I Sometimes Hate the LGBT Community. And I’m a Member.

Recently, huge fights have spawned between different camps within the LGBT community.  The fights are born around the use of certain words, different roles, opinions, outlooks, philosophies of life as an LGBT person, and quite simply wounded egos.

And I have had just about enough of the bullshit.

If half the energy expended on fighting each other within the community was used to fight for medical access, legal equality, marriage rights, and positive media portrayals we would already be considering a transgendered woman for Secretary of the Interior and no one would be even slightly concerned about anything but their professional qualifications.  Instead, we have turned on each other like crabs in a pot slowly coming to a boil.  As soon as one goes up, the others must pull them down.  Instead of creating a chain of effort, we spend our time stabbing each other in the back, screaming at each other, and seeing who can make the biggest splat when we toss them under the bus.  This makes ALL OF US look like hysterical lunatics, and merely feeds many of the stereotypes and dislike of us.  Our opponents are sitting back laughing, watching us consume each other.  And I, and many like me, are just about sick of it.  Instead of people trying to understand each other, they are trying to shout each other down in an attempt to claim the moral high ground and declare victory.  Well, if you think any of this makes you victorious, I would like to tell you the story of a Greek named Pyrrhus.

Instead of screaming and yelling, how about I try to talk to both sides, like the reasonable adults that I really hope you are.  I’m going to go point by point and hopefully explain how you are right or wrong, and how it does not make you a new Hitler, just mistaken, and present an opportunity to be a more understanding and compassionate member of the LGBT community.

 

1.)  NO ONE IS THE LANGUAGE POLICE.  NO ONE.  You do not get to dictate to anyone how they feel about a word or phrase  Sorry.  I know that you are not offended, but that does not mean that you should just ignore someone else’s feelings about it.  You do not own the word no matter how many years you have used it, how many people have reacted to it either positively or negatively, nor how the context gets interpreted.

 

Yes, “Tranny” is a word that has a long history in the LGBT community.  In my own time in the community I have used it as a compliment and a slur.  I have heard trans people use it to describe each other, and for Drag Queens to both insult and praise each other.

 

The younger generation of transgender activists have taken a dislike to the word.  That’s their prerogative.  Yes, they can do that.  Yes, they can be offended by it.  I’m transgendered and I’m fine with it for the most part unless I know the person using it is being malicious.  Now will I call any other trans person I meet a ‘tranny’?  Nope.  Because they might be offended.  It’s just the way it is.  Just as much as no black person under the age of about 80 wants to be called a ‘negro’ anymore, many younger transpeople don’t want to be called it.  It’s not that hard to change the word to ‘trans’ and to go from there.  If some drag queen somewhere is looking good, just call her something like, ‘Fish” and move on.  If she is looking terrible, then call her whatever is a popular term for looking ugly, just don’t call her a tranny.

If you are that married to using a word, you need to reflect on your own personal priorities.  If as many of you say, “it’s just a word,” then it should not be difficult to stop using it.  It’s only a word, right?

 

 

2.) RU-PAUL.  I LOVE YA, BUT YOU SCREWED UP.  ACCEPT IT, ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND MOVE ON.

Ru, I love ya doll.  You are glamorous, you took drag into mainstream culture and made it seem less like a campy freakshow and more like a sense of fabulousness that is fun.  You are the flipside of the coin that Devine rode in on, and I love that crazy trashy bitch just as much.  But, Ru, can I call you Ru?  Ru, you done fucked up.

You are a Drag Queen, not a transgendered person.  You don’t get to determine what transgender people feel about words like ‘tranny’ or ‘shemale’.  I’m as white as they come, and I in no way presume to believe that I can dictate to black people how they feel about words like ‘nigger’, ‘jigaboo’, or ‘negro.’  It’s not my race/community, I don’t have any damn say so in it.  For the sake of being a considerate and reasonable person, I only use those words in the sense of quoting someone, a neutral recitative way, or if I’m playing a role in a dialogue of some type.  Ru, it’s not your word to decide about.  If a white person spent all day calling you words that you found offensive, you would be livid if they told you to ‘toughen up,’ or ‘just deal with it.’  Dictating how a minority feels is not the thing you want to pay forward.

You just need to drop it from your vocabulary and move on.  Apologize, promise to do better and move on.  It’s not worth tarnishing your reputation just be be able to say a few words.

 

3.)  ANDREA JAMES, CALPURNIA ADAMS, AND OTHERS: YOU DO NOT GET TO DICTATE THE RULES OF BEING TRANSGENDER.

Andrea, Calpurnia.  Thank you for all your sacrifices.  Thank you for being the ones who have spent years on the forefront of trans visibility and trans acceptance.  Calpurnia, I’m sorry you had to deal with the ordeal of your boyfriend being murdered.  Your openness about that really has done so much to make visible the identity of transpeople as human beings with feelings and desires of being accepted.  Andrea, your work on education, assistance, and advocacy are to be treasured forever.

Now, get over yourselves.

You have blazed trails through the wilderness that have become superhighways that younger transpeople travel on every single day to a better life.  You have allowed transpeople to move up from the back of the bus.  Now quit telling everyone else how to drive the damn thing.

I myself sit between the younger generation of transitioners and yourselves.  I know the struggles you faced.  I remember when the only portrayals of trans people in the media were terrible news stories, Jerry Springer, and horrible characters in Silence of the Lambs and The Crying Game.  I know that you have been treated like absolute shit.  I have seen it myself with other trans people just as recently as 10 years ago, when the popular media portrayals of our community were as traps, prostitutes, drug addicts, mental patients, and freaks in general.  The crap you had to put up with, was hard.  The crow you had to eat I’m sure sticks in your throats to this day.  The bullshit obstacles you overcame make you stand heads taller than few others can claim.  In 100 years, you will be remembered as being the ones who helped bring this movement into the 21st Century.  You will be our Harvey Milks.

Now remember that because I’m about to tell you something you won’t like to hear.

 That world is gone.

