Favorite No Umbrellas
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noumbrella

There has been an ongoing battle between members of the trans and drag communities over the use by the drag community and particularly RuPaul’s Drag Race, of  transphobic slurs.  It got to fever pitch, this weekend, when Carmen Carrera, a former contestant on that show, stated publicly that RuPaul’s  defense of such words was wrong.  The comments from the drag community were, at the very least demeaning, if not outright vile.  I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was this article on the site belonging to the Bilerico Project .  Yet another member of the entertainment/drag industry, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, chastised the transgender community for reacting so vehemently to RuPaul’s defense of slurs.  Now, while the largest part of the battle is between trans women and RuPaul’s minions who are primarily gay men and served as the reason for the following comment I posted on the page.

QuoteI will be as brief as I possibly can. This is more than a gay vs. trans issue. It is a men vs. women issue in which men are telling women what is good for them and what they should or should not do. It is no different than whites telling non-whites what is in their best interest

Telling people who are more marginalized than you to simply suck it up and accept that you know what is best for them, is morally wrong.

There is a more narrow problem within the so-called trans community.  There is a fifth column that is working against their interest, or, more correctly, against segments of that.  While some who have supported RuPaul, such as Calpernia Sarah Addams because of her connections to the industry, she identifies as a woman which means she and I have something in common, though our social and political views are quite different. Mx.Bond does not identify as a woman, so beside the fact that we were both assigned male at birth and are thus cis non-normative, we have no commonality past those points.  I neither support nor oppose MX. Bond’s goals and from the content of the article, Mx. Bond clearly does not support mine.  That is why , though my comments mention men, they also apply to Mx. Bond  We are not of the same cloth and Mx. Bond has no more credibility telling me what is in my best interest, than I have of telling Mx. Bond the same

Clearly the LGBT umbrella is not serving my interests because it takes care of its most populous components, LGB and the T gets table scraps…sometimes. The transgender umbrella has been expanded so much that most of the time, it is of no help to me or others like me.  Umbrellas seem like a good idea, at first, until you realize that not everyone is equally protected by them and not everyone is in agreement about which direction the umbrella travels.

Favorite Transgender And The Military
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warrior_angel_av

President Truman’s Executive Order 9981 began the desegregation of the US military.  The military did not collapse.  The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowed openly gay persons to serve.  The military did not collapse.  So what is the deal with the prohibition regarding transgender persons serving in the US military?

Officially, the Department of Defense (DOD) still uses the antiquated DSM III definitions that declare transgender persons have a mental disorder.  Two revisions of the DSM, later, but the DOD is still clinging to those old definitions.  This is the same DOD that prides itself on equipping our military with the most modern equipment, armament and munitions possible.  Surely, the DOD is aware that the number of transgender persons that have served honorably before they left or were forced to leave because they had no choice but to transition, is quite sizable.  They are also aware that transgender personnel have been permitted to transition in the military forces of other nations and those forces haven’t collapsed.

Let me go into a bit of history which will illustrate why the current policy is so ridiculous.  I was one of those transgender people who served in the US military.  My Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) was 97B40, which in simple terms means I was an intelligence agent  I was on the faculty of the US Army Intelligence School ( or as it was known officially, USAINTS (2107), Ft. Holabird, Maryland).  Part of my duties was to train and evaluate students in conducting background investigations to ensure that the wrong people weren’t placed in, “positions of trust and responsibility”, withing the Army.  Or more simply put, they didn’t want the wrong people getting security clearances.  Part of those who were considered wrong were those who might be subject to blackmail because they needed to hide something about themselves.  Well, heck.  Someone sure screwed up, because I got mine and I was certainly hiding something.  Not only that, but they must have thought I did my job well.  I was promoted every single time, as soon as I had met the minimum time in grade.  I was given wonderfully worded certificates of achievement.  I was even promised some lovely things if I would only stay in the Army.  I chose not to for two reasons.  Cracks in my facade were already appearing due to my internal anguish over my true gender.  Also, I had already suffered one gunshot wound in the line of duty requiring almost two months of hospitalization and I wasn’t looking to repeat that experience.

