Guest Blogger

The Rise of the 'Transgender Community'

Filed By Guest Blogger | July 23, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Chrysalis, Drag Magazine, history of transgender, Houston Transgender Archive, Reed Erickson, Stephen Whittle, transgender, transgender history, transsexual, United Transvestite and Transsexual Society

Cristan Williams Editors' Note: Cristan Williams is a post-op transsexual woman who is a member of the Houston transgender community. She is the Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America and is a board member of the Bee Busy Community Wellness Center, as well as serving on several area trans and HIV/AIDS committees

How did it come to be that transsexual people became a constituent member of a diverse community that at one time referred to itself as the "gender community" and is now known as the "transgender community"?

In my last post on the subject, I noted that there seemed to be at least five distinct arguments about the term 'transgender' taking place at the same time. In that post, I reviewed the cultural context of the word's usage in the 1970s and 1980s, with an eye towards understanding how it is used today - which I termed the "Cultural Context debate". In this post, I will address the "Historical Context debate": what can we learn from history about the "transgender community"?

While some assert that the transsexual community was victimized through a forced assimilation into a group that works hand-in-glove with crossdressers and drag queens, what does the historical record have to say?

As I move forward in this article, I will use the word "community" to refer to a group of diverse constituent members who work together in common cause. In other words, I am defining the term "community", using the dictionary definition of the word:

e: a group linked by a common policy

f: a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests

g: a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society

Let's take a look at some of the important questions that are circulating about the transgender community.

Who Is "We"?

Q: Did the early the transsexual community perceive a value in forming a community with those constituent groupings represented by the 1970s and 80s "transvestite" taxonomy?

Consider this plea from a national transsexual organization to the transvestite and drag community in 1975 (click to enlarge the picture on the left):

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"... The courts and legislative people refuse to rule in favor of transsexual persons even when they are legally right. These so-called professional people act solely on the basis of their own emotions and repulsions rather than medical or legal reasons. We consider their actions to be arbitrary, capricious and prejudicial by denying people their God-given right to live in happiness and peace as a human being.

Chrysalis, an organization of transsexual persons, has decided to fight. In order to do this we need your help and support. You may not consider this your fight. However, whenever any person of any sexual minority is denied their right, we all begin to lose those things we have. It wasn't long ago that none of us could be proud and stand up for what we are.

Its about time the gays, TVs and TSs break down the barriers between us and work together. United we stand; divided we stand still wishing something would happen."

-- Drag Magazine, 1975 (emphasis added)

Consider the following words of a transsexual woman in this second article from the same 1975 issue of Drag Magazine (click to enlarge the picture on the right):

"By the time you read this letter, cross-dressing should be legal in the City of Detroit. I, along with another transsexual and a transvestite, decided to do something about the law in Detroit."

In Community With Whom?

Q: Did the early the transsexual community seek to form a community which specifically included groups and organizations which were inclusive of those constituent groupings represented by the 1970s and 80s "transvestite" taxonomy?

Throughout the 1970s, community groups inclusive of all types of people of non-cisgender history, expression and/or experience were formed. One was called the United Transvestite and Transsexual Society (UTTS). Years before that in 1970, the Transvestite/Transsexual Action Organization formed and later renamed itself the Transsexual Action Organization while still continuing its mission to be inclusive of transvestites (see below).

In 1971, the "Androgynous Organization" set up a "transsexual help center" that was sponsored by the Gay Liberation Front. In the mid-1970s, a Los Angeles political group called the "Transsexual/Trans-Gender Rap Group" was formed. Another 1970s group called themselves simply "Transsexuals and Transvestites". Additionally, there was the long, yet explicitly inclusively named "Transvestite, Transsexual, Female Impersonator and Gender Identity Program of Gay Community Services" in California.

In fact, in 1974, UTTS said, "None of us want to split the transvestite and transsexuals from within..."

Consider what the Transsexual Action Organization had to say about this question in 1972 (emphasis added)(click to enlarge the picture on the right):

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"Looking Toward the Future
by Cynthia Platt, 1972

As TAO secretary I would like to discuss how a transexual should approach life - both before and after surgery. Firstly, the transexual must give some thought to the future, and what kind of a life the person wants to live. Most pre-operative and many transvestites want to have surgery, but being a "post-operative transexual" also isn't all there is to it. It also means trying to find acceptance in society as a normal happening - a member of a true third sex. We must all work towards improving the legal aspects of our lives, and try to end the attitudes which will not permit us to be teachers or nurses. Someday we will have more access to the political structure and take part in it as candidates and seek elective offices.

In order to do all of this, we must co-operate with each other, and not turn against each other in our desperation. The TAO is one of many organizations helping all transexuals and transvestites, and if all of us can join together these goals will be accomplished sooner. We should also reach out to non-transexuals so they can understand us better.

The reason so many transexuals become drug addicts and suicidal is not only because the rejection by society but that government services are also often denied to us - help of any kind. There are government programs for addicts, alcoholics, mentally retarded, physically handicapped, but really none for us and some of us need the help. Transexuals and transvestites have a lot of talent which society has lost because society will not let us in political affairs, but prejudice denied me a complete education and the super-discrimination against us is far worse than that against people because of their race or religion. It might seem impossible that we will ever overcome these prejudices. I hope that in the near future there will be many collective efforts for those who would like to achieve greater status in society and we can help build one to provide many services for our people."

The "Gender" Community

Later, in the 1980s, consider what this transsexual dreamed of for the "gender community" (click to enlarge picture on the right):

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"From The Editor's Pen:

One thing that I do a lot of lately is dream about the way it could be for us in the gender community. There are so many possible ways to get the eyes of the world opened so that we can go live our lives the way we choose, not by anybody else's rules. So here is my little wish list. It's my Future View of where we could be and should be going.

• Guaranteed equal protection under the law against discrimination on the basis of gender-role, not physical sex or sexual preference.
• A gender-oriented BBS with a 1-800 toll free number.
• A national gender-oriented newspaper, without sex. Start out monthly and then eventually move to weekly.
• A national gender archive for books, articles, cartoons, other printed matter, videos, tapes, etc.
• A program to help TV and TS prostitutes get off the street. Teach job skills and provide job placement with sympathetic and knowledgeable employers.
• A voice in setting guidelines for TS reassignment.
• A proactive campaign against exploitation of our community.
• Removal of transvestism and transsexualism from the DSM-III. We are NOT mentally ill.
• A video tape produced by the community about the community for use on Public Television stations.
• More communication with the lesbian, gay and feminist groups so that we can learn more about ourselves and each other.
• More leaders, less rulers.

JoAnn Roberts"

-- TV/TS Tapestry, 1986

Compare the sentiments of this transsexual woman in 1986 with those of another transsexual woman in the 1972 article (above, "Looking Towards The Future").

Are there similarities, and are these similarities to be found in today's version of the "gender community"?

Were We United?

Now, let's turn back to 1973 and see how another group sought to form community with those represented by both the "transvestite" and "transsexual" taxonomy.

Houston-20110704-00041.jpg

Here is what the United Transvestite and Transsexual Society (formed in 1973) had to say about community building. As you're reading the following announcement, remember that this was a national organization that helped give rise to a community of trans people that went on to pass their goals and values on to a later trans generation. While the terminology is certainly quaint and even offensive by today's standards, try to focus on the message and compare that message to the things you hear in the modern "transgender community".

Houston-20110704-00042.jpg

"A New TV/TS Society Formed
This is to announce the formation of a new organization dedicated to promoting the interests of transvestites and transexuals. The name of the group is United Transvestite and Transexual Society.

The society is headed by Sussie Collins and who with five other people are dedicated to the interests of our readers.

Sussie received so many cries for help in setting up meetings for people in the field that it seemed the only way to get the job done would be to set up some sort of an organization and this will be accomplished by setting up regional chapters.

As the idea progressed it seemed logical to go all the way into a complete service including free ad publishing in a free monthly newsletter - free information service... setting up a telephone help line service.

In the newsletter it is planned to have help articles and to carry news for all local chapters. A TV consumer report for products relative to the members.

This is not to replace or take over the other TV organizations, but to work hand and hand with them... to make them stronger through publicity and any other means that can be developed through Sussie's connections with most of the other TV and TS publications.

For instance, Jamie Howell of TVIS, the largest TV - TS organization is one of Sussie Collins' primary backers in this new group.

SHEMALE will be the official publication of UTTS.

This magazine will be dedicated to real life TV and TS rather than the so called professionals that are featured in most of the other female impersonator magazines.
The UTTS will be supported by contributions only. The contribution will guarantee 12 issues of the UTTS Newsletter and all other services the society offers. The suggested contribution is $12.50 for one year."

Today, terms such as "shemale" and "transvestite" are largely regarded as porn industry buzz words, and are generally seen as offensive when used to describe trans people in America today. Forty years ago, however, these terms were commonly used in the American trans community. It's likely, if history is any indicator, that many of the terms we currently use will be seen as quaint, inaccurate and possibly offensive forty years from now.

Instead of focusing on outdated terminology, consider the explicit inclusionary vision and goals this national organization had. Consider that while this national organization was forming, there was already another national "TV - TS organization". Note how this more established organization gave rise to UTTS. How are these qualities of community reflected in the current trans community?

In this 1973 notice, Jamie Howell was referenced as being a significant supporter of UTTS. This bit of information provides an interesting example of how the various constituent groupings of gender diversity have worked in collaboration to form what is nowadays known as the "transgender community".

On February 14, 1971, Howell formed the Transvestite Information Service (TVIS) with the support of the Reed Erickson Foundation. Reed Erickson, an FTM transsexual, personally approved each new group his Foundation supported. This transsexual-backed "Transvestite Information Service" organization was one of the first to do some practical research on behalf of the community. For instance, TVIS conducted the first ever national and international survey of local crossdressing ordinances:

cdo-1.PNG

-----------------

howell.png

While some jurisdictions stonewalled Howell, many did not, and our community's first legal database was created and shared with all trans people.

In this historical example of the evolution of our community we see that:

• Transsexuals supported the creation of a "TV - TS organization" known as the "Transvestite Information Service";
• This organization went on to create a valuable resource that benefited all trans people;
• This organization then went on to help start a new national trans organization with the goal of bringing the various local trans groups together.

UTTS went on to form other groups throughout the nation, and supported the Transsexual Action Organization (TAO), which later became an international support organization for transsexual people.

TAO went on to inspire Stephen Whittle (a transsexual law professor) through his work with that organization, and he went on to become a significant figure in the modern transgender community.

Consider how the following community group is explicitly inclusive of the various types of constituent community members and seeks to create a taxonomy in the form of a single word with which to talk about all types of "trans people":

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-- Houston, 1976. (Note that even then, we were one politically active community.)

And in a 1979 letter to the Houston Gay Political Caucus, the idea of having a taxonomy that was representative of all types of trans people is expounded:

1979.jpg

It is significant that both of these documents were written by a transsexual woman. It is also significant to note that even though transsexuals aligned themselves with transvestites, Houston's crossdressing ordinance was overturned just a couple of years after the above letter was written. Houston's experience seems to mirror the experiences of the 1975 Detroit transsexuals and transvestites when, working together, they overturned the Detroit crossdressing ordinance.

Even though there was a push toward community building in the 1970s and 80s, was there any recognition that the constituent groupings were distinctively different types of groups who still, nonetheless shared commonality?

Consider what one self-identified "female impersonator" had to say in a 1971 copy of Female Mimics magazine (click to enlarge picture on right):

community-2.jpg

"Kim's Korner

I'm sure you realize that cross-dressing is a complicated phenomenen [sic]. A dragqueen is not the same thing as a transsexual; a tranvestite [sic] and an underwear fetishist are just barely in the same boat.

There are heterosexual cross-dressers, gay ones, and cross-dressers that don't fit in any category. Some are upfront, some never act out their fantasies - keeping them bottled up, ready to explode someday.

Some do it in the privacy of the bedroom, other make a living out of it. You know the saying that the most beautiful women in the world are men in drag? It's true, too.
And so, the new service. I'm here to help if help is needed, and I want you to think of me as a friend you've known for a long time.

Whatever your bag is, I'm ready and willing to help as I can. Straight - gay - fetishes of all kinds - if you need advice or just somebody to correspond with, if you're lonely, or blaming yourself for something you should be proud of, drop me a note."

The "Transgender" Community

The above section reviewed the composition and context of the "gender community." Now consider the composition and context of the "transgender community" described in this following 1984 article:

1984.Tapestry.Is42.Cover.jpg

Next, here is one of the articles from the magazine: The 'Origins' and 'Cures' for Transgender Behavior, by Roger E. Peo, PhD (click to enlarge pictures on the left and right) (emphasis added). It's a long quote, but note how the author uses the words "transgender," "transgendered," "transsexual" and "transvestite."

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"Just about every transgendered person I have ever talked to or heard about had at some time or or another been very concerned about how s/he 'got that way'. For some it is an obsession - to find out at all cost - why they feel the way they do. Others have an equally strong drive to 'cure' their behavior and stop the feelings of wanting, sometimes, to be the 'other' sex. The reasons for these driven searches are many fold. In some cases it is to 'please' a partner who is unable to deal with a behavior that seems so at odds with what society considers 'normal'. Others find the dichotomy between their physical being and their mental/emotional state is so painful that relief, in any form, seems better than existing in some never-never world. Most transgender situations where there is pain seem to be ones in which the person has not been able to resolve the 'split' in their existence.


Almost any book one chooses to read on the subject offers some explanation on the origin of transgender feelings. One theory says that prenatal hormonal effects sensitize the individual so that a later environmental situation will trigger the latent transgender feelings. Another theory says that early environmental and/or social situations 'force' the individual into the behavior. There is no evidence that any of these theories explain ALL the various types of transgender behavior that have been observed. It is not even clear whether transvestism and transsexualism are different aspects of the same phenomenon or completely different phenomena. A new book, Sex and the Brain by Durden-Smith and Desimone does not deal directly with transgender behaviors, but the authors do offer same interesting speculation on human sexuality. The main theme of the book is that male and female brains are structurally and functionally different. These differences seem broader and more deeply ingrained in humans than had been suspected. It is hypothesized that these dissimilarities were, and still are, necessary for the two different reproductive functions that males and females perform. If evolution and research are any indicators, these disparate functions have been enhanced as humans evolved to their present state of development. It can be shown (in lower mammals) that these different brain structures can be achieved by altering hormone levels in critical periods during gestation. As a result, genetic males can be given varying degrees of female brain structure and genetic females can be given varying degrees of male brain structure. Either will then function in a manner more like the other sex.

From their research results one could draw the conclusion that transgender feelings are a result of prenatal alteration of an individual's brain toward the other sex's structure even though the obvious biological characteristics of the individual do appear to be different from people who do not have transgender feelings rather than an environmental/social one.

