The end of gay history

I’ve been watching the latest unjustified assault on gay activist and writer Dan Savage, and it’s gotten me thinking more and more about a troubling theory I came up with last year, watching the “gays in the military” group OutServe-SLDN implode.  I worry that we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of gay history. And I’m not entirely convinced that it’s something to celebrate.

I’ve written before about the history of the abbreviation “LGBT” (an acronym, btw, is something you can pronounce, like OSHA), and how at one point we were homosexuals; then gay; then gay and lesbian; then gay, lesbian and bisexual (or GLB); and sometimes GLB got transposed to LGB; then we became GLBT, and more recently, LGBT; and then LGBTQ (which can either mean queer or questioning); LGBTI (meaning intersex — this abbreviation is often used by non-American groups); and so on.

I worry sometimes, and increasingly, whether the contuing expansion of our community, or at least our nomenclature, isn’t coming at the expense of the letters that are already there. To use a crude example, if you’re going to have a three-way, or a permanent triad, you’d better make sure that A&B are paying enough attention to each other before you start welcoming C, D and F.

While the entire story has never been made public, we know that the nation’s premier anti-“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” group OutServe-SLDN basically went bankrupt.  And while people can argue over the extent to which poor management played a role in the organization’s budget morass, I think the fact that we won (at least the gay part of the battle over the military ban), played a huge role in OutServe-SLDN’s demise.  The organization was the canary in the coalmine of what gay life will be in America after we’re free and equal. And that America will (one hopes) have far less need for civil rights group than it does today, even if OutServe-SLDN’s end came before its time.

Which takes me back to Dan Savage.

Photo by © LaRae Lobdell

Photo by © LaRae Lobdell

Dan is one of America’s premier gay and LGBT rights activists and advocates, and among other things, is the creator of the widely-acclaimed “It Gets Better” project. I met Dan, virtually, back in the year 2000 when he offered to help us on our campaign against anti-gay “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger. Since that time, Dan has been a bottomless well of support for countless gay advocacy projects I’ve worked on. Dan is also probably the best LGBT spokesman on television today.

But, a few years back, a vocal element in the transgender community decided that Dan Savage was public enemy number one, and they set out to destroy him and his work. They’ve been harassing and haranguing him ever since, culminating in the most recent brouhaha surrounding Dan’s appearance at an off-the-record student discussion series at the University of Chicago.  During the talk, Dan discussed, among other things, the recent controversy over the use of the word “tranny,” and his theories on appropriating, reclaiming, slur words in order to empower ourselves.  (Some, but not all, trans people have objected to the word “tranny,” even when used by allies in a positive way.) Because Dan used the word “tranny” in discussing the controversy over the word “tranny,” a University of Chicago student named Hex, and who goes by the pronoun “it,” launched a campaign to censure Dan and the university, because, the student claims, Dan’s use of the word “tranny” was in fact Dan “threatening” the student to the point that Hex had to run out the room in tears. According to witnesses, the claims are simply untrue.

Dan Savage official wedding photo, courtesy of Nate Gawdy (Seattle Gay News). Dan told me I could post it. :)

Dan Savage official wedding photo, courtesy of Nate Gawdy (Seattle Gay News). Dan told me I could post it. :)

While the notion that any of this matters might in isolation be questionable, this latest collective panic attack against Dan is part of a larger years-long campaign by some, but not all, in the trans community to destroy him. The animosity towards Dan is part of a (often younger) group of vocal activists on the left who subscribe to “critical theory.” They believe, among other things, that fighting for marriage equality is wrong (that’s one of the reasons an LGBT activist glitterbombed Dan a few years back, because he’s been a lead advocate of gay marriage), and that men, white men, and especially gay white men have done little to nothing to advance civil rights and equality — and in fact, those men have been the major force holding back other minority communities.  (Harvey Milk, Peter Tatchell, Cleve Jones, Frank Kameny, Chad Griffin, Victor Fehrenbach, Wayne Besen (who photographed “ex-gay” Jon Paulk in a bar), Matt Foreman (former head of the Task Force), Barney Frank, Richard Isay (who helped end anti-gay discrimination at and by the American Psychological Association), Larry Kramer, Randy Shilts, Vito Russo, Tony Kushner, Troy Perry (famous gay religious leader), Gene Robinson (another), Mike Signorile, Harry Hay (who founded the Mattachine Society), all the other gays in the military boys from the early 90s and today, all the guys who created ACT UP, and so many more might disagree).

Of course, gay history, LGBT history, has not been exclusively the domain of gay white men. But since Dan’s critics suggest that those men in particular are the source of all evil, it’s important to remind ourselves of a history already forgotten. A good example of someone who isn’t white, and who took a huge risk by going public for our community at a time when being pro-us wasn’t nearly so cool, is African-American gay drag queen RuPaul. It’s still not easy being a gay African-American man who dresses as a woman, but that’s exactly what RuPaul did in 1989 when he appeared in the B-52’s music video for the hit song “Love Shack.”  (RuPaul is the woman in white, to the right.) That took guts that most of us still don’t have today.

RuPaul is also roundly reviled by the same people who discount Dan’s contributions to the community.

RuPaul appearing in the video for the B-52's hit song "Love Shack."

RuPaul appearing in the 1989 video for the B-52’s hit song “Love Shack.”

It is in this context that the ongoing attacks on Dan have been taking place. They are happening, in large part, because Dan is a gay man.  And with every attack on Dan, another thread is removed from the sometimes-tenuous quilt that is holding the LGBT community together.

I’d written years ago about my concerns that we’d never had an open discussion about what makes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people (and intersex people, and asexuals, and many others) all one community. It’s a question I’d been asked a lot privately by friends and colleagues, gay and straight, but one that people didn’t feel safe asking publicly. And because I think unanswered questions sow the seeds of future discord, I asked, and in response got the same kind of response that Dan gets on a regular basis.

At the time, I was concerned that a lack of discussion about what makes us a community would ensure that in many parts of the community, we would never be seen as one community.  And while the issue then was whether gays, lesbians and bisexuals fully accepted trans people as members of the same community, it never occured to me that lesbians, bisexuals and trans people might all have issues with the other elements of the community as well.

I think we are at a crossroads. While critical theory advocates have been around for decades, they’ve recently been empowered by (at least) two things: the Internet; and activists like Dan Savage. Dan came out to his family in 1980, and was out at college as an openly-gay political activist in 1983, during the beginning of the AIDS crisis when it was a scary time to be openly-gay in southern Illinois, and most of America. Many of Dan’s most vocal critics weren’t even zygotes by the time he was busy publicly talking about, advocating for, and defending our community in an era when it was far less safe to be openly gay (or openly anything) than it is today. In a very real way, Dan Savage, and others like him, took a risk, came out, and helped create a world in which his critics are finally safe to publicly loathe him. Now who’s privileged?

I’m Dan Savage’s age (well, okay, maybe I’m a few months older). I just found out last night that we were at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign together in the early 80s. But while Dan was busy coming out, I was planning my suicide. I knew I was gay from day one, and “knew” that by the time I reached 30, if I wasn’t married, everyone would figure out that I was gay, my boss would fire me, and my family would disown me. So I decided, at the age of 17, that the “safest” thing to do was simply kill myself by the time I reached the age of 30, maybe 35, since by then people would figure out my secret.

Yes, those white gay males have no concept of what it’s like to be oppressed.  (Other than all their friends dying in the 1980s and 1990s.)

One of the first successful openly-gay people I’d ever heard of was Andrew Sullivan. I read about him in a NYT story, shortly after coming out to friends (but I was still too scared to go into a gay bar). I wrote Andrew a letter at the New Republic, and six months later he wrote me back and invited me for coffee.  I’d never met anyone gay who had an “important” job, who was publicly openly-gay, and successful, and popular/famous/loved (some people weren’t as upset with Andrew back then ;-)  I was around 29 years of age, right before the time that 17 year old boy had “known” his life would end, and here was this cute young skinny kid with the adorable accent who had the world in his hand, and nobody gave a damn that he was queer.

There were a number of other critically influential gay people in my life, all white males, who are the reason I’m here today, and have been so good at doing the advocacy that I do.  There was my friend Paul Clark from Billings, Montana, who died from complications related to AIDS in 1991 (or was it 92?). There was my friend Michael, who worked for Senator Kennedy, and who didn’t care that I was still working for a Republican Senator. I wanted to work on gay rights, Michael trusted me (though he had no reason to), and he put me to work. Nearly every night I’d leave my job in that other office, go over to Senator Kennedy’s committee, and work until midnight on ENDA, DADT, writing hearing testimony, researching anti-gay hate groups, penning op eds and more. Michael taught me that anything in politics is possible. It was the most amazing time of my life, and I gained experience that I’ve used every day since in the work I do on gay rights, and all my progressive advocacy.

The reason I’m here today is because of a lot of gay white men who were there for me when I needed them (not to mention a number of gay white men I never met, but who were there for all of us, like Harvey Milk).  I’ve had a pretty good life of pro-gay successes, helping gay sailor Timothy McVeigh beat AOL and the military; galvanizing the community around Matthew Shepard’s attack and death; successfully taking on Dr. Laura and Mary Cheney and Jeff Gannon and Ford Motor Company and Microsoft; and working with Joe Sudbay on AMERICAblog and doing our part in getting DADT repealed and marriage equality revealed. All of that, and so much more, happened because a number of gay white men, some still living and some long dead, were there for me when I needed them most.

Dan Savage is one of those men.

So I take it personally when a fringe group of vocal activists make it their mission to malign all gay men, and destroy in particular one of our (and arguably their) most effective civil rights advocates,  Dan Savage. I worry that not only are those activists wrong, and not only are they harming the battle for our civil rights, but I fear that they’re risking the nascent sense of community that necessarily must be built and reinforced if one wants to successfully add new letters to the abbreviation, and truly forge ahead as one big, happy, effective family. What does it say when today’s young activists are more upset about Dan Savage speaking at the University of Chicago than Rick Santorum, who appeared only days before Dan, and who has compared being gay to having sex with a dog?  (In contrast to his critics’ silence, Dan challenged Rich Santorum’s anti-gay hate, and won.)

Which takes us back to OutServe-SLDN.

The Stonewall Inn, NYC.Glynnis Jones /

The Stonewall Inn, NYC.Glynnis Jones /

Everybody knows our larger civil rights battle isn’t over (and may never be over — after all, the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, and full equality is still not a certainty for anyone covered under that law, while Roe v. Wade was the “end” of the oppression of women all the way back in 1972 — how’d that work out for them?). At the same time, the never-ending gay marriage victories, like this weekend’s rather stunning and surprising news from Wisconsin, is making a growing segment of our community feel like our days are numbered, and in a good way.

If we don’t figure out how to continue the mission, if we don’t foster the relationship between Ls, Gs, Bs and Ts; between younger members of the community and their elders; between our brethren of different races and genders and sexual orientations and gender identities — if we don’t stop being, and making people, afraid to ask questions and talk about the things we might not understand and might not even agree on — I fear that, sometime soon, a good and important chunk of our community is going to take its big pink ball and go home.  And while the Dan-haters would probably call that a celebration, asks the folks at OutServe-SLDN how watching their community dissipate before their eyes worked out for them.


You can, and should, read Dan’s knockout-punch response to the most recent controversy, “About That Hate Crime I Committed at University of Chicago.” It’s a brilliant must-read.

UPDATE: I’ve just written about another issues, related to this one. It seems the victims aren’t only gay men.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

Share This Post

247 Responses to “The end of gay history”

  1. SereneBowrageyel says:

    my buddy’s sister makes $87 every hour on the internet
    . She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her payment was $19402
    just working on the internet for a few hours. go right here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  2. Tyler Albertario says:

    You’re a horrendous person. Take your TERF bullshit and go somewhere else.

  3. Someof us got that ;-)

  4. Dudicicon says:

    Admittedly, I see both definitions for acronym.

  5. Dan actually does a ton of work on trans issues, for example, and growing up as a middle class white boy from Chicago that’s definitely not his milieu, as it were ;-). Having followed Dan’s career for a good 14 years, I’ve been really impressed at how diverse he is in terms do the issues he covers.

  6. LucySinclairsyk says:

    My Uncle
    Riley got an almost new red GMC Canyon just by some parttime working online
    with a laptop. visit their website F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

  7. Nicky says:

    I second that and support the LGB’s in kicking the Trans OUT of the LGB tent

  8. Nicky says:

    I second that

  9. Nicky says:

    I totally agree with you and as an Intersex/DSD person, I will no longer allow the trans to steal the Intersex/DSD community from us. It’s time to Dump the trans and let them fend for themselves.

  10. Nicky says:

    It’s clear that the Gay community is finally waking up to see the fallacy that the trans community have done. They are now waking up to seeing why the women, lesbian and feminist are fighting against the trans community and are waking up to seeing how this was a mistake to included the Trans community. Trans attacking Ru Paul is one thing, now going after Dan Savage is now showing how lunacy and psychotic the trans community is. If they wind up going after Ellen, that clearly mean the Trans community have completely lost legitimacy within the LGB community.

