I’m an old dyke.
Once upon a time I used to be transsexual but I had an operation and it must have cured it because I haven’t been unhappy about the sex I am or ever had any desire to change my sex since having that operation. That’s why I describe myself as post-transsexual.
I wasn’t a heterosexual CD prior to coming out. If anything I was kind of bisexual, a queen who had sex with both men and women. Once I came out I considered myself heterosexual. I had an old man and everything. He wasn’t even a jail bird. He was a deserter, because I was one of those girls who said yes to men who said no. No to the War in Vietnam that is.
I never thought of myself as gay because every sexual encounter I had with a gay man prior to my coming out ended with them telling me, “I thought you were a gay boy but fucking you is just like fucking a girl.”
I wasn’t hostile to gay men. I went to conferences, gave talks, was invited to social gatherings. I was sort off a mascot as well as some one who combated ignorance about transsexualism in the gay community.
Then I went to work with the National Transsexual Counseling Center and I started to hear homophobic comments from sisters. Now there was some basis for this as queens and transsexuals weren’t exactly welcome at many of the gay bars, in part because we had a tendency to turn bars we hung out in into hustle bars. But the same sisters who made the homophobic comments went to a gay bar on Folsom St in SF called the Stud and danced at an after hours club in the Castro.
After I broke up with Jerry and moved to Los Angeles, actually after my sex change operation, I started to realize I was lesbian. Elliott Blackstone, the SF Police Community Relations Cop, who was instrumental in assisting the establishment of the NTCU recognized it in me before I came to grips with it. Indeed so had Dr. Fisk who screened me for surgery. Mostly because I was so strongly feminist.
When I was coming out as lesbian I suddenly became all sorts of sisters “Lesbian Experience”.
But I also started encountering the homophobia within the transsexual community. I had sisters ask me to my face, “Does this mean you are going to become a man again?” I heard they said even nastier things behind my back. For them lesbianism wasn’t an equally reasonable sexuality. That is homophobia.
I had sisters I considered friends start giving me crap about being a lesbian. So I became more and more part of the lesbian feminist community and less a part of the transsexual and transgender communities.
It was also the start of my antipathy toward the transgender communities.
I discovered there were a whole lot of post-transsexual lesbian sisters as well as a lot of transgender sisters who liked women. But the homophobia among our heterosexual identified sisters created a chasm and meant we ran in quite different circles.
Around this time I had a rather unfortunate encounter with the extremely nasty Virginia Prince. I was familiar with Prince’s writings, they were in our donated box of books at the Center. Our copies listed Charles “Virginia” Prince as the author. When I read them I thought what a twisted misogynistic and homophobic pig. I also thought, gee, he really hates transsexuals.
When I met Prince, she was living as a woman and pushing the term “Transgender” but still filled with the same homophobia (which according to Docter, in a biography was driven by Prince being a closet case).
At this encounter Prince proceeded to tell me I had mad a mistake getting SRS, that I was nothing but a transvestite who had gone too far and now I had an inverted penis, but wasn’t really a woman because I was lesbian.”
Tri-Ess had a nasty history of anti-transsexualism and homophobia. I see the whole idea of a “Transgender Community” as growing from Prince and Tri-Ess.
Fast forward to the 1990s. All of a sudden “Transgender Inc.” wants to be part of the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Okay… Never mind not having been there in the past. For that matter never mind not having been there when transsexual folks were doing all the preliminary work on matters like ID change and Birth Certificate change or for that matter struggling for acceptance as legitimate members of the Lesbian community.
I didn’t have a problem with the politically oriented TG Folks wanting to be part of the L/G Communities. I thought it was a positive change from the heterosexual CD history of the movement even if it did seem a tad opportunistic.
All of a sudden Transgender Inc is this big all inclusive umbrella making all sorts of elaborate claims of having been part of the gay and lesbian movement right from the start. Making a saint out of Sylvia Rivera and making it sound as though Stonewall was a transgender uprising and not a predominantly young gay male event made up of the too obvious gay kids. There is a difference between street queens and transgender people that goes beyond the vaunted “gender identity”.