Where many older transitioners had to fight their therapists to get treatment.  Where many older transitioners had to steal hormones.  They had to prostitute themselves to pay the rent.  They lost all social status, jobs, money, and family.  That world is as far away now as the Jim Crow Era is today.  Your struggles are the benefits that younger transitioners take advantage of today.  Because of you they don’t have as much fear of losing jobs.  They find their families more accepting.  They are honestly living the easy life compared to you.  And you do have every right to be bitter.

Why shouldn’t they toughen up?  Why shouldn’t they learn to shrug it off?  Why shouldn’t they quit being “whiney” and “overly sensitive,”?  Well, because they don’t have too.  And it’s because of people like you.  Because you suffered, they don’t have to.  The younger generation doesn’t have to put up and shut up.  They don’t have to struggle.  They don’t have to accept their lot.

 

I’m reminded of a quote by President John Adams:

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

Older transitioners, you studied war.  Me, stuck here in the middle at 36, I get to study philosophy.  The younger ones; the Parker Malloys, they get to study poetry and music.

Your struggle made that possible.  They don’t know what you had to put up with.  For that, you should be glad….

 

4.)  BEING LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, OR TRANSGENDER DOES NOT MEAN YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE ANY OF THE OTHERS NECESSARILY.

Not all animals are equal.  While that may sound nefariously like a quote from Animal Farm, it’s still the truth.  Just because you are a member of the LGBT(Q) community, does not mean that you know what it’s like to be any other letter in the acronym with 100% accuracy, because you are not that.  I am white.  And while I can fully understand why black people can be offended, comprehend some of their adversity, I will never fully understand what it is like to be black, or Hispanic, or born with a birth defect, or any of these things.  I simply do not get to dictate what their experiences should be like and how they should view them.  Dan Savage is a great advocate for the LGBT community.  He does get shit wrong on occasion, though.  Why?  He is a white gay man, not a black lesbian.  I’m a white transwoman, and I would never tell Janet Mock how to feel about being a black transwoman, nor Dan Savage how to feel as a white gay man.  It’s not my place.  I can give advice and viewpoints gathered from other experiences that are similar, or recite information I have gleaned from talking to those in those demographics, and share it, but I will not experience life as any of those, so my opinion will always come second.

 

 

Now, it might seem I have taken the side of the younger, vocal, and outraged half of this equation.

I assure you, any belief along these lines, is terribly mistaken.

 

 

5.)  ALLY DOES NOT MEAN SYCOPHANT.

In point four, I mentioned how I will never be a black lesbian.  Just won’t.  I can never fully understand.  I’m white.  Now that doesn’t mean I’m not the ally of black lesbians.  If they say that race still plays an issue, I’ll probably believe them.  If they talk about discrimination as lesbians, I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt.  But that doesn’t mean I’ll accept anything they say blindly.  They might be wrong.  Sorry, I know that can sound insensitive and inflammatory, but I assure you, it’s simply practical reasoning, and an attempt to avoid perception biases.  If a black person tells me that they are being unfairly targeted by the police, I’ll ask them to provide proof.  Not because I’m not on their side.  Not because I don’t believe them, but because I want to be sure that I’m being an informed ally and can speak with confidence on their behalf.  When it’s apparent that a black person is being discriminated against because of their race, I will stand right next them on the firing line.  But if they are being discriminated against because they personally are a bad person, well…they’re on their own.

I will ask questions of them.  I will ‘interrogate’ them.  Not because I am reluctant and fickle.  A fair weather friend.  I’m doing it so I can make sure I’m doing the right thing for ALL OF US.

 

6.)  CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE A BLOG/TWITTER/TUMBLR/YOUTUBE CHANNEL.  NO ONE REALLY CARES.

So you have a some sort of social media outlet.  Big deal.  No one cares.  Everyone does.  It does not make your opinion right, educated, thoughtful, or worthy of consideration.  When anyone can write on the walls, it’s all graffiti.  If you are going to say something, say something thoughtful.  This includes myself.

 

7.)  KNOW YOUR DAMN HISTORY.  KNOW WHAT CAME BEFORE YOU.  THE WORLD DIDN’T BEGIN WHEN YOU CAME OUT.

I get it.  You’re 24, you have been full time transitioned for three years now.  Your parents pay for the hormones, and next year you head to Thailand for the surgery.  You have a great job doing IT work or something like that.  Or you are 19 and openly gay.  At prom you were elected King and everyone knew your were gay.  No one cared and they all celebrated for you.

When you get to transition early in life with the full support of family and your community, it’s because people like Calpurnia Adam’s got on T.V. and gave transpeople a human face.  When you get to be prom king and still be openly gay and cheered for it, it’s because people like Matthew Shepard suffered discrimination in such horrible ways that it revealed the horror of hate.  You are benefiting from those who suffered before you.  Your struggles, while they may seem great, have been greatly alleviated by those who suffered more than you and paved the way.

They had to learn to accept being called she-males and being beaten so that you don’t have too.  Sometimes it’s hard for them to understand how you can be so worked up over words and intent, when they lived every day in fear, poverty, and ostracism that you can’t even begin to fathom.  I myself am only 36, and remember just how bad it was being gay in just 1993.  How shocking the story of Barry Wenchell was in 1999.

In my own lifetime, I have seen gays openly mocked with no repercussions on National T.V. by beloved celebrities.  In my own lifetime I have seen Ellen almost lose everything to come out just to become a beloved celebrity.  In my own lifetime, I have seen gays go from being banned in the military, to being told to stay in the closet, to open acceptance, and probably before I’m 40, I will see transgender soldiers in uniform.

I have seen LGBT people go from being outright criminals in many states for simply making love to each other, to being married in many of those same states.  It’s easy to forget that Sodomy Laws were perfectly legal up till 2003.  In just 11 years, LGBT love has gone from criminal act to legally protected.  In 2002, only 5% of all Fortune 500 corporations on the HRC corporate equality index had Gender Identity protection, and only 86 even bothered to respond.  In 2013, 252 made a perfect 100% score.

