Brynn Craffey

My last post at Bilerico?

Filed By Brynn Craffey | December 12, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: transgender stereotypes

I had intended to begin, "This will be my last post at Bilerico," for I had intended to resign. But a person I respect deeply here at Bilerico has urged me to reconsider.

More on the final straw pushing me toward resignation in a minute. First, though, I want to say that I am SO EFFING TIRED of the same old arguments on the pages of this site. I've watched "our community" fall out over the same issues for decades, often voiced in essentially the same terms on these pages as I used to hear in the early 1980's. Thing is, now while we make our repetitive arguments, homelessness, unemployment, hunger, violence, misery, extremism, and anti-scientific stupidity sweep America. Four of my friends, none of them LGB or T, have lost or are threatened with a layoff in a matter of days, while we argue ENDA. Polar ice caps are melting at a faster rate than any climate model ever predicted, while last year's Republican vice-presidential candidate argues on the pages of one of our nation's papers of record that humans have nothing to do with it. Congress plays bitch to wealthy-beyond-imagining bankers and corporate interests, while hardworking Americans who played by the rules all their lives find themselves sleeping under freeway overpasses.

Healthcare For All is more on my mind these days than marriage. Copenhagen's UN summit on Climate Change concerns me a hell of a lot more than trying to convince a woman who lived 40 years as a man that she actually IS different than women born female, or a white, gay male that the woman isn't a man who wanted to cut her dick off. Ending the American wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan strike me as much more vital that gaining the "right" to don a uniform and go kill people there.

Readers may have noticed my silence of late. I've never had the time I've wanted to write, due mostly to job demands both in Dublin, where I was forced out of a job after coming out as trans--and mind you, Ireland has anti-discrimination laws protecting trans folks stronger than any proposed in ENDA--and more recently in California where I've been working for the University of California at a time of heartrending upheavals, massive cutbacks, outrageous fee-hikes, and coldhearted layoffs.

In addition, however, I've avoided posting and commenting here due to the increasingly conservative and transphobic atmosphere, both among some posters and many of the regular commentors. Perhaps this reactionary bent reflects the interests of the American gay and lesbian community at large. After all, the American electorate has trended rightward for the past 40 years, to a point where fascist rhetoric now raises no eyebrows on mainstream news and in the chambers of Congress. So maybe it's no surprise that "our community's" leadership has become fixated on marriage, DODT, and, to a lesser degree, ENDA. Whatever the reasons, with few exceptions--posts by Yasmin, Paige, Serena, Alex, and Tobi come to mind--debates here have increasingly become reworkings of right-center arguments in favor of issues I consider distractions.

But the final straw pushing me toward resignation--and I'm sure this won't surprise many--was Bil's decision to publish Ronald Gold's December 10th post, and Bil's standing by its publication since. [A decision was made after I wrote this to remove Gold's piece: a decision that obviously bears on whether or not I continue to write here.]

Now, I'm against censorship, but this is in matter of journalistic standards. Gold's post is undeserving of publication anywhere, much less on an LGBT site, not because it's offensive but rather because it flies in the face of every scientific fact known about sex, gender, sexuality, and biology, and is a trite, uninspiring rehash of what has been said ad nauseam by (mostly) white, privileged, gay men for the past 30 years--and probably eons before that. John Aravosis argued the same points in Salon's pages two years ago in a much better written and articulate--albeit equally offensive and fact-detached--piece, kicking off the ENDA debate in which Congressman Barney Frank threw transgender folks under the rainbow-colored lesbian-and-gay bus.

That Bil published and stands by the piece, allegedly as an attempt to further dialog, I can only read as misguided, disingenuous, or a calculated move to throw trannies under the bus yet again in the interests of controversy and site hits. I argued against Aravosis in the pages of Salon: which is, after all, a straight site where many readers were unfamiliar with the issues. But here on the pages of Bilerico?! First, Gold's piece in its lack of substance doesn't even qualify as pre-requisite material to Trans-101 and doesn't warrant serious argument. I wonder, is this how African-American women feel up against white mainstream feminists? Why the hell should I spoon feed you knowledge when you don't even bother to hit a few keys over to Wikipedia to bone up on bare basics before you go espousing your opinionated claptrap?!

Moreover, to claim that Gold is unintentionally offensive merely because he's old?! Don't insult me further! My 89-year-old, straight, Catholic father has a more complex understanding of the issues because he's made the effort to educate himself about them.

There are legitimate ways to respectfully further debate, in the process actually introducing new ideas, adhering to scientific facts--remember those?--and without deliberately pushing yet again the same old ugly buttons that fuel memes and the internalized transphobia that every transgender person struggles against from the first moment we realized we were trans. But Gold couldn't be bothered to do that.

In short, his hackneyed piece contains not a single redeeming feature or new idea that could possibly excuse offending and hurting so many trans readers and contributors by publishing it here.

And to conclude: it is exhausting enough in these trying times to be queer, to be trans, and to fight for progressive causes against a straight world that seems hell-bent on destroying progressivism once and for all. To then have to turn around and fight members of your own so-called "community," those who should have your back, over issues vital to your very survival but over which they can't be bothered to lift a finger for themselves to find out about to the point of even writing sensitively and sensibly? And to do it over, and over, and over, again?!


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Thank you. Stay, or go, you'll always remain my friend.

rapid butterfly | December 12, 2009 2:28 PM

thanks for the article, and your perspective. hope you stay.

I'm glad you're considering staying. You're needed here--not just for the trans perspective but because you provide unique insight on so many issues and I feel I learn so much from your posts.

That said it IS unfair for us to expect our transgender contributors to constantly be putting the record straight and being forced to repeat over and over what should not even be up for debate.

As a cis-gender ally, however, I feel my voice is not taken seriously by other cis-gender--or even some trans folk--when I try to do what I can. Last time I got bullied around and called gynophobic and mysogenistic for defending transgender friends against angry, ugly attacks. Hell its still coming up today as the issue has boiled over again.

What is the magic equation? How do we make one sweeping statement to the cis-LGB like me that the way trans people are treated in our community is unacceptable?

How do we heal these divisions and promote greater understanding? I don't know. I wish I did because, like you, I'm just tired of the back and forth. Just when it seems to me that rational thought is finally triumphing over ignorance, we tumble to the ground in yet another explosion of hurt and hate.

How do we fling the door open on ignorance and end this merry-go-round? I'm cis-gender and I'm hurt and deeply offended by it. I can't imagine what it feels like to be trans and come across the ignorance--especially in daily comment threads not just here but on ALL the major LGBT blogs. Id probably curse out the cis-LGB too. Id probably shut down my computer and scream. But as unfair as it is, I ask that you don't do that. Its hipocritical, but we need your voice.

Sorry about the misspellings, commenting by mobile phone.

RIght on. Age is no excuse when someone blatantly refuses to learn. One of his replies on there to someone's polite and painstaking efforts to bring him research was basically "tl:dr." That's not age, that's willful ignorance.

And yeah, I wondered about the ENDA timing too. I think at minimum if Bilerico wants to know what it can do to make things better, it's to use its weight to attempt to influence a truly inclusive ENDA. It's all very well to say one is a "fierce ally," as we all know: put your (ad) money where your mouth is, Bil.

Please stay, Brynn. We need your voice here. It was originally directly due to the outcry by the trans community of Bilerico that this became a major issue and is getting the attention it deserves.

As we go forward here, we'll need the voices of transfolks helping to guide the future of the site. Please, don't turn your back because of this, but join us helping to ensure it never happens again.

I'll have a post up later today with more on this.

Brynn Caffey makes, what if he'd been able to check just a teensy bit of his rhetoric, a good argument for trying to build a broader coalition, but then, all politics are local, and if you're going to build an LGBT coalition, it's going to, by the very nature of specialization, ignore all those other axes of oppression, which is why, yes, let's build a majority left-wing (you call it progressive, I'll be honest about it,)coalition, but don't expect to get a queer consensus for it.

First I thought I'd start with this nummy little morsel wherein first Brynn makes a point of making us different from the cis women, you know, because we have all that... um, whatever reason it is this week for them feeling entitled to get all huffy when one of us wants to pee, and using language that implies that there was some magical event at which trans women became trans... I'd have been reclaiming a slur there but that's coming up:

"Copenhagen's UN summit on Climate Change concerns me a hell of a lot more than trying to convince a woman who lived 40 years as a man that she actually IS different than women born female, or a white, gay male that the woman isn't a man who wanted to cut her dick off."

Ah yes, where to begin with this juicy nugget? Well, no shit, climate change concerns me too. But when we get to the crux of your point it's that there are "women born female" and I guess, the opposite, "women born male" and so we can be caught in that wonderful transmisogynistic double standard of reifying feminine gender roles, or expressing residual male privilege. Even better is hearing some man argue he knows my gender better than I do just because he was forced to attempt living it for a few decades. No, Brynn, the only difference is the axises of oppression we will face compared to cis women, the sneering derision from people who claim, like you just did, to know women better than we know ourselves, the likelihood that if I'm raped I'll have access to counseling, be able to retain employment, and the likelihood I'll be murdered. (And having gone over the names and the incidence of trans misandristic violence at Day of Remembrance, we really should start considering the trans men an ally group on this one, at best, girls.)

Thanks again for throwing us trans women and our identities under the bus so you and your trans masculine friends can continue to enjoy much wider acceptance in feminist circles. Male privilege when you need it and female identity when you want the convenience of it. "Hey, it's cool chica. I'm female-born!" I'm pretty sure the evidence is in on this one. Transness is pretty much a natal condition. Just because some doctor slapped me on the ass and said 'it's a boy' didn't mean I was 'born male.' And yes, there's a huge damn difference between born and assigned.