Suppose all of the foregoing assumptions/theories are correct? - SO WHAT? How does that help the adult (or even teenage) transgender person? It is far too late to change (physically) the brain structures that 'cause' the 'problem', even if we had the slightest idea of how to go about it. The real problem, as I see it, is our society's unwillingness to accept forms of behavior that fall outside of the stereotypical 'normal' male and female models. Not all societies on this earth are so rigid - but again, that doesn't help the person with transgender feelings. To change our society requires broad and in-depth general education on human sexuality that begins with our children and teaches more than reproductive facts. Until this happens, the transgender person will still be ostracized and misunderstood. They will perceive themselves as misfits and heap upon themselves much guilt and rejection. Is there a realistic solution given the above situations? Yes! Most of what has to be done has to be done by the transgendered person with help from others in the transgender community. First, such a person has to stop looking for a scapegoat - whether that scapegoat is a biological structure or a societal structure. If her/his biology really causes the 'problem', short of reassignment surgery, there is not much that can be done. If society is the issue, then choices are few and most will opt to stay in the society they know, even if it rejects them. As a result, one has to 'pick themselves up by their bootstraps' and see themselves as worthy, responsible and lovable human beings. This can not be accomplished alone and that is where the community comes in. Through organizations such as the Tiffany Club and concerned professionals, the person who is struggling with transgender feelings can begin to put aside the guilt and fear, then go on to find the unique solution for their own life that provides them relief from the pain while not hurting those around them.

The above sounds simplistic - but it isn't. Coming to terms with yourself and seeing yourself as a person of worth is probably the most difficult 'birth' that any human being ever makes. In the end, it is the cure that is truly possible, for the only person we can really change is ourself."

Note the way in which the author assumes that the reader understands the term. Is it significant that, in 1984, the author assumes that the definition of "transgender'" is already fully formed the reader's mind?

How do the ideas of this 1984 article mirror ideas found within the "transgender community" today? In what way does this historical record fit the historical narratives favored by some in the TS separatist movement? Might one consider this article representative of one branch in the term's evolutionary process?

Note that the author seems to be using the term in a way that is generally thought to exist only in the post-1990s era:

"There is no evidence that any of these theories explain ALL the various types of transgender behavior that have been observed. It is not even clear whether transvestism and transsexualism are different aspects of the same phenomenon or completely different phenomena."

The author seems to be using the term "transgender" to refer to all the constituent groupings captured under the "transvestism and transsexualism" taxonomy. Is this particular context from 1984 represented in the way the term is generally used today?

The Complexities of History

My hope is that these historical documents will assist our community in dealing with the cultural and historical context of the various "transgender debates" currently going on around the internet. I personally feel that the historical record shows that the co-evolution of the term "transgender" and the push to form a "transgender community" is a bit more complex than is sometimes portrayed.

Even what is presented in this single post is but a glimpse into the ways in which the historical "gender community," medical/psychological community and non-trans community related to this term. Books could be written deconstructing and debating each of the questions I've presented in this article. My hope is that this short review of the historical record may inspire some to begin to consider the myriad of complex historical forces that went into bringing us to this point in our shared history.

Lastly, I would like to thank the Houston Transgender Archive for ensuring that the documentation presented in this article has been preserved. For me, when I am able to explore the archive, it is quite an amazing experience to be surrounded with thousands of years of trans history from every corner of the world.

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that the archive is always looking to save and preserve more of our history. So, you know all those dusty newsletters, picture albums, pageant sashes and doodles you wrote on the back of Harry Benjamin's business card you forgot about and is currently rotting away in your attic? Please consider donating it to the Archive so that it can be preserved.

image sources: courtesy Houston Transgender Archive


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Thanks for your very informative research, Cristan. What we call ourselves so often changes, with shifting emphasis and political overtones. But ultimately what matters is who we are as a community. Some have said there are only two basic emotions: love, and fear. I choose love.

Thank you! That's my sentiment exactly. Common unity - not uniformity - is what it's all about in my book :)

Fascinating! And a very useful contribution to the historical record, Christan, as I'm sure you know. So much of what I thought to be true turns out not to be. You've assembled the evidence so even I can see it.

OK, I'm weird, I love being proven wrong, because it means I learn something - and there's so much I don't know. It's my observation though that my attitude is so unusual that it's positively freakish. More common is a dismissive attitude that says, with Homer Simpson, Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!

Meh.

A story that's apposite. A personal account.

I was effectively transsexual. Whether mildly so, or so severely that I had to be in a state of psychotic denial is an open question, though the evidence strongly favours the latter. No matter, I could live with it, I had no intention of transitioning, the effect is the same either way.

I had no experience of dressing in female attire. To have done so would have been psychologically impossible for me, even at Halloween, even for a joke, even in private, even for ten seconds. Even when I was five years old. (Hmmm... Interesting that, I'd thought my gender identity didn't crystallise till years later, but I digress).

Then my body started changing, yada yada, the facade shattered, things happened far too quickly for me to control them. I originally thought I might have a year to catch up, maybe 18 months. But 3 months later I no longer passed as male.

I had no idea GLBT groups existed. I had no idea about Transsexuality, my impressions were that that was for showgirls and the like, not geek girls like me. Girlie I'm not. Nor Gracile, nor Graceful.

I had to learn a lot in a hurry. And who better to teach me about female attire (for I believed in a strict gender binary at the time, I was so ignorant about the whole thing) than guys who dressed as girls part-time? My body after all was still rather ambiguous then. I still looked male, but that time was rapidly running out.

If not for the TVs, the CDs, the TGs, and all the rest of the much maligned and despised "not real women", I don't know what I would have done. They taught me a lot in a hurry, and with kindness. And also helped me realise just how different I was from them. They realised the same about me - like a standard TS woman, which they'd had experience with, but more so because I knew so much less and wasn't into glamour and appearance anyway. Almost a caricature.

Later, I met some TS women, and found I was home... right until the time I opened my mouth about my natural change. Then the doors slammed shut. I was so ignorant, so green, that I had no idea that this kind of thing was unusual, I thought it might be 1 in 100, but no rarer.

Later still, and by this time I'd done a fair bit of research, I got involved with Intersex groups. They helped regarding hormones and bio-medical matters, but their experience was again different from my own. Not many change this way - and most don't transition, and can't understand the neccessity for it for those who do.

I'm nearly finished.. cutting to the chase now.

All these groups have helped me. I owe them. The ones who I identify with - primarily "classic transsexuals" who fit well in the strict gender binary model - and the Queers, the Transvestites, the Cross Dressers, the Trans Gendered, who I don't identify with at all.

Biologically, I'm Intersex. I try to forget that, to be "just a woman with an interesting life story", but I get my nose rubbed in it every few months when I get another blood test to track what endocrinal oddity I exhibit this time.

Since I fit in the Gender Binary so well, I should really be with the HBS mob, and their religious belief in "men are men, women are women". Except the research I've had to do for my own health shows that that isn't true, I know too many Intersex women whose genitalia is far more masculine than mine ever was, yet are far more classically feminine than I am. Yes, Virginia, some "real women", not even Trans, do have dicks, and are fine with that. The whole "non-ops aren't really women" bit is contradicted by FACTS.

I know men who are 47XXY, women who are 47XXY, and some who just can't be shoehorned into either an M or F box who are 47XXY. I'm not 47XXY, nothing so humdrum, standard or prosaic as that, so the whole strict binary sex model is again as full of holes as the strict binary gender model.

I've learnt a lot. I still have more to learn. And I've given up trying to get basic human rights "only for those who need them", I mean everyone to have them, whether they're like me, unlike me, or give me a case of the screaming abdabs they're so different.

I owe them all.

Girl, I can relate. It was the Houston trans community who saved my life. They were the ones who interrupted my suicide attempt. When I was homeless, community members took me in. When I was in pain, community members held my while I wept. In Houston, a heterosexual drag queen was the point of contact for the entire community through the community help line for years. When I came to the community, an intersex person ran the TG group that was open to all. The first trans person I met was an FTM with beautiful waist-length hair. About 20 years ago, Houston formed a Unity Committee to strengthen the diverse community by breaking down petty divisiveness and it's paid off in a big way for Houston trans folk.

Whether I have a chromosomal intersex condition is 100% irrelevant to me; I've walked the same path every other transsexual woman had to walk. When I was starting off in my transition, I walked the same path that crossdressers walked. I spent some time in that in-between space where people didn't know if I were male or female; I therefore walked a mile in the shoes of the gender queer folks. They are all my brothers and sisters and I'm grateful for all of them. They have all been there for me and I'm alive today because of their compassion.

That's what community is all about (IMHO). I've never felt that being part of the Houston Transgender Community somehow negated by self-identification as a transsexual. In fact, I've always felt incredibly supported in being authentic and truthful about my experience. I personally don't care what other people choose to self-identify as; I only care that their heart hasn't hardened or has become so indifferent that they neglect to give themselves the gift of being there for a fellow community member - regardless of what label the person in need has hanging around their neck.

Angela Brightfeather | July 23, 2011 3:37 PM

Cristan,

Just to inform you of a few historical facts in connection with what you have related already.......

Although I would never try to "classify" another Trans person, to the best of my knowledge JoAnne Robeerts never really called herself a TS...which brings up a few points.

The passage of time has definitely blurred a lot of what you are positing as fact and without thoroughly searching out the history of your presentation of facts, by even contacting the person in question and talking to them, you are revising history and scewing it to some degree. Unintentional or not, there is so much available information on JoAnne that calling her a TS misconveys the actual history and puts her statment in another context. As far as I know, JoAnne always identified as a hetero CD, unless she had an ephipany of some kind.
She was also the head of Rennaisance and published Lady Like Magazine.

Back in the early 80's there was a handful of TS's and for the most part they were interacting with CD groups that had sprung up across the country. Much of this interaction occured at the conventions that were beginning to occur. Large gatherings of mostly CD's at Fantasia Fairs in P'Town, Joyce Dewhurst Weekends in the Poconos, IFGE Conventions, Be-All's in the Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago areas, Autumn Accords in Syracuse, just to mention a few gatherings, all had programs and speakers. Before these conferences, there were local meetings held across the country, but at those meetings there was one TS for every twenty CD's present....at least until the CD's found out that many of them were also TS. Go back and look at these conference presentations and you will see that in the 80's the main subjects were passing in public, makeup and presentation, etc. The shift in the early 90's or late 80's came with the first Be-All convention creating a separate track for TS's designed specifically to teach people about documentation, the actual operation, how to qualify as acceptable for surgery with your gatekeepers, etc. That is another discussion all together.

This may have little to do with how TS's were rolled into the Transgender Community, or it may have everything to do with it. I'll let others judge that.

Also, if you want to understand how Roger Peo got to using the term Transgender so much, you would have to understand that Roger and Virginia Prince practically roomed together at some of these conventions, sat on the same roundtable discussions and shared presentations and stages. Roger visited my group EON in Syracuse a number of times and became good friends with many of us. We were shocked and saddened to hear of his sudden death at a young age.

As I have said, no one co-opted anyone into the Transgender Community. there was no kicking and dragging being done. It was a slow process over the many years between the early 70's and the early 90's and people who were gender diverse at that time usually thirsted for any decent information they could get, whether it had to do with makeup or operations, the major sources were the conventions and gatherings across the country and out of all those groups and happenings, only Tri-Ess was adamantly against CD's and TS's mixing with each other, and they were condemned for it then as much as they are now by the Transgender Community. They were always cast as the Log Cabin Republicans of the Trans Community.

There are many of us who are still alive and know about our history. But very few have asked about or cared about it until there were enough TS's to question it. I and others are usually pretty free with that information if asked by people who are not interested in finding way sto divide our community apart. Those of us who had to fight and scrape for every bit of equality we could pass along to others, just don't feel comfortable about making excuses for what we accomplished to make it easier for other people to get to this point. For the most part, everyone understands exactly how some TS's feel about being called Transgender, but it wasn't CD's or Drag Queens that put them there. They came of their own accord for support and information, friendship and guidance in a time of dire need for many of them.

The thing that seems to be overlooked in this history and fight is the friendships and alliances that needed to be made. I do not remember activists like Ethan StPerre having a litmus test for CD's or TS's when he needed people to picket the HRC HQ a few years ago about ENDA. I don't remember telling the TS's and the CD's to separate into two gorups when we picketed the HRC dinners about ENDA. Building on the history of where we came from as Transgender people and making any progress in the future, will never depend on what you have between your legs...it will depend on what you have in your heart.

Wow! THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing what you remember about your history! That was truly a pleasure! Also, thank you for the correction about JoAnne Roberts. When I had some small dealings with her back in the late 1990s, she was introduced to me as being a transsexual. I very much appreciate the correction! Thank you!

I suppose what I would say about the significance of JoAnne Roberts being a CD would be to ask: What does it say about the fact that a transsexual woman from the 70s (who was part of the "TV/TS Community" taxonomy) and JoAnne Roberts (who as was part of the "Gender Community" taxonomy) seemed to hold the same vision for the trans community?

Personally, I don't think that since the 1970s, we've ever not been a community of constituent groups. So far, I've found what is now refereed to a being the trans community was refereed to as:

- Gender Community (late 1980s)

- TV/TS Community (1970s)

- CD/AN/TS Community (mid 1980s)

- Paraculture Community (early 1980s)

- Transgenderal Community (early 1980s - which is strange since V. Prince was clear about what this meant.)

- Bi-Gender Community (1990ish)

Prince didn't invent the term "transgender". She invented the term transgenderal in 1969 and then reworked them into "transgenderist" in 1978. However, the term "transgendered" was being used to describe by people with no contact with Prince as early as 1970. Christine Jorgensen publicly self-identified as being a "trans-gender" in 1979 and completely rejected the term "transsexual". (http://wp.me/p1GGQg-mw)

I have a 1991 letter from Prince wherein she seems to be furious with the way the term transgender is being used because she saw it being out of line with the term "transegnderal".

Around 1990, I have Prince pushing a "Bi-Gender Community" and I have A TS named Tere Frederickson authoring a rebuttal to Prince's pronouncement of what we should call ourselves by arguing for using the term "transgender community".

As for Peo, I'm not sure that him being friends with Prince means that it erases what he himself wrote in his article.

I suppose the point of this article is to question the "TS's were rolled into the Transgender Community" narrative. If TSs weren't part of the Transgender Community, they were part of the Gender Community; if they weren't part of the Gender Community, they were part of the CD/AN/TS Community; if they weren't part of the part of the CD/AN/TS Community, they were part of the Paraculture Community; if they weren't part of the Paraculture Community, they were part of the TV/TS Community. The entire idea that TSs people as a group existed somewhere separate from the non-transsexual groups seems to be 100% refuted by the historical record. What I've found is that there has been a community for the last 40 years. I've also found that the name we've called that community has changed over and over again.

As to the whole idea behind the so-called "Transgender Colonization", I think I debunked that: http://wp.me/p1GGQg-qD .

I find that we've had word wars over and over again in our community. Additionally, I find that we've always had separatists in the community.

As one community member wrote in 1983:

"... During the five years or so that I have been involved with other TVs as a member of various TV organizations I have witnessed quite a change in attitude and a general shift in direction.

The Tiffany "Model" of a non-sexual, service, resource, and friendship-oriented organization is now a standard for groups in the TV/TS Community. Groups who are exclusive in one way or another have decreased in influence and in some cases size. This TV/TS Community is dynamic and responds to new information. I forecast a bleak future for any organization that maintains a static philosophy that is unable to accommodate the new spirit of cooperation.

Organizations are generally stronger than individual members and are better suited to handle personality clashes, dissension, etc. Some few groups are still ruled with an iron hand by one person but this is now the exception rather than the rule. Te era of personality cults is as last coming to a close. In the long run the only thing that can keep an organization together is the recognition that we are unified in service to our community. Out history is filled with factionalism, strife, dissension. An organization that is built on someone's personality will always fail.

Most TVs and TSs understand the underlying "Sisterhood" we all share and want to interact with each other on some level. Not only do we want co-operation with each other but we as a community demand it...

