E. Winter Tashlin

5 Best Reasons for LGBT to Support T

Filed By E. Winter Tashlin | October 29, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: LGBT community, trans community, trans rights

I spend a great deal of time on the internet. In fact, much of my work, in its many forms, happens through the medium of the web. There is a question that I have seen raised frequently online in various forums and blogs over the last few Thumbnail image for five.jpgyears that needs to be addressed. It is a question that can be framed with varying degrees of obfuscation, but I think I prefer the direct route taken by a poster in the /r/LGBT subreddit on Reddit.com (careful it'll suck your soul away), whose openness in fairness, is mitigated by the fact that they used a throwaway account which they have since deleted.

On Oct. 27th the question was asked: "Is it wrong to not support the "t"? [sic]

It is tempting to assume that this poster was "trolling" (asking a question calculated to upset, for the purpose of being an irritant) the LGBT subreddit, but based on the dialog that followed and the fact that I have seen some variation of this question appear in one form or another with some regularity at least since the fight over trans inclusion in ENDA, I am inclined to treat it as genuine.

I'm not going to recount the entire thread, and unfortunately since they deleted their account, it is now impossible to see it in its full context, but I will say that they seemed to genuinely be seeking to understand why trans people and trans issues should matter to LGB people, as well as seeking some general understanding of trans experience.

To be honest, for many of us in the LGBT community, this question is seems frankly stupid. Supporting each other in both our shared and different struggles just feels like the right thing to do. But the fact is that there are those among us who need to be told why. So with that in mind, I give you five concrete arguments in favor of non-trans members of the LGB community supporting the experience and rights of trans people. They're after the break.

1. Trans legal rights provide invaluable protections for many LGB people too. Unless she is actively having lesbian sex at work, when a butch lesbian looses her job for "acting too much like a lesbian" her employer quite likely means not dressing/behaving in a typically "feminine" manner, an issue that is far more about gender presentation discrimination than that of sexual orientation. States that protect gay and lesbian employment, but not gender identity/presentation rights, may not provide any recourse for this kind of discrimination.

2. The issue of shared experiences and needs comes up a lot in this discussion. To this I want to point out that one of the pivotal figures at the outbreak of the Stonewall Riot was a trans woman, and many of the rioters were or would later come to be trans identified. The police didn't care then about the difference between a trans person and a gay person. And you know what? The bigots today don't care about the distinction between trans and GLB people in their hateful and discriminatory rhetoric either. So the next time a gay person says "the trans community needs to fight their own rights battles and not cling to the gay community's coat tails" (and I hear this all the time) remind them that at what is widely seen as the open salvo of the modern LGBT rights movement, trans, gay, and other non-conforming people fought side by side.

3. Although what separates trans people and gay people from "normal" society is not the same, the experiential trajectory for both communities has many similarities, particularly with regards to the coming out process, employment and housing discrimination, and being subject to identity based violence. Because of these parallels, the two populaces are uniquely well suited to supporting each other.

4. There are lots of gay/bi/pan/queer trans people. The trend of LGB people rejecting trans folk does a particularly disservice to this segment of our community. Additionally, there are those who identify as LGB as part of the process of coming to grips with their trans identity. Given that these people support and nurture the LGB community during that period of their identity, the least the LGB community can do in return is support them as they move forward with the process of embracing their authentic selves.

5. Finally, and unfortunately not obviously: being trans isn't a "choice." I would love to live in a world where I did not need to explain this to LGB people in particular, but I don't. Because many non-trans people cannot distinguish between trans identity and medical transition, there is a pervasive and insidious belief even within the LGB community that people choose to be trans. I know this is a problematic analogy but: the decision to medically transition is no more the thing that "makes" someone trans than having homosexual sex or relationships is the thing that makes someone gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Both are things done in order to live more complete lives, but not medically transitioning wouldn't make someone "not trans" any more than remaining celibate makes someone magically not be gay.

