Mercedes Allen

HRC and the Need for a "Second Stonewall"

Filed By Mercedes Allen | July 27, 2008 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: HRC, Stonewall, transgender

"The rage against the HRC is not fuelled by one deception last year, but by a legacy of exclusion.... The HRC's insistence on adhering to the old patterns of disregard is why a second Stonewall has literally erupted at their door."

There's a pattern of victimization that happens to girls in some parts of the sex trade. It begins when they hook up with someone for the "fun" (drugs) they have to offer. Things are nice for awhile and then, in a fit of anger, he beats her up, opines about how she's cost him so much money (later the suggestion is about how she should earn it back), etc. Usually, she runs away but doesn't have a whole lot of places to go, and that draw toward the escape that he offers brings her back. After he's beat her up a few times and she's kept coming back, he's "got" her and knows that he can do whatever he bloody well pleases with her.

I mean no disrespect or the obvious connotations when applying the analogy to transfolk returning to the arms of the HRC. I know their motives are to make a change, and not a "whorish" sell-out. A few in particular I know will do their best to keep the HRC on their toes. It's simply the analogy that comes to mind most vividly.

Transfolk, and the gays and lesbians who've grown impatient with them, need to keep something in mind: the events of 2007 and 2008 -- particularily revolving around the ENDA debate -- are currently poised to go down in our history as a second, non-violent Stonewall.

That may sound a tad overdramatic, but the advent of UnitedENDA signalled a major change within the national GLB community, while the trans community has continued to become empowered in other ways. The rage against the HRC is not fuelled by one deception last year, but by a legacy of exclusion both by the HRC itself (former director Elizabeth Birch: "trans inclusion will be a legislative priority over my dead body") and the larger GLB community, dating back to Sylvia Rivera's expulsion in 1972 and 1973 from organizations she helped to found. The larger community has realized the error and made a conscious and sincere effort to change it. The HRC's insistence on adhering to the old patterns of disregard is why a second Stonewall has literally erupted at their door.

Except that this event could be rendered meaningless if we keep going back to the abuser, without a visible, conciliatory (i.e. not token gesture) change in HRC administration. Saying they "misspoke" again is not the same as an indicator of real and lasting change.

Make no mistake: HRC's "Project Win-Back" is not primarily about bringing transfolk back into the fold. If it were, there would have been an apology, a vow to change... shit, anyone can make an insincere show of that, if that was what was wanted. The HRC doesn't need to win back the trans community -- in fact, many hardline GLB people feel there's no worthwhile financial gain, community need or volunteerism to be gained for doing so. The HRC only needs to dress up and look nice for the judge... their donor constituency. "Project Win-Back" is designed to give the surface appearance of change in order to win back the gay and lesbian supporters of trans people so that they can paint themselves as the victims in the ongoing conflict. And it is working.

Again, I don't want to overlook the support that has grown both from the grassroots GLB communities and from national organizations. These groups need and deserve our support. And on top of that, if we are to expect them to boycott the HRC also, then we need to be prepared to make up whatever shortfall (in donations, participation, organization and creating opportunity) that these organizations are going to experience from doing so. If we can't... well, we may have to bite our tongues on that one. We want their support, not for them to sacrifice themselves. This is especially important when we realize that we don't even know if it's a majority of the GLBT community that supports trans inclusion or a minority.

It also needs to be recognized that the trans "community" is not without its challenges, especially when it seems like no two radicals can agree on anything, and attempting to organize is (like many have independently commented to me) like herding cats. In the growing pains of self-definition that have developed over recent years, the infighting is something that we earnestly need to address.

But this "Stonewall" is still largely about a legacy of exclusion. It's about Patrick Califia transitioning instantly from a highly respected lesbian writer to a forgotten and exiled pariah, the moment he came out as a transman. It's about Janice Raymond's transgender boogeyman still surviving in the form of "The Gendercator." It's about earlier top-down managed, patronizing, parent-minded GLBT organizations establishing token committees and work groups as ways of putting transfolk "over there" so they don't interact with the general population. And it (usually) carries along with it the empathy of gay and lesbian people who still remember when the "butch" and "femme" lesbians were ejected from movements that they were the earliest supporters of and when effeminate men were written off as an "embarassment" and a "parody" of what gay liberation was supposed to be about. That "tranny infighting" people see now is not altogether different from the gay community's own growing pains.

My first and fundamental impulses have always been toward respect, acceptance and unity. I think my previous writings have borne this out. But there is a time when it is not appropriate to take the abuse and keep going back.

But then, I'm Canadian, so all I can do in this matter is comment as an unaffected, independent observer. And then, all I can do is step back and let people go their own way. Which is why I will essentially be leaving this discussion now to the people it affects.

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Thanks for bringing this up. I think the greater LGB and Queer communities need to hold HRC responsible for the way their continual exclusion of those who don't fit their political agenda of heteronormative homo acceptance.

