As an analyst, historical data is often important because it helps answer the question, “How did we get here?” However, this eventually becomes less important than determining “where are we going, and how do we get there?” This is exactly the mindset of most LGBT millennials when it comes to civil rights and advocacy.
Unfortunately, some transgender leaders keep trying to revive old grievances, like 18-year-old articles from The New York Times. However, people like Jim Fouratt haven’t been relevant in decades. Janice Raymond and her ilk are a poorly regarded footnote in the annals of second-wave lesbian feminism. Things cited as proof that LGB leadership has it in for the transgender community may or may not have actually been said. Barney Frank has retired. So has Joe Solmonese. The historical reasons typically cited for the division between the LGB and T have become just that: history.
While many pundits have piled onto the Republicans for failing to recognize the effects of a generational shift in attitudes, leadership in the LGB and T communities also need to recognize the same. Millennials will soon, if not already, constitute the majority of the people represented by LGBT organizations. To the younger folks these divisions look like a Monty Python sketch about the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea “bickering and arguing about who killed who.”
I certainly do not speak for everyone, but from the perspective of millennials who are educated, diverse, and looking for the “BLUF” (Bottom Line Up Front), LGB and T have more experiences, goals and obstacles in common than not.
- We all violate gender norms. LGB people break one of the most fundamental stereotypes and expectations of gender, namely women should fall in love with men, and vice versa. Transgender people violate other gender stereotypes, sometimes including who we are supposed to fall in love with and marry. At some point in their lives, many transgender people will either be seen as LGB by others, or see themselves as LGB.