There are going to be people who take umbrage at my list or at the very idea of a queer non-trans person speaking to the trans experience. This list is not intended to be either comprehensive or fit everyone's life experience. And I would be the last person to imply that there aren't wonderful and capable people within the trans community who can and have made these points at least as well, if not better than I have here.

As someone who knows and loves many trans identified people, the fight for trans rights is my fight too, and I believe that the LGBT community as a whole is strongest when united. We still have a long way to go, and tearing each other down and casting aside members of our community out of expedience or ignorance can only drag us down.


Recent Entries Filed under Living:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


My experience has been that there are three basic kinds of people who object to the inclusion of trans people in the civil rights movement:

First and foremost, you have cis people who are overtly transphobic and believe that trans people should be denied equal rights. Pretty much all religious fundamentalists, social conservatives, and second-wave radical feminists fall into this category. There are also a surprising number of gays and lesbians who cling to the delusion that trans people do not really exist because "sex changes" are either an extreme form of cross-dressing or an over-the-top attempt to deny being gay/lesbian.

Second, you have cis people who are tacitly transphobic and claim they have nothing against trans people, but oppose trans rights legislation because they see trans rights as an issue of lesser importance which is "getting in the way". This is predominantly upper-class gay white gays and lesbians who want the social justice movement to focus exclusively on "big ticket" gay rights issues such as marriage equality. It also includes some people who believe that equal rights issues as a whole should take a back seat to economic issues.

Third, you have transsexual separatists, who oppose civil rights for trans people because they believe that binary-gendered post-operative transsexual men and women don't need civil rights protection because they can blend into mainstream society, and also that everyone else in the trans umbrella is a deviant pervert who deserves to be abused. These people often overlap with the first group and advocate transsexual separatism as a way of simultaneously affirming transphobia and directing it away from themselves.

Thank you for this thoughtful piece.

>The bigots today don't care about the distinction between trans and GLB people in their hateful and discriminatory rhetoric either.

Exactly! To your third point, bigots and oppressors have always depended upon the collaboration of the oppressed in their own oppression, through division and horizontal scapegoating. Not all gender transcendent people need the same access to medical transition care, but those who do deserve respect and support from those who don't. Not all gender transcendent people fit within narrow binary gender and sex stereotypes, but those who don't deserve respect and support from those who do.

Hmmm, except every single time I have brought that up here, or someone else has, it has been met with outrage from the gays and lesbians. So we'll see how it goes this time.

One thing you missed is Intersexed people.
While quite rare, we do exist and we face the exact same issues as the rest of the GLBT community.

Honestly, sometimes I think the conservatives that I run into who know about me (and its mostly in the medical community where I have to disclose my IS issues) actually hate me more because there is no arguing with the fact that if god creates us and I’m part female, part male…that cannot be denied that I was born this way and that I cannot change what I am.

It really pisses them off.

All of the regular questions that you hear if your GLBT?
Asking me those questions results in the realization that the questions are moot.
Any relationship I form in some manner is a same sex relationship.
Any form of dress is a form of transvestism.
Anything, nearly everything is tossed on its edge like a badly tossed coin.

To say that I’m confused about my gender?
I’m not confused about gender, everyone else is. There is no such thing as a binary gender.
I have tried to live in the assigned gender but while some aspects of myself appear male, my medical labs all say female. A few have tried to force that issue through pharmacology, and while my body can be pushed to result in lab values correct for male… it’s just to stressful on this body of mine.

I’ve always been amazed at some of the GLB community’s lack of desire to help the Trans part of the community.
How many Lesbians do I know who don’t wear makeup, heels or skirts? Who work alongside men as equals?
How many Gay men do I know who wear jewelry, some wear women’s pants (simply because they fit better…), cologne that’s on the perfumie side, shape their eyebrows and get manicures and eschew physical labors?
I don’t count because so many in the GLB community do blur the lines of gender in a similar manner as the Trans community. Those outside of the community cannot see the actual boundaries we know of, so why not act as one?
Why not?

Rare? Peter Koopman of the university of Queensland said about 4% of live births are Intersex. Many people don't know they are Intersex but that just makes it hidden, not rare.

