her post so I wrote this up for facebook.
My Response to Abigail Jensen Post
by Lisa McDonald on Friday, June 17, 2011 at 2:14pm

Why the Abigail Jensen Article “Why the “Transsexual” vs. “Transgender” Debate is Irrelevant to the Fight for Equal Rights” is misleading and dangerous to all of us.

http://www.facebook.com/notes/abigail-jensen/why-the-transsexual-vs-transgender-debate-is-irrelevant-to-the-fight-for-equal-r/10150228738878748

At First glance Abigail Jennings article seems like a well written call to unity but is it really or is it really a very deceptive piece meant to promote a very unacceptable agenda. I’m not talking about potty police or whose more trannier than though I’m talking about Communism and Gender deconstruction. I was amazed by how many read the piece but were unable to connect the dots and they were right in front of you. Those dots are Hir and Zie and are words used by communist gender deconstructionist like Leslie Feinberg one of the main people responsible for the Transgender Umbrella. These people hate Transsexuals and anyone who is truly transsexual and identifies as Transgender. These are the same people who support the radical feminist that say you can never be a man or a woman if you are Transsexual. These same people though believe 100% that gender expression is man made. These people have a long and easily documented history of discriminating against Transsexuals while using them to promote their agenda. Abigail used the words Hir and Zie and also Hirself to describe all of us to include mainstream America. Here are some excerpts from her article and showing her using these terms:

In other words, if someone is presenting as a woman, she has the right to use the women’s room, and vice versa for men’s rooms, regardless of whether zie is post-op, pre-op or non-op, and regardless of whether zie identifies as transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, crossdresser, drag queen or whatever other gender category zie cares to claim.

Notice that in the above statement notice Abigail uses male and female then others those terms by referring to them as ZIE.

(Some people reading this may wonder how this principle applies with respect to things like dress codes. Basically, if an employee is hired as a man, ENDA allows the employer to require him to conform to the dress code for men until such time as the employee informs the employer that zie is transitioning to female

Again Abigail takes the example of someone who is transitioning to female and then labels them as other than by identifying them as Zie.

I see this as blatantly offensive conduct by Abigail towards MTF’s regardless of TS or TG identity.

In addition, it has the advantage of not requiring the transitioning employee to prove to the employer that zie is “really” a woman or vice versa by providing a letter from a doctor or therapist, or proving zie has undergone SRS, hormone therapy or any other medical treatment. Instead, it allows the employee complete freedom to work as the person zie knows hirself to be, without interference or second-guessing by anyone else.)

Self medicating and suicide is a huge problem across the board that can only be prevented by opening up the doors to treatment and requiring it. Transitioning genders is not playtime while some people might be able to successfully transition without proper medical intervention the shear number of suicides and suicide attempts make a strong argument against doing this.

As always Abigail uses offensive terminology in making this very irresponsible and dangerous statement.

What Abigail Jennings is selling isn’t equal rights its gender deconstruction and it is dangerous to not only us but to society as a whole. Take the time to look up Hir, Zie, and Hirself in the dictionary these words are non existent in proper English. Now take the time to study Leslie Feinberg. Both Leslie Feinberg and Jamison Green in 1994 tried to enter the Michigan music festival. At the time they were both self identified as Transsexual Men but both had Lesbian pasts. To this day Transsexual women aren't fully recognized as women by the Michigan Music Festival but Transmen are. The Transgender umbrella and those who push it aren't fully respectful of the Transsexual Process.I see this as one of the most obvious and blatant cases of Lesbian discrimination towards transsexual and yet in all these years they've never suffered for it neither has Leslie Feinberg or Jamison Green.

Lisa,

I understand what you are saying about the gender neutral pronouns.

I have to say I don't a great deal about Leslie Feinberg. From what I know of Leslie, I think Leslie is pretty interesting. I don't have any trouble with Leslie's self perception. I think I agree with a lot of what zie has to say, politically. As I said, I haven't followed any of it too closely. My political views are probably most closely aligned with Noam Chomsky. He subscribes to anarcho-syndicalism which I believe, is also referred to as socialist libertarianism.

Edith I don't see the words Hir,Ze and Hirself as gender neutral pronouns they aren't in the dictionary and I attach them gender deconstruction and Communism. To me just the sounds of the words are offensive and smack of either Stalinism or Naziism. I think most people don't get why I'm so offended by the Umbrella its really simple why am I being dragged into the gay community? For that matter why are heterosexual crossdressers being dragged into the gay community? I see the Transgender Umbrella as perhaps one of the dirtiest and most likely illegal political power grabs in US History. What could be more Communist then grabbing a whole group of diverse people and shoving them together against their will. Now think about all the slurs and bullying used against people that don't support it and want out that's also reminiscent of Communism.I would also point to the way people use community is a form of communism. Good communities are built on choice and give people a reason to want to be part of them. I want anyone that is claiming to represent me in politics and that is what our quest for rights is all about to know they're not the only game in town and we're not their captive audience. We don't need a united front at this point we need to split to foster competition and growth of ideas. We need a non LGBT T and for the LGBT leadership to acknowlegde publically that they don't represent all of us. This problem isn't going away and the longer they play games the worse its going to get and the more it could wind up costing them financially and politically..

> communist gender deconstructionist like Leslie Feinberg

Oh my. So we've sunk to McCarthyism to attack each other? Has anyone called Senator Joe? Where are my saddle shoes and poodle skirt?

I'm waiting for someone to reference Nazis or Hilter. Then we can all go home. ;)

(Godwin's Law)

CAROL.

You have an 'L' and an 'R' in your name.

JUST LIKE HITLER. >:((((

ARRRGHHHHH!

You figured me out!

I am also the Antichrist, too.

Ok, thread over!

Are you denying Transgender history or Leslie Feinberg and her part in it? Would you deny that the actions of those who seek to force people under the Transgender Umbrella aren't similar to the actions of Commies? Seriously if you attempt to think outside their box or want to be outside their box you get bullied and ridiculed for it.Bet you'd look cute in a poodle skirt and saddle shoes.
PS see what you did you got Pinky and The Brain going at it.

I said Pinky and the Brain not Narf. I'll let you and Carol decided which one is Pinky and which one is the Brain.

...

Come on, Lisa, work with me here. "Narf" is Pinky's catch-phrase, geez. XD

Why thank you, Lisa. I think I could rock a poodleskirt, but only with pearls.

I've known Leslie for years, and zie has never bullied or ridiculed me as a transsexual woman. Quite the opposite. However, I've been bullied, ridiculed, misgendered and hurt by some sister TS women who advance separatism.

Kelley it's a big world and there should be room for transsexuals outside the LGBT community and within it. The bullying has definitely been a Two way street and I've put up with it for about seven years now. I believe there is no justification either legally or medically for every Transsexual or even Crossdresser to have to submit to being labeled Transgender or LGBT associated.

I've actually experienced backlash from both sides, but I can't see where Leslie Feinberg has contributed to it. Zie has some incredibly profound insights about the human condition. Hir perspective is not always mine, and that's fine. But it's a valid perspective, and has provided some valuable challenges to some old sacred calves.

Beyond the problem of the umbrella implying a single narrative outwardly, though, I tend to think people infer the same inwardly -- as though people are being pushed to conform to a perspective that doesn't necessarily fit them.

That said, even though I fit comfortably in a binary world myself, Feinberg's writings have been very illuminating at times. I'm not sure why someone's trying to drag hir into this argument.

You wrote:

"In other words an employer may discriminate against a person who has transitioned to a gender but doesn't allow for the employer to discriminate against one who was assigned the same gender at birth."

That's not what I read from it at all.

You wrote: "In other words an employer may discriminate against a person who has transitioned to a gender but doesn't allow for the employer to discriminate against one who was assigned the same gender at birth." That's not what I read from it at all.
Section 8(a)(3) CERTAIN SHARED FACILITIES- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee's gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.

It seems to say to me an employer can segregate someone who has undergone gender transition as long as . . .

doesn't it? Have I missed something? I admit it is very possible but I don't think I can find it.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | June 18, 2011 4:25 AM

I'd like to propose a new term.

Transitioner: Someone whose brain sex differs from his or her gonadal sex, and who undergoes hormone replacement therapy and surgery to correct the disparity.

I've held back thus far from anything more than a hmm and a "good job", as I wanted to see something, to consider the issues raised, and to see the reactions, and to give some deeper thought to colonization.

And I'm going to be direct and forthright, but try to avoid expressing my initial reactions to much of what I've seen.

Mercedes, what you are describing here is colonization in the name of deconolonization, when it comes to the American Cultural ethos.

And this is not something that you may be fully aware of, as I'm not too certain what your personal experience with the vagaries of ethnic relations in the US is.

But the effort you describe in more detail here, if you are not culturally aware enough, will lead to the colonization and marginalization of Persons of Color in the United States.

And the c0ncepts you are encouraging, while relatively benign, in and of themselves, are the sorts of things that will be taken not only out of context, but out of concept, and used to further the efforts of marginalization.

That said, I would also like to see you answer the questions Kelley asked of you.

And, just as critically, I need to state that the very notions you are describing are fundamentally oppositional to the state of the sceince of the day.

You say there is nothing that unites this variety of people. This is incorrect.

The thing that unites all these groups of people is that all of them generally have what cis folk generally consider to be a disordered gender identity and/or sex identity

The notion that you are supporting here is that gi/si is inherently binary -- I don't think that's what you are arguing, mind you, but that's the notion that you are supporting.

Its also supporting a concept that is akin to colorism, which you only generally touch on, but that I can tell you is far more virulent a poison than you may realize -- both from personal experience, and from general knowledge (look into the underlying mechanisms of colorism within the latin@ community just as a start).

And if this seems like I'm saying check your privilege, then your sense is accurate: I am.

I'm also saying look at the responses your articles are generating. Granted, there are a few posters who are fundamentally prejudiced, and for whom the words I have are not permissible here, as I'm dislinclined to respond to the transphobia that I've seen allowed in these threads with even remote degrees of courtesy.

Within this you are making a call for respect -- and you not seeing that there will be none given. I don't need to quote examples to show this -- its all here, now, in this thread.

I'd report most of the comments here, but I've lost faith that reporting them would have any impact, and I'm beginning to regret having stood up for Bilerico.

You wrote:
"Mercedes, what you are describing here is colonization in the name of deconolonization..."

Not as I see it. If we replace the umbrella with borders, it would. Alliances are another matter.

But it probably doesn't help that I split this article from the one to follow on alliance. Some of the points that would have made that clearer aren't on the table yet.

The point of replacing an umbrella with an alliance is to move away from a "join us as we speak for you" approach that has been happening with umbrella organizations and umbrella communities, and instead recognize that we need to acknowledge and empower people to speak for themselves -- and that what they say isn't always going to be what we want it to be, but is important and valid nonetheless.

"And the c0ncepts you are encouraging, while relatively benign, in and of themselves, are the sorts of things that will be taken not only out of context, but out of concept, and used to further the efforts of marginalization."

Possibly. If we allow that to happen. It doesn't change the fact that the existing structure is flawed in a way that is being overridingly divisive already. It does however mean that we have the opportunity to shape what follows now, by voicing what we need an alliance to acknowledge, while our structures are being reassessed.

Where the concern is, is that people by far tend to be self-interested. I know that it's sometimes impossible to get people -- anyone -- to empathize with folks who aren't exactly like them, and therefore support their needs. An umbrella concept is a means to get people to give a $#!t.

That said, the umbrella only works until people realize that there are differences, and then as a consequence feel compelled to push away. By the end of it, the only people who really benefit are those who most closely fit a core narrative, and people at the outer edges have been shed periodically. It's actually a part of why people of colour are likewise pushed to the sidelines of umbrella advocacy.

It seems to me more viable to approach advocacy from a perspective that recognizes from the start that we are not all the same, and that we need to respect and empower each other.

"You say there is nothing that unites this variety of people."

There are several things that potentially unite us. But we need to do so as self-defined equals, not conforming to a single narrative that doesn't always fit us. Solidarity does not have to mean sameness.

"The thing that unites all these groups of people is that all of them generally have what cis folk generally consider to be a disordered gender identity and/or sex identity"

We can't even phrase it as a single issue when we're thinking in umbrella terms, but as "and/or." We do the same when we spell things out as gender identity and gender expression.