And then, as usual in transmisogynistic fail, we get trans men throwing around the word...

That Bil published and stands by the piece, allegedly as an attempt to further dialog, I can only read as misguided, disingenuous, or a calculated move to throw trannies* under the bus yet again in the interests of controversy and site hits. I argued against Aravosis in the pages of Salon: which is, after all, a straight site where many readers were unfamiliar with the issues.

*Emphasis mine, not Mr. Craffey's

...tranny, like a hispanic using the n* word, since there's some superficially similar privilege and oppression, let's just ignore the sexualization and diminutive transmisogyny the word carries. That it's a word used against trans women, not men, for the most part. I, for one, don't mind its use, in a fair, casual, and respectful context (what's the point of reclaiming a word if you can't share it? Otherwise it's just a jealously guarded weapon, still full of venom) but for a lot of trans women, it's pretty offensive to break out the t-word. Especially in this context. Sure, Ron Gold views us as the same... well, probably not, as Sarah Brown pretty well demonstrated. I think Ron's got his knickers in a twist over 'boi flight', much like the old 'butch flight' tropes that make him sound so similar to the tired old arguments we thought we were done with about 30 years ago. So really, his post is about the straight trans women. This slur ain't about you, (and to some extent, being a trans lesbian, it's not entirely about me, though people have an easier time gendering than guessing sexual orientation at a glance.) except in the instance that the terrible old man wants to present a veneer of intellectual consistency.

And one last point.: Just because you're in a place where the majority have privilege, and the actions of some stupid jagoffs ensure that privilege is exercised in aggregate, does NOT make it a space that is explicitly privileged-only space. Slate is not a straight magazine, any more than Bilerco is a cis website. It is a website full of transmisogynistic fail, mind you. Being not explicitly for a group that suffers at an axis of oppression does not make you an organ of the oppressor. Otherwise your progressive movement falls apart at the seams as you realize it becomes a straight, cis, white, middle-class, movement. You know why? Because that's where the plurality is! I can't get people excited about trans rights just because it's the right thing to do, but I can get them excited about reducing the power of cowardly, sniveling, bosses to dictate self-expression in the work place, or ensuring that people have the right to do with their bodies what they will, or having affordable medical coverage without a huge bureaucracy because, let's face it, you know better than your doctor ever will, just where it hurts.

Ah unintentionally transmisogynistic trans men, when will you get that cis-sexists generally fear you and your brothers, and generally terrorize me and my sisters?

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 12, 2009 10:23 PM

Valerie and any others inclined to go to the same place, if you'd read my piece you know I have absolutely no interest in arguing tired points over and over again and again. I know you reject the label trans, tranny, transgender, etc. and you know that I, a transsexual, believe your rejection flies in the face of reality. If you can't move on, ignore any posts I may happen to author in the future. Simple.

I disagree, Brynn. I've known a number of women of operative history who I would have great difficulty to see as anything othr than women of a unique experience.

Every woman is different, each from each other. The experience of women of operative history does not make them any less a woman than others.

I only speak to their issues because the women that I know are Lesbians and as such their legitimacy to claim the status certainly falls within the perview of Lesbian advocacy.

And I've known plenty of women of non-operative history who I have great difficulty seeing as anything but women.

Why is SRS used to invalidate roughly half of trans womyn, by trying to sound supporting to the other half, in almost every single instance... and yes, reply from beyond the grave here, sorry. I'm just looking over some replies I hadn't checked up on.

Please go.

When you state someone else's OPINION has "no business being published, anywhere," then it is you, yourself, who have lost journalistic integrity.

For almost 20 years, I earned my keep as an old-fashioned newspaper reporter; elsewhere in Bilerico's posting is the correct way in which a journalist would counter Mr. Gold's opinion posting - a point-by-point rebutting of Mr. Gold's viewpoint.

Not with a "censor him or I quit!" threat.

Please, ma'am, quit... before someone else offends you.

I have a feeling you didn't read the full article. He said it shouldn't have been published because of:

Gold's post is undeserving of publication anywhere, much less on an LGBT site, not because it's offensive but rather because it flies in the face of every scientific fact known about sex, gender, sexuality, and biology, and is a trite, uninspiring rehash of what has been said ad nauseam by (mostly) white, privileged, gay men for the past 30 years

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 12, 2009 3:58 PM

Eric, anyone who had "earned my keep as an old-fashioned newspaper reporter," for even a matter of weeks (which I have, by the way) would know instantly how false your statement is. The First Amendment (which exempts certain forms of speech, such as "crying Fire in a crowded theater") protects the press' right to freedom to publish without prior restraint, not a person's right to publish or spout falsehoods nor slander/libel.

Not only that, but facts and opinion are suppressed on a daily basis in newsrooms across this great nation of ours--which, once again, you would know if you'd actually worked as a reporter.

As for the "ma'am," either you're sight-impaired, which I would excuse, or it's a deliberate insult. Care to let us know which?


I apologize for the "ma'am" comment; it was completely misplaced. As a "mea culpa," I can only say I had deleted and re-written a line the original line of text in which the pronoun appeared and, in that context, was used correctly - I should have completely re-read the text prior to my sending the posting on for publication.

As I thought I had stated, my asking you to follow through on your treat to quit being a contributor to Bilerico was because you threatened to quit being a contributor to Bilerico based on the site's publication of someone else's opinion - an opinion that differed from yours.

Based on the postings I've seen of responses to Mr. Gold's posting, it appears his opinion on the subject is objected to by an overwhelming majority of Bilerico readers and contributors.

However, having a minority opinion - or even an opinion that is not based in fact - is not automatic disqualification for publication... just ask the former Governor of Alaska and the editors of "The Washington Post."

FurryCatHerder | December 12, 2009 6:21 PM

No, there are some opinions that are just plain WRONG. They do not advance the discourse, they do not foster understanding, they do not help any cause, they just plain HURT people.

If all Gold did was object to the freshly transitioned person's tendency towards overly exaggerated gender presentation, he might have gotten an ear (er, EYE) full of disagreements and statements that he was being a hypocrite, but he didn't. And he couldn't stop just shy of the two remarks that are guaranteed to produce a firestorm of controversy -- "deluded" and "mutilation".


Which homophobic writers do you think Bilerico should publish in the interest of not censoring their points of view?

Peter LaBarbera? Members of Westboro? exodus? If you're going to say this has value for us - I want to see those blessings are shared with you.

It's better for you. And it gives you the opportunity to educate them on gay issues in the comments section.

You'll love it!

Name a few that should be published here & do some serious advocay to see they have that opportunity and maybe I'll believe you're not bullshitting people. Likely, even yourself.


Are you not paying attention? You keep insisting that the call to take down (or never have published) Gold's piece is because he espoused an opinion different from ours.

First off, Bilerico posts opinions different from mine several times a week. Anyone who really could only handle hearing our own opinions repeated would have left long ago.

Second, read Brynn's post again. Read his response to you again. He's being as clear as possible that the objection is not based on the opinion expressed in Gold's piece but it's failure to meet even the most meager journalistic standards, not to mention the factual inaccuracy.

Now, I'm against censorship, but this is [a] matter of journalistic standards. Gold's post is undeserving of publication anywhere, much less on an LGBT site, not because it's offensive but rather because it flies in the face of every scientific fact known about sex, gender, sexuality, and biology... [emphasis added]

Don't tell me that in all your newspaper work you've never come across an article that was rejected based on merit. Nothing should be cut solely because it is a minority opinion, but just because an article is based on a minority opinion does not mean it is worthy of publication regardless of quality.

Oh, yes.

I'm paying attention; I'm noticing who are being vocal about the "wrongness" of Mr. Gold's position (which I've since tracked down and read, by the way, in a PDF file downloaded at Pam's).

I'm paying attention to just whom is being the most shrill; I'm drawing my own conclusions as to why.

I repeat, for the last time:

Any person may have an opinion; for that person, their opinion is as valid as any scientific fact with which they can be presented.

Bilerico chose to run Mr. Gold's opinion as, just that, Mr. Gold's opinion. Elsewhere in the Bilerico pages is posted the standard disclaimer of an opinion being voiced is not that of Bilerico, but rather that of the poster.

Instead of rebutting Mr. Gold's opinion, shrill voices were raised, objecting to the "facts" of Mr. Gold's opinion. Still more voices entered with their own opinions concerning those who don't immediately bow before the altar of "inclusion."

As I've said, I've since discovered Mr. Gold's column archived at "Pam's House Blend." I've read his OPINION, finished it, shrugged my shoulders and said "eh," then quickly forgot about it.

It was simply unremarkable and, certainly, not - in my opinion - worth all the fuss by those who have all but called for Mr. Gold's beheading, or those "infrequent" contributors who have threatened to quit Bilerico contributions pending some "final outcome" concerning Mr. Gold.

Why not just threaten to hold their breath until they turn blue? Who knows? Blue just might be their color.

As I've said, I've since discovered Mr. Gold's column archived at "Pam's House Blend." I've read his OPINION, finished it, shrugged my shoulders and said "eh," then quickly forgot about it.

Just curious, and checking something here.

You read that piece of writing, then shrugged your shoulders and said "eh", then forgot about it -- according to your quote there.

So I'm going to have to check this out:

You read a piece where someone says some really nasty people about a group that, in and of itself, is the same size as (if not larger) and includes large chunks of the GLB community.

You were not alarmed by it. You were not offended by it. You did not find it distasteful.

It did not have any personal impact on you as an individual.

On finishing it, you had the entire experience of it leave your mind, as if it was little more than a momentary encounter in a convenience store.

I'm asking, because I'd like to know, personally, if that's an accurate summation.

And the reason that I, personally, would like to know this is that I'm curious if its genuinely possible for you to have done so.