Compare to the number of self-identified Gays and Lesbians in Australia of 2%-3% and suddenly Intersex isn't rare, it's huge! Of course same-sex attraction without self-identifying as gay or lesbian is something like 20%.

While transsexuals do appear to be less than 1% of population estimates of the non-transsexual transgender numbers ranging anywhere from 2%-20% it suggests that GLBTI programs, organisations, media and politics are grossly unrepresentative however that by becoming more inclusive and representative could dramatically improve numbers and strength.

Wintersong Tashlin I enjoyed reading your list. But would you please clear up for me what you perceive trans to be. From your fifth point it would appear that you are focusing on transsexuals and not the umbrella trans term. I'm only asking because you confused me. In your conceptualization does a drag queen or a cross dresser "choose" or is that a birth condition? I'm not sure it matters in terms of human rights but would you please provide your definition of trans because it does matter in terms of the points you are making.

My own experience of the trans identified people in my life has run the spectrum from genderfluid/genderqueer to people who don't identify as "trans" at all but rather as men/women with a "trans medical history." Some of people close to me feel that they fit within the tight constructs of a binary gendered world, while others feel that their place is outside the binary, regardless of whether they choose to incorporate aspects of medical transition in their lives.

One of the reasons I didn't use the terms "transgender" or "transexual" in writing this essay was attempting to be as inclusive as possible. It is also the reason I did not use the term "cisgender" as I know that its meaning within the broader trans community is extremely divisive and controversial.

I don't entirely see your point(s) around people who cross-dress or do drag. I certainly know people through my professional work who cross-dress or do drag without identifying as trans, genderqueer, or as a gender other than the one assigned at birth. I also know people who engage in those practices who do identify as genderfluid or genderqueer and for whom cross-dressing is a valuable aspect of their gender identity.

I suppose to clarify point #5, in my experience, people who identify as trans* do not make the choice to do so, but rather they come to an awareness that trans* identity describes the experience of their own inner landscapes and their place in the world.

I'm not sure I understand. It sounds like the M2T paradigm. But whatever you mean it to be it is probably not worth discussing further. Thanks.

To be fair, there are many in the trans community who feel the same way. I'm not one of them, but I can understand to some degree their feelings when we're dropped from ENDA to insure its passage like a sacrificial lamb and ignored in the DADT repeal. For these same reasons it makes me laugh when LGB people say that we should fight our own battles...as if we have a choice.

jami_bantry jami_bantry | October 30, 2011 2:35 AM

Good blog Wintersong.

If I may, one more reason may be added to the list that a lot of people do not consider.

LGB is a sexual orientation, as I have always understood... to whom one is physically attracted.

Included the Trans "whatever" community, are people who are of varying sexual orientation. There are Hetero Trans people, there are Lesbian Trans people, there are Gay Trans people, there are Bisexual Trans people, and there are Poly-amorous Trans people.

So, in addition to Trans being a self-identity ("between the ears"), the Trans community has its own subsets of sexual orientation ("in the heart")... LGBPoly within it.

When one really realizes that sexual orientation and gender identity are totally separate aspects of a person, it may be a bit easier to understand that many of us also self-identify (re: sexual orientation) as part of the Hetero or the LGBPoly categories.

So, while some Trans "whatever" people may not want to be associated with LGBPoly, they are still part of it, or they are Hetero.

In any event, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately"

jami

This is essentially the point I was trying to make with point #4 about their being many gay/bi/pan/queer trans people as well as many heterosexual ones.

Thank you for this post! For the past 5 months, I have been walking across the country for gender and sexual orientation equality (www.intothelightwalk.com). I'm trying to open up these conversations everywhere I go. And, as a white, gay man, often people don't understand why I would care so much about gender, gender identity and gender expression! It's crazy to me. Do I not have a gender, gender identity, gender expression? And what you say is right on. The populace doesn't distinguish between LGB or T. They see us, and then judge us based on what they see first. Again - thank you for giving voice to what must happen for us all to be equal - building a truly intersectional movement!

