A few days ago one of the Daily Kos membership wrote a diary proclaiming the need for “a new gay rights platform,” presumably because the fight for marriage equality was over and done.
I have to say that the diary disappointed me at first…and the comments made by the author in response to comments made by myself and MargaretPOA proceeded to really piss me off.
First off I was sure that those LGBT people who live in states where marriage equality is still not a legal fact would be very concerned about am attitude that suggests ceasing to work for their rights, too…an attitude that suggests that if they want to get married, all they have to do is move to somewhere it is legal. We all know that the wounded evil monster that is the denial of our rights will not die if we just walk away and tun our attention elsewhere. When you have the monster on the ropes, it is time to make a concerted effort to drive a stake through its crusty hide into its black heart.
And even after that it will be necessary to hang around for a bit to make sure it doesn’t rise from the dead.
But secondly what really frustrated me was the exclusion from the discussion of any concern for the rights of transgender people…the T in LGBT was treated as if it was silent.
In response the author at first wrote a one-line quote of transgender activist Janet Mock. That line came in response to Piers Morgan’s aggrandizement of his supportiveness of Ms. Mock by listing how supportive he had been of gay rights.
Gay rights are not transgender rights.
What Ms. Mock meant by that sentence apparently swooshed right over the diarist’s head. She did not mean that transgender rights would not have any affect on gay people. Most assuredly they would. Equality on the basis of gender identity and expression isn’t only for us. It also would allow men to be femme and women to be butch without fear of retaliation without legal recourse. It would stop people from being able to legally say, “I have nothing against gay people as long as they ‘acted straight.'”
Ms. Mock was rather trying to point out that unless laws protecting gay people explicitly include protections on the basis of gender identity and expression, then they explicitly exclude transgender people. We have seen that reality play out time and again. Transgender is not a sexual orientation. It is not about who we choose to sleep with, but about who we sleep as.
The diarist followed up the quote of Ms. Mock with “I support equality for all.” That sounds good, but was it true?
One comment later:
I don’t believe straight people like Janet Mock should have a role in shaping the gay rights movement. This clique inhibits progress as they did when they helped defeat ENDA during the President’s first term.
Two sentences. Two hugely inappropriate sentences.
The first suffers from the fact that being straight is a “sexual orientation,” so when you are fighting for equality on the basis of sexual orientation, you cannot exclude being straight…or else you are just making our opponents correct when they said we wanted special rights, not equal rights. Additionally Ms. Mock is not typical of all transgender women. Only about 25% of us are straight. Another 25% are lesbian. The third quarter are bisexual. And the rest are asexual and other, however they define that.
The second sentence starts off by referencing a clique. “Clique?” What clique? Transgender women? Are we a clique? That’s a novel way of discarding our value as human beings.
But the rest of that sentence is a perplexing rewrite of history. Transgender people did not work against the passage of ENDA in President Obama’s first term.
There was no progress on ENDA during Obama’s first term because it was decided repealing DADT was enough.
The author was instead, I believe, referring to the effort on ENDA during W’s time as president, when transgender people worked against its passage because it was not trans inclusive.
As Margaret pointed out, even the repeal of DADT excluded trans people, since we had been excluded from military service for other reasons that the installation of DADT.
In the end the author tried to ignore what the title of his diary was and claimed that the diary was about “creating inclusive sex ed curricula.” But even there he failed with his claim that “Perhaps the most vulnerable LGBT subgroup is gay and lesbian youth.” He completely ignores the fact that transgender youth have a suicide rate attempt of 50% (percentage who attempt suicide before adulthood)…a rate five times that of the general population.
So, anyway, that’s why I have been a bit pissy over the past couple of days.
I would love to see the LGBT community, rather than “moving on” to other activism vistas, actually take the time to go back and bring the transgender community forward to the hard fought for equality which they have won…like they promised when they left the people who brought us Stonewall by the side of the road.
We are not going away.
And we will not be silent!