 

Do you grasp that?

In less than 15 years, we in the LGBT community have gone from an equivalency of the Slave Era to Post Civil Rights Act of 1965.  We have crammed the equivalent of 100 years of history into less than 15.

At 22, you experience a world unfathomable to a member of the LGBT community just twenty years ago.  The LGBT community members in their 40’s and 50’s remember a time that can only be compared to a black person living to see The March on Selma to Barack Obama in less than half the time.

So while these older folks may seem “assimilationist”, “reactionary”, “backwards,” or even “self-loathing.”  You have to remember, the world you enjoy today didn’t even exist in a time they can remember.  And they were already driving cars and buying booze.

 

8.)  JUST BECAUSE THEY DONT AGREE WITH YOUR METHODS, IT DOES NOT MAKE THEM THE ENEMY.

 

Malcom X and Martin Luther King wanted the same thing.  Equal protection and respect for the law.   The methods they took to achieve this were vastly different, and expressed in different ways, but that does not make either of them wrong.  They were after the same thing.

Just because someone isn’t as keen on academic rhetoric, or as concerned about the linguistics of oppression, or symbolic acts, or worried about phallic patriarchal oppression, it doesn’t make them less interested in equality.

As I mentioned before, know your history.  In the 1950’s and 60’s, the highly intellectual and academically driven Mattachine Society was assimilationist and worried about language.  It was the politically ignorant and uneducated that threw the bricks and bottles at Stonewall.  They despised the Mattachine Society and what they stood for.  Hiding behind words and rhetoric and language, they did nothing.  Now, the younger crowd, concerned about language, and words.  Concerned about “Cis-Normativism Patriarchal Institutions” are the ones wrapped in linguistics and academic group-think, while the ignorant, the poor, and the uneducated spend their daily lives on the front lines of the equality struggle by interracting with that, “Hetero-Cis-Normative Patriarchy” breaking it down by interracting with it and showing it the error of their ways, while the Tumblr crowd, the Hashtag activists, fight to come up with a new word to describe the same old thing in a new way to sound smart.

 

 

9.)  QUIT CIRCLE-JERKING AND GET OUT THERE WITH THE CIS-HET’S AND LOVE THEM.  EVERY LAST PREJUDICED AND IGNORANT ONE OF THEM.

About six to eight times a month, I’m standing on a stage in front of people who have never seen me before.  I go out there and I tell them straight up, I’m a bisexual transgender woman, and I’m not the most fucked up person in this room.  I make jokes at their expense about their own prejudices, their stereotypes, their insensitivities.  I drop my voice, quote Silence of the Lambs, use the phrase, “Chick with a dick,” and they love it.  Because they leave realizing that many of the things they thought they knew were wrong.

These people don’t read the Advocate.  They never heard of Dan Savage and Savage Love.  They don’t read Tumblr, or Reddit, or Huffingtonpost.  They read Buzzfeed and Facebook at best.  They watch the Daily Show.  They listen to drive time radio and not NPR.  They’re the Proles.  The rabble.  The mob.  And I love those beautiful fucked up Cis-Het’s.

They’re the people who we have to convince to let us play in the same pool.  They’re the ones who have all the power and privilege.  We have to convince them to share.  There is nothing out there that says they have to either.  If a cursory reading of history has taught you anything, it’s that universal rights are anything but, and that those in power don’t have to give it up if they have the means to keep it and none of the desire to share.  Cis and hetero people make up the vast majority of the world, and they don’t have to give us anything.

That means that if you want to teach them that we are human being; that we are their equals.  You have to go mingle.

If you spend your whole time bitching and complaining on the internet, or coffee shops, or classrooms, writing screeds and hateful rants, you’re doing dick.  The way you win rights is not by legal arguments, because laws are interpretable.  Remember Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. Board took the same sets of laws and saw them completely differently.  Those views changed because black people went out and proved time and again that they were the equals of whites, and that there was no reason to be separate but equal and it made no moral sense to boot.

So get the chip off your shoulder.  Get up from your Tumblr or Facebook group and go walk amongst those that would oppress you.  That’s how you win them over.  Not by pissing and moaning on the internet to other miserable assholes.

And yes.  Some of you are miserable assholes who do nothing but bitch and piss and moan.  You have no idea how good you have it in the America of 2014.  Spend less time trying to be angry and spend more time trying to be friendly and happy.

 

 

10.)  YOU ARE A MINORITY.  ACCEPT THAT SHIT.

You are a minority.  You are a statistical oddity.  You are not the norm.  Are you a freak?  No.  Do you deserve to be oppressed?  No.  But you are statistically and therefore practically not normal.  People will not know much about you.  You are rarely encountered.  You are not common reading material, and people don’t give you much deep thought.

No straight or cis person ponders the intricacies of the social rituals of interacting with a transgender or gay individual.  The average person does not fill their downtime with reading about the social status and values of a gay man.  Rarely does a straight guy, while sitting on the toilet, suddenly wonder about the intricacies of gay relationships, then rush off to the local College library to read articles in an anthropology journal.

They’re going to remain ignorant and when the opportunity arises ask a gay guy they meet.

Is it tactless?  Is it often rude?  Sure, sometimes it is.

But even trained anthropologists when interacting with obscure New Guinea tribes have been known to make cultural faux pas that lead to severe offense.  The State Department has people they keep on the payroll whose job it is to know what order to introduce people to others in a different culture due to social values and norms.  They train diplomats to know the difference between a Saudi Arabians “personal bubble” compared to an Egyptians “personal bubble.”  That shit is complex.

Right now.  I want you to tell me who is served a meal first in a Kalahari Bushman’s feast.  No peeking at the internet.

No clue, huh?  Why?  YOU’VE NEVER FUCKING INTERACTED WITH ONE!

So you know what?  If one showed up tomorrow and said you had to throw a feast, you better get to asking questions.

So yes.  You will get asked what seems like some ignorant ass shit sometimes.  “Who’s the bitch and who’s the butch.”  “So do they just like cut it off or what?”  “How do you have sex?”  Is it ignorant?  Yes.  Because the literal definition of ignorant is ‘lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.’