Thank you for the kind comment. I've been following your progress through Facebook and the LGBT bloggosphere, and you sir, kick ass.

Great post Wintersong Tashlin! If we could get people to take your 5 reasons to heart we can solve many problems! Hope someone from HRC reads your post!

The controversy is not so much about LGB supporting T rights, but rather about whether LGB and T should unite in the same "LGBT" movement. Many people, both LGB and T, question this.

Your reasons don't address this point. Let's see:

1- Surely there are lesbians and heterosexuals discriminated because they are butch, but there are also lesbians discriminated just because they are women. Why not unite the LGB with the feminist movement, in a LGBW movement?

2- This argument of shared experiences or history is actually the best argument, in my opinion. But it is oftentimes ruined by the inevitable reference to Stonewall, since it is tiresome to see the pre- and non-Stonewall contributions routinely erased. Also, the fact that the bigots don't care about the distinction between LGB and T is their problem. We should not allow their confusions to define our identity, as it happens when we talk about "LGBT people".

3- Apart from the coming out experience, the rest also applies to any other minority.

4- Of course the LGB movement has the duty to support trans LGB as any other LGB, as it has the duty to support LB women, but this doesn't imply it must unify the T or feminist movements. I know that many heterosexual trans people are initially confused thinking they are cis-LGB, and only later come out as hetero trans. However, I still think we should not allow other people's confusions to define our identity.

5- I agree with this, but it is not relevant to the question of unifying the movements.

My knowledge of the women's rights and feminist movement(s) is not nearly as strong as I'd like it to be, but my understanding has been that some of the resistance from joining the trans rights movement with the women's rights movement has been from the women's community, which isn't one I'm in a position to address.

I'm sorry if you felt that I was discounting the pre & post-Stonewall contributions of trans people. Personally I don't see Stonewall as the penultimate moment in the movement for LGBT rights, but this essay was born out interactions with primarily younger LGBT people, many of whom have little knowledge or (sadly) interest in LGBT history, but know Stonewall.

I do not agree with the assessment that other minority communities share the struggles currently facing LGBT people. Discrimination against many other minorities in the USA is already prohibited by law for one thing. For another, there are shared internal and external experiences beyond coming out, although that is perhaps the most striking.

I didn't feel that you in particular were ignoring the pre-Stonewall history. I think it inevitably goes down that route, which is why there should be other examples. I must confess I wasn't thinking about trans contribution. I was thinking about LGB contribution to the LGB movement (namely, organizations like the Mattachine Society tend to be downplayed as irrelevant or even coward when they were not).

However, you remind me well. It is true that many examples of an open honest life were of people that we can't even classify as either LGB or T, since it was almost indistinguishable. I know trans people have contributed widely beyond Stonewall, and that must be acknowledged. A shared history is a powerful argument in favor of a shared movement.

Still, healthy movements can not last on shaken ground, and in my opinion this LGBT movement implies the lie that there is a "LGBT people" sharing some sort of intrinsic community or common identity. This is not true, and the first task of a movement should be to tell the truth and affirm people's identity beyond bigots prejudices.

This results in problems like misrepresentation of trans and LGB people, and in particular the forced inclusion of diverse trans people into a common identity. Why do L, G and B get to have each their own letter, while the many diverse "trans people" are lumped in a single T? Obviously, because the attitude is: "be happy and grateful to even be here, and don't complicate, or else...".

I disagree that LGB and T share something unique beyond history and the coming out process. Doesn't the law allow old people to be discriminated in job hiring, for instance? I agree that bigots tends to confuse gay men with trans heterosexual women, thinking gay men are not real men, since real men should pursue women. But on the other hand, lesbians or bi women are seen by bigots as real but very badly behaved women, since women are supposed to resist men for awhile. That is why a lesbian is seen as a man-hating woman, or an extreme feminist, until of course she finally allows herself to be conquered by men. That is why lesbians are pressured to say they are bisexual, while bisexual men are pressured to say they are actually gay. This is to say, in my humble opinion, that the LGB and T confusion applies mostly to gay men and trans women.

