From Whence Comes the Transgender Community?

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Every so often I have encounters with the TS-not-TG group. I cherish these encounters because they often inspire me to do research. Sometimes transsexuals who argue for the destruction of the transgender community make statements that cause me to question my assumptions – which is a good thing!

I will take your community apart bit by bit until the day that it ceases to represent transsexuals. Let my people go and leave my people the fuck alone!

I enjoy having my perspective influenced by evidence and when people in the TS-not-TG camp make certain claims about the word “transgender” (eg, crossdressers forced it on transsexuals and therefore transsexuals are victims of a “Borg collective assimilation process”) I am inspired to look at what the evidence has to say.

Those who embrace the “Transgender as Umbrella” are more like the Borg of Star Trek: the Next Generation. Dealing with the Transgender Borg is like that.  Push the right buttons and their program spits out the exact same response. Like the Borg, “Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.”

Recently, I uncovered never-before documented (in the discussions about the term “transgender”) reports that cast some serious doubts about certain claims made by some TS-not-TG people. Prior to posting about the evolution of the word “transgender” in the 1970s and 1980s, many in the TS-not-TG group repeated variations of the following:

Now, Virginia Prince is to the Transgender Borg Collective what L. Ron Hubbard is to Scientology.   That is to say the basis for much of the ideology although people have added to the dogma since.

and…

Christine Jorgensen was not transgender. Just as I am NOT transgender. She was like I am transsexual. Transgender is a social construct. A political identity that grew out of the heterosexual transvestite movement founded by people like Virginia Prince.

In other words, Prince coined the term, so the current term still implies Prince’s attitudes.

After discovering that people like Christine Jorgensen did indeed self-identify as transgender, one TS-not-TG person said:

The real issue is the transgender movement that came about in the early 90’s, purporting to represent everybody while steadily representing far less than that over time. This movement is what is poisonous, not the terminology.

While some of you might feel as if this seems like moving the goal post, that’s not the point; rather, the above statement by a TS-not-TG person is intriguing. The fact that the community now has access to new historical documentation is a direct result of this TS-non-TG person sharing their point of view with me… and I appreciate it. Had they not spoken up, I probably wouldn’t have had my interest directed toward this research.

The “transgender movement” as this commenter calls it is what I mean when I talk about a “transgender community”. In other words, we are both talking about individuals who support and work towards the same goals and can therefore be grouped together . I define this “movement” as a community, using the dictionary definition of community:

community

The above quote makes a number of assertions:

  • There is a transgender community that “came about” in the early 1990s
  • By stating that it “came about”, the author connotes that the post-1990s transgender community is different than the pre-1990s transgender community – so much so as to be singled out due to their difference.
  • One difference between the post-1990s TG community and the pre-1990s TG community is that they purported “to represent everybody”.
  • Another difference between the post-1990s TG community and the pre-1990s TG community is that they “steadily represent[ed] far less than that over time”.
  • And yet another difference between the post-1990s TG community and the pre-1990s TG community is that the post-1990s TG community is “poisonous”.

Unfortunately, the author of this statement generally does not cite evidence to support their sentiments. This, of course, inspired me to look into what the TG community looked like prior to 1990 in order to see what, if anything, was substantially different. The result was that I’ve uncovered yet more never-before published evidence to add to the marketplace of ideas.

One charge I consistently hear from the TS-not-TG group is that grouping all individuals of non-cisgender background, experience or expression is something that is new. As another TS-not-TG put it:

Trying to retroactively apply the label to people who lived their lives prior to the creation of the social construct “transgender” violates their lives.


So, prior to the 1990s, did the TS and non-TS groups work together to form a larger group in order to pursue “common social, economic, and political interests” (see definition of “community”)? I can unequivocally say YES. In fact, that drive to pull different types of trans people together in order to, as a community of diverse people,  improve our quality of life for everyone seems to be an idea that predates 1990 by a number of decades.

Consider this plea from a national transsexual organization to the transvestite and drag community in 1975:

… The courts and legislative people refuse to rule in favor of transsexual persons even when they are legally right. These so-called professional people act solely on the basis of their own emotions and repulsions rather than medical or legal reasons. We consider their actions to be arbitrary, capricious and prejudicial be denying people their God-given right to live in happiness and peace as a human being.