So what is the reason the US Military is resistant to the idea of transgender people openly serving?  They can’t argue that we’d be a threat to discipline and morale.  Racial integration and allowing gays to serve openly didn’t  destroy discipline and morale.  Surely, a small population of transgender personnel won’t do it.  If those things are not the reason, then I’ve got to speculate that it comes down to public image.  We don’t conform to the standards they have of what military personnel should look like.  I pray I’m wrong.  Because if those who run the military are so petty that they will throw away talented people because we don’t meet their norms for appearance, the country has a lot more problems than it knows.

Favorite There Is No One Right Way
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warrior_angel_av

Until yesterday, I deliberately avoided getting involved the fiasco making its presence known on social media, regarding terms used on RuPaul’s Drag Race, that many consider transphobic.  So that there is no doubt in anyone’s mind, I am speaking of the terms, “tranny”, and “she-male”.  Supporters of the drag community, including a number of transgender women, upon hearing about the demands that the show cease and desist using such terms, pushed back.  They were offended by the thought that anyone wanted to police their speech.

Yesterday, I learned that one of the Contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race, had posted a video that was supposed to be a parody, but portrayed a transgender woman as a man with a full mustache wearing a cheap wig, who winds up, in the video, being shot in the head.  Worse, the parody was clearly aimed at someone I consider to be a friend, Parker Marie Molloy.  Worse, Huffington Post Gay Voices posted the video because one of its editors thought a video of a transgender woman being shot in the head was funny.  Though the video was removed from Huffington Post Gay Voices, it is still available elsewhere, so  I had to get involved at that point.  When you attack one of us, you attack all of us.

Before I go further, I would ask you to view this article on Huffington Post Gay Voices, written by Alexa Diaz.  It is well written and goes into more background than these old fingers of mine can type.

 

Now, I’d like to go to the broader issue I would like to address and it is the one the title of this article refers to.  There are two phrases that are a deterrent to any progress the transgender community wishes to make.  The first phrase is, “our’s is the right way”, and the second is, “they don’t represent us”.  These do nothing but divide people and slow progress.  These divides come in a number of forms.  Male vs. female, transsexual vs. transgender, binary vs. non-binary, young vs. old, trans vs. cis, etc.  Get the idea?  Good, now realize that most of us fall into more than one of the categories I just mentioned.  That kind of complexity is not easy to deal with and we haven’t been dealing with it terribly well. recently.

Older straight transsexual women vs. younger transgender lesbians.  Trans women who were once part of drag culture vs. trans women who cringe at the thought that the general public conflates drag and trans.  There are many such differences, but we cannot solve problems that affect all of us unless we talk to each other rather than shouting at each other.  The feeling that if someone else’s needs are addressed, your’s or mine are being dealt a setback, is very difficult to overcome.  I’m finding out just how difficult it is and I’m not always successful.  I’ve jumped all over people who I thought were trying to throw those most like me, under the bus and it didn’t solve anything, so I’m still working on how to approach things in a way that isn’t divisive.  And if this, “angry transsexual woman”, can make the attempt, maybe others can, as well.

Either we’ll succeed together, or fail separately. Fighting each other has to stop.

 

P.S.  In case anyone wants to know.  My opinion on the use of transphobic or transmisogynistc terms is quite simple.  If you use them and I tell you I find them offensive, but you continue to use them, I have neither the power or the right to compel you to do otherwise.  But, if you continue to use them, I’ll know you’re not the friend you claim to be.  Friends don’t treat friends that way.

Favorite The #Trans Community’s Lack Of Support For This Is Appalling
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warrior_angel_av

I have been following the petition at https://www.change.org/petitions/the-united-states-congress-cover-gender-reassignment-surgery-under-the-affordable-care-act for some time and have noticed how little progress it has made.  I am dismayed ant outraged that the transgender community has ignored this issue.

When Katie Couric made her invasive questions regarding genitalia and surgery. the transgender community rose up in one loud and persistent chorus decrying what she did, and it was right to do so. It gave its support to pass the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA), to enact legislation to change gender markers on ID, to permit the use of public facilities appropriate to gender identity and to require the media to treat transgender people with respect.