Lu, You are right. There is no reason to ever have the transgender civil rights movement lumped in with the gay civil rights movement. Sexual orientation and gender identity are completely separate characteristics, just as are race and sexual orientation or religion and sexual orientation. There is no reason include transgender people rather than blacks, Jews, or left-handed people in gay community organizations. There are concrete reasons not to use the noxious 'LGBT' term or to include gender identity in the gay civil rights movement. The main lie or stereotype of homophobes is that gay people are somehow insecure in their gender or reject gender-appropriate behaviors (e.g. that gay men are somehow less masculine than heterosexual men). Of course, this is a ridiculous lie but it is pervasive and would be encouraged if people inaccurately associate gender identity and sexual orientation. The transgender community has nothing to do with the gay community and they should never be associated with the gay community.

DB, I am not so sure. There should be an association since there is a common history.
But it should be a special and close association, not an unification of movements, and definitely not the invention of a LGBT identity or tribe, since that is a lie inspired by bigots.

Sexual orientation is explicitly defined based on gender identity, so they are definitely not as unrelated as you say.

The main problem I have with the Transgender movement is it is based on the opinions and needs of a very select few. Try asking Mara Kiesling how many people are members of NCTE that are considered as having Gender Identity Disorder as described in the DSM. The LGB and Transgender factions are all about boosting their political strength by sacrificing other peoples political and civil rights. I don't support the use of the word Transgender because it creates a false political alliance and has a negative effect if used to conduct scientific research. If you study a "Transgender" population and you find their is a high incident of aids, suicide, or homocides how do you know which group is at the highest risk for any of these things hapening to them? Is it the drag queens that have the highest aids rates? Or is it the type of Transsexual who though attracted to men won't have sex with them because of discomfort with their genitals? So hopefully just through that example you can see that Transgender when applied to scientific research is garbage. Next I don't Identify as Transgender nor do I support the LGBT on many so why should the LGBT get to run around claiming I do all the while usurping my political rights?

Well I guess it sure was courteous of the anti trans-inclusion wing of the queer community to drop by and illustrate why I felt the need to write this essay in the first place.

Funny thing is, most of the ppl you are referring to *are* trans.

They have a dedicated goal of doing exactly that, and are organized in their actions.

Any time a mentality falls into "with us or against us", there will be such things.

Wintersong Tashin just so you know I am a woman born transsexual and I don't need you or the LGBT to claim to represent me. Matter of fact when push comes to shove heterosexual Transsexuals have done a way better job of supporting themselves then the LGBT has done or will ever do. The simple fact is we aren't queer enough for the gay community they prefer men who want to live out their lesbian fantasies and lesbians that want to live out their male lesbian fantasies.

So, the first comment on the article mentioned 3 types of people who might be opposed to trans rights. However, I've noticed the comments opposed to the premise of the article are mostly from transsexual people (specifically, transsexual people strictly within the gender binary) who are opposed to being lumped in with the rest of the trans community or "transgender umbrella". It completely misses the point, as the article was addressed at gay, bisexual, and lesbian people who aren’t being supportive of the trans community. However, the comments do raise some issues that need to be discussed.

The whole point of the LBGT acronym was to be inclusive of everyone who feels they don’t fit into the dominant gender and sexuality norms of society. I would argue that since gender (not sex) is by definition a social construct, it was an original expectation of the male gender to date only women, and an expectation of the female gender to date only men. Those gender norms are changing, as gender norms are a constantly changing thing in society. But it’s impossible to deny that openly gay and lesbian people in the early 1900s and earlier were defying not only sexuality/orientation norms, but also gender norms. That’s why the acronym was meant to be inclusive towards everyone. First it was just gay movement. Then lesbians felt their needs weren’t being represented (because they legitimately weren’t) so we saw the formation of organizations like the Daughters of Biblitis. Then in the 80s, bisexuals felt they weren’t being included, so we saw the inclusion of the B. Then trans people felt like they weren’t being included, so the acronym then became LGBT. Then we saw the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Assexual, and Allied acronym, but people still felt like they weren’t being included. I think the longest acronym I’ve seen is “QUILTBAG.”

