Friday, May 27, 2011

Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex, Intergender, Asexual: what perspectives and activist agendas from each group do you support?

image of book written by Leslie Feinberg, is from here

Why aren't Leslie Feinberg, Dean Spade, and dedgurl invited to speak about transgender realities on corporate talk shows and news magazine programs? Why aren't their ideas discussed at liberal blogs online?

Why won't non-trans politically aware people question, with respect and regard, the problematic issues surrounding the term "cisgender"? Why the liberal acceptance without interrogation? Is it really because they are afraid to be termed "transphobic"? It doesn't seem to stop people from questioning radical feminists. They don't seem so afraid to be termed "anti-radical" and "anti-feminist".

I'm noticing how on liberal blogs, only the most conservative-to-liberal views and agendas coming from Lesbian, Gay, Bi, and Trans folks is being accepted and promoted, while all the rest that is rising out of our LGBTIA groups is being disregarded.

For example, het people--women and men--are embracing the most conservative trans perspectives (on what it means to be trans). The views expressed here are not discussed, nor are those promoted by dedgurl. Why is that, do you think? I'm not so concerned with getting those bloggers and commenters over here. I'm concerned that "being trans" is being shaped only by sex- and gender-conservatives and liberals, which means the deeper issues and questions are not going to be asked among non-trans liberals. How can non-trans people support our struggles if they refuse to see who we are in all our diversity? How can we craft our political strategies if most of us are only exposed to liberal understandings of who we are?

Why are radical perspectives on transgender being and transsexual experience being ignored or non engaged with? Is it because radicals don't have the social-cultural clout to speak with truth? Or is it that liberal-to-conservative trans folks are viewed as being the people liberal non-trans people most want to please or not offend?

There are many views out there about gender and race, about class and ethnicity. Some people, twisting the spiritual meaning of Lady Gaga's hit song, "Born This Way", think we are born queer. But being queer and being non-queer are identities and realities that are relative within any given society. These experiences don't have uniformity or consistency across region and era. So how can they all arrive with us as we take our first breaths of air?

I want this blog to be one of a at least a few blogging spaces that takes up the deeper questions that liberals refuse or simply won't ask themselves about us. How is it that we identify as we do? What are the forces which shape our understandings of ourselves?

When some of us say we feel like we were born in the wrong body, what does that mean? What do we learn having a male body feels like or is supposed to do? How does learning what male- and female- bodied people do shape how we feel in our own? If we are raised to believe males feel one way and females feel another, and we feel more like those people who don't have bodies like ours, how does that contribute to gender dysmorphia? What about intersex people who are not transsexual? Where are the voices of intersex and intergender people in these conversations?

If CRAP-loaded media will only cover stories about trans people if the people adhere to the most conservative understandings of sex and gender, what ought that teach us about who--trans or not--gets publicly validated socially?

I welcome all radical, revolutionary trans people to gather here to discuss our issues and to ask the deepest questions, not pretending our experiences are determined for us at birth or only by biology.

Here's a viewpoint:
Because gender--however we experience it--is at least partially socially constructed, we cannot resort to using biologically deterministic (aka, "essentialist") arguments for our existence. Our existence is part of the fabric of the dominant and non-dominant societies and cultures we live in, sometimes facing a great deal of violence within them. What I see is that for someone who is transgender or transsexual to be partially accepted, they must adhere to the most conservative, heteropatriarchal views and opinions about gender. This does those of us working to dismantle the status quo not much good at all. It undermines our efforts.

I don't see conservative trans people as my enemy. I see the conservative to liberal viewpoints as oppressive to most females, trans or not.

I see that only some ways of understanding and experiencing "being trans" is welcomed to appear in mass media. Dominant, anti-Indigenist, racist, misogynist, anti-Lesbian views are interpersonally enforced, socially entrenched, and politically institutionalised and can't move us out of the CRAP we're in. I strongly believe that.

Those views, values, and political agendas which flow from them and work to structure our reality ought not be accepted without the deepest interrogations. The interrogations are happening but because so many liberals are afraid of being termed "transphobic", only a handful of people, in my experience, are willing to ask and attempt to answer the most difficult questions before us: why are we all the way we are, how do social and economic institutions effect who and what we are, and how do we radically transform or dismantle those institutions so that we are freer to determine our collective lives? And, especially, how do we do this with accountability to those we oppress? How do we work with LGBTIA groups, however they identify themselves, and queer populations (beyond the white Western het male supremacist media's world) who do not get coverage or support at all?

I hope to generate a pro-woman, pro-trans, pro-radical, pro-revolution conversation here. If someone submits an anti-trans or anti-feminist response, I may copy and paste only the non-bigoted, not harmful parts and post them below.


Dark Daughta said...

It sounds as if you're stepping into something most of us, myself included, have not felt prepared to absorb the consequences of. There is a rising. Something is unfolding in queer communities I can only understand from my perspective. I do err on the side of the liberal but with a critique that still tells me "spidey senses tingling". I remember one of the lesbian separatists online asking how is it that a hegemonic power structure that ignores and/or pathologizes the needs, lives and health of lesbian communities ends up being so crucial, so integral to the formation, the definition, the validation of people who in another era, in times past would have self identified as dykes, butches, flaming gay men, drag queens, crossdressers, anything that still spoke to being born in the "right" bodies? Why/how have the hospital corp, the pharma corp and the psychobabble doctors ended up being important, necessary handmaidens, midwives at the birth of a whole new grouping in communities that would have formerly been terrified to go near any of them? That's a big paraphrase but this is me saying there is part of me, because of who I am and how my identity works, that does believe in live and let live. Then there is another part of me that sees contradictory, odd, problematic mess on a scale we don't yet comprehend when I see it. Bad, bad darkdaughta. Wrote that out in public. Heaven knows who will decide to not engage with me when next they pass me on the sidewalk. :)

Julian Real said...

I hope they throw their arms open and offer you a big, cozy, warm hug. But that's just me... well, hopefully not JUST me!! :)

Dark Daughta said...

:) Oh, they already don't say hi. S'aright.

Julian Real said...

Well, screw 'em. Or not. At any rate, my arms are open. Not to the people who won't give you the time of day though. Not to the people who cannot or will not see you as a leader.