But, when it comes to supporting the inclusion of reassignment surgery in national healthcare, the transgender community gives only lip service and barely lukewarm support.  Can it be that because the transgender “umbrella” includes so many disparate categories of people, that those who do not require reassignment surgery, simply don’t give a damn about the needs of those who do?  What would happen if we all did that?

I support ENDA, but why should I?  I’m retired.  I support being able to change gender markers on ID, including birth certificates, but why should I?  I got it changed on my drivers license, years ago and that was all I needed.  I support being able to use appropriate public facilities, but since I’ve had reassignment surgery, I can do so with no problem, so why should I?  I support having the media treat transgender people with respect, but I’m careful, so it’s unlikely they’re going to be discussing me, so why should I?

Why should I?  Because it is the right thing to do!  I wonder what excuse those who are failing to lend their support for the inclusion of reassignment surgery in national healthcare, are making.  Or, are they making any excuse, at all?

Favorite TransGriot: “Drag Culture Is A Major Reason We Even HAVE A Trans Community”
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day_sm
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Drag Culture Is A Major Reason We Even HAVE A Trans Community

As I awakened from my slumber this morning I checked my Facebook page to see that I’d been tagged with a Bilerico Project article penned by Brynn Tannehill (who I have mad love and respect for)  asserting that drag culture hurts the trans community.While there are times the drag community has pissed me off, and I have had no problem sounding off  about it, I have to throw the penalty flag on this Tannehill post and bring a little historical context into this discussion.I wrote in this February 2013 post the obvious point that drag does not equal trans womanhood.   I have called out the Black cis community along with our allies for giving far more respect to Tyler Perry dressed as Madea than the average trans woman walking Black America’s streets.But as someone with a deep appreciation and love of history,  I also have to admit the following point as a long time trans activist.   Without the drag community and pissed off trans women together fighting the po-po’s fracking with them at the 1959 Cooper’s Donuts, Compton’s Cafeteria (1966), and Stonewall Rebellions (1969), the gender variant kids at Dewey’s Lunch Counter protesting their oppression in April-May 1965 with a combo sit-in and protest, I submit it would have taken us a lot longer get this trans rights movement party started.

Far too many trans women during that time period were in stealth because of the HBIGDA/WPATH transition standards in place at the time or in denial of their transness when they when questioned about it. The only visible ones were the illusionists, the trans women bold enough to openly live their lives and not care what people thought like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Christine JorgensenCoccinelle, or outed ones like April Ashley.

Remember it was a Black female illusionist in Lady Java who struck the initial blows against the LAPD’s odious Rule Number 9 that eventually caused the whole rotten thing to go away

There have been more than a few times female illusionists like Lady Java have been the ones who put their asses on the line and stepped forward to fight for the human rights laws that benefit our entire community.   While they were doing so, the stealth trans women who were hiding and refusing to participate in the trans community because ‘they are women now’, were grousing online in their not so quiet Internet chat rooms ranting about that ‘drag queen’ speaking in front of that governmental body their “I’m a woman now’ selves didn’t have the guts to speak in front of.

And let’s not forget it’s the drag community that peeps in the LGBT ranks call on when it’s time to raise some money for whatever SGL community cause needs to be fundraised for.

Yes, there are problematic peeps in the drag community, and many of them are the gay males who blanch at the thought of having a surgeon’s scalpel do GRS on their Almighty Phallus or have internalized hatred of femininity (and trans women by extension) for whatever reason.

And we are justified in calling their asses out.

But I submit it’s not the drag community that is harming the trans community by itself.  I’ve observed thisanti-drag argument far too often in white trans community ranks over the last decade and a half I’ve been a national trans activist of color.   Brynn’s post also has the problematic flavor of ‘respectability politics’ baked into it.

I’ve also had to call my white transsisters out for making the problematic conflation of drag = blackface.   No, it doesn’t.

It also ignores the fact it is cis societal hatred for trans people fueled by ignorance of the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity that causes the problems the trans community is forced to navigate.

