I have been extremely bothered by the position taken by Rebecca Juro and several other Trans-activists regarding the Marriage Equality Struggle.
Rebecca has what I consider a particularly ill-timed piece on Huffington Post: Reality Check: Why Marriage Needs to Take a Backseat to Workplace Rights
This piece is particularly ill timed as it is running on the same page as: ‘Pregnant Man’ Thomas Beatie’s Divorce Proceedings Delayed As Judge Questions Union’s Legality
Obviously marriage equality is an issue that is of the same level of importance for TS/TG people as it is for straight, gay and lesbian people.
There really isn’t a single TS/TG person in this country who doesn’t have to be afraid of their marriage being considered invalid unless they live in and were married in a state which recognizes marriage equality.
Look at the string of cases sisters and brothers have lost when their marriages have been publicly scrutinized by the courts.
Gay and lesbian people have been working towards marriage equality since the days of Stonewall. I know because in 1970 Jerry and I went to a same-sex marriage equality rally at the State Capitol building in Sacramento.
People who have been activists since those days are getting old now. Many of us have had life partners of ten, twenty, thirty years and longer. We have built lives together and without marriage we face forced separations should we require assisted living. When one partner dies before the other then the surviving partner can be rendered homeless and destitute due to tax laws that privilege heterosexual marriage while punishing the relationships of LGBT people.
But on another level this smacks of sour grapes, irritation, that those of us working for marriage equality managed to get marriage equality added to the Democratic party platform.
We consider the TS/TG movement to be a civil rights movement that is part of a larger alphabet soup, a veritable rainbow of initials LGBT etc. That means we shouldn’t act like spoiled children and throw temper tantrums if one part of the movement wins gains another hasn’t.
I didn’t see negative reactions on the part of mainstream L/G activists when we have won court victories that said we were included under Title IX or when individuals like Amanda Simpson won her case. I didn’t hear those same groups decrying TS/TG people being included in the health care reform package.
When we compare our civil rights movement to the Black Civil Rights Movement we will not see Martin Luther King telling inter-racial couples that their efforts to legalize inter-racial marriage were divisive.
Same sex marriage is far bigger in our civil rights struggle than inter-racial marriage was in the Black Civil Rights Struggle. Imagine for a second if all African-Americans were forbidden the right to marry or have onerous conditions placed upon that marriage that said they could not marry someone of the same race.
I’ve been around for a long time and I have seen way too many smug TS/TG people who have dismissed L/G marriage concerns while enjoying heterosexually privileged marriage.
At this point marriage equality and inclusive employment non-discrimination are at about the same stage. Couples are having their relationships recognized by many corporations and those same corporations are adopting inclusive non-discrimination clauses.
We are getting local and state victories.
But as long as we have a Tea Bagger controlled House neither the repeal of DOMA nor the introduction of an inclusive ENDA is going to happen
On top of that the radfem lesbian separatists are back and in many ways gay men might be more inclined to be inclusive of TG/TS women than the radical segment of the lesbian community.
If I thought this was going to get us an inclusive ENDA I’d say go for it, but I see it as more being an act of diva like peevishness sort of a way of saying “Look at me I’m more radical than thou.”
In reality everyone below upper middle class is either economically hurting or threatened.
People in protected categories such as older workers are regularly discriminated against and religious discrimination as well as racial discrimination is running rampant.
People are protesting Chick Fil-A because of the CEO’s anti-marriage equality statements and no one is protesting the rampant religious discrimination on the part of that company and several others who will pretty much only hire born again Christers.
In some ways these employment non-discrimination measures are labor issues but workers in this country have allowed the oligarchs to kill the labor movement.
Mostly though picking fights and pissing off allies in order to get them to drop what they are working on to come work on your specific issue isn’t likely to succeed and is highly likely to produce a negative reaction and get you a former ally.