I just read a sad little rant by a TS Separatist:
“I see the T in lgbt as being a dumping zone, a miscelaneous, really in my view, the T is a junk drawer, an oubliette if you will. The T can stand for MEN who wear women’s clothes for reasons of sexual arousal, it can stand for gay MEN who wear women’s clothes for reasons of entertainment, it can stand for Men who are still sorting out why and what and feel good wearing women’s clothes, and then there are the transsexuals. I really feel it is unjust. As a woman, I do not like being thrown in the “and other” box. My entire point is that discrimination against women who happen to be transgendered, is gender discrimination, and several people lately have fought being fired for instance or kept from medical help on the basis that it was gender bias, and they have won. All of the work done to secure women’s equality in america is the ground work we can stand upon, but we do not even approach it if we cower in the miscelaneous drawer. Most everyone I have met in America has been fine with being labeled LGBT because they take it forgranted they have no other option. They believe it is the best way to defend themselves, they feel alone and they perceive social infrastructure they can utilize to defend themselves, who can blame them, but this is because they do not fully grasp their right to be seen equal to cis gendered woman. If someone fired a woman for being a woman, that would be news and huge and the monster would be had, exceptions standing, and the same should be for women who happen to be of transitional gender. In effect, women of transitional gender are made to feel safe, when in fact they become invisible as what they are, just regular women, trying to live their lives. I am a woman, I am attracted to men, I have three little girls that I homeschool, I want to be respected the same way as the woman next to me, who gave birth to her children. I think the T is a misnomer. I think the drawer should be opened and everyone in it to be let out, to be seen for who and what they are and to be respected.”
The elitist premise of this burbeling is just stupid and should be disregarded. I mean that… the above statement is just uneducated, elitist, shame-wrapped, sophistic hubris. This is the wish to be a victim. It’s the continued whining of someone who hasn’t done their work around tranphobia.
I won’t even go into how crossdresser rights impact transsexual rights. I’ll pick that low-hanging fruit later. For now, by way of proving my above point, let’s just apply the author’s same logic to lesbians and gays:
The “L” is a junk draw; an oubliette if you will for butches, studs, fems and stealth L people who don’t want to be put under that umbrella with all of those stone butches. Stealth same-sex-loving women deserve to be respected and therefore the Lesbian taxonomy should be abandoned because people will just confuse studs and fems. Also, stone butches make women uncomfortable in the restroom.
The “G” is also a junk draw; dumping zone, a miscellaneous that covers everyone from the leather daddies, bears, queens and even the down-low guy who doesn’t want to be put under that umbrella with the queens. What about the Republican who doesn’t want anything to do with parades, flags, “special rights” and wants to just live his life? This Republican doesn’t want to make a big issue out of his sexuality which, is just a small part of himself after all. This is a biological issue – like being born intersex; its an issue that he manages. This guy is just a “normal” person and the idea that he is forced under the same umbrella as all the queens and leather daddies is offensive to him. Because it’s offensive to him, all gay culture needs to change and reject the umbrella term, “gay” because he claims the umbrella term confuses people and, he asserts without evidence, is the reason he can’t enjoy full civil rights.
How many of us would take these lesbian and gay separatists seriously? This isn’t just a hypothetical question.
What if lesbian and gay separatists said that it was the normal* people (called the Mattachine society) who were the ones fighting for rights and that the movement was colonized by “screaming queens forming chorus lines and kicking went against everything that I wanted people to think about homosexuals … that we were a bunch of drag queens in the Village acting disorderly and tacky and cheap” (an actual quote about Stonewall by a Mattachine society member)? What about those poor Mattachine people who really, truly believe with all the shame in their little hearts that DOMA would never have become a reality had the normal folks separated all the weird gay people from their movement? Why hasn’t the Gay Borg allowed the Mattachine folks to redefine all of gay culture? Isn’t that just unfair?!?
Many (certainly not all) TS Separatists are our down-low**community and our Mattachine minded people who really believe that rights are gained through adherence to the original Mattachine slogan:
*What you do reflects on me, what I do reflects on you, what we do reflects on the rest of the community, so act and be normal.
The Mattachine slogan is a beautiful example of mind of a bullied child. It is the naïve belief that blames the victim. It represents the warped view that the bullying will end if the victim could only say the right things, have the right look and tap-dance, juggle and perform fast enough. I say this view is “naïve” because it is a world view that wrongly believes that bullying isn’t about power and is instead about our ability to fit in. They mistakenly believe that our oppressors fear our differences when in fact, our oppressors LOVE our differences because they use them to justify the very power they believe adds quality to their life. While the oppressor might have fear, their fear is about a loss of control, dominance and/or status and is ultimately about a loss of power for the oppressor.
When it comes down to it, here’s the basic, broad-brush world view differences between Separatists and Inclusionists…
- We ALL face oppression because our history or our expression violates cultural gender stereotypes.
- Our oppressors LOVE our differences and NEVER want our differences to be seen as normal differences (on par with differences which violate cultural norms, eg Look Who’s Coming For Dinner)
- Our oppressors use our differences to “otherize” us so that oppression becomes a social meme.
- Our oppressors oppress us because they like the power, not because they don’t like our differences.
The Separatist World View:
- Transsexuals face oppression because people confuse us with crossdressers and drag queens.
- Our oppressors HATE what they view as being strange and/or deviant behavior.
- Transsexualism isn’t about strange and/or deviant behavior; it’s a medical condition and has nothing to do with breaking gender stereotypes in our culture.
- Our oppressors will stop oppressing us if we can get them to see that we aren’t like crossdressers and that we are instead like intersex people.
We do not become normal by hiding our differences; we become normal by making our differences a normal part of life and that process begins with US. Being gay didn’t become normal by separating from the fem boys and butch girls and being transsexual won’t become normal by separating from the drag queens and crossdressers. There’s a reason Harvey Milk proclaimed “Come out! Come out! Come out!”
If a Separatist is reading this and takes away only one thing from this post, let it be this: Your true oppressors will always see you as being nothing more that a mutilated version of your original assigned sex. They will always only see you as a sad wretch that needs to be separated away… preferably in a mental institution. No matter what you do, you will NEVER, EVER be anything more than a deviant to them. They will always try to force this false meme into our culture so that normal, rational people think and act in irrational ways when they hear about trans issues. Changing our community history, changing our community language and creating strict regimented community definitions about who can and cannot identify as being a transsexual, an intersex person, crossdresser or transgender will NEVER, EVER do anything to change the way your oppressors view you. You won’t gain a normal life by separating from what your oppressors don’t like; you gain a normal life by making your oppressor’s views abnormal.
You must come out. Come out… to your parents… I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives… come out to your friends… if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors… to your fellow workers… to the people who work where you eat and shop… come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared… – Harvey Milk, 6/25/1978
If the down-low guy doesn’t want to identify as being gay, then fine. If the stealth lesbian doesn’t want to identify as being a lesbian, then fine. If the TS Separatist doesn’t want to identify as being trans, then fine. HOWEVER, do not demand that the entire trans community rework its culture to suit your whims and unsubstantiated statements of fact.
For me it’s simple: we can either go the route of Harvey Milk or we can go the route of the Mattachines. I, myself, stand with Harvey Milk and with every other successful civil rights movement our nation has ever known.
**Down-low: ”Rejecting a gay culture they perceive as white and effeminate, many black men have settled on a new identity, with its own vocabulary and customs and its own name: Down Low. ” - Double Lives On The Down Low by Benoit Denizet-Lewis. I’ve used this as a direct correlation to the “stealth” TS who claims a “stealth” status as a means of rejecting trans culture.
cross-posted from Ehipassiko