Chrysalis, an organization of transsexual persons, has decided to fight. In order to do this we need your help and support. You many not consider this your fight. However, whenever any person of any sexual minority is denied their right, we all begin to lose those things we have. It wasn’t long that none of us could be proud and stand up for what we are.

Its about time the gays, TVs and TSs break down the barriers between us and work together. United we stand; derived we stand still wishing something would happen.

– Drag Magazine, 1975

Houston-20110629-00019

That 36 year old statement by a transsexual sounds an awful lot like the tune the current transgender community sings.

In the mid 1970s, another inclusive organization formed. This one was called the United Transvestite and Transsexual Society (UTTS).

Years before that in 1970, the Transvestite/Transsexual Action Organization formed.

In 1971, the “Androgynous Organization” set up a “transsexual help center” that was sponsored by the Gay Liberation Front.

In the mid-1970s, a Los Angeles political group called the Transsexual/Trans-Gender Rap Group” was formed.

Another 1970s group called themselves simply “Transsexuals and Transvestites”.

Lets not forget about the long, yet explicitly inclusively named “Transvestite, Transsexual, Female Impersonator and Gender Identity Program of Gay Community Services” in California.

In fact in 1974, UTTS said, “None of us want to split the transvestite and transsexuals from within…” They went on to state that they believe in “change through the channels and informing the public…”

Again, all of these sentiments sound rather familiar in the modern post-1990s transgender community.


Now, lets consider how these sentiments played out in real life back in the 1970s:

Houston-20110629-00020

Did you catch that inclusivity? If you didn’t let me quote the words written by a transsexual woman: “By the time you read this letter, cross-dressing should be legal in the City of Detroit. I, along with another transsexual and a transvestite, decided to do something about the law in Detroit.”


I’ve heard some TS-not-TG people rail against Leslie Feinberg for trying to invent non-gender specific pronouns. Consider this Chicago Tribune article from the 1970s:

1975As one researcher notes, the attempts to create English language gender-neutral pronouns aren’t anything new:

Besides the centuries-old instinctive use of “their”, people have been formally concerned about the gendered pronoun problem since at least 1795, and have been coining new pronouns for about the last century and a half. The first, sometime around 1850, were “ne, nis, nim”, and “hiser”. In 1868, “en” appeared, followed by a rush in 1884: “thon, thons”, “hi, hes, hem”, “le, lis, lim”, “unus”, “talis”, “hiser, himer”, “hyser, hymer”, and “ip, ips”. These things come in bursts, with a flurry of interest in certain circles while many try their hand at neologism, then an eventual dying out, only to be revived by another person in the future. (See the charts below.) Many more coinings followed between 1888 and 1891, then interest died for two decades. Interest picked up again during the thirties and forties, then died once more. Interest exploded in the seventies with the rise of a new international feminist consciousness, but it seems to have mostly died out again around in the 80’s backlash. (Note that the data in the graphs is incomplete, and comes from a book that was published in 1986.) Nevertheless, interest persisted at a lower level, and has flowered into international usage in some pockets of the net. The pronouns “sie, hir, hirs, hirself” seem to have been the most widely adopted, found mainly in Usenet groups involving romantic relationships, and the alternative forms “zie, zir, zirs, zirself” also have a following. The set “ey or e, em, eir, eirs, eirself or emself” has found more limited use.


Others have railed against the current transgender community for inventing the idea of gender-identity. But was it really the current transgender community that tried to popularize this idea?

GI
Is this out of some 1994 transgender manifesto? Nope. It comes from a 1977 booklet titled “Information for the family of the transsexual and of children with gender identity disturbances”.


As is the case in the post-1990s transgender community, was there a recognition that there were distinctively different types of people of a non-cis history, experience or expression who still, nonetheless shared commonality in the pre-1990s transgender community? Lets see what they thought in 1971:

community-2

The above is an piece from a professional female impersonator writing for a magazine called Female Mimics. She goes on to explain that while there are many different types of trans people, we do share some common problems and for that reason, she is making herself available to help where and how she could.