For me, the acronym really does not matter. Everyone should feel free to use whatever acronym they want, and any label they feel comfortable using. The acronym was only ever a symbol meant to foster unity, and to use it in any other way is pointless.

The REAL problem we must all agree to combat, whether gay, bi, lesbian, transsexual, transgender, or otherwise identified, is OPPRESSION and PREJUDICE. If oppressed peoples and minority groups continue the vicious cycle of oppressing each other, everyone will be oppressed and no one will be happy. We must all take a stand against oppression together! Male gays must fight chauvinism within their community. Straight women must stop homophobia in the feminist community whenever they see it. White gays must fight against racism, and other racial minority groups must fight against homophobia. Non-binary and within-the-binary transgender/transsexual people must stop excluding each other. Polyamorous gays and monogamous gays need to unite and solve each other’s problems together. We must all take a pledge to actively stop oppression, discrimination, and prejudice of any form whenever we see it. That’s the only way we will ever start to see a more equal society.

I think a better article would be 5 Reasons for T to support T. More often than not, what I've seen when it comes to trans culture is infighting. Just read through some of the reply threads (here and in other similar topics) and you'll see trans people attacking each other more often than LGB folks doing so.

Many in the trans community disparage each other for "not being trans enough". I've heard some call trans-gender people "closet cross dressers", and claim if someone isn't pushing with all their might to get to a surgeon then they're not really transsexual. Never mind that for some people it's more about gender roles than what they have between their legs. And not everyone is in a position to spend hundreds of dollars a week on hormones and/or thousands on surgery.

The final straw comes when loud and active pre-op trans people vanish in a puff of smoke the second they get their surgery. Often, they relocate or cut ties to their old life to "start a new life as a ...." They stop speaking out on LGB issues, AND T issues, in an attempt to "blend in" and be their new gender. The rare exception being mainly those that are LG or B in their post-transition gender. Those that transition into a "straight" orientation often don't remain associated with the community they were so upset wasn't being supported by others.

A perfect case of this happened locally at a LGBT film festival I attend here in NY. For the past 5 years, 5% to 8% of the films in the line-up were trans in nature (either documentary or had a leading trans character). I attended several of these, and saw lots of LGB folks there, but only one or two Ts. (And yes, I knew most of the people there, so the T's weren't "hiding".) But when the festival decided to book TOTWK, every trans person in town showed up to picket the movie. I handed out free tickets to those who wanted to come in to watch it for themselves, to make up their own minds. Several (including one of the trans leaders) saw it, and changed their stance on it. Yet this year, again, several trans movies and documentaries, and only 2 or 3 trans audience members... no positive support from those that were so vocal last year.

That's part of why some LGB folks don't go out of their way to fully support the T. Would you support something time and again, while being accused of not being supportive enough, just to have the same group that's admonishing your poor support up and leave randomly? And if that group attacked every time you did something they perceived as offensive, without showing any support when you address their concerns?

I say this to the T's out there reading: Maybe, just maybe, the LGB are supporting the T, but you're just not hearing it. Either because the screaming of others is blocking out the sound, or because the T when fully supported, is silent.

Lets see, I went through a number of phases. I came out as gay young and was out and proud and as active as a 15 year-old in a small Ohio town could be to transitioning around 20. I was just as active and vocal in college during my early transition with the local LGB group. Then I was utterly shocked in 2007 at the level of "discourse" about trans inclusion. I started to feel like I was constantly defending my position within a social and political entity I had been a part of for over a decade. Then I started to really look at what had been going on nationally and at the state level. Now, i just don't see the point of really fighting that particular fight.