    This is why your seeing many gay people waking up and seeing what kind of crap the Trans community has been pulling on people in the Name of the LGB. There slowly realizing how much damage the trans community has done to the LGB community and realizing the mistake they made in the first place.

    I pretty much will bet you all within time, say 5 to 10 years down the road, you will see mainstream and high profile LGB people will band together and throw the Transgender community out from the LGB community. They will simply not tolerate the transgender community’s crap and dump them like a Hot Potatoe in an instant and force them to fend for themselves.

    It’s already happening and all the signs point to the fact that the Gay, lesbian and bisexual community has had enough with the Trans community and doesn’t want anything to do with the trans community anymore. Gay marriage, Ending of DADT and wider acceptance of LGB people is clearly showing signs that they have moved on and don’t want anything to do with Trans people or the trans community. That’s why your seeing more LGB people who are fed up with the transgender crap and nonsense.

  11. future_man says:

    After reading your posts I don’t think anyone can fault you for not being an ally of transgender people.

    Yet one notable thing about allies is they are rarely perfect…and to expect them to be is not really very mature….for example of imperfections….someone like Sen. Feinstein…definitely an ally…yet when she was Mayor of S.F. during the early days of HIV/AIDS savvy gay activists such as Bill Kraus (who worked for Congressman Phil Burton) tried to convince her to support Domestic Partners legislation as one means of supporting gay men who were immersed in the “sexual outlaw” “get-it-while-you-can” zeitgeist.

    Dianne opposed it…and it didn’t happen till much later. Hard to believe that you could get a common sense thing like Domestic Partners passed in liberal S.F. during an sexually transmitted epidemic. That’s how bad the timing was on HIV/AIDS….So I can’t say I was happy when I read that in “The Band Plays On” by Randy Shilts. Nor was I too happy when Obama invited Rick Warren to the first inauguration…yet I now recognize both the Senator and the President as allies and quite good ones too.

    That said…I think most allies are going to be imperfect….that comes with the territory…they can’t know all of your lived experience…they have their own lives and their own views, needs and agendas….and someone with a mature or seasoned viewpoint will understand that when working together.

  12. Jade says:

    Ahh! No, now I understand what you were referencing. OK, totally get it now. Thank you.

  13. Jade says:

    haha! My last sentence was a poor attempt at sarcasm. :-)

  14. BloggerDave says:

    You just wrote a whole paragraph contradicting your last sentence…

  15. Perley J. Thibodeau says:

    I have 9 gay themed books cataloged for check out in the New York Public Library, Bangor, Maine Public Library, Fogler Library at the University of Maine: Orono, Maine, and 5 of them in The Center Library on West 13th Street, NYC. Most of them have cover pictures of me doing my female Impersonation act on them. They are being very well received, and I seriously doubt that as long as I’m on Google and Twitter Gay History will always be upfront and fully accounted for!

  16. Rebecca Juro says:

    I’ve actually tried to dig it out without success. What I do remember is that Savage said it playfully. Perhaps he thought he was making a joke, but it’s not the kind of joke a lot of working class LGBTs would find funny. Interestingly, Olbermann was the first cable news host (I know of) to actually do an on-air feature that covered a trans-specific (as opposed to LGBT) political story, long before Melissa Harris-Perry or Anderson Cooper started covering us.

    That’s one of the most off-putting things about Savage: His worldview really doesn’t seem to extend beyond those in his own social and economic strata or outside of the issues directly relevant to himself and others like him. or if they do, he certainly does an excellent job of hiding it.

  17. 2karmanot says:

    It’s soooo hard for an observer to discern with blinders on.

  18. As I like to tell them, they should tell my dead friend Paul how privileged he is. Actually, tell his parents how privileged their dead 29 year old son is. These folks need to watch some AIDS films, and read some gay history, then get back to us on what a privilege it is to watch your friends die and live through a plague, in addition to rampant discrimination (the Holocaust was pretty privileged too).

  19. Oh god, that’s a huge topic. And I can’t even swear to the biggest expert on them. Goes back a LONG time. We even had a crit theory class in my law school, back in 1985. I’m loathe to post this, because I didn’t even understand this, but here goes:

    Queer theory is a field of post-structuralist critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of queer studies and women’s studies. Queer theory includes both queer readings of texts and the theorisation of ‘queerness’ itself. Heavily influenced by the work of Lauren Berlant, Leo Bersani, Judith Butler, Lee Edelman, Jack Halberstam,[1] David Halperin, José Esteban Muñoz, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, queer theory builds both upon feminist challenges to the idea that gender is part of the essential self and upon gay/lesbian studies’ close examination of the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities. Whereas gay/lesbian studies focused its inquiries into natural and unnatural behaviour with respect to homosexual behaviour, queer theory expands its focus to encompass any kind of sexual activity or identity that falls into normative anddeviant categories. Italian feminist and film theorist Teresa de Lauretis coined the term “queer theory” for a conference she organized at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1990 and a special issue of Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies she edited based on that conference.

    Queer focuses on “mismatches” between sex, gender and desire. Queer has been associated most prominently with bisexual, lesbian and gay subjects, but analytic framework also includes such topics as cross-dressing, intersex, gender ambiguity and gender-corrective surgery. Queer theory’s attempted debunking of stable (and correlated) sexes, genders and sexualities develops out of the specifically lesbian and gay reworking of the post-structuralist figuring of identity as a constellation of multiple and unstable positions. Queer theory examines the constitutive discourses of homosexuality developed in the last century in order to place “queer” in its historical context, and surveys contemporary arguments both for and against this latest terminology.

  20. That’s not the definitions I’ve read. I used to call it an acronym, was corrected, checked the definition, and in fact it’s an “initialism” when you can’t pronounce it. But I find that word silly, so I don’t use it :)

  21. Jade says:


  22. Jade says:

    Heck, just watch The Normal Heart.

  23. Jade says:

    Ask Dan Savage, because he was attacked for the same thing: telling gay men to get the fuck out of the bathhouses and to stop having so much sex, especially unprotected sex.

  24. Jade says:

    Oh my God you are stupid and selfish.

    And you’re sexist too.

  25. Jade says:

    You’re a racist.

  26. Jade says:

    Dan Savage once received a call on his podcast from a very young, very ignorant gay kid who, in an aside, said that he and his friends didn’t hang out with lesbians because they “couldn’t stand” women. Dan let him have it with both barrels, called him a “cliche fag,” and one of the things he said is that it was the LESBIAN who stepped up during the AIDS crisis, nursing gay men, feeding them, bathing them, wiping their butts, and marching in the fucking streets to get the government to do something. He tore that kid a new one. It’s one of his best shows.

    But, you know, all Dan cares about are gay white men and he’s a fucking sexist, so…

  27. Jade says:

    This is very, very wrong.

  28. Jade says:

    And unfortunately, they’ve had a lot of lesbian and bi women enabling them. Don’t know how much longer that will last though.

  29. Jade says:

    No. As a bisexual woman, don’t lump me in with your agenda. I’m perfectly fine with GLB or LGB. I don’t consider this a game to score petty points off of. It’s just childish.

  30. Jade says:

    Yeah, I’m kind of tired of the NALT argument. If they all “aren’t like that,” then the sane ones need to get their shit together and take control. But I’ve only ever seen this kind of attitude, from the very beginning it’s always been this.

  31. Jade says:

    A friend of mine said recently: “If I’m in a conversation and someone says, ‘you need to check your privilege,’ I automatically know who the richest, most educated person in the room is.”

    John, can you explain what you mean by “the critical theorists”? Or you can point me to a past article if that’s easier and quicker.

  32. Jade says:

    I wish that I could put all of this on a t-shirt, especially this:

    “We will support you on that journey, but we no longer need to feel
    guilty about not making every pronouncement you dictate our first and
    most important national priority. You should feel free to do the same,
    which you already do.”

    which you already do.

    which you already do.

    which you already do.

    which you already do.

  33. Dudicicon says:

    An acronym is an abbreviation, but it does not have to be pronounced like a word; the letters just have to come from the start of words, just like in LGBT.

  34. future_man says:

    Personally I can’t relate to the idea that any gay men born in America are privileged, white European or not. I also don’t relate to the idea that our heterosexual friends and family are that privileged either….and I mean it in this important sense…outside of the “theory” view.
    I mean it in the sense that we live in a world that is highly polluted…physically and emotionally toxic to the point that it’s often very difficult for people to relate to each other enough to have a simple conversation. Daily life is also quite stressful for everyone….even the most wealthy….they still live in the collective planetary mess that gets recreated every day….and have all kinds of weird stuff going on in their bodies and lives because of it… until that is handled can anyone claim that another person is so much more privileged than anyone else?
    Oddly enough, someone who lives in a rural environment in a non-industrial country is probably the most privileged person at this point in history. A healthy, happy indigenous person…! Maybe a gay man….they must be out there somewhere!

  35. PeteWa says:

    hope you’re having a good day!

  36. pappyvet says:

    Thanks Pete. I greatly enjoy yours as well. Been in combat , didn’t like it. I know that it was one person and that is who I was addressing. But not just that one. If we need to talk then lets talk. I sometimes think that people enjoy snarkiness.
    Isnt going to get us anywhere except backs to one another with folded arms. Thanks again.

  37. 2karmanot says:

    Indeed! GLB Bye bye ‘T.’

  38. PeteWa says:

    I was very unclear as to whether it was snark, or what.
    LLM made a very muddy comment.

  39. Since a few of the new visitors are attempting to claim that AMERICAblog never writes anything in favor of, or helpful to, trans people, I thought I’d share a few links that took me about 2 minutes to gather. These are just a handful — only the posts from the last few years — but I think you’ll agree they’re quite eye-opening.

    Sadly, the Internet has empowered an angry vocal fringe in a number of movements on both the left and right. On the right they have the Tea Partyers; on the left practically every movement has its equivalent. But like the Tea Party, the facts often don’t coincide with the rhetoric, so they simply make stuff up. But the existence of a few bad apples will never justify ignoring injustice directed towards any community. AMERICAblog has always fought for the civil and human rights of everyone, including trans people, as you’ll easily see below, and we will continue to do so.

    With that in mind, here’s a sampling of our relatively recent trans coverage — keep in mind, this is only a small sample of our extensive trans library of work:

    Transgender woman takes over lead “gays in the military” group

    AP exposé on the plight of homeless gay, trans youth

    The trans Navy SEAL who (almost) helped catch bin Laden

    The anti-gay right’s new target: Transgender kids

    “Heroes,” a Portuguese PSA about trans families (video)

    Transgender video – “Injustice at every turn”

    Transgender homecoming queen in tears after brutal YouTube bullying

    It’s a little weird that the Pentagon is celebrating “transgender” Pride considering it bans them

    Transgender woman shot and killed in DC

    Chrissy Lee Polis, victim of brutal McDonalds attack, speaks out

    Transgender work rights SLOWLY improving

    Adam Carolla’s offensive rant, his lame apology and the transgender community’s outreach

    Very Cool Interactive Map of Gender Diverse Societies

    Russians film brutal video of attack on transgender woman

    In Argentina, “going for more equality” with gender equality legislation

    Dumped by her own community on Valentine’s Day

    Biden: Transgender discrimination is the “civil rights issue of our time”

    Pat Robertson: Being transgender is a real thing, and it’s not a sin (video)

    Queen Elizabeth excludes gays, trans from “non-discrimination” charter

    LAX TSA undergoing transgender sensitivity training

    14 races for gay and trans people to watch today

    The balls to be a trans activist on national TV in Uganda (video)

    Rally for trans girl barred from running for homecoming queen

    Bangor Daily News blasts anti-trans legislation, would “put them at risk of harassment”

    NYT looks at trans candidates

    Trans woman asks anti-gay bigot if he’d like to stone her (video)

    CT’s Governor signs law providing protections for “gender identity or expression”

    TNR asks “What will it take for America to accept transgender people for who they really are?”

    Anti-transgender bill defeated in Maine legislature

    Lawrence, Kansas adds gender identity to non-discrimination laws

    The time Archie Bunker gave mouth-to-mouth to a trans woman (video)

    Robin Tyler is organizing in support of Chaz Bono

    CT governor signs law providing protections for gender identity or expression

    Now that DADT is gone

    Nasty anti-trans SNL skit

    Trans in the military, has their time come?

    Gay/trans rights bill voted down in Florida

    In Kalamazoo campaign, opposition resorts to trans bashing

    DC government to run pro-trans ads at bus stops

    ExxonMobil against consider proposal to bar anti- gay, trans discrimination

    Carnival Cruise: You can dress in drag if your drag looks like your photo ID, which would be NO ONE

    Study: Trans people 10x more likely to attempt suicide

    Argentina now leads the world in trans rights

    Trans man wins UK Big Brother competition

    Transgender beauty queen gets okay for Miss Universe pageant

    Poland elects first openly-transgender member of parliament

    Bravo’s anti-trans swipe

    ABC’s controversial new show has men dressing up as women

    Trans civil rights bill about to go to governor in Mass.