Right now, I doubt that you could.


As I said. "Eh."

It is, simply, one man's opinion - and an easily forgettable opinion, at that.

Sorry, but not everyone's struggle is my struggle, nor am I willing to make it mine.

Mr. Gold is, from what I understand, in his 90s. He is living gay history; he's lived through it all, including the days when every gay man was believed to be simply a "Christine Jorgensen" - just another man who wanted to be a woman.

(And before you start on me, yes, I'm quite aware the desire to be a member of the opposite gender is not what makes a person transgendered; I am merely citing the simplistic view lawmakers of the time had on the situation)

Mr. Gold may hold long standing animosities concerning that being the prevalent public view of gays for decades. Who knows?

I do know the man was born within 10 years of the sinking of the Titanic; he probably went to war against the Axis powers in WWII. It wouldn't have been until his 60s or 70s where simply being homosexual was finally decriminalized, nationally... and not until his 80s that homosexual sex was nationally decriminalized by the Supreme Court.

Other people, in other postings, have spoken of Mr. Gold's history in the gay rights movement; I don't know the man, I cannot speak to the accuracy of those claims. I do know, though, that just being nearly a century in age, he could not have NOT come into contact with some type of law enforcement action based on his sexual orientation.

His very existence helped pave the way for what few rights today's gays and lesbians (and, by extension, bisexuals and the transgendered) enjoy.

But, by all means, jump all over the man for daring to say what his life's experiences have led him to believe.

I've already done that, thank you, with credit due when deserved.

Your defense of him was interesting, at least, however unwarranted and irrelevant it is, since I did not ask you about him -- neither directly nor by implication.

And, to be frank, I find the evasion of what I did ask to be contrary to some of the positions you've espoused thus far in your defense of him.

I realize I do not write with brevity -- such is intentional to a small degree, as the concepts and things that concern me are not readily reduced.

So, while I appreciate the response that had nothing to do with my queries, I would like one that does, indeed, address them, as unlike many you may encounter, I am not so readily sent off the rails.

Please, answer what I asked.

As a reminder, my question is:

Is it true that you did the following:

You read a piece where someone says some really nasty people about a group that, in and of itself, is the same size as (if not larger) and includes large chunks of the GLB community.
You were not alarmed by it. You were not offended by it. You did not find it distasteful.
It did not have any personal impact on you as an individual.
On finishing it, you had the entire experience of it leave your mind, as if it was little more than a momentary encounter in a convenience store.

That's all I want to know at this time.

Fairly simple request. Rather surprised you talked around it, though...


My defense was not of him; as I've stated, repeatedly, I do not know the man.

My defense is he is entitled to his opinion, and to what he sees as facts to support his opinion.

In all the various "Ron Gold" threads, there has been one person who has calmly, rationally, rebutted Mr. Gold's words with their own. Everyone else has simply done the electronic equivalent of screaming and browbeating.

Now, because I defended Mr. Gold being allowed to have an opinion, you wish to know my opinion of his words so that you believe you can determine whether I support his words and, by extension, be the target of the rage shown to Mr. Gold in these threads.

Sorry. My opinion is just that: My opinion. I have not been solicited by the editors of this blog to submit an opinion piece on the issue, nor shall I volunteer one. Make whatever assumptions you like... and those assumptions, like Mr. Gold's, will be strictly your opinion.

This is so funny.

Toni, when I read his response to you, I get the image of a person pointing in one direction and yelling, "Look!" And, while your head turns to look, he runs the other way.


Do you commonly decide for other people what their motivations are for something, despite those motivations already being given and being different from what you state?

Because lying about me is a bad idea. You've repeatedly said that you do not know Mr. Gold, defended him, and yet you've magically gained the ability to read my mind.

Incorrectly, no less.

That's your second evasion of the question.

Last try:

Please answer the question I asked.

And this time try very hard not to ascribe motivations that are neither present nor accurate to me in asking.

Liars bother me.

Eric, I fully agree with you that Ron Gold has a right to his own opinion. What he does not have a right to, in my opinion, is to present his views in a manner which is offensive and hurtful, and particularly not in a forum like this one.

As both you and I well know (speaking as a former Co-Chair of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Trans and Allies Caucus), every media publication has style standards to which published content must adhere, be it the AP Stylebook or a stylebook created by and for that specific publication.

Here at Bilerico and other online forums, that usually takes the form of a Terms of Service agreement in which those style standards are clearly laid out and site users are required to agree to them as a condition of using the site.

As I stated in my own post on this, I don't believe Mr. Gold was held to those standards as closely as other Bilerico contributors are and that is what has led to the reaction we've seen to his post.

He does have every right to his opinion, but if he's going to present those opinions here, or in any other media organ, he should be expected to conform to the same rules as everyone else.

Brynn states:

"Eric, anyone who had 'earned my keep as an old-fashioned newspaper reporter,' for even a matter of weeks (which I have, by the way) would know instantly how false your statement is. The First Amendment (which exempts certain forms of speech, such as "crying Fire in a crowded theater") protects the press' right to freedom to publish without prior restraint, not a person's right to publish or spout falsehoods nor slander/libel.

Quite correct, Brynn - and if Bilerico had put forth Mr. Gold's words as fact, and not as Mr. Gold's opinion, then the editors of Bilerico could, possibly, find themselves in violation of the basic tenets of journalism.

However, that is not the case. As is duly noted, every contributor that is published by Bilerico is stating their own opinion.

For whatever reason - inciting possible reader responses, exposing Mr. Gold's beliefs to new readers or, possibly, simply giving one last forum to an elderly gay man - the editors of Bilerico invited, and published, Mr. Gold's opinion as nothing more than Mr. Gold's opinion.

Then the alarm went out; I have to question just how many of the persons who've ranted in the "reader's comment" section are actual long-time Bilerico readers, and how many are simply people who were asked by a handful of other posters to come help "stir up the shit.".

Is the theme being repeated in reader comment after reader comment truly a personal response - or an e-mail call to action? There's really no way of knowing, outside of the editors tracking those poster's IP addresses and comparing those IP addresses to previous traffic.

I, myself, have been a reader of Bilerico for years, though I've chosen to remain all but silent. I've not made any public comments before today, but over the years I have e-mailed a few contributors with some personal comments and requests. I remember the first time I ran across Bilerico, several years ago, and I found the name just a little humorous, as my partner (of 15 years) is named Bill... and I'm Eric.

Brynn continues:

"Not only that, but facts and opinion are suppressed on a daily basis in newsrooms across this great nation of ours--which, once again, you would know if you'd actually worked as a reporter."

I was a free-lance reporter in the California Bay Area, and have been by-lined in newspapers from Washington, DC, to San Jose, CA. In addition, I authored two opinion columns which ran, primarily, in the Bay Area; though they also appeared sporadically in other publications. I've been bylined in "The Advocate," and "Out Magazine," I also have my share of rejections from those publications. In addition, I ghosted a book for another gay newspaper reporter who resided in the Bay Area when that newspaper reporter became to ill to continue working on that book. I am contractually obligated to not reveal the title of that book. I can, however, reveal it was a NYT Bestseller and one, I'd wager, that is on a majority of bookshelves in gay persons' homes.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 8:51 PM

Eric, opinion or news is irrelevant. As others have stated, publications have standards, quality and truth commonly among them. Gold had no guarantee, even if his piece was solicited, that it would be published if it did not conform to those standards. Heck, even if it had, he would still have no guarantee of publication.

If you want to compare dick-size, I am a graduate of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, have worked as a paid reporter at a daily newspaper, have bylines in Newsweek, the SF Chronicle, the (former) SF Examiner Sunday Magazine, and the Village Magazine in Ireland, among others. You may well have bylines in the publications you mention, but you're still posturing on a topic you know nothing about. Otherwise, you would not still be arguing the points you are.

Mr. Caffey,

Please do not presume to lecture me; do not offer as "fact" your misreading of journalistic ethics, especially since your "facts" are easily disproved with a simple scan of any major daily's opinion section.

Notice carefully what I said, and have been saying.

I did NOT refer to Mr. Gold's writing as anything but Mr. Gold's opinion, and have, in fact, referred to the general disclaimer concerning a person having their opinion published on Bilerico.

Now, if Mr. Gold's writings had been presented as an EDITORIAL - in other words as representing the opinion of Bilerico, and being composed by an editor to represent the site's statement - then, yes, the site has the responsibility to meet all rules of professional ethics, including all necessary fact checking.

If you do not know the difference, then your "graduate degree" from UCBerk was an incredible waste of someone's money; you might have been better off attending night classes at some Learning Annex, somewhere.

So, Brynn, you've bylined in the the old Hearst SF Examiner, as well as in the Chron, huh? Well, then, Brynn, you might want to update your own profile here at Bilerico from just one year ago.

Forgotten what it's said? Here... let me remind you... with some caps added to provide emphasis...

Brynn graduated from UC Berkeley with a Masters Degree in Journalism in 1992 during one of the worst recessions to hit the industry. Local newspapers, like the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle, laid off a third of their editorial staffs the year before; those seasoned reporters then competed for jobs with Brynn's graduating class. His high-school age daughter was freaking out at the prospect of her mom becoming a man, while Brynn freaked out at the prospect of transitioning in a newsroom.

Everyone following along so far? Good... cause here comes a good part (again, emphasis added):

The latter NEVER CAME TO PASS, AS RENT CAME DUE AND BRYNN FELL BACK ON HIS OLD STANDBY, OFFICE WORK, WHERE HE HAS REMAINED TRAPPED EVER SINCE. Blogging keeps his hand in writing, as well as authoring the occasional column or piece for diverse publications. When not writing, you can frequently find Brynn leafleting for or against various causes, including No on Prop 8, Shell to Sea (in Ireland) and against the war in Iraq.

