Rebecca Juro

Diego Sanchez Named As Senior Advisor To Barney Frank

Filed By Rebecca Juro | December 17, 2008 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Barney Frank, Congress, Diego Sanchez, ENDA, media, transgender

Today is reporting that FTM transgender activist and business leader Diego Sanchez has been named to replace Joe Racalto as Congressman Barney Frank's senior policy advisor.

As you would expect, this news is receiving mixed reaction from many in the transgender community. A quote in Marti Abernathey's TA piece from transgender activist leader and blogger Vanessa Edwards Foster no doubt reflects the reaction of many LGBT's and especially the trans community:

"It's great to have a transgender employee in staff in Congress, and extremely rare. But I worry that this will be Barney Frank strategizing that he can bring a trans person in and use them as a shield to deflect future trans criticism for what legislation he's likely to push forth."

Given the history here, Vanessa's concerns are certainly justified, especially since thus far Congressman Frank has flatly refused to speak directly with transgender-relevant media about this or any other issue of importance to Transgender-Americans (and no, appearances on the softball-pitching, gay-male-focused, transgender-caller-quota-enforcing Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius Satellite Radio don't count) Transgender-Americans haven't been offered the opportunity for a serious and public discussion with Congressman Frank about the issues which directly impact our lives since before the turn of the century.

In addition, we've seen exactly this sort of thing in the past from the Human Rights Campaign in their failed attempts to promote transpeople as spokespeople who are willing to promote HRC and its selfish and exclusive political agenda. One need only remember the Susan Stanton debacle to understand how attempts to proffer "celebrity" transpeople to our community as opinion leaders have been seen by the rank-and-file transactivist community in the past. Congressman Frank and Mr. Sanchez will have their work cut out for them if they are to convince the majority of American transfolks that things will be different now, and it'll never happen to any real extent until Congressman Frank is ready and willing to speak with us instead of just at us.

It's hard to be enthusiastic about what should be (and hopefully will be) a major step in transgender acceptance and involvement in this country and in our government when we're talking about a man who frequently promotes and defends his views on a variety of social and political issues all over mainstream media, even up to and including getting into an on-air shouting match with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, but won't take even a few minutes to seriously and productively discuss legislation he wrote, introduced, and advocates in Congress with those Americans whom it would most directly impact.

Personally, despite these concerns, I choose to have hope. I choose to hope, at least until proven wrong, that Diego Sanchez's appointment signals a readying by Frank and Congressional Democrats to renew the fight to protect all Americans from discrimination in earnest in light of the election of a new and fully supportive incoming President. I choose to hope that in addition to hiring a highly-qualified transperson to a senior policy position on his staff, Frank is sending us a message that he's finally ready to stand with us and be as adamant about refusing to take "No" for an answer on the equal rights and treatment of Transgender-Americans as he is when advocating for same-sex marriage.

Of course, like many Transgender-Americans, I cannot evolve my hope into actual trust and belief in Congressman Frank's intentions my own mind if I don't hear it from him in his own words. There's been just too much water under the bridge, too many disappointments, too many hopes dashed at the last minute, for me to have actual faith that my hopes will be justified unless and until I see and hear it from the man himself.

I want to believe. Honestly, I do. Nothing would please me more than to be able to know with certainty that Barney Frank, who many call the smartest man in Congress, is genuinely and solidly on our side now, on the side of justice and equality for all Americans, with no conditions and no equivocations. I think most of us would be thrilled to be able to take Frank's support of full equality for all Americans at face value and not feel the need constantly look over our shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Unfortunately, we're not quite there yet. Diego's appointment can certainly be seen as a very positive step in that direction, but we can only reach that place if Barney Frank is willing to step up and lead us to that place with his words as well as his actions. The question, of course, is will he? I, for one, am looking forward, with hope, to learning the answer.

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This sounds like a positive development, for a few reasons:

1. I've never met him, but I've had email contact with Diego. He seems like a great person for this job. He's smart and persuasive.

2. Barney Frank, I hear, made some positive comments when it came to passing a trans-inclusive ENDA. I think it's a lot better that other representatives would be talking to someone who's actually trans than a cis staffer. I mean, would we really want Frank going around having conversations about trans issues with other reps?

3. Those of us who favor a united ENDA aren't going to shut up. Just like how Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee both hired gay staffers and then said that it proved that they weren't homophobic, this isn't going to get Barney off the hook.

Actually, it just increases his responsibility, because now we know that he employs a trans person. There's no excuse.

4. The more highly visible trans people there are in Congress, the better. I'm thinking of those people who are just coming to terms with what it means to be transgender... I'm sure it would help them to that there are prominent and respected trans people in the US. It also makes it easier for other Americans to progress on this issue.

For those who don't know Diego, he's a great guy. Here's a shout-out Diego did for Bilerico Project from the DNCC and a guest post of his speech at the HRC San Francisco dinner.