    Top Romney aide gleefully outed transgender woman, ending her political career

    Transgender advocate talks about trans in the military to CNN

    A tale of two West Point cadets: One gay, one trans

    Bradley Manning: “I am Chelsea Manning, I am a woman”

    Was advice columnist right to tell woman to divorce transgender husband?

    Big transgender ruling from EEOC

    Gloria Allred unhappy with Donald Trump following overturn of trans ban at Miss Universe

    Chinese grandpa becomes sensation after modeling teen-girl clothes for grandkid’s store

    Uplifting transgender teen article makes front page news in Tulsa

    Growing up gay or transgender in Appalachia

    Crowd of 300 showed up at McDonald’s to protest anti-trans violence

    White House holding secret meeting with trans leaders, activists not pleased

    Aloha state passes employment protections for transgender Hawaiians

  40. Hi John,
    We aren’t dead. Happy to discuss Outserve-SLDN, past, present, and future.

    John Gillespie
    Co-chair, Board of Directors

  41. KellyWalderfuu says:

    like Jacqueline implied I’m
    taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month on the computer . see
    post F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

  42. dcinsider says:

    Sadly, you are the poster child for the gender identity movement today. Basking in your victimhood, you would rather criticize your friends than actually do the hard work it takes to build a civil rights movement for yourself and your friends.

    I think we LGB’s have carried the gender identity movement on our backs long enough, and it is high time we gave you the space you need to find your own path to equality.

    We will support you on that journey, but we no longer need to feel guilty about not making every pronouncement you dictate our first and most important national priority. You should feel free to do the same, which you already do.

    I believe that no one should be discriminated against based upon gender identity, and I believe that you are entitled to every civil right this country has to offer. However, I will not allow you to dictate the agenda, or to interfere with my quest for full equality. You will no longer be permitted to act as political anchor to the LGB civil rights movement.

    Your are free to pursue your own legislative agenda. You are free to form your own organizations, to raise your own money, and to spend it on whatever it is you deem most important. We will not stand in your way.

    From this point forward, I will no longer use the LGBT acronym. I invite others to do the same.

  43. Jade says:

    I’m sorry, but all I ever saw from the trans community about the right to marry were complaints that we in the gay community spent too much time and money on it.

  44. caphillprof says:

    It’s not about any particular word it’s about the utter lack of leadership in your community.

  45. Jade says:

    Well, they don’t even know how to use “it’s” and “its” correctly. So I’m not surprised by this political pettiness.

  46. Jade says:

    “I’m sure it does have exemptions for cultists. After all, it comes from Democrats.”

    Nothing of substance to add, except that this made me laugh.

  47. Jade says:

    That’s exactly what I was going to say. It’s common knowledge that lesbians were indispensable in caring for the sick during the crisis. I don’t know what the fuck she’s going on about.

    Herstory, huh?

  48. Jade says:

    Yes. Everything you say is true. This is why having an entire other community join us, only to hound us so loudly and virulently that we’re forced to change our focus and course of action to something altogether different has been so frustrating.

    What’s even worse that that is to acquiesce and jump through all the hoops, be successful at it, and still be told “not good enough.”

  49. Jade says:

    “as an outsider to the lgbt community i hope they don’t turn on each
    other and make the haters job easier to isolate them and portray them as
    different from the whole.”

    Too late.

  50. Butch1 says:


  51. No I didn’t. Dan said that, and it’s okay for him to advocate that, as it’s hardly a controvesial proposal, whether one ends up agreeing or not. You again seem to be getting very hung up on this notion of people disagreeing with you, and disagreement somehow serving as prima facie proof that they’re your enemy. It really doesn’t work that way in most of the movement, the country or the world. Disagremeent is healthy. And it’s also their right.

    And please don’t bully the other commenters, by telling them they don’t have the right to express their own opinion about their own civil rights. The comment you’re responding to was nothing but polite in tone. Trinu simply disagreed with you, and again, that it Trinu’s right. You’ve been permitted to say your say here all day; other members of this forum, and this community, are permitted to have their say here as well, even if they don’t fully agree with you, me, or anyone else here.

  52. I think it does matter what you say, particularly since your concerns are becoming a self-fulfiling prophecy. Your animus seems to be creating enemies where there once were friends. And I think that’s sad, and counterproductive. You seem to have some longstanding personal issues with gay people, and gay men in particular, and I doubt there’s much anyone can say to assuage it, as prejudice is a difficult obstacle to surmount in this kind of venue. As for your concerns that you’re being told to sit down and shut up, you seemed to do fine speaking here without interruption. And no one is stopping you from advocating your own legislation, or even your own separate movement, which seems to be the undercurrent of many of your comments, if that’s your ultimate goal. But gay people have the same right to self-determination as you. And if legislation, or policy, is going to mention sexual orientation, then lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals have just as much a right as you to express an opinion as to how that legislation, or policy, should proceed. I don’t think it productive to question the motives and pysche of, and ultimately try to shut down, people who simply disagree with you about issues affecting their futures. Lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals have the right to disagree with you. It’s doesn’t mean they’re the enemy, it doesn’t mean they hate you. It’s just part of being an adult in a free and healthy society :)

  53. Which is ironic, when you consider all the fuss over the *ahem* “T-Slur.” I don’t like “cisgender” either, I think it sounds idiotic.

  54. “Queer” is just so loaded though, Strepsi.

  55. LilahJ says:

    He did not, he only told us to reclaim the word. His and Dan Savage’s opinions are noted and filed. At this time the majority of the vocal minority (the voice) has opted to not reclaim, asked the larger community not to use the word. As for ENDA it has not even been voted on because a small vocal minority does not endorse the idea of protections for anyone that doesn’t fit in to the GOP box. Now stop trying to shout us down.

  56. I like “GLBT” because it can be pronounced: “glibbit.” I suppose BLGT, “bliggit” is pronouncable, but sounds too much like bigot, and looks like someone stuck guacamole on a BLT.

  57. LilahJ says:

    Things have changed in thirty years. I wonder, did it bother you when your allies told you to sit down and shut up they know what’s best for you? How does it feel to tell people to sit down and shut you know what is best for us?

  58. Click and read, long story.

  59. To wit:

  60. “Privilege” is something every gay person was aware of decades ago. It’s what permitted straight people to put a picture of their opposite sex significant other on their desk at work, but if we did it with our same-sex s.o. we were “flaunting.” So the concept is not unfamiliar to us. Having said that, the most successful gay advocates, and I’d argue our movement overall, does not have a history of throwing privilege in the face of others, especially our friends. Today the word “privilege” is used as a slur, an easy out, a way to dismiss someone you disagree with, without really responding to the details of what they’re arguing. And it’s intended to shut the other person down entirely, just like when Dolores Umbrage shut down Prof. Mcgonagall by invoking the Minister. It’s a comment intended to shut down the entire conversation, rather than risk having a conversation and perhaps not winning on the facts. That’s my problem with the word privilege. It’s become a weapon, and crutch for actual thought and discourse.

  61. Butch1 says:

    I hate that name and refuse to be labelled it myself. It’s insulting.

  62. Butch1 says:

    You had best watch your mouth with the expletives. None of us appreciates the name calling.

  63. Butch1 says:

    Delusional. You were never first in this lineup.

  64. Butch1 says:

    That doesn’t make a bit of sense. I think YOU need to provide the “evidence” you seek.

  65. 2karmanot says:

    Got that right.

  66. Butch1 says:

    And there aren’t enough nails.

  67. Butch1 says:

    Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. I so hate revisionist history.

  68. 2karmanot says:

    The minute read your “gay white men’ meme I thought, “That worn out old cannard won’t fly.” BTW, you are part of the problem.

  69. Butch1 says:

    Your reading comprehension amazes me.

  70. 王仙賜 says:

    There should be a house rule “thou shalt not invoke privilege”. If you’re using a computer, have had an education, have , clean food and water, and a roof over your head. You have nothing to complain about. It seems the trans* community is fixated on the slightest of grievances which trivialize all of the real problems out there that trans* people face, especially in developing countries. I have a great idea: instead of attacking people who are on your side, how about you do some real activism?

  71. Amen. (Oh, and Robin was one of the marriage equality plaintiffs in California that got marriage originally rolling right before Prop 8 wiped everything out.)

  72. Butch1 says:

    I do not remember that segment, though I can guess that perhaps Dan may have only been asked to comment about the two subjects you mentioned which were hot topics back then: marriage and DADT. Perhaps, ENDA and the working class did not enter the picture due to the time constraints of the segment allotted him. Who knows, Keith controlled the questions he asked. It’s disingenuous to expect Dan to try and run through all of the letters of our group into a nicely tied up bough and do it justice in a wonderful sound-bite and please everyone. Ask John how much time he has been given when he’s on as a guest on programs. You never get to say would you would like to in the amount of time you are given.

  73. Butch1 says:

    Why is this? I must have come late to the dance. This is the first I’ve heard of this.

  74. Correct. And in fact, I only used the word the same way Lilah just used it – in a discussion about the controversy over using the word.

  75. I don’t use the wrong “tranny.” I never have, so I didn’t need to stop. I only have ever used it the same way Dan uses it, which is the same way you just used it — to discuss the contoversy over the word “tranny.” If it’s a threat and offensive to even use it in a discussion over the use of the word, then why did you just do it?

    Second, watching my friends die from complications associated with HIV/AIDS wasn’t privileged. Planning to commit suicide wasn’t privileged. Coming out at a time that it could have endangered my career wasn’t privileged. And turning down lots of job offers that paid me a heck of a lot more than gay rights advocacy, which I generally did for free, is not privileged. I think there’s a basic lack of respect, and animus, and homphobia really, in your comments, and I don’t think that’s productive, or ever right, in anyone, let alone a civil rights movement.

    And I don’t think this is about respect. It’s about animus. It’s about pain. It’s about hurt. And it’s about a need to find someone to blame. And while the gay community has generally targeted the enemy, you have chosen to target friends and allies, and even your own community. And I just don’t think that’s a road to victory.

    I’ve said it before, I realize that the truth is inconvenient, but feel free to search our archives and find all the things we’ve written about, and advocates for, trans people, including leading the campaign against TN’s repeal of the gay and trans rights ordinances in that state, something the trans leadership and community did not significantly help us with. Joe and I were fighting your battle, and we were glad to. It just would have nice for you to have offered to help.

    We can all throw around words like privilege until we’re blue in the face. I prefer to stick to the facts, and move forward.

  76. trinu says:

    When did John ever say that the word “tranny” is generally acceptable? I was under the impression that he was talking about using the word to discuss whether it’s ever acceptable to use the word. It’s also interesting that you talk about the “selfish desire to have it all for yourself” when the reason ENDA didn’t pass is that a vocal minority refused to support it if transgender bathroom protections were dropped even if it still protected trans people from general employment discrimination. So they not only stopped gay people from getting employment protections, but trans people too.

  77. alistaircrane says:

    You would suspect wrong.

  78. LilahJ says:

    “However I do not consider our Trans friends part of my community of gays (plus L and B)” The truth shall out.

  79. LilahJ says:

    I suspect, sir, that we never really had your support to begin with.

  80. LilahJ says:

    I agree with very little of what you wrote I have been open under the
    alphabet rainbow umbrella for a very short time compared to many
    here. But I do agree whit the main point of this sob fest. We need to
    break up. This relationship is not working. The whole abbreviation
    thing was never a good idea. Because one particular letter wants to
    be in charge. One particular letter has the privilege to control
    everyone and take what they want.

    The money comes from mostly gay white men, and there tends to be where it
    stays. Part of the implosion of SLDN Outserve was the fact that once
    DADT was repealed the trans community was left on its own after
    firing the only transgender leadership. I watched it John. I watched
    it from inside. I watched the donors walk away when they flatly
    rejected us.

    Clearly you and all of the other gay men that still consider the use of
    Tranny as okay are not seeing the bigger picture. You have so focused
    on the revocation of your privilege that you can’t see the fact that
    we are asking for a modicum of respect. Not only is the continued use
    of the word disrespectful it is hypocritical.

    As you pointed out, it is the younger generation of transgender
    advocates that have demanded respect. The future has spoken and you
    don’t seem to be listening. You don’t like it when the uppity
    trannies won’t let you have your privilege. And honestly that is what
    this is about you loss of privilege. You selfish desire to have it
    all for yourself. Because Gay history is, whether you like it or not,
    inextricably linked to our shared history. I think this comment made
    by a gay man to shut us down works well here. John you are not a
    special snowflake.

  81. pappyvet says:

    Context Becky. I could say that the only thing Grandmothers care about is baking cookies. Clearly it is not but it does affirm a very important aspect of the Grandma.

  82. Houndentenor says:

    I’m old enough to remember the embarrassing representatives that gays often had on talk and news programs in the 70s and 80s. I am not going to blame all trans people because the people the media decides to focus on (usually for the controversy, not to have rational discussions of important issues) on certain individuals.

  83. alistaircrane says:

    Trans people have done a great job of alienating people like me who are sickened by their anti-Dan Savage ridiculousness.

