Guest Blogger

George Washington: Gay-Friendly Father of Our Country

Filed By Guest Blogger | October 20, 2011 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Founding Fathers, gay-friendly, George Washington, National Gay History Project, President, secularism, straight allies

Editors' Note: Victoria A. Brownworth is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist. She is the author and editor of nearly 30 books, including the award-winning "Too Queer: Essays from a Radical Life" and "Coming Out of Cancer: Writings from the Lesbian Cancer Epidemic." In 2010, she founded Tiny Satchel Press, an independent publisher of young adult books for 'tweens and teens, which specializes in books for LGBT youth and youth of color. This post is part of the 2011 National Gay History Project.

WashingtonPortrait.jpegTea Party leaders have taken a revisionist view of early American history, insisting that the Founding Fathers were not revolutionaries and radicals, but arch-conservatives. Among the Republican presidential contenders for 2012, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann both contend the men who built America (with slaves who were, according to Bachmann, deeply grateful to be slaves) were red-staters before there were even states.

Delving into the Founding Father's own papers indicates something altogether different. Some of the Founding Fathers leaned right, but the majority were anti-monarchists, Freemasons and atheists who held what modern historical language would term a secularist and globalist view. In some cases -- like George Washington's -- this included a strongly gay-friendly attitude.

Among the Founding Fathers there were definitive class biases. Most of these men, like Washington (1732-99) and Thomas Jefferson, were wealthy land- and slave-owners who led aristocratic lifestyles and were elitist toward the "lower" classes. (Washington noted in a letter, for example, that those not of the upper classes were to be "treated civilly" but to be kept "at a proper distance, for they will grow upon familiarity, in proportion as you sink in authority.") Socialists these men were not. Yet some of their personal ethics and standards would reveal that they were more open to what would be considered a "modern," 21st-century perspective on life, love and sexuality than might be presumed in the stodgy, post-Puritan 18th-century colonies.

This was particularly true of Washington, whose stance on homosexuality, which at the time was punishable by imprisonment, castration and even death throughout the colonies, was noticeably -- even dramatically -- relaxed in comparison to many of his cohorts. His personal correspondence and diaries bear this out.

As his letters (over 17,000 have been collected at the University of Virginia) and diaries affirm, Washington was above all a pragmatist. That pragmatism made him a superb military strategist and also increased his wealth as a Virginia landowner long before he headed the Continental Army or became the first president (president, as he refused to be made king, because of his anti-monarchist stance).

Washington's views on democracy, liberty and the codified "pursuit of happiness" that current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cited specifically in his ruling in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which overturned federal sodomy laws, were straightforward. Washington's letters, diaries, military papers and conversations with friends and colleagues of his era were all succinct: He believed in freedom with discipline; he was left-leaning, but no anarchist. He looked the other way on matters that may have otherwise raised eyebrows when it was the pragmatic thing to do, as he would throughout his tenure as both military leader and leader of the nation.

One of these issues was homosexuality in the military.

Many historians have tried to place Washington on the modern political spectrum in revisionist categories, but Washington was a diligent, even obsessive recorder of every detail of his life down to minutiae of his personal, military, political and even agricultural experiences. His own records of his life and that of his milieu stand for themselves.

In 2007, Washington's home in Philadelphia was excavated in an archeological dig, reviving questions about his slaveholding in the first White House in Philadelphia. An example of Washington's shift in personal politics, however, is his stance on slavery. When Washington was 11, his father died, leaving him 10 slaves. Washington increased his slaveholding between wars to more than 100 slaves as he acquired land in Virginia as a monied aristocrat. But then he inserted a codicil to his will that his slaves -- 318 in all -- were to be freed upon his death.

Such acts were contrary to the Southern politic on slaveholding and Washington died in 1799 -- well before abolition had taken hold in the country. Even more dramatic, however, was Washington's stance on homosexuality, which evolved well before his views on slavery as has been chronicled by historians and military documents (Washington's own and others) from Valley Forge.