So, Brynn... were you lying in your response to me concerning your c.v.? Or were you lying in your interview last year in that "Know Your Contributor" piece?

Since, in your response to me, you go out of your way to claim publication status in the "old" SF Examiner - the nightly publication, once run by the Hearst Corporation, that sold out in March, 2000; eight full years before the "Know Your Contributor" where your working for a newspaper "never came to pass."

Let's not get carried away with making this personal. Don't accuse someone of lying until you've given them a chance to explain. You may perceive a disparity that isn't there and jumping to calling someone a liar is a pretty heavy accusation. You shouldn't hurl it lightly.

Besides, it's just becoming personal and doesn't really further the conversation. I don't want this devolving into finger pointing and insult throwing.


Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 14, 2009 2:03 AM

Thank you, Jerame. I appreciate your comment.

As much as this is exactly the type of exchange I don't want to engage in, I feel like Eric's odious accusation must be addressed.

There is no contradiction in what I said in this thread and my bio.

UC Berkeley J School can validate my graduation, if you care to contact them.

A Google search can validate that I have bylines in Newsweek from the early 1990's; if you want to see that some of them are cover stories, make a trip to a good library--I don't know how long the magazines are kept, but I'm sure they exist on microfiche somewhere. The cover story I authored in the 1992 SF Examiner's Sunday magazine is no longer online, but references to it in bibliographies are, and I'm sure it can be found in a library. I worked at a daily newspaper between my first and second years of journalism school. I wrote for The Village when I lived in Ireland, in 2005. I've been published elsewhere, too, in gay weeklies, the Chronicle, a book of various writings in Ireland, a special edition of Chrysalis, and so forth.

As to what originally started this pissing match: Eric claimed that "For almost 20 years, I earned my keep as an old-fashioned newspaper reporter." Now, newspaper reporters--and I've known more than a few--are a cynical, worldly-wise bunch, who are only too familiar with the realities of censorship in newsrooms by editors, publishers, copy-editors, and--indirectly--advertisers. Not to mention self-censorship. NOBODY who actually worked in a newsroom for even a few weeks would make the statements regarding censorship that Eric has here. That he has stooped to the stunt here of misconstruing my bio and calling me a liar only confirms to me that I know what I'm talking about.

I never said, as Eric did, that I "earned my keep" as a journalist for 20 years. I did earn my keep that way, albeit briefly. The exigencies of the collapsing profession, a kid to support, etc. etc. insured the period was brief.

But I have credentials from one of the best journalism schools in the nation, I have bylines in reputable national magazines, and I have worked broadly in the field.

And for the record, this is the LAST time I will reply to any comments made by Eric Payne, no matter how inaccurate or odious.

This is also the last time I will address Brynn, but once again, he is changing horses midstream.

Never, in any of the postings in this thread, did I use the term "censorship," nor did I ever discuss "censorship."

I have ALWAYS said Mr. Gold is entitled to his opinion. Bilerico is entitled to e-publish Mr. Gold's opinion, as long as they wish. Bilerico provides the customary disclaimer that all published comments are the opinions of the writers and not the opinions of Bilerico.

Is there censorship in the media? Yes, there is.

Are publishers OBLIGATED to censor opinion pieces? No, they are not.

Are publishers obligated to fact-check and revise EDITORIALS? Yes, as editorials are the "voice of the paper," and as such must adhere to the laws of journalism.

In this instance, would it have been wise for Bilerico to have asked Mr. Gold for revisions? Possibly... I don't know what ultimate goal Bilerico hoped to achieve with the publication of Mr. Gold's opinion.

But, since it was Mr. Gold's opinion, and the writing in question was an "opinion piece," Bilerico's only two choices would have been to ask Mr. Gold to make revisions/clarifications or to reject the piece, outright.

They could not have made changes to the text and then published it as Mr. Gold's opinion.


You are correct, and I apologize for using the term "lying."

I should have simply pointed to the discrepancy and allowed for individual readers to form their own conclusion.

The two texts speak for themselves.

Thank you for your perspective, Brynn. I think it is really important for voices like yours to be heard. Not just in general, but even more specifically in the coming weeks of dealing with this situation.

Please, do stay.


thank you for a thoughtful and important response to this who debacle.

i am in agreement with you, as a contributor, with the spirit and letter of your piece

About as deliberate, I imagine, as appropriating a transmisogynistic slur, tr***y, or even better, trotting out the michfest trope, "women-born-female." You'll forgive me, but I don't believe I was the byproduct of chili night. And, for that matter, you'd be in the abject minority of those who're educated about trans issues to assume that gender is wholly environmental and that something must have made me trans sometime after birth.

I think an issue some people have been having with this site over the last several months is due to a lack of understanding about what Bilerico is.

The tagline says "daily experiments in LGBTQ," but what does that mean? Traditional political activism? Philosophical and cultural discussion?
Making posts about whatever catches the writer's fancy at the moment? Providing a platform for ideas that are "challenging" or "hateful," depending on your perspective?

I admit to being under the assumption that Bilerico was a "safe space" focusing on issues of interest to progressive LGBTs. Bil Browning's post clarified things for me, and I'll adjust my expectations accordingly.


Hugs. If I were you, I wouldn't feel obliged either way (to stay or to go). Gold's piece was desperate, and I cannot believe it was ever published. Keep yourself safe first, and make your decision from there.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 10:11 PM

Stephen, thanks for commenting! It means a lot. I hope you're staying dry!! Hugs right back at you.

After having faced attack after attack from so many "allies" over the years, I decided "There's No Future Being The 'T' in LGBT" (trademarked).
All kidding aside, there really doesn't seem to be any future in it. During transition, we usually gain support from others in the varied trans communities. Afterwards, if you are straight (FtM attracted to women, MtF attracted to men) you are only a member of the LGBT/TQA extended community -- if you wish to be.
Post-op MtF folks (AKA - WBT), attracted to women, are members of the lesbian community (if ALLOWED to be), and gay Ftm's (attracted to men) are members of the gay male community (also, if allowed to be).
As a result, the seemingly natural alliance of LGB and T folks really isn't.
We do have common needs and interests and many straight folks tend to equate us all -- but it just doesn't work that way.
Perhaps, if some gay guys and lesbians were not so frightened by us (don't worry, it isn't catching -- and we do not recruit), and some militant straight sisters (MtF's) were not so homophobic, we could work together on matters that concern us all -- but the last 35-40 years it's been the same old, same old, with various T folks being seen as less than, less human than, their LG "brothers and sisters".
For all that time there has been no future being the "T" in LGBT.
That could change -- but as long as there are posts like Ronald Gold's, or other activists see us only as some sort of "shock troop", to send out there as point people ((but can't be bothered to invite us to the afterparty -- and, these are our "friends") it would require some changes on all sides (there are more than two).
For one thing, I suspect the attempt to include the very different sorts of "T" folks into one big old, "umbrella" called "Transgender", was simply a way to put us all in one easy to shunt aside category -- even though the difference between all the different T's is huge. It's also a way to keep FtM's from being seen as men and MtF's from being recognized as women.
"Transgender" seems to be a way to make it easy for many folks (straight, gay, lesbian, bi, etc.) to dismiss us, set us aside, and not have to worry their tired little brains, or use the same powers of critical thinking they demand of people who do not accept THEM.
As I've said -- very little future being the T in LGBT -- at least for the T folks. Perhaps that's why so many just leave the extended LGBT community

I've mentioned this before elsewhere, but all of the various groups that fall under the Transgender Umbrella have one, and sometimes only one, common defining attribute: They transgress societal expectations for a stereotypical male or female.

Like it or not, following this definition gay men and women are clearly transgender. That is what Ronald Gold's post was really about: Denial.

He wishes to distance lesbians, gays and bisexuals and by extension, himself, from transsexuals and transvestites (and it is safe to assume, all other forms of appearance-based gender transgression). And that is what his denial is really about: Maintaining Privilege.

There is no other reason for him to play this "I got mine now get lost, freaks" game of his.

Brynn, others that have commented have far more standing than I and have said it better, but here's my view: Take care of yourself and your loved ones first, your trans brothers and sisters next, and the larger umbrella when it allows. Greater societal needs you get to pick and choose. The question today is to decide where Bilerico fits into your world.

Personally I hope you stay, for what it's worth coming from someone who didn't even have an account here until and because of Ronald Gold's rant. A slight correction though: Aravosis wrote his piece for Salon after banning a whole lot of people from Americablog for daring to contradict him on ENDA and barney Frank threw us under the bus prior to that, not afterwards. I left Americablog after having been there since it's launch that day and I've never bothered to check back in. At least Bilerico made a correction, however belatedly. Also I get what you're saying about the right wingers. I've only been posting in the comments here a couple of days and I've run across several people who are deliberately obtuse and unpleasant. I don't know how long I'll hang out here either.

We've spoken privately about this and likely will continue to do so. The one thing I will say to you publicly is this: What, exactly, does leaving accomplish if your goal is broader and better understanding for trans issues? How is silencing your voice helping the cause of inclusion if the LGBT community so often leaves out the T? I don't see how it helps anything and only serves to further isolate the trans community from the broader LGBT community.

Also, to anyone who thinks this was done as a publicity stunt or for the hits - that's just kinda messed up. Who wants thousands of people descending on their well-respected blog to call them names? Who wants hundreds of nasty, vitriolic emails full of threats and name-calling? Who wants Twitter to light up with how terrible of a person you are when the real culprit is someone else?

Especially in the name of hits. Bah - our traffic has been on an upswing for weeks. You can watch the RSS subscriber number on the front page of the site - it fluctuates daily, but the overall trend is up, not down.