How useful is it if LGB folks have to constantly be having this conversation amongst themselves? How real is the "LGBT" when, more often than not, the only people really actively defending trans inclusion are trans people? How many times do trans people (women?) have to feel like we are at best tolerated at LGBT events (particularly if we aren't LG or B) before we just stop showing up? How many times do we have to be called "ex-gays", "suffering from internalized homophobia", "late to the party", "riding the LGb's coat-tails" and be the only ones to offer any counter point before we just get the message?

How many times do trans needs have to be sidelined or gladly and willfully traded for laws that don't cover us? How often do statistics on unemployed trans women need to be used to pass sexual orientation-only job protections? Please tell me, at what point is it appropriate to just pick up and move on? What is the gay-approved time-line?

Great post, Wintersong. I think of it like this:

1. We're all trans. Same sex attraction is a form of gender nonconformity. When I look around, I see that maleness is more often accompanied by sexual attraction to females, and femaleness with attraction to males, and less often accompanied by attraction to the same sex. I understand the potential problem with saying this. It appears to buy into the bigoted idea that being one or the other sex requires a particular orientation. Much better to show how sex and orientation are completely divorced from one another. But acknowledging the higher frequency of cisgender heterosexuality isn't to condone it or make it normative.

2. We're all gay. Trans people's sexual orientation must be same sex under one or another definition of ourselves--either a birth sex definition or a target sex definition (putting aside for a moment other variations of sexuality). When I look down, I see, god help me, a penis (soon to be removed). It's a form of bigotry to define trans people (at least transsexual people) by our birth sex, but I don't see how it's bigotry just to acknowledge that our birth sex made us male or female bodied, before we began transition. That's just reality. Before I started hormones, I was full on male bodied and I had boyfriends. I don't see how those weren't same sex relationships, just because I was trans identified.

Emphasizing differences in the cause of self-identity is overrated. There's a story from Thich Nhat Hanh. No sooner do you put balls of cookie dough on a cookie sheet to make cookies, and all they do is find ways to divide themselves according to their differences Look, I'm bigger than you. I have five chocolate chips in me and you only have three. Let's stay away from those guys with walnuts! Get out of my way, I need more room to cook! You know, though, as the baker, that just moments before, they were all an undifferentiated mass of dough in a bowl. That's a good description of LGBT, I think.

To oversimplify it: Trans is just a different way of expressing same sex attraction. Gay is just a different way of expressing gender nonconformity.

For me, the first statement is kind of true, without modification. My relationships with men, in which there was anal sex, were good, but not my style. Although discrimination pretty much ruined my life, I still cling to this dream of having a boyfriend, and if he turns out to be the right kind of guy, sex with him, using *my own* vagina. It's what I've always dreamed about. It's what I've always wanted.

I don't mean to throw everyone a curve ball, but obviously I missed the memo. Since when did "drag queen" become a transsexual epithet? Since when did being a trans person have anything to do with being a drag queen?

Since I've been a DRAG QUEEN for 32+ years, I find all of this derogatory highly offensive... no. I'm not offended - I'm pissed as hell! It's bad enough dealing with the bile from the LGB sections - many of whom would not be here if not for the contributions of us "drag queens" - but now to have the T section using our moniker as a dirty word to abuse portions of their own community!?! Thanks. Thanks a whole f*cking bunch. If the Trans community wishes to cannibalize itself with its divisiveness, fine - go right ahead and be stupid. But leave me and mine out of it. I have no wish to have my art, my efforts, or my sacrifices demeaned by what I see as a cancerous effort by some in the Trans community to commit social and political suicide.

So many of the Trans persons I've met over the decades have been wonderful, sane, and motivating people. Those I've been privileged to call my friends are a cherished part of my life. But then I see stuff like Liz LaVenture's post on Bil's "Gay in America" post, and my cast iron panties get all bunched up - I just want to reach through the screen and bitch-slap somebody. I'm under no delusions about the complexity of transgender and transsexual issues - I've known all kinds of Trans people for over 30 years, and you lot STILL manage to surprise me.

But to Liz and the other separatists I say this - do you remember the motto "United we stand, Divided we fall"? Go ahead... fall. I'll set my stop-watch to time how long it takes before you implode under the weight of your own vitriol.