I was at Boston Pride in June, and was approached by a sweet-faced blonde boy. He wanted to talk to me about employment discrimination, and (of course) wanted me to give HRC my money. I let him give me his schpiel, and a friend I was with declined politely. However after glancing at their donation literature and seeing that it was covered in talk of supporting the trans and bi communities, I decided to give him a piece of my mind. I explained to him, in no uncertain terms, that HRC would not be receiving my money until they shaped up - for real. And that, instead of giving him the $30 he wanted, I was donating to SRLP. He was actually nearly speechless, but he smiled politely as though he agreed, and turned away.

As he walked away, I overheard him and another HRC volunteer talking to each other about how surprisingly difficult it was to get donations - at Pride of all places! Nobody seemed to like or support HRC anymore, they observed.

I rejoiced a bit, because if enough people at Boston Pride were telling HRC off, maybe HRC would actually start listening.

But, I figure, whether or not they wise up, SRLP still needs my money more than HRC, and is far more deserving.

I was at "Left Out" last night, and spoke with a member of the SFO HRC dinner committee who had wandered across Powell street to see what the ruckus was all about for himself.

He had drunk deeply of the HRC incrementalist kool-aid -- Gays had made all the advancements, trans should be grateful for what they were given or go get their own. It made no sense to delay the rights for 'millions' if including trans would mean that no one would get any rights. You know the rest.

I reminded him that at Stonewall, the police had let go the gender conforming and detained and targeted the gender-defying for harassment and beatings. I reminded him that the Gay Power movement had started with many trans folks, but around 1972, they were summarily and systematically expelled from the now viable organization.

He said that 20 years ago it was like for Gay People the same way it is like for trans people now. I said that 20 years ago, a straight-acting and -appearing gay or lesbian could fabricate a false but conforming past -- complete with a spouse (either imaginary or 'marrying for cover',) and would have a good chance of avoiding detection. A trans person undergoing transition today has no such opportunity to 'hide in plain sight.'

I asked him what should be done for those trans who were denied work, such as one woman I'd met earlier on the picket line. He said something about 'right to work', but I didn't listen closely to his exact words as I was hearing the subtext of 'tough noogies' and 'suck it up and act straight if you have to.'

Over at in the comments is this nugget. I can't vouch for the veracity, but it should be checked out:

63 year old lesbian dragged out of event What follows is what a friend wrote me late last night:

Around 7:00 I sat at table #72 (which was in the back row). I listened to Diego Sanchez's speech. During Joe Solomonese's talk I left my seat and walked towards the tables in front of me with the intent of distributing printed materials. At this point 2-3 large men accosted me. I don't remember their exact words but I quietly said that I had bought a ticket and had the right to be there. I began to place printed material on a table when I was grabbed roughly by at least 2 men (who I think were behind me). One of them put my right arm in an armlock behind my back and up and bent my right wrist with tremendous force. I was also held by both arms (with force enough around both upper arms that I had bruises within 20 minutes).

At some point I was knocked to the ground and dragged out of the dining area into the outer room where they lifted me to my feet but did not let go. I then said to them-"let me go I will leave (we were walking to a stairwell). They did not let go and dragged me off my feet again and down the stairs to the exit on post street."

I have huge bruises on my arms and a shoulder that feels like it was half pulled out of it's socket. Years ago I was thrown out of the st francis by SFPD and they didn't hurt me at all. These are a company of private goons hired by Human Rights Campaign to police their event.

HRC is afraid of peoples' protests and they can't afford their donors getting information.

Finally, I spoke with non-partricipants viewing the Left Out event from the periphery. I asked them if they knew what was going on. None was aware of trans rights, or ENDA or that HRC was inside the hotel, or what HRC did, or that that was why we were outside. I speed educated those who were polite enough to show or feign interest.

There's a LOT of ed-ja-ma-ka-tin to do...

Hazumu Osaragi

Second Stonewall? You may be over-exaggerating - but you may just be ahead of the curve. After all, how much of the press coverage (even the gay press coverage) of Stonewall really grasped what it meant?

Anyway - thanks for this post, Mercedes.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | July 27, 2008 9:15 PM

I'm with you on this, Mercedes.

Any activist who's been involved in the struggle for LGBT rights for more than 20 years--in other words, anyone with an historic perspective--knows that the effort to exclude trans folks from the so-called "lesbian and gay mainstream" has been a periodic and ongoing feature of the movement. Sometimes the accusations have been against "diesel dykes," or "nelly drag-queens," who "embarrass us all." Other times, like the latest ENDA debacle, it's "the trannies" who "are the problem."