"The notion that you are supporting here is that gi/si is inherently binary"

No. It's the notion is that binary and non-binary identification are different trajectories. Even "transsexual and/or gender diverse" doesn't adequately define them, but it's closer than using a single term. And comes closer to explaining to cis people why some have a medical process and binary integration and why some don't.

Jay Kallio | June 18, 2011 9:33 AM

I'm very sorry all these people seem to want to exite the LGBTQ movement and go pursue equal rights on their own. I'm not going with you. There is a considerable amount of legislation already written and enacted using the word "transgender" and many wonderful organizations that have incorporated using that word in their names, which I plan to continue to support. Good luck going it alone, guys! As a tiny, almost microscopic minority it's going to be very interesting seeing how you fare without an umbrella to protect you. You're on your own!

Jay You can expect holes in your Umbrella once same sex marriage becomes a victory and DOMA falls nationwide as you will LOSE the support of the LG and the B which tags along with the LG, leaving the T which is 30 years behind the LGB in gaining rights to fight the long and arduous battle alone with a much smaller numbers and tons less money which is the life's blood of any movement....good luck because your on your own.

Jay, let us high-five, because I am not planning to bail on LGBT either.

Personally, I already have. I am now in the movement called 'I've got mine, fuck everyone else'. :)

I do find it really interesting to read gay-related stuff, though. For one thing, I always like to learn more about different cultures, and I am very into social justice. I just don't participate in it anymore.

Actually, when the LGBTQ... movement has functioned well, it has done so as an alliance. There has had to be some acknowledgement of differences, which is why we use an acronym in the first place. We recognized that lesbian and gay narratives were not identical, and couldn't represent them as an amorphous single entity. These dialogues happened decades ago, but they still resurface, because of the drive toward umbrella organization. That goes doubly for bisexual -- and as was pointed out, pansexual and omnisexual, all of which still remain more forgotten and invisible than anything trans*. That could be a study of its own.

That acknowledgement has not had to mean rejection, repudiation and rigid border policing between groups. It has, however, meant recognizing the difference between mutual alliance and ownership.

This is really a thought provoking article and I appreciate it. You put into words what I've tried to state so nicely: alliances.

I understand that some outside of the L & G communities think we're one main community, and there is certainly overlap. But, we're still, in my experience and mind, two communities. We've had alliances (more in recent memory than in the past, let's say), but it's still an alliance.

In fact, my limited understanding is that lesbians went off and started their own organizations, groups, stores, spaces, etc. because they felt that gay men were not addressing women's issues and concerns in a substantive way.

Yet, when the AIDS crisis hit, many from the women's communities joined forces with gay men to face that challenge. In recent years, much has happened around ENDA, DOMA, and DADT. I think this works because there seems to be an understanding of alliance vs. sameness.

The problem is Jay those organizations had no business having the Transgender word written into government policy. Simply doing that is a form of discrimination and promotes the myth that we are all LGBT aligned when in fact we're not just like we're not okay with being labeled by a term that many of us find highly offensive because of its history.

I'm curious -- what policies were the word "transgender" written into?

Are you sure you don't mean the explanations for how those policies are going to be enforced, or do you mean the policies themselves?

If you mean the policies themselves, would you be so kind as to cite the policies -- either quote them or provide links to them.

I can think of only one major use of a term in law, and that is the use of the term transsexual as a specific case of an individual who is explicitly barred from being covered by this law.

http://www.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=2416 It has also been written into several other government departments employment policies.Certain Va areas had already written the word into their policies. I was just at the point of getting my area VA to remove those who aren't transgender identified out from under the umbrella when this new directive came down. I've been in contact with the Whitehouse about this and they have responded back to me. I am also going through my patient advocate to ensure that the word Transgender is only applied to those who identify with it. As I'm sure you know I find the word highly offensive. As a Veteran I earned the right not to be labeled it.

That directive is a means of following a policy, however -- that is, it is a procedure. I'm curious what the policy this directive is referring to contains, in terms of the words transgender or transsexual.

Or are you thinking of the directive as a matter of policy, as opposed to procedure?

I am further made curious, as well, as to what you will do, as a veteran, for coverage, if you succeed in getting them to apply this policy as you describe it only to those who identify themselves as being such, and how you will manage to craft a new directive that treats such elements distinctly under the overarching requirements that you haven't linked to yet?

It would be alright by me not to answer, as the subject is off topic -- I am, after all, merely curious.

It is National policy directing all the Va healthcare systems. The use of the word Transgender is not my only complaint with the Directive it labels SRS as being cosmetic surgery for Transsexuals.There are two things I'd like to accomplish first it is obvious that there are huge issues with the word Transgender otherwise we wouldn't be commenting on this post by Mercedes.That said I'd like there to be an acknowledged separation between those who are comfortable being called Transgender and those that aren't added to the policy something like not all Vets are to be classified as Transgender as some find it highly offensive. Second I'd like to have them change their statement that SRS is cosmetic it is insulting and sends a message to outside insurers that it okay to discriminate because the VA does.The issue isn't to get them to pay for SRS simply to get them to admit that Congress bars them from doing so instead of calling it cosmetic. I can't believe Mara Kiesling and Monica Helms let that language go considering they should know better by now. Mara Kiesling and Monica can cling to Transgender as long as they wish but they cannot run around attaching that label to people that don't want it or telling the government its okay to use it in a blanket way.

Thank you for responding, but you didn't answer the questions I asked.

I expected the what you want to see, and therefore didn't ask that question. I asked how you plan to go about making those changes, and what you are going to do for coverage yourself since the earlier statement you made is that the policy is not to apply to you.

Since neither Ms Helms nor Ms Keisling are part of the conversation, as well, I'm now additionally wondering what animus you have towards them that prompts such a statement, given that both of them are transsexual themselves.

However, that's a question for another day -- I'd much rather know the following:

1. Were you thinking of the directive as a matter of policy, as opposed to procedure?

2. If you succeed in getting them to apply this policy (as you describe it) only to those who identify themselves as being such, how will you manage to craft a new directive that treats such elements distinctly?

1) The Directive is a matter of Policy until it expires at the time of the next election.
2) I've been receiving all my treatment without this directive for years. Are you saying that because I choose not to be Transgender identified or LGBT affiliated I should be denied treatment by the Va even though I am an honorably discharged disabled Veteran of Foreign War? (Veteran of the Occupation of Berlin)Also my being a Veteran of Berlin is why I find the communist association with the word Transgender pretty offensive not that there aren't enough other reasons a reasonably intelligent person wouldn't want it hung on their head either. Again look at the topic of this post by Mercedes.

I am not saying that because you choose not to be Transgender identified or LGBT affiliated you should be denied treatment by the Va.

You state that you have been receiving treatment. May I ask under what policy, as you describe it, you have been receiving such treatment, and what the word used for that treatment was?

I would like to see the policy, mind you. That may not be possible, but I would not accept your statement as evidence thereof, so it may not be possible.

That said, thank you for answering question 1.

I still await an answer (you responded to, but did not answer) to question 2.

I will presume that you expect to be covered under a similar policy, but your initial statement carried the understanding that you would not, in fact, be covered under the policy -- you stated such, not I.

What I am asking about is *how* -- the means and ways by which you would achieve this -- you would go about getting them to change the policy. As I've noted often, I have no interest in going to the VA (despite also being a veteran and having spent some of my time beneath the Wall as well).

I am going to great lengths to remain civil and avoid the usual litany of dogma that pervades the discourse. I am not asking about the term transgender -- your thoughts on the concept are well known.

Mine are as well to anyone who has actually grasped what I've talked about. Surprisingly, most people think something different from what is true, and I end up with things such as the falsehoods stated elsewhere regarding me.

Eh.

I'm just trying to get some answers to simple questions, out of curiosity. The debate over the term, itself, as you are framing it, is of no consequence or interest to me in this series of questions.

I can't give you a copy of the policy but I can tell you this it wasn't TAVA that got the policy approved I know that for a fact.I can tell you the policy used two words Transgender and Transgenderist. The person that got the policy changed while also helping some Vets also hurt some vets. She was able to get a strongly worded enough letter from her VA care provider to change her birth certificate before SRS and married someone. That created quite the problem at the VA hospital and got that Doctor in some trouble. I entered the system just before the policy changed and they at first denied covering my hormones and sent me what I thought was a pretty nasty letter explaining why. On the day I was to run out of hormones I went in and talked to the patient advocate explaining to her the situation and why it was imperative that I continue on hormones. By that afternoon I had my prescription refilled before the new policy took effect.I have always identified as Transsexual only with any Doctor that has ever treated me civilian or VA. This new policy new policy needs to be amended to be fully inclusive.I am not the only Vet that has problems with the word Transgender.

Oh and Toni I see this as you heading for the Mara Kiesling Strawman argument that if your willing to do something under the Transgender label that you must be all hunky dori with it. Sometimes in life you have to work within a system to change it.Also that attitude also begs to be checked since we all know that those who either can't get assistance or walk away from much needed assistance often kill themselves.Its time to realize the word Transgender is not universally accepted nor is okay to plaster on someone without their consent. It should never ever be used as a blanket term to trap everyone whether that is in a simple directive or a law. You can argue all you want for those who lobbied for it but we all know they knew better than to do it.

Thank you again for responding.

I am still waiting for an answer (as opposed to a response) to question two, though.

As for the secodn part of your response, your perception is wrong. That would require me to be dishonest in asking questions, which I am not being.

I am being pointed in the questions I'm asking, however -- and I am trying to stay on that track, instead of going off into areas that aren't what I'm trying to learn something about.

So, again, how are you going to effect that change, what are you going to do to make the change to the new policy so that it is more in line with what you would like it to be?

Thank you.

I'm not going to go into detail about how I'm addressing it here on Bilerico. But I will tell you that I've been in contact with the Whitehouse and the VA about the matter.First I think that anyone that wants to be identified as transgender should be informed that it is an umbrella term that is supposed to mean many things. If they insist on being labeled an umbrella they should be able to be identified as it. But for the rest of the people that are comfortable as identifying as what they are they should be able to do so without being erroneously labeled as being an umbrella term or associated falsely with the LGBT.

Well thank you, then.

It would have been nice to have had an answer, but I understand your reticence and mistrust.

Thank you.

Eva-Genevieve | June 18, 2011 11:21 AM

The biggest problem is that we constantly fight the binary embedded in language and so have to come up with terms to use as a work-around. I have always thought that it would be best if we could remove gender identifiers from all public and civic record keeping with the exception of specific need to know stuff like medical care - and that is supposed to be confidential (though privacy is another topic entirely). Beyond that it ought to be a voluntary thing to reveal how we identify. In practice this would be about as level a playing field as we could get in society; we can all be humans, sharing the same planet, the same air, the same social benefits, choosing up sides in politics (& etc.) while each of us defines ourselves as we see fit.

Though I remain a dreamer I expect that society will not reach this level of human acceptance in my lifetime or well beyond it because we humans resist change tooth and nail, especially when it comes to the way we think about other folks. It takes effort to modify one's thinking and that is what is needed.

Other than that we'll never fully resolve the problem of umbrella labels (and judgment of others based on how one looks and acts which, I believe, is an extension of the same problem). We humans love our labels for everyone and everything because that is how our minds. Accordingly there will always be trans-this and trans-that and every other category one can think of and no perfect umbrella to gather under. There will also be every possible interpretation of the words because we each perceive the world and ourselves independently. Our minds need neat little categories to put people in so that we know how to act and react to them, but my particular mental categories won’t exactly match anyone else’s and so I/we must be flexible in the treatment of others.

So what do we do to resolve the failing of the umbrella? Make the effort to accept our individual and unique place along the bell curve of gender and allow others the same privilege without trying to add or subtract some social value to their particular identity – I.E.: don’t judge them on surface attributes. When one uses an umbrella label use it casually – E.G.: for working together in politics, human rights or for progressive change in society, & etc. – but then ditch it when it comes to how we treat individual humans. A simple analogy is to use the umbrella when it rains and put it away when the sun is out.