So, lets move forward in time to see if this idea of grouping all non-cis people continued:

1979

Well, it looks like the so-called “Borg Collective” was alive and well in 1979. So, did this approach kill the ability for transsexuals to gain their civil rights? Nope. Within just a few years of writing this letter, Houston’s crossdressing ordinance was revoked and all trans people could walk outside without being arrested.


So, this brings me to…

moveI will concede a point to the individual I initially quoted. From the evidence I see, it does indeed seem that the post-1990 transgender community is different than the pre-1990 community. The evidence seems to indicate a fairly enormous step forward in terms of rights, employment protections and acceptance by the general population since 1990. And perhaps most germane to the point of this post, this post-1990 step forward seems to have been built upon attitudes towards trans community-building that were 20 years old by the time 1990 rolled around.

At this point, I think I’m going to see what sort of actual evidence the TS-not-TG folks are able to bring to the marketplace of ideas.

So, before you begin slamming my comment section with how wrong I am, let me repost a recent response I made in another post:

This is a good example of the type of behavior I encounter with the TS-not-TG group. For many of them, if they’re not pressing their point peppered with emotionally appealing buzz-words like “assimilation” and “Borg Consciousness” to bowl you over with BS, they tend to resort to logical fallacies (usually strawman, moving the goal post and/or a non sequitur) and if that doesn’t work, they attack using ad homs.

Seriously folks, if all you have are baseless conjectures (If ABC was the way I want it to be, then XYZ would be the result. Why? Cuz I say so!) then you have no argument. Conjecture, fallacies, various appeals to emotion, buzz-words and personal attacks ARE NOT arguments; they are what people use when they have no argument.

I’d love to see some evidence-based claims from the TS-not-TG side of the road. Start with reporting on an apples-to-apples example of how transsexuals alone achieved what the Houston transgender community (TS people working with non-TS people as equals) has achieved – in one of the most inhospitable parts of the country, I might add.

Offer some historical documentation proving that TS and non-TS people never wanted to form a more inclusive community that worked together for a common cause. When you make an assertion about something, back it up with evidence. If the TS-not-TG group can not do that, I can not take their arguments seriously.


Historical Document Disclaimer:

As I continue to publish historical documents relevant to the debates going on around the term transgender, I will include this disclaimer in hopes that it will cut down on having my position strawmaned to death.

The ideas found within the transgender community came from somewhere; they didn’t magically pop into existence on January 1, 1990. My intent in posting these historical documents is to dispel some historical inaccuracies some within the TS-not-TG group continue to popularize. I continuously find ideas that are purported to have originated within the so-called “transgender Borg”/“slave master” community sometime in the early 1990s and which was then supposedly thrust upon an unsuspecting transsexual community were in fact, championed by transsexuals leaders prior to 1990.

I find that I agree with practically everything those in the moderate TS-not-TG group claim with one exception. Many assert that the “transgender umbrella” idea doesn’t refer to a group of unique allies who find unity in a common cause; rather, many in the TS-not-TG group simply assert that the term “transgender” robs all transsexuals of their unique experience. In fact, most transsexuals do not feel that the we should be segregated away from all of our allies in our continued fight for equality and, as these historical documents continue to reveal, transsexual people of history do not see a need to rip the transsexual community away from other communities to go it alone.

For a view that very closely resembles my own views on this issue, check out The Death of the “Transgender Umbrella” by Mercedes Allen. My reservations about this article are summed up nicely within the comment section by Dr. Jillian Weiss:

Great article, but you can’t create a movement to “not be transgender.” Critique is valuable, but by itself, it can only alter an existing movement, not build one of its own. Movements have to be for something. If we could create a viable “transsexual movement,” I’m for it. But it is unlikely that such a movement can occur at this point in time. Very unlikely. Although I agree with the idea on a theoretical basis, I don’t think it will ever go beyond talk.

So, if you take Allen’s article and combine it with what Weiss had to add, you’d have an almost perfect representation of my views concerning the TS-not-TG debate.

21 thoughts on “From Whence Comes the Transgender Community?

