What Inclusionism Means

I wanted to take a moment and address what it means to be a non-Separatist; that is, what it means to be an Inclusionist – part of the transgender community. The Houston transgender community has been an explicitly Inclusionist community since the 1960s. We toyed with separatism in the mid-1980s when West-Coast Separatists tried to force the Houston trans community to give up our native Inclusionist values and the result was disastrous. Instead of letting Separatists tell you what it means to be an Inclusionist, I thought I’d talk about with it means here in Houston.

What Inclusionism looks like:

  • FTM-only groups
  • Post-op MTF TS-only groups
  • Mixed groups
  • Youth-only groups
  • Significant others-only groups
  • Intersex groups

Inclusionism looks like having different TS and transgenderist e-groups. Inclusionism is being okay with the myriad ways in which human beings identify with and express gender. Inclusionism is about allowing people to follow their own path without pressuring them to take steps they shouldn’t take or that they’re not ready to take. Inclusionism is about respecting and affirming our differences while standing together as a community who gives a shit about each others’ welfare. Inclusionism is about unity, not uniformity. In Houston, all kinds of trans folk are included in and work together as one powerful community that takes care of business. When you hear someone talk about the transgender community, this is the concept they are talking about. When I identify as a transgender person, this is what I’m talking about. I’m identifying myself as being part of this community in the exact same way I might refer to myself as a Texan.

Inclusionism IS NOT about asserting that everyone is exactly the same and that nobody has unique needs. When you hear a Separatist tell you differently, they are lying to you. Inclusionism IS NOT about telling you how you must self-identify, again… Inclusionism not about telling you who you are; rather, it’s about supporting your authentic self in whatever way that looks like. Inclusionism affirms the norm that each one of us has worth, purpose and value – wherever you are on the gender spectrum.

As a community, we’ve been able to do stuff like put together 2 low-cost trans medical clinics with a 3rd on the way, start the nation’s first trans shelter, have the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, open our own transgender center (offering trans-run social services), open our own transgender archive to the public, get our City’s mayor into politics,  etc. We do stuff like run for public office, we’re out and open Judges, we chair city and county meetings and can organize at the drop of a hat to respond and defeat anti-trans bills.  We’re doctors, students, fortune 500 company executives, homeless people, sex workers, housewives, bodybuilders,  – we’re everyone. Come to one of our Friday socials and you’ll see ALL OF US hanging out enjoying each other’s company.

Remember, the Houston community is where trans law and trans medical care was born.

What Separatism looks like:

Ashley “I’m Colonized” Love, Separatist Opinion Leader

Here’s a quick review of the reality separatists assert to be true…

“The coiner of the term transgender was Virginia Prince, a heterosexual crossdresser who held those of us who had sex reassignment surgery in contempt. Virginia was particularly vicious in her opinion regarding WBTs who were lesbian after sex reassignment surgery. She called us freaks and mistakes.” – Suzan Cooke

“Feinberg, a Marxist… [asserted that] True transgender liberation requires the overthrow of capitalism, just as any truly revolutionary social change must address the question of transgender liberation. In simple non-dialectic terms, Feinberg believes that capitalism and transgenderism are mutually exclusive. You must be a socialist, or a communist, or maybe even an anarchist if you are truly transgendered.” – Lisa Jain Thompson

“We are not legally, socially or definitely not genetically bound to abandon the medical and patient rights, science or affirming and understanding doctors who support our transsexual medical condition’s accurate narrative just because a group of individuals say so.” – Ashley Love

For those of you who’ve not bought into the idea of a global conspiracy that’s trying to take away transsexual health care, turn transsexuals into commies while simultaneously forcing all of us to give up self-identifying as a transsexual, then I suggest you read the following:

Tracking Transgender:

The Historical Truth

(Note: While Separatists claim that I’ve faked my above research because I have a “male ego“, thus far, Drs. Milton Diamond, Susan Stryker, and David Valentine have all told me that my research is remarkable. So, I’d just like to point out that this represents yet another divergence of worldviews between Separatist ideology and what many of us might call reality.)

cross-posted from Ehipassiko

Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of underserved communities. She started the first trans homeless shelter in Texas and co-founded the first federally funded housing-first homeless program, pioneered affordable health care for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. She has published short stories, academic chapters and papers, and numerous articles for both print and digital magazines. She received numerous awards for her advocacy and has presented at universities throughout the nation, served on several governmental committees and CBO boards, is the Editor of the TransAdvocate, and is a founding board member of the Transgender Foundation of America and the Bee Busy Wellness Center.