The Two Way Street of Compromise

So far I’ve chastised post-ops for their name calling that goes beyond just TS vs. TG . The name calling has gone beyond TS vs TG to become one of I’m better than other TSs because I’m straight or “classic”. Time for the name calling to stop.

Yet for an issues based coalition to work on specific issues to transcend the inter group fighting perhaps it is time for some of the proponents of Transgender as Umbrella to give up some deeply cherished thinking  too.

One of those ideas is that we are all transgender. What ended the fighting between gay men and lesbians was gay men accepting that many lesbians  felt gay as umbrella was erasing them and their uniqueness.  Gay and Lesbian came about as a way of recognizing there were differences even as there were common political goals.  Transsexual and Transgender represent the same sort of compromise and no they will not satisfy every one particularly those who see their transness as a post-modern rebellion against the confines of some sort of ideological gender binary.

Transgender and pre-op people need to stop telling post-ops their surgery really doesn’t make a difference.  People who will swear to that belief right up until they go under sedation on the operating room table and often retract it as soon as they have healed enough to pee normally, shower and have sex.  SRS does make a difference.

Speaking of SRS.  In exchange for our stopping comments and name calling that does not respect your hard earned right to not be called by pronouns of your assigned at birth gender, how about you losing the right wing Christo-fascist insults regarding our post-SRS sex organs.  It has taken two parties to make this into a war and if you are insulted by “men in dresses” maybe you should ponder regarding our feelings about “inverted penises” and “artificial vaginas”

A lot of the post-modern stuff is pretty dubious.  Some of gender is probably innate.  Those of you who are comfortable with living a gender role not associated with your birth sex may well have as valid a claim to innateness as transsexuals who get SRS have.  But they are probably two separate conditions and not different reactions to the the same condition.  Respect runs both ways.

I am a child of the 1960s.  I didn’t go to Woodstock as I was too busy transitioning in Berkeley that summer and my limited resources were devoted to making that real.  I was part of an Action Faction, the equivalent of today’s Black Blocs.

I have a deep anarchist streak.  Expecting freedom and equal treatment doesn’t require a whole lot of justification particularly in the US and other places with democratic structures.  Freedom is a given even when those who do not want you exercising those freedoms try to intimidate you out of them.  I’m old enough to have been harassed and arrested for violation of rules on gender appropriate clothing.  We didn’t use a whole lot of rationalizations about gender identity to fight those laws.  We used the idea of freedom and not harming anyone.

Some of the arguments about the primacy of gender over sex in defining who is a man or who is a woman have a serious potential to be used against women who work in non-traditional fields and who live non-heteronormative lives.  If it is transphobic to call people on these concerns it is misogynistic to ignore them.  Particularly when the right to not conform is as basic a freedom as free speech.

A transinclusive  ENDA and transinclusive hate crimes laws are aimed at legitimizing the right to not conform to stereotypical gender roles and still have your rights respected.  They protect both transgender people and transsexual people because even those who assimilate easily can be outed should they ever have to press a sexual harassment case.  Companies will hire investigators to probe the life of any litigant and even post-SRS folks are currently unprotected.

As I have said to post-op sisters there are real enemies out there including Porno Pete LaBarbara and the entire religious right.  It would be better by far to stop the inter group horizontal hostility and focus on working for things that benefit our own groups even if the needs of post-SRS people born with transsexualism tend to be different form those who are either transgender or pre-op.

This “Real ID” as well as the continuing pathologizing of both transsexualism and transgenderism by the APA are prime examples of issues that oppress or potentially oppress both our groups.

As a 1960s radical I remember Dr. King being murdered in 1968 and how his murder came almost a year to the day after he started speaking out against the war in Vietnam.  How by that time he had come to see that poor people no matter their race all suffered the same sorts of oppression and should work together on fighting for things that would benefit them all.  Putting aside personal interests to fight for a common goal was also the idea of the IWW, a union for all from the early 20th century.

The powers that be love to see us fight among ourselves.  As long as we do that we are not working to improve our own lives and we are doing the work they would have to do by keeping each other down.  That is the essence of the message Audre Lorde was communicating when she said “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”  As long as we put so much time and energy into fighting each other we will never manage to get GID out of the DSM or pass ENDA and Hate Crimes Laws.  Will never be able to move on to guaranteed health care and housing issues.