The trans exterminationalist radical feminists (TERF’s) as a group have done far more damage to the trans human rights cause over the last four decades with their disco era transphobic hate they attempt to layer with the thin veneer of academic credibility than any drag performer.

Elements of the gay and lesbian community who repeatedly threw us under the legislative bus since the 1970′s to selfishly pass human rights legislation for themselves or misgendered us in their print outlets have done far more damage to the trans community than any drag performer.

Neither was it the drag community that coined the Religious Reich’s favorite anti-trans human rights talking point in terms of the ‘bathroom panic’ meme.  It was openly gay former Rep. Barney Frank talking about ‘penises in showers’ in a US House committee meeting.

One of the reasons I and other POC trans people have mixed emotions about the drag community is because we know firsthand that for us historically and as Drag Race contestant Monica Beverly Hillz emphatically demonstrated last year, it is one of our pathways to begin our transitions in communities that are far more socially conservative

I’ve seen more than a few examples of today’s femme queen walking a ballroom floor, standing on a pageant stage or performing at a gay club’s Talent Night emerging a few years later after having their gender epiphany and using that community to hone their feminine presentations to become a #girllikeus.

As Chanel Winn-Decarlo pointed out in the Facebook comment that was shared with me:

Drag is an artform and entertainment and actually something I enjoy.  I am often insulted and offended by drag queens but I don’t want to blame the ignorance of people on entertainment 
I think at this stage of the game even if you don’t know it all everyone, even a child can understand the difference between a transsexual (WOMAN) and a drag queen (ENTERTAINER)

And to piggyback on Chanel’s point, right wing haters are gonna hate.   We know they are going to throw the ‘bathroom bill’ and ‘drag queen’ shade in their zeal to do their funders bidding and stop trans human rights advances.   They know they don’t have any logic or reason based arguments to deny the implementation of much needed trans human rights laws, so ‘fear and smear’ is the only tactic they have left.

We must be ready as trans advocates to debunk and utterly destroy those talking points until the conservafools are ‘scurred’ to open their mouths and say them for fear of being called out as the transphobic bigots they are.

We trans folks can and should be able to accomplish that task without throwing the drag community under the bus, because without them being tired of the BS, we wouldn’t HAVE a trans community.
TransGriot Note:  Sahara Davenport is the lovely person in the color photo.

via TransGriot: Drag Culture Is A Major Reason We Even HAVE A Trans Community.

Favorite Better Out In The Rain Than Under An Umbrella That’s Pissing On You!
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warrior_angel_av

The Human Rights Campaign is launching a direct attack on transsexuals who are in need of sex reassignment surgery and is being parroted by The Advocate.  By the clever manipulation of words and statistics, they attempt to relegate the importance of sex reassignment surgery (SRS) to inconsequential.

The statistics have been cherry-picked and presented in a fashion to make it appear that those who have no interest in SRS, constitute a majority.  They conveniently leave out the fact that the reason so few transsexuals have had SRS is they cannot afford it.

Instead of advocating the inclusion of SRS in national healthcare (ACA, VA, Medicare), they are taking an approach that makes it difficult for anyone to obtain SRS.

The Human Rights Campaign has never been an ally of mine and people like me, and by being its surrogate, The Advocate is now in that category, as well.  I think we’ll be far better off without the type of “help” your new campaign offers.

The Human Rights Campaign has launched a new series of online videos aptly titled “Debunking the Myths: Transgender Health & Well-Being”

The first video, “Myth #1: Surgery is a Top Priority for All Transgender People,” addresses the false notion that gender-confirming surgeries are essential to every transgender person’s identity. In reality, only 33 percent of transgender people have reported undergoing some form of gender-confirming surgery, with 14 percent of transgender women and 21 percent of transgender men not interested in ever having genital surgery.

“Not every trans woman or man wants to have surgery, but for some of us, it is vitally important,” Joanna Maria Cifredo, director of community engagement for Casa Ruby, says in the video. “It’s very expensive for a population plagued by unemployment. Often times, through health insurance is the only way that these individuals can access gender confirming surgeries.”