What remains consistent, however, are the timing and the arguments. The effort to oust us occurs when we least expect it, when we've lulled ourselves into believing that we've finally put that particular bugaboo to bed and are ready to move on to the important battles for our rights. Suddenly, we're told that we're a liability holding the majority back, that we're trying to skate by on all "their" hard work. But, "don't worry, they'll come back for us."

Ultimately, the question that the HRC and others who argue against trans inclusion cannot answer is WHY we have to keep legitimizing our inclusion in a movement we have been on the front-lines of from day one. And this is precisely why they rewrite history.

The HRC will not get my respect, money, nor active support until they prove through their actions that they genuinely support and are willing to fight for trans inclusion. Sadly, that day has not yet come.

I'm waiting for the first brick to be thrown through HRC's corporate windows before I call this the second Stonewall.

Nerissa Belcher | July 28, 2008 1:42 AM

As usual I agree with your post, Mercedes. I would like to add that the MTF TSs who insist on going back to HRC are the ones with a long history of doing any and everything to assuage their fragile egos as to their self-importance. For them HRC is not about GLBT rights. HRC is simply a vehicle for them to have their visibility fix.

Project Win Back is exactly about getting back gay and lesbian support for HRC and it will work.

Transgender people are their own worst enemies, that's why. (almost all of this is MtF specific)

You absolutely will not compromise..on anything.

You absolutely refuse to grant others the right to self identify.

You make mountain issues out of molehills that guarantee an eventual backlash literally handing your opponents the weapons to use against you.

You make enemies of those who were inclined to be on your side. You are absolute geniuses at this one.

You make everything about you.....never seem willing to support the greater issues of those you demand include you.

And worst of all, you clearly are more interested in imposition of your world vision on those you claim to represent and use the worst tools of oppression to do so.

It's not all about the trans
It's rarely about the bathrooms
If you wish the right to self-identify you must be willing to grant that to others first.

battybattybats battybattybats | July 28, 2008 6:54 AM

Hi Cathryn.

It's time to end these conflicts.

I'm a transgender person.

I DO respect your right to self-identify.

I aim to work for universal rights and equality. To meet not just my needs but yours and everyone elses too.

So why don't we work together? Why don't we help break down the walls of missunderstanding and ideology, build bridges, build respect for one another and work together on both the shared issues and our individual issues.

It's surely time for peace don't you agree Cathryn? For working together.

Before scientists knew how dangerous enriched uranium was, they would take two pieces of the metal and hold them close enough to form sparks and light between them. They called that, "Tickling the Dragon's tail." I suggest you move the uranium pieces apart and walk away.

battybattybats battybattybats | July 28, 2008 7:24 AM

Sorry Monica but I'm an idealist.

At the very least it's right for me to honestly try and that's what I'm doing.

And if Cathryn takes my offer, if she can learn I'm not some monster just because I'm a crossdresser, just because I don't fit into the gender binary then we can all stop wasting energy on internecine conflicts and instead work together to get equality fairness and justice.

How did this get to be about HBS again?

I've said it before, I support the rights of women of transsexual history to identify simply as women (and not have to still identify as transanything), just like I feel we all earn a right to "stealth" if we choose it. The trouble is that to HBS people, often your right to self-identify means that I should relinquish any and all advocacy for transsexuals, of whom I am also one, and of whom I am involved with support -- so that you will not be tarnished by association with me. That's where we disagree.

But this is off-topic. I invite you to discuss it off-list with myself and any who so choose, but that's not what the original post was.


I did NOT mention HBS
I did NOT mention women of transsexual history
I did NOT mention transsexuality

I posted my comments as a feminist woman viewed totally outside any trans community since it has been made abundantly clear to me I have no place there....

Read my post as if it came from a gay man or a lesbian woman or a straight woman or whatever.....maybe, just maybe you will then get the point.

As I have been quoted before as saying how does being associated with the lgb do anything for my rights as a heterosexual identifying Ts.I have the right to jump thru the hurdles placed upon us by insurers and the medical community.The state I'm born in allows me to amend my birth certificate and to wed if I so choose.The fight for gay marriage and the association with the lgb threatens those rights and leads people to assume we are gay.I believe that very association is partly responsible for the attitude that xy equals male and that xx equals female in all instances without allowance for physical and psychological variation.If we TS identified individuals are to get any respect from the lgb and put an end to the confusion the lgb must recognize those Ts individuals who identify as gay with in there respective sub group wether it be l,g or b.If a post op mtf woman identifys as lesbian then that is what she is.If a transman identifys as a gay man then he's a gay man.I support my TS and non ts LGB sisters and brothers in there quest to simply be identified as who they are and to have their relationships recognized but I have to ask myself at what point does it come at a cost that is unfair to me.Throw on top of that all the tg identified people and andrognous appearing individuals that no one wants to claim as belonging to there group and you have a problem much bigger than trying to herd cats.Amy


if all it would take is a brick through the window, it would have already been done. if life were so simple....