Mmmmm, I dunno. Personally, I don't feel that gender is so embedded b/c ppl fight change tooth-and-nail. I feel it's mostly b/c sex and gender are so deeply embedded with the sex drive, which is a major force in most ppl's lives, even when they are not conscious of it. Esp when dealing with someone to whom one is sexually/romantically attracted. Ppl are constantly "he-in' and she-in'" even in business environments. I think the first thing most ppl do when they meet someone else is notice their gender/sexual expression, and make a quick judgement based on that.

Even in written things, where you can't see the person, a lot of ppl (me included! maybe I am just projecting my own tendencies on others, I dunno) look at the name or the pronouns and put together some kind of idea of that person. I know, you are saying this is not right, and that we should move past that, and I agree with you in a lot of ways. It's just a hard thing to do.

Of course, layered on top of that is the use of gender/sex as a means of control and domination of others. Maybe this is more what you meant? Like the arrogant male writers who sniff at the writing of women, or the imposition of sex roles to keep women safely out of the way. I am not sure that gender-neutral pronouns and names and such will change this. I feel it is more a change in judgements based on gender/sex that is required, rather than trying to obscure what sex or gender we are. To me, it gets back to accepting that we all belong and should not be treated differently based solely on what we are (male, female, neither, white, black, whatever).

FWIW :)

Toni.

Your intellectual posturing lost credibility with me when you threatened people with implied violence, called others a c**t, and declared all post-op women gay men, 'whether they like it or not'.

Through it all i tried to hang onto you as a friend in my mind, which must be an embarrasing comment on my judgement i haven't come to terms with yet.

At any rate, your attempt to shut this conversation down essentially proves the point made. Real dialogue needs to take place, whether militants from either side (pro-umbrella or separatists) like it or not.

I didn't get that she was trying to shut down the conversation here. There are some very real and reasonable concerns. We can't just deconstruct something without taking serious thought of the consequences.

And now back to the concept of an alliance rather than an umbrella. I propose that everyone who wants to join an alliance which explicitly recognizes the uniqueness of every human should come together into the BLOGITS Alliance. That will stand for Bi, Lesbian, Others, Gay, Intersex, Transsexuals and Sympathizers. Each person can self define where they fit and can even pick more than one category. Yes, I know the acronym does not list transgender, panssexual, omni and many more. I was trying to keep it simple and easy to remember. Heterosexuals and anyone who self defines as not being in Bi, Lesbian, Gay, Intersex or Transsexual can simply claim Other or Sympathizer. And I don't expect the endless arguements between allies over who is reallt what to ever cease. But in spite of that all of us should be capable of delineating certain basic rights of all citizens of the U.S. that we support.

BLOGITS support:

1. Repeal of DOMA.
2. Repeal of DADT.
3. ENDA but without the potty politics language. I'm open on this but my current opinion is that concerns with policing sex segregated facilities in national legislation is distracting, rediculous and should be left to the disgretion of employers and management.

OK, I've started the list. Now let's see what each of you would like too add or modify. I'll invite Mercedes to go first but everyone feel welcome to jump in at anytime.

wayne_ewald | June 18, 2011 2:27 PM

I think politics enters into this question by way of the fact that various groups are disenfranchised at various levels by the authorities in our society. Some minorities are hampered in some ways and others in other ways and often the established authorities try to play one group off the other.
I think one way to help solve this problem is to copy Brazil in the way they helped mitigate racial tensions by eliminating race as a requirement on government forms in the 1920’s. If this was done with gender or if everybody could freely chose their gender, I would think some of the tensions between groups and various other kinds of hardships could be eased if not eliminated.
I certainly agree there should be some effort at bringing everybody together, but I wonder if endlessly trying to develop better definitions might be counterproductive. In Buddhism there is the concept that it is better to pull out the arrow from a wound rather than endlessly debate about what kind of arrow it is. I’m not saying the quality and or type of the wood in the arrow, or the colors or cut of the feathers, or the size and relationship of the arrowhead are not in a way relevant or interesting in the larger picture, but when there are political concerns that sometimes get out of hand—such as the poor woman who was bettered repeatedly at McDonalds, then the political ramifications are just too important and should be our prime concern.
During World War Two, the Danish king wore a Star of David so as to proclaim his solidarity with the oppressed Jewish community in his occupied country. That and efforts to eliminate gender as a political requirement would help resolve some of the more pressing issues facing many of the groups of people that find distress every day in their efforts to overcome the embedded prejudices that exist within our society.

And with further reflection...

1. I have to say that I find it fascinating that a lot of this is stuff I spoke about -- here, no less -- last year. Along with structures and systems that, in the interim, have been used to attack and so forth (one commenter's direct speech cites three distinct incidents that are all not only out of context, but that includes two that are outright falsehoods).

You make a point of the general movement trying to present the issue as monolithic. While this may be true, I haven't seen much of that kind of effort from social justice groups, I've seen it from the political effort groups, and in such a case, the issues falls to the points in the article you cited.

In the political arena, it *is* a one size fits all argument because it *must be*. And that one size fits all cannot merely be about one or more or even all the trans segments, but also about the entirety of cis segments, which are just as diverse as our own.

The political arena, as has been noted, requires it, and the quotation you cited raises the point of there somehow being a "third gender" class -- which ignores the way that US law works in general, and again goes back to the article by Abby.

So when it comes to the question of legal issues and recognition by the government, the solution must be a one size fits all, and that all must include people who are not trans in any way. All of these arguments center on a strange idea that the trans population, in whatever form it might take, is the only concern in all of this, and if it were, in terms of things like policies and laws, then this would have direct importance.

This is not about the legal or political efforts, however, because those efforts don't directly deal in issues of "trans this" or "trans that", and it is only the efforts to derail the conversation that such issues come up.

THe framing argument, then, deals more with the social aspects -- and here it does indeed come down to appealing to aspects relating to various groups of trans people.

The social aspects include the medical issues that are related. THer are people who forget that "transsexuals" are not the only ones that seek to get SRS/GRS/pick-your-term-and/or-acronym-of-the moment-and-provider as a medical concept, or that hormones are available for more than merely transsexuals, or that cross dressing is not just a sport of "perverts" and "fetishists", confusing the expression of a constant drive with the drive itself.

I spend a great deal of time addressing these specific issues in the social sense. And I agree that there is a seeking for a one size fits all effort, but in keeping with the stuff I wrote about many months ago, I do not ever present it as a one size fits all problem with a concomitant solution.

That's me, and in talks with other people doing this same sort of work, I do not see -- in pretty much every major social effort across the US -- people advocating that there is a solution to it that is monolithic and singular.

Its been my experience that cis folk generally find the usage of narratives which are medicalized as being a "wrongness" that is extended throughout those people -- and I see the arguments that are used often come to include concepts such as intersex and so forth and they use these as a form of validation, in an attempt to make it seem "less bad", when, in general, cis folk see such things as just bad in general and shift their thinking to finding a way to stop it.

In other words, it creates a sense of pathologization, and, along with much of the language the communities use -- "birth defect", "genetic girl", "passing", and so forth -- it ultimately reinforces many of the underlying prejudices that already exist in society against "sick people" -- regardless of the illness, be it physical, physiological, or mental.

As for the concept underlying alliances, that's something I've spoken about for a great long time, and in no small part because I see this all as a backlash as the traditional narrative for all of these trans folk -- which is a surgical tracked, binary, heterosexual transsexual -- is being pushed away (especially within the last decade) by the rise of the other groups of trans folk who are pushing against that overarching narrative.

I also see the whole movement in the US not as a single large group, but as a collection of smaller groups, some of which are trying to gain purchase and find their own identities as distinct from that singular narrative which has been the dominant one in the US for over 40 years.

I liked the previous article, greatly, and not merely because it expressed the same sentiments I expressed previously, but this one gave me great pause, and I'm willing to see what the next article presents in the hopes that perhaps you'll be able to cross a bridge that is not merely one of language, but of understanding and deeply held philosophical differences.

In order for the community as a whole to be able to move past this, the community as a whole needs to be on equal footing in terms of awareness and knowledge of the multitude of intersections, and I'm personally not certain that's going to be possible for at least another decade.

Toni.

Nothing is out of context. Leaving your blog before running for office didn't erase anything, and as irritating as you can be, i still have enough of a soft-spot for you to advise you not to push that subject too hard with others.

i don't live in Pheonix. But i have seen social justice groups here deliberate efforts with the monolithic view you deny. Perhaps internet-only views of the situation, despite real-world contacts made, is presenting a distorted view for everyone.

At any rate, the fine line between social justice and political groups amounts to splitting hairs.

Trying to discuss trans issues only derails the discussion about trans issues? Which shouldn't matter because trans issues apply to everyone?

That's an interesting slieght-of-hand trick, which attempts to avoid the very real, complicated, troubling questions the community as a whole avoids, because there may very well be truthful answers they don't want to hear. And you wrap that avoidance up in the package of Higher Purpose for the Common Good. i'm afraid i can't buy that.

"THer are people who forget that "transsexuals" are not the only ones that seek to get SRS...or that hormones are available for more than merely transsexuals...or that cross dressing is not just a sport of "perverts" and "fetishists"..."

You are pointing out something that many disillusioned TS have been saying all along. You are pointing out the obvious, and passing it off as insight.

Crossdressers are not 'perverts' and 'fetishists' in and of themselves, any more than 'guns are tools of murder'. Your phrasing and "implying" quotations do serve to cast negative, black-or-white thinking on anyone who may question you, though.

But your following statements here are outstanding.

"And I agree that there is a seeking for a one size fits all effort..."

"I do not see -- in pretty much every major social effort across the US -- people advocating that there is a solution to it that is monolithic and singular."

Toni, completely contradicting yourself tells me that you're going to make for a classic American politician.

With regard to pathologization, the wide divide between compelling need and choice of expression gets split here.

When transgender people refuse to acknowledge how deeply offensive it is to have transsexual lives (which are driven by extreme, often desperate compulsion) cast in a 'lifestyle choice' light, only resentment can result.

Which is what happens when people start playing around with the 'pathology' label. Contrary to claims all the way around, science (hard or soft) cannot 'support' *any* side of *any* arguement in this debate as of yet.

All it can do at the moment is definitively state that in *some* cases, something unusual is occurring biologically, and needs more study. But like the Bible or any other form of astrology, people will see what they want to see, and ignore the rest.

So you clearly state that stigmatizing illnesses is wrong, which doesn't give you any nobility points any more than saying 'hurting puppies is bad'. You're simply stating the obvious once again.

The story of the 'surgical tracked, binary, heterosexual transsexual' as you call them is a long one, and widely experienced. Contrary to the thoughts of many online umbrella activists, they are not a small minority, and once entered into the debate, they will not be swept under the rug.

Something that never gets discussed is generational divides. And they should be, because generational viewpoints effect *everything*. The TS resentment i spoke of gets muddied by homophobic, racist, and bigoted transitioners, but they are getting washed out by new generational tides that hold no such absurd prejudices.

And when they all die out (counting in years now, rather than decades), that tired straw man won't be around for pro-umbrella activists to fire up anymore. They're be forced to face the truth.

So in that regard we agree. There will probably be no ability to have a clearer dialogue for another decade.

Pencil me in for lunch if you are so inclined.

But only if i can talk to Real Toni. Not Politician Toni.

It is indeed out of context, and I'm well aware that nothing has been erased.

As I noted, I've not seen social justice groups do that -- and that's not merely here in Phoenix, but across a wide part of the US. That does not precludeit from happening, nor does it imply that it isn't happening. All it says is that I haven't encountered it, and I have doubts that it does.

Splitting hairs is what this entirely an exercise about. Indeed, splitting is what is being talked about.

You apply that "one size fits all" concept yourself when you disengenously state use the straw man of:

"Trying to discuss trans issues only derails the discussion about trans issues? Which shouldn't matter because trans issues apply to everyone?"

That's ignoring the very real differences in how one has to approach different issues. One cannot approach a serice agency the same way one approaches a legislative system -- doing so is going to get very different results.

So to call it a slight of hand trick is fascinating when the underlying current here and even in your response posits "transgender vs transsexual" -- and yet, to the wider world that's saying transsexual vs transsexual because to them there is no difference in practical day to day matters.

And you presume that it matters that if you buy into the Greater Good argument. It doesn't. You aren't engaging in advocacy or activism "on the ground" so much.