Our traffic has been up - way up - since the end of October. Why on earth would we need a publicity stunt when things are going well anyway? It just doesn't make sense.

Put simply, it was a poor judgement call and nothing more. There is nothing sinister, there is no trend of trans exclusion, and there is nothing about quitting or leaving that's going to solve the problem.

Anyone who knows Bil or me knows we are trans inclusive in every way of our lives - it's not just about the blog - we live it every day. We live it with our friends, we live it with our activism and we live it with our blog.

If one mistake is all it takes to lose the friendships or loyalties we've built over the years, then that says more about those folks than it does Bil or me or this blog.

Whatever the reason for the mistake, you're right.

It's almost if people aren't willing to accept the humanity of the situation- there have been elements in the conversations here recently hell-bent on punishment, rage and revenge. There have also been thoughtful yet angry pieces and comments which have made excellent points and didn't reduce themselves to the level of name-calling and shaming.

What to do?

Advice I was given years ago that has held up time and time again when I have hit trouble spots in my life: "Stay vigilant, do your best, follow your heart, treat others with respect and work for understanding". I see that being done here more often than not.

Maybe we all just needed a reminder.

D Gregory,
You said, "hell-bent on punishment, rage and revenge." Let's take a reality look at the trans community as it relates to Bilerico, or any other blog for that matter.

In the real world, many trans people who Guest Blog, contribute or comment here are living hand to mouth. I don't know how many of the trans contributors here are without jobs, and have been discriminated more time then we can count. I'm willing to bet that it is a high percentage of trans contributor are under employed or unemployed then any of the other letters in the acronym.

Many of the trans people who comment have seen and felt hate in the real world up close and personal. The mere thought of fighting back would be a death sentence. They go through this for years on end, with all the anger pent up inside them.

Along comes Ron Gold and his hateful comments about trans people. It appears on a computer screen from a writer that is hundreds, or even thousands of miles away. He cannot reach through the computer screen and fight back if one responds.

From the safety of our computer chairs, we can finally fight back without the fear of physical reprisal. All of our pent up frustration brought on by our families, our so-called friends, our co-worker, people in the grocery store, people at the gas station, etc, come flowing out. Some of it comes out in a thoughtful manner, but others come out with the level of hate many have felt for years. It is human nature at it's most raw form.

If you have no inkling of what trans people go through, then don't assume we come back with hateful comments because it's fun. Remember, when you finally accepted that you were gay, no one could tell that you were any different. But, start transitioning and everyone knows. You don't get to select who to come out to. Please keep that in mind when you see the pain and anger flowing through words on the screen. And, try to understand the person typing them.

Hear! Hear! It's hard to explain without a common frame of reference but well done!

I am well aware of all the points you mentioned.
In my comment, I did not specifically mention any group of people, trans or otherwise- I was simply making an observation. In your hyper-defensive posture it's understandable that you would think I was being offensive or insensitive, but that was certainly not my intention.
I know no one can ever completely understand the experience of another, and in fact, that was the point I was trying to make.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 12, 2009 8:09 PM

Jerame, first let me say that I really respect and like you and Bil, and I believe that your desire to include transgender folks here at Bilerico is genuine. But maybe the desire needs to manifest in a deeper grasp of trans issues than it has to date.

You ask me, “What, exactly, does leaving accomplish if your goal is broader and better understanding for trans issues?” and I ask you back, “What, exactly, does staying accomplish if my goal is broader and better understanding for trans issues?” Trans contributors and commentors have been going over and over the basics (“Trans 101”) for years here and yet Gold’s piece, which hits the most basic and unsophisticated hot buttons, passed editorial scrutiny and ended up published.

The regular transphobic commentors don’t want to get it. Fine. But how could Bil have read Gold’s piece and not realized at once what trash it was and what deep hurt it would cause? As trans members of the LGBT community, we’re expected to understand and respect lesbian and gay issues and to avoid obvious insults and hot-buttons. (Bisexuals are another matter: they, like us, have never truly been accepted by lesbians and gays and fight ongoing battles for inclusion. But that's another discussion.)

Where is the effort on the parts of lesbians and gay men? Isn’t it time they started doing a bit of heavy lifting, researching on their own to move beyond a simplistic understanding of trans issues? And those of you who do, this is not directed at you, nor am I saying that Bil and Jerame's grasp of the issues is simplistic. But something is missing in Bil's understanding, or Gold's post wouldn't have passed muster.

Which is why I raised the issue of site hits and controversy. How could I not wonder when I saw Gold’s piece, 300+ comments, and thought back on all what trans folks have been saying here for the two years I’ve been present? If we'd been heard during that time, rejecting Gold's piece should have been a no-brainer.

I need to clarify: this isn’t about “friendships or loyalties.” I like and respect you, Bil, and the others I've connected with here as much as ever. And although I was initially angry, I’m not threatening to resign in a pique, the equivalent of “Let me take my ball and go play elsewhere.” I’m seriously wondering, in light of this piece showing up on an LGBT site, exactly what I’m accomplishing with the hours and hours I spend, some of them going over personally painful and difficult issues and memories, to put my thoughts online. Is there something about the medium itself—maybe the anonymity?—that undermines an ever more complex understanding of and dialog on difficult issues? That encourages instead a never-ending loop of the same superficial points and repetition of ideas? I don’t know.

Thank you to all those who have urged me to stay. And I appreciate that I’ve had space here these two years, and that Bil and Jerame published my piece in its entirety even though it harshly criticized the project which is deeply dear to their hearts, and to which they devote so much time and effort. That means a lot.

I honestly don't know what I'm going to do.

Thanks for the considered comment, Brynn.

I'd say that your ability to accomplish anything is diminished by leaving. Yes, there is work to be done and the work is hard and it feels like you're spinning your wheels at times. This post didn't help that feeling at all. Trust me, I know. As I've said in other threads, it was my strong recommendation to not post it.

I'm not trying to defend the post's existence or worthiness, but it is most definitely a conversation the LGBT community needs to have. Gold is certainly not the only person out there with these twisted views of trans people - how do I know this? Because we've gotten almost as many people writing in to say how disappointed they are the post was taken down as we got people writing to say how nasty and awful we are.

Prejudice and ignorance are major barriers to overcome when working in activism and particularly in LGBT activism. We have it both in and outside of our uniquely diverse community. Your voice is important because these thoughts and beliefs still exist and shrinking away from them only allows them to grow.

There IS effort on the part of lesbians and gay men. It's not as much as it needs to be or should be, but it is there. This blog, for all its flaws, is a testament to that. Yes, a mistake was made that hurt a lot of people, but overall, you won't find this kind of engagement between the L, the G, the B and the T anywhere else.

I realize it is easier to break trust than to build it, but honestly - we've spent years working on trans issues and being a trans ally. It angers me beyond belief that all of that can be swept away by one fool's post that was published with good intentions.

Yes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and that's not enough to brush away the hurt. I know that too - but knowing that the intentions were sound, that we have a strong record of trans inclusion both on and offline, and that some very strong trans voices are our friends and are sticking by us should, I think, weigh heavily in anyone's mind that this wasn't just for kicks.

As I said in another thread, Bil WANTED this guy to get his ass handed to him. We discussed this idea alone for over 20 minutes! Again, we fell on different sides of whether the post was too demeaning and hateful to generate meaningful conversation - but I'm telling you - the intentions were very much about helping educate the LGB community.

Yes, it points to a lack of understanding of trans issues that it was posted. There is no doubt about that. But is a lack of understanding reason to now say someone who has been working so hard for trans-inclusiveness isn't really an ally? Is it OK to apply motivations to someone's actions without knowing or asking why they did something? I don't think so, but that's sure what has been happening since this post broke. (No, not all of that is pointed at you, Brynn - I'm just very frustrated at how this is being handled.)

I'll leave you with this thought for now - if you cannot give someone you like and respect some wiggle room when they fuck up, how will you ever maintain a bevy of trans-allies? If we're all on a journey of understanding these issues, how does attacking or leaving make the alliance stronger?

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 12, 2009 11:44 PM

Jerame, thank you for your considered response(s), too.

So you said elsewhere that you posted the piece so that Gold would get his “ass handed to him”? I totally missed that tidbit. It definitely puts a different spin on the matter and greatly helps me to understand why you view this as an error in judgment rather than a failure to "get it." My impression was that Bil disagreed with Gold's piece but didn’t view it as that inflammatory so out of respect for Gold's age and standing in the community, went forward with it.

I still don't know what I'm going to do, but I need you (and Bil) to hear me: this is not about you and most other projectors. Really. Gold's post and the accompanying storm brought to a head serious doubts I've had simmering that this medium simply does not change minds. Look at this comment thread: many, many supporters—and I thank them! But they essentially agreed with me beforehand. Then Valerie--misinterpreting my words to the degree I wonder if she even read my piece. Further making me wonder that, she mentions “Slate,” when I said “Salon.” And FURTHER making me wonder, she tries to engage me in an argument I said IN THE PIECE I don't want to have.

I know from literally years of experience Valerie would never hear what I have to say, no matter how many hours I labor over my words. The only thing she wants is for me to validate her viewpoint, which isn't going to happen.

Then GallingGalla, going off-thread to call me a child-rape apologist, thereby dredging up another post I wrote that generated little worthwhile, reasoned debate but garnered loads of ugly, personal attacks. And finally, Eric, falsely claiming he worked as a reporter for 20 years, Ma'aming me on a thread dealing with trans alienation, then claiming after I called him on it that it was merely an accident. The sad thing is, considering how carefully (NOT!) many people seem to read posts, maybe it WAS an accident.