It's impossible to overstate the impact Washington had on both the founding of the nation and, of course, the winning of the Revolutionary War. Part of Washington's genius as a strategist was his ability to rally troops -- literally. All the documentation from the era states without equivocation that Washington inspired tremendous loyalty in all levels of his military. By all accounts, a man's man, Washington was superb at all kinds of sport. Considered the best horseman of his time -- Jefferson wrote extensively about Washington's prowess -- and one of the strongest men any of his compatriots had ever met, his feats of strength were regularly recorded.

That personal strength combined with a strength of purpose and integrity; he had values and he didn't waver on those. This is what drew other men to him and what made him a great leader.

Washington's letters state that he was less than thrilled with marital life ("not much fire between the sheets") and preferred the company of men -- particularly the young Alexander Hamilton, who he made his personal secretary -- to that of women, as his letters attest. His concern for his male colleagues clearly extended to their personal lives. This was especially true of Hamilton, who he brought with him to Valley Forge, giving Hamilton a cabin to share with his then-lover, John Laurens, to whom Hamilton had written passionate love letters which are still extant.

Washington himself had married late for the time -- at 28 -- and to a wealthy widow, Martha Custis. They raised her two children from her first marriage, but had no children of their own. (Washington was thought to be sterile either from a bout of smallpox or a fever in childhood.) Letters of Washington's make clear that while he cared deeply for Martha and her children, there was no passion between them. Nor are there records of Washington's dalliances with other women, as there are with Thomas Jefferson, for example, who was a womanizer with both colonial and slave women.

Washington's passion was reserved for his work and for the men with whom he served closely, notably Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette. When Hamilton was a young soldier -- later to be made Secretary of the Treasury by Washington and then president himself -- he was engaged in relationships with other men, as love letters he sent during the Revolutionary War prove.

Historians assert that passionate same-sex friendships were normative in the 18th century. At the same time, however, sodomy and open homosexuality were punishable by imprisonment, castration and even death, both in and out of the military.

However, as historian Kai Wright notes in "Soldiers of Freedom," the military was often far more advanced on social issues than civilian life and cites the desegregation of the military on race and gender as examples. Thus Washington's laissez-faire attitude toward homosexuality at Valley Forge fits that construct. Washington was a gay-friendly pragmatist who put the importance of the revolutionary struggle above the concerns of civilian life.

While some have tried to make the case for Washington being gay predicated on his special friendships, there's nothing in his papers that could be considered proof the way his growing queasiness about slave-owning was proven by his will. Nevertheless, Washington was certainly gay-friendly.

The most succinct evidence for this was Washington's clear "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy when it came to same-sex coupling among his regiments at Valley Forge.

Renowned gay historian Randy Shilts makes the case for Washington's ever-pragmatic as well as compassionate approach to same-sex relationships in "Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military."

Shilts details how Washington merely signed the order for discharge of a soldier caught in flagrante with another soldier, and suggests that if Lt. Col. Aaron Burr had not forced the issue, the soldier might have remained at Valley Forge instead of being the first documented case of a discharge for homosexuality in the Continental Army on March 15, 1778 at Valley Forge.

The soldier was court-martialed by Burr, but that was the extent of it. Washington did not flog him, imprison him or as Jefferson had required as part of Virginia law as punishment for sodomy, have him castrated. Washington could also have had the soldier executed. He did none of these things. The soldier just walked away.

What makes this so stunning and an irrefutable proof of Washington's leniency on homosexuality in the military is the context. (Bear in mind Washington's earlier dictate about those of lower station.)

When Lt. Gotthold Frederick Enslin was drummed out of the corps (literally, because being discharged dishonorably from the military was a dramatic affair that included a solemn drum beat, a tearing of the uniform and a breaking of the sword over the head of the discharged soldier) for homosexuality it seems that Washington signed the order for discharge more because the case involved fraternization below rank.