As for my sayig what disillusioned TS people are saying, well, I can say that the segment you highlighted is about people forgetting those things, and allof it arises from direct ivolvement with disillusioned TS people. IT is disillsioned TS people who have said that only TS people need surgery (whichis false), that CD's are all fetishists and perverts( which is false), and that only transsexuals need hormones (also false). So if my saying that they are in their saying it is indeed the same thing that they are saying (when they aren't saying that), then you have some issues in comprehending what I wrote.

Yes, it is obvious that people forget those things -- I see it every day. From the "well known" ones to the ones who do little more than whine about it in private.

That's not *my* black and white thinking -- that my responding to the broad burshes of those who think, for example, that this is about transsexual vs transgender when its so much more than that.

Then you accuse me of contraditicing myself, when I note, specifically, that the one size fits all effort is a political one, and the social advocacy work is a separate one that such doesn't apply. And you do this by strippng the sentences out of context just as your other statements have done so.

The first one is explicitly in relation to political efforts -- you cut that part off and left merely a fragment.

The second one is not contradictory to it because I pointed out that it is separate from the political process.

That's anothe strawman argument on your part -- it is trying to say that I said something other than I actually did.

THe subtext of your next comment is that transgender people o this out of a lifestyle choice, which is contrary to what I hold to be factual: the same compulsion exists in them, though not as extreme. That is, a "transgender" person is driven to be transgender by the same forces that compel a transsexual to be a transsexual.

So I'll state that presenting it that way is, in fact, the effort of transsexuals to colonize back the narrative that is being pushed out of the limelight in a backlash against the rise to the non binary folks.

The stroy of such I noted is done to point that out, in fact -- you say they are not a small minority, and yet the studies out there that are recent don't support that idea. The current studies indicate that they are indeed a minority, and that minority is strongly influenced by class and ethnicity, while their orientation is at *best* one third of the whole, making them *less than* one third as a rule given the intersections of class and ethnicitiy.

As for generational divides, I'm seeing some of that of late, and I have to say that what I'm seeing is directly conradictory to what you are saying. THe younger ones that I see may avoid some elements of the homophobic and racist commenting, but they are only such to the extent that society as a whole is such, and still have deep and abiding prejudices themselves (they just keep it under wraps better).

To wit: the elements that I cited earlier all come from "younger" Folks -- they are the ones who are saying those things like all CD's are fetishists, only TS people need surgery, and they are making the same decisions about who is and who isn't a transsexual based on the same narrow and sterile ideas.

I don't see that as the progress of youth. I see that as the continuance of ideas, much like the Temperance movement's ideas spawned the current rhetoric of the opponents of our mutual freedom.

And you haven't seen politician Toni yet. Nor are you seeing dyss Toni. This is just Toni.

And you are always penciled in -- I can disagree, even vehemently, and still be friends. ANnoying I may be, but hey -- that's part of the package, and we are all individuals that are, ideally, whole -- one has to accept the whole, not the part.

Sorry, I have to butt in here. Antonia, you wrote:

In the political arena, it *is* a one size fits all argument because it *must be*. And that one size fits all cannot merely be about one or more or even all the trans segments, but also about the entirety of cis segments, which are just as diverse as our own.

I hope you really believe that. When one steps back and looks at the big picture what does the binary mean? I don't think there is a binary but I think one should be very careful to notice the differences. To me this argument is as much about conceptualizing things as "trans" and "cis" as it is "transgender" and "transsexual". I really think the discussion should move away from binary/oppositional thinking. I think diversity is very complex. I think this is about a lot more than gender binaries. When it comes to race and class I think the same multi-axial diversity holds. The commenter's reference to the elimination of race markers on identity documents in Brazil was very thoughtful but sex differences, while polygenic to a great degree, are not similar in many ways. Sex differences exist, whether acquired or not and exist beyond the realm of economics even if acquiring certain ones are greatly dependent on class, which in this country and throughout the world to a great degree but not always, is linked to race and only in the currently existing state of affairs.

The problems involve just solutions, not one side holding its own and trying to win out over the other. That requires really understanding, give and take from everyone involved and a willingness to take everyone's personal circumstances and the obstacles they have had to face into consideration, whether they've been fortunate, unfortunate or sometimes a little bit of both.

Edith, it is not a matter of belief. It is a matter of the evidence tells me such.

I'm big on solutions, myself -- and one of the first tasks when dealing with a problem in need of solution is to ask a crapload of questions and then get them answered.

This is difficult to do when there are emotions running high and especially when it is so easy to look at someone and say that they are not counting because of whatever the hell it is.

When the groups engaged are shoved together not because of their own efforts but rather by a "common enemy" or social oppression, well, that means that the friction must be overcome or it will further the very oppression being sought.

So yes, that's how I see things. And has been for a mighty long time.

Once more, Antonia,

In the political arena, it *is* a one size fits all argument because it *must be*. And that one size fits all cannot merely be about one or more or even all the trans segments, but also about the entirety of cis segments, which are just as diverse as our own.

I've read through some of the other posts you wrote. I misunderstood the point you were making. I don't see a sex binary in the strictest sense of the concept. I see a real dependence a gender binary that classifies sex in a binary way. Creating a trans/cis binary reinforces the male/female binary because of this. That is because the sex/gender binary enables this to happen subversively. That is why discussion of the sex/gender binary in this discussions always seems to be off topic. The gender expression you are discussing has its origins in a conceptually rigid gender binary that actually reinforces the gender binary. At the end of the sixties and early seventies there was a strong desire to move away from this. Sex is quite a bit different from gender, although attached to it at the same time. There are not only sex and gender differences. There are generational differences. From where I see things, we've been moving backwards for some time. I think it's hardly recognizable to most of those from later generations even if there have been some important changes for the better.

There isn't a sex binary. There isn't a gender binary.

You asked about belief, earlier. The point, for me, where belief enters into it is that there are at least five aspects. That is a certainty of belief, fundamentally, for me, and where I start my approach from.

It is the only time my beliefs come into it. Everything else has to be formed using the core scientific method, really.

So to that extent, I agree with you -- in the physiological sense, there is no such thing as a binary. It is a social construct in and of itself -- like sex is, like gender is, like pretty much everything we are dealing with here is.

And, as a binary, it isn't supported by the evidence.

But since the social constructs of sex and gender are deeply interrelated as they've developed through the somewhat parallel tracks of Feminist and Sociological discourse, they've been hindred by the reliance on that binary.

I do not see cis and trans as binary, myself -- I see them as only two of the segments and there are, as I noted above, at least three more. But, as Mercedes noted, its not up to me to name them, and besides, I'm really lousy at such.

However, I did *try* to explain this more clearly, and outside the lens of political identity, but that lens and that binary view are often used to view what I wrote and thus distort it.

So I agree -- the lens of either of those binaries distorts the others that are linked to them. Sex, Gender, Cis & Trans, and so forth. And there isn't much that I can do about it without engaging in appropriation.

It would require the other groups to find the language they need for themselves and then put that out there. That is, find their own social identity and develop an affinity group for such.

That said, the gender expression I am discussing, in the larger context, is not the binary one. It is stated through a binary lens (as I'm fairly binary identified myself), no doubt, but the concept I'm referring to is the one that has been evidenced, and is far more fluid and more diverse than merely two expressions.

That is, there are a great many more than two genders, and a great many more than two gender expressions -- *even within the extant binary as it is applied*. They are, however, for the sake of simplicity and common knowledge (can you imagine teaching this in 8th grade: "there are 3,422 distinct genders" [humor, people]) "collated" or "collected" into masculine and feminine just to simplify the process (personally I would suggest that the simplification occurs because it makes it easier for the dominant group to maintain hierarchy over the other, which ultimately is the message of feminism in some respects).

I'll accept your statement of their being generational difference on the approach and understanding, but only to a certain extent and depending on the nature of those differences.

I view it as extremely complex, and so I also look to ways to present it more clearly without repeating the mistakes of previous researchers of the past which we are still trying to overcome.

What's funny is that it has resulted in my being labeled a "TeeGee" and a "traitor" and all manner of ills (contextually speaking). I figure I must be doing something right.

there are 3,422 genders. i suppose if attach about six zeros to the end of that :) there is no male and female but there is. there is no trans and no cis but there is. there is no black and white but there is. there is good and evil. i think nietzsche said there was something beyond that. let's hope so.

You wrote:

In the political arena, it *is* a one size fits all argument because it *must be*..."

Yes, inasmuch as "gender identity" covers people of cis identity just as it does people of trans identity. It does not, however, cover "gender expression." That is what I mean when I say that it is not a one-size-fits-all struggle. One side effect of this that has been happening is that when we're seeking trans protections in law, gender identity is being referenced primarily, and sometimes gender expression is being forgotten altogether. Because we've framed it as a one-issue community.

You wrote:

"I do not ever present it as a one size fits all problem with a concomitant solution."

Probably not. And if Barney Frank, the Human Rights Campaign, other LGBT organizations and legislators who sometimes know very little or nothing about transsexual and gender diverse issues and experiences followed your lead, that would be great. But there are different fonts of advice, and yes, some are presenting it as a one-size-fits-all scenario. And the words we've been using have facilitated that.

And you wrote:

"Its been my experience that cis folk generally find the usage of narratives which are medicalized as being a "wrongness" that is extended throughout those people -- and I see the arguments that are used often come to include concepts such as intersex and so forth and they use these as a form of validation, in an attempt to make it seem "less bad", when, in general, cis folk see such things as just bad in general and shift their thinking to finding a way to stop it."

This.

This.

This is why the argument gets so triggering for people. The insistence that transsexualism is a medical condition requiring a cure is absolutely button-pushing for people whose understanding of themselves put them in the in-between, and find their liberation when they are allowed to explore that middle ground. Gender transgressive peoples' insistence on deconstructing the binary is totally button-pushing for those whose understanding of themselves put them in a situation in which they absolutely need to physically transition in order to be at peace with themselves -- and I probably don't need to remind many folks about Julie Bindel's conviction that the binary should cease to exist, which would make surgery "unnecessary mutilation."

Both kinds of people exist.

Framing people under one umbrella creates a sense -- intentional or not -- that each needs to conform to another's reality.

Alliance acknowledges the existence of both, and asks where they can meet, coexist and mutually empower.

And:

"along with much of the language the communities use -- "birth defect", "genetic girl", "passing", and so forth"

Peoples' language evolve at different paces. In Kenya, transsexuals sometimes refer to themselves as homosexuals. It's changing.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | June 21, 2011 2:42 AM

Antonia wrote, "In other words, it creates a sense of pathologization, and, along with much of the language the communities use -- "birth defect", "genetic girl", "passing", and so forth -- it ultimately reinforces many of the underlying prejudices that already exist in society against "sick people" -- regardless of the illness, be it physical, physiological, or mental."

But if it weren't a birth defect, disorder etc. (choose your poison), there would be nothing to fix. Medical transition is the correction of a medical problem/defect/disorder/whatever you choose to call it. Not using that language is disingenuous, not to mention confusing. Unless I'm misunderstanding your statement...

TL:DR version: I'm not "sick", I've got a little problem.

Well, you are picking up on one aspect of something broader that I'm speaking to in the quote.

The language reinforces the already present idea that trans people are "broken", and, by being broken, are "less than", are "other", are "not of import" -- with the attendant sense of their belonging in the trash heap and or being deserving of the discrimination that's felt.

And to that extent, as a personal example rather than pulling a generalization out, I am not a broken person. I do not have a birth defect, though that's often a tempting and easy description -- I am, simply, different. Like a Mac is different from a Toshiba or an HP when it comes to laptops.

It is, in short, disabling language that encourages a thought process that says to cis folk that they are better than us, and it gives over to them power they do not deserve.

ITs not fixing something broken, its solving a problem, in a very simplistic way of putting it.

That might seem like a semantic concept, but this is a discussion over framing, and framing is all about semantics -- the art of being understood.

Which is more than merely conveying an idea simply for ease -- it meas considering the long term and wider ramifications of one's speech and choice of words.

The comparison that I prefer to use is that of pregnancy -- is it a disorder, a disability, a defect? No. Its a "problem" that has a solution. And it is a problem that arises only because it gets in the way of things at times, but what one has afterwards is pretty damned awesome.

So it would still involve some sort of treatment, that would vary according to the individual. It is, therefore, simply a "rite of passage" that mayhaps needs some medical assistance in some cases.

Which is all well and fun, but, more to your point of the language not seeming to be of value to the wider (cis) world, well, my experience is that when I educate on this basis, the wider issues are picked up faster, and there is less a sense of "ewww, cooties" and more a sense of "oh, ok, sure.".

(talk about a semantic lack there, lol)

So in my experience, it is less confusing, and less disingenuous over both the short term and long term than using the common terms, which seek to reinforce the idea of us being "wrong", which is usually synonymous in the cultural zeitgeist as being bad.

(as an unrelated side note, it allows me to deal with the cultural expectation of sterility for those damn freaks as well)

As a cis spouse of a post-op TS woman, who has dear friends on both sides of the issue, I see both sides of the argument (boy,is that a euphemism) and I have made a conscious decision to stay neutral in any discussions, since as an outsider, I do not feel that is is my place to take sides. I do, however, personally believe that as a general principle, no one has the right to label someone else or drag them into a political issue they want no part of.

That said, speaking from the position of being an ally, I think that it is worth mentioning that I spent the better part of the years 2006 to 2010 working very hard politically (both through direct action and use of the internet) fighting for Inclusive ENDA and never criticized use of the transgender umbrella when fighting for civil rights, because I believed that it was the most politically expedient way to gain wider legal protections for the greater number of people.

In short, I worked my butt off because I believed it was the right thing to do.

And what did I get for trying to understand both sides of this issue and attempting (apparently not very well) to voice that I do not need to take sides in this infighting to be a political ally, who believes that a small minority needs all the allies they can get?

I got a shitload of verbal abuse (including via FaceBook and by e-mail) from the Transgender Umbrella Camp, essentially telling me to go fuck myself--to the point where I not only gave up on posting anything at all about the subject (until now), I just flat-out said, "If this is the way you treat your allies, then fuck you too. I will use my time and energy fighting for things that effect me directly, instead of---out of sheer compassion prioritizing helping people I believe are in dire need of political support--who then thank me for me efforts by trying to bully me, attacking me (in one case, including cyber-stalking both me and my wife) and/or telling me to go fuck myself." (For the record, folks in the 'Transsexual Separatist' camp have been nothing but nice to me.)

Given that the legal precedent has been set and concurred that post-op TS people are protected by Title 7 (meaning my wife, and by extension, our family), I am just not willing to expend the time and effort to assist a group enough of who's members have both very publicly and privately treated me like crap to make me say the above.

I am breaking my silence to post this here, because I am far from the only ally who has been completely, utterly and permanently alienated by the assholes amongst the 'Transgender Camp'. People here may or may not think this is pertinent to the above discussion, but I certainly think that it is something worth mentioning (even though I fully expect to be subjected to more hostility and vitriol, just because I had the chutzpah to tell the truth).

I think that Susan_F is making a hugely valid point. I have been following the blog of a woman, now in her sixties that apparently transitioned in the early 70's, has spent the better part of 40 years living and working in the mainstream of society and has just recently come out online to offer her perspective.

To say the amount of abuse this woman has endured has been disproportionate to her views would be the grossest of understatements. I cannot for the life of me understand why she spends so much of her time trying to help.

It really does seem hopeless to me.

Is this WBT's blog that you're referring to? Because if it is, you might want to forgive some trans lesbians, myself included, for being a bit outraged at being told that their relationships are, at best, kai-kai.

But then, I don't know the blogger you're referring to, so I can only guess.

I do not need to go under the knife to be the woman I've always been, nor do I need it to see that woman in the mirror. I did need other medicine, but absolutely NOTHING about my non-operative status invalidates me, nor does my acceptance invalidate the genders of post-operative trans women, their concerns to the contrary notwithstanding.

One point, since you brought up colonialism, is how this discussion over terminology isn't really happening so much outside of Western/white/Euro-centric spaces. This "who's in and who's out" isn't happening in Thailand, India, Indonesia, Brazil etc. etc. etc. It isn't even really happening within Latin@ and black communities in the US and Canada as far as I an see.

Another point this seems often glossed over is where are trans men and trans male-spectrum voices in this discussion? I think it does a great disservice that the male/masculine portion of the community isn't speaking up. Particularly when so many seem to be applying non-binary or fluid/ situational binary-masculine identities.

When I look at the TG vs. TS discussions it tends to be mostly binary identified women talking about bodies with the occasional reference to cross dressing or drag queens. I wonder why trans male voices are usually so silent on this topic, particularly when there is a wide variety of very vocal opinions around reclaiming "tranny" and participation in women's spaces from various quarters within trans male communities and FAAB GenderQuer communities.

You wrote:

"Another point this seems often glossed over is where are trans men and trans male-spectrum voices in this discussion?"

Some have added commentary, and I don't want to speak for them. But if I were to hazard a guess, the historical ferocity of the debate could be a bit of a deterrent. And perhaps the fact that phallo isn't as perfected as vaginaplasty may be a factor in why there aren't as many purists. But I'm speculating.

With very few exceptions, this "discussion" has as usual, devolved into an endless circle of "elitist, esoteric, essentialism.

"Changing sex is not a political act." ~Edith

And yet this is exactly what the 'transgenderists' have made it by mixing and matching a non-existent interchangeability of terms. As I set forth much earlier on "The Death of the TG Umbrella", SEX is NOT GENDER.

If we apply a well known principle for seeking solutions, "KISS", we can TRY to agree that there are at least different needs for those seeking to change their physical sex and live within the socially accepted binary and those who seek/desire/require other ends or solutions.

@Valerie. Although I do have major difference's with Ms. Cooke's far left, socialist politics, I do agree with most of her views as regards Women Born Transsexual. the blog that I was making reference to is called, "Ella Es Asi", http://anna-es-asi.blogspot.com/

@LaughingrioTgirl. Could it be that "transmen" have different needs or end goals than women who were born with male genitals?

Regarding the terminology by which they are addressed?

Extraordinarily unlikely.

Really, sam22.. what "needs and end goals" would those be? Political strategy, claiming legitimacy, alliances vs. community aren't particularly "needs" or "end goals" for trans men? Interesting....

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | June 21, 2011 9:26 AM

Speaking only for myself, my needs are simply to be free to live my life, as the gay geek that I am, in peace, and for all other LGBTIQQA+whatever people in the world to do the same.

Tell Anna I said something, and bask in the glory of why she's received so poorly.

Okay, so then would you be so kind as to explicitly de-gender me and my girlfriend or would you rather hide behind generalities?

Go on, let it out, you'll find the kapoism liberating.

On Language: absolutely. Not only that, but the adoption of terminology does not always mean that the social milieu will catch up. And indeed, I feel most strongly that most of this is based around the lack of language, the lack of terminology – without a word for something one cannot adequately describe it. I have a strong and abiding dislike for people who posit things as Either/or – cis/trans, for example, drives me nuts. Both of those represent extremes, and there are, to my way of thinking, at least three further terms that lie between those two points. This is one of the reasons that I also use the terms intersex and intergender. That begins the process of creating a third structure – and I’m not attached to the terms, myself, but I am attached to the need that there be a way of describing persons in the middle – I know a great many of them (far more than I know of transsexuals, and I know a boatload of transsexuals. Big Boat, too). My goal now is to listen for language and termnology which arises within those sub-communities to see where things fall between the “start”, “end”, and “middle”.


On the deconstruction of the binary: It so happens that we’re now able to segue here, lol. I am decidedly binary myself, and I am not concerned by the destruction of the binary as a whole, as even in the end of the binary, there will still be people who are notably *markedly* women and others who are *markedly* men. Despite Bindel’s thought that such would render surgery unnecessary, it actually renders it more necessary, since it then becomes less about blending and fitting in and meeting socio- institutional paperwork requirements and more about an individual’s sense of self being aligned. This is why it is so important to maintain the usage of the concept of “sex identity”, which is very real and predominant but rarely discussed outside that area that triggers you. Bindel’s conception of an erased binary postulates that all of this is about gender as a discreet concept, without the ties and connections to the rest of the social fabric around it. Following such to the logical end point, Bindel’s idea would postulate the end of families, the end of concepts and ideas like mom and dad and so forth.


I’ll be a blunt as I can: ain’t gonna happen. Because one of the things she’s overlooking is that the society at large is still very much cis aligned – that is, their sex id, gender id, gender exp, and so forth are all uniform and consistent. That, by itself, is going to mean that ending the binary isn’t going to erase people who are solidly men and women, and there will always be that seeking of those points through the physiological drive to do so. And since the majority of the population will be that way, there will still be a need, though not for conformist reasons.


And I just know that a lot of people are not going to understand any of that. *sigh*.


But the problem here is the way that deconstruction is seen – it is seen as an erasure of the ideas of men and women, and that’s not accurate. It is an erasure of the singularity that divides them – that “or” part, if I can use a linguistic metaphor. Men and women will still be present, they will just be present among a lot more than *only* men and women.

Now, there are folks who are trying to erase the idea of men and women, and I have seriously grave doubts about those efforts as I am extremely disinclined to expect success on that effort within anything short of several hundred years. By which time all of the present issues of the day are going to have been handled, and the the social fabric will be considerably different than it is today.


On “GI” only efforts: In the US, at any rate, all of the definitions of Gender Identity that I’ve seen either have a concomitant definitions of expression, or include expression as part of the definition. This is important to realize, since, in the end, the definitions that are used are entirely based on the external behaviors and characteristics. Gender identity, for example, is not really something one can discriminate against, in a fundamental way, since it is not something that anyone is going to be aware of until it is expressed. And the drafters (and opponents) are aware of this. Anyone can around thinking they are whatever they want – many people go around thinking they are the best employee in the store, for example, but that doesn’t change the way they are perceived by others.


And discrimination is all about the perception of others (just like gender, race, and similar). So expression is fundamental to any effort to make the laws fairer, and expression *must* include those who conform, as well as those who do not.

As to the sense that only GI is being advanced, that’s because the leadership in these situations is either transsexual or cis, and they will tend to reflect on what is their concern, as oppose to the wider community as a whole. I’ve had many an argument over the tendency to ignore the needs of some genderqueer folks who get reduced to merely “Crossdressers” and therefore somehow “less than” because people don’t understand them and presume inclusion.

It -- gender expression -- *too* must reflect, in law, the diversity, and that means it cannot merely represent the Binary nor can it represent the middle ground.

Indeed, the reason for the usage of that phrasing is so that it does, in fact, include cis folks' gender expression as well. Recall back when I wrote the piece on gender. I was very specific about how there is Gender Identity and Sex Identity and Social sex roles and all that. But what I noted, predominantly, was that gender is always about how other people see one -- this is why its used.

I’ve said before that if one is going to propose a solution, it must be a solution for the transsexual person who is just now starting. As a starting point, it allows the greatest number of people to be protected, as, again, discrimination is always about how others perceive you. How you perceive yourself has no bearing on them, and to tell someone that they can only use the identity one has for themselves when that identity is directly counter to what they perceive you as is either going to get you laughed at or place you in a position where you are infringing on their right to free speech.

As you noted – social identity groups are strictly opt in. No one can force someone to identify with a particular social identity group. Personal identity is always personal – no one else can tell one what their identity is (indeed, this is why we go through so much turmoil in finding ourselves).


But you cannot make another person only use the terminology that you identify as. They are free to describe you as anything they want. The more discriminatory they are, the less likely they are going to use a term that you approve of (fetishist and pervert and deviant come to mind as the most common tossed about). The law won’t allow you to tell them they can only refer to you in one way – that would be limiting their freedom of speech. So the law can tell them that they cannot discriminate against you – without telling them what term to use.

This is one of the major hot button issues that keeps the tensions high – one side claims that using terms like pervert and fetishist and deviant are perfectly fine, forgetting their history and consistent usage to demonize, while also saying that they can only be referred to as x, and then turning around and saying that some people are not x, no matter what they identify as. It is hypocrisy, and its present in this thread herein. Meanwhile, the other side is all about “oh, well, we are just trying to help everyone” and they are forgetting that you cannot help people who do not want to be helped. So they come off as pushy and so forth, and then the two sides tend to go after one another with a great deal of fervor and if you wade in, you are tossed on one side or the other almost entirely based on how you are perceived by the two sides individually.