  84. Jeannette Ford says:

    My recollection from the 80’s is we had GL and LG centers and groups and potlucks, and B got added onto the string of letters, sometimes concurrently w/ Q for Questioning, since “we” figured that overlapped strongly w/ the B’s. This is all written with a smile. Thanks for an interesting discussion. Fwiw, I find very few people actually leave such unambiguous trails of slime as it seems when they first offend me…

  85. PeteWa says:

    ignoring that individual is on the top of my list as well.

  86. KirstenMundayafy says:

    just before I
    looked at the receipt ov $8130 , I didn’t believe that my sister woz like
    actualy bringing in money part-time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunts
    neighbour has been doing this 4 only about 22 months and at present repayed the
    mortgage on their appartment and bought themselves a Chrysler . see here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  87. Okay, but now you’re getting into that larger divide in the community over those who want to work on what have traditionally been our top goals, and those who want to shift it more to social justice, which many people support, but don’t feel is a gay, or lgbt, issue. There are already groups working on housing policy, and poverty, and many of these issues. It’s understandable why a gay, or lgbt, group would focus on specific legislation addressing wrongs that specifically affect our community, but don’t affect other communities.

    AndI’ve been working on ENDA since 1993. The issue has never had as a good as campaign or strategy behind it as marriage, or DADT. It’s not going nowhere because no one cares. It’s going nowhere because the strategy has so far stunk. To wit: We’re now calling on Congress to kill the version of the bill we’ve been demanding they pass for 7 years now. That kind of flip-flopping risks making us not look serious, and it risks losing support, as, after all, exactly what should members of Congress do now? They’ve been told to vote for a bill that some very vocal community members are now telling them to vote against. So how should they vote, how does the bill go forward? If you’re a member of congress in the middle, you take a pass, and go work on other issues.

  88. Becky, from my experience at least, you’ve been a good middle of the road voice on a number of issues, just wanted to let the readers know that. As for Dan, I’d like to see the segment first. It’s a fact that in 2010 our top two priorities were DADT and marriage, because ENDA was going nowhere. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about ENDA, it just wasn’t one of the top two priorities because it wasn’t going anywhere. That’s not anti-trans, anti-employment, or anti-anyone, any more than pushing for the repeal of DADT was anti people who aren’t in the military.

  89. 2karmanot says:

    You can still be fired for being Gay in many states, so get of the cross, it’s getting crowded.

  90. 2karmanot says:

    If you are indeed older than god,then perhaps some divine intervention is applicable.

  91. 2karmanot says:

    Agreed, but I will avoid a pain-in-the-ass, who insults my support.

  92. 2karmanot says:

    It was called AIDS John, a term which was denied reality by the Reagan administration.Kramer was the primier voice in putting the plague before the public consciousness and pilloried for it.

  93. BeccaM says:

    Your point is taken but I had that particular word thrown at me repeatedly as an insult. Too many negative connotations. ‘Gay’, I can deal with.

  94. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    One reason for paying more attention to marriage is state laws. When my husband and I moved from Philadelphia to Minnesota, our worries about anti-discrimination protections in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations ceased to be worries for us. We didn’t forget those things, and we have signed petitions, made contributions (small), contacted our Senators and Representative. They are very liberal (Klobachur not so much) and their votes were probably already positive.

    Our children were our top priority, and they are my top priority. It’s just me now since becoming a widower. Not being married in the eyes of the law created problems for our children. A lot of the problems were monetary. My employer covered the children’s medical and dental insurance. My husband’s employer couldn’t have done that (had they offered insurance) because I was the only legal parent. My employer also covered my husband, but my employer’s contributions for him were taxed as salary. That set us back a couple of thousand each year. We wanted both of them to attend college, and they did. However, we needed the scholarships, grants, children working part time, and fortunately only a small loan.

    Another problem was if I died while the children were underage, my husband would legally have had no rights concerning them. In my will, I had appointed him as guardian, but that’s not the same as being a parent.

    That is one reason marriage became important to us.

  95. trinu says:

    None of the trans people I know in person are like the vocal ones online, although I realize that’s just anecdotal, I’m guessing that the “activists” we’re talking about here are a VERY vocal minority.

  96. trinu says:

    Why do you think people have been so vocal about getting ENDA passed? It would be much harder to pay the bills if you got fired for being gay.

  97. dcinsider says:

    My, my that’s quite a rant. Gee whiz, thanks for the help on marriage and DADT. We could not have done it without you (except we did). And thanks for killing ENDA, and demanding that the New Hampshire legislature not include sexual orientation protections in the New Hampshire Constitution because you perceived yourself as not included.

    In other words, stop with the helping. Any more “help” form the trans activists and we’ll be back in 1950.

  98. dcinsider says:

    Well it was anything but perfectly obvious.

  99. dcinsider says:

    That may be true, but where are they? Who is speaking for trans people with a clear, rational voice? Who is condemning this nonsense? The answer is no one at all. Crickets.

  100. robintyler says:

    Thanks for your wonderful feedback John. Please know that almost all leaders, visionaries, or ‘loud activists’ who have worked in this movement have been subject to terrible criticism from our own people. It isn’t just gay men (although caucasian gay men seem to be a favorite target). I once did a ‘joke’-“you can tell how many years someone has worked in this movement by counting the arrows in their back.’ It is impossible to win a fight with anyone who has such rage. That anger does is not constructive dialogue. Those of us who want to heal, help and grow must be able to walk away from those who want to harm us, for any reason. The only way to stay sane, is to disengage, leave the room, and work with people who like and respect you.

  101. Rebecca Juro says:

    What I mean by issues of the working class are things like antidiscrimination protections in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations, issues that have far greater impact on lower-income workers than marriage or DADT.

    The reality is that while some wish to marry and others don’t, pretty much everyone needs a place to live and a way to pay the bills. When that reality isn’t reflected by those who find themselves cast as our mainstream media spokespeople, it’s fair to call it out.

    To be blunt, making it all about happy gays getting married is irresponsible. Families aren’t just about getting married, they’re about what happens after the honeymoon. For most of us, that means securing jobs and housing. As I think gay and lesbian Pennsylvanians are about to discover, having the right to marry is one thing, but being able to exercise that right without the fear you could be legally fired because of it is entirely another.

  102. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I question using that bit about Dan Savage. He didn’t say that those were the only two issues that he cared about. He was reporting on something. I’m certain what he said was true. That was probably true for 80% of the LGBs. The other 20% of us have trans friends.

    I actually have a question. What did you mean by “the issues of the working class”? Do you think that the LGBs are all people of leisure?

    Now about Rupaul – I know who he is, and that’s about it. I can find quite a few gay man who are in the same boat.

  103. Houndentenor says:

    I think it’s rather obvious that there is not a singular lbgt community. There’s not even a singular gay male community. Nor is there a single African American community, Korean-American community, etc. We are a coaltion of communities with (a) common interest(s). That’s all. I thought that was perfectly obvious.

  104. Houndentenor says:

    Yes, and there are plenty of trans people who would not agree with what those few said and did. How many trans people have you listened to?

  105. Rebecca Juro says:

    I’ve done a little writing on this and covered it on my show, so let me lay it out as starkly as possible:

    1. Dan Savage: Here’s a gay guy who went on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” in 2010 (I think, maybe ’09 )and actually said on national television that the only two issues the LGBT community cares about are marriage and the repeal of DADT. In other words, completely and utterly oblivious to the issues of the working class.

    You want to know why Savage is thought of by trans people and allies the way he is? Stuff like that. If Savage were a little more inclusive and responsible during his on-air media appearances, I doubt he’d get half the crap he does.

    2. RuPaul: No one cares how long he’s been around. What people care about is that the man is a total hypocrite who will speak out against use of the term “fa**ot” as bigotry but celebrates and profits from the use of the word “tra**y” and even the term “sh**ale”, which has been considered offensive for decades.

    What trans people are reacting to with Rupaul is his claim to the right to determine what the rest of the community can and should be offended by. What trans women are saying is that having a television show not only doesn’t give you that right, but in fact adds the responsibility to ensure that your show’s content doesn’t actually harm the community it purports to serve and celebrate.

  106. Strepsi says:

    This is why I never stopped using “Queer” — it includes all of us.

  107. Strepsi says:

    The same type of abuse we give to the GOProuds and Oscar Lopezes today – that he was a quisling and a self-hating kapo who was working with our enemies.

    Because he was trying to get gay men to stop having sex, because it was clear that AIDS was sexually transmitted. But because at that time gay liberation was built around the sexual revolution (there was ZERO notion of getting amrried and building a gay suburban ‘family’, that would be heteronormative), this was seen as against the core values of the ‘community’.

    Larry Kramer — and Dan Savage — and Andrew Sullivan — share the trait that they are all bigmouths who talk a lot, are contrarian, sometimes shoot themselves in the foot, usually refuse to apologize when they are wrong, and cause a lot of their own kerfuffles. But guess what? We need the bigmouths. We NEED the bigmouths. Each of these 3 complicated men has made incredibly valuable contributions to our civil rights movement.

  108. Pleasure_activist says:

    Its my experience that Trans people are generally straight people. Straight men who want to be strait women, and the reverse. Straight people unfortunately stuck in the wrong gender. But not gay. L or B.

  109. Pleasure_activist says:

    I have every sympathy for Trans issues, and note how they mirror Gay issues in many ways. However I do not consider our Trans friends part of my community of gays (plus L and B). Allies certainly, but not ‘us’. In my experience these are straight men who want to be straight women, or vice versa. Not Gay, not Lesbian, not Bi. Strait people who have unfortunately been deposited in the wrong bodies. More power to them in fighting for their rights. Everyone should have equal rights. Good luck to them. They have my support. But they are not ‘us’.

  110. emjayay says:

    Dan’s column on this is interesting. Also: he’s a pretty bright guy.

  111. Fwiw, Pat’s been quite a reasonable and welcome voice in our little community here at Ablog. I realize this argument lends itself to getting heated, but he’s always been one of the good guys.

  112. Art Dahm says:

    Uh oh. You said “Drama queen”. Don’t you know that’s on the (very long) list of phrases that are now forbidden?

  113. We can still be fired for being gay since there is no national ENDA law covering gays either. As for not fighting for trans rights, in fact Joe and I on this site were the only people fighting for trans rights at the national level when Tennessee, at the urging of the US Chamber, decided to attempt, and then succeed, at repealing gay and trans rights ordinances in the state (and banning new ones). HRC, of all groups, finally got involved as well, as did state groups in TN and NJ. But the national trans groups and trans advocates, sadly, offered us no assistance. (Did you help on TN?) But we persevered and caused a lot of pain to a lot of companies, and while the anti-gay and anti-trans law passed, those businesses, and the US Chamber, were put on warning.

    It’s a free country, you’re entitled to your animus towards gay people, however misguided. You are not however entitled to your own set of facts when the truth fails to substantiate your animus. A simple search of this blog will show our extensive work on TN and lots of other trans issues.

    I just did a quick search in our archives and found the following stories fighting for trans rights. These are just the first ones I found.

  114. What kind of abuse did Larry face in his day?

  115. BloggerDave says:

    LOL… That’s hilarious… Not only are you threatening misinformation as way to retaliate but you’re under the delusion that placing “conservative” in front of ‘transgender’ will make the religious bigots take you seriously and accept you… Good luck with that… They don’t even get ‘gay’ let alone ‘transgender’…..

  116. BloggerDave says:

    I just saw two documentaries on Netflix over the weekend: We Were Here and How to Fight a Plague… One thing that I noticed was the tremendous support AND leadership of the Lesbian community during the early stages of the crisis… I had no idea… And I am very grateful….

  117. TheAngryFag says:

    Thank you for proving my point. I accept your surrender.

  118. PeteWa says:

    hey karmanot…
    3) confusing an angry, vocal minority with a larger group is a trap to be avoided.
    the trans community will continue to have my support. we are all stronger together.

  119. PeteWa says:

    it’s good to remember it is one person and not the entire group.
    I always enjoy reading your comments, pappy.

  120. pappyvet says:

    I am sure that I am getting old. I simply do not understand why anyone would not want an open conversation to strengthen bonds instead of weakening them. Unless of course the game plan has more to do with piggybacking than asking family to do more. I would love the opportunity but I’m not going to be spat upon and then be expected to beg for the right to help. This whole thing has gotten way out of hand. The attacks are so absurd but the effects so harmful that I can find nothing sane in it.

  121. pappyvet says:

    Figures. We openly want a conversation to take place and that is the kind of venom we get. Real mature. Will solve everything.

  122. 2karmanot says:

    Well done John—-excellent article. Some observations; 1.) There is no end to Gay history. We have preserved our history for thousands of years, often at our extreme peril. We endure and we pass down the stories as our artists pass down our multifaceted history. 2,) Dan Savage is a brilliant example of our diverse communities at their best. Bravo Dan! In my generation it was Larry Kramer, who endured no end of abuse because he told the truth loud and clear. 3.) I for one, am sick and tired of the trans community, their whining and bigoted Sis nonsense. They have lost my support in general, but not when it comes to civil rights.

  123. Well, she threw the word “fags” at us below, so I’m not sure she’s going to have the keys to the blog any time soon.