HRC, IMHO, actually has created a revolution within the GLBT movement by their support of exclusion of gender identity and expression in the ENDA.

the revolution i am speaking of has manifested itself in the creation of united enda. it is a representation of the largest portion of our community standing firm and declaring that this exclusion will no longer be accepted or tolerated.

the cats are out of the bag. they will not be herded back into it. yes, a few might return to the warmth, comfort, and security that will allow HRC - with their infinite wisdom,experience,and resources - to make decisions for them about who will receive which equality when. i don't believe that those who follow that path will be pleased with the outcome. and i believe that this is the opinion that the majority now possess. but, hey, that is only my opinion.

But Amy, a good portion of us ARE gay, lesbian or bisexual. We are part of the LGB by default. To ignore it is like someone try to say it shouldn't exist. This is not a realistic viewpoint. Are you advicating that just because some trans people are straight that the entire community should not fight for marriage equality or employment equality? I could have misread what you wrote.

Hi, Cathryn;

I've been following your debate with Nichole over at Susans. I realize that many in our society see different areas as compartmentalized and distinct from one another -- thus, there are those who believe in home/family ethics, which are distinct from church ethics, which are distinct from work/business ethics.

This is often done to facilitate and condone in onesself behaviour they would not engage in if their family were viewing. However, the ethisist Michael Josephson said it best, "Ethics is ethics, is ethics." Meaning that you don't behave one way in one place and then give yourself a different set of rules in another house because they let you or because you can get away with it or because you feel you are somehow justified in making your position prevail, or if not, being 'trapdoored' as a 'sour grapes' way to sustain your ego.

Ethics is ethics, is ethics. Different house, same rules.

Here's the question Nichole asked you, of which you answered 'yes';

Are you at all willing to take a first step, and even though it might burn your own heart, can you forgive others so that you and they might find a way to work together?

Our community is so small, we need uniters, not dividers.

Thank you for sharing Michael's quote! We started posting audio of his commentaries on a new youtube channel - If you end up posting any of the videos, share the link with us via twitter at



Please reread comment #10.


I am not part of your community. I wish it no ill, but it never had any place at all for me, supported me in any fashion or even had a kind word for me.

When I first transitioned I was rejected by the entire local trans community because I wouldn't join the local gender program cult.....

I was welcomed into the local lesbian and bi women's communities.......I never learned to think like a tranny.


The uranium analogy is flawed. Those two pieces that must at all costs be separated are all of a kind -- a very high concentration of the fissionable U-235 isotope. The two pieces in and of themselves were designed to be of sub-critical mass. But it was all the same stuff.

The dangers are in monolithics, say like a farmer that bets his entire fortune on a monocropped hybrid corn year after year. As the soil is depleted of nutrients, and as the pests develop a tolerance and even a liking for the stuff, he sees decreasing yields. Rotating crops (including nitrogen-fixing crops) will sustain his yields, though. And even better is planting diverse crops with complementary qualities side-by-side.
I would like to see posts in this topic with few or no 'you' statements and a plethora of 'I' statements. "You" statements are pointing fingers and admonishment and talking down to others. I don't like being talked down to.

Cathryn, I (me and no one else) respectfully disagree with your position. It's an interesting academic position, and, as my mom told me she took DES when pregnant with me, I feel I can claim membership. But I see no benefit.

George Lakoff suggested that on any issue, such as abortion, 40% so firmly believe it is wrong they will NEVER be convinced that it should be available, and 40% believe it is necessary and will NEVER be convinced it should be banned. That leaves the 20 percent who matter, the ones who can be persuaded one direction or another.

But this bickering is leaving a bitter taste in the mouth towards trans-anything in general, and is tending to push them towards "maybe they're not ready for equality." I can make this generalstatement because I've read the comments by gays and lesbians when this flamewar has broken out in the recent past. And it happened right here at Bilerico, as well as other LGBT-inclusive sites.

Cathryn, your behaviour here in front of potential gay and lesbian allies is embarrassing me. I feel it's making me appear separate from the gays and lesbians who could otherwise be my allies.


Do you want a good example of why the HRC will remain dominant over more"T" friendly lobbying assets?

This sort of, well, what did Monica refer to?
Oh yes, Uranium approaching critical mass.

There is a fracture line running between the LGB and T community over some issues, at least parts, and another fracture line running in the T community where there is basically a "trans war" going on.

Til it is settled, I do not see that the T community will be able to cohesively oppose the HRC or build LASTING alliances to deal with it.

It will be the HRC in dominance for at least another 10 years.

And honestly, watching the tactics in the TS/TG war, I am unsure of whether or not I would want to be in an organisation with larger T influences. I've seen way too much silencing of opposition from both sides, ignoring the rift, and claiming primacy.

