A letter by Kat McGhee in this week’s BAR:
Many members of the LGBT community know Julie Goldman as not only a lesbian comic, but as a lesbian activist. A YouTube search of Goldman’s work pulls up plenty of clips of her comedy acts about such hot-button issues as gay marriage versus domestic partnership. She is known for her edgy, almost abrasive style, which consistently pushes the envelope.
However, I believe she pushed the envelope too far. On a recent trip to Cancun with lesbian travel company Olivia, I was excited to find Goldman was scheduled as our evening’s entertainment for our final night. My excitement quickly turned to outrage as Goldman launched in to an hourlong act throwing genderqueer and transfolks under the bus. I sat in uncomfortable silence as Goldman repeatedly referred to Chaz Bono, who recently publicly announced he legally changed his gender to male, as “she.” I had to leave the room when Goldman stated, “If you have a vagina, you’re a woman!” when discussing being introduced to a genderqueer person at a trans wedding. Several other people left the room even before this point, some in tears.
As I discussed the act with several other Olivia guests, I was shocked to find this wasn’t the first time she’d performed this same routine on an Olivia trip. Upon returning home to San Francisco, I discovered that she was also scheduled to perform during this year’s Pride events, specifically at Eden, an inaugural event geared toward lesbians. I wrote to Goldman, urging her to reconsider such offensive material. I was met with a very brief rebuff.
As I mulled over what actions I could take to defend this part of our LGBT community, I was contacted by Eden’s event producer, Christine de la Rosa, a longtime supporter of the trans community. She hadn’t seen Julie’s act in Cancun (she was also on the trip), and had relied on Olivia to hire the talent for the comedy show on June 25. A few days later, I was also contacted by Tisha Floratos of Olivia, who assured me that an urgent conference call was held with Goldman, and she agreed to pull the trans bit out of her act (why this conference call wasn’t made previously when Olivia patrons walked out of the show on other trips, I’m not sure). Floratos also informed me that Goldman was very sorry if her act had hurt any one, and her intention was not to offend. Considering the amount of work I’d done to spread the word about this issue, I didn’t feel right giving the “all clear” on the situation until I’d heard these words from Goldman herself, as, at this point, we were playing a giant game of telephone. Floratos assured me that she’d have Julie contact me.
I do enjoy Goldman’s other work, and I do hope that she succeeds in her career. I also hope that she can stick to her word, and do so without having to take shots at our own community.
Clearly, the letter isn’t the problem. The problem is the situation being described therein.
The problem is that transphobia is an acceptable gay moneymaker.
Floratos also informed me that Goldman was very sorry if her act had hurt any one, and her intention was not to offend.
Forgive me for not being impressed.
I’m sure that Janice Raymond, Michael Bailey and Alice Dreger have no intent to offend.
Their intent is to exterminate. They don’t give a shit how anyone – particularly trans people (and most particularly trans women) – feels about it….
Which brings me to something I’d intended to post a few weeks back – regarding the east coast, particularly one state where greedy, transphobic gays and lesbians legisiatively engineered for themselves the special right to discriminate against trans people and then began a campaign of lying to trans people about ‘coming back to get them’ all while actually only giving a damn about gay marriage.
This is from Shane – and was posted on the gb-trans list:
well: i am a TAD mystified and dismayed at the Boston Pride Commitee who sponsored today’s Pride Day…i went to the Pride Boston table….there were ALL kinds of Rainbow doo-dads..all kinds of GL stickers, key chains, buttons..BUt: there was a little something MISSING, and (knowing me…of course i did) it was ANYTHING TRANSGENDER. nada, nine nil void and none. i spoke up. this is what i was told after i gently but angrilly stated that i “didnt see anything supporting or represented on the Pride Boston table there in front of me. i was told, and this is close to verbatim :”I apologise, it wasnt in our budget”…i , apparently wandered into WTFville again. Not to mention the Bay Windows pride guide, unless i am so old and blind missed something, was slim to none representing our community, i think there was the MTPC button on the cover…..yup- i just went and looked. the “trans rights now” button.
If this is any indication of how we are going to be represented, especially(and NOT to separate from the MTF community, at all) transmen- oy vey, are we in trouble.
it was a nice afternoon despite the humidity. there were a few trans folks present….so…i made a little sign for the photographer (it will allegedly be on facebook) to photgraph which read “represenT all of us in the lgbT communiTy” and she took it.
and let me tell you all: i have heard homophobic remarks before. my ears are far from phobia virigns; but todays were extree special, and thank the great spirit i have a strong stomach and no desire to act out with violence….my point, if there is one? we MUST, IMHO, show ourselves, and be loud and be proud, or we are going to stay in the GLB closet for another________ years. i for one won’t.
Shane, glad to be home where it is a/ced but sad/confused/feeling a little left out…
Home of Janice Raymond…
Who praised Olivia Records for hounding out a trans woman recording engineer.
Gay transphobia – its always what’s for dinner…
at Pride or any other time.