They don’t know.  And since they didn’t spend the last four years getting a cultural anthropology degree in Gay, they’re probably going to ask you shit.  At times it will be tactless, rude, and sometimes outright offensive.  But you know what?  They’re asking because they want to know and see you as a human being.  They want to find ways to relate and understand you.

If you go off screaming about how it’s not your job to educate them, and how they are being rude and ignorant, you’re actually doing more harm than good.

Does this mean you have to go into fine detail explaining various gay sex acts or the intricacies of a sigmoid-colon vaginoplasty?  No, you can have limits and a personal space.  That’s fine.  You don’t have to give them a recommended reading list and visual demonstrations.  But you don’t have to be a dick about the whole thing.

If they didn’t want to be nice to you, and wanted to keep on hating you, they wouldn’t have asked questions in the first place.

Be polite and simply decline.

 

 

 

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

 

I know I have gotten all rambly.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that many of you ADHD types quit reading a long time ago.  I also have no doubt that someone is really pissed off at this point and is Tweeting or blogging about this.  C’est la vie.

 

But look.

 

Quit fucking screaming and yelling at each other.  Everyone needs to swallow their damn pride, check their egos, and spend more time trying to talk to each other instead of screaming about how they are the right ones.   No one wins Oppression Olympics.  You sometimes are right, and sometimes you are wrong.

 

We are all on the same team.  We all want equality.  We all want to love openly, live well, and be happy with who we are.

 

The rest is all trivialities.
If you want to fight over who is more bona fide trans, more worried and active about LGBT rights, more concerned about being right, using big words that only a handful of other people know, if you want to lord your work and past over others.  You’re an asshole.  Doesn’t matter who you are.  You can be RuPaul, Calpernia Adams, Parker Malloy, GLADD, or the Transadvocate.  You’re being an asshole, and doing more harm than good.

 

And yes.

I can be as big of an asshole as anyone else.  You might be familiar with my earlier work with Goatse

57 thoughts on “I Sometimes Hate the LGBT Community. And I’m a Member.

  1. Reblogged this on The View From Both Sides and commented:
    I am re-blogging this post because it is the first article I’ve read that is written by a fellow transsexual where I could agree with everything that was written and learn some historical tidbits as well. This deserves to go viral. She gets it. I really wish that more people within the trans community would get it too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my. This is so insightful. I’ve been watching these twitter wars take place and kept silent because there was so much right and wrong with every point people were trying to get across. Thank you for this post. We need to all get together and hug this out.
    ——Teela

    Liked by 1 person

  3. some points:

    - You do understand where came “fish” from, don’t you? it ASTOUNDS me that you would tell people to use that word.
    - You say emphatically: ” NO-ONE IS THE LANGUAGE POLICE. NO-ONE” and then “You just need to drop it from your vocabulary and move on.”
    - The thing about “tranny” is that it has nothing to do with the trans community as we know it today. It came from transvestites, and we’re still around and still exist even though people like to pretend like we all died of AIDS in the 80s. If YOU don’t like tranny as a trans person, that’s your prerogative, but it’s not your place to take away someone else ‘sidentitty terminology because you decided it applied to you too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Encountered this via Reddit. I don’t normally comment on stuff, but I just have to say: superb post. I’m a fellow bisexual trans woman, preop though long since started HRT, so it’s not like I’m inexperienced, and this made even me think. Well-reasoned, informative, constructive; will be reflecting on this even after the tab is closed. I will pass on for the benefit of advancing the discourse. Thank you :)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice piece, some good stuff, but:
    “No straight or cis person ponders the intricacies of the social rituals of interacting with a transgender or gay individual.”
    Uh, say what? Cis-het dude reporting for duty here, reading this site (and lots of others) to do exactly that shit. So seriously, are you kidding? Tons of straight and cis people do this stuff. Give us SOME credit, eh? We’re not all some clued-out mob of n00bs.

    Like

  6. I also would like to voice my displeasure at your usage of the term ‘fish’. It’s hateful to women and implies that our vaginas are disgusting smelly orifices that we should be ashamed of. I am not the language police, but if I can take care to not use terms that hurt or disparage people based on their anatomy or sexual preferences or gender identification, then surely transpeople and ‘drag queens’ can take care not to use terms that hurt or disparage women based on their anatomy or perceptions of its odor. PS my vagina smells great, according to me andthe women and men whom I’ve had sex with.

    Like

  7. That was a fantastic post. I especially appreciate your points on ownership of language, the dictation of rules, and everyday experiences. Being able to use certain words in an ironic sense within a group can’t be policed, but that depends on being flexible and sensitive towards how others might feel. Nor can one person within a group dictate rules. Ultimately, reflections on personal experiences is the greatest contribution to the debate. A lot of us aren’t involved in debates within our own identities and between identities because they don’t seem accessible, rather dominated by overly-academic language and a sometimes inflexible activism about who can scream the loudest. Your post is reassuring in that it reminds me that most of us want a certain understanding and mutual respect between each other.

    Like

  8. I’m a bi trans person from “the middle generation” as well, and really enjoyed this post, it makes excellent points.
    Pity it’s US centric, because the broader points apply well outside of the US border. I wouldn’t have made as many references to anti-racism advocacy history though. I get the usefulness of drawing parallels to things better known but racial discrimination hasn’t similarly progressed in the last 15 years. White Floridian after white Floridian is getting away with murdering black young men with “stand your ground” while a black woman faces 60 years in jail for firing a warning shot; there is no equivalent within LGBT communities. Perhaps a parallel to societies relationship to HIV would have been better. From the era of people being afraid to shake hands with poz people to it becoming (in the global North) mostly a manageable chronic disease and poz people leading the way in advocating for nothing about them without them when it comes to research and treatment. Not to say there aren’t any non-disclosure criminalisation laws that don’t need repealing, there are, but I think it’d be a better parallel.