  1. Thanks for doing this research! I have absolutely no problem with some people wanting to disassociate themselves from any group of people, but I do have a big problem with being told that the reason the TS-not-TG people are doing so is "Men and women of transsexual history are being genocided by the Gay Inc. and Transgender Inc. communities. Our medical conditions are being lied about and erased. " Excuse me? Genocided? So if I don't agree with you, I want to wipe you out? Ummm…no. I just disagree with you. I'll be happy to call you whatever you want me to, but if I want to call myself a transsexual, a transwoman, transgendered or a giraffe, that's nobody's business but my own.

  2. My take on the whole "TS-not-TG" attitude is this: Once upon a time transfolks were special and unique and just a little shocking because they changed from their birth sex to the other sex. But with social progress, what they did gradually became much more mainstream and they weren't special any more; no one paid attention to them any more. Despite their protestations that they're just women (because all the ones I've heard from are women), not transwomen, they still seem to have most of their identity tied up in being identified as transsexuals. Methinks they doth protest too loudly. And THEIR definition of transsexual is someone who fervently wanted to be a woman, received hormone therapy, had surgery and completely transtioned. If you don't completely meet their definition of "transsexual", you can't really BE transsexual and must therefore be something else. To me, that sounds a lot like a "HOLEier than thou" attitude.

  3. "I will concede a point to the individual I initially quoted. From the evidence I see, it does indeed seem that the post-1990 transgender community is different than the pre-1990 community."

    With regard to this post and a previous one, in essence this is precisely the issue. I know of many transsexuals who initially embraced the term transgender because it was generally seen as a word that was synonymous with transsexual. However, their infatuation soon waned as transgender slowly morphed to be seen as nothing more than another way to say both gay and transvestite. At that point, somewhat similarly seen in the history of the HBS movement, transgender (like HBS) quickly became a term many of us grew to despise.

    I appreciate what you are attempting to do in defending transgender, but no amount of research you do on this issue will in the least uncover facts that will dispute the experiences of those who actually lived and transitioned during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. During that time frame virtually everyone, including gays, lesbians, the therapists, crossdressers, transvestites, etc) fully realized and accepted that transsexuals were entirely different than all of the others that are now included under the transgender umbrella…versus virtually everyone now seeing the two groups as similar.

    Surely, Cristan, you recognize that the very vast majority of post op transsexuals do no get involved and could care less about the gender debate; they simply have SRS and essentially disappear. But, if you don't accept that, it's been estimated time and time and time again that there are between 60,000 and 100,000 living post op transsexuals…where are they? why aren't they vocal? why do they not weigh in? There is a very good reason for the majority of post ops not taking part in the discussion, Cristan, though you may not choose to accept the answer to my platonic questions: they are simply female and mostly heterosexual, and want nothing more than to simply get on with their lives. Being a post op transsexual unlike being transgender is not a lifestyle or an identity, but something that was nothing more than a necessary bump in the road that was absolutely an imperative they negotiate before they could fully carry on.

    In many ways, its a case of one (perhaps you, maybe not) "not knowing what one doesn't know." Those who fall into that case of not knowing what they don't know can't appreciate how disgusting it is to many us to be referred to by anyone as a trans something. We don't now and never ever considered ourselves as anything other than simply male or female. Any prefixes are simply alien. There are a only hand full of us who speak up, but (remember the 60,000-100,000) surely you understand there are many more of us who feel this way. Pick a blog, any blog, and take a look at the insults we endure when we try to explain this to the transgender community.

    Every group has their extreme quacks; you and I have already discussed this and I believe you have agreed with that premise. I, for one, fully believe that the transgender fully have the right to do, express, identify whatever it is they feel and acknowledge their issues; most post ops I've known feel the same way…but the transgender, as a whole, do not acknowledge that there are a very significant number of post ops who do not feel the way they do…and, as there are way, way more them who are vocal and actively transgender oriented we feel colonized and included within a movement we want no part of. That simple acknowledgment, that I mention above, by the transgender would end what has now become known as the trans wars…nothing short of that acknowledgment will.

    1. Before I ever try to respond to your post, I’d like to make sure that I understand that gist of your post. I’ll take it paragraph by paragraph

      Paragraph 1: The term that first referred to the Virginia Prince-type trans person changed sometime in the late 1980s to mean transsexual. When the term exclusively meant transsexual, transsexual people as a whole liked it. In the 1990s, the term changed again to then – only then – mean anyone of a non-cis history, expression or experience. Prior to the 1990s, transgender didn’t mean anyone of a non-cis history, expression or experience, it only meant transsexual. Because of the purported change, some transsexuals today don’t like the term transgender. Correct?