  124. pappyvet says:

    I’m asking you right now.

  125. pappyvet says:

    When did John show this lack of support?

  126. PeteWa says:

    “Until you stop seeing oppression as a contest, you won’t be a very effective activist for change.”
    quote worthy.

  127. pappyvet says:


  128. pappyvet says:

    I have tried repeatedly to make the point that what should be drawing us together is not our differences but the similarities as seen those hateful beings who still inhabit many corridors of power. We are so different from them as to be deemed a threat. None of us in the LGBT community threaten anybody.

    And yet as a long time activist ,marcher and survivor of some of the worst of times I can tell you that I am fearful of what I see as the realization of what Lincoln referenced as “death by suicide.”

    I even had one young man who claimed to be gay tell me on this blog that I am just an old fag who should just go away and be quiet. I would love to find that comment. It tells much more than the poster imagined. On Veteran’s Day I had many thank me for my service. Very few younger people. Some even acted as though it was a blow to their ego if they had done so. A very strange situation is developing as a cold fog seems to be forming in many areas of society. None more shocking or sad than the way some Trans folks have been reacting with great venom to even the slightest of perceived insults by LGB folks. But the truth that some of our trans family seem not to want to acknowledge is the fact that as they were slamming us all those years ago and as they continue to slam us , they slam you also.

    It is not a blow to the collective ego of the Trans community that we fought and yes died to get to this stage of history. And I for one will not apologize or soft sell the blood sweat and tears it took. We were there. Our Lesbian Sisters were there. Our Bi family was there. And our Trans family was there also. I have marched with all of you. Hugged on Polk and share stories with you at the Black Rose.
    Don’t f==king tell me that the LGB folks are anything but supportive. It’s a lie period. Try talking instead of this silly outrage that does zero good for anyone except those in the shadows who still after all that everyone of us in the LGBT community has gone through would love to hang us all in a bunch.

  129. AnObserver says:

    Then bring it up before your local LGBT center BOD at the next meeting. Lobby the rest of the LGB to show up to that vote and make it happen. If you fags really want this divorce and think it is ok to say tranny in polite conversation then screw you. We don’t need you. We would like to have the drivers seat for awhile if the alliance is to be preserved.
    We put in time to get the right to marry and the right to serve, now it is your turn to pull for us.
    If you intend on reneging on your collective obligations we can work with that. We are used to lies and being fucked over.

  130. Deflection, I know thee well :) Kathy got all nasty, and when I refuted her rather personal attack, you then skewed the charge to something else :) Tricky :) I’ve supported trans rights pretty much forever. But I do have a brain, and opinions, and some expertise in how to move issues forward, and as folks here well know, I’m not afraid to share my opinions, and in fact, I think a free sharing of ideas is the only way anything is going to ever get better :) Just because someone doesn’t agree with you on everything doesn’t make them the enemy :)

  131. LOL Well, I’d consider it! Can you write, and do you have something interesting to say? :) Those are the two initial big requirements :) I’d seriously asked several trans people who I thought could lend an interesting perspective that wouldn’t come across as simply adding to the strife, but they said no. It’s very hard to get women to write generally, a lot of us have found over the years — at least on political sites.

  132. AnObserver says:

    and there are a number of us saying either change with the times or dissolve the bonds.

  133. AnObserver says:

    bad rule of grammar, should be discarded
    We should not bow to 19th century scholars who self appointed to dictate the proper use of the language.

  134. AnObserver says:

    When the T is run off from the LGB I predict a horrible thing: you will have a large amount of very conservative trans* gender women telling religious bigots that the gay men are just transsexual women unable to transition and conform to societies expectations. They are addicted to their penises.
    I know a number of very conservative T women who feel this way and are only stifled by the alliance.

  135. AnObserver says:

    We still can be fired for being trans. You didn’t fight for trans* rights, you fought for gay men.

  136. AnObserver says:

    You are right, your work all those years ago for the gay cause give you the pass for the lack of support for the T.

  137. AnObserver says:

    You never asked me!

  138. PeteWa says:

    there is an aspect of suffering and depression that is insidious, it does for some people become a defining point of their identity. people get used to things, and if things go on long enough, you will miss them when they are gone, even at times when those things are toxic in various ways.
    my heart goes out to those people who are trapped in that cycle, who decide / are compelled to revisit and pointlessly relive past pains.
    …but it is not an excuse to treat others poorly.

    in addition, I also wish more of the sane trans people would speak up, but often times in groups that are so marginalized, the more radicalized members are the ones who are going to speak up / take risks… get noticed by the media.
    I am reminded of various conversations where there were complaints about the “too flamboyant” members being involved in parades, advocacy, etc.
    empty complaints to me, I never feel defined by what others do or don’t do, and am more than happy to have had anyone taking a stand, even if they were not coming at things from my perspective.

  139. Well, everyone in the civil rights movement should be alies anyway :)

  140. A WOBO? ;-)

  141. PeteWa says:

    a very large number of lesbians lost a lot of their friends to AIDS.
    lesbians were the core group of caretakers and activists in the early years of AIDS.

  142. Fritz says:

    The reality is that there is a very real intersection between T and LGB. Many transgender people live as gay, lesbian or bi for decades prior to transitioning. They have relationships with L,G, and B people. I was in a relationship with a transgender person who believed she was a gay man. Am I just supposed to pretend that didn’t happen? No one needs to welcome transgender people into our community. They are already part of it and always will be. This is something that some transgender activists want to ignore.

  143. Paul says:


  144. Fritz says:

    Autumn banned me from Pam Spaulding’s blog for my objecting to being labeled “cisgender” a few years back.

  145. BloggerDave says:

    Ironically enough, the reason your fringe, mainstream, or any other trans person has been able to speak up with more regularity lately is because people like John and other LGBQ leaders have made it possible for you to do just that… You have no leaders who represent the trans community but you better get one soon because it is not the LGB who need to go but the ‘T’….

  146. Fritz says:

    One of the reasons I feel obligated to speak for my generation is that there are so many of us who did not survive. I am the only one left from my circle of college friends. Many of them were brilliant and talented people who would have contributed much to society. I was able to go on to march in demonstrations and volunteer at our community centers. They didn’t get to see any of that. I have seen us gain the freedom to serve in the military and to marry. I guess that may not seem like much to someone whose friends all lived to see it, too.

  147. And actually, a lot of lesbians did lose a lot of friends to AIDS. Back in the day, not all lesbians viscerally hated gay men :) And they still don’t today :)

  148. Are you mocking the 600,000 Americans who died from complications related to AIDS or what exactly? You’re already on very thin ice due to your racism, sexism and homophobia, but now you’re somehow dismissing people with AIDS? I think it’s time for you to visit somewhere else. :)

  149. As for reasonable response, I’ve invited multiple trans people to pen a piece for us, and they’ve all said no. So…

  150. trinu says:

    They may be the fringe of trans people, but they’re also the group that screams the loudest on places like Bilerico.

  151. Well that’s good to hear, they need more sensible vocal leaders.

  152. Yep. He unfortunately had the same name, not 2.5 years after the bombing. But I used his name as the news hook for the story. Called up reporters and told them I was representing Timothy McVeigh! That got their attention, then when I’d explain it was the gay Timothy McVeigh, they’d laugh and then want to hear the story :)

  153. emjayay says:

    Do you live in Pakistan, or maybe Saudi Arabia?

  154. I’m perfectly aware of that, but if you insist on not telling me where the typo is, I can’t actually fix it ;-)

  155. Um, twenty years ago I was volunteering 30 hours a week in Sen Kennedy’s office working on getting ENDA passed and DADT repealed. What were you doing?

  156. She doesn’t see it as a contest, she seems to have real animus towards all of those groups she mentioned, and doesn’t seem to believe that there are white Americans who aren’t born on third base. This appears to be about animus far more than it is relative oppression.

  157. emjayay says:

    I’m guessing that everyone will get right off your lawn right away.

  158. Fritz says:

    Your error in logic is assuming that white gay men were “born on third base”. The reality is that white gay men are not part of the privileged class. They are part of an oppressed minority. You may argue that their being white and male helps shield them from some of that oppression. However, they are still second-class citizens who face discrimination and violence on a daily basis. Until you stop seeing oppression as a contest, you won’t be a very effective activist for change. You’ll simply continue to be divisive.

  159. You have been a pillar of activism and sacrifice forever, my love. Robin, for those who may not know, was one of the cofounders of, among a lifetime of many other very important achievements for our community :)

  160. Kathy11 says:

    Eh – I’m older than Ru & older than you.

    You’ve been riding this hobby horse for what? 15 -20 years now? Always cherry picking the most unflattering
    examples of fringe trans people, never providing a venue for any reasonable response.

    Seriously – please just finally grow a pair and make good on your constant passive aggressive threats to leave.

    Do us a favor. No tears will be shed.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the ass yadda yadda.

    Do everyone a favor – go away.

  161. A lot of my friends and colleagues are dead. They’re not privileged. They’re dead. They died from HIV/AIDS, and from the neglect of people who thought they were privileged prima donnas who didn’t deserve to live. So they let them die.

    These people fought for your right to be who you are without losing your job, your family, your life. So yes, I expect you to show a little more respect, and a little less sexism, racism and homphobia for people who did far more than you ever did to help our community and the world. Your incredibly sexist, racist and homophobic — in addition to venom-filled — comment only goes to further the cleavage in this community that’s growing by the day.

  162. trinu says:

    Please do provide some evidence that Dan Savage is “an arrogant mouthpiece who needs to get over himself.” Also, the mere fact that a group faces discrimination does not mean that it is necessarily relevant to gay rights issues.

  163. LegalizeLezMarriage says:

    Funny, I don’t think very many lesbians “lost all their friends to AIDS” but then we don’t count because even STRAIGHT women are denied any autonomous sexual identity. And if you don’t exist, how can you be upset you aren’t given equal civil rights or social status in society?

  164. TheAngryFag says:

    You’re right. It defines the confines of any relationship a person can have with these individuals and you’re supposed to follow these unwritten rules they have for how a supportive friend/lover/spouse should behave. If not they just cut you out (no big loss).

    The funny part was RuPaul hit the nail on the head in the response. It is a small, rabidly vocal minority of transgendered folk who have hijacked the conversation and decided to play, very badly I might add, the martyr. And I love how RuPaul disabused them of that notion because the transgendered community owes RuPaul quite a lot.

  165. LegalizeLezMarriage says:

    I posted this on a facebook share of the article; I’m posting it here too:

    cry me a river. “White gay men made so much progress and we’ve suffered
    so much DON’T TELL US WE’RE PRIVILEGED!! Give me a BREAK. Ever think the
    reason white men have dominated the gay rights movement is because
    white men in general are born on third
    base, while most non-white, especially non-gay-males are struggling to
    even hit a double at bat? Everything seen as “positive” about gay
    culture is gay-male-centric. Fashion sense, the Tony’s, Neil Patrick
    Harris, Dan Savage, disco-divas, interior design, impeccable grooming
    habits… All attributes of the stereotypical gay man. AIDS was declared
    a thing of the past when white gay male Andrew Sullivan said so (nevermind
    what’s happening in sub Saharan Africa or even our own American
    community of non-white gay men).

    Savage is really good at telling people how good he is at being “sex
    positive” and “enlightened” but he’s just another arrogant mouthpiece who needs to get over himself. The real
    heroes in this movement are the unsung ones who don’t have syndicated
    columns and a twitter account which is so popular that it makes news bites.

    I’d include any non-conforming sexual minority in the “Queer Alphabet” term. Any human being that threatens the patriarchal gender dichotomous structure is a threat to “normal” society and therefor is on the side of the equality movement.

  166. robintyler says:

    Dear G (John) I have worked with Gay men since the 1970’s. I also produced women’s music festivals which were lesbian specific. Are we different? Of course. So what? We have been in the trenches together for decades. And AIDS brought us VERY CLOSE together. People can only love each other when they begin to love themselves. Remember, you cannot hug a burn victim until they heal. Their rage matches their pain. Your loving sister L.

  167. Wilberforce says:

    I would have welcomed the Ts into our group simply because they are also sexual minorities, and thus face discrimination.
    But they have behaved horribly toward us for many years, while we’ve bent over backwards for them. They destroyed enda, job protecting for millions of gays and lesbians, because it didn’t include them. Think how much easier it would be to include them now if we had had this protection for the last ten years.
    They have spit hatred at us nonstop for the last decade. And I for one am done with it. I think the time has come to cut them out of the group, until they learn who they friends are, and start treating us with some respect.

  168. emjayay says:

    Doesn’t sound right.

  169. Wilberforce says:

    Actually, the answer is very simple. It’s that we are all sexual minorities, and thus face discrimination. That makes us allies, or should.

  170. caphillprof says:

    What epithets?

  171. emjayay says:

    They get to put coming out videos on YouTube now!

  172. emjayay says:

    No he doesn’t.

  173. BeccaM says:


  174. emjayay says:

    *Ahem* (tapping podium with wooden pointer)

    Teeny little spelling/grammar point, a subject on which I’m no authority at all: “It’s” is a contraction of “it is”. Since the contraction people already used up the apostrophe, the possessive of “it” doesn’t get to use it over again. So the possessive form of It is “its.”

