Lead, Fight Or Get Out Of The Way - Pick One!

Christina Engela's picture
Please excuse me, but today I am going to rant a little.

Okay, a lot.

You see, for quite some time now, I have been working towards building unity in the pink community. As a transgender woman (post op, as a minor detail, which will become relevent in a moment), I am passionate about equality and civil rights for gay (including lesbians), bisexual and intersex people - and for my own smaller group, the transgender. It is what I devote my life to.

What upset me? Was it right wing religious conservative bigots venting off against gay people as they usually do? Was it people punting the usual rubbish about transsexuals or gay people being pedophiles? Was it some external threat? No, this time it was an internal threat.

Yesterday I ran into a group of transgender women on a blog forum ripping into... the transgender community?

Strange as it may seem, they were ranting and raving about the inclusion of the "T' in GLBTI and that they did not want to be associated with deviants, homosexuals and people who they defined as not "true" transsexuals and also "homosexual transsexuals".

To see transgender people attacking other transgender people over sexual orientation, while expecting the rest of the world to respect them! Is this not both hypocritical and patently stupid? Transphobia within the transgender community sickens me more than the homo and trans phobia of the bigots attacking the whole pink community!

Unsurprisingly these brazen proponents of their internalized bigotry were anonymous - and for some strange reason quite proud of that. And they used their anonymity to its full potential to rip gay people and trans people who associate with them to shreds. They can be glad of their anonymity. Yes, being out and open about being trans is more dangerous in some ways, but so liberating in others. I cannot understand why some people finish transition to go back to hiding in closets and pretending they were never anything else - and to add insult to injury, then anonymously attack other trannies who stand up and take on bigotry against the entire pink community for their "homosexuality" and for associating them with the rest of the "freaks" in what makes up the pink community!

They distance themselves from a community they claim they are now suddenly "too good for"? One smart ass even voices her belief that: "I’m not out and proud…I have nothing to be “out” about and think those who are “proud” they are transgender have major psychological issues."!

Grrr! That really makes me crazy.

Actually, people who cannot face facts and their own true natures and hide behind "I'm heterosexual now (but I used to be a tranny once upon a time)" are the ones with pscyhological issues!

I couldn't believe my eyes, really, but made some inquiries. I recieved hostility and the following challenge:

"Author: leigh
Christina :

Since you are so enlightened and I don't know what the fuck I am talking about, why don't you tell us all what exactly transgender and GLB activism has accomplished for trans people in the say, the past 20 years?

Don't tell us what it has gained for the Gays and Lesbians, just tell us what it gained for transsexuals and transgenders.

Go Ahead ! List it all down, talk it up right here. We have lots of room and are waiting to hear what you know.

Itemize it!

1. ............
2. ............
3. ........ etc"

...Very well then,

"Dear Leigh,

1. Far more people know what transgender is in recent times than they did 20 years ago - in fact because of GLBTI activism and education, especially online and in the media, there is far more factual information available than before. Where our info is included as part of the group, it helps to educate and to enlighten. (Upon this I recieved a barrage of scorn and derrogation. One listed points 1-6 and replied infuriatingly "So what?")

- What's your point? Do these advances mean nothing to you as a transgender or transexual person? I am sure you would sing another tune were these points absent or not true. Do you feel silly about being transgender or transsexual? That's the impression I get from your comment. If so then it is no wonder you seem ashamed to be what you are. Poor you.

"True transsexualism"? So what is that exactly, somebody who changes physical gender perhaps and means it? You mean perhaps somebody who does so and then considers themselves "heterosexual" and not "homosexual"? I presume you think people like me who have GRS and then get involved in "lesbian" relationships were "just kidding" and aren't "true" transexuals? How very enlightening. What a load of elitist rubbish.

2. GLBTI activism has given us a louder voice than we ever had before. For example, the important phrase "gender identity" is included in policy documents the world over, including the SA Constitution and numerous other Acts including the Promotion of Equality Act of 2000.

- It seems they view our combined fight for equal rights as "...which the vast majority of humanity disapproves of." - incuding you, you sweet little hypocrite, you.

How about loud enough that today even the UN has "gender identity" and the interests of trans people included in every submission, policy and proposition it makes wrt "sexual orientation"? Loud enough that when trans rights may be forgotten by some GLBTI group leaders, that their supporters bring it to their attention? A community that includes us and our issues in a community that actually welcomes us and our humanity. That's loud enough for me.