    Thanks again for the validations, and the food for thought.

    Like

    • The comparisons are so there is a frame of reference. It’s not intended as a literal comparison. While LGBT people do suffer systemic and institutional discrimination, it’s not similar in many ways to that of black people.

      Like

  9. A very well reasoned article, and obviously well received as only one negative comment so far, and even that was quite softly done. Maybe that’s the answer, make the article
    So long that only reasonable interested people will get to the comment section ( sorry British humour coming out there)
    I do think though that being reasonable about a subject that you so obviously care about, might actually be rarer than being trans…. but in seriousness, an excellent take on a tricky subject I so wish that there were more views like this around.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. While I totally agree with 95% of what you said. I do have to take a small objection to the statement that the world has changed. It has, but we are not even close to being done fighting yet. In 29 states it is still perfectly legal to fire someone simply for being trans. Fortune 500 companies may be seeing the light, but many trans people still face discrimination, harassment, and yes – still face violence and death simply due to existing as trans. This is especially true of they do not have the education and/or experience to be fortunate enough to secure a job at one of the companies that is gender-identity tolerant. I, unfortunately, still live in the bible belt and I see, experience and hear such discrimination and harassment on a daily basis. Just like our African-American friends experience, there is still hatred and discrimination out there on full display. You only have to watch the news or log into Facebook to see it. Even some members of our own community, such as the T.E.R.F.s (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) are calling trans people hateful names and saying we shouldn’t even be allowed to exist. So you can’t possibly claim that “It’s over”. It’s not even close to being over for trans people yet.
    Again, while I agree that many may have over-reacted, that reaction is borne from the fact that so many trans people are still out here fighting like hell for our daily survival and we have a hard time seeing an end to our struggles in sight when the people who are supposed to be our allies insist that they have the right to call us hateful and derogatory names.
    It’s very simple. Think about what you say before you say it. Consider other people’s feelings and experience before you make hurtful and ignorant statements. If you make a mistake, apologize sincerely for it and move on. That’s all it takes.

    Like

  11. Reblogged this on MainelyButch and commented:
    THIS IS ONE INCREDIBLY WELL WRITTEN AND VERY, VERY TRUE! I am reblogging this with the same message – get over yourselves, realize that history has brought us to exactly where we are today, and that all of us can be assholes once in a while…but we need to stop the bickering, stop the senseless “policing” of one another and rebuild our community into something that every one of us can be proud of. Let’s start with just being kind and respectful to each other – and accepting that we ALL have varying opinions, experiences and ways of viewing the world – and NO ONE is perfectly right on any of it. This blog is GREAT at putting the whole ball of wax into very understandable perspective!!! ~MainelyButch

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  12. THIS is possibly the BEST blog I have encountered yet on WordPress! You have managed to individually handle 18 very key points, and with such flair! Even with my ADHD I read every single word – beginning to end (ok, so I had to take a cigg break half way through….hehehe). REblogged with gusto! I look forward to this continuing conversation! You have opened a bunch of very cob-webbed doors! Bravo!!!

    Like

  13. What’s up with all the black examples you felt the need to utilize.to make your trivial points? Negro, nigger, black lesbian, etc. Completely disgusting and understandable coming from someone posing as a minority. Sorry to burst your little bubble bit you’re not a minority, you are white. You were born with white privilege, in a society that considers the terms youused above to be accurate reflections of a reasoning still used today to denigrate a person or people as not being good enough. You are no minority. A black lesbian is a triple minority. You say the community has gone from the slave era to what we see today in 15 years, you are entirely ignorant, vile, and you sicken me with your obviously ignorant, unintelligent, and wholly unconscious ideas about race and gender and racism and homophobia. Your are no minority. And no minority world want you to stand with them, let alone speak for them. What an utter pile of rubbish you’ve spewed that your unawakened masses will undoubtly agree with because they too haven’t a clue about the fact that they are not a minority, but instead an unwelcome obstacle. Being a tranny, much like being gay, is not the new black. Sorry to burst your rainbow bubble.

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      • I’m not mad at all. I’m … what’s the word I’m looking for, disappointed, for one. I’m disgusted, as I stated above, that the aforementioned article couldn’t articulate thoughts and ideas without one again using black, nigger, and negro to make a point. Mad? no. But if I was, I’d be justified. Mad isn’t what started the civil rights movement, logic and planning did that. Mad isn’t what brought Jim Crow slavery to a screeching halt, an attempt at morality, no matter how displaced did that. Mad is what the undercover and outspoken racists call black women, gay or straight, when they have nothing better or intelligent to say. So, no, I’m not mad, unfortunately, it’s expected. Your see, racism, ever within the lgbt community is very much so alive and well. Are you mad, bro?

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      • Nope. I’m not mad. I mean, I approved your reply didn’t I? If I was mad, I wouldn’t have bothered to give you a chance to speak your mind.

        Look, I’m a complete smart-ass. This is not an activists blog, it’s the blog of an aspiring comedian.

        I get that people get touchy when the whole subject of race comes up. But let’s be perfectly honest. If there were any sort of evil intent using the comparisons to race, or any sort of racist intent. It would be pretty damn apparent. One of my private passions is history, and the study and thoughts about there-of. Was this whole thing an attempt to compare in every literal sense the LGBT Equality movement to the Civil Right’s movement? Absolutely not.

        But since I don’t write for activists, intellectuals (or those who think they are intellectuals for that matter), or any sort of person who spends hours navel gazing about their own pet issues, but to talk to people who don’t spend a lot of time pondering them (as I noted about LGBT people remembering that straight people don’t know about every fine detail of their lives and sub-culture), and put them in the ballpark and give a little food for thought.

        However, I’m going to put this back in your court to answer for. Who are you to determine who is, and is not a minority? Statistically speaking in a demographic sense, blacks, latinos, asians, south-asians, central-asians, native americans, are all minorities compared to white people. But at the same time, LGBT people are demographically a minority as well. Now, who is “more minority”? Honestly, in a numerical sense, probably LGBT people over black people. Henceforth, by that definition, which is the one that every social scientist of any sort of educational level, and any sort of statistician, or mathematician, would describe a minority.