- Tapestry, Issue 40, 1983; page 20

This sounds a lot like the transgender community to me. The narrative enjoyed by a number of TS Separatists is that the above sentiment didn't exist until 1996 when Leslie Feinberg wrote Transgender Warriors. From what I see, the above sentiment existed in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s up until today.

LOL! I just have to PWN myself for a moment: Dyslexia is a harsh mistress!

No matter how many times I go back and proof what I write before posting it, I almost always find that I've dropped words that I thought were there, but weren't. *facepalm*

It's very common for humans to read history and interpret it or twist it to fit their own beliefs. Remember Sarah Palin saying that Paul Revere rode out to warn the British, then many of her minions rushed to change Wikipedia to reflect her flawed statement? Some Arab leaders still insist that the Holocaust never happened. There are people who think we faked the moon landings. You throw a set of facts about certain events in front of 100 people and you'll get 90 different interpretation. It's just the way human nature works. We can label ourselves whatever we want , but we still all fall under the name "Homo sapiens." (Yep, we're are all "homos.")

Cristan, I'm not saying that what you wrote here is terrible. Far from that. What you wrote here is your interpretation of how you read the facts in front of you. I have had a chance to meet many of the history makers in our community and I see a different picture than what you do. Even some of the written facts as we see them have a back story that no one will ever hear unless you ask the person who made that history happen. Angela Brightfeather has been involved for 45 years, so she know what's she's talking about. You may want to interview her for any followup article.

There are a lot of historical revisionists in the trans community. Hell, many spend years revising their own history to make themselves more palatable to the world around us, or to keep ourselves from losing our jobs. If we are so used to taking historical facts about our own lives and making them different, then it's not surprising to see the historical facts about our whole community changed to meet the needs of the people reading them.

I have taught our history, seen history made and made some myself. The best bet is to put it out to read and let others interpret it the way they wish. If you really want to talk with someone who knows our history better than anyone I have met, you need to speak with Dr. Susan Stryker. She has a PhD in US History and was the Executive Director of Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California. Just what she can tell you off the top of her head can boggle your mind. you maybe surprised what you can learn.

Thanks Monica!

I replied to Angela, but the reply seems to be sitting in the spam trap since it had a couple of links. Since I don't know how long it will sit there or if it even my published, I'll paste in some of my reply pertinent to this conversation below:

Personally, I don't think that since the 1970s, we've ever not been a community of constituent groups. So far, I've found what is now refereed to a being the trans community was refereed to as:

- Gender Community (late 1980s)

- TV/TS Community (1970s)

- CD/AN/TS Community (mid 1980s)

- Paraculture Community (early 1980s)

- Transgenderal Community (early 1980s - which is strange since V. Prince was clear about what this meant.)

- Bi-Gender Community (1990ish)

Prince didn't invent the term "transgender". She invented the term transgenderal in 1969 and then reworked them into "transgenderist" in 1978. However, the term "transgendered" was being used to describe by people with no contact with Prince as early as 1970. Christine Jorgensen publicly self-identified as being a "trans-gender" in 1979 and completely rejected the term "transsexual".

I have a 1991 letter from Prince wherein she seems to be furious with the way the term "transgender" is being used because she saw it being out of line with the term "transegnderal".

Around 1990, I have Prince pushing a "Bi-Gender Community" and I have a TS named Tere Frederickson authoring a rebuttal to Prince's pronouncement of what we should call ourselves by arguing for using the term "transgender community".

As for Peo, I'm not sure that him being friends with Prince means that it erases what he himself wrote in his article.

I suppose the point of this article is to question the "TS's were rolled into the Transgender Community" narrative. If TSs weren't part of the Transgender Community, they were part of the Gender Community; if they weren't part of the Gender Community, they were part of the CD/AN/TS Community; if they weren't part of the part of the CD/AN/TS Community, they were part of the Paraculture Community; if they weren't part of the Paraculture Community, they were part of the TV/TS Community. The entire idea that TSs people as a group existed somewhere separate from the non-transsexual groups seems to be 100% refuted by the historical record. What I've found is that there has been a community for the last 40 years. I've also found that the name we've called that community has changed over and over again.

I find that we've had word wars over and over again in our community. Additionally, I find that we've always had separatists in the community.

As one community member wrote in 1983:

"... During the five years or so that I have been involved with other TVs as a member of various TV organizations I have witnessed quite a change in attitude and a general shift in direction.

The Tiffany "Model" of a non-sexual, service, resource, and friendship-oriented organization is now a standard for groups in the TV/TS Community. Groups who are exclusive in one way or another have decreased in influence and in some cases size. This TV/TS Community is dynamic and responds to new information. I forecast a bleak future for any organization that maintains a static philosophy that is unable to accommodate the new spirit of cooperation.

Organizations are generally stronger than individual members and are better suited to handle personality clashes, dissension, etc. Some few groups are still ruled with an iron hand by one person but this is now the exception rather than the rule. Te era of personality cults is as last coming to a close. In the long run the only thing that can keep an organization together is the recognition that we are unified in service to our community. Out history is filled with factionalism, strife, dissension. An organization that is built on someone's personality will always fail.

Most TVs and TSs understand the underlying "Sisterhood" we all share and want to interact with each other on some level. Not only do we want co-operation with each other but we as a community demand it...

- Tapestry, Issue 40, 1983; page 20

This sounds a lot like the transgender community to me. The narrative enjoyed by a number of TS Separatists is that the above sentiment didn't exist until 1996 when Leslie Feinberg wrote Transgender Warriors. From what I see, the above sentiment existed in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s up until today.

Thank you for all you do for us. If we each focus on the areas we can control (to an extent) then we can make the lives better for those who follow. I have never done this stuff because I will benefit from the results. I have been working at the same company for over 21 years and transitioned 7.5 years into starting. I helped them get "gender identity" into their EEO policy and this year, I have been asked to help the company comply with the HRC CEI for 2012. It's the future trans employees I want to see benefit.

I don't use the VA, but the new policy that TAVA has helped to implement has already helped many. The way I look at all of this is that I want to make a better world for the trans people who haven't been born yet. If a person can do that, then those end results are what should be remembered and not the person. If we can do these things as a united front, then all the better.

A good friend of mine likes to say that getting trans people to work together is like herding blind, albino cats. I don't think it's that easy.

"A good friend of mine likes to say that getting trans people to work together is like herding blind, albino cats. I don't think it's that easy."

OMG!!!! That is too funny!!!!

Angela Brightfeather | July 23, 2011 8:42 PM

Cristan,
Regarding all this, there is simply somuch to talk about and discuss. I look at it as a rich tapestry of human endeavor to achieve equality. A struggle to change a society that gives you all the rights of every American, until you decide to start to wear a dress and makeup...at which time you lose all those rights and are relegtated to being a second class citizen if you are passable enough, and an "it" if you are not that lucky.

The obvious conflict between freedom to be and being Transgender of any kind, is so obvious and so deeply engrained in our society, for any responsible person it begs to be set right...to be fixed. The knowledge of the inequality that exists compels many of us to work to correct the system, not as much for ourselves, but for future generations of for the good of a country that claims foster equality and for it's people to be able to be who and what they want....to rise in life to their highest achievable level.

JoAnne Roberts was one of those people who tried and did change the system. So was Virginia Prince, and I could go on and give you a hundred names of people who I think are directly responsible for bringing us to the point we are at today. She and others overturned conceptions of gender diverse people and challenged the "norm". You mentioned Houston in the 80's. Phyllis Randolph Frye is the activist/lawyer who changed the Houston law that said that women could not wear pants with the fly in the front. A small step, but a meaningful one that brought inequality to the minds of those who thought that such laws could never exist in the "Land of the Free".

There are literally thousands of people who worked on convention committees to bring Trans people together and they will never get any credit for it....but they did it and not one of them asked if they could do the job if they were or were not a CD or a TS. Their sacrifices and that of many more to numerous to mention here will go unrewarded if we give in to those voices of division in our community. It is so important that what they did remains meaningful, because the changes that they brought to many in our society, were achieved together.

We are far from done with this fight and we need each other. After all, is there anyone on earth who understands each other more than Transgender people of all stripes?

Well said!

BTW... At some point I would like to do a phone interview with you. I'd like to record the conversation and include it in the TG Archive. Would you be comfortable with doing that at some point?

Again, THANK YOU for adding what you remember to this post!

Personally, I don't think that since the 1970s, we've ever not been a community of constituent groups. So far, I've found what is now refereed to a being the trans community was refereed to as:

- Gender Community (late 1980s)

- TV/TS Community (1970s)
As to your comment:

- CD/AN/TS Community (mid 1980s)

- Paraculture Community (early 1980s)

- Transgenderal Community (early 1980s - which is strange since V. Prince was clear about what this meant.)

- Bi-Gender Community (1990ish)

I have been a "queer" and I have been a cross dresser. I have thought that I was maybe a gay male and I have thought that I was "sick". I have been a transvestite and now I know I am a transsexual and I am proud of who I have always been and am now. Some people go through stages, some do not. In my early 20's there were gay men and there were also those called "queens" but I wasn't one them although I did identify to a certain extent with them while in the safety of my closet.
You know the division is between those who practice life as men, those of the male fraternity who live life with male privilege and those who don't, who live as female, and as women as a daily life, who practice life as women, and live with that lot in life whatsoever society has put upon. It is not the same as living life as a male and the lot society has put for them. It is not a separatist movement, it is people trying to fit a piece of puzzle in to the slot society has left over, whether it fits or not and people are getting hurt, both TG and TS and those on the fringes. The other division is intermingled with cis-gender women and the spaces reserved their respite. It is a misstatement that the so called "separatists" are not for civil rights for all. That is just a war cry from the transgender camp, and to slander doesn't make too many friends. Trying to nail that stake into a heart hasn't endeared the TS folks since ENDA.

"It is a misstatement that the so called "separatists" are not for civil rights for all."

But I didn't claim that they weren't for civil rights for all. Arguing against a claim that I didn't make is a strawman argument.

"It is not a separatist movement, it is people trying to fit a piece of puzzle in to the slot society has left over, whether it fits or not and people are getting hurt, both TG and TS and those on the fringes."

Its a group that claims one cannot be a transsexual woman who is part of the transgender community. In this way they indeed separate TS people from the overall tans community. Need I paste some of the vile things a number of vocal separatists have said about non-transsexual trans people? A number in this group/movement are extremely focused on attempting to create as much division within the community as possible. Don't believe me?

"A while back, two of us got together and formed an internet group. We formed with just one premise, i.e., to speak individually, but as one voice, in challenging the transgender at every opportunity. We don’t sit around writing endless narrative. We don’t sit around quoting the latest research. We are coordinated. We act. We respond. And, we do so consistently, persistently, and reasonably. Our group is growing and we’ve succeeded in shutting down threads spouting TG non-sense. When someone’s name is brought up for membership in our group their position on the gender debate is discussed in depth. Each of us come from different spheres of internet experience, all of which are related to the gender debate. Once we decide amongst ourselves if there is someone out there of whom might share our position we approach them…present a little information, ask if they think they might be interested in joining. Some have accepted. Some have declined. Most have not been asked to join. All of us share one thing in common: a sense of loyalty and unity in our quest to speak with one voice to the transgender. If one of us goes at someone, we all go at them. If someone attacks one of us, they may as well attack each and every one of us. We know who our allies are…and aren’t… for sure."

http://wp.me/p1GGQg-qD

I apologize if I construed that you did say that, but I didn't mean too.
but the problem as I see it is as I said, those who live life as men and those who don't. Sorry for the binary but we do live in a society that adheres to that for the most part. Most who live as women want to be in society as women and worry about the repercussions from society from those who don't live as women on a daily basis. We all have suffered from the two camps and it is disheartening. But rather than name calling there seems not to be any room for compromise. There seems to be two enemy camps who won't budge, on beliefs or issues such as the bathroom issue and as I have said those who live as men, practice life as men and only dress as women when the fancy strikes them or when they absolutely need to. I do believe some of these people are "women" whether they have had the surgery or not so I am not against them. I was one of them but as we move into mainstream society we want to be accepted into society and means acceptance in women's spaces and this many fear will hinder full acceptance of those who have transitioned by those who have not. How can some give on each side that we can work together? We believe that HRC dropped us in ENDA because of these differences so we are left picking up the pieces. I agree we should begin to rebuild alliances on common ground and that does include transvestites, cross dressers and all who are gender variant. We have yet to build a national organization that addresses the complexities such as National Organization for Women began. Are too many rejecting guidelines that it blocks commonality? Why do we have so many different and fractured organizations? How can we build one political caucus when we disagree so often and not on issues so much, as in personalities. And many have been demeaned by one camp and take it out on others who are innocent and get jumped on the minute they speak somewhere else. The infighting needs to stop and both sides are guilty. It's like a gang war now. I do appreciate Mercedes very much for trying to work with this idea of an Alliance, but people have to put anger aside before speaking and having a discussion. If I am treated as an enemy, I will always be one.

Yes, there was a time when the name for the trans community was the "CD/AN/TS community." This stood for crossdresser, androgyne and transsexual community. When someone uses the English language word, "transgender" this is exactly the groups they are referring to. If anyone is confused about what this term means, all they need do is pick up an English language dictionary.

I understand that there is a phobia (unfounded fear) about what non-transsexual people are somehow doing to transsexual people's rights. If you read a separatists blog, you will find that they generally quote far right wing sentiments as being proof that if it weren't for those damn men in dresses, all would be well. This type of rhetoric is fallacious; the right wing always has and will always stand against trans equality no matter what. You can tap-dance as hard as you like and the political right wing will never, ever support you. Blaming CDs or ANs for that is scapegoating. Actual evidence would need to look like at least 1 right-winger who initially supported transsexual equality, but who withdrew their support when they heard the word "transgender". Without evidence to support their fears, they are baseless. A baseless fear is a phobia. We call that particular phobia, "transphobia".

So much of what comes out of the separatist trolls (like the ones I quoted) are nothing but ad hom and straw man attacks and baseless assertions. Instead of debating rationally, they tend to make up some claim they have no evidence to support and then claim victory when folks can't disprove a negative. I cover a lot of this in a recent post I made debunking the whole transgender-takeover/borg/assimilation/colonization assertion these trolls like to make: http://wp.me/p1GGQg-qD

A good place to begin to promote healing for the separatists to stop trolling, stop making baseless claims, stop judging other people's experience as not being valid and stop mocking non-transsexuals. In short, stop being bullies.

"I will take your community apart bit by bit until the day that it ceases to represent transsexuals."

"Now, Virginia Prince is to the Transgender Borg Collective what L. Ron Hubbard is to Scientology. That is to say the basis for much of the ideology although people have added to the dogma since."

"Christine Jorgensen was not transgender. Just as I am NOT transgender. She was like I am transsexual. Transgender is a social construct. A political identity that grew out of the heterosexual transvestite movement founded by people like Virginia Prince."

All of these claims are either factually inaccurate or unsupported fear-based rhetorical bullying. This this type of rhetoric is the exception? Look at what Susan said in this vary thread. I what way should I "give" to ideas I know are not supported by objective evidence? To me, that's like asking how biology teachers should meet creationists half way when teaching.

Speaking for myself, it would help if they would articulate their grievances in the following way:

1. Premise (My problem is XYZ)

2. Multi-sourced, mutually supportive objective evidence clearly supporting the premise.

3. Statement of solution (This is how I propose we solve my problem)

4. Multi-sourced, mutually supportive objective evidence clearly supporting the stated solution.

In every other aspect of real-world encounters, this is how things work. If I make a claim, I need to provide proof. In this article, I didn't just make a bunch of claims like "there's always been a community"; I provided proof. For me to take a separatist's assertions seriously, I need to see hard evidence - not opinions.