According to military documents, Enslin was caught having sexual relations with Pvt. John Monhart by Ensign Anthony Maxwell.

At Valley Forge, soldiers of like rank shared cabins. Maxwell went to Burr, his commanding officer, with the accusation. Enslin denied it and accused Maxwell of slander. Burr then court-martialed Maxwell for the slander of a senior officer, but in the course of the proceedings, determined it was Enslin who was lying, not Maxwell. Maxwell was found not guilty and, 11 days later, Enslin was court-martialed and found guilty of sodomy and perjury against Maxwell.

Monhart was neither court-martialed nor discharged. Whether he was underage -- many privates in the Continental Army were 14, 15 and 16 -- and this was the actual reason Enslin was discharged is unknown.

That Washington looked the other way with same-sex couples is most obvious in his dealings with Maj. Gen. Frederich Wilhelm von Steuben, the Prussian military genius he enlisted to help him strategize at Valley Forge. Von Steuben arrived at the encampment two weeks before Enslin's discharge and arrived with his young French assistant, Pierre Etienne Duponceau, who was presumed to be his lover, in tow, making Enslin's subsequent discharge ironic and reinforcing the theory that it was Burr, not Washington, who compelled the action.

Von Steuben is perhaps the best-known gay man in American military history. Although his sexual orientation is rarely mentioned and has been excised from standard history books, his role in winning the Revolutionary War was incomparable and second only to Washington's own. As inspector general and Major General of the Continental Army, his job was to teach drills, tactics and maneuvers. He authored the "Revolutionary War Drill Manual" which was used through the War of 1812 and his other maneuvers were used for more than 150 years.

Von Steuben also came to Valley Forge as a known homosexual: It was Benjamin Franklin who provided the letters of recommendation to Washington, but Franklin was aware that von Steuben had been implicated in relationships with boys and young men and had been expelled from the court of Frederick the Great for homosexual behavior and was on the verge of being prosecuted when he left Germany for France.

Von Steuben's relationship with Washington was close and there were no conflicts with Washington over von Steuben's sleeping arrangements at Valley Forge with his young Frenchman, Duponceau. What's more, because von Steuben's English was limited, but his French was perfect, Washington assigned his own secretary and one of his aides-de-camp to von Steuben.

Who were the men? Lt. Col. Alexander Hamilton and Lt. Col. John Laurens, who shared a cabin at Valley Forge at Washington's bequest. And as noted historian Jonathan Katz details, Hamilton and Laurens were lovers. Hamilton wrote letters expressing his love for Laurens ("I wish, dear Laurens ... to convince you that I love you."). And Washington, who had to have known the nature of their relationship due to his own closeness with Hamilton, situated the two together at Valley Forge and then connected them with von Steuben and Duponceau -- a gay foursome working directly with the leader of the Continental Army.

Laurens would later die in the war and has since been claimed as the first gay war hero in the U.S. by gay military groups.

It's not revisionist to assert that Washington's pattern of ignoring same-sex relationships at Valley Forge was both indicative of his pragmatic nature (without von Steuben, Hamilton, Lafayette and others, America might still be a colony of the British) and of his seeming lack of concern over homosexuality.

Washington obviously considered morale in what was inarguably the most horrific battle station in U.S. military history, the winter at Valley Forge, needed to be upheld. Allowing men their one solace -- each other -- made sense from a general's point of view. The less miserable the soldiers, the better they would fight. If keeping each other warm in the bone-crushing cold and abject misery (2,500 soldiers died at Valley Forge from starvation, disease and exposure) made life somewhat more bearable, then Washington had no issue with ignoring homosexuality in his ranks.

It is significant that the only soldier discharged for homosexuality was Enslin -- who was investigated by Burr, not Washington.