But to the point of the article... Diego in place at Barney Frank's office? Superb. Not only will Diego be a fierce advocate for trans rights, but for all minority rights. We'll all be the better for this appointment.

I worked with Diego in Boston several years ago on trans issues. Diego is super-competent and underneath his cool demeanor there's a no-nonsense mover and shaker. (He's also devilishly handsome, but that's another matter entirely.) I have confidence that he will help Rep. Frank do the job of education on Capitol Hill that needs to be done.

Just remember that Mr. Frank has his hands full with the economy in the tank. Also, he is just one Member of the House of Representatives and his district is MA04. He is one of 435 Congresspersons and represents a single district.

The point is that Mr. Frank needs to hear from other Members of the House and they, the Members, need to hear often from their constituents. It's important to let your own representative know what you think and why. I know this is pretty elementary, but it is the way Washington works (when it works).

You say: "I want to believe. Honestly, I do. Nothing would please me more than to be able to know with certainty that Barney Frank, who many call the smartest man in Congress, is genuinely and solidly on our side now, on the side of justice and equality for all Americans, with no conditions and no equivocations. I think most of us would be thrilled to be able to take Frank's support of full equality for all Americans at face value and not feel the need constantly look over our shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop." I do believe. Give him your help.

Alex, I met Diego briefly once in DC and have traded email with him. I am firmly convinced his heart is in the right place and he's as committed to the cause of transgender eqiality as any of us, even if some of us question his political alliances such as HRC.

On your second point, I think that's been part of the problem. Barney is not a transperson, and I have to believe that at least some in Congress have wondered, probably aloud, how credible he is advocating for transgender workplace rights when he himself hadn't hired any transpeople to work in his own office. Diego's appointment certainly puts that argument to rest.

Also, I fully agree that this appointment ups the stakes as well as Frank's responsibility here. For the very first time I'm aware of, Barney Frank is putting his money where his mouth is and setting a positive example himself in regard to transgender inclusion. It's a powerful statement and a major reason why I choose to view this development with hope rather than cynicism.

Kim, I fully agree that Barney's plate, as well as that of Congress, is pretty full right now, and I seriously doubt anyone expects our issues to be at or near the top of the list when the incoming Congress and President take over next month. That said, it's also reasonable to expect action on our issues sometime during this upcoming session of Congress. Hate crimes, which has already passed both houses in a considerably less friendly Congress than what we'll have next session, should be an easily-enactable "gimme".

ENDA will be tougher, but if Frank's own estimates are valid there should be more than enough supportive members to pass an inclusive ENDA in the House at the very least and probably in the Senate as well.

And as far as offering my help, he's got it, all he has to do is ask for it. As a trans community mediamaker, my first instinct is to get people informed and engaged. I believe the best way to start that process is to get the discussion going publicly, and that requires Frank's and Diego's participation. I invited Congressman Frank to appear on my radio show a while back and I plan to reissue that invitation again soon. I'm also trying to get Diego on as well. I'll keep everyone posted as I know more.

In addition, if there's anything else Barney or his office needs from me to help get the job done, I'm pretty easy to find and I'm willing to help in any way I can.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 17, 2008 8:03 PM

A smart, articulate, out (Latino?) FtM activist working as a senior political analyst for Barney Frank?! How could this NOT be a hopeful, positive development? At the very least, Diego will put a human face on the issue for Mr. Frank. And that's a big step forward.

I wonder if Frank will be comfortable being in the same bathroom with him? ;)

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 17, 2008 10:31 PM

Great comment!!!

Rep. Frank has always been clear on his objection: penises in women's showers and other places of public undress. This bathroom crap is a red herring promoted by vocal trans-activists.

Trans-people have refused to address this issue but many of us of trans/intersexed history agree it is a problem that must be addressed because it most certainly will arise in any debate.

I strongly suspect that gender identity will be added to ENDA, gender expression will not as one way of dealing with this. This will undermine the rights of effeminate males and butch women who can point directly at trans-activists for their own being shoved under the bus.

Lena, given that you are drag queen and crossdresser identified I would have a problem sharing a ladies room with and male identified people belong in male designated rest rooms.

What most here won't talk about is Franks own (and HRC as well)consistent message that ENDA won't be fully inclusive and that he supports the two bill strategy, even to this day.

Two things play in my mind. Frank is not stupid, and Sanchez isn't stupid either (he's a Rhodes scholar). This isn't just about ENDA. Diego is well versed in many different areas. He was a wise choice, regardless of his gender presentation.

But I really do have to wonder if he's going to use this when ENDA comes up for a vote. After all, he hired a transman, he can't be a transphobe....

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 17, 2008 10:42 PM

Marti, I WISH that transsexuals couldn't also be transphobic.

I DON'T think Diego is. That's NOT why I'm commenting.