If the assertion is that HRC's issue has always been with CDs and never with TS people, then I need to see some evidence. Because the historical record that exists in the archive indicates that HRC has always had real issues with all of us, TSs included. Additionally, the historical record shows that CDs and TSs working together and fighting for the same thing accomplished a lot.

I've never seen objective evidence to support the idea that reinventing the wheel is the solution. Additional, I've not seen objective evidence supporting the idea of coming up with a new term to describe our community is needed. I've yet to see any evidence that shows that having a "TS/TG community" is any better than having a "TG community"; either way, we are talking about the exact same single community of diverse constituents.

In short, they need to put up or shut up. Put some hard objective evidence on the table so that others and fact check it. If the objective evidence actually proves the assertion, then I will be grateful for the new knowledge and support the new direction. However, making a bunch of baseless claims and backing it up with internet bullying won't inspire me to think that they know what they are talking about. Shouting isn't evidence; it's what people do in the absence of evidence. Until objective evidence is presented, I can only regard their antics as being something akin to a child beating their spoon in their highchair.

What needs to happen? Engage others like adults by providing objective evidence to support their various assertions so that I - and others like me - can engage their position seriously.

Last time I checked, JoAnn Roberts is still around (and doesn't identify as transsexual, which may have influenced the editorial content of Tapestry). It might be worth contacting her to get some context of the time and what her reflections might be on that terminology now. http://www.cdspub.com/jar.html

Yes, I had found that page and had already facebook'd a few friends who may have some contact with her. Thanks for sharing that link!

Angela Brightfeather | July 24, 2011 1:31 AM

I have to laugh at JoAnne being referred to in the same breath as Tapestry Magazine. She was and inspiration in her own way, but many of you younger people are not aware of what I call "The Gender Wars" period of our community. As a matter of fact it held up our community progress for years. It cosnsisted of an acute need to be the #1 group in the country and contest to see who could publish the authoratative resource in the way of a magazine. The stars of this war on both sides were Tapestry Magazine as published by IFGE with Merrisa Cheryl Lynn as the Director and JoAnne Roberts as the Nationaol Director of Renassaisance and publisher of Lady Like Magazine. Those years were a time of fantastic growth and coming of age for our community, but also a time of turmoil and power struggles that left people damaged, hurt, demoralized and isolated.

The inner fighting being experienced today between the community and those who would separate themselves from it, is not that different than back then when some people were struggling for the power to influence others and to be the voice of this community. I lived through it and saw the damage it did to all of us then. I have no need or desire to go through it again for the sake of those who think they are better than or more important than others in the gender community.

Back then when these "gender wars" were in progress, they took valuable time and energy away from our community and allowed it to slip into self absorbtion enough for GLB people to almost completely eradicate Trans people from their movement. It allowed the GLB movement to leave the Trans Community in the dust and move ahead. No one except people like Silvia Rivera were fighting the Mattachine Society who actively sought to exclude Trans people and encouraged others to not include the `T' every chance they had. People like myself who lived through that period and kept on fighting for equality and ignoring those disputes, were forced to wait until the early 90's before we were able to feel included in the GLB movement in the least way. I attribute that time as wasted time and the aftermath of it made our entire community have to fight twice as hard against groups like HRC to include our issues. Those arguments diverted us from the really big things that we needed to be working on, like hate crimes and employment protections and we are suffering today because that time was wasted. We cannot afford another version of those times so that a few people can damage this community as reflected in the previous quote that Cristin posted.

Thanks, Cristan, and to everyone for a great discussion and a real blast from the past. I first came out within the Denver and Bay Area communities in the late 80s and became more active in the Seattle community in the early 90s. My experience at the time was that TS and CD identified communities were more integrated in Seattle and Denver than in the BA. Seattle was on the cutting edge of gender diversity civil rights, but even there it was a frightening time to be different. There were differences then as now, but what I know for sure is that community leaders who put themselves out there to change laws and policies, raise awareness and educate the cis-world were my heroes and still are.

I haven't heard from JoAnn in years. (Best wishes, if you're reading this!) She, Cindy Martin and Jamie Faye Fenton were kind enough to provide the first web hosting for GID Reform Advocates at 3-D Communications/TG Forum.

TAO was a total joke that did irreparable harm to those of us who were part of the Lesbian/Feminist Community during the 1970s.

TAO was a one person organization by a narcissistic mentally disturbed individual by the name of Angela Keyes Douglas, who coupled attention seeking acts within the world of the underground press with totally freakish behavior and compulsive lying.

At some point or other he got surgery from Dr. John Brown, as no legitimate physician would have anything to do with him.
I use male pronouns because he went back to identifying as male and lived as male for the last 25-30 years of his life.

He was known for sending notes and making phone calls to local, state and federal law enforcement and spinning wild lies about legitimate organizations and people, which in turn led to the investigation and often times destruction of those organizations.
Douglas is the individual who did so much to provoke the lesbian/trans wars circa 1978-1980, the ones that cause Sandy Stone so much grief. The letter Douglas dropped in Sisters was a Molotov cocktail that helped bring on those wars.
Christan I know your agenda.
I was present when Transgender first started to be used in the mid-1970s, when it had a clear mean. Transgender = people who live full time as members of the sex not associated with their current genitals. TG people did not get SRS.
There wasn't all that much association of post-transsexual women and TG people except in the sex industry.
Our relationships were rarely based on our being either TS/TG but were more often based on common interests.

Yes, I know TAO was, for a time, controlled by someone with MH issues - particularly (as I understand it), schizophrenia. However, this does not imply that the person who was the secretary and who wrote the note in this article also had schizophrenia or that Steven has schizophrenia. Can't you see that you've just used a used an bogus ad hom attack (one leader out of many leaders of TAO had MH issues, therefore the entire international organization, all of its years of work and any of the historical record attached to the organization is bogus)? Don't you understand that making there types of arguments doesn't lend credibility to separatists?

After the ad hom attack, you made some assertions without providing any evidence - other than your subjective geographically confined cultural experience. In other words, you made some assertions without dealing with the fact that there were a number of inclusive support groups, an inclusive center, inclusive national organizations and/or the demonstrable ways transsexuals and non-transsexuals have worked together in common purpose as equals.

I know you assert that in the 1970s, transgender was exclusively reserved for people who were not getting surgery. If that is so, why did the term exist in in the historical record years before V. Prince coined the term "transgendeal"? In 1970, the term was used to describe a transsexual in a movie, in 1979 Christine Jorgensen rejected the word "transsexual" in favor of the word "transgender". If you want to see what the historical record has to say for yourself, you can do so here: http://wp.me/p1GGQg-mw

I understand that you had a particular cultural experience that was based in upon your particular geographic location. Don't you think it is a little hubris to proclaim in the face of the written accounts that your experience was the exact same experience of all non-prostitutes in each and every state throughout America? Are you saying that Christine Jorgensen was a prostitute?

As far as any agenda goes, you claim to "know" what it is but didn't actually explain what nefarious plots I'm implementing. You simply hinted at me doing something bad and that you know all about it. Again, don't you understand that making these kinds of ad hom attacks doesn't do anything to give you credibility or inspire people to listen to what you have to say?

However, I will admit that I do have an agenda: my super secrete agenda is to fact check the claims of separatists against the historical record.

For instance, in this one post you've stated as fact that the term transgender meant non-op trans person in the face of the demonstrable fact that the world's most famous post-op transsexual publicly identified as being transgender in the 1970s. How do you square that with your narrative? How do you square the fact that professionals involved with SRS/GRS referred to it as being a "transgender surgery" in the 1970s? Might the reality be that in your personal circle, you experienced a specific culture with a specific language that might have been different than those with other personal circles in other locations throughout the US who experienced a slightly different culture with a slightly different language than yours? Is there any possibility that you'd ever concede that geography diverse pockets of community had different - yet equally valid - ways of talking about the trans community?

I co-ran the National Transsexual Counseling Unit from 1971-1973, the organization that grew out of of the Compton's Cafeteria Riot.
Our organization was first funded by the War on Poverty and later by the Reed Erickson foundation.
He attack our organization as being both Communist and a police run organization due to our having ties with the SFPD Community Relations officer Elliott Blackstone.
It was subjected to the attacks by Douglas that I described.
I also either have the clipping I mentioned or donated it to the SF G/L Historical Society. Douglas wrote a piece claiming how transsexuals were vastly superior to females.
As for terminology:
On the West Coast in the late 1960s through late 1970s there were transsexuals and queens. transsexuals got sex change operations queens did not. Queen was gay slang.
What the heterosexual CDs(transvestites) used wasn't particularly part of my world.
Part of the growth of the use of transgender was with people coming out and living full time but who liked women.
Myra Breckenridge a transsexual? Buhwahaa.
Do you have a clue as to how hated Myra Breckenridge was by the transsexual women of the time? It was our "Ticked Off Trannies with Knives".
trans-gender was used with people like David Bowie along with such illustrious terms as gender-bender and gender-f--k.
BTW I was also part of the Jude Patton, Joann Clark, Carol Katz So Cal organization Renaissance when transgender was proposed for non-op people.
I also had contact with ETVC in the Bay Area though a CD friend who asked me to go with her because she needed some one to walk her around in public.
You give Christine Jorgensen way too much credit. I suggest you read Roberta Cowell's 1950s era book as well.
But over and above that many of us weren't influenced in the least by Christine Jorgensen. My coming to awareness of the surgery possibility was in 1962 through the April Ashley story that ran in tabloids.
Mostly though Christine managed to attain the status of "Professional Transsexual", a position many of us held in far greater contempt than we did sex work. On top of that her biography wasn't very honest and more of us were starting to write. Canary Conn, Nancy Hunt, Jan Morris and those memoirs were far more honest.
Further we aren't separatists just different. Just like lesbians aren't separatists from gays just different.
Also the surgery marks a dividing point for many of us and years after that line has been crossed life makes it a historical artifact.
For me the time in SDS during the 1960s or the years in the lesbian movement are more important.
We aren't a "community" we are individuals. We might be communities. We might be able to form coalitions.
Identity politics say I have to identify as transgender to support hate crimes laws and inclusive ENDA. I guess that means I have to be Black to support Black Civil Rights, a Sweat Shop Worker to support ending Sweat Shops, a Latino/a Farm Worker to support the UFW....
Which is kind of nonsense. All I have to care about is social justice.

@Susan, RE: July 24, 2011 2:54 PM

What a beautiful reply! I totally missed this gem in the middle of all of this back and forth! THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this history with everyone! You really don't know how much I appreciate you sharing this with everyone!

Yes, I know all about the Myra Breckenridge movie. We have a section in our archive that is nothing but movie posters showing how the non-trans population depicted the trans experience and this movie is in the middle of it. We were always sex objects, objects of pity, ridicule and/or the villain. I hope that I never gave the impression that I thought this movie was ever representative of transsexuals; if fact, I feel it to be 100% the opposite! My point was that the term was in used to describe was was purported to be a transsexual woman in the year 1970 - almost a decade before Prince coined the term "transgenderist". That was the only point I was trying to make. I 100% agree with you; that movie is 100% crap.

I also 100% agree with you that TAO was adversely effected by a leader with mental health issues. Hell, even the Erickson Foundation was burdened with a leader with mental health issues. Fortunately, there were true pioneered within both organizations that did some amazing work and who kept both organizations somewhat effective during their existence. OMG! Did you ever read about the Erickson drama with the One organization? *facepalm*

I just want to make sure that we are on the same page here:

I am NOT - repeat NOT, NOT, NOT - arguing that "transgender" was used throughout the community in the same way that it is used today. I am only pointing out forgotten evolutionary roots for the term. I am not negating that the term was largely used by a number of people and groups to refer to non-transsexuals; I'm ONLY negating that the term was *never* used to describe transsexuals or that Prince invented the term. My entire point is that the term - as it has become know of today - has a number of evolutionary branches instead of just one that started with Virginia Prince. That is really the only comment I'm making here.

Also, I hope you don't think that I'm putting Christine Jorgensen on some pedestal. I'm only saying that A.) she was the most famous transsexual in terms of international awareness of who she was; and, B.) that unique status may have played some part in why a number of transsexual people began self-identifying as transgender after Jorgensen made known her rejection of the term "transsexual". I'm NOT claiming that she made a pronouncement and all transsexuals followed her lock-step because we all idolized her.

"Further we aren't separatists just different. Just like lesbians aren't separatists from gays just different."

I've never made the argument that transsexuals weren't different. Just as lesbians are part of the queer community, transsexuals (IMHO) are part of the trans community. I see no difference and personally, I've never ever felt as if my self-identity as a transsexual woman was challenged. If our diverse population groupings identified as (to use the 1980s terminology) the "gender community" would you feel any better about it? Just curious.

I can't express how appreciative I am of your sharing. I would LOVE to be able to just sit with you and listen to you talk about your memories while a video camera we rolling. I could listen to stories like that for hours upon hours!

Again, THANK YOU!

Thank you Christan for a valuable article. I was not aware of some of the History. I think it's important that various aspects of the Trans Community are aware of our History as just that, a Community. Instead of pointing fingers and saying you (or, she)is Trans-Sexual, not Trans -Gendered, so and so is a CD, and so on. We are a Community, all of us! Let's act like it and work together. Straight society doesn't want ANY of us (yet). Community is about working with and helping ea. other.

Preach it sister! LOL! Absolutely. Community is about a compassionate unity that seeks to heal our wounds :)

Wow. What a wonderful piece.

This is an interesting part of trans people and community -- we don't know our history.

Britney Austin | July 25, 2011 3:51 AM

Knowing the history is important but historical revisionism is not. There is a difference between diverse groups working together in a community and a community that co-opts people into an agenda to treat them all the same. This is what I resent. You can call us "separatists" but it is actually the opposite of separatism. There are those of us who transition to be women and then there are those who transition to be "trans." I am all for mutual support of each other's needs as long as people understand that there are those with different situations and different needs. The modern usage of the term "transgender" as an umbrella is resulting in lazy intellectualism where people are unable (or unwilling) to understand the difference between a transsexual and a crossdresser. Furthermore, a community that you cannot opt-out of is not a community but a gang.

I strongly resent the fact that so many women of transsexual history are treated as something other than women as a direct result of this "trans" and "transgender" labeling. That right there is separatism! Forcing women into a gender diverse category against their will is outright misogyny as far as I'm concerned and I will oppose it whenever and wherever I see it.

You can quote "community" history all you want but I and plenty of other transsexuals are already working on setting up our own community with our own voice. Assimilation into heteronormative society is not a separatist movement. Forcing men and women of transsexual history into LGBT and TG against their will resulting in a third gender treatment is a form of misgendering and bigotry. I'm all for working together if it really means working together and on a voluntary basis. Parterning up on different causes is not a one-way street. Many of us are tired of being asked to support the needs of CD/TV/AN/DQ people when at the same time many of them are aggressively doing everything they can to erase our medical conditions and birth challenges. It needs to be a two-way street of support or there is no community. Transsexual is not a dirty word. We will not allow it to be erased under the transgender umbrella under any circumstnaces. Period.

"There is a difference between diverse groups working together in a community and a community that co-opts people into an agenda to treat them all the same."

