One thing that should be obvious but often isn’t is that “transsexual” really doesn’t belong in the LGBT/T category once one is post-SRS.
It is there because of how laws and politics work rather than how lives are lived. Discrimination in matters of employment and access to medical care are obvious issues.
WBTs have been called “separatists” for just going off and assimilating. Calling people who post all over the place “stealth” is a bit of a joke considering how easy it is to track ISPs even when folks use sock puppet e-mail. But let’s assume that most people who have assimilated are only out in the world of 3D to a select circle of friends or for certain purposes.
It isn’t some separatism for most of us. It is lack of common interests. I have known a number of sisters who were involved in the bar and even ball cultures, who found themselves excluded from those scenes once they had SRS.
Once you have had SRS queens no longer relate to you as being one of the gang. If you do not limit your involvement in their scene they will ask you why and you find yourself labeled as both odd and having made a mistake.
Having a vagina others you to people who live as women but keep their male parts. Queens put their post-SRS friends they used to see as sisters on pedestals and tell them how brave they are while gossiping behind their backs, “Well, she got her surgery and thinks she is better than us (forgetting that they put us on the pedestal to begin with) so why is she still hanging around us?”
The message is that we no longer belong there. Time to move on with our lives.
Of course the activists then accuse us of separatism and deserting the community while conveniently forgetting how every year at Pride Day the same dozen people show up and how most of the “community” is dressed in sequins and riding on one of the bar/club floats.
After a few years even when one is an activist being part of that same dozen people starts to feel like being part of a severely marginalized Trotskyite Faction. What is the point?
Perhaps it is different for those who come out through the IFGE route but I suspect it isn’t.
I know it isn’t if one is part of Tri-Ess and actually comes out as transsexual, I’ve read Tapestry in the past and have heard the stories at gender groups of how old CD friends are uncomfortable and nasty towards anyone who realizes they are not transvestite but are actually transsexual. I’ve had transgender friends tell me the same thing about how they were put on a pedestal when they went full time. Told how lucky they are that they can now dress full time. Never mind that the transgender sister has taken the down elevator on the socio-economic scale. Comments like that are why transgender sisters who live 24/7/365 call episodic transvestites fetishists. It isn’t so much that they fetishize the clothes as they hegmonically covet the lives of sisters willing to pay the price in order to live their lives according to their inner needs.
The main reason I believe “transgender” should be limited to only those living 24/7/365 is because, like transsexuals they have their lives colonized and objectified by those of the transvestite class.
At the same time people who are transgender either because that is where their internal compass has landed, or due to economic issues, face conditions the majority of post-SRS sisters are less likely to face such as violence, ghettoization and denial of both economic opportunity and social safety nets.
The Day of Remembrance will soon be upon us. I post articles regarding the murderous violence and senseless slaying of TS/TG sisters even though it isn’t a part of my world where violence more often takes place in the form of denial of health insurance, loss of work due to layoffs and fraudulent financial practices on the part of corporations.
While I will mention DOR the likelihood of my going to an event is very slim. Not because I am afraid of “outing myself” or because I am disinterested but more out of a sense of futility and having to work. The same reason I missed Pride Day. Going to something like this requires planning and the arranging of time, a commitment that conflicts with day to day life in a Nickel and Dimed world.
As time passes after SRS the world of TS/TG is less an active part of life. Even for those of us who blog and consider ourselves activists. It takes little effort for me to be transgender inclusive on so many issues. I learned that while working towards adding gender and perceived gender to the hate crimes laws of California. It isn’t like adding a few phrases that protect transgender folks to any bill aimed at protecting gay and lesbian folks really makes that bill harder to pass.
Yet there are so many causes, so little time and most of my causes are bigger than the identity politics of the “Transgender Community”. Part of why I have called a moratorium on name calling, other than feeling like it is sort picking on people who have a harder life than I do, and not wanting to add to their oppression, is that engaging in name calling takes energy away from more important causes. Like universal health care, hate crimes laws, ENDA, Same Sex Marriage, defending the environment, women’s rights etc.
Of course my working for any of a menu of causes that are positive for me means automatically extending those protections to all. See I’m not some Ayn Randian right wing moron who is all hooray for me, fuck you. I actually believe in equal treatment and the right to human dignity.
But as I said assimilation happens… Even for activists who step beyond identity politics.
It happens for most post-SRS folks without them even trying, indeed it sometimes seems that folks who remain crusaders almost have to constantly make an effort to make themselves visible as transsexual. The exceptions to this are those who are physically obvious although working retail and having encountered many people whose appearances are different, even odd. It sometimes seems that facial hair is the only real give away. I don’t know about some folks but for most of us assimilation seems inevitable.
Particularly if you are authentic and not pretending. The goal was to be a woman, SRS removes the ties that bind one to those who stay transgender and time does the rest.