About the ‘transgender umbrella’

From The San Diego LGBT Weekly:  http://lgbtweekly.com/2014/05/29/about-the-transgender-umbrella/

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.

4 Responses to “About the ‘transgender umbrella’”

  1. pasupatidasi Says:

    agree! transgender is specific…my 11 year old transgender daughter doesn’t do “girl drag”. she’s much more a girl the way i was at her age, and she is attracted (for now anyway) to girls. she isn’t a transvestite either, because she wears what a girl wears, naturally, since she’s a girl…and tho she is definitely included under even the narrowest vision of a “transgender umbrella”, she sees herself as ‘just a girl’…and lives for the day that she is “all girl”….
    a drag queen chooses to do drag, a transvestite chooses to cross dress…my daughter had no choice about being transgender…it just IS.

    • Suzan Says:

      I’ve been saying this since the 1970s. There is a huge difference between transsexuals and if people must use the term transgenders in a narrow sense and Drag Queens, heterosexual transvestites and the myriad of names used for various celebrated identities in the “Gender Queer” arena.

      I’m an old hippie dyke. I wear jeans, Birkenstocks and t-shirts most of the time with shorts in the summer. It ain’t about gender. I don’t wear make-up or high heels. I’m an old woman who likes guitars, books, guns, BBQ and action movies. I’m burnt out on political correctness and all the victim whining.

      Since I moved to Texas the phrase “Cowgirl up!” has taken on real meaning. Cowgirl up means getting up after the horse has thrown you and getting back in the saddle. Repeat as many times as necessary. That also goes with my variation on twelve stepping my way through 14 plus years of sobriety.

      I really think it is time for TS/TG folks to narrow the umbrella and take care of ourselves. I certainly don’t want to police the behavior or language of the “gender queer” folks or for that matter of drag queens or transvestites.

      Last time I checked my job description language cop was not on my list of duties.

  2. Princess Layla Says:

    I couldnt agree more with this article, we need separation, the issues surrounding transition (and to some extent life thereafter) are serious and distinctly different to the activities of the myriad of so called transgender entities.

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