    Brrrrrrrriiiinnnngggg. Class dismissed.

  175. emjayay says:

    I’m tempted…..but, no. There have been long and excellent discussions on exactly this topic including my own fine remarks here recently, twice. (I really should save my brilliant comments for handy copying and reposting later.)

  176. emjayay says:


  177. Drew2u says:

    I think what CPT_Doom is saying about gender nonconformity is “Societal or Cultural Gender Nonconformity”. Not all cultures have pilots or nurses, nor regulate the same “men-only” and “women-only” jobs as another culture – yet they all have some of the (affectionately nicknamed) alphabet-soup of those whose “nonconformity” is only seen like that in a present cultural tense. India and I think Thailand as well as First Nation peoples of North America (not to mention Ancient Greece and Rome) had appropriated peoples that we think of in today’s terms as non-conformity, but were accepted or even celebrated.

  178. emjayay says:

    Miss Manners says only a “Sorry, I have other plans” is all that is ever necessary.

  179. emjayay says:

    Thanks for that bit of psychological analysis. Very helpful and informative. (Dammit, no matter what I write it can be construed as snidely snark – well just in case, it’s not. Not that time anyway.)

    Somewhat better than my “*Sigh* some people just have to act out. Particularly 19 year olds. Particularly ones who decided to change their apparent sex, which seems to take a lot or surgery and hormones, or not. And change their name. To one nobody ever heard of before that they made up. And a new impersonal personal pronoun too.” OK, that was a bit snidely.

  180. Drew2u says:

    Hey John, I’ll be turning 30 in a month (wow, have times changed from when you were 29-30 and where we are, today). This is why I keep pushing and congratulating those who post the history of Us; something every LGBT organization should have on file and reference – especially those younger than I who, today, may take for granted the freedoms they enjoy – not in malice, but in simple ignorance, possibly stemming from being invisible inside their own families who, themselves, are ignorant about the history of “those other people”.

    So, this being Pride month, I would urge every festival to organize a kind of history, if they don’t have it already, and whether it be a film or museum installation or whatever, and present it (PG to PG-13) for families to watch and experience together.

  181. BeccaM says:

    That’s most unfortunate. A lot of the time, she’s sensible. Clearly there she wasn’t.

  182. BeccaM says:

    It would be interesting, but y’know, I think Blogvader below has a point. By identifying myself as bisexual, I’m saying that I’m different than you. Setting myself apart from you. I’m beginning to think that right there is at the root of the problem — and so yeah, now we’re seeing petty dominance games being played with the order of letters in a stupid and inherently non-inclusive abbreviation.

    So what if our genders differ and our sexual orientations don’t align exactly? We don’t seem to be able to settle on any other viable term — ‘queer’ remains too controversial and potentially pejorative. The important detail is neither of us is straight, right?

    So sure, technically I’m a woman of bisexual orientation married to another woman who happens to be a lesbian. From here on out, I think I’m just going to say I’m gay. It’s a better way of ensuring we’re allies, in my opinion.

  183. Bill_Perdue says:

    Exactly. Marriage equality helps us all. If nothing else, it helps financially and in terms of visitation and partnering rights.

  184. Palto says:

    Hey ‘it’ or whatever you’re calling yourself today please do us all a favor and STFU. If it weren’t for people like Dan Savage, there would probably be no GLBT university lectures for you to clutch your pearls in. So sick of these moronic drama queens giving true ground breaking GLBT activists a hard time. That’s the GOP’s job.

  185. GarySFBCN says:

    Good luck with that strategy! Maybe you can call them n-cases.

  186. Chuck from PA says:


    One question. You mention sailor Timothy McVeigh. Is this correct? He had the same name as the Oklahoma City bomber?

  187. I think the intellectual issue is that if one says “sexism” is what unites us, then all women are LGBT, as are all male nurses and ballet dancers and all the guys on Dancing with the Stars (though that last one… ;-)

  188. I’d love to see the rollcall vote on who exactly voted to move B last. That would be interesting.

  189. Well, I’m not sure calling anyone a nutjob is going to advance the argument much :) I prefer to rationally make the case that there’s a problem here that needs to be addressed so we can all benefit and move forward.

  190. Actually, Autumn threw a rather larger public fit once over my anti-trans bias in cropping a photo of mine from the WH DADT protests, in order to fit it inside a template. Autumn and some others got cut out, so she told everyone that I intentionally cropped her out because I was ashamed, or something, to have a trans person in the photo. I too have met some great trans advocates, and they rarely speak up.

  191. Indigo says:

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s GLB and that’s the way I see it.

  192. GarySFBCN says:

    “. . .some of these folks can find oppression in a cup of coffee at Starbucks.”

    And that is my point – they are nutcases and instead of meeting them on their turf by arguing the issue, it is better to morph the issue into about them being nutcases.

  193. dcinsider says:

    I am not saying we cannot work together. I am saying that we are not sufficiently aligned to be considered one community. As a gay white male I do not consider myself a member of the African-American community. We are both discriminated against, but our community is not the same.

    I think the same is true for gender identity issues. We can and should work together, but gender identity is not even related to sexual orientation.

  194. dcinsider says:

    That’s all well and good, but the problem is that the absurd reaction from the person in Dan’s example was not met with an appropriate reactions from “trans-activists” to condemn that sort of nonsense and distance themselves from it. To the contrary, a large portion of the gender identity crowd seems to support this nonsensical BS. It is not a just a few outliers that we are talking about. And I, for one, have grown weary of listening to the BS from the trans crowd.

    I agree we have our own share of gay crackpots and loudmouths, but this community is quick to condemn when we believe one of our own has crossed the line. However, there is no self-policing within the gender identity world. Anything goes, and anyone with an opinion (informed or otherwise) is free to express it, setting arbitrary speech boundaries the rest of us are supposed to follow. It is such utter nonsense that it has become comical.

    I am among those who say the “T” in LGBT is a political anchor on our boat, and if they would like to stay on board, they need to learn to play nice with others, leave their over-sized baggage behind, and pick up an oar. Gay men and lesbians get tired doing all the rowing on this boat and the more letters that hop on board, the heavier the boat. The truth is the trans crowd has jumped on the ship, but they have not yet picked up an oar. Rather, they are sitting in a lounge chair on the lido deck ordering the rest of us to row faster.

  195. BeccaM says:

    Personally, I’d rather the sane, rational Trans-folk would seize the microphone back from the crazy ones. I know they exist because I’ve met and known more than a few. But for some reason, they have very few of the sane ones speaking up, save for the rarities like Autumn Sandeen, for instance.

    But anyway, you raise an excellent point there: People who identify not as people, but as their wounding experience aren’t going to get better or have a happy life. That statement right there — “I answered that way because I am a victim of incest” — coupled with insisting nobody could ever truly understand her pain means that’s who she will likely remain for the rest of her days, a victim of incest. Not even a survivor or someone who has triumphed over it. Simply stating “Sorry, I have a commitment that night” would have been enough. With that angry response, not only was this ‘Mary’ person looking to reaffirm her self-identity in a public way, she was telling everybody within earshot that she wanted not be seen as just a woman but as a victim for life.

  196. Houndentenor says:

    It’s better than throwing epithets at each other across the internet.

  197. Houndentenor says:

    I’m reminded of something someone once said about these “African American leaders”. Who appointed anyone to speak for all African Americans. Or all gay people. Or all trans people. Every group has it’s idiots. We have GOProud and plenty of others that I certainly don’t want to speak for me. I doubt that all trans people are behind everything a few trans activists do. Talk to actual people and stop listening to the few loudmouths who may or may not be representative of the whole group. Yes, it’s the rowdy ones who get all the attention. Just like it was drag queens and hustlers that stood up to the police at the Stonewall Inn and not the more respectable crowd at other bars in the same neighborhood.

  198. caphillprof says:

    There are over 300 million people in this country. Your ad hoc approach will take quite some time.

  199. Houndentenor says:

    Actually here’s how I think the conversation should go:

    “Hey, Houndie. Could you please stop using the word @#$%&. You probably aren’t aware of this but it’s offensive to us.”

    “Okay, I didn’t know that but now that I do I won’t say that any more. And while we’re talking is there anything else that you’d like me to know?”

    Conversations ensues.

    And scene.

    It’s really not that hard.

  200. TheAngryFag says:

    In reading this post, I cannot help but be reminded of the first part of Caroline Myss’s book “Why People Don’t Heal – And How They Can”. The “how they can” part aside, the beginning discusses something Myss refers to as “woundology” which is the practice about using ones past hurts in order to elicit sympathy, to gain some kind of authority, excuse ones actions and, most importantly, to manipulate other people.

    The example Myss uses to illustrate this was an incident with a now ex-friend of hers, Mary, who suffered incest at a young age. Caroline was meeting her for lunch at Mary’s housing community. Caroline had arrived early and was chatting with two men when Mary arrived. Another man came up and asked Mary if she was available on a certain date to which Mary angrily told the man “Absolutely not! June eighth is my incest support group meeting, and I would never, ever miss that meeting! We count on each other, after all. We incest victims have to be there for one another. I mean, who else do we have?” While they were eating Caroline asked Mary why she felt the need to broadcast the fact she was an incest survivor to three people, two of which had only met her minutes earlier. Mary was, of course, affronted and answered “I answered that way because I am a victim of incest.” Mary then went on to tell Caroline that she “simply did not understand because [she] had
    not endured what [Mary] and numerous other incest victims had gone
    through, but that she had expected Caroline as a friend to be more

    Sound familiar? This is what I see people like Hex and Suey Park doing. No matter what they spew, all they really say is “Look at me! Look at my ‘hurt’! Look at my ‘pain’! Do as I say because I ‘hurt’!” And when you contradict them in the slightest, they attack you viciously or make claims that you just are incapable of understanding (Park was a great example of this).

    Sometimes I feel like the LGBs need a nice, quick divorce from the Ts. Because I am sick and tired of being told what I can and cannot say, that I “just don’t understand their issues”, or other just horse shit.

  201. BeccaM says:

    Aye, but often there’s another factor in play here: The desire for our erstwhile political allies to find a handy excuse not to act, as well as the use of convenient scapegoats to further excuse continued failure.

    Remember how “gays didn’t turn out to vote” became the meme of the cycle for the 2010 mid-term losses for the Dems? Even though the numbers didn’t bear up the claims? Well, take it down a level further and we have an even smaller minority (T-folks) of an already small minority (LGBT and whatever other letters you want to add to that abbreviation) supposedly having power far beyond their actual ability to influence.

    I honestly don’t believe it was Trans* activists who derailed ENDA in 2009-2010.

    I not quite buying it because it feels yet again as if those with the power to enact change — our supposed political allies, the Dems and the president — were and are looking for excuses to avoid acting. And a disorganized and somewhat incoherent sub-minority of stridently vocal (and likely non-representative) Trans* activists willingly provide a handy scapegoat. Particularly since so many of the loudest ones prefer victimhood over winning anything if the result isn’t perfectly aligned with their individual (and often conflicting) demands.

    Consider how it’s seen as ‘controversial’ to include transgender protections in an EO — yet not at all a problem for our supposed Democratic political allies to be carving out massive religious beliefs exemptions. We’re watching the waving magician’s hand rather than the other hand inside his coat.

    But hey, the Trans* movement is nascent as yet. I also remember the civil wars between gays and lesbians in the 1970s and 80s and even into the 90s — and other equally unhelpful victimhood-embracing activists back then. Hopefully in time they’ll find their own sane voices who will be seen as representing the cause, rather than these others who by constantly lashing out are doing more harm than good.

  202. Hue-Man says:

    Living in a (nearby) country where the only inequalities in the laws affecting the LGBT coalition are in the age of consent (probably unconstitutional) and federal discrimination based on sexual identity, the U.S. is a long way from equality, particularly as the law affects daily life – accommodation and employment. The marriage equality fight may be nearly over but that just means the gay-hating opposition will dig in harder to “protect” bakers, landlords, employers, and B&B owners from immoral perverts of all kinds.

    The coalition needs to re-focus on the next steps; organization and unity are needed at a time when many – including the public – are suffering from combat fatigue. The New Hampshire and ENDA proposals may be key turning-points in the strategy – will a ceasefire be called and an inclusive strategy adopted or will some members of the coalition be thrown overboard? (The cautionary tale of legislation – introduced by a gay white male politician – extending protections to include sexual identity can be seen at this link. )

    Even with anti-discrimination laws in place, the LGBT coalition and allies are needed to support practical implementation. This from last month:

    “Which bathroom to use at school is something most students don’t give a second thought, but for Dominic Duff, a 15-year-old transgender student at Vancouver’s Lord Byng secondary, it is an uncomfortable question.

    “You can’t use the female washroom because someone’s going to yell at you because you look like a guy, right? And if you use the male washroom, someone’s going to yell at you because you’re not
    technically a guy … you don’t feel safe there, either,” he explained. “Usually I use the handicap washroom, which isn’t really the best thing, either.””