Kandice Fields, another individual featured in the video, speaks to the often-invasive questions trans people are expected to answer from well-meaning strangers — something that 41 percent of transgender individuals report being asked in professional settings.

“I know that many people may be curious, or coming from a good place and wanting to educate themselves and build relationships with people,” Fields says. “But reducing people to what surgeries they’ve had, and what their genital configuration is, is dehumanizing, objectifying, and impolite. It’s rude. Generally, you wouldn’t just walk up to someone that you don’t really know well and ask them about their genitals. That would be weird for anybody.”

HRC will be releasing additional videos throughout the month of March. Watch the first video from the series below:

via WATCH: Debunking the ‘Surgery Is a Top Priority For Trans People’ Myth | Advocate.com.

Favorite The Hashtags I Never Use
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warrior_angel_av

I’ve never used the hashtags girlslikeus or redefiningrealness.  (Notice I didn’t use the # so my record is intact.)

There are no girls like me.  I am my own person and while I may have things in common with others, I am unique and I do not need to define myself by by pointing to others.  I use the words transsexual and transgender because they describe aspects of me, but they are not the totality of me.

I redefine nothing.  I deal with reality.  I paint no rosy pictures.  I do not change the meanings of words for my own benefit.

I make no judgement of those who use these hashtags.  Each of us are free as to how we wish to portray ourselves.  It’s our right.  I firmly support that right.

Favorite Dear LGB, Stop Praising DBC. Signed T
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warrior_angel_av

When the LGB sings praises of Dallas Buyer’s Club, they are showing they are no allies of transgender people.  Seriously, a movie that uses a heterosexual cisgender man to portray a transgender woman, that movie is exhibiting it transmisogyny.  It is nothing short of using a white actor to portray a black character.

So, if Dallas Buyer’s Club wins any awards at the Academy Awards ceremonies, tonight, the applause you hear are from people who are not our allies.

Favorite There may come a time when my online visibility crashes into my offline invisibility, but it is not this day!
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warrior_angel_av

I’ve been using the title of this post a lot these days.  It’s on my about.me page, on forum sigs and other places.  It means that the day I came out online as a transsexual (transgender for the politically correct crowd) woman, I sealed my own doom in the real world where I live.  It is only a matter of time.

I honestly don’t remember what I thought was so damned important to blow my cover, last year and become an activist.  I want SRS included in national healthcare.  I don’t hear anyone else beating that drum.  They’re too busy sabotaging that effort.

To get back to my original point. for thirty five years I lived happily stealth.  The only thing that bothered me was the occasional mention of transsexual or transgender in the new media.  Every time I saw that, I recognized that I was one step closer to someone recognizing I was trans.

All the trans advocates and activists are preaching viability as a way to increase awareness, tolerance, acceptance and understanding.  We live in a bipolar universe.  Every positive has its corresponding negative.  Increased visibility puts the current generation’s safety and security at risk for the uncertain benefit of future generations.  Did any of you think to ask those of us who simply wish to live our lives in the peace and safety of not being recognized as trans, our opinion?

That said, I recognize the need to use a quote from a show I like.  “The avalanche has already begun.  It is too late for the pebbles to vote”.  I realize there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop what is happening.  I can only prepare for the day I’m identified by others as trans in the real world, where I live.  I can’t put the genie back in the bottle.  Coming out online was the dumbest thing I ever did.  There is no place to hide, now.  I can only do what I can to protect myself and those I love.

@piersmorgan , You Make It Too Easy

You make it so easy for me to locate people I never want to hear from and block them.

When you re-tweeted a truncated version of my tweet to you, in the hopes it would sic your bulldogs followers on me, you didn’t realize that you gave me the perfect opportunity to analyze and map who they were and arrange to never be bothered by them.  So, I thank you for that.

pmrt

It is obvious you don’t know the difference between sex (male, female) and gender (man, woman), or you don’t want to know, so you can go on denigrating transgender women by saying they were ever men or boys.

Since your show is on a network that is no longer interested in presenting news, I think I’ll watch the competition and ignore CNN altogether.  Maybe your show will be replaced by Blackfish reruns.

Bye.