But, as you probably know, there is a schism in the transsexual community. At least one sub-set believes they are no longer transsexual after transition, their "medical condition" has been resolved, they are simply men or women, and have nothing in common with the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender community. I've been engaged in a rather fruitless comment thread discussion with several people in this group who are virulently homophobic, consider themselves to be "true / classic transsexuals," and me to be a homosexual who, because I couldn't deal with my homosexuality, transitioned instead.

Sigh. Go figure.

One is not homophobic when she objects to use of terms that demean her Byran. As for transphobic, the hatred towards women of transsexual history by transgender identified individuals is evident all over the internet.....neo-gynophobia, which plenty of examples have been expressed freely right here.

If you were referring to me, I remind you I support marriage equality 110% as I do full employment and accomodations equality. Since I know personally several women of transsexual history who have been raped by crossdressers I view Barney's objections as totally justified.

Tossing around "homophobic" and "transphobic" whenever someone disagrees with parts of your agenda is actually a form of hate speech if you think about it. What it most certainly does is alienate and harden positions to remove any possibility of compromise. Honest people can disagree honestly......sans insults.

Paranoid? By the way, there is no "a" in BryNn's name. Respect works both ways.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 18, 2008 4:27 PM

First of all, Cathryn, it's BRYNN. You and the other people on the thread I was referring to have consistently misspelled my name here and there. It's not hard to get it right.

As for homophobia, I have never visited a site where so much derogatory language, anti-gay slurs, and deliberate insults were employed to refer to gay men and other people, like me and Alex, who disagree with your radical "true transsexual" agenda. One of you referred to me as a "gay woman." Nice. Beyond that, I refuse to repeat the insults, smug put-downs, and slurs here because they are offensive. But don't come back to Bilerico--which you all have been slamming relentlessly over there--and try to claim you're not homophobic.

ME using hate speech?! That's laughable.

This isn't just about ENDA. Diego is well versed in many different areas. He was a wise choice, regardless of his gender presentation.

You said a mouthful. His experience in HIV/AIDS, homeless issues and Latino issues will all be brought to DC with him. Diego isn't a one-note whistle.

I don't think Barney will ever know what hit him...

Interesting but no offense to anyone but Barney strikes me as not being on our side now or ever. He has found fame on his Banking Committee job so don’t look for EDNA any time soon.

Where ENDA and Barney Frank is concerned, regardless of who works for him, the rule is "believe it when you see it". Then expect it to change.

That stated, Diego's good. It's about time a T person worked on a Congressional staff. He could be of great help to us - or it could mean nothing at all. Where Frank's concerned, you just have to believe it when you see it, and not believe the blarney. I just hope he isn't presented with the choice of "sell non-inclusion to your community, or leave", and if is forced to choose, let's hope he leaves at that point, as Donna Rose did with HRC.

I will hope for the best and expect the worst.

I'll be on a panel at the IFGE conference in DC on becoming a delegate to the DNC convention. He is everything positive that people have said about him. But, I fear for him. Both he and Frank are highly intelligent and butting heads may occur. I don't want to see him get steamrolled by Frank.

And, as far as ENDA, I will not believe anything about it or who says what until the Obama signature dries on a fully-inclusive law.

An inclusive ENDA will not emerge from Congress as law as long as Barney Frank is in Congress.

Sorry to be blunt - but someone has to be. Besides, I have to go prepare for an ice storm that's coming this afternoon. Rehashing what everyone should have learned a decade ago will not be productive.

Jed Hastings | December 18, 2008 9:24 AM

So I am reading a lot of hope mixed with caution. This is one small step in the right direction and we all need to support Diego in this move. Period.

sorry, but i agree with the more negative comments posted here. this is nothing more than political maneuvering. i feel embarrassed for diego in selling himself out in this fashion. barney will use him as a tool.

i'll support diego so long as he actually stands up for the transgender community in all legislation (ENDA, hate crimes, etc.). if he proves to be nothing more than a sell-out, i predict the community will turn on him pretty quickly.

O...M...G.... politicians are being political? Who knew!

Diego isn't stupid, he's a very shrewd strategist in his own right. I might disagree with his strategy, but I don't doubt his end game.

Too much of our time is spent bickering about other people. If you don't like what Diego is doing, get out and do for yourself.

Jed's comment about hope mixed with caution is something I think many of us feel. However, many of us are pessimists when it comes to anything having to do with Rep. Frank. We've been cautious but hopeful before and he has burned us every single time. Despite his yearning to be percieved as a human rights champion he is simply a powerful, shrewd politician in search of a personal legacy. He has demonstrated to us all that he can and will be ruthless to anyone and everyone who stands in the way.

Diego is a friend that I respect and admire but I don't know whether to congratulate him or simply shake my head. He knows where is paycheck is coming from, so those who somehow think he's going to work each day to stand up to Barney need to think again.

