I’m Not Very Trans-Centric 4.0

Many years ago Susan Stryker interviewed me as part of an Oral History Project, some of which wound up in Joanne Meyerowitz’s book, How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States.

We were talking about my coming out and my involvement with the National Transsexual Counseling Unit.

I had gotten involved because of Huey Newton’s dictum, “Serve the people!” and my seeing the personal as the political. I was also motivated by wanting to help other transsexuals while helping myself through the process of getting my own sex change operation.

I briefly filled Susan in about my history with SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) and having been part of the radical movements prior to coming out.

After coming out I  met a man named Jerry, who was a Marine Corp deserter. He  became my boyfriend/lover/old man.

We were also living underground due to my having no real identification, being part of Weatherman (not National or famous Weatherman or WUO but the larger “Weather Nation”),  and because Jerry was a deserter.

The details of my life with Jerry, dealing with the FBI arresting him, breaking him out of a Naval Hospital, were treated as less consequential than my involvement with the National Transsexual Counseling Unit.

Yet these things were more important reasons for my I volunteering to work for the center than  transsexualism being the reason for my being radical.

Over the years I’ve tended to look at myself as being radical, hippie, feminist, lesbian, creative etc and oh by the way I was born transsexual and had a sex change operation to treat it.

This is why I don’t really see myself as part of the “Transgender Community” even though I care about the rights and issues of those who do see themselves as part of that community.

I get angry at the lack of respect shown post transsexual people by the insistence in the primacy of transgender identity, but that anger is less a central element of my being than it is with many, who seem to obsess on it.

Which brings me back to this blog.  Transsexual is just a small part of who post-transsexual people tend to be, particularly after a few years pass.

At the same time matters such as marriage equality often have greater impact than the specific wording of trans-inclusive ENDA proposals.

Hopefully post-transsexual folks have resolved their bathroom issues long before actually having SRS.

I personally think the inclusiveness of all sorts of “gender variants” in the Transgender Borg Collective works against a Trans-inclusive ENDA that would help people in transition or classic transgender folks (People who live full time as members of the sex not commonalty associated with their present genitals).

A lot of the matters regarding part time cross dressers are more about worker’s rights to do what ever they wish during their non work hours as long as they don’t show up  for work dressed inappropriately or high.

Yeah I support a trans-inclusive ENDA.  Pass any petitions you want me to publicize and I’ll run a link and press release as well as sign them.  But it is not my issue.

Marriage equality more directly impacts my life and is my issue.

Don’t tell me I am supporting the wrong thing or throwing you under the bus because I am more concerned about same sex marriage than I am about a “trans-inclusive ENDA”.  You forget I have been part of the Gay/Lesbian Communities for 40+ years and I’ve seen how little the transgender communities have contributed to either the gay or lesbian communities efforts to gain equality.

Getting y’all to even march at a Pride Day Event was like pulling teeth back in the 1990s.

The only sisters I can count on to turn out regularly in support of L/G causes are post-transsexual dykes like me.  We are not exactly invisible to each other but we are just part of the general crowd at the Dyke March.

I was bothered by the general absence of the “Trans-Community”, in particular a couple of local representatives, at two events here in Dallas this last week.

The first event was the free screening of “March On” held by Get Equal. Get Equal isn’t HRC, here was the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a brand new LGBT/T organization.  Where is the presence?

Then there was the rally in support of the Wisconsin State Employees this last Saturday.  Non-discrimination in the work place is a worker’s issue.  Where was the Transgender Community?

As anyone reading this blog knows I am far more involved in general left wing/progressive causes as well as feminist and gay/lesbian causes than I am in “trans-politics”, therefore I am more likely to show up at those sorts of demonstrations and/or events than I am at trans-specific events.

It seems to me that the self-defined “Trans-Community” is very limited in the focus of its critique of oppression in this society.  Often when I hear about job discrimination it turns out the discrimination is in a field that generally has a very small percentage of women in it.  An understanding of general sexism might enhance the ability to critique such a situation.

My background in SDS and the feminist movement tends to cause me to see oppression in terms of class, sexism and racism more than in terms of homophobia or transphobia.

That is where my roots are.  I was extremely pleased with the reincarnation of SDS, which ended in June of 1969 if you date the Death of SDS to the Weatherman/Progressive Labor split, or to the post Prairie Fire/New Day era of the mid 1970s, when Weather people started turning themselves in and dealing with their legal issues.

(Mine were trivial and I dealt with them early on.  1971 because I had to in order to get SRS.)

Modern day SDS was involved with the rally I attended this last weekend.

Get Equal, whose function we attended last week is involved in the fight for marriage equality.

At the same time  I am listening to others involved in the Transgender Community, notably Katrina Rose and Monica Roberts say nasty things about gay and lesbian people putting the majority of their efforts behind marriage equality and I am reminded how too often people in the Transgender Movement seem heterosexist.

In the past I have had people tell me I should play paper games to be able to enter a “heterosexual marriage” that is “really same-sex”.  That I should defend the heterosexual marriage of my post-SRS sisters and not work for marriage equality because they don’t want to have their marriage reduced to a gay marriage.