At the same time people who were actually both transgender and part of establishing long time traditional transgender roles within the Gay Community are dismissed. How much does one hear about the Imperial Courts within the transgender community? Or the often times transsexual/transgender “drag queens” who are performers? Or the “houses” on the East Coast?
Could it be homophobia that causes people who are actually transsexual and transgender, but live within the context of the gay communities and often gay communities of color to be erased, by the proper folks who make up “Transgender Inc.”? So proper they are afraid of the word sex and have to come up with terms that do not include the word sex in describing an operation that literally and physically changes people’s sex.
Perhaps it isn’t homophobia. Perhaps it is sexphobia?
Perhaps what I see as homophobia directed towards the Gay Community in general is fear of being associated with people who actually have sex with men, people who give blow jobs and let themselves be fucked in the ass.
How else can I understand how heterosexual CDs are considered by Transgender Inc to be part of the “Transgender Community” but drag queens are not. Especially when Transgender Inc. takes upon itself the right to claim even long time post-SRS men and women as transgender, even when they do not want to be considered transgender.
Homophobia is a nasty charge, but I remember the case of Peter Oiler, a heterosexual transvestite truck driver fired from Winn-Dixie when his cross dressing came out. Had he said, “What I do during my time is my business.” I would have defended him. Had he been in transition, I would have defended her right to transition. But the first words out of his mouth were, “I ain’t no fag.”
Gee Peter, that makes me so not want to run out and sign a petition supporting your homophobic ass.
But whenever I mention it might be easier to pass non-discrimination laws if they were defined as covering TS/TG people who actually changed their assigned sex and or gender and lived 24/7/365 as a member of the sex or gender they have been reassigned to Peter Oiler’s name gets hauled up.
In the intervening years my partner Tina and I started the Women Born Transsexual mailing list where we had to deal with sisters who thought we should give priority to defending their heterosexual marriages while we did not have marriage equality. Worse yet we had heterosexist comments made to us about how we should accept “civil unions” instead of demanding marriage equality, with the homophobic implication that only heterosexual couples were real couples and lesbian couples were second best.
Lately the wonderful folks that make up Transgender Inc have taken to attacking the Gay and Lesbian Community for focusing on Marriage equality instead of the Trans-inclusive ENDA Transgender Inc. thinks should be the focus.
Even though that harms lesbian and gay post-transsexual people. I don’t know if this is homophobia or sheer self-centeredness.
Honestly though, I’ve been part of the Gay and Lesbian Community for some 40 years and I haven’t seen that much of a contribution by the modern Transgender Community, the one the “T” supposedly stands for, towards any general LGBT/T cause. More often Transgender Inc seems totally self-centered.
Now I know this is less the case else where, but here in the US it seems like the only people associated with trans-prefixed words who contribute all that much to the general cause are those post-SRS folks who are either gay or lesbian. Oh, I almost forgot there is on huge segment that does contribute far more than it gets back. Those much maligned drag queens who perform in bars and take part in the Imperial Courts and Houses, The ones I have often heard people who are more privileged members of Transgender Inc say were not a part of the Transgender Community.
I was going to go off on Susan Stanton for her reported homophobic rants and actions regarding a gay restaurant near where she lives but focusing on her is meaningless, she opened her mouth and said what all to often is said in the privacy of mailing lists. The problem is systemic.
The last few months I have been hearing numerous members of the Transgender community carry on about how “Gay Inc.” isn’t putting the interests of transgender people first. How perhaps Transgender Folks should go their own way. Oddly these are the same people who label post-transsexual women separatists and elitist when they say the same thing.
Transgender Inc demanded to be a part of the Gay and Lesbian Movement. I was there, I remember it wasn’t the other way around. I also remember the roots of the Transgender Movement.
It is time for transgender folks and straight post-SRS transsexual women to drop the homophobia and often right-wing attitudes. Support is a two way thing. It shouldn’t be all about the gay and lesbian community supporting your interests and your never giving back the support when it comes to gay and lesbian interests.
But mostly y’all need to lose the homophobia.