Friday Night Fun and Culture: Tim Hardin

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About the ‘transgender umbrella’

From The San Diego LGBT Weekly:

by Nicole Murray Ramirez

When I nominated six-year-old Ryland Whittington and his wonderful parents for this year’s Harvey Milk Inspirational Award, I knew the 1,000+ people attending the Sixth Annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast would react in the same way as I did when first meeting the Whittington family … I cried, getting emotional over this beautiful story of unconditional love these two parents share and have for their now transgender boy. Although I was not at the breakfast last Thursday, reports quickly spread that there was not a single dry eye in the hotels’ enormous ballroom.

When I was growing up in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, I lived as a pre-operative transsexual, first in Hollywood, then making the move to San Diego. Thank goodness I realized in time that I was not truly transgendered, but just a gay man who liked to do drag – a lot!

I was ridden with Catholic guilt as a teen and believed God would only love and accept me if I was a woman, not a homosexual. I even came close to having a full sex change operation before finally realizing that I was not actually a transsexual. At that pivotal moment in my life, I stopped living as a woman 24/7.

Transgender leaders of decades past unveiled what they called a ‘transgender umbrella’. Under it, they placed transsexuals, transvestites and even drag queens. The reality is that drag queens are gay men, while transvestites are straight. In my opinion, the inclusion of those communities should not be categorized under this so called transgender umbrella. We do not belong there.

The issues facing the transgender community are too important, serious and life changing. True transgender individuals need to be the primary focus. Drag queens and transvestites wind up confusing the masses. This does not help when it comes to acceptance and educating others about the transgender community and their specific issues.

I will always remain a strong advocate for the transgender community because of my own life experience. Six-year-old Ryland, and other youth like him, do not need to have drag queens and transvestites included in the same category, they only wind up clouding and confusing the struggling journey they are on. This is my humble opinion, one that comes from decades of being involved in this most serious issue.