I am also supposed to ignore how large a percentage of the alleged “Transgender Community” consists of heterosexual married male transvestites. They have their right to marry. Where are they in the push for an inclusive ENDA?

Why are people who don’t have the heterosexual privilege of marriage supposed to lay aside something they are struggling to obtain when such a large percentage of the “Transgender Community” never turns out for any sort of campaign for anyone’s rights including their own and can afford to ignore the fight for marriage equality since they already have the privilege of marriage?

Over the years I have found left wing TS/TG and post-transsexual women to be a minority with most TS/TG and post-transsexual women being either apolitical or conservative/liberal and not terribly activist.

I can appreciate the frustration on the part of Kat Rose and Monica.  I feel a similar frustration with the straight post transsexual women who blow off my wanting marriage equality.

Identity politics have resulted in only those who share the identity being willing to work towards particular goals that affect only that particular community.

The situation will not improve by calling people names for not wanting to work for your cause while you continue to refuse to work for theirs.

In the past I have noticed a far greater willingness on the part of not only SDS, which is where my radical roots are, to work with others but also on the part of other left wing organizations such Socialist Workers etc.

One of the reasons so many progressive causes from workers rights to the black civil rights movement were labeled “communist” is because the Communist Party in this country was willing to work for a multitude of progressive causes.

BTW there were lesbians and gay men at that rally on Saturday.

As for reading lesbian and gay people for their focus on marriage equality…  Many of us have been in the L/G movement for 40 years and are long time couples who are aging.  Being able to care for each other and not become homeless should one die and government or blood relatives seize the home and possessions of the survivor is a gay/lesbian issue.

Just as ENDA is a matter of workers rights.

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Same-sex weddings, now

I’m so tired of of the blood libels of Christians and their version of Sharia.

Time to end Faith Based bigotry and discrimination.

From The Los Angeles Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-prop8-20110228,0,3261946.story
Gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry while the Proposition 8 case works its way through the system.

LA Times Editorial

February 28, 2011

Although the federal courts expedited their handling of the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, the issues are far from resolved. And now that the California Supreme Court has been asked to weigh in, the case could be delayed for another year or more.

Enough already. Gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to wed while the case works its way through the system.

The state Supreme Court was asked by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on whether supporters of Proposition 8 have the right — known as “standing” — to continue with their case. It indicated that it would hear arguments late this year, with a ruling likely to follow a few months later. Meanwhile, a stay pending the outcome of the appeal has kept gay weddings from going forward. Now, however, the lawyers challenging Proposition 8 have asked the 9th Circuit to lift the stay and allow the weddings to take place. We agree that it should.

Every day that the case drags on, gay and lesbian couples who would like to marry are being deprived of their civil rights. That’s not our wording; the federal trial judge decided that issue, at least for now. The denial of constitutional rights, even temporarily, is a deplorable situation that must meet high legal standards to be allowed to continue. In our view, those conditions have not been met.

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-prop8-20110228,0,3261946.story

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Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers

Here’s why the Pollution Producers and Environmental Rapist assn. of America loves the Republican Party.  It is also why Republicans hate the Environment and want to defund the EPA.

See the Academy Award Nominated Documentary Gasland

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/us/27gas.html?_r=1
By IAN URBINA
Published: February 26, 2011

The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century’s gold rush — for natural gas.

The gas has always been there, of course, trapped deep underground in countless tiny bubbles, like frozen spills of seltzer water between thin layers of shale rock. But drilling companies have only in recent years developed techniques to unlock the enormous reserves, thought to be enough to supply the country with gas for heating buildings, generating electricity and powering vehicles for up to a hundred years.

So energy companies are clamoring to drill. And they are getting rare support from their usual sparring partners. Environmentalists say using natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal and oil. Lawmakers hail the gas as a source of jobs. They also see it as a way to wean the United States from its dependency on other countries for oil.

But the relatively new drilling method — known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressures to break up rock formations and release the gas.

With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.

While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.

The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/us/27gas.html?_r=1

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Democrats Call for Probe Into Chamber’s Shady Plot to Sabotage Progressive Organizations

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/150084/democrats_call_for_probe_into_chamber%27s_shady_plot_to_sabotage_progressive_organizations/

More than a dozen Dems have called on Republicans to investigate the Chambers’ proposed $12 million smear, forgery, fraud, and disinformation campaign.

By Brad Friedman

March 1, 2011 |

Washington Post’s Dan Eggen reports that “more than a dozen” Democrats in the U.S. House are now calling on “Republican leaders” to open an investigation into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plot which had been set to target the Rightwing lobbying firms’ perceived political enemies (which turned out to include me and my family at the top of their list, as reported in detail previously) with a proposed $12 million smear, forgery, fraud, and disinformation campaign.

