I’ve been writing a bunch about ending the ridiculous fighting between transsexuals and transgenders and how along with the stopping of the name calling it is time to stop stepping on each other’s self definitions.
It has been some 10 years since I went to the Forward Motion Conference in Burbank.
The single most important observation I came away from that conference with was that there was no such thing as a “Transcommunity”. That what had been described as a gathering of the tribe was more a gathering of different tribes.
Of course I already knew that. I had been a counselor in the Tenderloin and knew there were serious if not obvious differences between the queens (transgender sisters) and the transsexual sisters. Our common interests made us friends, our differences put us on different life paths
This became even more obvious after I moved to LA. I came out as a lesbian and the TG sisters I knew thought I was weird and they were into a different scene. I went off and hung at the Women’s Building. I was becoming more a part of the lesbian feminist movement. Even as I continued to photograph my TG sisters we were drifting apart as we shared fewer and fewer common interests. Other sisters who got SRS at the same time I did got married. I stayed friends with some and not with others. Our lives move in different directions.
When it was first coined transgender served an honorable purpose, it gave a dignified term to people who lived their lives as members of the sex not associated with their present genitals and who had no real plans for SRS.
In short a group of people with similar needs regarding anti-discrimination laws and hate crimes laws to people who were either post-op yet obvious or surgery track and having problems getting there.
About the same time I observed there were communities rather than a community others were coming to the same conclusion. I keep returning to Deborah Rudacille’s book where I recently read a similar observation from Chelsea Goodwin.
Now transgender as a category has become a dumping ground for all sorts of folks including the gender queer movement and the academic gender theorist types given to espousing great truths that make it hard to take actual transgender people seriously.
I know, I know the latest gender queer theorist, Jasper Gregory isn’t particularly one of yours but the idea of the huge umbrella squeezes this misogynistic transphobic turd into the “community”.
I’m taking a lot of heat from the extremists of the “classic transsexual” HBS set for even trying to start a dialogue rather than hurl insults and call names.
I think the major issues are important enough to stop the foolish bickering. I may be sticking my neck out a little but that’s my radical history.
Maybe it is time to make transgender a smaller and more focused label that fits folks committed to living the life full time rather than including those who view it as a sometime thing or a path to academic fame.