It's also a matter of record that Washington himself honorably discharged a passing woman, Deborah Sampson, who served in the Continental Army disguised as a man, Robert Shurtlieff. Sampson, who was alleged to have had relationships with other women during her time in the Continental Army, was wounded several times. In order to maintain her "male" identity, she carved a musket ball out of her own thigh with a penknife and sewed the wound herself with her sewing kit rather than have her gender revealed to an Army medic. (Her grandson, ironically named George Washington Gay, later arranged for a statue memorializing her in Massachusetts.)

Prior to her service in the Continental Army, Sampson had been arrested in church for dressing like a man -- and was arrested for the same "crime" after the war. So Sampson's case and Washington's involvement was particularly telling. In other instances women had been arrested and court-martialed (ironically) for trying to serve as men in the Army.

Over the decades of his military service, Washington spent his most emotional and life-altering time with other men. He certainly knew of the relationships between Hamilton and Laurens, von Steuben and Duponceau and yet brought none of them up on charges and historical record confirms that these men were indeed lovers.

Washington didn't just look the other way but specifically sought to help these gay soldiers as well as that passing woman, Sampson. This is irrefutable proof -- in Washington's own records and that of others -- that the Father of Our Country was gay-friendly toward his key military personnel at the most pivotal point in American history. Washington didn't think morale suffered with gay soldiers serving under him or even, in the case of von Steuben and Hamilton, being his key strategists. Rather, he saw these men for their value to him and to the nation -- a fact that should be added to every American history textbook.

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Kathy Padilla | October 20, 2011 11:51 AM

"Tiny Satchel Press, an independent publisher of young adult books for 'tweens and teens, which specializes in books for LGBT youth and youth of color."

"Engaging stories with diverse characters with whom girls and boys of any race, ethnicity, sexual orientation can identify and relate."

It would be inappropriate to imply that Ms. Brownworth has the support or best interests of all under that acronym at heart or that her press serves all under that acronym. She has written articles that certainly seem motivated by transpobia and was absolutely clueless on the major literary contretemps of the last decade involving a transphobic book.

On an aside - this article seems somewhat derivative of your previously posted:

Thank you Victoria. I enjoy history lessons.

With all due respect, Ms. Brownsworth PROVES nothing. She expresses opinions, asserts interpretations, and LABELS it "irrefutable proof. While claiming that Washington's letters prove he was pro gay, she quotes none of them to document such fantasies. AND, she totally misrepresents the position of the late Randy Shilts. HEREare direct quotes of what he wrote in "Conduct Unbecoming," emphasis mine:

“The acceptance of General Steuben and his contributions to the fledgling American military DID NOT MEAN THERE WAS EVEN TACIT ACCEPTANCE OF HOMOSEXUALITY. On March 11, 1778, just sixteen days after Steuben arrived at Valley Forge, drums and fifes assembled on the Grand
Parade in the brisk morning air to conclude the punishment ordered by a general court-martial and approved by General Washington himself. On that morning, Lieutenant Gotthold Frederick Enslin became the first known soldier to be dismissed from the U.S. military for homosexuality. .... According to General Washington’s general order of March 14, Enslin was ‘ be DISMISS’D WITH INFAMY. His Excellency the Commander in Chief [Washington] APPROVES THE SENTENCE AND WITH ABHORRENCE AND DETESTATION OF SUCH INFAMOUS CRIMES orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of the Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return; The Drummers and Fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose’.

Drumming a soldier out of the Army was a dramatic event in those times. According to custom, an officer’s sword was broken in half over the head of the disgraced soldier, while drummers played a very slow tattoo. So did Lieutenant Enslin leave the Continental Army on that cold morning in March, trudging away alone on the deeply rutted and muddy road out of Valley Forge, not far from where Major General von Steuben was shouting orders in broken English.

Some observers have suggested that Enslin’s sentence is evidence that Washington held a lenient view of homosexuality, since such transgressions could have been punishable by imprisonment or even death in the conventions of the day. (Thomas Jefferson demonstrated
his liberalism by proposing a year earlier that sodomy be punished by castration instead of death in the new penal code that would replace Virginia’s Colonial charter.) THIS, HOWEVER, REMAINS SPECULATION.”

