Transsexual alienation in the LGBT- One view as to why
Posted by mandyf on October 19, 2008
When it comes to the subject of alienation as a transsexual and part of the LGBT community as a whole I admit I get a little thin in the skin on it sometimes. A friend recently asked me how I felt about this and what my experrience has been like as far as being a part of the LGBTQI community and this is the response I gave her. I stress this is just my opinion and view formed from my own personal experience, I certainly do not speak for all transpeople as we are all individuals with our own thoughts on this.
My thoughts on this will really cut to the bone for some people, I find personally that a bit better than half, maybe in the area of 2/3 of the LGB I personally encounter or deal with in some regards on a regular basis don’t feel the T really belongs, even if that T person is LGB. The reasons I have been supplied regularly is that a transperson that was gay pre-operativley is now straight assuming they do stay to their previous dating pattern so they no longer count. In the case of people like myself that were straight pre-operatively but then wind up being gay postop, many feel that I am still straight and only playing gay, or I’ve even been told I’m homophobic and that is why I am a lesbian. I’ve even been told all T are actually bisexual and that we therefore aren’t LG as Bi isn’t really an orientation but indecisiveness in their opinion. Even my partner has taken a load of grief that she can’t be a “real” lesbian because a “real” lesbian wouldn’t be with anyone that ever had a penis. Therefore they argue she is actually bisexual as she is technically with a man that is disfigured, not a gg (genetic girl). I don’t agree, but everyone has the right to an opinion.
It’s difficult to explain to people that don’t want to understand the ocean between sexual orientation and gender identity. I don’t know how it is globally but here in my community there is a real grassroots movement to exclude the T from the LGB which I think is pretty sad. I have spoken to gay men that feel transwomen simply go through the procedure because they are unwilling to embrace being gay- even if that transperson has never been with or attracted to men. I have had lesbians tell me that transwomen are a threat and infiltrators who are simply trying to live out some sort of misguided fantasy. Gosh I could almost fill a book with all the theories I’ve heard regarding why teanssexuals just don’t fit.
The sad thing is that here in America the trans population was unrecognized by the LGB officially until 1984. That was the first year we were actually welcomed to fully participate as equals at a gay pride event. You would think that in 24 years we would have grown closer as a whole but in reality we are splintering in many regions. It’s really odd that the T community has been so ostracized within the LGB when considering the modern gay rights movement was actually spurred by the transgender community. It was on the backs of their actions and refusal to be marginalized and singled out by the legal authorities that started Stonewall which led to the events and to some degree rights the entire LGBT enjoys today. I think it says we don’t study our history nearly enough as a community.
Now the part I said would get under some people’s skin is that in my experience (I stress it just being my experience) there are certain socioeconomic factors that seem to drive perception of the T to a real degree. The vast majority of LGB people I know with advanced educations do not view the T in a very negative light at all, if any negative light. People that are in white collar fields, (again back to education) tend to not have hangups about us. People in blue collar fields making middle class type money tend to not have the hangups either. It tends to be people without post secondary educations, or those that are very militant (Gay or Lesbian) that believe in a defined separation of their segement from society that tend to be the most vocal and opposed to the T as a part of the LGBT. There are always exceptions to this but as a whole it is a trend I’ve noticed. In large part it could very likely have as much if not more to do with the exposure of more diverse peoples on university campuses tha actual education. With exposure comes better understanding.
Politically it has become far grayer in views because there are many people that believe the T is the portion holding the LGB back from gaining equality in any number of pieces of legislation pending or denied such as ENDA, because the T is still so taboo. There is a movement to have further legislation exclude the trans community from the language of future legislation with that belief in mind. Even though a person like myself argues the movement as a whole suffers because you lose numbers, financial backing, and some gifted minds, the general belief is we are an insignificant enough number that the loss is negligible and that quite frankly we are a cross they are bearing which needs to be shed. In all fairness I know transpeople that don’t want to be reagrded as part of the LGB either, but they are often the same people that want to completely drop all association to being T as they feel reassignment means that aspect of life is over. I see it as a part of who I always have been and will be, I feel it is nuts to deny my past, especially when there is much of it I am proud of. I see transition as a lifetime event, not something that ended the day my GRS was performed.
All in all I think it’s pretty sad. It’s aggravating in that in too many minds the LGBT is viewed as the outcast of society, and to be the outcast of the outcasts is something that stings. I wish attitudes were different and we could all get along but reality is that there are always going to be people that feel a need to tear someone else down to build their own ego up, and while for a long time it was bisexuals getting that abuse transsexuals have replaced them now as the whipping boy.
For the straight transperson I really feel for them. At least I get some level of increased acceptance, but those poor souls are far too often the first ones to find people screaming for their exclusion from things as simple as clubs, or in some cases the the LGBT as a whole. Even in the T we have infighting like you wouldn’t believe concerning levels of T and who is and isn’t based on more idiotic rhetoric than should ever find audience. Maybe I’m simplistic in my belief that whatever and whoever makes us feel complete and loved is all that matters and identity to any group should just be a given and not a topic of debate. Afterall, we each are the only person that truly knows what resides in our hearts and minds.