Still, I feel hope. I hope that this time we're all wrong. I hope that Diego isn't being used as a pawn in some chess game that's moving to checkmate. But to simply take anything that Barney does that seems altruistic at face value is to set yourself up to be disappointed. Again.

Time will tell.

Dearest Monica and Cathryn,
Before you both go any further, I am asking you to walk away from your escalating dialogue. Please note that Lena's comment was punctuated with an indicator [;)]that denotes sly humor. In other words, no need for you both to dive into it as an excuse to tear into each other. Think of the little children...:)

But, Sheriff, she drew her gun on my friend. A girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do. Ya per-tect yer friends. It's the Code of the West (East, South and North.)

Please forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was 40 or 45 years ago.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 18, 2008 4:38 PM

Father Tony, I suggest you visit the site that Cathryn frequents before weighing in. Monica, Alex, Bilerico, and I are all being excoriated over there, and the language is not even remotely respectful. No, I don't want to descend to their level. But to understand Monica's and my responses here, you need the context. Email me privately and I'll send you the link.

I don't agree with all the positions here, why am I found guilty of also commenting on another blog where I don't necessarily fully agree on all points.

This is just further personal smearing..I call foul on BRYNN's and Monica's continuing this. That's all I have to say on this matter which is a violation of the TOS and off topic.

FWIW my own name is misspelled constantly and I somehow manage to not get bent completely out of happens when your name is a variant spelling.

B, I don't have your email, but you can email me([email protected])with any links that give evidence that Bilerico is elsewhere trashed by folks registered herein.

Hyprocracy at its highest. On this blog, people can say some of the nastiest things in the English language to people like Rick Warren and Focus on the Family and there is no violation of TOS. But, let a bunch of trans women - who don't consider themselves trans women - make homophobic and transphobic comments and if you just comment - not even a nasty comment - and you get a warning or get your comment removed. Hyprocracy.

Oh wait. They're not saying anything against same-sex marriage, so they can get away with transphobic comments on this blog.

Ya'll throw around transphobia accusations like it was something thats directed toward the glb&T, when in fact the very worst transphobia eminates at the LG core from gay men and to a lesser extent lesbian women. Transgenders that are primarily gay men first and transgender second are some of the very worst when it comes to pushing the homosexual agenda down the throats of classic transsexual women that seek surgery as a means to bring the body into line with the psych.

You say things like "we are all in this together" and that the religious right make no distinction between classic transsexual women and what they see as the weekend warriors of fem expression. You say that "like it or not we are all part of the lgbt collective when it comes to hate", but I say to you that is not true. It is a lie perpetuated by the homosexuals and the transgender advocates. I say to you from three decades of my own history that this was never the case, that I have seen and experienced first hand that for the most part society as a whole does not see those of us that committed ourselves to surgery and spent years of our lives assimilating ourselves quietly into mainstream as being the problem. In my life, living in rural america, I integrate daily with some of the most redneck and god fearing people as can be found anywhere in America, and my life is not at threat from them. A few years ago my stealth status was blown when I came to the aid of a friend one night in one of the small town bars. Consequently today some of the very same guys that would have dated me back then are a little more standoffish than they once were. Some of the women are a little less likely to be seen publically chatting with me, and for the most part all of that has come from their preconcieved notion that I must be one of those transgendered types they read about, and of course that I must be gay. They don't ask and I don't discuss the issue but once in a while a remark is overheard, a turning head betrays the conversation in a group. I go on about my life in the same way I always have and I still frequent that same small town bar and for the very most part I intigrate and more importantly, am allowed to integrate. I am successfull in this small town where most are farmers and everyone is related to everyone else, and outsiders are not very welcome. I never grew up here, I have no family here. I came into this town and started a business and continue to florish and earn the respect of most I encounter.

This integration into mainstream has always been my focus. I have never once marched in a parade, advocated for trans rights, sought protection as an endagered class or even considered I was anything different than anyone else - EXCEPT - the few occassions that I have visited gay areas such as the time I lived in San Francisco. The blatent disrespect handed out by the gay community to folks that get picked up on the homosexual and lesbian trans-dar is by far the very worst any woman of trans history can endure. It is even worse if we don't want to admit it when outrightly accused. And make no mistake about it, homosexual men have no trouble in asking very personal questions of strangers, making assumptions and metering out their own form of justice which usually consists of back-talking, slurs couched in humor, put downs and backhanded remarks meant to impress their friends. No sir, there is nothing more redneck than homosexual men faced with a heterosexual woman of trans identified history.

And when we have finally had enough and we fight back, when we hurl the same slurs and backhanded remarks at you, when we blatently show our disgust at your interpretation of homosexual transgenderism, you cry foul! You accuse us of homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry. You say that we are self loathing, that we have inward hatred of ourselves for not just coming out of the closet, that we have traded one closet for another.