        But to go to the other side, which is the “touchy-feely” side of minority, sorry, but LGBT people still count as a minority. LGBT do not have equal access to medical care, job opportunities, legal protections, familial rights as heterosexual and cisgendered people do. In fact, in some states, they are directly directed by law to be unequal to heterosexual and cisgendered people. The interesting thing is, is that latino, black, asian, and white LGBT people all suffer this discrimination, and not just black ones, white ones, or latinos.

        Now, am I a white person? Yup. Do I have white privilege? You bet your sweet bippy. Do I have cisgender and heteroprivlege? Nope. I cannot serve in the armed forces, cannot legally marry, cannot have designate my partner (if I had one) as my legal heir and guardian or give them the rights to pull my plug in the hospital. I am not a Protestant, which are the religious majority in this country, I am a lapsed Catholic, which is a minority. I make below the median wage, which makes me again, unprivileged. Now, being white, do I fear police and unfair application of legal punishment? Nope. But do I fear being beaten half to death if by a group of people if I get read at the wrong place and time? Yep. I’m terrified of going to jail and being put in a men’s jail as opposed to a females or solitary confinement because I might be assaulted or killed.

        Now what does all this mean? It means that I experience both privilege and unprivilege at the same time. I am both a majority as well as a minority. I can experience the benefit of my birth and be punished for my biology.

        Privilege is not a state of being “off or on”. It exists in a state of flux depending upon circumstances of multiple variability. So in essence, in some ways, I’m more privileged than Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey, but at the same time, they are more privileged than me based upon wealth, gender, race, access to goods and services, education, and legal protections based upon my gender or sexual identity.

        Now, I want you to explain how I am not a minority when I am explicity by my states laws, not able to experience the same privileges straight and cisgendered people are.

        On top of that, I want you to explain how you can bandy around the term ‘tranny’ which this blog and many others has already said is offensive, but demand special recognition for exclusion for ones denoting race. Either they are offensive or not, or can be used in an expository sense, or not.

        Explain how you can have your cake of cisgendered and heterosexual privilege, yet deny me it, but complain about my white privilege cake that you (I’m assuming you are black or a white person feeling obligated to speak on behalf of black people (remember my comment about letting people drive the bus and not telling them how to drive it?)) do not get to have.

        Am I mad? Nope.

        Merely amused that in a post about learning to quit tearing each other down and apart, you managed to find a way to tear us apart and down.

        Also that you are so presumptuous about your own correctness of subjective viewpoint that you named yourself “The Truth”.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s interesting how easily that white privilege you’re born with transfers from one gender to the next, no matter what body you’re born in. You don’t have the right to think your struggles mirror black struggles in any sense of the words used to do exactly that in your article. That is what I take issue with. Where does the audacity derive from? You dare to wonder why there young white transgenders feel the need to usurp the authority of freedom that was granted to them due to the older generations struggles…but I don’t and no other black person should either. I can sum it up for you in two words. White privilege. And you’re right in a sense, you should all just sit back and fucking enjoy it… while it lasts. But the black struggle which persists should be left out of this clustering of fucks because it certainly ain’t over. And no one is blaming you for that, it is what it is due largely in part to a massive collective consciousness of white privilege that reigns.

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  15. Lmao. Yeah, you have absolutely no retort. That’s awesome how you know you are dead wrong. Lgbt is more of a minority than being born black….yeah, that’s how fucked up you are. You are the epitome of ignorant, I’m sorry but it’s the only word that I can accurately use to describe the drivel I just read. Hell, even brown people today can’t say they’ve been through or experienced even an inkling of the struggle the pro slavery Jim crow era, they experience a wholly different kind of struggle. And thanks to tools like you, they have to prove obvious shit like racial profiling because science and millions of documented cases haven’t already done that for you. You brought race into this bro. You did that, not me. You spewed your ignorance and I highlighted where you went wrong on that quest. You have the nerve to compare your struggle to those of my ancestors, and in the same breadth to question racism to boot. Your ignorance astounds and dumb founds. I’d be foolish to be mad at you… you have displayed complete disregard, complete insensitivity, and complete ignorance in matters of race and especially the comparisons and glaring disparities found within your article. Please own your ignorance and move on. I didn’t write this rubbish, you did. And believe me my dear, it is exactly that. You will never find the camaraderie you seek within the lgbt community, never, because of shallow insensitive closed minded people just like yourself, thinking they know better when they don’t know anything at all. What a sad day… am I mad? Lmao, wow, I wish I could say I was. But people of color are very much so used to dealing with white privilege, it’s still jarring to find such ignorance put so proudly on display. But not really.

    Like

    • Yeah. You’re mad.

      Not like frothing at the mouth mad. More like festering extreme loathing that blinds one to nuanced views.

      Oh, if you go talk about this on your twitter or blog or facebook. Make sure you link this. I got bets about the page hit count.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. By the way, my use of the term tranny, your use of the term nigger, both as an analogy. Yeah, it works both ways and typically you cannot have your cake and eat it too, but you decided to be a baker and a consumer today so you must to deal with the backlash of those who take offense to the offense you created to compare and extrapolate another offense.

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  17. Typical guy. Placing bets on page count hits. Concerned about the wrong things. I won’t be sharing this blog post with anyone I know. I do hope you win you bet though.

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  18. This should be required reading for all trans people. Excellent! I could almost hear George Carlin in my head as I read it.

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  19. Thank you.. I came out In 1983 at age 17 – I thought I had it good.. I had friends who knew, and a mother and father that excepted me. I lived in NC and I let many young males and females crash on my couch, till we could get them in a foster system) Meaning kids younger then me, who where turning tricks to get food and out of the rain. their family’s turned them out. thanks to people older and wiser, there is help now. thank you for the reminder, we are not done yet, and we still need to learn, to lesson to each other, and stand together. what we have build, can still topple over, because the foundation is not wide and deep.