While the Democrats letter calling for a Congressional probe will not be released until Tuesday (we’ll update as appropriate when it becomes available), Eggen’s reportage makes it clear that their concerns focus on the same disturbing point which we highlighted in one of our first detailed reports on this matter. Namely, that the Chamber’s law firm Hunton & Williams was organizing the plot with three government-contracted cyber-security/intelligence firms that had planned to turn tools developed for the “War on Terror” against U.S. citizens, journalists, and progressive organizations [emphasis added]…

A group of House Democrats is calling on Republican leaders to investigate a prominent Washington law firm and three federal technology contractors, who have been shown in hacked e-mails discussing a “disinformation campaign” against foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The lawmakers say it is “deeply troubling” that “tactics developed for use against terrorists may have been unleashed against American citizens.”

In a letter to be released Tuesday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and more than a dozen other lawmakers wrote that the e-mails appear “to reveal a conspiracy to use subversive techniques to target Chamber critics,” including “possible illegal actions against citizens engaged in free speech.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/150084/democrats_call_for_probe_into_chamber%27s_shady_plot_to_sabotage_progressive_organizations/

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AFL-CIO works to keep Wisconsin protests going

From The Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-us-unions-statefight,0,3121862.story
By SAM HANANEL
Associated Press3:40 p.m. CST, February 28, 2011

WASHINGTON —
AFL-CIO leaders, sparked by the strength of pro-labor protests in Wisconsin, are deciding how they can help keep the crowds large and the pressure high as demonstrations enter a third week.

Officials at the nation’s largest labor federation said Monday they are looking for a more strategic approach to keep the protests going strong.

“This thing rose from the streets of Wisconsin, and if you’ve got any brains as a leader, you see a parade, you get out in front of it,” said Greg Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers and a member of the AFL-CIO’s executive council.

“Before this thing starts to diminish, we need to make sure it gets a shot of vitamins at all appropriate times,” he said.

Junemann and other AFL-CIO officials were in the nation’s capital for the federation’s annual winter meeting, where strategy sessions on the three-day agenda include “The Battle of Wisconsin: Lessons and Opportunities.”

AFL-CIO officials have been helping organize protests in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and other states where GOP officials seek to curb union rights.

Continue reading at:   http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-us-unions-statefight,0,3121862.story

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Suze Rotolo, a Face, With Bob Dylan, of ’60s Music, Is Dead at 67

Too often women in the art scene are considered muses and a piece of ass and not for their own talents.  I highly recommend Suze Rotolo’s book,  A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/arts/music/01rotolo.html

By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: March 1, 2011

Suze Rotolo, who became widely known for her romance with Bob Dylan in the early 1960s, strongly influenced his early songwriting and, in one of the decade’s signature images, walked with him arm-in-arm for the cover photo of his breakthrough album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” died on Friday at her home in Manhattan. She was 67.

The cause was lung cancer, her husband, Enzo Bartoccioli, said.

Ms. Rotolo (she pronounced her name SU-zee ROTE-olo) met Mr. Dylan in Manhattan in July 1961 at a Riverside Church folk concert, where he was a performer. She was 17; he was 20.

“Right from the start I couldn’t take my eyes off her,” Mr. Dylan wrote in his memoir, “Chronicles: Volume 1,” published in 2004. “She was the most erotic thing I’d ever seen. She was fair skinned and golden haired, full-blood Italian. The air was suddenly filled with banana leaves. We started talking and my head started to spin. Cupid’s arrow had whistled past my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard.”

In “A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties” (2008), Ms. Rotolo described Mr. Dylan as “oddly old-time looking, charming in a scraggly way.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/arts/music/01rotolo.html

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Is Alive and Well for Gay Educators

I thought we won this fight back in 1978 when we defeated California Prop. 6.

From Take Part: http://www.takepart.com/news/2011/02/25/dont-ask-dont-tell-is-alive-and-well-for-gay-educators

By Melanie Smollin
February 27,2011

On December 22, 2010, President Obama made history by signing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

During the emotional ceremony, he said: “No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder, in order to serve the country that they love. For we are not a nation that says, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.’”

Obama’s inspiring words represent a major civil rights victory for LGBT members of the armed forces, but the new law’s reach is limited.

For thousands of gay teachers serving on the frontlines of America’s classrooms, “don’t ask, don’t tell” remains a painful fact of life.

UNSPOKEN CODE

Fredrick Willis has been a public school teacher for the past eight years. Originally from North Carolina, he currently teaches at a high school in Maryland.

In a recent interview with TakePart, Willis described the harassment he’s endured as a gay educator.

“I felt earlier in my career that I was targeted by administrators because of my sexuality,” Willis says. “It’s almost acceptable in our profession. It’s common. I’ve also been called names. Faggot, gay, rainbow, player. You name it, I’ve probably been called it at some point in time by students.”

In one troubling incident, a male student accused Willis of having a crush on him and being too hard on him in class. Thankfully, Willis says, the assistant principal helped convince the student’s mother that her son’s accusations were false.

Continue reading at:  http://www.takepart.com/news/2011/02/25/dont-ask-dont-tell-is-alive-and-well-for-gay-educators

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