I say Bull! I say it is YOU that have the problem. I say that the transphobia buck stops firmly at YOUR door, that the homophobia accusations you throw around are used as a shield to quiet free speech.

Yes on our blog we ARE speaking out. We are finally speaking out about something that should have been said a long time ago. Classic Transsexual Women are sick of your media grabbing attention that assimilates us with you. We are not you! We are not primarily homosexual and secondly transgedered(whatever that means). We want it known that we are not all part of your big rainbow, that we do not all support ENDA, and we are not all in favor of allowing anyone with a panty fetish into the womens restroom.

I will tell you this much. I am not in the least bit religious but even I would rather stand with the right wing christans than live under your spectrum of colors and creeds.

Isn't it interesting how the most aggressively anti-trans, anti-gay, anti-equality screeds come not from the far right but from these HBS women?

I detest Rick Warren and his ilk and their beliefs in regard to LGBT people with every fiber of my being but at least they can participate in a civil and (relatively) respectful discussion and debate on the issues. A pity the same can't be said in this case.

My point on the hyprocracy has just been confirmed by the post Rebecca just commented on. Thanks for pointing it out, Rebecca. As long as they don't trash same-sex marriage, then anything they say about trans people is okay.

Let me be blunt, Monica...that's just BS. Speaking as a former TBP editor myself, one who was part of the team when the decision to ban a decision a certain commenter in that circle from posting was made, I know that's not the case, and I'm frankly surprised you don't know better.

I've my share of disagreements with Bil, Alex, and others on editorial policy and other things, but I have never, ever, found that any particular issue or group was prioritized or privileged over another here. Quite to the contrary, I commend them highly for being so committed and proactive in including such a wide and diverse array of LGBT-relevant and specifically transgender perspectives here.

Consider how many trans bloggers have been featured at TBP: You, me, Marti, Tobi, Ethan, Mercedes, Diego...I could go on, but you get the idea. I know of no other major LGBT media of any variety (except perhaps TransFM) where such a wide range of trans and trans-relevant viewpoints can be found. Even Pam's, which also features many trans voices and perspectives, doesn't match the sheer breadth and diversity of trans voices that have been made available here.

You're just not being fair, Monica. Whatever your issues with the actual implementation of editoral policy might be, assigning such an unsupportable motivation to it with no evidence to back it up is just plain wrong and unfair.

C'mon Monica, you know better than this. I know you do.

I'm not surprised that you don't see the problem. Let me distill it into its simplest form. People who comment AND post here are allowed to trash anyone with the harshest language possible, as long as they are against same-sex marriage or they are from the the Religious Right. But, trash trans people and you get a by. It is obvious by the fact that the HBS and HBS-supporters are still allowed to post and their comments are still visible. Try to counter them using the same nasty language used against the Religious Right on this blog and the comment will be pulled. Would you care for a demonstration?

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 19, 2008 2:26 PM

Monica, I agree that there have been some comments on Bilerico --especially since Prop 8 passed-- that have been clearly transphobic. Everything thing I've seen, however, the language used hasn't gone over the line into outright slurs.

In some cases, the commenters meant to attack. In others, they were clueless.

The Bilerico writers, however, are a different story. The writers here are committed to the expression of diverse opinions AS LONG as people voicing those opinions remain respectful and don't attack other people personally but limit their criticism to ideas and opinions.

What I find very interesting about Leigh's comment here is that she avoids entirely the ugly slurs, offensive language, and smug put-downs (referring to me as a "homosexual woman," deliberately using the wrong pronouns and honorifics to refer to transsexuals that disagree with their opinions, etc.) that are so prevalent on her website.

This proves that she and the others over there understand exactly what they're doing when they resort to the ugliness.

I know what you're saying Monica, I just don't agree with it. Because I spent several months on the editorial staff, I know how such decisions are made and your perception is simply not accurate.

While I would never discuss the specifics of editorial team discussions and decisions publicly, I can you that the criteria for those decisions has always been the same since I've been in a position to know, the same criteria one can read in the TOS or in any of the numerous posts on the subject in the past.

It's not about what's said or who's saying it, it's about HOW it's said. Sue wasn't banned for her beliefs, she was banned for how she expressed those beliefs and for her refusal to respect and adhere to the reuqests of the editorial staff to express her views in a civil and respectful manner.

As far as being allowed to get more aggressive when discussing the words or actions of genuine community enemies (as opposed to those of fellow Projectors with whom one may disagree), is that really surprising? This is an LGBT-relevant blog after all, so it's hardly surprising that more leeway is often given in this regard when we are writing in reference or in response to a direct attack against our community. That's just natural. I'm sure the same is true on many community blogs regardless of the subject matter or the intended readership.

You seem to forget that editors aren't computer programs that respond in the very same way to a given situation every time. Editors are people who make these kinds of decisions on a case by case basis, and different editors will reach different conclusions based on the same set of circumstances. There have been many times when I've felt that I might have handled a situation differently than another editor might, than Alex or Bil chose to, but that's not surprising because we are different people with different perspectives and different ideas.