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  20. As a white gay male, I can’t comment about the transgender portions of this article or anything that might encompass. I agree, it’s not my business and it’s not something I can understand, but I do find this article to be particularly distasteful. Saying that made you automatically go on the defensive, I know, but just hear me out. The LGBT community are outcasts. We are a group that bound together in the face of hate, fear, and shun. We are one part “normal” with two parts “we-still-don’t-know” and we are expected to live in a society where normal is a standard, beauty is a requirement, and judgement is always given. We have sat in the bathrooms for school lunches, bleeding in the streets from bludgeoning, and when that wasn’t an issue, hurting ourselves because it wasn’t just that the world hated us: we hated ourselves. And more than that, I find it ironic almost that almost each one of us, while going through so much pain ourselves, always reach out a hand. LGBT wasn’t found one the premise of politics, it was found on love: the love we found for one another. To stand here and try and preach to a group of people who have always had a hand pointed to their face and call them wrong is cruel at best. Yes, we have been turning our back to the real problems, and yes there is a ton of drama that I hate going on between us all, but only we can stop it. When people start fighting, love them. And when things escalate, love them harder. We come to each other because there is no where else. We come to each other for the love and acceptance we can’t find anywhere else. We are all brothers and sisters going through this war that is called life, and at the end of the day, this community is all we have. Who couldn’t use more love?

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  21. Instead of arguing about who is a minority and who is not, we ought to all be able to agree that ANYONE is capable of oppressing another person…because there is always *someone* who has less power than I have. So, yes, members of the same or different minorities can oppress one another.
    Power differentials are real. Perhaps only white males can oppress each other (when they’re not busy oppressing everyone else). But being a member of a minority or of an oppressed population does not immunize anyone from being capable of oppressing another human being. To be clear, I’m not equating oppression with “being mean.” Oppression is to attempt to hurt or subjugate another person by exploiting their lack of power, based on their status as a member of a minority or a persecuted group. (* I would define “persecuted group” or minority as: people who suffer adverse treatment, based on an immutable trait, such as race, gender, sexual orientation or identity.)
    For example, a Latino man can beat his wife or sexually harass a subordinate at work. Anybody remember Eddie Murphy’s open homophobia in “Delirious”? In the past, homophobia and transphobia was fairly rampant in the black church community. It was overt. Recently that has changed and dramatically so. Black churches and their members have provided leadership in the fight for LGBT rights and marriage equality. This is why we are allies.
    We are ALL — human beings — works in progress. A “More Minority Than Thou” approach is ultimately destructive to all of us, no matter where we sit on the continuum of oppression and power. At the same time, we must all be willing to learn and evolve and OWN IT when we fuck up and offend someone on the basis of their status or trait. Until recently, I was entirely unconscious as to my own biases, prejudices and unexamined reactions and assumptions about transgender individuals. Fortunately, I learned this from reading posts by transgender people online — before I had a chance to open my big fat mouth and stick my foot in it…and, possibly hurt someone in the process.
    Am I going to change my behavior and assumptions as a result of what I read? You bet! Why not? I’m all for consciousness raising. I’ve fucked up before…actually thinking that civil unions might be an okay compromise. Then I read the testimonies of my LGBT friends, I realized, “Whoa, I’m wrong about that. Marriage Equality is the only way. It’s about full and equal humanity.” So fucked up. And I fixed it. I do my best to do this always. Maintain an open mind, press for equality always.
    I want to respect what individuals and members of group as a whole want to be called and what terms, language and treatment they find acceptable and unacceptable. They are the first and ultimate authority on their own identity, lived experience, and how they want to move forward. Who am I to tell others what they should be called? This to me is basic good manners.
    We should also all be able to speak frankly and truthfully to one another. We don’t have to infantilize one another by fearing to speak openly and freely. At the same time, we should cut each other a break because we’re all in this together, and the KKK would just as soon have us all in a freight train headed to Auschwitz. We’ve died together before.
    No one will get everything right all the time. We’re human. We fuck up. What matters is having an open heart and the willingness to hear it when someone says that you got it wrong. In those situations, I want to open myself to hearing and understanding as well as possible how that other person feels and why. And then I want to learn, change and do better. And if I have to issue some apologies along the way, it is more than payment on a very good deal for me, seeing as the other person paid for my learning with his or her own pain…that I inflicted without permission. To respect his or her perspective and wishes is the least I can do.

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  22. Hmmm…just wondering how long it takes for you to get attacked by both sides. After all, you middle-ground trans woman, you…standing in the middle of the highway between classic and nuevo (right there with you, I am)…you don’t fit. You won’t fit and, as a result, you’ll draw fire (which you are totally cool with I’m sure).
    It’s mostly just a side-show, as have most of the inter-trans wars that have been burbling in the background where most of the human population could not rightly give a damn. The only difference is that this one is being fought on the Huffington Post to the delight of the troll-filled masses who like nothing better than to watch the Others tear one another down. Makes them feel better doing it.
    So thank you for a good read. Sad it will fall on the deaf ears who need to hear it. But us middle-grounders? We like you just fine. And we hear you.