  203. trinu says:

    The thing is marriage equality will benefit trans people. Depending on whether or not their state recognizes legal changes in gender, they may not be able to get married. Marriage equality would take of that issue.

  204. caphillprof says:

    So you reject the need for a vocabulary to promote dialogue?

  205. JDH says:

    Isn’t that all covered under the umbrella of sexism? Gender roles – and conformity by extension – are a form of sexist stereotyping. I thought it was a foregone conclusion that homophobia is a direct decendant of sexism. In that sense, it makes sense to have the T in the coalition since they are a sort of bridge between sexist and homophobic biases because of a biological variation. In that sense, they get the worst of both worlds.

    At this point, it seems that a group of TIQ might be better off on it’s own if it’s going to keep pursuing this authoritarian queer lib orthodoxy that is not shared by the mainstream gay rights machine.

  206. Houndentenor says:

    No, they aren’t exactly the same thing. But people hate on trans people for the same reason they hate on gays. They can’t stand that there are people who don’t fit neatly into their false-binary construct of male and female gender roles. Nature is just not that simple or that consistent. I don’t know how the interests don’t align. We are for equal rights for all. So are trans people. That seems pretty simple to me.

  207. Houndentenor says:

    I’m a fan of the Savage Lovecast. I’ve listened to every episode. He is wrong sometimes. And when he is he plays the calls from people who take him to task. Sometimes he even has someone represent a group (Asexuals was a recent one) on the show so they can have an informative discussion. That’s hardly someone who is an enemy. If he gets something wrong, TELL HIM. He really is listening.

  208. trinu says:

    Of course, none of this stops them from using gay rights as a crutch. All over the internet forums, if anyone says anything negative about pre or non-op trans people sex-segregated showers/locker rooms, which don’t correspond to their genitals (or says they can see both sides of the argument) they’ll instantly say something like “I bet you hate gay people too.”

  209. Houndentenor says:

    Hell no. Not that I’m offering a blank check to anyone but there are some legitimate beefs from the trans community. (I think Savage is very much the wrong target. RuPaul on the other hand has been horrible lately and deserves to be be targeted.) If I wanted my life to be “I got mine, fuck the rest of you” I’d be a Republican. Trans people deserve equal protection under the law just like everyone else. Yes, we have to stand in solidarity with them. We do, after all, share the same adversaries to equality.

  210. caphillprof says:

    I hate academic gobbledygook.

  211. Blogvader says:


    It’s stupid. I don’t get why I can’t use the term ‘gay’ as shorthand for all of them without angering people.

  212. BeccaM says:

    *sigh* Yeah… Y’know it’s been a recent development for me, but I’m actually getting sick of that abbreviation, which itself appears to have become a bludgeon for divisiveness, arbitrary PC orthodoxy, and “you have to support my cause on my terms and no other” snowflake-ism.

  213. Hey, guess what? You’re now at the back of the abbreviation bus, baby!

    “TLGB Pride”

  214. BeccaM says:

    It’s both egotism and a culture of victimhood, John.

    Egotism with the insistence those who did much of the heavy lifting in LGBT rights from the 1980s onward weren’t the gay men whose numbers were being decimated by HIV. A disease simultaneously labeled a ‘gay disease’ as well as a sign of God’s holy hate for all gay people.

    And a culture of victimhood in preferring to suffer and to be oppressed rather than accept help from willing but imperfect allies. I’ve seen this habit in the gay rights movement as well as in the women’s rights movements.

    When so much energy is put into attacking those who are actually trying to help, rather than the true enemies of equality and acceptance, it does merit questioning those motives.

  215. Bill_Perdue says:

    A general program of attacks on the power of the cults is needed.

    We can fight to see that that their schools and medical facilities be secularized to prevent discrimination and even more important, to prevent the rape of children.

    And to criminalize their interference in civil matters like marriage, divorce and adoption.

    We can demand that they pay taxes like every other segment of the entertainment industry.

    And we can push to confiscate their wealth to compensate their victims.

  216. dcinsider says:

    I wish I cold like a comment more than once.

  217. I’d quibble with your premise. As Dan notes in his piece I link to at the bottom of my story, some of these folks can find oppression in a cup of coffee at Starbucks. One of their underlying tenets is that gay white men have done nothing for the cause. And I suppose that’s easy to say if you’re 18 years of age and have never actually lived through gay politics in the decades before when gay white men led many of the successful battles that have now permited you to freely stand up and excoriate them. I think it’s important to remind people of who we are, and how we got here. As I note in my piece, this have moved far beyond simply being a few irrelevant people with an insatiable and unmerited gripe. I fear they’re doing real harm to the gay rights battle, and to any attempt to keep this community together.

  218. GarySFBCN says:

    “If you’re going to let one stupid prick ruin your life… you’re not the girl I thought you were.” –Professor Stromwell in “Legally Blonde.”

    Respectfully, I’m taking issue with some of this. You wrote “. . .I take it personally when a fringe group of vocal activists make it their mission to malign all gay men.”

    And the key word in that sentence is ‘fringe’. Ditto for what happened to Dan. First thing John, don’t let this stuff get to you. There is no way to respond/reason with a nutcase, so just stop. Dan does a great job of not letting it get to him, but his responses are defensive. The better approach is to publically characterize the nutcase, without maligning them (like I”m doing by calling them a nutcase). If you ‘defend’ yourself, you have already lost the argument.

    One way of doing this, if I was in Dan’s shoes at UOI, after being attacked by Hex, I would have said something like “Here’s an example of the hurt that this word has caused. While it’s true that not everyone internalizes to this extent, words do hurt. But in order to have a thoughtful discussion about the word, we need to embrace the ‘use-mention’ analytic theory of philosophy, which states that we need to distinguish between using a word and mentioning it. If we can’t embrace that analytic theory, we end up attacking our friends. We are on a university campus, having an intellectual discussion. I hope you can embrace this. If not, I fear that we are going to be touching on other subjects that are equally going to cause you pain and anguish. How many of you have issues with using the word Tranny in the context of this conversation? ”

    Putting Hex on the spot in public, while appearing to be concerned for it, and then abiding by what the majority of the audience members wanted would take all the ‘heat’ away from Dan, bring others into the discussion and allowed everyone to move on. I then would have abided by the audience decision and moved on.

    Back to what you wrote, I could easily twist what wrote about white gay men into being racist. You don’t acknowledge the impact of what people of color have contributed to the LGBT cause. I know, you were making a point and I’m not calling you a racist. I’m just trying to demonstrate the potential harm that comes from a ‘defensive’ argument instead of an offensive argument.

    And you omitted a straight white male who, in my mind, shifted our culture enough to help the modern gay-rights movement to take root: Phil Donahue. Phil had gays and lesbians on his somewhat exploitive show, many time, starting in the late 1960s. That created “familiarity” in millions of households across the country.

  219. Thom Allen says:

    The exemption for religions is dangerous. It can allow the “churches” to continue to discriminate. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is forcing all of its teachers, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to sign a contract. This contract controls how they behave in and out of school. They cannot support support gay friends, gay relatives or gay rights in general. They cannot be in a same-sex relationship or marry a same-sex partner. They can’t support the right to choose abortion ,use of birth control or in vitro fertilization. There are other constraints placed upon them, as well. And, the Archdiocese has labeled all of its teachers (again, including the non-Catholic ones) as “Catholic ministers.” They’ve used this type of reasoning to fire teachers in the past. Apparently, the 2014-2015 contract is even more restrictive.

    Here’s an excerpt of the latest: “Such conduct or lifestyle that is in contradiction to Catholic doctrine
    or morals includes, but is not limited to, improper use of social
    media/communication, public support of or publicly living together
    outside marriage, public support of or sexual activity out of wedlock,
    public support of or homosexual lifestyle, public support of or use of
    abortion, public support of or use of a surrogate mother, public support
    of or use of in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination, public
    membership in organizations whose mission and message are incompatible
    with Catholic doctrine or morals, and/or flagrant deceit or dishonesty.”

  220. Indigo says:

    From way back when to 1950s Mattachine was one variation in gay history, from Mattachine through the halcyon 60s to Stonewall was another. Then came the Disco Era and all that it entailed including an astonishing spike in STDs that came together into the AIDS-HIV crisis followed by the Repulsive Republican Regimes of “benign neglect” and then the go-go/war time/go-go/money games of the Clintons, the Second Bush, and now the Whatever policies of Valerie Jarrett and her puppet.

    With a lineup like that, how could you even begin to imagine that gay history might be dead? Gay history is a dynamic, possibly manic, mosaic of current events and the ever-changing dispostions of a post-liberal pre-feudal social structure which also, decade by decade, continues to twist and turn in the gale force winds of recent history. The thing to note about current events is that they are tomorrow’s history.

    End? No! Change? Unending!

  221. Bill_Perdue says:

    I haven’t see it either, just Obama’s promise to sign it but since it comes from the WH the probability of it’s pandering to the cults is high.

  222. dcinsider says:

    Not sure how this response gets us to where you want us to be.

  223. FLL says:

    The trans activists who subscribe to what you call “critical theory” may simply be using that as a pretext for their real motive, which could be contempt and hostility for the right of same-sex couples to marry—something that the trans community will not benefit from. That argument could go back and forth quite a bit, so I’ll leave it alone.

    More interesting is your question about what makes L, G, B and T one community:

    “…we’d never had an open discussion about what makes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people (and intersex people, and asexuals, and many others) all one community.”

    I think the answer to that question lies in the hostility of fundamentalist Christians toward both groups. Other fundamentalist religions don’t necessarily aim their hate at both groups. The fundamentalists who control Iran support the right of transgender people to surgery and legal change of status on all documentation, including birth certificates. The Iranian government provides up to half the cost of sex-reassignment surgery for those transgender people needing financial assistance. But here in the West, fundamentalist Christians have always aimed their hostility at both gay and transgender people, hence the tendency for people to bundle political fights into an LGBT package. I don’t think I need to tell you what is happening now that the fundie Christians are losing their political and social clout. What you refer to as the end of gay history is really the end of LGBT history, since the enemy common to both LGB and trans people is disappearing. There will always be LGB people (as regards sexuality), and there will always be trans people (as regards gender identity). However, the imperative to combine efforts, to the point of considering LGBT a single “community,” may become obsolete as fast as the political clout of fundie Christians… in other words, very soon.

  224. Apparently, the concern isn’t as great about the EO, but only because we don’t really have language on it, but I’m told that the concern is still there.

  225. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’m sure it does have exemptions for cultists. After all, it comes from Democrats. We should insist they be removed and that LGBT workers in companies with

    Who’s been changing their mind? They should stop it.

    I haven’t changed my mind about the need for a robust ENDA or a CRA since 2007 when Barney Frank, a Democrat, gutted the original ENDA. I was against Quisling Franks gutted version of ENDA and had mixed feeling about the original ENDA. This is what I said in 2007: “The real motives behind the gutting of real ENDA are glaringly obvious when the SNAFU methodology Pelosi and Frank used to shove it through Congress is examined. … The liberal (but very rich) leader of the House of Greed and the Quisling Frank decided not take a open approach to the question because they knew they didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of winning. Instead they had backroom meetings. They correctly concluded that most Republicans and a very large number of Democrats were either bigots and/or they wanted a toothless bill, a bill that excluded transgendered people because that’s what the employers who pay their campaign bills want. … The Democrats and Republicans are pandering to bosses who hate the real ENDA because they’d have to pay fair wages and benefits, and they support DOMA so they won’t have to treat our spouses like spouses. … Thanks to Frank and Pelosi the bosses got what they wanted. … Their goal all along, in spite of Bush’s promise to veto, was a high-handed coup d’état to gut the effectiveness of the real ENDA because, to put it simply and accurately, we’re not the ones who pay their bills and call the tune.”.

    As soon as I heard about the option of a CRA I began to like it and support it. I don’t think we have any obligation go be fair to Obama after he ensured the passage of Prop 8 in 2208 but we do have an obligation to push for an ENDA EO
    (a version cleansed of Democrat sponsored religious exemptions) and to construct a movement for a CRA.

  226. It’s the only reason we never closed down and others did. I don’t think folks ever totally took me seriously when I’ve told them how many times I almost closed the site down.

  227. The gender nonconformity argument has never been able to fully explain why female pilots and male nurses are not all LGBT. And all women for who don’t stay at home and have babies, but rather go in search of careers. Are they all LGBT, every single working woman in America? Gender discrimination is a larger penumbra under which we all fall, just as “civil rights” is a larger penumbra. But I think the gender-nonconformity community is much larger than folks realize :)

  228. AndyinChicago says:

    I never realized how much you’ve had to spend personally on this site. Thanks for keeping it up. I check for updates maybe too often and use your blogroll pretty much as an internet hub for places to go (There’s only really ThinkProgress that’s not on your list that I go to). If you decide to ever take a break from this site (Or make a break), it’ll be well deserved.