Father Tony is a new editor. Perhaps in your opinion he reacted too quickly or harshly. Perhaps his way of moderating comments differs from the way Bil, Alex, or other editors have done in the past. If you believe that to be the case, write and say so. Make your case. I can't promise you'll get the result you want but I think I can confidently say your appeal will be considered carefully and a decision will be made.

Before you make assumptions about anyone's motivations here, Monica, how about you bring your concerns to the attention of the editorial staff and see what they have to say?

This is one hell of a respectful comment. The "others" need to see how easy it is to make a case in a respectful manner, and in a way that a person will respond positively. And, people question me why I consider you a friend. (giggle) (a joke) Thanks for explaining it in this manner.

You're right. There have been great editorial efforts to maintain diversity and inclusion. I have been having lengthy discussions with the other editors about the Cathryn-Monica war. We are quite conflicted about how to proceed. I would like to remind everyone that Bilerico is not a service to which anyone is entitled. It is not even a product for which anyone pays. It can be what and how it wants to be. If anyone doesn't like it, they can leave and not come back. I am often amazed at the way truly anti-social people invoke their personal cause or opinion as a smoke screen for their obnoxious personalities. No one on the editorial team is anti-trans-anything, in fact, most of us have no idea who among the commenters is really a man, who is really a woman, who wants to be or dresses as either and who has had what surgical or cosmetic adjustments made, and I really don't care who goes into which bathroom as long as they clean up when they're done. There is no substitute for good manners, in the loo or on this blog.

Don't trash same-sex marriage? Monica! We even have contributors who trash same-sex marriage. And then we put their posts trashing it in our "project highlights" box in the middle column.

We're the only major LGBT blog I know of that blogs against same-sex marriage, from multiple contributors.

Okay. That still doesn't settle this issue. I just looked at some comments (and a posting of yours about Rick Warren) that if I were to frame them against Cathy, they would be pulled, or I would at least get a stern warning from the Sheriff. I'm willing to demonstrate.

So, I'm seeing a double standard that people can get away with trashing known, straight, homophobe and transphobes, but because some people have some connection with the LGBT communities, we are not allowed to call them out in the same fashion. Yet, they have demonstrated the same level of bigotry as the "straignt" ones. HRC's Joe is another prime example. "Be nice. It's Joe." There's the bullshit, and the hyprocracy.

I couldn't agree more.

It really bothers me to see people making statements of fact out of personal opinions re: the transgender thing. People who believe in "transgender" need to discuss their hypothesis with those whom would be affected by their outspoken philosophy. I'm sorry, but I do not agree that "transsexual" is an identity that must be forced on me. I am simply a woman, and I don't need a qualifier to that particular label. If people would just stop trying to tell me who I am I wouldn't get so irate.

And that's the problem, isn't it? I support marriage equality, equal employment, all these things. I don't believe our personal business needs to be the province of government. You have to push me pretty far in order for me to speak up against GL and Transgender things, because I really think people are all equal and deserve the same treatment under the law. So why can't I get the same courtesy from the transgender crowd?

It is a profound insult to dictate other people's identities to them. People want to jam "transsexual" together with "transgender" for some reason. I have about as much in common with a gay crossdresser as my mother does. Speaking of that, would any of these trangender types dare to speak to other women as they do to us, or do they save that hatred for people they think they can push around?

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 19, 2008 2:44 PM

today some of the very same guys that would have dated me back then are a little more standoffish than they once were. Some of the women are a little less likely to be seen publically [sic] chatting with me...once in a while a remark is overheard, a turning head betrays the conversation in a group.

Leigh, I would have thought if you wanted to prove assimilation and acceptance, you would have picked an example that actually showed them, rather than one that illustrates intolerance.

Further, that you can blame this sort of transphobia on the LGBT movement only betrays your denial. It's akin to the days of slavery when the house servant would blame the field hands if the master beat them. If only those uncouth, loud-mouthed LGBT activists would keep their mouths shut, stay in the closet, quit being so blantant and quit rocking the boat, then everything would be fine!

Yeah, and slavery would have ended by itself, too.

There you go again .. assuming ..

I am NOT an HBS woman. In fact I have written articles on our blog that takes the HBS to task as well so please don't accuse me until you have the facts: Here is the link to my article.

Brynn ..

This is not about tolerance or acceptance. Both of those things speak about "less than". Transgenders talk about tolerance and acceptance as though it were a magic pass to the kingdom.

The people of which I speak are not offering me either tolerance or acceptance because before they became aware of my trans history they had already assumed me female. Their problem now is how to interact with me when that history is known, and in that interaction comes the problem of having been "educated" by the media that all trans persons are essentially gay men.