Okay, I get that you have a problem with this. Now all I need you to do in order for me to consider your position is to:

Provide multi-sourced, mutually supportive objective evidence clearly supporting the premise that "treat[ing] them all the same" is what is the purpose of the transgender community.

If you are able to do that, then please provide:

Provide multi-sourced, mutually supportive objective evidence clearly supporting the premise that "treat[ing] them all the same" is bad for the transsexual community.

I mean, these two points are, in fact your premise. Please don't just claim some vague assertion like:

"Also, late transitioning transgender males and white heterosexual cross dressing males are not the only ones who have the right to vote on issues pertaining to transsexual, transgender and intersex (TTI) equality, however, they have colonized the transsexual community. The results of this colonization has been devastating to the progress of transsexual (TS) and intersex (IS) Americans. Look at the history, and the law books- it’s all there. Ever since cross dressing men and transvestites co-opted the transsexual movement, TS folks have actually LOST already pre-existing rights." - Ashley Love

There are several claims made in the above statement:

1.) Non-transsexuals have colonized transsexuals.
2.) The result of this was devastating.
3.) The historical record proves the above two claims.
4.) Transsexuals had more rights before there was a transgender community.

Is any historical record actually given to support these claims? Nope. She asserts, “Look at the history, and the law books- it’s all there.” Did she bother to even cite even one source? Nope.

Just making assertions like...

" The modern usage of the term "transgender" as an umbrella is resulting in lazy intellectualism where people are unable (or unwilling) to understand the difference between a transsexual and a crossdresser."

... Doesn't cut it. You need to provide objective evidence supporting the idea of coming up with a new term to describe our community is needed. I've yet to see any evidence that shows that having a "TS/TG community" is any better than having a "TG community"; either way, we are talking about the exact same single community of diverse constituents.

Just claiming that it's somehow bad doesn't make it so. Pointing to right winger who never have and never will support any type of trans equality as "proof" that CDrs are the problem is a fallacious argument. Where is your evidence to support the idea that right wingers have ever supported transsexuals until those crazy CDrs were brought into the mix?

"I strongly resent the fact that so many women of transsexual history are treated as something other than women as a direct result of this "trans" and "transgender" labeling."

EVIDENCE PLEASE. Simply asserting that all the problems transsexual face are due to a word isn't enough for rational minds. You've made this claim and it is therefore your responsibility to prove that this is, in fact, the case. But you won't do that, will you?

http://www.cristanwilliams.com/b/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/logic.png

"Forcing men and women of transsexual history into LGBT and TG against their will resulting in a third gender..."

EVIDENCE? Helloooo? Echoooo....

Just claiming that there is a conspiracy to never allow transsexuals to fully transition into their preferred gender role doesn't make it so. For me to believe you, you need to provide something other than a baseless assertion.

"Forcing women into a gender diverse category against their will is outright misogyny..."

Again, evidence please... For instance, please post where the "transgender community" informed you that you can no longer self-identify as being female, a woman or a transsexual woman.

"You can quote "community" history all you want but I and plenty of other transsexuals are already working on setting up our own community with our own voice."

I suspect that if history is any indicator, you'll be just as successful as Virginia Prince was with segregating hetero CDrs away from the "CD/AN/TS Community" of the mid-1980s.

"Forcing men and women of transsexual history into LGBT and TG against their will resulting in a third gender treatment is a form of misgendering and bigotry."

Again, this is a baseless assertion. If care for your position, ensure people listen to you by arguing in a reasoned way. In this one sentence you claim:

1.) A group is forcing all transsexual women into the GLBT community.
2.) A group is forcing all transsexual women into the TG community.
3.) The result of this victimization is that all transsexuals - unlike all transsexuals of the past - are seen as some sort of 3rd gender by all of the general population.

I've not yet seen ANY objective evidence to support any of these claims. Exactly who is telling you that you can no longer live as the woman you are? Exactly who is telling you that you are no longer female, but are a neuter gender? Please cite your sources. Give us names of the people of organizations with their corresponding statements. Citing the "transgender community" as being the source of this wrong is just as useful as citing "they" or "them"; it's a meaningless assertion. Again, put up the objective evidence on the table so that we can all have a look at it.

"Many of us are tired of being asked to support the needs of CD/TV/AN/DQ people when at the same time many of them are aggressively doing everything they can to erase our medical conditions and birth challenges."

Again... objective evidence... Where is it? Your post is exactly like the rest of the rhetoric coming out of the separatists. You've claimed to be a victim, claimed others have harmed you, made a bunch of assertions and conveniently forgot to provide even one scrap of objective evidence to support your assertions.

Until separatists begin dealing with me in an honest way by making an assertion and then backing it up with objective evidence (trolling isn't evidence), then you've given me no reason to take your assertions seriously.

Let me explain it to you this way...

I can assert that the only reason that transsexuals don't have full equality is because of you personally. Why should I ever expect that you would consider this assertion as being anything other than complete BS? I've not provided any objective evidence, so why should you believe it? Even if I set up a website, find a few 100 internet people to agree with me and begin to trolling web threads for the purpose of laying all our woes at your feet... would that change the fact that I've not yet provided any evidence to support my assertion? What if I find some people who will blog about how they personally remember things being so much better before you transitioned. Is that objective evidence and does it make any credible case for my assertion? Nope.

When you make the types of incredible assertions you've made in your reply, the burden is on YOU to provide objective evidence to back up your assertions. However, you didn't choose to do that, did you?

Provide objective evidence for each assertion and I'll them seriously. Period.

Angela Brightfeather | July 25, 2011 11:34 AM

Britany,

Perhaps I am listening or interpreting what you are saying incorrectly, but it seems apparent to me that you are blaming the Transgender Community for your problems, when it is the perpetrators of the discrimination against all of us that is the real problem and this is a common thread among those who think as you do. I do agree with a lot of what you state, but I think you are blaming the wrong people.

It is not anyone in the Transgender Community that knowingly is fighting to keep you in one classifcation or under some umbrella. The thought of oppressing anyone who is TS, in any way, is counterproductive to all of us and the vast majority of knowleageable people under that umbrella understand that if they have had any experience with TS's. I most agree with your statement about people in the Transgender Community trying to "erase our medical conditions and birth challenges". I feel this is a valid point and it needs to be addressed by everyone, but it is a bit radical to spread your blanket over the entire Transgender Community and state that everyone is doing this, when in fact there is a national medical group (APA) that is actually putting us all at odds in finding unprofessional ways of quelling the anger by dividing us. Speaking as a Trans person, I think you might also benefit from some of the history on this subject.

In the early 1990's it was IFGE and Renaissance that gathered the funds to attend as presenters and have booths at a number of yearly APA Conventions. The leaders and organizers from both of those groups were not TS or TG, they were both. It might benefit you to find out why they went there and what they said on behalf of all of us. No one was screaming at those conventions to drop the medical diagnosis from DSM3, what they were doing is educationg the attendees that they were hurting people in our community and we needed a responsible solution. You see some of that happening now with the talk coming out on DSM5, but we also know that is not totally acceptable either.

In essence, what everyone wants to do is to make sure that when it comes to civil rights, no one is left behind or made second class citizens. I know you probably agree with that....but do you really agree with it if it means allowing all gender diverse people to share in the proceeds? Or do you adhere to the philosophy that CD's are just being "men in dresses", which usually signals an all out breaking away from any kind of unity in purpose which is essential, jsut as much as your hearing the grating words of "you will never be real women"? Anyone saying either is just to radical for me and I will always fight either of those views.

I am so happy to hear that other groups are beginning to address the problems that you mention. I have always adhered to the premise that there can never be enough groups fighting for our rights. But to think that as a separatist entity, those groups will achieve anything without bringing all gender diverse people along with proposed gains, is a non-starter. It's just not in the cards that 15% of a total group that comprises about 2% of the entire population is going to make the necessary waves to create changes that all of us need.

Have any of you thought about exactly what you would say if one of you had to appear at a Congressional hearing and speak to the problems you mention. Do you really think that you could get up there and say the same thing you are saying here and not be looked at as other than radical? What would you propose at that hearing? That because you are TS that you have more of a right to use the ladies room than anyone that is Transgender? Would you be willing to do that and call it a victory?

What we need is a unified front and to drop the people or groups that continue to bow to those who would deny any of us our rights. To do that we need a plan and to set common objectives agreed to by everyone. Starting with something like ENDA that everyone needs is a good place to begin.

Thank you all for your very interesting comments. I'm so pleased that, despite our sometimes radically different views, we have all kept our discussion civil and made our points intelligently without resort to personal attacks. I've been nodding my head in agreement with some points made on all sides of this important debate.

Britney Austin | July 26, 2011 3:09 AM

@ Cristan Williams

The arguments you have presented are actually sophisms. My opinions are based on personal observations as well as the knowledge of others in my shoes who have experienced similar concerns. So our own statements are evidence enough and there are a lot of them out there. I think the burden of proof is ultimately on you to demonstrate how the transgender umbrella is beneficial to transsexuals since you are the one basically making this claim.

The evidence you seek from me comes in the form of a two word answer: transgender umbrella. According to the GLAAD Media Guide, this umbrella encompasses all sorts of gender variance from transsexualism to drag queen stage acts. Furthermore that same guide describes the word "transsexual" as "an older term" and mentions how many transsexuals prefer to be called transgender.

You see sometimes the evidence isn't in what people are saying, it is in what people ARE NOT saying. Almost every time I pick up a TG guide the focus is very heavily on the following topics: ENDA, bathroom bills, coming out of the closet, and social acceptance. Topics such as medical transition inlcuding SRS are routinely glossed over if they are mentioned at all and when they are mentioned it is about people not wanting or needing treatment. I have an HRC TG brochure that even shows a picture of a couple of people with a caption (loosely quoted) as saying "I chose not to have sex reassignment surgery." I could not find anything in the brochure about people who do need surgery. Even the GLAAD guide mixes sex and gender up so much as to basically make them sound the same. It basically described a male-to-female transsexual as a male who transitions to "a female gender identity." Nonsense. Sex and gender are not the same although they are typically related. And if you think I'm going to quote the psych industry who has defined much of this, you are wrong. We are beginning to speak for ourselves and are tired of the psych industry and politicians turning our medical condition into something it is not. I have already written a recommended revision to the GLAAD media guide that removes all of the political correct terms and keeps it simple while clearly demonstrating the difference between a person's sex and a person's gender.

Not all of us have a "gender identity" issue nor do we agree with the way the psych industry classifies our condition as "gender identity disorder." We have a sex identity disorder. We phyiscally change sex to align our mind with our bodies. It isn't about gender although gender is a part of it. And as much as the term "sex change" is anti-politically correct, it actually is much more factual and easier for the public to understand. I and others have tested some of these terms. If you meet up with someone you hadn't seen or heard from since transition from male to female and explained to them that you "changed sex" they quickly grasp the concept without further explanation needed. If they can't understand why, then you explain that you were born in the wrong physical sex and have a diagnosed transsexual medical condition that you have received treatment for. They have no trouble whatsoever understanding the concept. Yet if you tell someone "I'm transgender" they don't understand what that means. They don't know if you are doing drag shows at gay bars, if you are a part time crossdressed male, or if you are somewhere between male and female. That is very unhelpful and I've been paying attention to the news for years and seen the results. The term transgender is vague and too often implies that someone is between two sexes or two genders.

"... Doesn't cut it. You need to provide objective evidence supporting the idea of coming up with a new term to describe our community is needed. I've yet to see any evidence that shows that having a "TS/TG community" is any better than having a "TG community"; either way, we are talking about the exact same single community of diverse constituents.

Just claiming that it's somehow bad doesn't make it so. Pointing to right winger who never have and never will support any type of trans equality as "proof" that CDrs are the problem is a fallacious argument. Where is your evidence to support the idea that right wingers have ever supported transsexuals until those crazy CDrs were brought into the mix?"

I don't owe you anything. We are creating our own community whether you like it or not. I am not against any other groups which is a common claim that is made against many transsexuals who wish to have their own voices. I support crossdressers, androgynous people, and plenty of others in their fight for equal rights. The point is simple: we reserve the right to have our own voice, period. Those who need SRS and the doctors who perform it are the only ones qualified to speak on the subject. Those of us who need insurance coverage for our HRT and other procedures are the only ones who are qualified to discuss the subject. We are the ones who will decide what we need. People who don't share our needs or conditions are certainly welcome to support us but they have no business speaking for us. This is not about opposing any other community, it is simply about having our own voice. If there is to be an alliance, I propose the initials LGBTTI over LGBT.

I can't even remember ever seeing any "LGBT" or "TG" publication proposing things such as getting transsexualism (currently called GID) out of the DSM and fully covered under ADA nor have I have seen anything about promoting insurance coverage of HRT and SRS. All I seem to see are people calling themselves TG and talking about medical treatment being a choice that many do not have to take. Again, blurring a gender identity with a birth sex challenge. People who need SRS and HRT are not in the same category as people who do not need those things. It doesn't make anyone better than anyone else, it just means that there are distinct needs that need to be addressed separately.

"Just claiming that there is a conspiracy to never allow transsexuals to fully transition into their preferred gender role doesn't make it so. For me to believe you, you need to provide something other than a baseless assertion."

The term "transgender" makes it about gender and due to the umbrella and its vagueness results in the implications that a man or woman may be something other than a man or woman. I've even seen multiple applications that have three boxes "male" "female" "transgender." I have an F on my ID, not a T. Furthermore, the term "trans" itself relates one's current sex or gender to another sex/gender as "trans" means "through, across, change." With the term "transsexual" someone can simply say they are a female who is post-transsexual and people understand. Ultimately it comes down to personal freedom. People have the right to identify themselves. If someone wants to tell everyone they are transgender, then all power to them. But I'm tired of people who have been living as women and legally and medically changed sex to female are being called transgender against their will. Example? Sure. The assault against Chrissy Polis at McDonald's. The police report used female pronouns and from what I read she was female on her ID and had already had SRS. In any case she was legally female according to her driver's license and how the police treated the case. She even mentioned several days after the incident in a video how her assault was not about a "trans" hate crime. Yet the LGBT lobby immediately started calling her transgender. Did she ever tell the media she was transgender? Not that I'm aware of. She had an F, not a T on her ID. Now she has been nationally misgendered and outed by being called transgender instead of female.

"Forcing women into a gender diverse category against their will is outright misogyny..."

Again, evidence please... For instance, please post where the "transgender community" informed you that you can no longer self-identify as being female, a woman or a transsexual woman."

They routinely do it by their actions. Let's take a virtual trip to the bar for a drink. Yes. Go to a regular "straight" bar and your sex is not questioned in the majority of cases. Chances are you'll be treated as a female like the rest of the women in the room. Now go to the "gay" bar and now you are treated as "trans" not as a lesbian or bisexual woman but as "trans." I could literally write a book about some of things I have personally witnessed or been made aware of. A simple and common example is how a drag queen will walk up to a woman perceived as "trans" and grab her breasts. Yes I've known multiple people who this has happened to. Try that in a "straight" bar and the person would be arrested whereas in the gay bar it goes completely unpunished. I think sexual assault counts as misogyny and if it is based on that person's sex then it is a hate crime.

"I've not yet seen ANY objective evidence to support any of these claims. Exactly who is telling you that you can no longer live as the woman you are? Exactly who is telling you that you are no longer female, but are a neuter gender? Please cite your sources. Give us names of the people of organizations with their corresponding statements. Citing the "transgender community" as being the source of this wrong is just as useful as citing "they" or "them"; it's a meaningless assertion. Again, put up the objective evidence on the table so that we can all have a look at it."

I'm not going to get any more personal than I already have and you have no business digging into my personal privacy. But the bar rooms are a good start as a good example. It is very routine for gay bars to treat women of transsexual experience the same as crossdressers and drag queens. Natal females will often be assumed to be "trans" as well. I have some really really good examples but they are private matters that I am not willing to discuss with you.

"I can assert that the only reason that transsexuals don't have full equality is because of you personally. Why should I ever expect that you would consider this assertion as being anything other than complete BS? I've not provided any objective evidence, so why should you believe it? Even if I set up a website, find a few 100 internet people to agree with me and begin to trolling web threads for the purpose of laying all our woes at your feet... would that change the fact that I've not yet provided any evidence to support my assertion? What if I find some people who will blog about how they personally remember things being so much better before you transitioned. Is that objective evidence and does it make any credible case for my assertion? Nope."

Sophisms, sophisms, sophisms...

"Provide objective evidence for each assertion and I'll them seriously. Period."

Like I said, regular bars and restaurants do not go around to all the females and consistently question their sex and any potential transsexual history. In LGBT venues, it is the opposite. I have seen more sex stereotyping in these places between drag shows and attitudes of the staff and patrons than I've ever seen in any other setting. I honestly do not know how they get away with it. Apparently people must think that because LGBT is a minority group that they are not capable of the same discrimination that the the cissexual heteronormative society is doing to them. I don't think it is a coincidence that most people who get their surgery and/or change their IDs decide to move on.

And for the record, I speak for myself. You quoted Ashley Love and implied I share her views. I may share many of those views but I speak for myself and myself only. I am not a separatist. I simply demand that transsexuals have their own voice. That doesn't mean we have to be separated from LGBTTI but simply that we do have a voice in LGBTTI. When LGBTTI starts replacing quotes such as "I chose not to have SRS" with "I need SRS and am unsure how I can get my insurance company to cover it" then I'll begin to believe our voices are beginning to be heard. I'll believe it when I see publications begin to treat "gender identity" as distinct from medical conditions and birth challenges.

@ Angela Brightfeather

Most of the response to Cristan I felt addressed your questions and comments, but I'll clarify further. We do need to work together for civil rights and other forms of equality and justice. But that is only possible when everyone's voice is being heard. If gay men are the voices on the subject of transgender and people who do not need SRS are the voice on those who do then there is no community. That is the problem. I pick up and skim through some of the "LGBT" publications in Arizona--such as one called "The Echo." While it calls itself an "LGBT" publication almost the entire content including the advertisements is directed toward a gay male audience. Lesbians are given some coverage but not near as much. I have never seen anything about bisexuals or transsexuals, and the rare coverage of anything transgender is usually focused on drag show performances. That is not an equal representation. Many of us are tired of having our needs come last. You mentioned ENDA. ENDA is important but where is the LGBT community focusing on getting TS(GID) out of the DSM, covered by ADA, and insurance coverage of HRT and SRS? I'm all for working together but the fact is that this isn't happening. When an LGBT organization calls itself LGBT and yet 15 out of the 20 are gay men and only one is transgender or transsexual then that is not an organization that represents us. Plain and simple.

Angela Brightfeather | July 26, 2011 4:47 PM

Britany,

Thank you for those considered remarks. Let me assure you that as a Transgender person I feel that I can answer them without any difficulty.

Your remark about working together is gratefully accepted and in the past years when adovacting for our rights, I have found myself surrounded by TS's who do outstanding work and are as adamant about equality as I am. My last, really active event that I attended and took part in was the vocal and loud picket at the DC HRC dinner about three years ago. I believe it is on You Tube and you can catch me there, along with many other Transgender persons who actually have no complaints about having a Trans person in their midst and think very little about if I am or I am not under an umbrella. In 99% of all cases of any kind of activism for our community, your just happy to see someone out there taking care of your back and helping to make a difference. When those voices were heard in DC at that dinner, or when they were heard in the offices of Congressmen or Senators on Lobby Day, or they were heard outside of the funeral for a sister or brother, no one asked what is between your legs or what you plan to do or not do, with what is between your legs.

As far as gay men being any voice in the Transgender Community, show me a few, because I haven't seen to many of them fighting for my equality the way that Trans or TS people do. In fact, I wish they would speak up more for all of us instead of remaining silent and working behind the scenes in smokey rooms against us. I also find it very odd that many TS people do not understand that their shouting to the high heavens that they are "real women" who must have their penis's changed to suit their gender expression, do not understand that when they say this in front of gay men, you can notice their legs come together in a slight crouch and their hands drop to the crotch, as in some sign of pain. What do you expect from some gay men who "just don't understand why you want to do that". Just speaking frankly here.

Furthermore, how do you think that 100% of all Transgender people out there feel when starting a conversation with any GLB person and immediately being asked if their end goal is to have SRS, instead of how the weather is today and how many mutual friends you might have or why you were fired from your job. So the next event that you might attend that is designed to bring attention to the lack of equality for you and me, look around and see how many gay men are there. Out of 100 people, you might find enough to count on one hand. This is a "do it yourself" movement and always has been and anyone who wants to cull the herd depending on if they identify as Trans or TS is totally unaware of how big the problem is and how hard the job is to do and would be far better to just get out of the way and let those who can work together, get it done.

You talk about one publication in Arizona and I have a really good answer for that. If you don't think they are doing you any service by claiming one thing and being another, then get out there and do it yourself with some friends. Create your own publication and inform others that they are not as inclusive as they claim and get to educating people. And if you do that, try not to be to discerning about who is contributing their views or if they are Trans or TS, because I have yet to see any publication in the U.S. outside of on the internet, that deals soley with TS issues and articles and is published on any regular basis. Now there's an idea for your area.

As far as "your needs coming last", I just don't see it that way. First of all I'd like you to justify why you should come first? Why not try to understand all the needs of the "community" and all of us working to obtain them. As serious as some of those needs may be, I see little difference between the need for someone to have SRS (knowing full well that in some cases this may even result in self destruction), or the needs of a father with four children and a wife who also happens to live with the fact that he has been crossdressing his entire live and either can't tell anyone or has told and is now being divorced and being fried from his job, no longer being able to support his family, let alone see them without having social services being there also.

There are so many inequities and so much discrimination against gender diverse people, and most cases are so individually sad and intolerable, how can you pick out one and say it is paramount and should be addressed immediately and before all others?

As far as focusing on the DSM problem, I have already noted that it started over 20 years ago and continues. If I had my way, I would be with you at the APA yearly convention with a few thousand other people, closing it down and threatening them if they did not change the DSM. But no, it seems that there are more sensible voices in our community, mostly TS actually, who would rather fight the APA by using science and common sense, instead of being disruptive and disgruntled. I'm right there with you on this and if some of you younger folks get together and want to really make a difference and wake people up at their next convention, I'll be by your side...if you don't mind having a Trans person there helping.

As far as the insurance issue goes... if Obama has as tough a time with those billionaire-ridden scoundrels and the Republicans are in their back pocket, while they try to do away with unions and bargaining for the common person, I don't see many victories for you there and like everyone before you, it's your own persistence and being able to save money that is going to get the job done, not counting on insurance companies to have some kind of epiphany about your sexual status. I made sure that the insurance in my company will pay for SRS, because I own part of it and was in on the negotiations and contract. But you have to have a job for that and that means fighting for ENDA first. You may not like having to walk that path, but it will have more of an impact for you and many other TS's than SSM will ever have for GLB people in New York right now.

The real bottom line here Britany, is that I hear the usual complaining about being labeled as one thing or the other and I hope that you are activily doing something meaningful about that, besides preaching to the choir about being "labeled" as one thing or the other. The fact is that speaking as a Transgender person who does identify as TS, you are us and we are you in many ways.

Cristan,

I have a reference here from an expert UN document on the sexual minorities of India which clearly says that it is false to talk of there being any single community; that there are many separate communities, and many individuals who are part of no community. They detail how, for example, the hijra are multiple communities even in single cities. Instead they suggest the best term, in English, to use when trying to encompass all these people, is a "population". And that fits my own observations in other countries. I would be astonished if it were not equally the case in the USA too.

A community is people joined by common political or social activities. Despite the breadth of the internet, you are disregarding important boundaries when you claim that your community speaks for people from whom you have no consent. And the more you insist that they have no choice, the worse your abuse of those boundaries seems.

I know people with a transsexual history in Houston - your local city - who have no connection or affinity with yourself, and yet you claim you speak for everyone with any experience of gender difference worldwide?

After reading your comment, I'm left questioning if you even bothered to read the article before posting. You seem to be arguing against ideas that I don't hold and statements I never made.

Again, here's the English language definition for the word "community" I used: "a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests." - Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I provided a link to the definition and spelled it out. However, in your reply you seem to insist upon using some other definition for the term "community." In my book, that's called equivocation.

"I know people with a transsexual history in Houston - your local city - who have no connection or affinity with yourself..."

Yes, and the dictionary definition of the word "community" doesn't set that as being a requirement.

"... yet you claim you speak for everyone with any experience of gender difference worldwide"

But I've never made this claim. Please reply with a link and a quote from me in which I made this claim. This seems a lot like a strawman argument to me.

As to the person you read about from India... they seem to be asserting that "population" (which is used as a taxonomy to refer to all constituent trans groupings) has a completely different definition than word "community" (which is used as a taxonomy to refer to all constituent trans groupings). Please cite your source, make your case for why all American trans folk should do what your source says we should do and then please provide objective evidence to support the premise that all would be well for the trans community if we just referred to ourselves as being the trans "population" instead of a trans "community".

Goodness, so your "transgender community" doesn't claim worldwide power, even though you just tried to redefine the mere existence of a population of people as making them a single single communithy? Just where are its outer limits then?

You don't seem to have read my reply. To repeat: the more you insist that people have no choice, the worse your abuse of their boundaries seems.

In one of your videos you phone Nikki Aruguz to clarify a report that she does not accept the transgender label but was transsexual. At the time she was very dependent upon your group, both for her legal representation and because the court had frozen her finances. One hears the fear in her voice, and your manipulation and victory makes the flesh crawl.

And in every one of your replies here you adopt the same tone.

You may not realise it, but you are, I'm afraid, a bully, unable to respect boundaries. And it is because of many people like yourself that this transgender umbrella is so full of holes.

"Goodness, so your "transgender community" doesn't claim worldwide power, even though you just tried to redefine the mere existence of a population of people as making them a single single communithy? Just where are its outer limits then?"

This is a logical fallacy; a non sequitur. Your argument is basically this:

1. The transgender community claims wordwide power;
2. They claim worldwide power because they used the Merriam-Webster definition of "community".
3. Not agreeing with you means that we are not operating within the confines or reality.

Do you see the problem with your statement? If you can't, I am confident that others reading this thread will be able to do so.

"In one of your videos you phone Nikki Aruguz to clarify a report that she does not accept the transgender label but was transsexual. At the time she was very dependent upon your group, both for her legal representation and because the court had frozen her finances. One hears the fear in her voice, and your manipulation and victory makes the flesh crawl."

I think you're reading into it a bit too much and coming up with a conspiracy. I guess you would be surprised to learn that: Nikki and I have known each other for more than a decade; that we first met when she wanted to volunteer from my TG organization more than a decade ago; that both she and I identify as being transsexual women who are part of the trans community; and, that as recently as last month she donated her wedding dress to be included into the transgender archive.

This is a perfect example of why objective evidence - not baseless conjectures and assertions - is required when making truth statements. You espouse a belief system in which you - and people like you - are sad victims. When you've made commentary, you've only asserted your belief and have yet to cite any evidence to support your belief. Just so we're clear, claiming that somebody from someplace in India agrees with you isn't objective evidence.

"You may not realise it, but you are, I'm afraid, a bully, unable to respect boundaries. And it is because of many people like yourself that this transgender umbrella is so full of holes."

Again, this is another example of an unsubstantiated claim... the 3rd one in your short post. When making an assertion, provide objective evidence to support your claim. Here's an example of the difference:

1. "Transgender" is a word created by a heterosexual corssdresser named Virginia Prince. This term comes from the word, "transgenderist". Therefore, when you refer to a transsexual as being a transgender, you're calling them a crossdresser.

2. The word "transgender" was being used to describe transsexual-identified people years before Virginia Prince invented the term "transgenderist". Here's the proof: http://tinyurl.com/3htz6cg and http://tinyurl.com/3tbsqhj . Also, the word transgender has a real meaning and that meaning is inclusive of those covered under the "transsexual" and so-called "transvestite" taxonomies. Here's the English language definition of the word: "of, relating to, or being a person (as a transsexual or transvestite) who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person's sex at birth" - The Merriam-Webster English language dictionary

Can you see the differences between the two statements? Statement #1 isn't supported by any objective evidence and should be dismissed as being nothing more than someone's belief. Statement #2 is supported by objective evidence and should be given some consideration.

Until you are able to provide objective evidence to support what you purport to be truth statements, neither I - nor anyone else - have any moral, ethical or rational reason to consider your statements as being anything other than simple opinion and/or conjecture.

Having an opinion is fine. Sharing your opinion is also okay. However, it's hard for me to take serious those who espouse their opinions as if they were substantiated fact.

Hey there... I just wanted you to know that I did reply to this comment, but my comment seems to be languishing in the moderation bin because it had a couple of links in it. So, heedfully it will be posted at some point.

Britney Austin | July 27, 2011 2:23 AM

@ Angela Brightfeather

"As far as gay men being any voice in the Transgender Community, show me a few, because I haven't seen to many of them fighting for my equality the way that Trans or TS people do. In fact, I wish they would speak up more for all of us instead of remaining silent and working behind the scenes in smokey rooms against us."

That was the whole point I was trying to make. If you have a coalition of diverse people that you call LGBT then you expect representation from all four of those letters as equally as possible. There is a difference between each group representing themselves and having other groups speak for them. There is also a difference between groups claiming to represent other groups when they are actually silencing those groups. The evidence itself is in the absence of the T and in the absence of the TTI and often the L and B. As I said previously it is what is NOT there that is the evidence, not what is there. Calling a publication or event "LGBT" when 70% of the speakers/writers are gay men and the rest being lesbians with nothing at all being said about bisexuals, transgender, intersexed, or transsexual people is not representing those groups. It is actually a lie to say someone is represented when clearly they are absent from representation. It was only last year that I recall any coverage at all of the Arizona TDOR in any of the LGBT Arizona publications. For the few years prior that I attended, I either could not find one person from the LGBT media even at the event or the few who were there never published a story on it. Yet I continue to have no trouble finding stories about gay men with HIV or local drag performances.

It really is simple. They need to be honest. If they are to call something LGBT then they need to make sure that all letters are represented. Otherwise they should call it something else. If a magazine is almost entirely driven toward a gay male audience then it should be titled "gay" and not "LGBT." And I continue to propose that LGBT be replaced with LGBTTI if and only if they are willing to allow intersex and transsexual people to have voices.

"I also find it very odd that many TS people do not understand that their shouting to the high heavens that they are "real women" who must have their penis's changed to suit their gender expression, do not understand that when they say this in front of gay men, you can notice their legs come together in a slight crouch and their hands drop to the crotch, as in some sign of pain. What do you expect from some gay men who "just don't understand why you want to do that". Just speaking frankly here."