Monica a gay male who chooses to dress in female attire is still a gay male and the same line of thinking would apply to an androgenous lesbian she's still a woman.Their need is two fold one to be accepted as equals within the lgb and to also have their right to dress as they choose protected.Both those needs should be addressed by the lgb not the T.Those in the lgb that are pushing them into the T should be ashamed of how poorly they've treated their cross dressing brothers and sisters.Again a Ts woman or man who is post op, may have a T past but they are now legally their assigned sex and if they are oriented towards relations of the same sex they are lesbian or gay.By lumping all gender variant people under one umbrella then attaching it to the lgb it gives the impression that all mtf and ftm transexuals are gay outcasts and adds to the belief we are simply looking for ways to bed the heterosexual population or are sexual deviants who will bed anything that moves and is warm.Ts issues at the base level are related to gender issues not sexual prefence,sexual preference is an issue that should be addressed seperately.Not addressing them seperately confuses people and limits both the T's and the lgb's chances of gaining rights.Someone choosing to use the term TS or Transexual in association with gay rights isn't speaking for me or looking out for my best interest or the best interest of the lgb and those who've been pushed under the term transgender.Someone once told me that gay marriage would guaranty my right to have my marriage recognized, in my line of thinking if it comes at the cost of having my marriage recognized as same sex instead of between a man and a woman the price is to high.I support gay rights and gay marriage but they are a very seperate issue from ts rights and Straight post op T marriage.Amy

Monica you may email me at [email protected] to discuss my positions if you would like.I would also like to tell you about a recent negative experience that I had at the va so that others who may go might have a more positive experience.Amy

For those who didn't get the point on my uranium story, the key words were. "Tickling the Dragon's tail." I was warning those who wish to try to reason with a certain person, they are doing nothing more but "tickling the Dragon's tail." Does that help?

yes, that would make it a personal attack and against the TOS of this blog.......

Moderators..........I call foul.

battybattybats battybattybats | July 29, 2008 1:24 AM

Sorry for another OT comment.

Monica, I thought you were referring to my peace overtures not to Cathryn individually, I agree that was wrong of you.

And Cathryn you started in this discussion with a post of strong criticism that generalises all MtF Transgender people.

I suggest that is also quite bad. Especially as I have taken constant pains to post here and elsewhere about my acceptance of your self-identification. That makes your generalisation upsetting, harmful and offensive to me.

Cathryn, it's time we stopped generalising each other. It's time we stop dehumanising each other. There are many views and attitudes amongst people on both sides. Generalisation dehumanises, it de-individualises. It makes it easier to hate, easier to distance oneself from the consequences of ones words or actions.

I respect your self-identification. there is room for you in my trans community if you want it and if you don't there is still room for you in the broader community of people I talk to, listen to... even am friends with, if you want it.

People who fit into a gender binary and people who do not it seems will always exist. Both have the same human rights. Only by learning about and from each other can we understand the issues and needs of each other.

This is a war no side can win without doing enough evil as to invalidate their own position. And the next generation will have th same struggle as some people in that generation will still fit a gender binary and some still will not.

So let us start to build bridges, let us start to make peace, let us grow in understanding.

I am not a monster. Cathryn I wish you no harm at all. I want to end the persecution, the hate, the internecine conflict.

So let us start by learning about one another as two individual real human beings rather than two ideologies, rather than as dehumanised embodiments of political attitudes. As real breathing, caring, struggling, suffering human beings with virtues and flaws that want to make a better world for themselves and for others they care about.

Basketball? How did this turn into a basketball game? Oh, well.

I call "charging." My feet were firmly planted. (This is fun.)

Let's ask Charles Barkley, shall we?


Cathryn's right. As an exemplar of the axiom that I agree with -- that transfolk are their own worst enemy -- I can't fault her for it.

Bats, drop it. Its pearls, hon.

I read this entry with agreement, only to see it twisted, in one post, into something worse.

Maura nailed it: The internal war is a *war*, full of nasty stuff, for the authority that Monica spoke of.

The authority to speak for anyone who was assigned one sex and changed it later on using terminology that some will disagree with.

There are some people who still call me a mestiza, who say mulatto.

There are some people who say african american, others who say black, yet others who say things that offend the others.

They are all still the same thing. And affected by the same laws, the same rules of the game.

It is a stonewall like event, this ENDA debacle, this soon to have an anniversary occurrence.

I, for one, am thankful that those who do not wish to be trans identified are staying out of the way and not working towards things which harm our seeking rights that will protect the generations to come from sch horrible fracturing.

I am a woman. I am legally just as much a woman as anyone else of my particular background. There is no amendment to my bc. There is no questioning of my existence as such -- except by those of a particular bent that say since I *also* identify as trans, I am not woman enough to speak for them.

I am MtF -- and I was insulted.

I am willing to throw that brick. And not merely through the window of the HRC.

I think its great they are trying to "win back" their following -- it shows that they are aware they f'd up.