As much as I appreciate people who express their support and agreement (and I do!), I don’t want to just preach to the choir.

On the other hand, I’m terminally tired of people who can’t reason or use rhetoric, so they resort to nasty personal attacks, hiding behind Web anonymity.

And finally, I long to be intellectually challenged in comment threads on positions I take, not forced to explain the basics over and over. Sure, it happens. But does the frequency with which it happens justify the amount of time and effort I give it?

That’s what I have to decide.

Why would some think Bilerico would post inflammatory or controversial things simply to generate more traffic? Perhaps because you have before?

There have been several posts of nude celebrities meant to capture hits, and there have been several posts that unapologetically contained language whose sole intent was to capture search engine hits.

So why would we think this was done to stir the pot in the name of hits? And why would some of us be thinking you are like so many who have done something wrong-not sorry you did it, but sorry you got caught?

Part of your argument is flawed - we'd have to "get caught" to get the hits, otherwise - it's just an unremarkable post that falls off the front page like every other one.

Moreover, all blogs consider their links and keywords to help draw in search traffic because you want to help those folks looking topics you cover find your content that's relative to their search. What good is publishing a blog if you don't make it easily found and accessible to those looking for the information?

Also, putting up pictures and videos you know will be popular is also pretty much standard fare anywhere. If that great video or funny picture draws someone to the site for the first time and they stick around, it was worth it. We don't care about a day or two bump - we care about building loyal readers who come back day in and day out.

What isn't standard, and is rather insulting to insinuate, is to intentionally harm part of your community just for a few eyeballs - do you really think the traffic bump we get for a couple days is going to make us rich or something? It may have generated an extra $5 this month, at best. This is not exactly a well-paying occupation.

And what good is a few extra dollars if it drives away readers in the long run? If we don't maintain our credibility, we won't have readers no matter how many stunts we were to pull. Stunts don't build loyal readers. Loyal readers are what build a good blog, not big controversies and dustups.

It's just not a credible argument.

You ask why Bilerico would risk losing core viewers in return for extra hits. Your argument is based upon the premise that you thoroughly thought this matter through before you posted the article. You have since acknowledged that you did not.

My argument is, and remains, that you posted this article to stir controversy and attention. You simply thought the ire would be directed at the poster and not Bilerico.

If you find that insulting, you should be upset with a lot more people than me-because a lot of us are simply thinking that Bilerico's latest attention grabbing stunt got too big and bit you in the ass.

Chuck, clearly there is no amount of discussion or explanation that will change you already formed opinions. You obviously have misinformation and have decided to form an opinion based on your own conjecture rather than on fact, reason, and by gathering credible information.

You clearly don't know much about running a blog or you'd know that you're just talking nonsense.

But please, I invite you to start your own blog and spend three years of hard work, every day for no pay and have others come and piss all over your work and having them say that "pulling stunts" is more important than the real work we do.

It's still a stupid argument and says more about you and your motives than it does any of us.

The First Amendment does not require a publisher to entertain every point of view. Gold's blog should not have been published because it is mean-spirited and factually inaccurate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a publisher refusing to allow a contributing author to express views predicated on erroneous scientific assertions that are demonstrably harmful to the community that the publisher seeks to serve.

Frankly Brynn, if I were you I would quit, for all the reasons you cited. If I were a regular contributor here, I already would have quit.

Then again, my post on my dealing with my own mental heath issues -- mentioning trans suicides and the completed suicide of Mike Penner -- posted on the same day as Gold posting a piece that denies my trans peers and my existence. That was a sock in my gut.

I hate that my post that touched on trans suicides went up on Bilerico on the same day as that vile and horrid post by Ronald Gold. I'm sick about it.

In 2009, there is just no good editorial defense of posting that hate screed of Gold's.

Autumn, we don't know each other really, but from what I've read of your work, I have to say I'm disappointed in your attitude here. This isn't a time to throw up our hands and go home, it's a time to reexamine policies, fix what isn't working, and do our best to ensure the problem doesn't repeat itself.

As someone with your experience as a well-read trans blogger, I'd have expected you to be far more interested in working to help make things better for the future than to just give up and walk away.

How very disappointing.


Since I haven't made it clear otherwise, allow me to do so now.

I'm staying.

A few weeks back I wrote two posts on why it is that I am active at all. It does me no good, personally, and, indeed, all I get from it is harm.

For me to leave, now, would be, in fact, a violation of what I believe and why I am willing to stand up in the face of that harm.

I have a great amount of secondary privilege -- I pass for white, I pass as a woman, I'm over educated, I come from a somewhat well to do background.

All of that privilege allows me to just chuck it all and go away.

Some would like that, lol.

Bu I will not. At least, not yet, lol.

I'll keep going, and I'll be here.

I'd like to have you here, because I value people, regardless of their opinions.

Over the next several weeks, I'm going to write a lot of articles, and all of them are due to the same reason.

What was written was terrible.

The lesson I am taking from it is that there needs to be a lot more education, and that most of it right now needs to be *inside* the community.

So that such posts eventually aren't even considered being written -- which, ultimately, is the real problem.

It will be nice to read your stuff, but it appears you want to take on the education process on your own. You know that isn't the right way to approach this. Several trans contributors need to stand up and do their part, because each person brings a different viewpoint, a different perspective and a different experience to the words they write. You have a great perspective, but you are just one person.

True enough.

But I can't make anyone else do it.

Nor do I wish to.

I'd like others to join me in that. But I'm going to do it anyway, with or without their help.

Because even one person is better than none.

GallingGalla | December 12, 2009 8:10 PM

Damn, Brynn, with friends like you, who needs enemies?

"trying to convince a woman who lived 40 years as a man that she actually IS different than women born female"

What the eff is this othering, misogynist crap? This language is just as bad as Gold's. You are saying that because I did not transition until age 45 that i am a "fake"?

Heh. about as much as I can expect from someone who defends child rapists.

cul8r. i for one will not miss you.

I think you missed the point. He was saying that doing that is a poor use of time and energy -- in other words, stating that someone like the cause of all this doing that is really a waste of our time.

I've tried to leave a couple of replies. One supposes they may have been too long or heated, but my supposition was threefold:

1. Brynn, you don't get to adjudicate who is woman and who is woman-off-in-this-special-class and, by extension, expected to find her own safe spaces away from all the 'women born female' out there, simply as the polite thing to do by a good little tra**y, which brings me to my second point:

2. "Tranny" is a transmisogynistic slur. I'm sure at some point you've had it hurled at you, just as lots of us dykes have been called fa**ots before, and a couple of subversivists who liked to presume they knew me better than I did, have saw fit to call me a br**der along with those other slurs, but I don't freely reclaim those other words, you know why? Basic style guide rules at the moment. We'll get to the point where we can all reclaim slurs one day, but until then quit the mansplaining. You have no special insight on what it is to be a woman, just what it's like to have the world treat you as one and be expected to be one against your will. Still a man. Own your identity and stop policing ours. You want to be an ally? Great. Be one. Stop using slurs that are, with their diminutive and sexualizing tone, aimed at trans women.

3. What's with the "either you're with us or you're against us." mentality? No publication, simply by virtue of having a good degree of [privilege-fail] is a [privilege] magazine. They have to actually go out of their way to make the people that a large segment of the public that they exercise privilege over feel excluded. That doesn't make Slate a 'straight magazine' any more than that makes Bilerco a 'cis website' both are, in many ways, full of privilege fail, but, unlike say, MichFest, they don't go out of their way to exclude us, they just also aren't devoted to *our* issues. They're devoted to a different readership which intersects with ours.



Valerie, to answer your technical concerns:

First, if you're not commenting with an account (your comment has a green background, so I know you didn't,) your comment is automatically held for moderation until someone has a chance to read it. Right now, we're getting a few hundred of these such comments a day and keeping up isn't easy. (We do this because of SPAM, not because of censorship - comments with verified accounts always go up immediately.)

Also, if you include a URL in your comment - even if you are a registered commenter - your post is held for moderation. Sometimes the spammers create an account and then make comments that SEEM real, but then link to a porn site or some kind of scam.

There are no limits to how long a comment can be, either. Go look around and you'll see some comments that are longer than any post we've ever had on the site.

So, if you want your comments to go up immediately - go create an account, but keep in mind that URLs will still kick a comment over to moderation.

Actually, Valerie, if you make yourself familiar with Brynn's bio I think you'll see that he actually has excellent reason to think that he has "special insight on what it is to be a woman."

That being said, can we can please get past purity narratives here? And also not assume that every trans person has the exact same politics about every single aspect of the community? That includes whether or not "tranny" is a slur - it is for some, yes, but it's also not, for others, and the term could be debated endlessly, much like the term "queer."

But to the matter of leaving: Brynn, you know I want you to stay. Not just because you bring an important perspective to trans issues, but because you're willing to explore and think and write about the issues that few others here - or elsewhere - will touch, like the Polanksi matter and Iran. If the queer blogosphere is to survive in any healthy form, it needs more people like you who are actually engaged participants in the *whole* world, and who are not limited in their perspective to "purely" queer issues.

As for the matter of Gold's post, please, everyone, let's all appreciate that we all have different and complicated and sometimes intersecting perspectives on this and start thinking about what this means to our lives and activism outside the blogosphere. Hurling petty insults at Brynn (and that's not aimed at you, Valerie, but at others who've taken this occasion to make snarky comments about Brynn) is not going to further a mature conversation.


I think you're missing a big part of the complaint Valarie is raising here. Use of the term "tranny" in this context is not just about reclaiming vs not reclaiming, the way queer usually is. But there's a gender aspect to it. Tranny as a slur is most often used against women (cis or trans) who are seen as failing or overly fake in their femininity. Anne Coulter is a perfect example. Have you ever heard someone use "tranny" as a slur against a man they knew to be cis?

