Imperfect Allies: Expecting Lesbians and Gay Men to Understand TS/TG People in Perfect and Absolutely Politically Correct Terms

One of the biggest flaws of identity politics is the demand that everyone think identically and use the exact same consensus approved terminology to describe themselves and their lives.

I’ve never been one for group think which is why I always had problems with Trotskyites and Stalinists not to mention the 1960s fad of Red Guard Maoism.

By the end of the 1970s the thought conformity demanded by people who proclaimed themselves lesbian feminists aka radical feminists sent me scurrying off to slam dance in the mosh pits of punkdom.

There is a reason why I embrace the red/black flag.

Since the emergence of the Transgender Movement in the 1990s I’ve tangled with a lot of transgender folks who expect perfect political correctness from everyone they have decided is “Transgender”.  Wars have been fought over that very term with many transsexual folks rejecting it and getting a lot of shit for rejecting it.  On the other hand two-spirit and gender-queer folks get to embrace a different term without catching a bunch of shit for it.

It took a while for me to finally lay down arms and refuse to fight over that one.  I still don’t accept transgender as a personal label and claim the same right to use transsexual as gender queer and two spirit people claim when they use those labels.

Am I really thrilled with everything GLAAD says and does?  Not really but I’m sure as fuck not going to picket their events when they are putting up lawyers and money to fight legal cases for transsexual and transgender people.

Do I think Dan Savage is some sort of perfect leader who gets everything right about everyone in the alphabet soup of sexual and gender minorities?  Fuck no! Does he get enough right that I’d rather give him a big hug and kiss rather than throw glitter in his face?  Fuck yeah and maybe if we try talking with him rather than screaming at him he might improve on those things that bother TS/TG people.

But a lot of people would rather fight with imperfect allies than fight with actual terrifying enemies.

Last week Barney Frank took a position different from that taken by many trans-activists regarding the state having to pay for SRS for convicted murder Michelle Kosilek.

Now, it took me a lot of thinking to support SRS for Michelle Kosilek, who was convicted of brutally murdering his wife prior to coming out.

As I said.  This isn’t about Michelle Kosilek.  It isn’t even about transsexual and transgender people.  It is about the humane treatment of prisoners in the American Gulags of the Prison Industrial Complex.

It is about SRS being am medically necessary.

We want medical insurance to cover SRS (and other medical costs) for people who aren’t in prison, people like Ida Hammer who just won coverage for her surgery.

We have reasonable arguments as to why the it should be the responsibility of the State, who has imprisoned people to provide medically necessary treatments to all prisoners who require those treatments.

You don’t have to be a moral beacon like Desmond Tutu to explain why.

This isn’t about Michelle Kosilek.

It is about us as human beings.  It is about our refusal to descend into barbarism where we torture and abuse prisoners.

We should be too civilized to chop the hands off thieves, tip walls over on gay people, stone women for adultery.

We should be too civilized to water board and torture.

We should be too civilized to do a lot of things the right wing has suckered us into doing these last forty years.

As it is we have descended to a point where we make highly questionable ethical decisions with great frequency.

Is Barney Frank wrong to publicly take some of the positions he has regarding  TS/TG people?  Fuck yeah.  Has he still been more of an ally than not? As far as I see it he has.

We are in an important battle against Neo-Nazis and people who are literally fascists, “Christian” religious leaders every bit as terrifying as the worst mullahs in the Islamic world.

I’ve heard people criticize President Obama for not being perfect.  I’ve criticized him for not being progressive enough.

But I have to support him because the alternative is far worse.

We have to stop attacking our allies for being imperfect.

It is left wing wankery and is self defeating.

What inspired me to write this was a post on The New Civil Rights Movement last week:  Dan Savage Dares Tony Perkins To Sue Him

by David Badash
on October 4, 2012

Yesterday, Tony Perkins told Mike Huckabee he and the Family Research Council are “pursuing everything possible” against activist Dan Savage, “because he is out of control.” That certainly sounds like legal action, and Dan Savage agreed.

Perkins and Huckabee were discussing Savage’s address last week at Winona State University, during which Savage said, “every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council.”

Of course, Savage is standing by his remarks — and rightly so. Last night, in “Is Tony Perkins Threatening to Sue Me?,” Savage wrote:

“I realize that this isn’t how you think the world is supposed to work, Tony. You believe—and you’re old enough to remember a time when—people like you were free to say vile and disgusting things about people like me without anyone objecting. Certainly people like me weren’t allowed to call people like you out. You still believe you should be free to lie about me and other LGBT people with absolutely impunity—we’re all pedophiles and terrorists and Satanists—and that we should have to shut up and take it because… well, I’m not sure why you think we’re not allowed to respond when you lie about us.

“Maybe that’s something we could get to the bottom of during the depositions.”

Savage also responded to Perkins comment that he “has issues”:

Yes, Tony, I have issues.

I have issues with people who would deny me and other LGBT people our full civil equality for no legitimate reason. I have particular issues with high-profile haters who encourage parents to reject their LGBT kids, doubling their already quadrupled risk for suicide. I have issues with people who say that LGBT people are “pawns of the devil.” I have issues with people who compare LGBT people to terrorists. I have issues with people who falsely link homosexuality and pedophilia. I have issues with people who suggest that a law calling for the execution of gay people merely “upholds moral conduct.”

But having issues with you, Tony, isn’t quite the same thing as “having issues.” Please make a note of it.

The best outcome here is the Family Research Council and the American Family Association get together and Sue Dan Savage and especially the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Savage is absolutely right.

Complete article at:

I sort of feel the same way about Dan Savage as I feel about GLAAD.  Sometimes I get pissed off about the language they use but they are on the same side I’m on and spending my energy attacking them instead of attacking the right wing or the religious fucks seems to not only be a waste of my time but the height of hubris.

Attack our real enemies, discuss differences and educate our allies.  It’s more productive in the long run.

2 Responses to “Imperfect Allies: Expecting Lesbians and Gay Men to Understand TS/TG People in Perfect and Absolutely Politically Correct Terms”

  1. Edith Pilkington Says:

    I hope I am not misunderstood again this time around but I think it might be worthwhile for you take a look at what is going on in my neck of the woods.

    This issue has many of the elements you speak of.

    I don’t know how familiar you are with any of the players involved here but we’ve got no shortage of gay men concerned about the victimhood of “male transgender” people.

    Let’s face it, TS/TG gets lost in the trans*lation and you know what else? It seems the people on “our side” would be very uncomfortable if that weren’t the case. Sticks and stones will break your bones but a rose is a rose unless it’s something else, like a carrion flower.

    I support Dan Savage in this, though. I wish him lots of luck. There is absolutely no reason not assume anyone like me wouldn’t feel the same way. It’s a given. Isn’t it? I just wish the feeling, along with the understanding, was mutual.

    One last thing, you mentioned Kosilek. Who do you think Cicilline’s opponent in this election has in mind when he refers to “male transgender” people? Attleboro, Massachusetts is right over the line from Doherty’s home town. To be honest with you, I hope GLAAD stays out of this. They have made things more than too confusing for the public to digest, as it is.

    • Suzan Says:

      I wish this case for state provided SRS for a prison inmate involved someone in for drugs or CeCe McDonald and not someone who allegedly murdered his wife prior to coming out.

      It’s sort of like the ACLU defending American Nazis free speech rights. It needs to be done but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant.

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