I'm thrilled they hired a transperson (as opposed to someone merely defined by the artificiality of surgery) as an employee.

I'm ecstatic they have chosen to make saving my marriage rights in CA a priority, since their priority is what placed them up for grabs.

I'm straight. The LGB community has never held that against me. That the bf I live with identifies as gay *might* have something to do with that, but he's closeted.

I support the goals the HRC says because I support civil rights for all human beings and all citizens. They affect me, personally, because I know that the moment my history becomes known (and I, unlike some, am not quiet about it) people's first assumption is that I'm LGB.

Just like it was at stonewall.

Cathryn, this is the lat time I will ever acknowledge you. Get over it. Not me, the whole damn thing. If you really believe as you claim, then get the hell out of trans issues.

Because they don't affect you, by your own words.

Maura, I'm sorry. She's crossed a line too many times. I don't care why any more.

Its 5:30am. I'm going to bed, and when I get up, I'm going to go and keep making a difference.

[quote]I'm thrilled they hired a transperson (as opposed to someone merely defined by the artificiality of surgery) as an employee.[/quote]

And here we have a perfect example of demeaning the womanhood of women of transsexual history. Artificiality of surgery is just another way of saying post op women aren't really women. We are sick of this, we don't get this from the general public, we only get this from TGs and the religious right. It is insulting in the extreme and the crux of our issues with TGs.

This is precisely why I'm still in this. As long as TG activist claim to speak for an entire class of people making their issues ours, we are going to oppose it. It has already caused a backlash loss of civil rights to us, it affects us.

Frankly I could give two wet handfuls of whatever about your personal opinion of me. That should have zero place in this discussion. I fully support and work for lesbian rights.

So, you are saying that every "TG activist" in the country said that and thinks that way? Funny, I don't remember saying that.

You've said worse:

“Imagine a web site where people who own fake Rolex watches discussed all the wonderful reasons for having a fake Rolex, and even put down people who either don’t own a fake Rolex, or don’t own a watch at all. They even act superior for owning something fake, even more superior than those who have real Rolexes. This is exactly how the HBS people are acting about their after-market (insert “fake”)vaginas. They may look like the real thing, but . . .”—-Monica Helms 2/12/08

:::::shaking head:::::

If I follow the premise:
The TS say that they are women and have vaginas and do not wish to be trans-identified. They have some indifference as far as the use of Bano de damas by TG's

The TG's say that the TS are not women because they have a vagina but that vagina is not real(sounds like Daly, Raymond, Greer, Bindel and the 2nd wave rad-fem-sep-les crowd to me) but that the TG's are transwomen(do I have this right) and ought to use female space and that the TS people, included as TG, have the same restrictions/benefits?

Feckin' insanity.
I need a drink..
Bil, you up for a Porters, or a Jemmies?

Incorrect. But darn good try :D

The HBS's are not TS, not TG, have vaginas, and do not wish to be transidentified. This is Cathryn's position. As such, it seems to me that she shouldn't be making posts which are inflammatory (and she does so with apparent intention) in threads dealing with the Transpublic.

The TG's say that transgender is an umbrella term that covers *anyone* who crosses from one gender (not sex, but gender) to another. Transgender is structured around gender as a social construct.

The TS folks say (at least, the ones who are also TG, not all are TG) that they are women -- regardless of surgical status. This is my (and I suspect but am not certain, Monica's, position). That includes pre-ops and non-ops. Vaginas optional.

The snarky comments from myself and Monica that were picked up on and posted are, in point of fact, knee jerk direct insults in the same manner as the "this includes mtf" type comment.

they were made intentionally, and used specifically to cause an emotional reaction. And, in more depth, they are the same sort of attack that is used against us. Monica didn't do it here. I did.

I use it reflexively, because its the most basic truth. I did not say she wasn't a woman. She said I said that.

I inferred that she bases her view of what constitutes womanhood on the presence of lack thereof of surgery. Which is accurate, given the bulk of her writings.

THe reason we use them is that, to us, a vagina does not define a woman. to us, such an insult is meaningless since we hold that surgery is not of any practical value since there are people for whom the surgery is a bad thing, since it is dx along a scale, not a simple either or.

For her, a vagina defines womanhood. That is, so long as you have a penis or something that looks like, acts like, and generally functions like a penis, you are not a woman.

This is why the positions are polar opposites. And why you see elements of feminism being brought into play in these hubris filled and cruelty sparked fights.

TS folks can be all manner of things. I use trans as a prefix in order to indicate that I am out. I am not returning to a closet.

Thats important, too -- while I don't have a problem with anyone who goes stealth, and support people who do, for me, going stealth (which I freely admit I wanted to do when I came out) is returning to a closet, albeit of a different sort.

The HRC claims to represent *transgender* people, not those who are not transgender.