Now where did they get that opinion from ?

Could it be that little "t" at the end of your LGB acronym? the one that includes me by default and without my permission or right to question.

The blame for this lies squarely at the LGB door for not only including transsexuals by association but also by speaking for us in the same sentence as gay rights. You need rights, I already have them thank you very much.

You said:
"If only those uncouth, loud-mouthed LGBT activists would keep their mouths shut, stay in the closet, quit being so blantant and quit rocking the boat, then everything would be fine!"

My thoughts exactly!

The tgnonesense blog is not my blog. I don't own it nor am I a moderator there. I did refer to you in the wrong pronouns and for that I apologise but the fact is I assumed the name "brynn" was female. Now that I see your picture I have to admit that I am still unsure of how to address you but I am assuming you would prefer sir?

Merry Christmas :)

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 20, 2008 12:56 AM

Now that I see your picture I have to admit that I am still unsure of how to address you but I am assuming you would prefer sir?

Over on the "tgnonsense blog," you all go on and on and on about how disrespectful we are to you?

You and the others are the first persons in my life to directly, deliberately, and disrespectfully address me in this way. What astonishes me is that you are transsexuals. Deny it all you like: you are. If anyone would have told me before transition that it would be transsexuals who would act in such ugly, disrespectful, and intentionally insulting ways to other transsexuals, I would have thought they were crazy.

Deny what, exactly?

So, I have a question. If people act hateful and trash Bilerico and the prime people on Bilerico on another blog, then come here to comment and ultimately cause trouble, are they going to be allowed to stay?

Or, if a dog shits and pees on your rug, and is untrainable, will you keep it in the house?

We're handling it, Monica. Let us do our job.

...sipping me coffee as I stroll in..
Still at it, I see?
Isn't this thread supposed to be about the ramifications of the hiring of Diego Sanchez?

Myself? I see it as a great thing. It may not work miricales, for nothing ever does, butthe presence of Diego Sanchez can only be regarded as the addition of a valued resource and viewpoint to Representative Frank's staff.

The timing could not be better; Representative Frank is now one of the most important people in the House.

Yes ..well .. I still don't see you addressing any of the points I made about gay males that disrespect us .... but then I expect you have never witnessed something like that have you?

.... and Monica with her incessant calls for banning and censorship .. what's that all about? Arn't you trans-activist types supposed to be all about free speech and the right to hold differing opinions, for the downtrodden and the oppressed to be able to have a voice, to be able to air grievences?

Isn't that what rebecca was talking about when she stated that her radio show was open to all comers as long as they didn't effect her right to have a show?

Isn't this all about rights ? You don't want Barney Frank because he will not give in to your demands and your hoping that sanchez will? Isn't that what all this is about, the voice of the majority (mainstream) shouting down the voice of the minority(LGBT)? ..

... and in turn, do we, the trans women of history that were on the scene before the LGB became a national organization, before stonewall, before the term transgender was coined by viginia prince, the millions of us that have had surgery and moved succesfully into mainstream, do we have no say in this when the LGB and the trans activists have all but got our marriages banned under same sex rules that never applied to us before the LGBT press ganged us into their realms through association?

... its all right for helms and co., who have no intention of having surgery and is happy to straddle the gender fence, but what about the rest of us .. huh?

and you wonder why we are pissed at you !

First of all, Leigh, I think it's interesting how you demand to have your own personal views respected (which is a more than reasonable request), but then proceed to lump together Monica, I, and all those you don't see as like yourself as a single homogeneous unit that must by definition have one singular viewpoint (which is hypocrisy). If you wish to be seen as an individual with your own views, how about you extend that same courtesy to the rest of us?

I am not Monica and she is not me. The Golden Rule does apply.

Second, my radio show is mine and the policies it operates under are my own. While those policies are certainly similar in many ways to those here at Bilerico they are not the same. The policies here are created by Bil, Alex, and the editorial team and they are the ones who enforce them as they see fit. Once again you lump different entities together and then complain that we don't all march lock-step with each other in every way as you demand the right to be seen as an individual yourself. More hypocrisy.

Seems to me Leigh that you should be willing to offer us the same respect you so enthusiastically demand for yourself.

Wow. A person I have never met, never spoken with, never E-mailed, never had any communications with in the 58 years of my life has the balls to say I have no intention of getting surgery. ESP? No. Bullshit. If that is not a dog peeing on the rug, I don't know what is.

I come to Bilerico to get fucking crap like this? Hell. I would be better off visiting HBS site. At least there I know who the assholes are.

(This is the kind of language I have seen on Blierico when people refer to specific people in the Religious Right, and it doesn't get removed.)

Oh for the love of the Goddess;

I am a European Second Wave Lesbian Feminist. I've some positions and opionions, or the Lesbian women whom I represent have opionions that I present upon their behalf that the lot of you would pull the knives out and surround me were I to handle them in any fashion other than like very brittle blown glass. I pick and choose the discussions that I participate in accordingly.