On Alliance: I’m not so certain that alliance does indeed escape that limitation. Granted, this is complicated by the social power differential, but as an example, look to the use of the LGBT. It is an Alliance – and the reason we use those letters is because each of those groups has fought to escape the underlying conformity inherent in just saying everybody is gay (which was the norm 60 years ago *in community*). As lesbians, trans folk, and bisexuals found their own voices more strongly, they broke away (70’s for Lesbians, 80’s for trans and Bi, with the 90’s cementing the trans alliance) and became allied for the duration of shared goals.


And yet this is also one of the things that people are trying to get away from – and it is not as easy as saying that this is only one side versus another, as this issue crosses those traditional boundaries. There are “umbrella sorts” that want to stay in and other who want to leave. There are non umbrella sorts that want to stay in and others that want to separate.


So as an Alliance function, it can be just as challenging to remain, and does not avoid that sense of conformity by duress that you speak of.

But, more importantly, that alliance and that umbrella are both just terms for a social identity – a sense of what is or isn’t the community that I belong to as an individual. Some folks will seek greater linage to such, whereas others will seek less.

“Transgender”, as a social identity group, is not “foisted” as an identity on other people – it is used as a description. Social identity groups are voluntary – one can be dark skinned and not be a member of the “Black Community”. Its hard, yes, but that’s not due to the “black community”, that’s due to the prejudices and privileges in the society at large.

And those prejudices and privileges are manifested through the use of description, not identity, since they can’t determine someone else’s identity for them.

On those who have advised monolithic scenarios: I chuckled at your examples, given that all too often the examples you gave have managed to advocate for a monolithic solution all right – do nothing. Or do harm to the whole.

Granted, you didn’t mean to use those suggestions specifically because of their consistent failures, but I had to chuckle.

I’m not so sure it has been *our* words that have facilitated it. I suspect it has been *their* words. I suspect since those groups are used to presenting an idea that is uniform (sexual orientation covers these six groups, blah blah blah, and oh yeah, there’s these T people too) that it hasn’t been our words that have done this, but rather their privileges that have done this. This would include, I’ll note, multiple organizations and legislators. There are no trans legislators at the federal level, and damn few at the state (if any). There are only lobby groups who are allowed in at best on the convenience of the legislators and dependent on funding, etc etc. There are a few trans organizations, but most of them are focused I the same way mine is – on day to day issues. So I can’t immediately buy into the idea that it is our words that do this. I don’t see any legislators or their staff members at the workshops I give – and when I go to speak to them, its never for a workshop, its always for a short period of time.


I see a lot of agencies doing that, but they aren’t legislators and such. That’s not only here, either – that’s elsewhere.

That also doesn’t include the fact that there is a tremendous amount of apathy and a lot of struggling going on that prevents most folks from taking a more active role – there are very few trans people in the US taking any sort of active role in anything. Which means that the words that might come from us come from a relatively few number of us – and that would mean we can identify them more directly and speak to them specifically, as opposed to making it an institutional issue when there are so very few institutional structures in the trans community at this time.

In other words, I don’t think *our* words are getting heard. I think it is the words that are chosen for us not by our own community, but by the wider one. I cannot recall any usage of our language in things coming from non-trans specific organizations. “Passing” isn’t ours – it comes to us from the communities of color. “Stealth” and “blending” aren’t ours – they come from the same place as passing. Cis and trans are ours – yet I’m more likely to see other terms used.


I think that perhaps that needs to be examined more closely first.

And, in closing, thank you. I’m not against an exchange on the matter. I have a zero tolerance for transphobia – regardless of the segment – and that’s what triggers me. So long as that can be avoided, I’m good. Hell, they can even keep calling me the Oz of Transgender for all it matters – but when I hear that “they are not like me” followed by something that suggests a negative, I’m going to have an issue.

You wrote:

"Both of those represent extremes, and there are, to my way of thinking, at least three further terms that lie between those two points."
and
"I’ve had many an argument over the tendency to ignore the needs of some genderqueer folks who get reduced to merely “Crossdressers” and therefore somehow “less than” because people don’t understand them and presume inclusion."

And probably at some point, we'll probably have to deconstruct what we're talking about with whatever term we use outside "transsexual" -- whether "gender diverse" or something else. But I'm not the best person to do that (and also not the person who should be doing the naming).

"On “GI” only efforts: In the US, at any rate, all of the definitions of Gender Identity that I’ve seen either have a concomitant definitions of expression, or include expression as part of the definition... Gender identity, for example, is not really something one can discriminate against, in a fundamental way, since it is not something that anyone is going to be aware of until it is expressed."

Or disclosed.

But that's besides the point. I'm not familiar with using this approach, but on the surface, I can see some problems intrinsically tying one to the other in legislation. Does one have to prove a diagnosis of gender identity disorder / dysphoria in order to be legally shielded from discrimination based on their gender expression? Can individuals' gender expression be used to undermine the legitimacy of their gender identity?

To me, that sounds potentially flawed, and could allow people to be defined out of legislation, once the concessions start getting put in.

You wrote:

"I’ve said before that if one is going to propose a solution, it must be a solution for the transsexual person who is just now starting."

It should include the transsexual person just starting. We can't assume that any one person's needs encompasses everyone's.

"On Alliance: I’m not so certain that alliance does indeed escape that limitation." and: "So as an Alliance function, it can be just as challenging to remain, and does not avoid that sense of conformity by duress that you speak of."

I'm not saying it will be perfect. Only that at least this way, there is an expectation of multiple perspectives that need to be recognized.

"“Transgender”, as a social identity group, is not “foisted” as an identity on other people"

And yet we're seeing more than a few triggered reactions that indicate otherwise. Consistently, over a sustained period of time, and not all explained by bias.

"I’m not so sure it has been *our* words that have facilitated it. I suspect it has been *their* words."

Have we acquiesced to those words and the logic structures behind them?

"There are a few trans organizations, but most of them are focused I the same way mine is – on day to day issues. So I can’t immediately buy into the idea that it is our words that do this. I don’t see any legislators or their staff members at the workshops I give – and when I go to speak to them, its never for a workshop, its always for a short period of time."

Very true. But they will be picking some of the framing up from the grassroots, and that's where we can start: to change how we're framing our issues, and do what we can to filter that upward.

Sorry for the delay in getting back -- long day, and I ended up only being able to do half a class.

Ok, you ask: " Does one have to prove a diagnosis of gender identity disorder / dysphoria in order to be legally shielded from discrimination based on their gender expression? Can individuals' gender expression be used to undermine the legitimacy of their gender identity?"

The answer to that is *no* -- because if one did do so, then one would have to send all the cis people in for a diagnosis of not having such. SInce the law has to include them fundamentally.

And this is part of what I was talking about earlier -- instead of stopping to realize that any definition and description also has to protect the gender expression and identity of cis people (and inter folks, and so forth and so on), it was reduced to "well, do the trans people have to prove such?"

And in order for the trans people to have to prove something, then suddenly they are not being treated equally, but as a separate group, and therefore defeating the purpose of equal laws.

Every single term in law has to be able to include cis people in it, or else the law is not equal, and one creates a separate but equal structure that is inimical to the current legal landscape. Separate but equal is not equal.

So there is no need for a diagnosis under such laws (though policies (such as a changing an id or a birth certificate may require stuff until such time as they are ruled unusable) using those definitons.

And again, one cannot *use* gender identity or expression as any sort of persecution or discrimination, so once more, the laws inherently stop the second part of your query.

This is what Abby was talking about -- the use, in law, of GI/GE is a use that says one cannot hold it against anyone. Diagnosis doesn't matter, cis or trans or inter doesn't matter, and so forth.

They are literally irrelevant since any action by others that is discriminatory on those basis (in the course of business) is effectively banned.

Keep in mind, as an example, that is it perfectly legal for me to open up a business here in Phoenix, and put in the advertisement "Trans people only. No Cis allowed." That's blatant discrimination (though not reverse discrimination) but under these sorts of laws, it would not be possible.

Because that would be discriminating on the basis of someone's expression or identity. ANd I would have no problems doing so, I'll add -- its rather funny how people get all bent out of shape when you discriminate against them. In this case, they might just decide to change the laws.

But that's a side track.

So, no -- such is not the case.


You also say: "And yet we're seeing more than a few triggered reactions that indicate otherwise. Consistently, over a sustained period of time, and not all explained by bias."

I'm not willing to concede that point. Every single time I've encountered them, regardless of the context, it has been motivated by animus.

One could make the argument that the KKK isn't motivated by animus on the same basis -- after all, they've risen form the dead three times.

Now, I'm not using them as a direct comparative here, I'm using them to show the flaw in the idea that the the consistency itself is enough to preclude bias. I'll grant the example is a bit inflammatory, and I'll even apologize for not having a better one at the tip of my fingers as I write this. Which is why I'm going to the trouble to note all this.

It would take a rather more significant degree of evidence that frequency to provide me with evidence tot he contrary. However, if evidence to the contrary was presented, and checked out, then I am not unwilling to refactor my opinions.

Are there going to be individual exceptions? Absolutely -- I keep waiting for one, and haven't encountered one yet. But bear in mind that I'm well aware that the US culture is extremely transphobic, and that especially among those who are engaging in this debate most heatedly, there is a great deal of internalized transphobia in play (on all sides, not merely one). So it would be an error to attribute it to overt and willful animus -- but it is still animus.

You ask: "Have we acquiesced to those words and the logic structures behind them?"

Acquiesced? I can say that much of the grassroots isn't even aware that this is the case. That much of the grassroots actually thinks these people know this stuff because we've spoken about it like bloody lions for pushing four year now.

So in that sense, yes, we have.

In the sense of the activist and advocate individuals, I'd say no. Hell, they will, often, tell you what I have said: they don't want to listen, ensconced in their privilege and focused on their marriage fight.

They have reasons for doing that, as well -- we are convenient footballs, politically. We have historically been a lot calmer than this and not as visible. There are a relatively few activists and advocates out there, and the average lifespan of any of them is about 5 years. So those out there for long periods of time are even rarer and tend to have a great many enemies and are not invited onto boards or involved in much because they don't have the funding or ability to raise said funding that's needed.

Blah blah blah. All of it stuff you can read any day of the week in between the screedific lines of any of the "Angry Trannies".

Do not discount the apathy and desire for invisibility -- just as it was in the early 1970's among the cisgay movement, invisibility is a shield from all manner of persecution if you can get it, and many do.

One can blame them, but only to a certain extent -- survival is the lot of far too many of us to truly cast deep aspersions on such. And yet, it is in great part what holds us back from making the words we use heard over the words of our allies.

And our allies are not doing this, no matter how I've phrased it above, out of animus on a level of awareness -- but, as I noted before, this is an intensely transphobic culture, and they are not different from any trans person -- and while I've seen some of the local players at my workshops, I've not seen a great many.

When asked, they say they already understand it. And then proceed to do everything wrong.

That's not *us* acquiescing. That's them not listening. Which is, of course, upping the frustration level of the few who are doing the work out there, and who recognize that allies are essential to any degree of success, and so forth.

And after a day of dealing with that, they run into the same problem within the community.

Which is at least why the lifespan of most of them is about 5 years.

I can tell ya mine's damn near up as well.

lastly, to where they get the framing, they get it from many of the same sources the rest of the country gets it. From performance and media, from Mike Musto and Jay Leno, from "Soldier's Girl" and "To Wong Foo".

They don't understand why trans activists are so upset because they don't see how they can be bad -- after all, they like their trannies, and hey, did you hear about that one actress who's going to play a tranny assassin, won't that be great?!

The sarcasm is probably in appropriate, but that's also a literal quote from one guy. Who thinks he is a great ally. WHo thinks he doesn't have a transphobic bone in his body.

Who is also a good person, who really wants to help, but is locked in by his, well, specifically, white male privilege (he's decidedly not wealthy, lol).

ANd, before anyone makes accusations about it being anyone known, I'll point out he lives here in Phoenix and is named Jim. God I'd hate to be accused of starting yet another rumor.

Most of them don't read the blogs. Most or them watch CNN or MSNBC. Some, 'round these parts, even watch FOX news. Most read the newspaper on occasion or at least the local nightlife rag.