The most credible thing anyone can say today is that Washington's treatment of von Steuben and his companions, like Franklin's, was simply pragmatism, just as in WWII, when, per Allen Berube in "Coming Out Under Fire," "the adjutant general ordered the commanding general of the West Coast Air Corps Training Center in California to review the cases of some men ALREADY CONVICTED OF SODOMY "to determine their respective availability for military service" with "the view of conserving all available manpower for service in the Army." He canceled the men's dishonorable discharges and made them eligible for reassignment AFTER COMPLETING THEIR PRISON SENTENCES! And, in 1945, facing manpower shortages during the final European offensive in Europe, Secty of War, Harry Stimson, ordered a review of all gay discharges and ordered commanders to "salvage" homosexual soldiers for service whenever necessary. In every war since, our military has "looked the other way" whenever they've had greater needs for gay cannon fodder.

As for that more "lenient" treatment of Enslin, according to "The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799," in was, actually, not sodomy that he was found guilty of, but just "attempting to commit sodomy."

Sadly, LGBT History Month has been turned into LGBT Wishful Thinking Month; an insult to academic research standards, and an orgy of balderdash by presuming to be able to mindread the long dead. Our People and their real history deserve better.

"Real" history?

Trying to reclaim anything from centuries of supression requires a fresh look at the record.

I think your observation of the grounds for the conviction relates an interesting spin - that the inciident (or attempted incident) between the officer an the enlisted individual was likely seen as non-consensual, whether by virtue of the age of the private as surmised by the author, or by the implication of the difference in rank.

This possible lack of a consensual nature (whether by age, difference in rank, or because the act or intended act may have been forcible)might well have been a factor in the drumming out of the officer, while there is no record of any similar punishment for the (assumed) victim.

The use of the term sodomy is vague enough, since the term encompassed(es) both forcible and consensual components and also has been applied to some heterosexual sexual activity as well.

If the situation involved a non-consensual attempt, that would amply explain the lack of any disciplining of the private, who may heve been seen as a victim of unwanted attention.

This, then, would not have been a conviction for homosexual activity, but of the sort of "sodomy" that is more likely to have been similar in nature to that actually intended in the biblical story.

There's a difference between a "fresh look at the record" and Ms. Brownsworth epileptic seizure of conjecture, assumption, and furious "post hoc ergo propter hoc" conclusions, including her elevating Alexander Hamilton to the Presidency; a fact I thank Mr. Jones for having noticed while I was too busy dodging her bullets of inanity.

As for "attempted sodomy," Rictor Norton records in "The Myth of the Modern Homosexual" that, at some points in history, it referred to commission of sex acts other than anal intercourse, e.g., fellatio.

Those who know American history may smile when they read that author Victoria A. Brownworth thinks that Alexander Hamilton was President! Not only is Bil not doing his fact-checking, but Victoria, with 30 books under her belt, may have figured that because Hamilton is on the money, he must have been President, right? By that reasoning maybe she thinks we had a President Benjamin Franklin too! Victoria loves to publish her lesbian erotica, but her skill at spicing up the sex talk doesn't give her permission to spice up the history with fallacious factoids! The old-fashioned standard for editorial fact-checking, BTW, is to consult a recognized authority on the subject. Something nobody apparently bothered to do.

Another piece of history - this one from 30 years ago:


Philadelphia Gay News - May 29, 1981, pp, 22, 27

Transsexuals in the Lesbian Community: The Ultimate in Male Power-Tripping?

by Victoria A. Brownworth

On May 2, 1981 approximately 150 women met in West Philadelphia to vote in an emergency community meeting. The issue, which had been raised in March, was whether or not a post-operative transsexual, Leslie Phillips, could be a member of the leadership collective for the Lesbian Feminist Weekend (LFW) 1981. In a two-part vote it was decided that Phillips could neither be a member of the leadership collective nor could Phillips be a member of a committee for the LFW.