      Paragraph 2: My research is an attempt to defend the term transgender. Transsexuals will dispute the idea that there was a group made up of people of non-cis histories, expressions and/or experiences who fought for common cause in the 60s, 70s and 80s because back then (unlike now) people understood that there were different types of trans people (eg a transsexual is not a crossdresser) . Correct?

      Paragraph 3: Since the vast majority of transsexuals do not become active in the fight for advancing their civil rights, they don’t identify as being transgender. Correct?

      Paragraph 4: A transsexual (someone who is not a crossdresser, but is someone sexed incorrectly, endures life incorrectly sexed and then gets medical attention to fix the problem) is a person of a non-cis history and experience and they therefore should not be classified a transgender. Why? Because most are not active in the fight for civil rights but do, nonetheless, want equality under the 14th amendment. Correct?

      Paragraph 5: All transsexuals who don’t want to be called a transgenders are being disrespected because the current English language states that a transgender person is someone who is part of a group that includes transsexuals and “transvestites”. Correct?

      This is an honest representation of the impressions I got from your reply. The reason I’m sharing my impressions with you is because I’ve noticed that I generally do not truly grasp what you are trying to express on the first go-around. (This isn’t a judgment on me or you; it’s just how it is.)

      If I’ve misunderstood, would you please take the time to correct my misunderstanding(s)?

      I appreciate it!

      BTW – I SOOOOO agree that we both have nuts on each side. LOL!

  4. I am transsexual.
    I identify as a general rule as transgender. I like the word better.
    I am a member of my local LGBT.

    It is impossible for anyone to say that transsexuals are being assimilated and coopted when there are TS people like me happily giving their time and money to the cause.

    1. Thanks for sharing your view!

      Part of what got me into dealing with this was when a TS-not-TG person told me that I am not a transsexual. They claimed that despite what English language dictionaries said, I cannot be both a transsexual and a transgender person. When I said, that being TG and TS is a lot like being both and American and Texan or a human and a Native American. Their response was to make a personal attack and then state – as if it were fact – that one cannot have 2 identities (whatever that means).

      1. Does this mean I can only ever be trans?

        Personally I feel I have more than one identity dependant on the situation that I am in.

        I am a biker, a combatant, a hosptial worker, a friend – these things are all identities.

        Example: the bikes. My bike friends include cis, male cis female and me – we have variation on sexual orientation and no one actually cares because it is not important. What is important is the identity as biker – which means can you ride or not.

        Its the same at work, and the same as a combatant. The criterias are different but essentially trans status is irrelevant to my identity in those situations.

        What I don’t like is the hatred I see between some TS and TVs. I just don’t understand it.

        1. [Does this mean I can only ever be trans?]

          Let me pose a question to you: Does a lesbian ceases to be a homosexual (an umbrella term) if she doesn't self-identify as a homosexual? What if she wrote the following:

          Does this mean I can only ever be a homosexual? Personally I feel I have more than one identity dependant on the situation that I am in. I am a biker, a combatant, a hosptial worker, a friend – these things are all identities. Example: the bikes. What is important is the identity as biker – which means can you ride or not. Its the same at work, and the same as a combatant. The criterias are different but essentially homosexual status is irrelevant to my identity in those situations.

          What might you think if a lesbian told you this?

          Somewhere along the line, TS Separatists began claiming (without objective evidence) that if one is trans, that's all they can ever be. Of course, they can never point to any other English language taxonomy wherein this is the case. If you were born in Texas, would that mean that "only ever be" a Texan? What if you lived in Houston (which is in Texas), does that mean that you can't be both a Texan and a Houstonian? In what part of the English speaking world are people unable to grasp and work with umbrella terms? I don't get why people think that in this one single case, being trans means that one cannot be other things as well.

          Mostly, I think the anti-TG group is fueled by nothing more than shame. It's that "I don't want to be associated with being a man in a dress. I'm not a crossdresser!!!!11!" shame. That's transphobia.