I discuss this in my post last year Is tranny offensive?. And several other folks have done a great job explaining the gender aspect as well, as I recall recently seeing voz point out that trans men should have the same right to reclaim "tranny" as men in general have the right to reclaim "bitch." Also, Valarie points out above,

trans men throwing around the word...tranny, like a hispanic using the n* word, since there's some superficially similar privilege and oppression, let's just ignore the sexualization and diminutive transmisogyny the word carries.

Personally, I don't believe in telling people what language they can and can't use in this case. But I do tell people that it's very important to be aware of the impact your language will have. When folks who aren't trans women use the term "tranny" like this, it has the impact of making trans women feel less welcome. And I was concerned about that when I saw it.

So when someone complains it's not because they want all trans people to use the same language, it's because they are acknowledging the sexist overtones and the disproportionate impact it has on trans women. It's worth noting that the two of us who mention being concerned about it as an issue are both trans women, and two dismissing it as a non-issue are both not.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 12, 2009 11:56 PM

Tobi, I may not be a trans woman, but I am a trans man. I lived the first 40 years of my life being perceived as a woman in a female body, which in my opinion, makes me quite different than men born male.

Feel free to disagree with me on the merits of my statements-- above and in my post in which the gender/sex were opposite. But I stand by my right to make the statements, and to use the word "tranny," which is how I refer to myself.


Not challenging you're right to self-identification whatsoever, just urging caution and detailing the reasoning. I won't tell you that you can't use the word, but it's clearly triggered a few folks to have a very different response then what you wanted.

And again, not saying that there isn't a difference between being cis and trans -- there obviously is. But "explaining" that someone is "different from a woman born female" is very likely to be interpreted poorly and feel condescending. And I'm not sure if it's the exact same as telling a trans man that they are different from a man born male, given the specific history of transmisogyny in women's communities.

I think the two things play off each other to create a very different message than what you intend.

And finally, I think you know this but it bears saying, I'm not attacking you or trying to get a jab in edgewise. Just trying to help give you that intellectual stimulation in the comments.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 1:33 AM

Tobi, respectfully, I do not view this argument over the labels trans, tranny, etc. to be intellectually stimulating anymore. I grew tired of it several years back, after engaging in it with no progress for years. I am now so tired of it, I have no patience. I embrace the word tranny; I know others don't. I did not apply it here toward others, and I make a practice of not applying it toward others unless I know they, too, embrace it.

Please, be my guest: try arguing with the people here who are offended by my use of the word that there IS a difference between cis women and trans women, and that they are in the latter category. Good luck.

I did not apply it here toward others, and I make a practice of not applying it toward others unless I know they, too, embrace it.

Quoting you from your OP:

That Bil published and stands by the piece, allegedly as an attempt to further dialog, I can only read as misguided, disingenuous, or a calculated move to throw trannies under the bus yet again in the interests of controversy and site hits. [Emphasis mine]

Unless you have a habit of referring to yourself in the third person or otherwise have become multiple people, you referred to more than just yourself with the use of the word. You used it to apply to others. Others who do not embrace it.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 12:34 PM

Unless you have a habit of referring to yourself in the third person or otherwise have become multiple people, you referred to more than just yourself with the use of the word. You used it to apply to others.

So, Lucy, in an attempt to twist my words to make your point, am I to understand that you have come to IDENTIFY with the transgender movement? For those are the people--myself included--I was referring to. Welcome to our ranks! I will now expect to receive no future comments insisting that you are NOT trans, transgender, transsexual, etc. and want absolutely nothing to do with our political movement nor struggle.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 12:49 PM

And, btw, the exchange with Lucy is exactly the bullshit type of exchange I find so utterly pointless. Any person who wasn't out to deliberately misconstrue in order to present YET AGAIN a particular dogma, would have understood by context that I was not directing "trannies" toward her nor any person who did not already identify with the term. These anti-trans fanatics, along with their gay equivalent who deny trans existence and denounce our inclusion in "their" movement, have come to dominate every trans related post at Bilerico. Maybe the only solution is to ignore them: a choice they make exceedingly difficult by being as insulting as possible to logic, reason, and person.

I don't know what or who you think I am, but I'm caught between laughing at the idea of *me* being an HBS type who rejects being transgender and being outraged at the idea that because I label myself transgender that I must allow you to use a word I find a slur to describe me. Fortunately, the laughter is currently winning.

Just so we're crystal clear now: I'm a transgender woman (I also am a transsexual woman, but that's really neither here nor there, but just in case you decide that it does mean something...). But I do not like being referred to by that word you used as I find it a transmisogynistic slur. Got that? Transgender, tick. "Tr***y", no.

So this is not a "bullshit exchange". This is about me not appreciating you using that word to refer to me. And, if you're somehow about to explain that because I reject a word I consider a slur that this means you weren't referring to me, don't. The context shows that you intended to include all transgender people not just those who agree with the word "tr***y".

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 10:01 PM

Lucy, if I am mistaken and you aren't the person who has previously commented on many posts I've written here and elsewhere, then I genuinely apologize.

But I stand by my statement that I was not referring in the quote you mentioned to anyone who disavows the term.

And having spent the first 26 years of my life doing a rather passable involuntary impression of a cis male doesn't give me any special insight on manhood. Being treated as a man gives me a little bit of insight on male privilege and misandry that a lot of women wouldn't have, but it doesn't give me a lot of insight on who a man is, beyond that category not including me.


I know where Valerie is coming from, and I see your points and I know where you're coming from. But I stand by my comments, and will let Brynn's response below stand in for anything I might say.

However, I will add this: I really think we need to reevaluate the whole notion of triggering mechanisms and words. I know its history, and I know and live the contexts in which it can work but, as I said on Bil's post about taking down Gold's blog: This is a blog.

I'm really, really tired of Bilerico blogs turning into psychotherapy sessions (that's when they're not turning into vitriolic burn-down-the-castle sessions). And I'm tired of having endless discussions about terminology that also don't really go anywhere. I see *your* blogs on these matters as intelligent and well thought-through pieces that attempt to carry a conversation forward but, for the most part, frankly, these days I'm in congruence with Brynn when he writes:

"Is there something about the medium itself—maybe the anonymity?—that undermines an ever more complex understanding of and dialog on difficult issues? That encourages instead a never-ending loop of the same superficial points and repetition of ideas? I don’t know."

I think, frankly, we all need to take these conversations where they matter and they may not, to put it bluntly, matter here. Especially when more and newer commenters increasingly only show up to, well, show up. That doesn't mean we stop writing about these issues (and here I reach out and grab Brynn's shirt!), but that we stop expecting these comment threads to be any more illuminating or incisive or anything that goes towards real change.

This approaches your response, and some of it tangentially. But it's late, and I'm off to my life outside the comment threads. Good night, all.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 1:53 AM

Thank you, Yasmin. As usual, very well said.

And I second your comment about Tobi's "blogs on these matters as intelligent and well thought-through pieces that attempt to carry a conversation forward." I did, after all, mention her in my original post in that context.

The only point I want to add, Tobi, is to ask: do we have to dumb down our conversation here to accommodate the lowest common denominator? Do we have to reuterate over and over that we mean no disrespect, to the very people who have no compunction about writing the worst possible shit about us ("child rape apologist")?!

When I originally wrote the words, "convince a woman who lived 40 years as a man that she actually IS different than women born female," I carefully did NOT say "trans woman who lived 40 years" to emphasize my firmly held conviction that trans women are indeed women. I considered bending over backwards to clarify that point, restate it, articulate that I meant no disrespect, etc. etc. but decided, "No. The statement as written is NOT offensive, and states clearly what I mean. You have to want to take offense to find it offensive."

And yes, they did.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 1:55 AM

That should read, "reiterate."

It's late, I'm tired. Going to give this all a rest for a while.


I took some time to step back and come back to this and I wanted to say, you're right, I might be seeing this as a bigger deal than it is.

I have heard the exact same sentence dozens of times, almost word for word, and always with a really nasty transphobic conclusion. "Lived 40 years as a man" comes up every time I talk with Mich Fest folks, and "woman born female" looked awfully similar to my eyes as "woman born woman."

Hearing you use those same words for a very different conclusion was emotionally jarring for me and I'm still having a hard time separating out my reaction to it. It's not your responsibility to predict my triggers, but it is useful for you to know whats going on.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 11:13 AM

And Tobi, I am genuinely sorry that years of dealing with fanatics, both online and off, on this issue—for whom only complete abdication to their worldview will suffice—may have led me to inadvertently offend someone like you who is honestly seeking dialog and a responsible exchange of ideas.

But you see, you made the effort, reconsidered my text, took responsibility for projecting a bit—which we all do!—and understood—quickly, at that—that I’m not looking to offend or put forth the noxious idea that trans women are not women, but am simply and directly stating I no longer want to argue about my opinion that trans women ARE different from cis women. Not only that, but if people read my original sentence to the end they should understand without a shadow of a doubt that I validate trans women's womanhood, that I have a history of defending that conviction against the ilk of people like Gold, and that I am also sick of feeling caught between these two groups of fanatics who--often in the form of the same individuals over and over--keep showing up on these threads.

Would that this sort of dialog you and I just engaged in became the norm on these threads. But sadly, in my experience, they are the exception.

Yes, women of operative history have an unique experience, but then so does every other cis woman, based upon parentage, schooling , priviledge, race, etc.

As a "graduate" of that fine Roman Catholic establishment located on Sean McDermott Street and usually referred to as Gloucester Street, my experience as a woman is different than most and in Irish society I carry a taint, at least in my "home" village forever, marking me as different, less than and unworthy, part of the reason that I am so defensive of the legitimacy and the place at the table of women of whatever history.