Such a horribly ignorant statement as that is evidence right there that you are in opposition to transsexuals' needs. I've been around tons of both pre-op and post-op transsexuals and have never seen such a thing. How dare you call our sex reassignment surgery as having to do with "gender expression." That is a very bigoted and ignorant statement. And don't you dare blame us for the ignorance of gay men or excuse their ignorance. That is aiding and abetting prejudice and misunderstanding. Our medical treatment is not about "gender expression" and how dare you put "real women" in quotes. We are women. We have a birth defect and medically correct it. It isn't about gender identity or expression. That is BS from the psych community. We have a physical sex misalignment where our physical body and neurological sex are not matching. Gender of course is related as we are placed originally in the gender role of the sex assigned at birth but changing our gender role to our correct sex upon transition is merely part of correcting this birth challenge.

"Furthermore, how do you think that 100% of all Transgender people out there feel when starting a conversation with any GLB person and immediately being asked if their end goal is to have SRS, instead of how the weather is today and how many mutual friends you might have or why you were fired from your job."

That was part of my point. They need to keep their politics out of our doctor's offices and stop prying into our medical privacy. The only people concerned with our anatomy or proposed medical treatments should be healthcare officials who are treating us and our spouses or potential partners we are dating. I totally agree with you here. I would never go up to strangers and ask them about their body weight for instance and then ask them if they are considering weight loss remedies. Yet many people feel entitled to ask about other people's genitalia when they don't even know them!

"So the next event that you might attend that is designed to bring attention to the lack of equality for you and me, look around and see how many gay men are there. Out of 100 people, you might find enough to count on one hand. This is a "do it yourself" movement and always has been and anyone who wants to cull the herd depending on if they identify as Trans or TS is totally unaware of how big the problem is and how hard the job is to do and would be far better to just get out of the way and let those who can work together, get it done."

Working together while addressing unique needs separately and equally is what I propose. Pretending to work together and then blending needs resulting in some of those needs being neglected or put in the back of the filing cabinet is the problem that needs to be corrected. For the amount of articles I see in "LGBT" publications about the HIV/AIDS medical condition you would think there would at least be one about the transsexual medical condition such as a write-up about the dangers of illegal silicone pumping and street hormones. But you don't see that. Instead you see about 8 condom ads. The only time I ever see a transsexual need being addressed is when that need also benefits the G & L. But if the need isn't something that G & L also needs, it isn't addressed. So as I said earlier, they either call themselves LGBTTI and address our needs or they stop lying and call it G & L which is what it actually is.

"You talk about one publication in Arizona and I have a really good answer for that. If you don't think they are doing you any service by claiming one thing and being another, then get out there and do it yourself with some friends. Create your own publication and inform others that they are not as inclusive as they claim and get to educating people."

Agree and disagree. Creating our own publication with our own voices is not a bad idea. But that publication has to be focused on what we are for, not just what we are against. It is useless to create a community that focuses solely on criticizing another community. We can create a community specific to our needs while also working on joint projects with other communities. Personally, I don't see much of a TS community at all yet but I think that is changing especially as many of those who were previously stealth are starting to come out of the closet. The difference is that if I created a publication about TS issues I wouldn't call it LGBTTI and then leave out the needs of the other groups. I would either cover the other groups by getting staff on board from those groups or I would simply call it a TS publication and leave it at that. For them to call it LGBT and then leave out the B and T while even doing little for the L is what is called co-opting. To claim to represent someone else when you are not is co-opting. It needs to stop.

"And if you do that, try not to be to discerning about who is contributing their views or if they are Trans or TS, because I have yet to see any publication in the U.S. outside of on the internet, that deals soley with TS issues and articles and is published on any regular basis. Now there's an idea for your area."

No you don't tell us what to do when you don't represent us. Just stop pretending to represent us when you aren't. I don't tell LGB what to do other than to stop misrepresenting us.

"As far as "your needs coming last", I just don't see it that way. First of all I'd like you to justify why you should come first?"

I never did say our needs should come first, you put those words in my mouth. It isn't about first and last, but about being equally represented. Not only is LGBT putting us last, though, they aren't even including us at all. While Pride parades across the country are celebrating the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell, transsexuals are still permanently banned from military service in the United States. Since LGBT claims to represent our needs, where are they in working on allowing transsexuals to serve?

"Why not try to understand all the needs of the "community" and all of us working to obtain them."

Because our needs aren't being worked on. They never have been worked on and there is no indication they ever will be by the LG"bt". We're supposed to support ENDA bills (that often don't include any provisions that could be helpful to transgender or transsexual people) and we're supposed to support the end of DADT yet when we do where are they supporting us in return? Now that homosexuals can serve when are they going to get cracking at allowing transsexuals to serve? I'm not holding my breath.

"As serious as some of those needs may be, I see little difference between the need for someone to have SRS (knowing full well that in some cases this may even result in self destruction), or the needs of a father with four children and a wife who also happens to live with the fact that he has been crossdressing his entire live and either can't tell anyone or has told and is now being divorced and being fried from his job, no longer being able to support his family, let alone see them without having social services being there also."

You see little difference? Wow. More bigotry and ignorance coming from you. Both of those issues are very distinct and different from one another and both should be addressed separately and equally. And don't think I'm not wise to your deliberate attempt to attack the quality and efficacy of our surgeries. You could have left out that snide remark that you placed in parenthesis. I'm not stupid and that further proves to me that much of this co-opting of transsexualism by LGBT is an anti-medical agenda. Such a statement looks to me like you know little about SRS and HRT and how they relate. Perhaps you could care to elaborate on how having SRS allegedly may result in "self destruction." Not having SRS could well result in death. Being on a pre-operative hormone regimen indefinitely is not a way to improve health. There are only two ways I know of to stop male levels of testosterone: one is with medication and the other is with surgery.

"There are so many inequities and so much discrimination against gender diverse people, and most cases are so individually sad and intolerable, how can you pick out one and say it is paramount and should be addressed immediately and before all others?"

I never did say that. You made it up.

"As far as the insurance issue goes... if Obama has as tough a time with those billionaire-ridden scoundrels and the Republicans are in their back pocket, while they try to do away with unions and bargaining for the common person, I don't see many victories for you there and like everyone before you, it's your own persistence and being able to save money that is going to get the job done, not counting on insurance companies to have some kind of epiphany about your sexual status. I made sure that the insurance in my company will pay for SRS, because I own part of it and was in on the negotiations and contract. But you have to have a job for that and that means fighting for ENDA first."

Actually ENDA will not guarantee a transsexual a job nor will it stop discrimination from happening. It will simply make it tougher for companies to get away with. Despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964 there's still plenty of discrimination against ethnicity for instance. Civil rights bills are very important but they are not the only issue.

I personally think getting "gender identity and expression" included in non-discrimination bills is more useful for transgender individuals who may live in a gender role opposite of their sex but who do not go through a medical track to change sex. For transsexuals, if we could get this medical track fully recognized under the ADA, then our situation would be ensured to be covered under existing sex and disability non-discrimination laws. These situations are still apples and oranges as far as I'm concerned.

"The real bottom line here Britany, is that I hear the usual complaining about being labeled as one thing or the other and I hope that you are activily doing something meaningful about that, besides preaching to the choir about being "labeled" as one thing or the other. The fact is that speaking as a Transgender person who does identify as TS, you are us and we are you in many ways."

My name is spelled "Britney" not "Britany." I am actively doing something as a matter of fact but it is not something I'm ready to comment on yet. But I'll give you perhaps a better example of how this labeling is wrong. Take immigration for instance. Now every year there are so many visas issued for a variety of countries and for example so many people may emigrate to the United States from the tip of South America up to the Mexico border. Are all of those people Mexicans? Are they all Hispanic? Should a citizen of Brazil be forced to identify as Mexican or Hispanic simply because they live in "Latin America?" No they should not. They have the right to their own identity and a right to represent themselves. It is the same thing with transsexuals. This labeling is indeed very damaging. If an insurance company can't separate out a crossdresser from a transsexual because both are called transgender then they will not be likely to cover anything related to a medical sex change. If a business cannot tell the difference between a part-time crossdresser and a transitioned transsexual they may be inclined to treat both as men and classify them as men accordingly. These differences are important. Stop the co-opting. Stop the blending of identities. We all (LGBTTI) have a variety of needs that need to be addressed separately and equally.

Thank you Britney...you speak very well and bring out some very important points, which I am sure the bejeususes will ignore. Great post sister!

bejesuses will ignore.

oatc:

A copy of an email that indicates Nikki Aruguz identifies as transgender, as well as transsexual, is found on the web here. What she said in her email (emphasis added):

"I was thinking all night about your phone call and I wanted to again say to you how frustrated I am with Fox for twisting my words! Whether or not I'm intersexed does not change the fact that I am a trans woman. I've walked the exact same path as all transsexuals. I am a transgender woman. I've never tried to hide my history - ever! I've volunteered for trans organizations, got to trans support group meetings, taken part in many trans events over the years, went to a trans clinic for my medical care and went to see Dr. Bowers, the leading trans doctor for genital reconstruction surgery in America. I've never hid those facts. I am a trans woman and as such, it hurts me that fox tried to set me against my own identity and my own community. I'm so frustrated and I don't know what to do about it."

Unless she publicly reputed that email message about her identity/identities publicly, then one would have to argue, based on the public evidence, that she identifies as both transgender and transsexual.

Oh dear, oh dear. That email was the fruit of the phone call Cristan put up on Youtube that I referred to, in which one could hear Nikki's fear. I'm astonished that you want Cristan reminded of the shameful episode.

I hold no brief for Nikki Aruguz, but she has repeatedly said that labeling her transgender was harmful to her legal case, and asked people to not do so.

The fact is that Cristan persistently used that term, and pressed Nikki to use it, purely for political reasons, when it was clearly harmful to the legal case in hand, and potentially to the wider objective of achieving marriage rights.

I will simply refer you to my July 27, 2011 11:38 AM post by way of a reply.

Nikki is transgender some days and transsexual on other days. Believe me, I placed myself right in the middle of some crap by mentioning the Highest Authority Of Transgender Historical Records and Smarter than anyone on the entire Internet had called Nikki transgender even after Nikki made a public statement to not call her that.

She can identify anyway she wants to. That doesn't mean we all have to follow her. I could care less how she identifies, it doesn't change me! Nor ever will. It also doesn't mean transsexuals have to identify as transgender and transsexuals either. How anyone identifies has nothing to do with the rest of us. Period

@Christan...I don't see how you seem to require that we prove anything. This is how we see it from our perspective and that should be good enough, since so many state the same position.

"Provide multi-sourced, mutually supportive objective evidence clearly supporting the premise that "treat[ing] them all the same" is what is the purpose of the transgender community.

If you haven't listened to us in the past why would we think you would listen to us now? It is common knowledge that the "umbrella" term "transgender" is a premise to "treat us all the same", particularly the political arena but it has been replacing "transsexual" in terms for quiet some time as we and you well know.

And statements like this: "Doesn't cut it. You need to provide..." We're all on the same level here and I think there's the problem, people talking down to us. We don't need your permission to be or think how we think and we don't need anyone's permission to feel how we feel. ????? I don't understand how you could or why you would make this some kind of "requirement", just to be heard. I can scream loud enough without having to turn in an "analytical report". Spare me.

When you make an assertion without evidence to supporting the assertion, it's a baseless assertion. A baseless assertion isn't credible.

For instance, when you claim something is a sophism, you need to explain in detail how it meets the dictionary definition of that term. In other words, just claiming, "its purpose is deliberately and knowingly designed to force transsexuals under the transgender umbrella through the use of history that isn't even relevant to today's concerns" doesn't cut it. You need to provide a reasoned argument; that is, an argument supported by objective evidence which supports all of the assertions in your statement. If you fail to do that, folks like me won't take your statement seriously.

If you want to see your side win, you'll first need to start with a statement of grievance that is backed up with multi-sourced, mutually supportive objective evidence that directly supports your premise. After you make your case, then state what needs to change and provide multi-sourced, mutually supportive objective evidence to support the idea that your solution is valid. Without doing that, you're not giving your side of the argument a fighting chance. Without that most important piece of the puzzle - objective evidence - you're not presenting a clear, cogent argument for people like me to consider. I promise, once the objective evidence is on the table, I will give it a lot of consideration. Objective evidence is the one and only thing that has any chance at changing my perspective on this issue.

Having and sharing an opinion is one thing; however, you've tended to make statements of purported fact without giving your audience a chance to look at any of the evidence you feel supports your assertions in this thread. Without objective evidence to back up your assertions, I cannot give your statements the consideration it seems you're looking for.

Oops! I see that Britney was the one making baseless assertions about sophisms. Sorry, my bad.

Well, your not the judge!

> And statements like this: "Doesn't cut it. You need to
> provide..." We're all on the same level here and I think
> there's the problem, people talking down to us. We don't
> need your permission to be or think how we think and we
> don't need anyone's permission to feel how we feel. ????? I
> don't understand how you could or why you would make this
> some kind of "requirement", just to be heard. I can scream
> loud enough without having to turn in an "analytical
> report". Spare me.

What she was doing was very similar to the way abusers usually try to convince their victims that they have no escape, no alternative, that no one will believe them, that the abuser knows and has power with all the people in authority, that everyone else will be on the side of the abuser and will just ridicule the victim, etc., etc.. Those are people who don't respect boundaries, perhaps don't understand them, and some think that M->F transsexual people are easy victims.

What we have to do is make sure that others, especially the government authorities who are now becoming interested in our human rights, realise that sometimes this sort of dynamic is involved, and don't find themselves colluding in abuse.

So, let me get this right. You're making the argument that me asking you to provide any evidence at all to support your assertions is...

"similar to the way abusers usually try to convince their victims that they have no escape, no alternative, that no one will believe them, that the abuser knows and has power with all the people in authority, that everyone else will be on the side of the abuser and will just ridicule the victim, etc., etc.."

Is that correct?

I made no assertions.

You tell people they may only say how they see things if they meet your conditions. You are asserting that you control their freedom of expression and identity. That is disregarding their boundaries.

Well, no; actually what I said was there's either unsubstantiated assertion, premise and/or opinion or substantiated. I've only pointed out that - for whatever your reasons - you've chosen to not substantiate your assertions, premises and/or opinions. I've never told you that you can't say whatever you like. I will gladly admit fault if you will simply paste into a reply where I tell you that you cannot speak your mind.

What I have said - repeatedly - is that in order for me to view your assertions, premises and/or opinions as being credible, you'll need to simply substantiate them with objective evidence.

Again, let me once again refer you to this comic strip to illustrate my point: http://www.cristanwilliams.com/b/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/logic.png

Well, to hear and understand you points of view I would like to see them in APA format, third person only!

@ Angela..."It is not anyone in the Transgender Community that knowingly is fighting to keep you in one classifcation or under some umbrella".

This is not true Angela. It has been intentionally used as an umbrella term and everyone knows it.

Or do you adhere to the philosophy that CD's are just being "men in dresses", which usually signals an all out breaking away from any kind of unity in purpose which is essential,...

The all out breaking away is from those who live and practice life as men. They can have all the civil protections as I but this is where I draw the line. People who live on a daily basis as men and not the same as a transgender woman or transsexual woman who live full time as female, period. I want them to have gender protections so they can't be fired from employment and people who are deemed "not feminine enough or not masculine enough" can't lose their jobs because of that. Yes, I support those civil rights for all. But I am not a transgender. I am a transsexual.

"@ Angela..."It is not anyone in the Transgender Community that knowingly is fighting to keep you in one classifcation or under some umbrella"

This is not true Angela. It has been intentionally used as an umbrella term and everyone knows it."