          I'm not a crossdresser. I'm a post-op transsexual woman who "passes" without any problem… ever. Those who hate trans folk will always see me as nothing more than a mutilated man in a dress. Those who seek religiously-endorsed schadenfreude will always see me as nothing more than a mutilated man in a dress. Me walking around with a linguistic albatross around my neck which exclaims "NOT A CROSSDRESSER!" won't matter to any of my oppressors. The idea that our oppressors will stop stalking us if we just distance ourselves from crossdressers and the fetish people is stupid in that it is nothing more than naiveté protected by transphobia. The entire argument is almost always made without any supporting evidence. It's almost always an argument based only in emotion.

  5. Paragraph 1 – Your understanding is incorrect – some initially embraced the term; I, for one, did not…but some did initially until it became clear that it was not a term that differentiated between transsexualism and every other form of what is now termed transgender.

    Paragraph 2 – Your understanding is incorrect – I can see that you've picked up on the word defend; perhaps that was a bad choice of words on my part but, yes, you certainly stand up for transgender and its causes. I did not say nor infer that transsexuals "…dispute the idea that there was a group made up of people of non-cis histories, expressions and/or experiences who fought for common cause in the 60s, 70s and 80s because back then (unlike now) people understood that there were different types of trans people (eg a transsexual is not a crossdresser)." Certainly there were groups during that time frame that did just that. What I did say is that for the most part, a few gender libertines aside, did recognize there was a distinct difference between transsexuals and other groups that would now be characterized as transgender.

    Paragraph 3 – You are essentially correct in your understanding – I feel the overwhelming number of post op transsexuals, though they may support issues relating to those who are not post op, could care less about the transgender or, at the least, put no more priority on transgender issues than they would any other; they are quite comfortable with the rights that they hold. They feel no imperative to take part in the issue. They have transitioned and consider their gender journey complete and simply live their life with no more inclination toward transgender than any other male or female.

    Paragraph 4 – You are completely incorrect in your understanding…on every count – If one proceeds, as I and many of us do, upon the premise that post ops MtFs are simply females, then it has nothing to do with classification or identity any more than it would be for a natal female…it simply is…we don't identify as female, we are female. The lack of participation in the issue is simply indicative of the vast majority of living post ops holding that position. Much is said about the lack of rights that post ops have, when many of us do not feel that way. The rights of post op transsexuals as legitimate females have only been challenged in a handful of states…some cases have been won, others have lost…most never see the light of day in a court room (which is particularly true in the case of post ops marrying). Because someone has lost in court, on any issue, doesn't mean that they have not been protected under any portion of the constitution.

    Paragraph 5 – Essentially, you are correct in your understanding – you repeatedly refer to transsexuals when I, for the sake of clarity, repeatedly use the word post op transsexuals. But, yes, it is insulting to be referred to as trans anything to many who have completed SRS. To many of us, it was only after having SRS that we felt complete and fully female…to relegate us back into that category is insulting and fails to recognize our fulfillment. Because gender theorists may have coined a term over the years which they say applies to many of us is inconsequential to those of us of whom fall into that group, being simply a sociopolitical attempt to put everyone who has even the slightest gender variation under one word…and is as alien to us as it might be to you if over a period of time society deemed that everyone who had not had SRS was a snake, transsnake, snakeoid, or some other derived term.

    1. THANK YOU for taking the time to clarify these things. So, let me do this one more time, focusing on the ones I completely blew:

      Paragraph 1: SOME post-op transsexuals began using the term "transgender" to self-identify as being transgender in the 1980s, but these post-op transsexuals stopped doing so in the 1990s. The reason they did this was because in the 1980s, the term meant post-op transsexual and then in the 1990s, the term was expanded to refer to everyone who if of a non-cis history, expression or experience. Correct?

      Paragraph 2: For the most part, a few gender libertines aside, the community recognized there was a distinct difference between transsexuals and other groups that would now be characterized as transgender. Nowadays that isn't the case; all distinctions difference between transsexuals and other groups have been obliterated. Before 1990, everyone knew there was a difference between a drag queen and a transsexual; after 1990 nobody knows there's a difference between a drag queen and a transsexual. Correct?