And once we transition, our pasts live on with us. Hence the reason that Cathryn is upset about the loss of cissexual privilege and pointed it out when her post was taken as coming from someone of transsexual history. She says she wasn't posting as such.

I believe her. She wasn't. She was counting on the privilege that she's fought hard for to protect her.

It didn't.


A person born with the neurological intersexed condition known as transsexuality has a consistent gender identity. They are driven to bring mind and body into maximum congruence. They therefore cannot and do not "trans" gender.

They are women throughout the process.

battybattybats battybattybats | July 29, 2008 10:42 PM

Come off it.
This is rediculous.
Everyone, personal attacks aren't ok. They just aren't. Monica I do think you should apologise.

But Cathryn, stop trying to make Monica's attack accurate! You should apologise too! You threw the first insult in this discussion. I'm insulted, dyssonance is insulted. You made a criticism of an entire class of people, of all MtF TG-identified people.

If you want an apology from Monica, which I agree you do deserve, first apologise to the MtF people you falsely criticised by using that generalisation.

You insulted me by saying that transgender MtF people won't accept your self-identification BUT I DO! So where's your recognition of that? You find it appropriate to respond to Monica. Cause your getting a fight there? Where's your recognition of my giving you what you've said you want? Where's your recognition of my recognition of your right to self-identify? Where's your recognition of my attempts at peace?

Do you not want peace? Do you not want transgender people to accept women of transexual history's self identity as not transgender? Or do you need to ignore my words, my feellings, my heartfelt intent so you can continue to justify the hatred of a broad and diverse group of people?

Come on Cathryn. Are you afraid of peace? Of mutual respect? Of greater understanding?

Why pass up the offer of peace unless the war is what you really want? Is it really about wanting to be respected for who you are or is it really about hating people like me? I am respecting you for who you are. An intelligent woman with a courageous heart who does not identify as trans.

So why don't you respond to me? Why not accept my offer of peace? It's genuine. I'm genuine.

I can only speak of the "priviledge" aspect as far as my friend of operative history. Since she lives as a woman, does she have cis-sexual priviledge?

All of us see her as just a woman of an extraordinary history.

The public sees only a woman..

She identifies as a woman.

I take it that you would insist that she is transgendered.

Our group would insist that she is the Lesbian that she lives as.

Ok Bats, Peace is great, let my people go from under the umbrella afterall it's all we've ever asked.

"I'm sooo confused!"
I need the drink now...

Bats, what Cathryn doesn't understand still is that she was let loose.

But she keeps hopping into places where its inappropriate.


Yes, she has cissexual privilege in some ways, just as I do.

Your statement, though, that she is of such history removes some of that (it is part of privilege to not have that a consideration).

I would not insist she is transgender (the extra ed are superfluous). I would insist that, like me, she falls under that umbrella. Just like gay men and lesbians fall under the homosexual umbrella.

And I would insist that she is the lesbian and woman that she claims to be.

That does not mean I would insist she is transgender. Merely that it is a term that applies.

As for the whole Neurological intersexed thing, while I agree with the concept, I strongly and deeply disagree with the methodology used by those who are pushing that, and...

Its wrong.

I'm heterosexual. As I changed my sex, my focus changed as well.

Little fact, but consider it deeply, understanding that sexual orientation as defined at present is relative between the objects.

oooohh Dys...never tell a second waver that she is homosexual.

She is a: Tribade, Sapphist, Lesbian, Dyke, Practitioner of that Love Which Dare Not Speak Its' Name..., a 'Boston Married Woman',

...but NOT a homosexual.

Though the Homo prefix can mean "same," the hard core language purists insist it is also the latin for "man"

Which gives you a taste of the old g v. L struggles of a few decades back.

Sound familiar?
It does to me, and probably to Bil and a few others.

It is exactly the drama being played out in the trans community with varitions to fit.

The ultimate solution was that Lesbians opted out as separate but part of the larger LGBT.

battybattybats battybattybats | July 30, 2008 1:32 AM

"Ok Bats, Peace is great, let my people go from under the umbrella afterall it's all we've ever asked."

I did Cathryn, ages ago and repeatedly.

Just only those who self-identify as non-transgender though. I know Transexuals who fit the HBS criteria but still identify as Transgender as they don't feel that term makes them not really women.

You can take yourself and anyone who self-identifies as not-transgender out from under the umbrella with my full support. But some transexuals will still remain and they will also have my full suport.

And as long as we'll share many of the same issues on matters of hate-crime, discrimination, medical access etc then it's worthwhile getting to know one anothers issues and working together.

That's the thing, so long as we share issues we're going to run into one another. So it's in our best interests to understand one another, support one another, help one another.

Supporting the human rights of both groups is quite possible. So then, lets do it! Lets ensure that those who need hormones get, surgery get it, protection get it, employment get it, safety get it, advocacy get it regardless of which term they self-identify as.