3. Transgender people play a more prominent role in GLBTI activism, many activists are trans - and give us a voice in our group affairs and matters.

- ""transgender" people are still the first tossed under the bus." I'm sure it is so - which is why somehow when this occasionally happens, we make our displeasure heard - such as with the ENDA fiasco in the USA - and people listen. I detect much self-loathing in you - shame. This sort of thing should not be used as an excuse to withdraw from GLB__ groups, but quite the opposite - it is why we should be a part of such groups and even lead and guide them instead of sitting in a pathetic little heap crying because "nobody loves us". Boohoo.

"No Dear .. you ARE gay! The trans part is no different to being a drag artist for most of you." - It takes a special type of idiocy to make a statement like that. Firstly, were I gay as you claim - you must be really far gone to think I would take it as an insult. Secondly, the very basics of gender identity and sexual orientation define the two as separate and independent concepts. Did they explain anything to you before you earned your tranny wheels, darling?

4. Many trans people now hold public office and positions in companies and in society - and even in political parties and GLBTI advocacy groups - something almost unheard of 20 years ago.

There are several mayors around the world who are trans, not just the one you refer to. And there are other officials in public life, and politics, and religion - and rights advocacy, some pretty high up in GLBTI orgs too. The offensive reference to "officials parading in drag" you make indicates to me that perhaps you are one of us, who like me - is lucky enough to pass as female without the inconvenience of looking like a stereotype. How elitist of you.

So I guess while you were "running companies" "back in the day" you were nicely protected from the rest of us "common rabble" by your money and independence? No wonder you can say you were never discriminated against because of being transgender. Lucky you. I guess you are right - you are not one of us. You never earned that right.

5. France is one of the first large countries in the world to remove transgender from its catalog of mental disorders (IDAHO Day 2009) - an indication of a future trend.

- "Sorry, but no, France removed transsexualism from the list of mental illnesses, NOT "transgender." They are not the same thing. Many, if not most transsexuals do not identify as "transgender."" - Oh honey, shame - were you perhaps left out? Which is exactly why you could make a comment like this: "Now that I didn't know, nor do I care." I would try to explain the significance of such a milestone event, but you would be too shallow and elitist to care about that either. Transgender as a term includes transsexuals, so deal with it.

6. News media (at least in some parts of the world) are more careful when portraying negative images of the trans community, because they realize they will be taken on publicly about any hate speech or unfair or distorted bias.

- "And yet, the transgender blogs are full of complaints about imagined slights, like referring to a person who simply changes their clothing, and nothing else, as a male. Of course this violates GLAAD's insane claim that surgery is not required to change sex."

- Are you sure you are really transsexual? Because what you just said here makes no sense. I am sure you would feel different while transitioning if you were persistently referred to as "he", even if you hadn't yet started HRT and wore womens clothing - or were forced to use a male toilet. More elitist BS.

BTW, GLAAD is correct in terms of legal gender description, which can be changed in several countries around the world without surgery - or complete surgery. Rule 1 - you can't control the media. Rule 2 - No matter what spin you try to put on news or facts, the religious right and its sympathizers will always put their own spin on it. Rule 3 - all you can do is continue to put the facts out there and hope people listen to your facts instead of the propaganda.

7. There is far greater support from within the religious community for trans people than 20 years ago, where it appeared very one sided - now there are inclusive churches and even ordained ministers and priests who are transgender and who enjoy the support of their churches and communities.

- "Again, transsexuals have gone to churches for years. Sometimes openly, sometimes not." - Transexuals have also been thrown out of church along with gay people as long as there has been church and religious bigotry. Honey I know some people who were rejected by their church simply for admitting they were trans or for starting transition and going in role. Some other churches accepted them afterwards, but not those ones. What planet have you been living on?

8. Transphobic GLBTI organizations are coming increasingly under fire from their own supporters (GLB) because of their discrimination against the T of our community. One main example of this is Stonewall UK and Pride London.

- "I am neither lesbian, gay, or bisexual, so, while I have friend who are, and I support many of their efforts to win fair treatment, I do not wish to be identified as part of their group. And I generally don't care what they think of me aside from seeing me as what I am, a woman."

- If you wish to call yourself a "heterosexual transgender" - (WTF?) , then fine - but you try explaining the difference to a straight bigot - they call us and you and gay people all by the same names - "queer", "gay", "sinners", "sexual deviants", "pedophiles" etc. They see us all as one group - funny a halfwit like you can't do the same. Which of course, makes you as bad as they are - a homophobe and a transphobe.