      Paragraph 4: Post-op transsexuals women were not only born with an internal subjective female experience of their physical sex, their physical sex was female as well. Once the male genitalia has been refashioned into female genitalia, they are women who were not only born with an internal subjective female experience of their physical sex, their physical sex is female as well. Transsexuals have just as many rights as everyone else unless they out themselves – at which point they gave up their right to their rights. Correct?

      Susan, I really appreciate that you've taken the time to ensure that I'm understanding the points that you're making. Not many are willing to do that and I really respect the fact that you're willing to take make the effort of getting your points through my sometimes thick head.

      1. Cristan, what I wrote is what I meant. You haven't misunderstood what I've written, but simply fail in wanting to engage in any meaningful discussion. This is the second time I've politely tried to engage you here; I won't be back.

        Carry on…

        1. Asking you if what I understood when I read your statement was what you meant means that I'm "fail[ing] in wanting to engage in any meaningful discussion"? To be clear, if my requests for clarification come across as being mean, mocking, angry (or whatever other state you obviously projected upon my reply), it wasn't meant to be so. My reply is what I honestly, truly thought you were stating in your post.

          Instead of arguing against something that I'm not completely understanding, I thought I'd ask. For instance, your paragraph 4 sounded beyond ridiculous to me. I literally gaped at what you had written. Now, I could had replied taking apart what you asserted as if it were fact or I could have made an effort to ensure that what I thought you were saying is what you actually meant. Even though I thought what you had written was absurd, I instead chose to ask you if what I thought I had read was what you had actually meant. I was trying to avoid strawmaning you…

          And what was your response to that effort? You threw your hands up, claimed offense and decided to end all communication. Ugh! :(

        2. OK…I'll respond to this.

          I wrote what I meant, Cristan. Then, I explained what I wrote when you requested I do so. If, after writing what I meant, and then explaining what I wrote you still are having trouble understanding what I said, I simply am not inclined to go any further. I really don't think what I said was difficult to understand.

          I'm under no illusion that I will be able to convince or persuade you are anyone else who is joined at the hip to the GLBT cause of anything whatsoever. I simply commented on your blog with regards to what you said in closing your essay, i.e., "I will concede a point to the individual I initially quoted. From the evidence I see, it does indeed seem that the post-1990 transgender community is different than the pre-1990 community." I gave you a perspective of someone who was has been around the issue starting in 1968.

          I'm not offended, just disinclined to fruitlessly debate or defend something I lived through.

        3. I hear that you feel you’ve been clear. However, unless you feel that my understanding of your statements is correct, then perhaps you’ve not been so clear in your effort to convey your meaning. I realize that you were simply commenting on my blog. I was simply trying to make sure I understood you. Why? Because if I don’t understand what you’re trying to say, I’ll inadvertently strawman your position. For instance, quoting my statement without the context seems to be a strawman to me. You seem to be claiming that I meant that the pre-1990s and post 1990s community were fundamentally different. I didn’t say or mean that. What I wrote was:

          I will concede a point to the individual I initially quoted. From the evidence I see, it does indeed seem that the post-1990 transgender community is different than the pre-1990 community. The evidence seems to indicate a fairly enormous step forward in terms of rights, employment protections and acceptance by the general population since 1990. And perhaps most germane to the point of this post, this post-1990 step forward seems to have been built upon attitudes towards trans community-building that were 20 years old by the time 1990 rolled around.

          In other words, the 1990s community developed due to the perceptions, goals, aims and views of the pre-1990s community. The views you seem to despise in the post-1990s community were alive and well way before 1990. If fact, those ideas seemed to be the majority view and that view became even more pronounced with the advent of the internet.

          I understand that you’ve been around since 1968; I also understand that people who’ve been around since the 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s and before have presented a different version of the history you tend to relate. Does that mean I should disregard their experiences if favor of yours? If when you were just coming out, trans people were trying to form a coalition for common purpose at the 1968 North American Homophile Association meeting, should I just pretend their efforts weren’t real or meaningful? When trans women and their gay allies were rioting for their rights in streets of LA in 1958, should their collective efforts minimized? What about the efforts of transsexual women who often advocated for GLBT equality (like Hedy Jo Star and Christine Jorgensen) prior to you coming out? What about all the efforts put forth by people running inclusive groups, organizations, help lines, coalitions, etc throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s? Doesn’t their efforts and perspective count too?