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  23. I am glad to have read your post…and each and every one of the comments thus far. I am always glad to gain new knowledge on things that I do not fully understand and I got that tonight. I know very little about being oppressed and I recognize how exceptionally lucky that makes me. What particularly resonated with me was about whether or not the people in positions of power want to share. I am about to turn 40, however that happened, and have reflected a lot recently about how different the world is since the time of my birth. I am a chronic insomniac, so I think about all sorts of random stuff at three in the morning. But overall, I feel discouraged. Like an overarching, I hate all types of oppression, kind of discouraged. Because it feels like we as in citizens of the world can only embrace the struggle of one minority group at a time. It’s either a focus on race, or gender, or lifestyle, or socioeconomic status, or disability, or whatever an individual might own as the group or groups that they belong to. I am discouraged because I have seen in humanity that there is always someone who has a little bit of an edge over someone else. Somewhere in the world is the human being who is absolutely without a doubt at the bottom of the heap, but I am guessing that this person does not live in the United States. In this country, it has been hammered into us that we can make our own plight (no matter how shitty it is) just a little bit better by holding down the person or group of people who are just a little bit worse off than we are.
    I live my life trying to recognize that I am pretty mediocre overall. I am pretty middle of the road in most demographic areas. However, I also have begun to realize that although I am not wealthy, super-intelligent, or in any other way extraordinary, I have power to change the world. It feels puny, and worthless that I advocate for and try to make better the lives of those around me. But I am awakening to the fact that it feels that way because I have been programmed to feel that way by those who don’t want me to meet and organize with other people who feel puny and worthless. We all can work together to change the injustices that we see every day, but as you pointed out, we get caught in the weeds by arguing about who exactly has the worst story, the worst history, the worst road in life. I am not here to evangelize but truly believe the phrase that I hear in my church community that “We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” It sounds so naive and ridiculous for me to say this but I do believe that we can get to a better place…for every person.
    I guess that this is a long way of saying that I do not know the struggle or how it feels to be scared to walk down the street because of something about myself that I cannot control. I do not know all of the correct language to use when I talk to the diverse group of people in my circle, but I do not want to be afraid to learn because I might stick my foot in my mouth. Here is what I can speak to. I am a mama to a wonderful six year old child. And in this child whoever he may end up to be, or however he may define himself, I see an individual who is being raised in a different world than I was, and while I notice that he sees differences, he naturally is nonplussed by them. I do not think that this is totally the work of my obviously enlightened influence because he gets a lot more from media than he probably does from myself or my husband. So I feel powerful, because I am raising the next generation, and I can see in him that he and his peers will continue to do the work that everyone has done from one age to the next, and he will not turn 40 in a perfect world, but I know that at least in regard to the tolerance for oppression, he will turn 40 in a better world. There may be no clean water, and he may have to live in some sort of underground bubble, but he will be doing it with a group of people who are closer to that great goal of enlightenment to which many of us in this conversation aspire. And I will be 80, hopefully alive, and I will be fighting along side him for that reality if I am physically able.
    I love that people are having these conversations, I love that people are in debate, I love that people are trying to educate and raise awareness for the many different niches that we all fit into. I love that you, a person whom I have never met, and never will meet can touch a place in my heart and my mind by just sharing your knowledge and experience. I do not get all of it, but I do sometimes find myself in mid pee thinking deep shit about how I should refer to my friend who by his own admission does not know where he fits in on the gender spectrum. Whew. Thanks for allowing me to spew. Many points that you highlighted resonated deeply with me. And that is a gift. In exchange, I shall continue my puny efforts and I shall continue to raise an amazing human being who will continue in his own puny efforts. If he becomes the tea-party candidate for president, I will still love him but it will be really hard. Love and light to you.

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  24. Thanks. Your article was well considered, well written, and useful to a better understanding of the issue at hand; what’s more, it was also useful to a better understanding of how people in general might get along in a more respectful, less acrimonious, and more productive way. It might be worthwhile noting here that I am a white gay male — the kind of person someone above said might have deaf ears — but, for all that, my ears are not deaf. And I am quite glad to have heard what you had to say.

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  25. My compliments to the author, moreover, you never change the world by destroying the houses people call their homes. Rather, if you want to change someone’s point of view, you need to get inside their house. You need to spend sometime inside their heads and hearts. This move does not mean it will be an easy place to get to or that you may even want to, but if you desire, truly desire to change the world, then you are probably going to have to accept a certain degree of change in your own perspective to know what it takes for someone else to do the same.
    What does this mean? Well to continue with the metaphor, it means you may not change what makes people build their house to keep darkness and fear out, however, with some effort on your part you might just get them to stop loading weapons and stand at the windows and look out instead.

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  26. This article makes some good points. I think it’s long past time to move past our petty differences and actually work as a community.
    I do have some criticism:
    I don’t think that we are anywhere near the era of learning “art and philosophy” as a community though. We still have a lot a real-life life or death struggles, even here in the United States. Violence and harassment are still major issues in much of the country and many states don’t even have workplace protections for queer people. Many people, myself included, have and are still placing their persons on the line for our rights.
    Also while people like Dan Savage and Ru Paul may be assholes in some areas, our right and freedoms as people aren’t about our rights and freedoms as “nice” people, it’s about right and freedoms for assholes too. They are entitled to their offensive opinions about things like relationship etiquette or use of language because those things are psychological and social constructs and actually are just matters of opinion. They’re not advocating harm or violence toward anyone and they have done a lot to advance our community. Maybe they’re not hip to 3rd wave feminism or intersectionality, but neither are a lot of other people, and they probably aren’t ready for it either.
    While Andrea and Calpurnia don’t get to dictate the “rules” of being transgender to the younger generation, they don’t get to dictate the rules to them either. Just because they might already be dead in “gay years” doesn’t mean they actually are and doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice in the larger consensus of queer society. It’s not about who’s right or even who’s “turn” turn it is.
    Finally, knowing a lot of people in the drag community where I live, I have to take issue with the statement that drag queens aren’t transgendered. Most everyone I know or have known is, if not trans, defiantly gender non-conforming, and not just on stage. Not only that, like it or not, historically it’s their word too. The entire drag queen / transgender divide seems to be a recent, and anomalous, development in our queer community. Historically, and in my current experience, they have more overlap than not.

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  27. i love it alll…..shemale…tranny…heshe
    ..miss thing……the MISSING PART IS …And delivery…….or else there would be no “art and comedy”..

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  28. starts off good until it makes bullshit assumptions. I wish my parents paid for hormones. You think there are no more trans people that become prostitutes to survive, how ignorant. The existence of transsexual people was completely erased by GAY crossdressers for me in high school. I did not hear about calpernia adams or anything trans related. Drag queens play dress -up and it’s sexist and they don’t face half the shit transsexuals do. What rights do drag queens lack as men, especially as conformist men that always identify with their guy name.

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