…And Who Tends To Profit From Wars?

Ask the Cheney family.

Then ask the Tillman family.

Joelle Ruby Ryan asks:

Are We on the Verge of a Transgender Civil War?

In light of the following:

I kinda feel honored that a forum that would host such a circus no longer feels as though I comport with its standards

I made my points as I did on that blog –  and here on ENDABlog as well as in my published scholarly work – because of my personal and professional background.  I make no apologies – and I have no intention of changing my style.  In short: I’m abrasive, but necessarily so because (1) my background in legal and historical research has led me to understand just how badly misperceptions about trans law can snowball, (2) I’m intellectually honest even when deploying certain legal characterizations – such as gay-only rights laws being laws that give gays and lesbians the special right to discriminate against trans people – that I know some people don’t like, and, (3) most of all, I’m not there or here or on any other blog merely as a troublemaker.

And then came 2011.

…marriage equality benefits transgender people too

Well, what I’m about to say isn’t a shot on either side in any trans war.  Rather, its just a legal fact – and my speaking in such terms has pretty much made me trans non grata both in certain trans-purist circles and in gay-must-prevail circles.

‘Marriage equality’ (euphemism du jour for same-sex marriage) does nothing for transgender people.  It doesn’t help any trans people get a job if they otherwise can’t because of anti-trans discrimination.  It doesn’t keep any trans people from losing their homes if they otherwise wouldbecause of anti-trans discrimination.  It doesn’t prevent local gestapoids from arresting us for using a restroom that any given local gestapoid thinks we shouldn’t use.

‘Marriage equality’ (euphemism du jour for same-sex marriage) does help some transsexuals – those who, post-transition, are in what would be recognized as same-sex marriages.  But, if this is supposed to mean something, what about those transsexuals whose post-transition opposite-sex marriages already are recognized as legal thanks to five decades of (mostly) quiet advances in law recognizing change of sex?

If ‘marriage equality’ is supposed to be such an ‘advance’ – an ‘advance’ at whose ethereal altar all trans people are now supposed to offer not just monetary but blood sacrifices – then why isn’t all of the trans law considered to be an ‘advance’?

Particularly when bullshit rhetoric is continuously floated regarding how the normate world is just not quite ready for us and, therefore, we have to wait for jobs, homes, etc., while people who have a vested interest in a gay narrative that doesn’t take into account all ‘advances’ sit back and appropriate what’s left of the LGB(T) movement to work for acquisition of their marital bennies?

Because mustering up that much honesty in the gay rights industry is a less likely than generating cold fusion in the moldy ice cube tray in that refrigerator that’s unplugged and sitting out in your back yard.

…every thread on any topic of interest to gays and lesbians is immediately swarmed by trans folks laying in the tall grass just waitin’ to pounce and spew venom…

…Same cast of characters, same poison, same generalized negativity, no road map forward.

Certain people need to step back and take pause over what they perceive as such – though, naturally, its hard to engage in serious study while a mud wrestling match is going on in the same room.

Convenient, eh?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The perception that trans issues are ‘too new’ and ‘too radical’ to be addressed at whatever time is something that has been continually manufactured on the fly since the early 1970s when the gay men of Proto-Gay, Inc., decided that they were too good to be rhetorically (much less politically and/or legally) associated with trans-anything, and when a cadre of transphobic lesbians who’d managed to worm their way into academia infected not only the academic presses but also gay media with their ‘transsexuals are frankenstein’s monsters’ eliminationism.

And it was perpetuated via a form of uncritical repetition that was only able to metasticize because of the lack of a forum for dissemination accessible by the excluded yet capable of competing in numerical (f not monetary) reach with the likes of the National Gay Task Force, the Gay Rights National Lobby, the Human Rights Campaign Fund, and state organizations that were equally desirous of seeing trans issues disappear.

Let me provide a lexicon:

Same Poison = Intolerance for the perpetuation of gay-primacy, third-class status for trans people.

Same Generalized Negativity = Making sure that people (including people might be new to this blog or other places where I have written – and new to the issues in general – as well as those who crave the champagne-n-caviar of historical amnesia) aren’t lulled into being able to forget what has actually happened to trans people’s rights and political viability at the hands of a well-heeled segment of the gay rights industry.

No Road Map Forward = No uncritical acceptance of the plan to duplicate a Wisconsin-Massachusetts-New Hampshire-Maryland-New York ‘road map’ and enlarge it to a national scale, and no uncritical acceptance of the official ‘its progress for trans people too’ interpretation of the roadmaps that the crafty cartographers of years past chiseled into the legal map books of those states.

You who don’t like my characterization of gay-only rights laws as laws which allow gays and lesbians to discriminate against trans people?  

Too bad.

Its the truth  – but if its a truth that hurts you too much to see it articulated, then I suggest that you go find a roadmap that will take you to Barney Frank’s Oz, a place where you will never hear any stories of gay men trolling for sex in public restrooms in the 21st Century but instead will only hear tales of penises in women’s restrooms and of how gay-only rights laws somehow directly benefit trans people.

For you, I guess it could be a map of Wisconsin.

However, before you head off to Wiscozsin, take time to experience the unique pain that trans people who might happen to be coupled with non-trans GLBs have to endure when we cross from a state with a legitimate gay rights law into one that only has a gay-only one.

Sometimes you celebrate what you have….

Funny how those who are incrementaled first have the perspective to smile whilst saying such things, no?

Whenever my non-trans partner and I drive into Wisconsin I’m able to ‘celebrate’ that, as soon as we cross the state line, I become legally unequal to her.

The same would be true if we were driving in New England and crossed from Vermont into New Hampshire.

In neither case do I actually celebrate.

By myself, I don’t have the power to change the law.

But, I do have the power to refuse to celebrate a third-class status that those in second class signed off on.

Digest that.  

Now, I’ll do you one better.

We live in Illinois, but I work in Iowa.  Both states have legitimate anti-discrimination laws.

On occasion, my spouse comes over and watches me teach a class.

I teach classes on trans history.

If, by chance, while she’s there observing me teach, someone – be it a student or just someone who doesn’t like that trans history is being taught at the school and also happens to pay the class a visit that day – walks in to the class and starts shooting…

and if, by chance, as he kills my spouse the shooter yells “Filthy Dyke!” and as he kills me he yells “Filthy Tranny!”…

and even if the prosecutor actually charges the shooter with the maximum possible charges for the murders…

the shooter will be charged with two counts of murder, but said shooter will only face one hate-crime enhancement.


Even though the Iowa Legislature added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Iowa Civil Rights Act in 2007, in 1992 – in the heart of the halcyon days of the trans-free era of gay rights – the Iowa Legislature passed this law:

“Hate crime” means one of the following public offenses when committed against a person or a person’s property because of the person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability, or the person’s association with a person of a certain race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability….

The ellipsis leads to the list of offenses; it doesn’t conveniently leave out “gender identity.”

The Iowa Legislature did that – not simply because the Ron Golds and the Jean O’Learys and the Janice Raymonds of America made it legitimate to do so, and not simply because the people who have learnt gay ‘history’ as written by scriveners who shared the attitudes of the Ron Golds and the Jean O’Learys and the Janice Raymonds have not been provided an accurate picture of what has happened over the last several decades, but because even a legislature that is in the mood to do right by trans people might not be perfect.

And, of course, we know what legislatures who have been ‘educated’ to put gay marriage ahead of trans rights are willing to do…

and not do.If me – and others – not accepting the gay-primacy Oz version of gay ‘history’ and gay politics is “swarming,” then call me a bee – but stay the f*ck away from my honey.

Of course, when push comes to buzz, the hive – whether in the form of a blog or an obscene castle on Rhode Island Avenue in Washington, D.C. – has a narrative.

As the sun sets on so many things…

Steel-cage, cyber mud-wrestling matches are an acceptable component of that narrative.

I think we all know what isn’t.

8 Responses to …And Who Tends To Profit From Wars?

  1. Kathleen says:

    I was at a meeting last night at the William Way center held by Equality PA – where we may have to fight back a marriage ammendment & where chances of getting anything positive through the State House over the next to years is nonexistent.

    The heads of EQPA & the legislative director for the ACLU who ran the meeting understood the need to have an affiative agenda – working on more local non-discrim laws, policies etc while working to quash the amendment.

    Lot’s of gay people expressed the need to take care of other issues & not just focus on marriage. One gay guy stood up & expresses this – saying he had just moved to Philly from N. Virginia – he thought he could be more out about who he was there – and that’s why he’s living in Philly now – he was fired. And marriage wouldn’t have helped that.

    The out of towners were one trick ponies on marriage though. On my handheld – likely a few mistakes and such in this

  2. Kathleen says:

    It was a convention of that color scheme.

  3. I feel sorta ambivalent about this, because, as a trans lesbian who happens to fall for trans girls with surprising regularity, same sex marriage helped… it held out the possibility that if I fell in love cross border (I did, but it didn’t work out) that we might be able to live together, and I’d be able to bring her up to Alberta where we’d have legal protections on sex and disability. (i.e. we’ll more or less give trans protections but don’t make us call it that, or, y’know respect your identity in general.)

    Anyway, apropos of nothing, this is an excellent post and I have to be in court as a witness in fifteen hours… just wanted to say that I did get some tangible benefit from same-(illegitimate but legal)-sex marriage, but only because I’m weird that way.

    Also we might get trans inclusion in our rights law up in Canada (a couple more votes and royal assent need to happen) but yes, I keenly feel the sting of seeing a party that’s supposed to be on my side, supposed to have an LGBT caucus, and passes a cis-gay-only rights law, if only after the fact.

  4. […] need our representatives in the media to stop “Jumping the Shark” with personal attacks on community members and work on legislation that protects people from discrimination on the basis of “gender […]

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