- This point seems to echo the ignorant view point that a lesbian is 'not a woman' - and therefore in your opinion it seems clear that a trans woman who is in a lesbian relationship is not deserving of being called a woman. In my view, this puts you on the same level as heterosexual and heterosexist bigots - beneath contempt.

"Whats with the "I" .. are you now assimilating the Intersex without its permission? Intersexed people are not primarily gay and you have no right to include them in your umbrella." - Anyone who does not fit the traditional gender/sexual binary fits under the umbrella. I didn't do it on my own - it's a general move. I think you've been out of touch so long you don't even know what's going on out there - are you one of the dinosaurs of the tranny universe?

9. Marriage equality (both in the US and here in SA) brings broader acceptance to the concept of trans people marrying and changing gender legally. the concept of this has helped to break the ice and to simplify the process of trans people marrying - regardless of which gender their partners are.

- "Marriage equality means exactly this .. ALL TRANSGENDER PEOPLE ARE GAY IF THEY MARRY A MALE. Did you think you were suddenly going to be considered a REAL heterosexual couple?" - Actually honey, marriage equality means marriage equality. So in other words sweety pie - you think if YOU marry a man that makes you gay? I guess by your own warped definition it does. Oops.

10. The GLBTI movement as a whole in SA pushed for legal recognition of gender change, allowing trans people the "luxury" of changing gender legally and acquiring amended birth certificates. Trans people did not do this alone.

- "These changes were won before transsexuals were linked with the imaginary transgender community. And these rights were not remotely of interest to the LGB types, as they had no effect on them. Now, some nutcases are demanding the right to legally change their sex (gender is immutable and is fixed at birth) without actually having surgery. Such efforts are outrageous."

- Really - and did this heroic bunch of trannies who fought for this change of law do so all by themselves? Or did they benefit from the rise of the gay rights movement and have assistance and support from them? In SA this law was only passed in about 1993 - with amendments in the past decade - with full support of the advocacy orgs who support our rights along with theirs.

"...Such efforts are outrageous." - Why? Because you have a fragile ego? Because you feel that anyone who finds out your dirty little secret will wonder what you have under the hood? You sound like a Republican.

"You're GAY ! Get used to it." - Once again, being called gay is not an insult - however I find the idea that you could think it is, insulting. Wake up and join the 21st century.

11. Gay, Bi and Trans people themselves now also know more about each other than they did 20 years ago - and are standing closer together as a single community with very similar goals in common - (all except people such as yourselves of course, who seem to take delight in dividing our community still further).

"Again, I am not a part of your community. I don't care whether it is divided or not. What I do care about is that I am not lumped in with people I have nothing in common with." "No they don't, they only know your gay. They have no freaking idea what a heterosexual transsexual is .. and neither do you according to the posts you have been making here."

- No, I don't know what a "heterosexual transsexual" is - I never met one that wouldn't go into a "lesbian" relationship if they got lonely enough - but I know an idiot, a bigot and a hypocrite when I meet one - and hatred when I read it.

Let's see now. You had GRS, presumably - which makes you a tranny - which means we have that much in common. Forever and always. As for the rest, by your clear intolerance and bigotry you are simply the pond scum floating on top of the community you think you are too good for. Yes you do care - which is why you are doing your little bit inciting rabble against the trans community you think you are somehow better than - and helping to widen these divisions.

The rants continued, abandoning the point system above;

"What you don’t realize Christina is most post operative transsexuals, particularly those who are heterosexual don’t want a “louder” voice, and resent those who do. Our position is that we are fine within the present mainstream of society, and we prefer to work in the mainstreams paradyme. We want nothing to do with the GLB and homosexual T whatsoever and despise their putting us under an umbrella we not only don’t belong, but dispise."

- Are you so far around the bend that you think you are no longer transgender? Being post op does not take your nature away from you, nor your history. If you are so adamantly "heterosexual" then it is clear to me why you seem to consider yourself "better" than the rest of us. Your prejudice disgusts me.

Stand up in your church or work place or book club and announce that you are a post-op tranny and then come and tell me how accepted you are. Don't forget to tell them you are "heterosexual" while you are at it - and when they frog-march you down the aisle, or find an excuse to fire you, remember that the rest of us look down on such as you.

Not because of your "heterosexuality" or your "transexuality" - but because of your cowardice, selfishness and bigotry - and because you side with the bigots - who are your enemies as well as ours.