The vote seemed relatively decisive and simple: 75 percent of the group opposed Phillips. But in the course of the 3 1/2 –hour meeting many issues were raised and tempers and emotions ran hot. And a major question remains: Why did this meeting have to be called at all?

There are many who believe that gay men and women must band together in a show of solidarity of oppression. There are others who believe that all sexual minorities should band together. And there are still others who believe that all minority groups should band together against the common oppressor. But what are the facts? The most salient one is that oppression – the common denominator – finds its root in the original oppression, that of men over women. All other oppression within our culture devolves from that original act of enslavement. Every oppressed group in our society is “feminized” – that is, it is viewed as female. Gay men are oppressed because they are seen by the culture as having a feminine persona (no matter how “butch” they may appear). Women – politicized women – are aware of this evolution of power, of the hierarchy of oppression, and have attempted, within their own movement, to be sensitive to the needs of minority subgroups within that movement. The language of the women’s movement is inclusive, not exclusive.

And it is just that level of exclusivity that was raised as part of the Leslie Phillips issue. Should we, the lesbian community, allow a post-operative transsexual to rise to power within our lesbian ranks? If we say no are we being exclusive of another minority?

There were many women on Saturday afternoon who genuinely feared that. I believe that there were women who felt that this vote of what they saw as exclusivity could begin a trend, or at least set a precedent.

This is not what I believe. When we talk about the role of male-to-female transsexuals in the women’s movement as a whole and the lesbian movement in particular I feel we are talking about the ultimate in male power-tripping. It is difficult for me to believe in the principle of transsexualism in a culture in which the sexes are not equal. I believe that given the male-dominated state of society there are going to be men and women who do not identify with their given roles. But I cannot believe that a person who spends 30-some years reaping the benefits of being a white male in our society can understand what it has been – and is – for me, a woman, in this society. Phillips may be oppressed as a particular minority group but Phillips cannot know what i[t] was like for me or any other woman to grow up in a male-dominated culture where we are the lowest members in the caste system. I could not choose my oppression.

It is this issue, the issue of male privilege, which was ultimately what led many of the women at the meeting to vote as they did.

Many women asked the question: Is a post-operative transsexual really a woman?

The answer, of course, is yes and no. Phillips now has most of the physical components which the majority of the women at that meeting have, but does Phillips – can Phillips – understand what it is to be a woman simply because there has been a change in genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics? I think not. Phillips spent 30-some years acting in the role of the oppressor. I believe that it is in that role that Phillips continues to function. I believe that Phillips’ behavior in terms of Sisterspace and the LFW is manipulative in the same way that men manipulate women in every other culture. The question becomes: Why should the lesbian community allow itself to be manipulated by a man from within its own ranks?

The lesbian community in Philadelphia has a long and rather unhappy history as far as its ability to maintain organizations is concerned. Sisterspace and the LFW have managed to survive – but not without the very concerted and considerable effort of many women. Trust is a major issue for the community in Philadelphia and for those like myself who have been involved in that community for a long time we can remember back six years to Susan Saxe and the questions that her underground presence raised for us. We have been in contact with people with questionable motives before, but now we are strong enough to face the issues raised by the conflict.

I and many – 75 percent – of the women at the May 2 meeting had questions about Phillips’ motives. Why should Phillips want to be involved in the leadership of a lesbian group? Why, if Phillips is truly interested in the concerns of women, was this person not willing to work in a less sensitive position within the ranks of Sisterspace or LFW? Why would only a leadership position be sufficient? Is it because Phillips is used – as a man – to being able to be in power? Does Phillips feel that only a leadership in a lesbian group will be the final qualifies of “her” as a “woman”?