Yes, Sir, you have a unique view of women, but, Sir, keep in mind that you possess male priviledge now which just, perchance, encourages a touch of pontification.


Yikes, I must have missed this on my first reading.

trying to convince a woman who lived 40 years as a man that she actually IS different than women born female

This is moving away from the main topic, but it deserves being addressed. I know what you are referencing and I understand how it feels important to acknowledge the role being trans plays in our lives. But your language here underscores what kept that argument in particular going for so long. It really does sound like something Ronald Gold might say.

What do you mean by different? Take any two women, no matter how similar, and they will be different. But that's not what you mean. White women and women of color have very different experiences in our society, but how might you expect folks to react when you go to "explain" to women of color that they are different from white women?

It's likely to be taken negatively. And your comment here, divorced from the larger content, becomes so much more clear why it's likely to be taken negatively. In fact, I'd bet that most trans women would raise an eyebrow to it at the very least. The vast majority of the time when folks are trying to explain that we are different from "women born female" it's an attempt to put us in our place or deny our experience as a part of womanhood.

I've had people tell me that my experience as a person of color isn't valid because I'm a light skinned woman of color raised by white parents and I was seen as white frequently in my childhood. But the truth is that that's a part of larger POC experience too. Similarly, spending 40 years of your life being seen as a man is a part of larger women's experience as well.

I know from context that by "different" you mean that being trans provides unique experiences which should be recognized, (and valued and organized around). But it really, really doesn't sound like that here. And it's such an obvious fact that anyone would know about themselves, that the idea of someone explaining it to them... well, it's like when I've had people "explain" to men that my experience is different from people of color who were raised in families of color, who then asked me not to come back to their POC group.

I just wanted to put my two cents in to say I hope you stay, Brynn. There is no substitute for being in the arena.

All the commenters have made your point, Brynn. We're STILL arguing the same old tired points. We will never move forward as a community or as a society if we are stuck in the quagmire of accusations and blaming each other. Let's move on and work for social and economic justice and STOP THE HATING.


Just a quick comment as I am in the middle of writing a final paper.

I think in the end, it should be your own decision whether you stay or go. I personally hope you stay as I am fan of your voice. However, for you to stay simply as an educator on trans issues would be futile, that's why I have appreciated your posts on Iran and Polanski.

However, even though I missed Gold's piece, I have gathered enough of it to realize just how offensive it was. The word "mutilation" alone should have been reason for it to never have been published. It wasn't about "freedom" of speech. It would be the same as if Buju Banton wanted to post a defense here as to why "batty boys" are worth killing after all.

I am also afraid that a lot of discussions that need to happen around the relationship between queer and many of the issues you talk about will keep being ignored. The debate is not being pushed forward, and I think that the fact that some of your more provocative statements were shot down are a sign of that.

I have been lucky to get to know you over the last year, and knowing you I do think that a voice such as yours is very important on a site such as this.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 13, 2009 10:25 PM

Ivan! Thank you taking time out from a final to comment here. I really miss you 'round the homefront. The fact I know people like you and Stephen are reading behind the scenes here, not necessarily commenting, definitely pushes me toward staying.

MitchInOakland MitchInOakland | December 13, 2009 7:49 PM

There's an elephant in the room! It's the fact that transsexuals (in particular) insist that their bodies (as born) were incorrect: in effect, they insist that they were born with a deformity.

Gay people have been fighting for at least two generations for acceptance of the realization that being gay is NOT a disability -- that it's not in any way a semblance of deformity or dysfunction!

For that matter, I happen to believe (based on my own unique experience) that it would be far wiser to recognize being gay as a choice. As one who abhors hypocrisy, I never lived in the closet, and I started to realize I was gay during a (far better and saner) time when experimentation with sexuality and drugs was accepted and gender boundaries were in the process of dissolving.

I simply realized I was not interested in girls; acceptance of this was a subset of being a hippie, not of feminism. (Given that background, consider my perception of the internalized homophobia implicit in someone who now runs an "m4t" personal ad that says, "Must be passable"! Today's gay trade, tomorrow's trans competition! Talk about hurtful!)

In any event, my experience (however unique, as, incidentally, is everyone's) is that being gay was a choice -- one that I made as a result of experimentation -- one that I'm proud to have made -- as it's a choice any person can and should be proud to make!

Nonetheless, it's a choice that involves the rather fragile notion of accepting one's feelings as consistent with one's body -- society and gender be damned! Yes, calling myself "she" (as anything beyond silliness), on account of my having "deeply feminine" feelings, threatens that fragile identity -- and throwing the neologism "transmisogyny" at me doesn't change that. As trans folk should realize, "sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but names..."

Just don't call me sick or crazy, as trans people have actually done (oblivious to the bitter irony implicit in their doing so)! We live in a crazy world, where I'd be considered sane if I told my mother I'm a girl, but crazy if I denied the notion that time is money. As for science? That, too, is notoriously political, a matter of what questions one asks and of how one defines terms. Trans folk should also know better than to rely on "science."

In any event, enough of "I can't help it, I was born this way." There's nothing trivial about choosing one's identity. Suffice it to say, I believe that's a major factor in how we've reached this impasse.

More relevant here is that -- from issues of "nondisclosure" (i.e., relegitimization of the closet) to those of self-acceptance of a unitary mind/body self -- gay and trans identities are implicitly somewhat opposing viewpoints.

One can be a gay person who's supportive of rights for trans people on human rights or disability grounds, but we're only a single community in the eyes of our enemies.

As for terms like "mutilation" or "delusion," that's obviously someone's perception, and they (as much as those who take issue -- both, incidentally, by way of experience) have a right to express themselves accordingly. Considering someone deluded is not tantamount to being complicit in murder or maiming, and implying that this is the case is nothing short of a smear!

There's an old statement attributed to Voltaire and beloved by civil libertarians: "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

The attempt to stifle certain forms of expression is hurtful, too. Who decided that one should be silenced because expressing a particular view is "hurtful"? Life (from birth trauma onward) can be hurtful, and it's not necessarily because of malice; sometimes it's the result of a genuine difference in lived realities. One such genuine difference involves whether one accepts the reality of a mind/body duality itself -- which is pivotal in accepting the very notion of transsexuality or transitioning.

Deal with it. There is no real "LGBT community." That's life.

Class.....Class...CLASS! First before my comment on the whole topical malaise, I would like to say that my sense of oppression is so great that having made one written contribution last year and receiving no comment and no interaction [Hell, Bil won't even respond to my emails], I feel no sense of inclusion with this group or any other TG/TS group I've tried to join. I am prone to rejecting myself before someone else gets the opportunity.
I am officially taking responsibility for my neurosis.

There is only one set of principles that apply to EVERYONE. It is my context for EVERYTHING-and in my quasi-humble, tongue-in cheek-opinion, the only category broad enough and inclusive enough as to preclude dissension and division.

It's HUMAN RIGHTS. Not group specific, not race specific, not gender specific, not sexual preference/orientation specific rights.

First rule everyone has the right to self expression.
Second rule: No one's belief system, regardless of its apparent legitimacy, shall be imposed on anyone else.
Yes, I am an anarchist...a human rights anarchist.

Nature, human or any other kind, is PREDICATED on what Terrance McKenna called novelty. Same thing as diversity. Trying to legislate or engineer a conformity of opinions is folly.
A more important, underlying principal is what is our INTENT as a community. What has the power to distract us from that goal.
Simple: nitpicking, self absorbed insistence on our opinions that glorify and justify the oppression of OUR belief system.
First we must identify the problem. Is it our priority, as a community, to micro-manage the opinions of all who contest our wildly variable assertions? Or perhaps we would be more effective as a group with the single minded determination to assert global human rights? This is a pretty large playing field with many teams playing many games all with different rules.
Much time has been spent here to critique an editorial decision. How many people of all sexes and genders have suffered while we celebrate what seems in comparison picayune.
It is incumbent upon us, as the human endpoint of this process called diversity, to attack with fury, the walls of social and political correctness that encourage the growth of the fungus known as conformity. .
There, I posit that anyone can say anything no matter how ignorant, editorial whimsy accepted, even an Old Gold. Time moves in blind increments.
Gold's opinion will fade away and become irrelevant. He is not the problem.
A greater threat to human civil rights is THE FAMILY and Doug Coe. Gold is a gnat compared to the campaign of genocide being tacitly mounted in Uganda
It is our job, IMHO, as a united front for the implementation of Human Rights to stay focused on the FORWARD MOVEMENT of our common desire for Equality.
For as long as one innocent person gay, Trans, or otherwise remains oppressed, we are all oppressed.

I am human.

I was going to say, "please stay." I was going to say that sometimes it's not about changing hearts and minds or preaching to the choir, but about nurturing the community of readers and writers that we want to speak to and hear from, the subculture in which our ideas and values can thrive. (And, Brynn, you've definitely been part of that for me, the kind of thoughtful and interested reader and writer with whom I want my posts to be in conversation.)

BUT...I'm not going to say any of that. Because, after reading the many recent responses to Ron Gold's piece, I've realized that Bilerico has not been the semi-utopian space that I sometimes imagine it to be. For instance, after reading the comments related to your post and Antonia's posts and others, I've realized that my trans colleagues are so much more likely to receive comments that question their credibility or dismiss their identities. I have rarely had to put up with that kind of shit at TBP, and I realize that I've been oblivious to what's right in front of my face. (In my defense, I have to say that I often read the OP and skip the comments--but I won't anymore.)

So I don't feel like I have the right to ask other folks to stay. But I can promise to try to be a better ally--both by individually confronting transphobic comments (explicit and implicit) and by advocating for other, structural changes.