|||| Patience Newbury
A Redditor named TeenageDarren, on the necessity for trans people to be grateful to cis gay and lesbian people for helping them in their own struggle for social-political acceptance and enfranchisement:
[This question-and-response first appeared here in a rough draft form.]
“I think the problem is that the transgendered/transsexual community is calling out or even out [sic] outright attacking prominent gay figures in the gay community.”
Indeed. Even prominent gay cis men can be dicks if they want to.
Last I looked, cis gay men weren’t growing wings and losing their cocks. Their newfound advantage — unheard of just a few short years back — is that for the first time ever, a general cis audience will still tolerate a cis gay man appropriating queer slurs. They will give him a pass whenever his being a dick refers back to something or someone who is far more marginalized as queer, when he derisively speaks of them “in jest”.
This is the Dan Savage approach.
“And the gays are not taking it well. Thus they’re turning their back on the transgendered community and telling them to fuck off in not so gentle words.”
Here’s the thing: since day zero, cis gay men in particular — and cis lesbian women, too — have used the bodies, intellectual capital, and spirited might of trans people (and bi people, both cis and trans) to stand higher upon the vista to glimpse their ultimate goal; trans people suffocated under that weight, down close to the dirty ground. Apparently, in an Americentric world, this ultimate goal means to obtain the neoliberal right to marriage, divorce, and probate law equality — in addition to the bellicose right to be a gun-wielding solider.
Cis queer people like yourself — cis gay and lesbian folks — are turning their back towards trans people because trans people are their used condom.
Now that the climax of that sex — of securing those cis queer civil rights — is about over with (that last one per cent of the race is often the most gruelling), the condom is about to be tossed to the park grounds for a city worker to eventually pick up and dispose of it.
Trans people — homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual trans people alike — have known this to be going on for going on for at least three or four decades.
Five and six decades ago, cis queer people knew they were boned without trans people rallying to their side, as a virulently heteronormative tyranny of a cisnormative world attacked or mocked anything and anyone which to them was read either generically or remotely queer, fey, or butch.
Trans people — both the “passing women” and the “transvestites” of the day — were first (and most often) arrested by police when raids on clandestine gay bars went down.
The Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis remained in the nooks and shadows — comfortably mobilizing, but still hidden — before a pair of street riots brought cis queer people into the spotlight. Trans people were both the gatecrashers of and the ushers to an entire civil rights era.
Trans people have said to cis queer people, ad nauseam, that pulling trans people into a post-Stonewall “gay rights” [sic] movement was a shifty act of political expedience for as long as it has principally served the policy ends for cis queer folks.
Trans people, a lot of them “GGG“, certainly had hoped for otherwise — that indeed cis queer folks would step forward forcefully of their own accord and bat for trans people in matters where trans people were needing the most urgent human rights help.
This ultimately isn’t happening in places like the U.S. In some places, however, it actually is and vows are being kept. Argentina comes to mind.
“I really think the transgendered community needs to get a clear outreach to the gay community as they need all the help they can get to secure some civil rights….”
The trans community would like to thank cis queer people like yourself for taking a pencil eraser to the annals of queer history and virtually eliminating knowledge of the Compton’s Cafeteria riot of 1966.
The trans community would like to thank cis queer people for rewriting the history of Stonewall by deleting trans people — trans women particularly [n.b., for part 2] — from the historical record; for editing the record to read that it was not a trans person, but a cisnormative gay man in drag who “threw the first shoe” to bring on the Stonewall Inn riot of 1969.
The trans community would like to thank cis queer people for initially embracing trans women in women-only culture and politics before lashing a catastrophic rage backlash against them — effecting a binge-and-purge of a lot of women in the process who had been doing a lot of good for advancing feminist world views and fighting for lesbian human rights. In the same breath, trans people would like to thank biologically deterministic cis lesbian separatists for invalidating the legitimacy of trans men even as they spoke crudely of trans women like their negroes on the plantation.
The trans community would like to thank cis queer people for appropriating the several and linguistically diverse homologous cultural words describing trans people in those respective cultures and doing so without considering the two layers of colonialism and empire building involved: the Anglo-American colonial appropriation generally and, more to the point, the appropriation of words like “berdache”, “kathoey”, “two-spirit”, “winkte”, and on and on to write a *cis-normalizing* historical narrative that gay people have been with the world since the beginning of time and in all cultures.
Trans people would like to thank cis queer people for celebrating the institutional end for pathologizing gay and lesbian people in 1973 — just long enough to then support the idea that trans people should institutionally remain pathologized. To pathologize is to hold apart at arm’s reach — there when its needed, out of sight when undesired. Even in light of peer review research finding a stronger base of agreement that trans is congenitally neurological in origin — against a much smaller, but also real base of agreement that sexual attraction is, too — cis queer people are OK with continuing the pathologizing of “transsexualism” the way that “homosexualism” was once pathologized by cis heterosexual people.
The trans community would like to thank the cis queer community for using much of the 1990s to debate the “inclusion” of trans people into a current-era, civil rights movement begun by trans people on the question of whether GLB should have an additional letter appended — holding this debate in a great big conference room during the dead of a dark winter while trans people were made to stand outside at the window so they too could shout their basic goals to virtually deaf ears. When the motion and thumping at the window got too distracting, cis queer people pulled down the Venetian blinds.
The trans community would especially like to thank U.S. Representative from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Barney Frank, for using trans people like a beneficial virus for bringing forth the emergence and near-passage of ENDA in the U.S.; for always excluding the most fundamental of human rights which trans people still lack in many U.S. jurisdictions (that of accessibly to bodily-relieving facilities without facing harm or retribution); and for being Barney’s condom.
Trans people would like to thank cis queer people for not being unified in forcefully leading the allied charge for rallying to the sometimes highly visible people who gave them the right not to be discriminated against as harshly — particularly so for the most heteronormative-articulatory amongst them who wilfully slip into a heterosexual cloak of invisibility as it necessitates.
Trans people would like to thank cis queer folks for compelling an increasing roster of cis heterosexual and cis bisexual people to push you aside to help us start taking hold of the reins for trans human rights — flustered that cis gay and lesbian people have fiddled.
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Sorry, you were saying something about trans people needing to graciously and gratefully prostrate themselves before the feet of cis queer people?
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tl;dr: Check yourself with a bit more historical wisdom the next time you feel good about a civil right you now enjoy which your elders did not.