Putting Ourselves First

Monica Roberts has an entry on her blog “Putting Ourselves First” about how Transgender folks should put transgender priorities first.

At the same time post-transsexual women and men are called elitist for putting themselves first.

The assumption of the Transgender Borg Collective is that our interests are the same as the full time transgender folks or even further from any commonality the occasional TV/CD/DQ’s interests in life.

I see this as identity politics run amok. Being part of the alphabet soup of LGBT/TQ etc makes more sense. as does being part of the working class left and the feminist movement.

I have a hard time with the expectation that I support the entire range of personality types that make up transgender.  I’m not “gender variant”, I’m not transgender.  I don’t “identify as a woman”, I am a woman because I am an adult female.  I don’t “identify as transsexual”.  transsexualism is something I underwent medical procedures to treat, it is part of my medical history and life experiences.

ENDA, bathroom, presentation, gender this gender that, yadayada is just so much transbabble to me. Get your surgery and STFU.  In reality I care more about the ERA thanENDA. Yeah I support ENDA, but it isn’t the major or main cause of my life at this point.

As people who read this blog can probably surmise.  I don’t hate transgender folks, although I get really pissed off by the forcible inclusiveness that feels like exploitation.  Transgender folks get my support not based on their arguments but based on their humanity and my belief in justice and equality.

At the same time, many post-transsexual women are far less willing than I am to overlook the exploitation by the Transgender Borg Collective, who often seem to base their legitimacy on claims they are just like those of us who get SRS.

I’m more interested in the lesbian rights cause and feminism than I am in Transgender Issues.  I am more oppressed as a woman than I am because of my medical history.  I am more oppressed as a lesbian than I am because of my medical history.

I am more oppressed by class than I am by my medical history.  Misogyny and red baiting are more problematic for me than transgender issues.

I feel more a part of the left wing, more connected with workers in Wisconsin than with the lobbying going on in Maryland.

When Monica writes about “putting ourselves first” and linking that unflinchingly with the transgender cause I have to admire her clarity. I don’t mean that in a snotty way.  I’ve been involved in various left wing movements for nearly 50 years now and still have to deal with where I should place my priorities, which is why my positions tend to define me as a left wing activist rather than say a feminist or anti war activist or Earth First activist.

Identity politics has been both a boon and a bane.  Identity politics have nurtured fledgling movements and grown them and at the same time have been at odds with the development of a general left wing movement to counter the rise of the neo-Nazi right wing extremists and their Taliban Christian allies.

I guess, “putting ourselves first”, first requires us to decide who “Ourselves” are.

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