Very rarely do I find myself in agreement with John Aravosis from Salon, yet this column here is one of the times that I mostly do:
In simpler times we were all gay. But then the word “gay” started to mean “gay men” more than women, so we switched to the more inclusive “gay and lesbian.” Bisexuals, who were only part-time gays, insisted that we add them too, so we did (not without some protest), and by the early 1990s we were the lesbian, gay and bisexual, or LGB community. Sometime in the late ’90s, a few gay rights groups and activists started using a new acronym, LGBT — adding T for transgender/transsexual. And that’s when today’s trouble started. […]
I have a sense that over the past decade the trans revolution was imposed on the gay community from outside, or at least above, and thus it never stuck with a large number of gays who weren’t running national organizations, weren’t activists, or weren’t living in liberal gay enclaves like San Francisco and New York. Sure, many of the rest of us accepted de facto that transgendered people were members of the community, but only because our leaders kept telling us it was so. A lot of gays have been scratching their heads for 10 years trying to figure out what they have in common with transsexuals, or at the very least why transgendered people qualify as our siblings rather than our cousins. […]
I support transgendered rights. But I’m not naive. If there are still lingering questions in the gay community about gender identity 10 years after our leaders embraced the T — and there are — then imagine how conflicted straight members of Congress are when asked to pass a civil rights bill for a woman who used to be a man. We’re not talking right and wrong here, we’re talking political reality. Our own community is still grappling with this issue. Yet we expect members of Congress, who took 30 years to embrace a gay ENDA, to welcome the T’s into the bill in only five months.
I’m probably going to anger some people by posting this, but like Michael at Gay Orbit I have great difficulty understanding “how a man who wants to cut off his penis, have a vagina installed, take hormones, and become a woman, has anything in common with someone who simply exhibits same-sex attraction”. Now I am definitely a layman here, but normally when someone is so alienated from their own body and has the desire to inflict harm or remove parts this is considered to be pathological. Yet for some reason, those who seek to change their gender are seen by many as not engaging in self-mutilation but instead this is the proper treatment for what is termed “gender identity disorder” (GID). Why? The outward or physical appearance of a person can be altered, but down to their DNA they remain the gender they were born with. I know in speaking with other gay men, once you bypass the fear many have of being viewed as bigots, that I am not alone in this. The obvious retort of course would be something along the lines about how same-sex attraction could be considered to be pathological and indeed once was. I suppose it’s possible since as the old joke goes, if I were crazy how would I really know I was? Yet there seems to be far more in support of homosexuality not being pathological than there is for GID.
Regardless of the merits or lack thereof concerning ENDA I see little reason why movement forward for homosexuals should be stymied by something that only a few seem to find reason for. Aravosis himself supports “transgendered rights” and perhaps there is some basis for them yet if even many homosexuals fail to see the connection, how indeed are straight Congressmen or others supposed to see it? If one deals purely in realpolitik, it seems that if any advancement for gays is going to happen the issue of transgenderism is something that is not going to help. The Left has always used the cry of “educating” folks about some issue and in their minds everything falls magically into place. Those who don’t of course are just dismissed as being dolts that are stymied by inherent bigotry or self-loathing. Perhaps, perhaps not. Yet these “dolts” also hold an overwhelming amount of the votes needed for “transgendered rights” and don’t take kindly to being dismissed so easily. Instead of the angry reaction from some quarters I’m seeing online, perhaps these folks should focus their efforts on “educating” because as it stands right now I just don’t get it and neither do many others.