Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ah, yes.. What's a little "T" amongst friends?

For those who read John Aravosis' Swiss Cheese piece in Salon you can spare yourselves the repeat. For those less "fortunate", I've linked it above.

Mr Aravosis proffers an opinion that the LGB(T) community as a whole wants ENDA with or without the gender identity provisions.

However, the piece is titled " How did the T get in LGBT?" His entire assertion is that the T does not belong in with LGB. Mr Aravosis chooses to use the Wikipedia version of the LGBT history. We all know the hours of painstaking fact checking and vetting that done there..... Hell, Dan Rather did more vetting on his "Bush's National Guard " piece.... Let's actually review some facts.

1.) The T came first
The "T" in the LGBT Movement... It's a hot August night in San Francisco in 1966 -- three years before the famed Stonewall. Compton's Cafeteria, in the seedy Tenderloin district, is hopping with its usual assortment of transgender people, young street hustlers, and down-and-out regulars. The management, annoyed by the noisy crowd at one table, calls the police. When a surly cop, accustomed to manhandling Compton's clientele, attempts to arrest one of the queens, she throws her coffee in his face. Mayhem erupts -- windows break, furniture flies through the air. Police reinforcements arrive, and the fighting spills into the street. For the first time, the drag queens band together to fight back, getting the better of the cops, whom they kick and stomp with their high-heeled shoes and beat with their heavy purses. For everyone at Compton's that night, one thing was certain -- things would never be the same again. This act of resistance was a dramatic turning point for the transgender community, and the beginning of a new human rights struggle that continues to this very day. For almost 40 years, it was an almost-forgotten footnote until the recent film documentary Screaming Queens recovered the story for today's audiences.

Somewhere in the early 70's the movement to "mainstream" homosexuality started rolling. The idea that all gay men wore panties and all lesbians had hairy armpits and drove semis were stereotypes that had to be buried.And rightfully so. However,this resulted the sweeping the Queens and Fairies under the Yellow Brick Road.
A good yet brief history of the Trans/HRC schism can be read here

2.) Not all gay men are Will Truman.....
Gender identity protects effeminate gay men and butch lesbians as much, if not more that transgendered persons. While within certain demographics of the gay community, the white collared Tom Ford wannabes ( "Not that there's anything wrong with that....."), and the Angelina Jolie'd Lipstick Lesbians anything non conforming in presentation draws negative attention to themselves. We trans folks do the same with the "French Maid" and " Sissy Sluts". Yet what of the Jack McFarlands? the Nancy Boys, Tomboys, Chapstick Lesbians, Dykes, Bulls or not, and your garden variety Queers? Yes Queer. Isn't THAT the common thread we share?

We are a Union of Queer Folk.

Let's really discuss his premise here. How DID the T get in LGBT?

His argument of incremental rights has been floated by many supporting a non gender identity version of ENDA. The talking points go like this "Civil rights legislation -- hell, all legislation -- is a series of compromises. You rarely get everything you want, nor do you get it all at once. Blacks, for example, won the right to vote in 1870. Women didn't get that same right until 1920".

Mr Aravosis' explanation of incremental rights would have meant that blacks and women were in the same fight for voting rights in the 1870 and that someone in Congress decided to eliminate women from The Fifteenth Amendment.

Based on his "logic", incremental rights would have actually worked like this:

"Light skinned Blacks, for example, won the right to vote in 1870. Dark skinned blacks didn't get that same right until 1920."

For Mr Aravosis, any ENDA is better than no ENDA is a cover for his transphobia. That "I started asking friends and colleagues, ranging from senior members of the gay political/journalistic establishment to apolitical friends around the country to the tens of thousands of daily readers of my blog" and "if they thought we should pass ENDA this year even without gender identity. Everyone felt bad about taking gender identity out of ENDA, everyone supported transgender rights, and everyone told me "pass it anyway." The final quotation marks are his. As if everyone one of them replied with exactly that answer.

Hmmm? I can see this conversation now, over Martinis at Halo.

"Trans folk are nice enough people though, even if they are riding on our shirt tails. "
" Of course I like transgender people, some of my best friends are transgendered."

Mr Aravosis, I don't care if you're trans phobic. I'm use to transphobia from 80% of the population, just please drop the "Holier than Thou" and "Song and Dance"

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