Like some others in the discussion, I do feel a need to say a few final words on the Old Guard (HBS) versus deconstructionist battle in the transgender community, and then move on. I am undecided about any further participation in anything trans, beyond this post.

It’s clear that resolution is impossible; the majority remains entrenched — and judging by the volume of responses that I’ve seen, it is in fact the HBS / Old Guard are that majority, at least among transsexuals. But to me, the question was always whether people can set aside the hostilities enough to work for the betterment of all the community, or remain wrapped up in those differences. This has been met with total indifference. I no longer believe that the community even wants to work together.

The olive branch I’ve extended on my own behalf was very real, despite having been recently burned by Old Guard / HBS sentiment myself… but that offer of putting aside differences has gone completely unacknowledged, in favour of further divisive scorn.

I wish to be clear on something: I have taken the time to educate myself about many of the sub-communities in the transgender spectrum (by getting to know people in those sub-communities, rather than distancing myself from them), and strongly believe that there is much overlap in communal needs and also in the genesis of what drives us — although more needs to be learned, on a scientific level as well as on the social plane. I use “transgender” in the modern, all-encompassing sense of the term, rather than any now-irrelevant historic one.

And as a transsexual myself (although I know that there are those who will always believe that I cannot possibly be anything other than a male-bodied fetishist, in spite of all evidence to the contrary), I support the rights of transsexuals, and do not see how they’ve been turned over to some other agenda (there seems to be some duplicity on this point from the Old Guard, in which it’s asserted that the community has been taken over by non-transsexual people and that TS issues are being left by the wayside, but then it’s later claimed that non-TS people are pretending to speak for them…. you can’t have it both ways). But as I see it, the transgender community continues to advocate for transsexuals, and will continue to do so whether HBS-brand transsexuals wish any association or not. There is strength in numbers — and like it or not, a unified community is better positioned to accomplish lasting change than those who wish to carve the community up and advocate rights for only a small privileged, arrogant slice of it.

Not to mention that the most disenfranchised of the community still need us, and I’m not keen on anything that suggests that people should be left behind.

Somewhere along the line, I became a Transinista. I don’t know how it happened — there was no recruitment drive — I just found myself looking at a photo of myself dressed in combat boots, mirrored sunglasses, floppy angel wings trimmed with sequins and feathers, and sporting a lit stogie dangling out of my mouth. “Holy Jeebiz,” I muttered. “That’s got to be Photoshopped. And I don’t appreciate the moustache.”

Now, I think my credentials are pretty good. I’m not a litigation activist, my focus has been on community-building. Part of this has meant learning a lot of perspectives (our community is incredibly diverse), and then trying to teach T-folk what the other groups of T-folk are all about. And learning what I could about Intersex, crossdressers, gender renegades, drag performers, Two-Spirits, non-op transsexuals as well as those who clearly need the operation has introduced me to a wide experience of unique people who I respect. I never assume that my experience of being trans is the only valid one. It’s the approach which drove me to write “Transbigotry?

Maybe this is sort of the equivalent of the cartoon squirrel who scurries up with an olive branch, squeaking, “why can’t we all just get along?” before someone pulls out an M16 and perforates her, a note of satisfaction for the far right-wing and far left-wing types who resent “bleeding heart peacemakers.” But I’ve actually found diplomacy to be an approach that most people — both at the grassroots level and in the online world — to be usually quite open to. There are, however, always people of strong opinion who won’t be swayed:

This colours my point of view just as those who identify as some brand of trans come from an entirely different point of view. I see the world through the eyes of a feminist woman who has studied history and is also a pagan theologian. I live within the greater world where the dominate viewpoint of gender is a strictly bi-gendered one where most people’s understanding of gender is limited to there are men and women and if slightly more enlightened, some people are born intersexed and some are born transsexual but both these groups get put in either the male or female bin. — Cat Kisser, from “Not Ready For Prime Time, Or: How the TG Rights Movement Went Insane By Talking Only To Itself.”