There are many of us within the community who are angry over this issue. The world is a male-dominated space, the minimal changes of the last 15 years notwithstanding. As a woman and as a lesbian – one who is not a separatist, per se, I might add – I feel that my space, my woman-only space, is a very precious commodity. (Not one white among us would consider intruding upon the space of blacks – yet men feel that they can intrude on women’s space, wherever it may be.) To me Phillips’ presence within my lesbian space is a violation. Women need to be concerned with the growth of women, the support of women, the strengthening of women. That is their – my – primary goal. Until we are strong within our own ranks we cannot effect change without. Until men recognize that the oppression of women comes from them and in turn causes their own oppression, there can be no lasting or meaningful humanity.

Final note: The facilitators of the May 2 meeting were excellent and helped to provide an atmosphere where women with very volatile feelings could express themselves without losing respect for one another. It was a painful and difficult meeting but we have learned from it and it shows how strong we can be when our interests, our welfare, is in question.


I too will ask a question: does a person who wrote that belong on a GLBT site? And I'll answer that question.

Yes, they do. That was 30 years ago, and they may have learnt something since then. And if they haven't, they still belong, because otherwise we are being as reactionary and insistent on ideological purity as those Gender Fascists were thirty years ago.

We have a bad example to learn from. We haven't got her excuse. We have to be forgiving, and kind, and tolerant, and have simple humanity, things lacking in that letter, 30 years ago.

Kathy Padilla | October 24, 2011 9:01 AM

"I too will ask a question: does a person who wrote that belong on a GLBT site? And I'll answer that question.

Yes, they do. That was 30 years ago, and they may have learnt something since then. And if they haven't, they still belong, because otherwise we are being as reactionary and insistent on ideological purity as those Gender Fascists were thirty years ago."

Of course - her last transpobic two-part article of trans people was a year or two ago. I'll send you a copy.

I'm always bemused by that assertion that transpobic authors belong in lgbt publications when we know very well that lgbt publications never publish articles by either straight or trans homophobes. If one is suggesting any ideological purity - it's best to put that concern in a reality based contaext.

I have to say - I found the second part of Brownworth's PGN article from 2008? more that a little concerning - particularly the portion where she examines the genitals of a trans youth who she states she thinks is really 15 - although they told her they were 18. Beyond the objectification and voyeurism around trans bodies - wouldn't any responsible journalist confirm whether the person they suspected might be a minor was actually of age before inspecting their genitals and writing about them in intimate detail in a publication while naming that person?

It appeared both unprofessional and deeply creepy.

Of course - her last transpobic two-part article of trans people was a year or two ago. I'll send you a copy.
Remember, I'm the one who tried to continue a dialogue with Ron Gold....

Maybe I might have more success with her. Or not. I have to try, anyway, or we'll never get anywhere. It can't be much harder than my outreach to Dr Michael Brown.

"Phillips now has most of the physical components which the majority of the women at that meeting have, but does Phillips – can Phillips – understand what it is to be a woman simply because there has been a change in genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics?"

While there is and was so much misunderstanding about being a transsexual, I must comment. Yes, we do and have suffered oppression because of male privilege all through our lives. We get read, even though we are hiding. We can't and don't always know when our mannerismism are showing and an all male football team will allow you to play the game but after the game, your still not completely and unequivically accepted. There is always something different about you and though you have always known you were different, the boys on the team couldn't put their finger on it, but they knew you were different too, even when you tried your best to hide it. As we grow older we get better at hiding, but the "boys" on the team get better too and begin to notice you "slip" is showing. I wish a day would come when I am not judged by what was between my legs and some people of high degree would get educated, especially so called educated gay males, lesbians, and the psychiatrists that write about such things. It is a spiritual thing, not a carnal thing and as long as people judge others according to carnality (fleshly ideals) we all will suffer from this ignorance, and transsexuals will always be oppressed by gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, straights, liberials, christians, ect, ect. ect.

It also pisses me off when queers expect everybody to have understanding for them but when it comes to "me", no fucking way. Well, fuck their lil' gay and lesbian groups, I have hardly anything to do with any of them anymore. I care about them about as much as they do me.I'm almost dead anyway so maybe that will make a lot of you happy.