Remember how completely female and passable you are the next time you go for an ultrasound and the doc asks you when last you had a prostate exam.

I am a post op transsexual - and I fight for the rights of others, both like me and not - and not to simply disappear back into a closet like a self-loathing cockroach once my own interests have been served. You sound like some Intersex people I have met, who look down on all trannies, regardless of sexual orientation as "freaks giving them a bad name". People like you undo the work the rest of us do, fighting for your rights as well as ours, and in building the community of which you, like it or not, form a part.

Who is there to mentor those who follow us if we crawl into dark place and hide, denying who and what we are? How short-sighted and exceedingly selfish!

"I have never been discriminated against because of my gender status." - No kidding - that explains a lot. Lucky you. No wonder you can afford to have such a bitchy attitude towards the rest of us.

The solution is to break down barriers - not to enforce them - which you seem to relish. If you wish to indulge in some selfish one dimensional fantasy that you were always female (or male) and never anything else, then that is your problem.

"I don’t look down on anyone" Yes, you do - your own words prove it - they show you up like a cancerous lump on a mammography scan.

I do not need to insult you - your attitude and homphobic, transphobic rubbish do that for me. And worse yet, it insults all of us too because of you. Trangender people expect others to tolerate and accept them - and yet you expect that for yourself but do not grant others the same courtesy. People who reason like you do sicken me.

"So, the bottom line is, the LGBT community has done nothing for transsexuals except to add to the discrediting of our identities." Keep believing that if you will - but if you prefer to hide in a dark corner pretending to be better than them - and us - what makes you worthy of our help? And before you say you don't need our help, bear in mind that without out and open people, whether gay or trans, you would be even MORE afraid of being outed than you are now.

If you won't get off your tranny ass and get your hands dirty to help fight your own battles, what entitles you to any consideration? The more advances the gay rights movement makes - with our assistance and input - the more gains we make too.

Yes, "Harry Benjamin Syndrome" - sounds like the tranny version of that "ex-gay" crap they peddle on the web these days. If you were born a woman, where are your baby photos of you in your little pink bonnet and baby-grow? I am post op myself, but I was never born female. Did you have to shower with the boys in gym class because you had a wee-wee or did you have to go with the girls? I was born into a male body and a male life. I was a female spirit in a male body. And I had surgery to make mind and body match up. I think the one major difference between us is that we do not look down on others - and neither do we deny facts and try to alter reality.

"No one is my enemy. Nor am I a coward, selfish, and a bigot because I choose to go about my life in a normal fashion rather than wear my past/present gender status on my shirtsleeve, choosing not to let my past define me." - That's where you are wrong - your statements here make you mine. And yes, they define you as a bigot - and yes, the rest defines you as a coward.

Define "normal". Other than "demographically dominant" or "statistically prevalent" you have no leg to stand on, do you?

Seems to me you are both cowards and defeatists. You despise yourselves for what you are and you despise others for seeing something in themselves - and you - to be proud of. You break down the efforts of others like you to make things better for all of us as a whole. No, you didn't ask them to - but you will be all too pleased to reap the benefits of their efforts despite your lack of appreciation. You are despicable. What a bunch of bitter, disillusioned dried up old prunes.

As a transgender person such things as bigotry and prejudice are supposed to be beneath us. In many places I see gay people belittling bisexuals, I see feminist women - including lesbians - attacking trans women, I see transexuals derogating drag queens... And everywhere, on the outskirts of this uneccesary and pointless bitch-fight, I see a lot of straight conservative bigots attacking all of us indiscriminately. We are fighting in a burning house.

As a transgender person, seeing other transgender people speaking as they do here, shames me. When I see things like this I see what a long way we have to go in uniting such a bitchy community full of infighting and issues... it is really, really sad and discouraging.

It makes me more determined than ever to unite the pink community, despite the efforts of short-sighted elitists to break it all down. Thankfully it seems the majority of our groups do not agree with them. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people - by our very existence we bring diversity to the world, which fictionalizes the gender/sexual binary - which puts us in the sights of our enemies - and which makes us family, partners and allies.

We are one community. It is time we started acting like it.

Being a more unified community makes our numbers larger - our voice louder - and our power and influence greater. So, if you are a transgender or gay or bi or intersex person speaking as these people do above - this is addressed to you - be part of the solution, not the problem! And if not, then the old game mantra applies:

"Lead, fight - or get out of the way"!
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