Those that do, they avoid these threads because "it'll just be another tranny fight". Which at times seems to be the goal, I'll note. of one side or the other.

So...

I'll see what evidence you present in the future to it being more than merely coincidence. Note that I've already note that I see it as a backlash against the potential shifting away from the transsexual narrative that has dominated the discourse for decades. I'll admit that will make it difficult, but not impossible.

Truth be told, I'd be perfectly fine if both sides would just stop the misgendering, attempted identity enforcing, use of terms like Pervert, fetish, and deviant, end the homophobia, stop the claims to SRS being the end all and be all, and similar stuff. Its projection, and it really irks me.

5 years? Hey, I've expired!

"And in order for the trans people to have to prove something, then suddenly they are not being treated equally, but as a separate group, and therefore defeating the purpose of equal laws."

Which has already happened, in the UK "Equality" Act, so there's a precedent.

As I understand it, there has been some recent legislative wording in some states that ties both GI and GE and defines them so as to require documentation. And there is concern that that is what could end up in ENDA. I don't know all the details, but I'm wondering now if that's how things got to that point.

"I'm not willing to concede that point. Every single time I've encountered them, regardless of the context, it has been motivated by animus."

Well, I've been increasingly seeing otherwise, many people whose primary objection is single-term designation, but otherwise willing to ally with gender diverse people. (and also some of the latter who repudiate transsexuals, and not just because of HBS-style attitudes). I won't make excuses for those who invalidate or malign others. But it's not a one-sided issue at this point.

Agreed that it is not a one sided issue by any point -- I see multiple sides thus far.

But when it comes to the umbrella concept, specifically, I'm still awaiting someone who ultimately isn't driven by such.

As I noted below to ATG, I'd like some evidence. I just haven't seen any -- and I am certainly the sort that asks questions.

You are a rarity, then -- that's about the average.

Perhaps you missed the point: in order to require documentation from one group, you would have to require documentation from everyone. That's the nature of the way the laws are set up.

So yes, someone could pass a law that says such, and the psychs would do a great deal of business determining who was cis and who was trans and who was whatever else.

There are some people who have put forth the idea that laws that require a carry letter are useful -- but that's the same issue. If you limit the law to that alone, then you are, literally, creating a special law for a specific group of people.

And that means that it will end up falling under the weight of the Romer decision and similar one prior to it. A lot of people might want to say that it was about SO, but the ruling itself was on passing laws through animus. In this case,the animus would be trans folk that are not transsexual.

So while they may go through, they won't withstand a challenge, and that suggests a very short sighted and rather odd outlook.

Why shouldn't a law that deals in GI/GE cover cis people? WHy shouldn't a law that deals in GI/GE deal in trans people other than transsexuals?

Is there aversion present in the motivations, made visible by the action?

The issues for many in the recent Maryland blow up was that the reason the law removed the PA provisions was to make it easier to get passed. How did that make it easier to get passed? It stopped those who objected to trans people from being able to argue.

It did not pass, it did not stop the arguments, and the motivation for removing the PA was appeasement of the transphobic expressions. That's letting transphobia guide a decision process.

Which is wrong.

Why should women have to put up with what amounts to male identified crossdressers gaining access to their restrooms? The same can also be said for men why should they have to put up with basically female crossdressers entering there restroom? A far bigger issue can be tackled instead of calling for free bathroom passes why not call for making restrooms safer for both male and female crossdressers in their rightful bathrooms? Any man even one dressed like a woman should be able to safely enter a men's bathroom. Same goes for a female crossdresser she should be able to enter a womans room without having to feel unsafe or receive unwelcome criticism. The simple fact is some men and women dress as the opposite sex those who are of the same sex should accept the reality that some of them for whatever reason dress as the opposite sex.

Lisa, I will absolutely answer your questions in full, once I’m sure I understand them – since this issue is very contentious, I want to be sure I am not leaping to conclusions and that I grasp the context of your questions.

You are asking why women should put up with men in the restrooms and men should put up with women their restrooms.
Is that correct?
Also, in order to fully grasp this, I need to know what you mean by “crossdresser”. I am aware of what it means to the general public at large, but this is a trans centric conversation and I’ve noted a very different pattern of meaning there.
Would you please describe what you mean by crossdresser, please?

As soon as I see the response to those two questions (is that correct and describe a cross dresser) I will answer your question mindful of the context that you provide.

Thanks.

You wrote:

"Perhaps you missed the point: in order to require documentation from one group, you would have to require documentation from everyone. That's the nature of the way the laws are set up."

I haven't missed it. Law can, however, include a clause that invites a proof requirement, rather than explicitly calls for it. I'll send what I mean under separate cover.

And re: Maryland:

"It did not pass, it did not stop the arguments, and the motivation for removing the PA was appeasement of the transphobic expressions. That's letting transphobia guide a decision process.

Which is wrong."

Absolutely. That's another discussion, that we need to take the "bathroom bill" meme head-on. Few people realize it, but it's the strongest argument FOR human rights. If we're willing to take it by the horns. But it takes a bit of figuring to see it, and will take effort from the grassroots. Until then, it will continue to make legislators and LGB orgs go wilty.

Having seen the reference, I see your point, and the particulars therein are rather startling.

I sent some very immediate responses, but those are still mostly knee jerk, so I need to take some time to think on it -- but I see the same issues informing that process that informed the Maryland process -- and attempt to appease the transphobic arguments and utilize the previously noted sense of "medical = legitimate".

First charge against that is going to be "special rights", as well.

Most disappointing. But that's evidence that I need to see, in order to change my positions. SO thank you.

Now to give that some thought...

Well Mercedes this has certainly accomplished a lot! Instead of discussing the possibilities of a functional alliances most of these responses are combative. Let's see, Lisa and Toni served in Berlin. Big deal. That's peacetime in my book. Why should someone get benefits for just wearing the uniform if they were never in battle? I mean if that's the approach why shouldn't the girl scouts get VA coverage? Heck, they wore a uniform and gave a really important chocolate fix the the horny old neighbor who lives in the house on the corner of Main and MLK Jr. Boulevard. See how easy it is to derail and at the same time fire up emotions? That is how alliances are not built. Question, divide, insinuate, thrust with innuendo and before you know it the masters are in office again and the slaves are wandering around the plantation wondering why things are worse this year than last year.

Let me see if I can make this crystal clear to the usual crowd who inhibit constructive discourse. By f**king around with all this concept c**p you are s**ewing yourselves and getting nowhere fast. I may just be the biggest ditz alive but I do know the difference between constructive dialogue and garbage.

Last week I noticed someone I consider absolutely non passing touting the fact that bathrooms are not a problem because she passes so well. I almost gagged. I was tempted to reply "in a pig's eye". But then I thought about it. Why should I disabuse her of delusions so integral to her daily existence? That really does nothing to move me forward in my own life nor does it really help her in any way.

So what's it going to be people? Should we wallow around in garbage looking for something edible or should we engage in some dialogue about how to make more hetero-normative people allies? I actually enjoy wallowing in garbage because I have a cast iron gastro-intestinal tract so it doesn't really matter to me which you choose. If I'm hungry I'll eat a day old dead rodent and never burp but I must say I prefer an eloquent meal at Outback. How about you?

You wrote:

"Well Mercedes this has certainly accomplished a lot! Instead of discussing the possibilities of a functional alliances most of these responses are combative."

Patience. I don't know about anybody else, but I've seen a lot more civil and constructive discussion here than in a lot of discussions previously -- which can probably be attributed to the fact that people seem to be ready to look for some resolution now.

Every social movement needs to reassess itself from time to time, especially in its formative years.

"Should we wallow around in garbage looking for something edible or should we engage in some dialogue about how to make more hetero-normative people allies?"

Well, first of all, we need to resolve any mixed signals in what we're asking of them. But in the process, we also stand to learn more about building alliances overall.

@LRTG..."Political strategy, claiming legitimacy, alliances vs. community aren't particularly "needs" or "end goals" for trans men? " Did I say that?NOOOOOOO

Did I IMPLY that? NOOOOOOO.

Did you intentionally misconstrue my words? Why????

Perhaps my point is that WBT do not "need", or have as "end goals"..."Political strategy, claiming legitimacy, alliances vs. community".

Perhaps their only needs are adequate, competent and non-prejudicial medical care. Kinda like other human beings.

Considering this series and a giant undercurrent of the TG vs. TS conversation directly relate to what I mentioned I don't see how I misconstrued your words at all.

"Perhaps their only needs are adequate, competent and non-prejudicial medical care. Kinda like other human beings."

And Trans men don't have these as end goals or needs?

Look, when giant portions of a population that spans the globe and includes members of every imaginable other grouping of people are simply not participating in/avoiding one seemingly critical discussion, one should look at why that is the case. Why is it that most of the voices on either side are from the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe? Why are they largely women?

Obviously, this conversation is important, since it comes up over and over. So, I'm not minimizing it. I am, however, questioning where the lines are being drawn, and why. I'm also wondering why this dialogue is actually so seemingly critical. These are honest questions, and since I seem to get shot by both "sides" in these dust-ups I'm not invested in any particular answer.

OK LTG, since you want to focus away from the concept of alliances onto why few FTM participate I'll give you an opinion. Where have they lost anything? IMHO the reason you see an overwhelming participation rate by MTF persons is quite simply that most of them partook of male privilege whether or not they admit to it. Now they are a bit cantankerous over the loss of it.

Deena, it's not so much an attempt take focus away, as to ponder why it seems largely to be of critical importance to trans women. Or if it isn't only restricted to trans women, what the opinions of trans men are in this.

I tend to agree that the loss of male privilege seems to be a factor in the discussion.

Personally, I found the biggest difference before and after transition was that disgruntled customers called me a fat c**t instead of a fat p***k. The rest resulted from those few times dealing with institutional inflexibility where some of that viewed-as-cis privilege I used to and often do have would've come in nice and handy.

Also I got offered gratuities more often.

[/meandering]

You wrote:

"Obviously, this conversation is important, since it comes up over and over. So, I'm not minimizing it. I am, however, questioning where the lines are being drawn, and why. I'm also wondering why this dialogue is actually so seemingly critical."

Lines being drawn: I think between transitioning between sexes, and transgressing gender expectations. Not as much between transsexual and gender diverse people, hopefully, because some folks can be both.

And why it's critical? Because all of our advocacy -- and the narratives we put out there to define ourselves and describe our struggles -- is built on these foundations.

I guess my trouble starts when lines and boundaries start being drawn non-consensually around body types and desire for or access to specific surgeries. I have yes to read or take part in a discussion about TS separation from TG that doesn't eventually erase me completely on and by both groups.

Sorry if I seem defensive, but seriously, I get pretty tired of feeling like I have to justify my body as well as my lack of "fluidity" or "queerness" regarding the way I am gendered.

Huggs on that.

And apologies if I've ever erased you. Unless it was that one time, when I used the blackboard eraser. And the pink chalk...

(10 to 1 people have lost their senses of humor. Or that mine is still just way too weird for general consumption...)

@LRTG. This is an honest question. Do you identify as TG, and if so, why is tht a problem? In other words, How, or why, are you being erased?

@Sam22 - No, I do not identify as transgender - I don't have spasms of angst at the idea of being called transgender either. The way I have responded to gendered things has largely been a constant in my life and never a motivation for transition.

Without getting into long convoluted descriptions and vague references, I'll state this as simply as I can. I am a binary woman who, for a variety of reasons, is not tracked for SRS. As a no-op, the TS - separatists chuck me in one group. As a person who thinks gender is largely one of the least significant things happening in my life, I'm thrown in the other.

My needs for access to medical transition are doubted. My diagnosis is questioned, my motivations are always suspect, and my identity as a woman is undermined and minimized. All from both sides.

It is time to "throw out the baby with the bath water"...Delphi speaks


IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS...

Occasionally, in the "course of human events", whether in the construction of an invention, widget X, or even governments "among men", a time-out must be called and all must return back to the drawing table for a "do-over". Sometimes this is done by volition or by force, as in the separation from England. As a female in transition (FIT for short), it has become crystal clear that this is such a time for others in transition or post-transition. When terminology becomes hijacked, blurred, in fact so obfuscated that it is defined differently by each person then it ceases to hold any value for discussion whether orally, visually, or in writing. In short "an apple is an orange is a lemon" ceases to hold any value for purposes of communication. When communication fails, then we have what amounts to a modern "tower of babel". This is what has happened here. It is so severe that I am unable to even use the word "community" as the definition for such now apparently includes those who engage in recreational gender expression.