  229. Gay culture didn’t lose its political edge, gay media went bankrupt. I’ve been telling for folks for years that none of us can afford to keep doing this much longer. I’ve spent probably $50,000 of my own money keeping this site alive, at a loss, the past five years, earning what I did in 1989 fresh out of school. Gay media is dead because media is in financial trouble. But there is also, as you note, the issue of a new generation of gays, who didn’t lose all their friends to AIDS, perhaps not fully appreciating what motivated a generation of activists before.

  230. SFExPat says:

    Over my metaphorically dead body. I am a gay transman, not an activist now (in my younger days I was) but I do have the proverbial dog in this fight. I have represented all initials in the alphabet soup throughout my 60 years on this planet at one time or another. Do you actually know any trans* people? Get an effing clue.

  231. Guess what? I just inquired and it appears the executive order may have some religious exemption problems too. Yes, that document we’ve been demanding he sign for years we might now be opposed to. At some point, we need to make up our mind as to which legislation we’re for and which we’re against. Because yelling at people to pass specific bills, and sign specific executive orders, and then constantly changing our minds at the last minute, is not the way to win our rights.

  232. religion is insane says:

    Buzz LGBT is quite good . Queerty becomes more like gay porn site with frequent nuked photos.

  233. Bill_Perdue says:

    As long as there are cults who promote hatred and capitalists who profit from discrimination and politicians who pander to both there will be LGBT communities and movements.

    The fight for marriage equality, imposed on us by the Clintons, the Bushes and Obama is making huge strides. It’s a movement we should support because it affects huge numbers of working class members of our communities. And that’s in spite of the fact that marriage is not exactly the best form of partnering.

    Next on the agenda is ENDA, after it’s cleansed of all the religious exemptions inserted by Democrats or even better, a robust, inclusive Civil Rights Amendment covering employment, housing, hate speech and crimes and public services for our communities, women, people of color and immigrant/imported workers.

    In the meantime, if it’s not too much trouble

  234. AndyinChicago says:

    I think I can kinda see both sides on this issue, although I have a clear allegiance. When gay rights become the norm, instead of the larger gay community being oppressed, members who belong to other oppressed minority groups still feel the burn of other forms of discrimination while a lot of gay white males lose their ability to empathize. I’ve been told by gay friends that they don’t really see the need to right for trans rights because it’s a whole different issue. People of my generation, who came of age in the late nineties and early aughts often don’t have that experience of being the other, especially if they come from the middle or upper class.

    It doesn’t make it right to turn on the people who’ve come before and who’ve fought the battle up to this point. Activists targeting Dan Savage or other seemingly gay-establishment types see the world as it is now and seem to want to forget where we came from and how much has been lost to get here. There is a loss of urgency among a lot of gays that’s being projected onto the leaders of our community.

    I’m also curious about how the gay media is affecting the situation. If you google gay news, the two sites that come up the most are Queerty and Towleroad. Both to different extents seem to focus on the upper-middle class white gays that seem not to face huge levels of oppression anymore. While I think Towleroad avoids this, Queerty seems to only focus on the now, and will avoid any controversy. For instance, during the Stoli Boycott’s peak (Which should still be happening), Queerty continued to advertise for Stoli and feature Stoli events. Gay newspapers seem less common recently as well. I’m seeing more magazines that just show the club scene around Chicago and less political papers like the Windy City Times, while I remember even 5 years ago there being multiple political gay papers around Chicago. It seems gay culture has lost it’s political edge since marriage has a seemingly inevitable trajectory (Never-mind that we still don’t have ENDA), and I think that’s reflected in the mainstream gay media.

  235. Mike in Houston says:

    Interesting the experiential differences between different parts of the country. It seems that a great deal of the “sturm & drang” happens in what most folks who identify LGBT consider “safe havens” — SF, DC, NY, Chicago, etc. — places that have (for the most part) completed their work towards legally-based civil equality.

    Or maybe I’m biased, but the Houston experience has been a bit different. The trans community here doesn’t seem to be filled with the kind of strident anti-cis-gay-white-male militancy that you see elsewhere. Perhaps because there’s a real balance in local leadership between trans men & women… or maybe because our backs are still up against it in many ways.

    When Houston recently passed its equal rights ordinance, the anti-LGBT crowd chose to focus on transgenders in the bathrooms — and really side-stepped the LGB issues for the most part. One Council Member even went so far as to say that the Council would have nearly unanimously passed the ordinance were it not for transgender protections.

    If the trans community ever needs to be reminded that the LGB part of the LGBT community are still allies in the fight, point them to the hundreds of LGB and T folks who stood up and were counted in Council testimony:

    I’m not saying that we’ve figured it all out here in Houston, but our little segment of LGBT America seems to get along better than most.

  236. Matt Booth says:

    People don’t know what it was like not that long ago. Lights suddenly turn up in the bar and the police walk in. No reason. Just looking. Making notes. People don’t know what it’s like to be fired from your job for no reason. If you did get arrested (for doing nothing) they put your name in the police log of the newspaper. Wednesday morning your friend from down the street shows you a letter mailed to everyone (except you) from the Baptist church a block over naming you and all the other queers that ended up in jail. Friday morning your landlord says you have to move. Why do you think there are still gay ghettos? We have all ended up living in or near one for safety. Those days are not over. It’s still happening. Just more subtle. The gay movement will never end. Hate last forever. As long as it does, we will always be fighting. Just because a federal judge sides with us do you think it will end? Ask the black community if their fight for equality has ended? Ask them how they feel to be denied the right to vote, again. Don’t worry Mr. Aravosis. Your blog will have endless stories to tell.

  237. cole3244 says:

    as an outsider to the lgbt community i hope they don’t turn on each other and make the haters job easier to isolate them and portray them as different from the whole.

    no matter the size of a group what should make any group an outlier is the agenda that group promotes and in america the haters are the outliers and should be treated as such regardless of their numbers.

    the enemy to advancement here and everywhere is the religious conservative zealot no matter the country, ethnicity, or religious preference, which i might add is a choice.

  238. Denguyfl says:

    The needs of a minority community in regards to sexual orientation and a minority community as to gender identity will never align. Nor should they. We are 2 completely different communities with 2 different experiences. We can be allies but we must not dictate to the other or we go nowhere. Until we are grown up to realize that it isn’t a zero sum game and that our breakthroughs can lead to theirs or vice versa, we will be fighting with each other and not fighting the larger battles. It is a great alliance that can push both movements forward but it is not nor should it be one single LGBTQQIA2 ad infinitem community. Otherwise the only fronts that will be fought on are the ones where all align and no issue will meet that test.

  239. caphillprof says:

    If there is a trans community, and if that community desires to make social progress, then that community must be adult enough to intervene when children throw tantrums.

    I also question the efficacy on waging any battle over pronouns, specifically the notion that any human being should ever, in English, be referred to as an “it.” [S&M being the obvious exception.]

    Unless a trans community can develop an acceptable vocabulary that does not insult standard English, they cannot expect allies in their fight for social justice.

    The way this is heading is for the T to be removed from the GLBQ community.

  240. dcinsider says:

    I get this argument but does that mean that all advances must be tied to all members of “the community?”

    I am not going to win the battle that gender identity is NOT sexual orientation, which are two entirely different matters. Although I reject gender identity as a necessary component of the issues I have fought my entire adult life for, and although I reject the idea that gender identity MUST be part of our community, the younger generation disagrees, and they will define this term going forward. That is our reality.

    The real issue remains that if you are going to have this large tent, it seems to me that the parties in that tent need to grow the fuck up or get the hell out. This absurd infighting and hyper-sensitivity is counterproductive. If some of the younger folks in the gender identity movement cannot accept those terms, we need to jettison them.

  241. cambridgemac says:

    Good article, John. A couple of additional factors to consider in this complex issue: first, the age and maturity of the trans activist. In 2009 when I was organizing a LGBT community course on the history of the Safe Schools movement, which began here in Massachusetts, a young transman activist whom I’ve come to respect a lot came to my house for a discussion that began with him complaining that our program had not put resources into the trans community. I explained to him that I was the resource – period; there were no funds or important backers, and so on. He already had community organizing experience and a sense of humor and he got it.

    As we were talking, though, I remembered a time 20 years earlier (1987) when, as Volunteer Director for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts I had organized my first weekend volunteer training and had prepared – myself because I was short on volunteers – meals for the group, being careful to include some vegetarian options. One young attendee went off on the evaluation form because there were no vegan options. Sigh.

    The other factor is the charged relationship of LGBT people to issues of power and resources. My lesbian friends reminisce wryly about the compulsive inclusiveness of the late 60s and 70s. Back then, living in a house with 5 women (4 lesbians), I used to wisecrack that any group lacking a left-handed Chinese bagpipe player was exclusive and patriarchal. Anyway, once I got involved in AIDS activism in the 80s, I learned from Eric Rofes, then at the SF AIDS Foundation, that issues of power and resentment could not be avoided in LGBT activism and not laughed off – especially because they are not easily named. Because of our experience of authorities as dangerous and violent and our success (as L,G and B, but perhaps not T) in evading, subverting, and pretending to conform, we don’t approach conflict and disagreement as the beginning of creative problem-solving. Many of us default to a zero-sum, blaming mindset: if I’m upset or feeling wounded, YOU must be an abuser who is intentionally “making” me feel that way. This is a recipe for confrontation and drama, not community-building.

  242. CPT_Doom says:

    I certainly don’t condone the behavior of any activists targeting, of all people, Dan Savage. I get it that he grates on some people, and there are those who don’t like confrontational politics, but for Savage to be criticized for not supporting or defending this community is simply ridiculous, as are the allegations about this latest event.

    However, if you are seriously asking the question “what makes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people (and intersex people, and asexuals, and many others) all one community?” I think the answer is clear – and ironically it’s gender. That’s because all of us (with the possible exception of asexual people) violate the rigid gender norms of our society in some way. I’m also convinced that, biologically, the processes by which people become LGBTI are similar, in that the mechanism by which a fetus is “gendered” doesn’t work as planned, so we end up in a different place on the gender continuum.

  243. bkmn says:

    There are some people that thrive on feeling that they are an outsider. I think that Hex may fit into that classification. Others that might be included are people like Robert Oscar Lopez who to this day fights LGBT parenting, the Tea party, GOProud and their kissing cousins Log Cabin Republicans and many others who see progress toward equality as an affront to their sense of who they are.

  244. heimaey says:

    Good points John. I think that kids today still go through what you went through, there are just way fewer and a lot more resources. What’s happening is a shame. It’s like the tea party…

  245. dcinsider says:


    I posted this on a previous column dealing with the Dan Savage issue. I am re-posting it here, because I think it relates to your very important question raised in this excellent column. Thank you for taking this on.

    “Transgender people have the right to get upset at word usage when it is used in a deliberately offensive manner. They do not, however, have the right to police the planet on word choice. Being able to say simply “we prefer the word transgender to tranny” would suffice. Throwing a hissy fit and feigning the vapors over its use in appropriate dialogue is nothing less than attention seeking, and not worthy of recognition.

    This, of course, raises the larger point, which is the aggressive manner in which transgender people have attached themselves to the gay rights movement, demanded that we change our political course to suit their needs, and created an atmosphere of hyper-sensitivity on every topic involving gender identity.

    I have given up the battle that gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation, not because I was wrong, but because that train left the station and we are stuck with the gender identity police whether we like it or not. So we must focus on a way to co-exist. The current way is not working. It seems that a very vocal (minority or majority I don’t know) of transgendered people are spending more of their time criticizing gays and lesbians and our collective insensitivity to their issues than they are focusing on winning the external battle.

    The new mantra is that gays and lesbians are not permitted to seek any legal right without the weighty anchor of gender identity attached to that effort. The most egregious example of this occurred in New Hampshire, and was utterly ignored by this blog and other gay media, probably for fear that the gender identity police would attack.

    The bill would have added “sexual orientation” to the New Hampshire Constitution, offering the first in the nation constitutional level protection for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. It passed the New Hampshire Senate in March of this year, BUT WAS KILLED in the House, not because of opposition to the bill from religious conservatives, but by the transgender community.

    “A proposed amendment to New Hampshire’s constitution that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation divided gay activists Wednesday because it does not cover transgender individuals.”

    This is the same attitude that killed ENDA because its protections were not extended specifically to transgender individuals.

    However, this does not work both ways. Transgender activists were successful in a federal proceeding by extending gender protections of Title VII to transgender individuals. Gays and lesbians have no such Title VII protection, but did not intervene to appeal the pro-transgender ruling, even though it did not include our protections.

    I find it appalling and unforgivable that we would deny ourselves the protections of the New Hampshire Constitution because some people felt it was not “inclusive” enough. What kind of friend holds back another friend in their advance? What type of ally opposes a measure as groundbreaking as this for purely selfish reasons?

    If transgender people are truly part of our community as I am frequently told, I suggest they begin acting like that. Enough whining, enough finger-pointing, and enough selfish back-stabbing. Right now, given that two major pieces of legislation were effectively killed by our so called allies, I think it is high time we had a very frank, very open, and very difficult discussion about the level of support we receive from transgender individuals, and whether this continued “partnership” has any value at all.”

© 2020 AMERICAblog Media, LLC. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS