I was having an argument with a friend over the ignoring of transgender people in the DADT fight, and in moves towards LGBT equality in the USA. She retorted that she couldn’t understand why transpeople were even part of the LGBT community, and if we didn’t like the progress we were free to fuck off and fight for our rights on our own. This was my response.
Back during the 1900s in the US there was a strong alliance between the African American civil rights movement and the Womens lib movement, which could have brought about the civil rights era 50 years early.
However the white men in power managed to try to separate the groups by focussing on their differences and their own internal prejudices. The women were turned against the idea of african americans having equality, and the african american men were turned against the idea of their wives, girlfriends and sisters having equality.
Now strangely there was some overlap, in fact there was a very large overlap of african american women, but effectively given that they were denied power as women and as african americans meant that their voices were lost in the chaos that set civil rights back 50 years.
Now there is a subset of trans people who embrace a post-trans state of being, entering either stealth or partial stealth entering a rigid hetero-normative existence, and reject the association with the larger LGBT community. Partially this may be due to internal prejudices, but also its part of a desire for conformity. I know the fear, but I’ve come to despise those transpeople, as much as I do LGB people who seek to exclude and even discriminate against trans people, since its a situation of equal responsibility for the perceived divide.
We’re all queer, be we asexual, polyamorous, bisexual or transsexual. Yes my personal experiences may not be the same as a genetic lesbian woman, but then again my personal experiences are my own.
However I do have experiences that place me somewhere in lesbian/bisexual space, in transgender space, in british space, in new yorker space, and in geeky space.
Those who wish to keep society from full acceptance and rights for LGBT people would love to have to fight a Lesbian lobby, a Gay lobby, a Bisexual lobby and a Transgender lobby because they would be smaller, weaker and suffering from infighting. It happens, even with an LGBT lobby where trans rights are often the sacrifice placed on the altar of getting gains for LGB people. This is also despite the efforts of transpeople in the fight for rights for all LGBT people irrespective of whether they are gay, straight or bisexual.
The DADT repeal was a clear example of this, where people like Dan Savage talked about how the entire LGBT community had a huge victory, as transgender service members are still being discharged. Yes it was a big victory, but the plight of transgender service members was never even mentioned in the fight.
Yes the precise aspect of ourselves may be different as to why the discrimination happens, but its founded in the fear and hatred of Queer people. Bigots generally are not sophisticated enough in their ignorance to hate trans-people for a different set of reasons to their hatred for LGB people.
Our community needs to fight for all its members, whether or not the specific issue applies to our own individual lives.