          I identify as a transsexual woman and would be offended if someone misidentified my experiences as being the experience of a drag queen. Why? Not because drag queens are bad, but because it is a mischaracterization of my experience. I identify as a woman of non-cis medical history and personal experience and would be offended if someone misidentified my experiences as being the experience of a cis-woman. Why? Not because I don’t think that I’m a woman, but because it is a mischaracterization of my experience. I identify with the plight of all those of a non-cis history, experience or expression and would be offended if someone misidentified my experiences as being the experience of a first-class American citizen. Why? Not because citizens who enjoy full constitutional rights are bad or that I don’t want equality, but because it is a mischaracterization of my experience.

          I fought tooth and nail to transition and to deal with my medical issue. My community members were right there with me helping me fight each step of the way. Together, through our own efforts, will and fortitude we made things better for those who came after us. It is offensive to me for someone who, metaphorically speaking, skulked in the shadows and who enjoys the fruits of our efforts to cast stones at us for those very efforts that lifted you up.

          Johns Hopkins and UTMB were the first surgical options for transsexuals in America and they were set up by the very people your side tends to denigrate: out transsexuals who fought to build broad coalitions. Without those out transsexuals and our GLBT allies like Dr. Paul Walker, your experiences as someone who needed access to medical care would have been very different and/or nonexistent when you came out. Your side throws stones at me and people like me for “betraying” my community while that very community your side claims to speak for now has access to multiple local low-cost/free trans health clinics, housing and so much more due to the fact that I and others like me where willing to do what needed to be done.

          I’m asking for clarification because the things TS separatists say seem to me to be the words of lazy, hubris and self-serving people who belittle the very community they themselves are indebted to. For the transsexual community, were the things that Harry Benjamin was able to do good (as in, better than bad) ? If so, thank an out transsexual who was working to forge a community to work towards common purpose. Is it good (as in, better than bad) for transsexuals that there was an organization that tried to legitimize the medical treatment of transsexuals (HBIGDA)? Thank an out transsexual who was working to forge a community to work towards common purpose. Do you like that a transsexual woman named Lili Elbe was able to have surgery at the beginning of the last century and that her experience as an out trans woman kicked off modern surgical interventions for transsexuals? If so, thank a out gay crossdresser who was working to forge a community to work towards common purpose.

          Yes, I do ask for clarification because I don’t want to believe that there are those who would bite, shit on and then try to erase the very hand that has fed them over the past century. It boggles my mind that people advocating for your position seem to claim that having all hands on deck to uplift our community is bad. It boggles my mind that the very sense of commonality that forged the ties that bound us together to accomplish the amazing things we have all benefited from are mischaracterized and degraded as being chains of bondage akin to “slavery” or a “borg collective”. It’s so incredibly easy to hide behind the anonymity of a computer and claim that those who are doing the actual work of moving the community forward are foolish, nonsensical and absurd. I ask for clarification because your side seems to be a little light on evidence to back up your historical claims. Additionally, while your side claims to have the answers that will deliver the transsexual community to freedom, I’ve yet to see how your side has made any meaningful improvements in the lives of transsexual people in need. What workplace protections, insurance coverage and nondiscrimination policies have the separatists created? What corssdressing ordinances did they overturn? What clinics did they open? What school and university policies have they changed? Who have they helped get the medical care they needed to deal with their transsexualism? What has the separatists community done other than claim grave offense while taking advantage of the very work they claim to be offended by?

          I ask for clarification because I hope I’ve misunderstood what separatists mean when they say they want to “destroy” the programs, services and efforts of the Houston trans community. I hope I’ve misunderstood when separatists claim that working together has harmed transsexuals and/or that working together hasn’t produced any benefits for the transsexual community. I ask for clarity because I don’t know if what you personally mean is what other the separatists mean when they say the things you seem to be saying.

          So, yes, in the face of being called a nonsensical, tyrannical slave master who is working to destroy the lives of all transsexuals, I do want to be sure that what I think your saying is what you’re actually saying.

        4. I love this reply Cristan. You are absolutely correct, it really is all about love and hate. Some of us are all about one and some of use are all about the other.

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