Maura, thanks for the tip ;)

The next time I write a paper on the subject, i will include that, although I absolutely know that the editors will change it back.

But then, when I write papers, they are dry, boring, and theoretical, as well as scientifically accurate (important in sociology).

But, seriously, I will keep that in mind.

Just as I have with Cathryn's desire to be not a part of that TG term.

if you go back over stuff, I never, ever, say to Cathryn that she's TG. I'm always very careful to point out the word in terms of its meaning as coined and as preserved.

I respect that. I Disagree, strongly, not with the entirety of her points (indeed, anyone familiar with my trollbashing habits elsewhere will note that I use many of them in my general presentations and that my educational efforts are likewise inclusive) but with the specifics of them.

That is to say *i get it*. More than I'd like to admit, honestly, because I could, very easily, simply abandon some deeply held principles of mine and join her entirely.

All it requires is that I do it from an emotional basis, instead of a rational and spiritual one (as bizarre as that sounds).

And yes, it is a repeat of that sort of fight -- precisely so (thanks for reminding me).

And, to be frank, if Cathryn and other HBS folks would stop getting involved in trans discussions, it would be a LOT less of a problem.

Up until ENDA, they had been fairly "quiet" and were actively seeking to distance themselves. They stayed away from Transthreads and focused on HBS stuff.

They need to go back and do that. And stay the hell out of trans stuff. Because every time they do, they create this chaos. Its not just Cathryn, herself.

Incidentally, as a subject of common interest, may I recommend a book on the subject of transfeminism to you?

I have apologized to Cathryn several times in the past, but not once have I heard the same from her. Never. And her attacks have been far more vicious. I will never apologize to her again because in my opinion, she is not worth the time or effort.

Ok Bats, Peace is great, let my people go from under the umbrella afterall it's all we've ever asked.

Cathryn, You are a woman, not a transgender person. Whether you are a heterosexual, lesbian or bisexual woman you are able to choose for yourself whether or not to stand under the "umbrella". Please feel free to go out into the rain and respect individual transpeople's decision about whether to stay or go.

Ok Bats, Peace is great, let my people go from under the umbrella afterall it's all we've ever asked.

Cathryn, You are a woman, not a transgender person. Whether you are a heterosexual, lesbian or bisexual woman you are able to choose for yourself whether or not to stand under the "umbrella". Please feel free to go out into the rain and respect individual transpeople's decision about whether to stay or go.

The word for those who insult women based on genitals is mysogynoist.

I'm at the point where I can now afford SRS. Who did your surgery and how long ago was that? I am checking out all possibilities and since you have had SRS, I would like your recommdation. We may not agree on some things, but who a good doctor is is important. Who did you go to?

Most recent transitioners report the most satisfaction with Brassard for both surgery and aftercare. The state of the art has improved vastly in the past ten years, seek current information is my best advice. Good luck in your search.

I have met some woman who had SRS with Brassard and even after 3 yrs, they are not "sexually" sensitive. They could be uncommon. Thanks.

battybattybats battybattybats | July 30, 2008 11:34 PM

Monica, while you may not get a return apology I do think it'd only be right for you to apologise. It's not the matter of who you criticised but that you did so directly because of the person, not what they were stating or the view they held to. Just a slight change of words makes all the difference. No matter who you criticised you shouldn't do it that way. that it was Cathryn is immaterial, it was wrong.

Cathryn, your generalisation offended me. It was an attack on all MtF transgender people due to your just saying 'transgender' with the clarification '(most of this is MtF specific)' but you didn't say 'most transgender' or 'many transgender advocates' or 'the predominant transgender position' or anything else that could have taken you off the hook.

You slagged off an entire huge swath of people, every MtF transgender identified person. That includes me whom at the very least some of your criticisms were diametricly opposed to my actual position.

So Cathryn, you should retract and re-state your first comment in a distinctly modified form including a simple apology for the generalisation so you can still hold your view of some (even most) transgender advocates political tactics and decisions without it being a statement of innaccurate offensive bigotry that polarises people and fosters hate.

That's not much I'm asking for Cathryn. You can still criticise peoples politics and choices and stances. I'm just asking you to excise what most will interpret as bigotry and offensiveness without diluting but instead enhancing the accuracy and legitimacy of your political criticism.

Just take the hate out of it, the generalisation, whether intended or just a consequence of hasty wording.

You'll find some transgender people might agree with many of the criticisms you raise while others will be more easilly able to respectfully disagree. That way progress csn be made, for both groups! Each side will be wasting less time in fruitles bickering.

I'm not asking you to retract your criticism of some Cathryn, I'm not trying to restrict your right to object to statements or tactics you disagree with. I'm asking you to aim it accurately so that it no longer points at me and every other MtF TG person in existance, just those you specifically disagree with on those specific issues!