The LGBT community has but one thing in common: the lot of us, in one way or another, transgress gender roles in one or more aspects of our lives. Consequently there is no cohesive body of thought upon any subject at all.

Can we simply agree to call a truce on all of this?
A cease fire?

An armistice so that we can effectively make common cause on the issue that unites us rather than continue to cut at each other til we finally politically exsanguinate from our interminable infighting?

This is weakening the LGBT community; it is sapping our strength politically. Can we at least conduct it like civilised adults to prevent the needless damage that this is causing?

Maura ...

"This is weakening the LGBT community; it is sapping our strength politically. Can we at least conduct it like civilised adults to prevent the needless damage that this is causing?"

Yes! All we ask is that the GLB and the trans advocates remove the word "transsexual" from its rainbow and make it clear that when they speak of the transgendered that they are not speaking for transsexuals. If you want our support then honor our right to not be included against our will.


Rebecca ...

Direct quote "As long as a caller presents their opinions in a civil manner they will be heard. As long as they do not threaten that which is precious to me they will continue to have that access. Those who choose to violate those simple expectations will be dealt with appropriately in the interest of protecting the show and its continuance.

In what way did I insinuate that you were Monica?



Oh yes we have had words before and your non-op status is well known .. .. certainly not esp.


.. and we are still waiting to hear from brynn regarding how gay males disrespect transsexuals.

As a transsexual woman, I would like to say that I am honored to be a part of the LGBT community. At the same time, I respect the right of any transsexual person to opt out.

Why can't we all just get along?

Hrm... I thought this was a discussion about Diego Sanchez's appointment, but since the thread has long since been hijacked -- again -- by the HBSers, I did want to note two things:

1) What about the transsexuals who do consider themselves part of the transgender (and LGB) communities? Excluding all transsexuals from the LGBT rainbow to cater to a tiny -- if extremely vocal -- minority doesn't exactly honor their wishes.

Personally, I when I'm asked to describe the make-up of the trans communities, I always say it can include [list of various types of folks] because there are a variety of folks (such as many drag queens) who wouldn't consider themselves trans. But there's also folks in those same groups who do.

2) Given that Cathryn's petition to stop including transsexuals under the umbrella of "transgender" has gotten only 85 signatures (as of this morning) since it was created last July, I don't think there's any evidence of a vast silent majority that the HBSers claim to speak.

As others have said, the important fight is with this who hate/discriminate against us, whatever we're called. FWIW, trying to disassociate oneself from "those people" (like me) isn't really gonna work anyway, since the haters seem to have no problem within being inclusive about how they hate. (Witness their routine linking of the "homosexual/gender confused agenda".) Do people really think that if the LGBT communities did stop including transsexuals that the haters would magically stop hating transsexuals? Somehow I doubt it.

Firstly .. to the best of my knowledge, Cathryn's petition is only listed on her own blog ( and on SA-ET's, tgnonsense blog (

It was rejected for distribution or mention on pamshouseblend, bilerico, susans place, and the HBS site This is well documented on the tgnonsense blog and both the LGB and the HBS were slammed for not allowing publication or linking to the petition when all of these blogs carry links, recommendations and even endorsements of other petitions. Therefore given the VERY limited audience, 85 signitures is not bad and far more than would be expected since it is only promoted on obscure blogs.

Secondly, it is our contention that the silent majority of women of trans history do not even visit the blogs or have any contact with what you call the "trans community". Our contention is that we for the most part transition and get on with life. In my case I have done just that for the most of the 30 years since transition and have only recently become vocal on this subject.

That many of you are proud to be a part of an organization that is primarily geared to sexual preference rather than correction of a medical anomoly at birth, is simply putting the cart before the horse. It's ok to be gay or lesbian if that is your choice, and there is certainly nothing wrong with transsexuals speaking up for, and supporting gay and lesbian issues, but there are many many transsexuals out there that are not and have never been gay or lesbian, and do not appreciate being considered such.

Unfortunatly though, women of trans history have chosen to stand back and not get involved. We have done our transitions, found husbands and wives, integrated with mainstream and do not wish our backgrounds to be known. In todays world of the transgender/gay alliance it becomes very difficult for heterosexual transsexuals, that even when they find a partner in their new assignment, have to deal with the stigma of being considered primarily gay and members of a homosexual organisation. Where as years ago, the post operative Transsexual was afforded the marriage rights of their target gender in many states, today they come under the same sex rules and often their marriages are anulled if their status becomes public.

If you want to be a part of the LGB, do so under their banner as gay and lesbian individuals, but leave the words Transsexual out of the mix. That is what we ask and anything less is not acceptable. We have no wish to die for a cause we are not part of.

A plague on both your houses.

May Rep Frank and Diego Sanchez rise above this, please.....