Can you please provide the names of the people and organizations (with corresponding quotes) wherein they tell you that you can no longer self-identify as being a transsexual woman? I'm sure I will be just as outraged as you seem to be if/when I see the evidence.

Thanks.

Again, simply making a pronouncement doesn't make it so. This might be your personal opinion - which I fully support you in enjoying to your heart's content - but until you are able to make a reasoned argument, it will always only remain a simple unsubstantiated opinion.

Angela Brightfeather | July 27, 2011 11:09 PM

I have a few questions for you Phyllis. I hope this turns into some middle ground.
In the early 1830's there is historical evidence of a person who was called WeWah, living on the Zuni Reservation in NM. She was a potter and weaveer and one of the best in Zuni. She was born as a man, but lived as a woman from the time she reached puberty. Will roscow, a noted gay author wrote a book about heer called WeWah The Zuni Man-Woman. WeWah was totally accepted, honored and respected in Zuni. She was nanny to the children of a famous female anthropologist sent to Zuni to study the "natives" and record theri traditions and collect their artwork. Was WeWah a Transgender person, or does she more likely fit the definiton of a TS woman? considering the fact that neither Transgender or TS had been invented or coined at the time...what do you think she was, given my brief account of her. There is no evidence that she was gay or had any relationships with either sex. Unlike others of her nature, who often did marry masculine women.

> In the early 1830's there is historical evidence of a
> person who was called WeWah, living on the Zuni Reservation
> in NM. She was a potter and weaver and one of the best in
> Zuni. She was born as a man...

Major, major, major error there. Strange as it may seem to the prejudiced, we are actually human beings, indeed mammals too, and as such are born very small, not as fully formed adults. We were all someone's baby, someone's dearly loved child. We were not "born men", ever.

> ...but lived as a woman from the
> time she reached puberty. Will roscow, a noted gay author
> wrote a book about heer called WeWah The Zuni Man-Woman.
> WeWah was totally accepted, honored and respected in Zuni.
> She was nanny to the children of a famous female
> anthropologist sent to Zuni to study the "natives" and
> record theri traditions and collect their artwork. Was
> WeWah a Transgender person, or does she more likely fit the
> definiton of a TS woman? considering the fact that neither
> Transgender or TS had been invented or coined at the
> time...what do you think she was, given my brief account of
> her. There is no evidence that she was gay or had any
> relationships with either sex. Unlike others of her nature,
> often did marry masculine women.

Interesting story. But the answer to the question is very obvious: she was WeWah. There is no evidence there that she had the medical condition transsexuality; that could have been the case: the evidence is simply not in the story. Transgender is a totally undefined recent political concept, and also a modern term for someone who lives as one sex whilst retaining, by choice, the body of the other sex. WeWah might have fitted the later definition, but it was obviously not how she identified, since the term had not been invented. To use it about her now would be cultural colonialism.

Britney Austin | July 27, 2011 11:40 PM

@ Angela Brightfeather

That's another sophism. We aren't talking about the 1830s, we're talking about now. While this original article is attempting to show the history of the transgender community, its purpose is deliberately and knowingly designed to force transsexuals under the transgender umbrella through the use of history that isn't even relevant to today's concerns. The first paragraph alone in this original article proves this point. We are deliberately being co-opted, plain and simple. Both you and Cristan have been talking down to me as well. I know what's going on. I'm not dumb.

Angela Brightfeather | July 28, 2011 11:07 AM

Britney,

I am sorry if it seems that I am talking down to you. But the fact that I have lived a lot of this at 65 and that I am talking from experience makes me a bit like that.

Now, I did not address my question to you Britney or oatc (the name that shall not be said), I addressed it to Phyllis who seems to be more in line with being able to discuss this issue without flying of the handle or making assertions.

There was nothing sophistic about my question unless you are looking into it to much or looking for some kind of deceitful intent. Look up the word and then ask my friends if I am typically deceitful. I am sure they will tellyou that I am not the least, but very up front.

Well, I'm 61 and I don't need to be talked down to either. It doesn't matter if your ninety, it's polite to speak to people, not down to them. I'm from the south and my mama taught me better than that.
But as goes with those out to defend the "transgender" umbrella agenda, theys always want to talk down to us, jes lak theys usta do back down south. Somes thank they so uppity!

Angela Brightfeather | July 28, 2011 5:06 PM

Since I have not recieved an answer from Phyllis to my question about WeWah, I guess I will have to expose my sophistic intent.
What I wanted to discuss was the fact that history, factual evidence, any references available and even the book written by Roscoe, which has been questioned many times by Transgender people as co-opting the term Two Spirit and applying it to gays and lesbians, most notably due to the fact that it was written from the point of view of a gay man, when all indications are that WeWah was not proven to be gay....is just another attempt to change the truth.

I have visited the Smithsonian and seen the archives that show pictures of WeWah and been to Zuni to talk with people who know her history and legacy. I have examied her pottery at the Smithsonian and I also understand the dress and hairstyles that are attributed in Zuni to both men and women.

Anyone who believes that WeWah could have been TS has not examined the evidence readily available. All references to WeWah were made calling her a Transvestite. In fact, I did participate in changing history a bit by successfully petitioning the Director of the archives to change all of their references about WeWah and others like her, from Transvestite to Transgender. I was accompanied on that trip by one other Trans person and two post-op TS's who are considered outstanding leaders in the Transgender Community and have pictures of the visit as backup.

When we petitioned for the change, we were surprised when the director told us that he had talked to his wife, an well known scholar herself who worked at the Library of Congress, and that she was surprised that the Smithsonian had waited so long to update their records.

Considering the fact that someone who existed in 1830 and lived as a woman has been established as a Transgender person, living a life as a Transgender person, never had the advantages available to get a trachial shave, let alone any other kind of operations.... who is co-opting who around here when you say that it was the Transgender Community that dragged TS's under some kind of umbrella? This isn't even close to a chicken or egg argument. As I see it, all the verbiage that is being used by separtists is just a lot of complaining about assumptions being made by people who are not even close to being under any kind of Transgender umbrella and need to be educated.

If TS's do not want to be included in the Transgender Community, they are free to do whatever they wish. But just saying it does not make it so. Most people under that umbrella know the distinctions between CD's DQ's and TS's, especially since most of them started out, came out, and had first contact as CD's in the first place. Saying they don't know or understand the distinctions is insulting the few people who really do understand and have generally supported TS's all of their lives.

I understand the points you are making about it now being a detriment to you to be considered Transgender, and in the future there may be some refinement of all that. But it will only come when TS's have established their own umbrella that includes FtoM's, non-op TS's and other kinds of TS's and when they accept the fact that whatever they do establish, includes defending the equaltiy and fairness of all gender diverse people, instead of blending into the multitude.

You see, many of us beleive that there is a reason why we are Transgender that goes well beyond our wanting SRS. Many of us believe that being Transgender is not something to be ashamed of or to run from and the Creator had a higher purpose in making us feel the way we do. In other words, many of believe that we are not a biological mistake or medical condition. You may not. But that does not mean that we do not share the same discrimination and many of the same life experiences, unmistakedly not shared by about 98% of the rest of the human race. It also means that no one in the Transgender Community should knowingly be a detriment to the needs of TS people.

I wish that there was a way to gain some collective "ohhh, now I understand what your talking about" from the other 98% of humanity, but it doesn't usually happen that often. In 1830 there were no tests for hypothalamuses, there was no such thing as chromosomes, hormones or SRS, the only therapists were probably Transgender themselves,but there was Transgender people living their lives with pride.
Despite the problems with being under the Transgender umbrella, it is hard to understand why some people don't relaise that the people who are causing them the real problems, don't live under that umbrella and we should be abel to iron out the differences caused by any misunderstandings, instead of throwing accusations at each other.

@Angela Brightfeather: Borg! LOL :P Kidding... Every time I hear that term (Borg), I think of the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show (borg-borg-borg).

Thanks for the thoughtful responses and THANK YOU for your advocacy! Thank you for taking the time to engage people and thank you for sharing your history :)

WeWah was WeWah, just like I'm Phyllis. That's all. I don't appreciate people trying to convince me to see things "their" way, when I know better. It's kind of like, "oh, you need us as a friend, just think like us and we'll all be your friend". I would rather stand alone than to sell out my soul. I'm not wishy washy, so quit trying to convince me of shit, that I ain't gonna fall for. "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything". I feel like someone is trying to take me for ride, usually having to do with money. Now it's my political well being that's at stake. I usually back away when things look wary or smells fishy and the transgender thing, and the umbrella thing has always smelled like fish to me.

Britney Austin | July 28, 2011 10:36 PM

The whole basis of this original article is a deceptive argument designed to use history to prove that transsexuals are now part of the transgender umbrella. Despite the fact that many of us oppose this you demand us to show you facts that aren't even relevant. If I tell a significant other I do not want to go out to eat tonight but would prefer to eat at home I'm not required to provide multi-sourced evidence to prove why I don't want to go to a restaurant. Likewise, we don't owe you anything either. We do not accept being co-opted into the transgender umbrella. We are asking you to stop co-opting us. It doesn't matter how much history you cite, all of it is completely irrelevant to today's concerns. That is why this is a sophism. You are using false arguments to allegedly prove your agenda. Guess what? It isn't working.

@Britney:

"The whole basis of this original article is a deceptive argument designed to use history to prove that transsexuals are now part of the transgender umbrella."

Please see my reply to Susan from July 28, 2011 7:03 PM.

"Despite the fact that many of us oppose this you demand us to show you facts that aren't even relevant."

Well, no; actually what I said was there's either unsubstantiated assertions/premises or ones that are substantiated. I've only pointed out that - for whatever your reasons - you've consistently chosen to not substantiate your assertions/premises.

What I have said - repeatedly - is that in order for me to view your assertions/premises as being credible, you'll need to simply substantiate them with objective evidence.

Again, let me once again refer you to this comic strip to illustrate my point about evidence and assertions of fact: http://www.cristanwilliams.com/b/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/logic.png

"If I tell a significant other I do not want to go out to eat tonight but would prefer to eat at home I'm not required to provide multi-sourced evidence to prove why I don't want to go to a restaurant."

Can't you see the differences between a personal preference and the fact statements you've consistently made? The following is a truth statement and not a statement of personal preference: "We are asking you to stop co-opting us."

Either the transsexual community is being co-opted or it isn't. Your preference and/or subjective opinion has nothing to do with the objective fact. Without providing objective evidence to support your assertion, you've not provided your audience with what we need to take your assertion seriously. I mean, without evidence, I can assert that there is no co-opting going on, that you're mistaken and have only upset yourself needlessly. Without evidence, you should not regard my statement as being the gospel truth; without evidence, I should not regard your statement as being the gospel truth either. This is why objective evidence is important.

Let me give you another example: Either "transgender" was created by Virginia Prince from her 1978 term "transgenderist" or it wasn't. My preference and opinion has no bearing on what the objective truth is. Either the word "transgender" was used before Prince came up with the term "transgenderist" or it wasn't. If it was used prior to Prince's term, then Prince didn't coin the term "transgender". The question is about an objective truth, not my personal opinions.

"We do not accept being co-opted into the transgender umbrella. We are asking you to stop co-opting us."

Can you now see that the above statement is an assertion of fact and not an assertion of personal preference? Either you are being co-opted or you aren't and the only way to know that is to present the objective evidence because people's opinions can be mistaken. It's possible that I am mistaken and that you're right. However, without the objective evidence, one cannot truly draw a reasoned, evidence-based conclusion. A conclusion drawn without supporting evidence is just an opinion. Do you understand? I have nothing against you or your position; I'm only asking to see the evidence that backs up your assertions of fact so that I have an opportunity to draw a reasoned conclusion.

"That is why this is a sophism. You are using false arguments to allegedly prove your agenda. Guess what? It isn't working."

Either I've written the above paragraph as a crafty effort to make you think that you must now identify as being transgender or I've not. If I have, then you're right; it's a sophism. However, if you're mistaken, then your incorrect perspective is getting in the way of meaningful dialogue. Which is it? There's only one objective truth. I'm either trying to assimilate you into the borg (Swedish Chef: "borg-borg-borg") or I'm trying to actually engage you. Either I'm really deceitful and don't care about your position or I would like the opportunity to be able to draw an educated conclusion about your assertions of fact based upon the evidence. Which is it?

There are times when one must simply agree to disagree, and I think we've reached that time.

Asking for evidence about what they said you said, and saying you gave evidence already, and no you didn't and yes you did is only distracting and annoying to readers. I understand the impulse, believe me, been there done that many times.

But I say let it be okay that someone thinks your position is bunk. Explain your position once, maybe twice, and if another person doesn't like it, I suggest letting it be, because unless they just made a simple mistake in understanding English, it's likely you're not going to force them to be convinced.

It isn't always necessary to prove that one is right. Wait, is that a gender stereotype? Oh dear, now I've gone and confused myself.

@ Christan..."in order for me to view your assertions/premises as being credible"

We don't need you to give us credo, Thank you very much.

Britney Austin | August 1, 2011 6:53 AM

Cristan, I noticed that you quoted me several times in a recent Facebook note on this topic but did not credit those statements to me. You also called me a transsexual separatist even though I told you I am not. I support all LGBTTI issues and have already told you that not all of us have identical needs. Demanding our own identities and speaking up for our needs is not separatism!

"You also called me a transsexual separatist"

They always use that accusation, to slander us and make people think that we are against everyone's civil rights but our own agenda. They want a persona like Jesus, open arms to all, the holier than thou routine and it just ain't true. For one, because they are continually denying us our say in anything that matters to us, so they are the separatists, not transsexuals who only want to be recognized as who we are and that is women living as women, and not living as men, and that is the separation that I want and will stand up for. We are not men, period, as any number of; cross dressers are and bi-sexual men are and drag queens are, and many who tag themselves as "transgender" are.

And, you haven't heard the last of us. We will keep screaming until we are heard. Unfortunately for the transgender umbrella proponents, they haven't seen the hand writing on the wall. The umbrella is fractured and as the ole say goes.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
and all the kings men
and all the kings horses,
couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

I write letters in snail mail so whatever you say here, those of you who fight us and slander us with "Transsexual Separatists" fuels our fires and it is swaying our way, hence the ENDA debacle and the division that the "Transgender Separatists" are causing and has caused in the political arena. Some are getting it and making laws requiring letters from therapists and HRT and full time life experience. If your not willing to shed you male privileged,(I'm happier as a woman than I ever was living as male, and those who value the male persona more than being a woman should not be viewed as the same as women or transsexuals, who live full time as our true selves, as women), then you don't deserve to be considered women and have male priveledge in society and female privilege either, the women's restroom for one. The general public is coming around to our way of thinking. We and the general public are bigger than all the "transgenders" put together. So keep slandering us and pushing our buttons, your just helping us in our movement to exclude those who live as men from those who live as women. There is nothing wrong with wanting that and we will not going away.

Humpty Dumpty sat on wall...


So why did the transgender separatists shut up? Because they don't have an argument for the points we brought up. They can't logically or morally defend their stance when it comes to women and men, and ENDA etc. The bejesuses know they are wrong but they just can't admit because they are holier than thou. But I will admit for them and I ain't going away.

OK...it's official. Cristan Williams is the new Dysonnance.

Or, they are Cristan Williams, and Dyssonance is still Dyssonance.

Being Dyssonance, I should know.

So perhaps congrats are in order.