THIS HAPPENED TO ME...nay...IT HAPPENED TO ALL OF US...

I was not discriminated by Victor Valley Hospital last year (2010) for recreational gender expression. As a newly hired security officer, despite my ID gender as F, my security supervisor had "interviewers remorse" once he discovered I was a (FIT). His sudden "concern" for my "safety" and those of my coworkers told me the rationalization for declaring me "un-(FIT)", for the position had begun. Indeed his acceptance of a false complaint did indeed begin the slippery slope that did result in my job "separation". Despite this occurring in a "gender-protected" state (CA)---no transgender support group cared enough to challenge this. The statue of limitations has passed and Victor Valley Hospital got away with this overt discrimination against myself and the rest of us.

Not from anger but from fact, I have absolutely zero faith in ANY so-called "transgender" support group anywhere coast to coast---period. Zero. Why? Because when overt discrimination occurs against one of us, it is against ALL of us. At the very least they should have "knocked" on the hospital doors and made an inquiry. My only option now is to publicize this anywhere and everywhere I can. No, this is not "whining". Whining is when "you don't get your way"...like a child. This is to publicize the high and ILLEGAL cost of a perfectly LEGAL gender transition by the clever use of phobic persons who without valid reason, UTILIZE euphemisms to deprive an employee of employment. In this "great" country of ours, in 2010, having allowed this to stand means in essence that our troops are dying in vain. It means my 6 years military honorable service was in vain. In short, the "greatest country in the world" must live up to this claim, not just use it as patriotic "hyperbole". Discrimination for WHATEVER reason is a "third-world" common occurrence---is the most Un-American thing a person can do.

However, this is not about me. My story is to serve as an example to demonstrate that if one of us (as I was) can be treated with dignity in one place (HPMC hospital) and treated with civillily illegal disdain at another (VVCH hospital) so much so that I am deprived of the right to employment after being hired, especially in a "gender-protected" state, we are in serious cataclysmic trouble. And indeed we are. Despite gains here and there, attempts are made elsewhere to rewind past successes.

So long LGB!....luv you but time to bid farewell...

Many adore the LGBT union. I am not one of them. I love my LGB brethren and sisters, but I also love everyone else also. Not enough unity or too much unity are equally non-productive. This is what has legislatively occurred with the LGBT union. I know I am not the only one who sees this. I know many of you also disagree. The acid test is the following: if 100% of the objectives of the LGB are met, will there be other objectives specific to the "T"? Yes! Of course we have gender-specific objectives! Why then the alliance? Maybe someone can convince me but so far I haven't been convinced.

I am trans...no...I am...gender what?..no...who am I?...how dare you call me that!...

So..here we are in 2011. Unable to define "community", "transgender', or "transsexual". Until these terms are clearly defined by a united "T-only" body of some sort...not by some paper tiger transgender/transsexual "support group"...we will be unable to communicate clearly to others the following: (1) who we are, (2) who we are NOT (3) what objectives we seek, (4) what objectives we don't seek, and last but most important (5) the attainment of credibility so crucial to achieving our objectives, namely the rights accorded to ALL persons promised long long ago by our founding fathers. Recreational gender expression, regardless of name (CD, transvestite, etc.) does not only NOT give us credibility but it tarnishes any credibilty a FIT might have.

The founding fathers were all white "straight" men. Everyone else from our nation's founding has had to fight for basic human rights that were promised by them in historical documents. We are engaged in such a struggle, a struggle that will probably continue for the next 150 years. So I say, let's get busy with defining the terms, unifying the body, setting an agenda, and moving forward. Without a foundation, the structure turns into rubble. By accident or design, our foundation has crumbled and our "structure" is turning to rubble. Time for a "do-over", if you ask me.

TIME TO MAKE A STAND

The time is now. It is time to make our own declarations. I propose that we all do the following. Time to separate fact from fiction, true from untrue, credible from non-credible, recreational from serious. It is time to go beyond written opinion. We can debate this issue until we turn blue. We all know that there are different camps. Our civil rights must not be impeded by those who wish to be John on Monday, and Jane on Tuesday. Fighting this fight is putting the cart before the horse. Only until the legal fight for the right for John to become Jane PERMANENTLY can the fight for John to become Jane TEMPORARILY even stand a chance of winning (provided unisex restrooms are the norm). This is not about hating anyone. Its about the grade school lesson of "sets". Sets and subsets. Grouping like objects/persons together. Fruit in one category, produce in another, tools over there, etc. Not all objects/persons belong in the same group---not then and not now...emphatically no.

I challenge each and every one of you to make your declaration
(your declaration will vary)


I voluntarily declare the following: I was diagnosed with "gender dysphoria". I declare that I am under a doctor's care for hormones. I declare that my gender marker has now changed. I declare that my "OP" status is as private as my private parts. I declare that no one should be compelled to reveal "OP" status except on a need-to-know basis, here or anywhere. I declare that I am NOT a CD, transvestite, recreational gender expressionist or part of any such subset. I declare that I find nothing wrong with recreational gender expression. I declare that full-time gender expression is not recreational gender expression. I declare that I am aware of those who are in sex/gender transition but for health reason unable to pursue HRT, and that they are to be distinguished from recreational gender expressionists. Finally, I declare my allegiance as a patriotic American; that my voluntary military service was not just for self but for all citizens----transgender/sexual or not. I have made my stand. Will you declare yours?

I don't want to ignore your situation, but am not really placed well to comment on it, other than in generalities and speculation.

With employment discrimination cases, it can sometimes be very difficult to prove that a firing was a result of discrimination, as opposed to some other cause or causes. And because courts view defendants as innocent until proven guilty, the onus on you would be to demonstrate proof. If you have that proof & if it stands up t scrutiny, it sometimes helps to go to media, although the consequence of that is that you will most likely be out publicly, and that can impact your current and future employment situation anywhere.

Better still, if there is a human rights commission or tribunal that handles employment discrimination cases -- even if they don't explicitly state gender identity as a protected class -- then find out their process. Depending on where you are, sometimes there are internal (within the commission) or external (i.e. separate non-profits specifically for the purpose) that can help with funding.

Orgs often don't get directly involved, although sometimes they will invite your lawyers to call theirs. This is partially to protect their butts, of course, but can also be resource management (which is an honest-to-god serious issue). Smaller orgs often don't have the financial and legal resources to do even that. I'm not saying not to try, but saying that sometimes, they're just honestly not in a position to be able to help. Again, speaking in generalities. If they know the process, though, hopefully they could at least point you in a direction.

I hope that helps.

I'm just going to get all geometrical here, because that's the be
To the squares out there: You're still quadrilaterals, and trying to create a hierarchy of quadrilaterals doesn't just hurt the parallelograms and the oblong rectangles. And for that matter, we still tile the same way.

To the parallelograms: There's nothing illegitimate about having 90 degree angles at one's corner. We rectangles are just as four-sided and have just as much problem fitting round pegs as you do. There's nothing 'more real' about you, and you're about as unlikely in nature as we are.

Gah, typo.

"... because that's the be" should read, "because that's the best way I could think to say this."

That is all. Wish there were an edit function or that I had gone with the caffeine free cola.

Mercedes,

Earlier you replied to me and I replied back to you asking you to point out why you don't see how Section 8(a)(3)SHARED FACILITIES IS discriminatory. I never heard back on that. Unless you can show how it doesn't discriminate against post transsexual people as well as the undefined "post transitioned" I cannot see any way that it doesn't:

You wrote: "In other words an employer may discriminate against a person who has transitioned to a gender but doesn't allow for the employer to discriminate against one who was assigned the same gender at birth." That's not what I read from it at all.

Section 8(a)(3) CERTAIN SHARED FACILITIES- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee's gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.
It seems to say to me an employer can segregate someone who has undergone gender transition as long as . . .

doesn't it? Have I missed something? I admit it is very possible but I don't think I can find it.

This is a huge sticking point, I believe. I stayed out the Misguided Policy for Transgender Residents in NYC thread because it doesn't directly concern me, which is not to say I'm not concerned about what might be the consequences of that effort. One of the commenters mentioned the lack of success in defending marriages where one person had legally changed their birth certificate, which I don't think is justification for giving up on defending the right of post transsexual people to change legal sex/gender in a way that is as complete as one of a birth assigned sex gender.

It was pointed out by another commenter,that the legal marriages contracted between people where one partner was post transsexual have weathered well in the legal arena the vast majority of cases. As far as the NYC push is concerned, I don't see anything that would take away anyone's rights . . . yet. The way the proposed ENDA law is written, however, really casts a different light on that. The shared spaces exclusion where there is nudity is definitely a major sticking point. What becomes the sticking point is not a persons genitals but what kind of genitals a person was born with, all in defense of the "genitals don't matter" argument.

All the talk of genitals don't matter has lead to the shifting of the goal posts that has been discussed in many places, now. This is an undermining of the rights of post operative transsexuals. It is being done in the name of equality. It is being done to separate post operative transsexual people from the sex they transition to make them "equal" those who don't wish to have genital surgery. The word equality has an Orwellian twist where this is concerned. There is such a thing as transsexualism. It is not synonymous with "gender" or "identity". No one is forcing anyone to be transsexual who isn't. The "genitals don't matter" argument is pure bunk, plain and simple. The paragraph in the ENDA legislation, as far as I can tell, is evidence that the "genitals don't matter" becomes "transition that is visible when one stands naked doesn't matter" and cause for segregation and inequality. Separate but equal facilities? Section 8(a)(3) is a rip-off that those who are being ripped off are being asked to support. This is wrong.

If this was 1980 the SoC would've refused me treatment for being a lesbian and being open about my history, though not screaming it to random passers by.

So you see how much stock I place in their methodology.

I treat my gender dysphoria through a somewhat more conservative regime of treatment than you do. That doesn't make me less of a woman.

If this was 1980 the SoC would've refused me treatment for being a lesbian and being open about my history, though not screaming it to random passers by.

So you see how much stock I place in their methodology.

I treat my gender dysphoria through a somewhat more conservative regime of treatment than you do. That doesn't make me less of a woman.

If this was 1980 the SoC would've refused me treatment for being a lesbian and being open about my history, though not screaming it to random passers by.

So you see how much stock I place in their methodology.

I treat my gender dysphoria through a somewhat more conservative regime of treatment than you do. That doesn't make me less of a woman.

Sorry, I raced through some of my previous responses, and I think I'd originally misread your question as seeing a difference in standards regarding pre-and post-operative trans people. That's what I seem to remember from before, but that's not what I'm reading now. So that's my mistake.

Toni.

"I'm not willing to concede that point. Every single time I've encountered them, regardless of the context, it has been motivated by animus."

i was deep into a reply on the above exchange, before i have the foresight to read the thread in full before posting. Then i found your quoted comment. i want to sincere thank you for making it, and letting me know i'm just wasting my time here.

Because nothing facilitates discussion more than declaring all opposition homophobic, transphobic, or racist without exception, rather than publicly acknowledge valid points and concern that you do privately, when it won't hurt your activist cred. i will exit accordingly.

This Bilerico post was clever. Lesson learned.

And yet, again, you looked at something entirely outside of context. Because just below that it says:

"It would take a rather more significant degree of evidence that frequency to provide me with evidence tot he contrary. However, if evidence to the contrary was presented, and checked out, then I am not unwilling to refactor my opinions"

There's also a great deal in there about it being internalized stuff, which you seem to have glossed over.

So I'm going to ask you why it is that you focused on that one section, ignoring the point, just a short while later, where I said that I am willing to change my mind?

Nor did I declare all opposition such -- I said in my experience that I have yet to encounter anyone that hasn't applied to. For me to have made that declaration, I would have had to have encountered all of the opposition.

So the effort made may not have been wasted -- but were you certain you had evidence to the contrary?

I'm willing to hear it. I'm willing to examine it. And should it be good evidence, I'm willing to accept it.

Context is critical, ATG. That one little bit you cited ignores the rest.

What is next Mercedes?

My guess would be more male dominating bullying.