Antonia D'orsay

Making Trouble: Ask Dyss

Filed By Antonia D'orsay | March 05, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media

Now to get really dirty!

Part of the process in learning is often being asked questions in turn. As may of you now know, I am making trouble -- and learning from you in the process. I'm asking questions that are uncomfortable and I'm asking questions about those answers.

This next week I'll be asking one more set of questions derived from the responses to this week's questions, but first, I'm going to give you an opportunity to ask me some questions of your own.

The inevitable rules below the fold:

A. I don't read minds. No, really. I can analyze what goes into the particular semantic structure -- the subtextual communication -- of a question, which does mean that I have some insight into mental processes often subsconsciously involved, but that's not reading minds -- that's taking your question as asked and giving it serious consideration.

B.I'll answer any question I am able to answer. Sometimes that means the answer will be I don't know. I'm not supergirl here, lol, and I don't know everything. For reference, I am not able to answer three questions: what my former name was, what my surgical status is, and who the hell do I think I am. My answer to all of them will be NOYB.

C. Limit Three Questions. Yeah, unfair of me, but there's a lot more of ya'll than there is of me, and I do have more stuff to write!

That's it. Ask away.

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Is this all your posting ever going to be about, over and over again? They call this "beating a dead horse."

And people accuse me of being self-centered.

No, this is not all my postings are ever going to be about. My postings are, however, still going to deal predominantly with trans issues, including the intersections within the trans grouping, the LGBT grouping, and the wider social net. Mixed in with a few odd things here and there just for fun and to spice things up a bit.

You are not even close to being a stupid person, so the idea of you needing to learn from others seems ridiculous at best. I would rather see more articles from you where you are providing a trans spin on current affairs, rather then being so mystical. The article you did on the person who had her identity changed by her employer was a very good example of writing I like seeing you do. It's the kind of thing Becky Juro does best, but is not seen much by other trans writers here.

Let's just say that knowing you as I do, I expect more from you than what you have been putting out lately. You have, in the past, met the high standards I like coming here to read . . . except for this recent string you've been throwing out there. I hope you don't mind me pointing this out?

Well, lol, as a peson who's not stupid, then allow me to point out that part of the reason I'm not all that dense is that I do, indeed, take time and make effort to learn from others.

It is, after all, one of the best ways to learn things -- and something that we all do every day in our lives. IT's how we are socialized, just to start.

So I have to disagree that it's ridiculous, and wonder why you see it as such.

I should point out that I have been writing articles with a trans spin whil ethe Making Toruble series has been published at the same time -- indeed of the last 10 posts published of mine here, 5 have been dealing in exactly that, and five have been the making trouble series -- one of which is pointing out the commonlities of Trans issues with others.

And by this weekend's end, there will be 7 out of 12 that have nothing to do with the making trouble series.

So what you are saying is that you'd rather I just stick to trans issues, and that what I'm doing is not a trans issue, while everyone else is suggesting (and in a couple of cases, outright accusing me) of trying to turn the blog into an all trans all the time space.

Damn. Can't make everyone happy, lol.

When I write an article like the DART thing, it's because there's some aspect of that article that I can get to, and that I can post here. I will keep that in mind, but I am not a journalist, by any stretch of the imagination. I offered more in the lines of analysis on that article -- it ahd already been reported, and damn well, and all I did was take it and look at the potential impact of such. I did the same thing with the way trans lives are used as insults. And the same thing with the column scheduled for Sunday.

That's not stopping, not changing, and is simply in addition to the fact that there is indeed a constant need for education, so I'm *also* doing that.

And part of educating is being educated yourself. Hence learning from others.

Consider this part of getting better at doing what you'd like to see me do.

And of course I don't mind it.

I have yet to see any trouble being made. I haven't found the questions you've asked to be particularly controversial. They didn't make me uncomfortable.

Well, now, see, I did find the questions challenging -- they've challenged my own particular views of the world and the "community" as a whole.

Next week I'll be putting up the last two sets of follow up, derived from the two presented so far.

We'll see how that goes.

Agree with Veronique.

Also agree with a previous post which took you to task for not fessing up to creating very leading questions. I didn't find them in the least challenging nor really getting what I think are some of the problem painful intersections within the LGBTQ communities. It felt more like an exercise in confirming your opinions and not in learning from people who would really challenge you (except Eric, and you two might as well get married).

Also, if you really want to get a range of opinions, do the same thing at Queerty, Questioning Transphobia or the MichFest forums. Quite honestly, a lot of people at Bilerico who might widen the views expressed probably don't even respond to your posts, so basically... the surveys proved or disproved little.

Toni, at this point I have no questions nor do I believe you're really interested in listening. This has felt more like a lecture than a discussion.

I have seriously considered asking Lisa if she'd post these questions there. As you know, I pop in from time to time to keep up n stuff.

Queerty would be interesting -- as would the Advocate. Such discussions are something I think we need to have. The problem I can see is that they aren't entirely amenable to the format -- but that may be a failing of my own perceptions, not of the actual pubs themselves.

I'll look into it.

All questions are leading questions by that same standard, though. I'm not asking leading questions, so much as I'm asking the one's I'd like answers to. They may not be comfortable questions, but I'm not "in the business" of asking comfortable questions.

The questions were never meant to Prove or disprove anything. They were questions. Asked by me to get answers from whomever would take the time to answer them. They aren't meant to be some sort of greater statement on anything or to reveal anything to people.

If I were doing that, the format would be very different, and almost entirely comment based -- in other words, I'd be digging into the comments and arguing various points on a one to one basis instead of a one to many.

I *am* interested in listening. And I am learning quite a lot. Some of it I don't like, some of it I do -- but regardless of how much I like it or not, I can't learn if I don't ask questions. I'm not trying to lecture anyone -- I'm letting you all ultimately lecture me.

That's why the format -- I tied my own hands. On purpose. Regardless of Eric's attempt to paint me otherwise.

I could take the time to write another 30 articles like the one's I did back in December, but to what point? The people who generally comment routinely on my points and disagree with me inevitably choose to make the arguments about me as a person, instead of the points being raised -- Eric being an exception and then only for a short while.

Like your sense that I'm not listening or not wanting to learn, its all situational, and it functions on a foundation of mistrust of me to start with.

If you don't trust me, you won't believe I am. And I could ask you how to earn your trust, but that's not part of this -- it's not about earning your trust, it's about learning from your thoughts and experiences and ideas and the easiest way I can get that is to ask questions.

SO I am asking questions. A lot of the answers aren't answering the questions I asked, either -- they are answering the questions that other people *think* (that is, assume) I am "really" asking. THere's not thought to the fact that part of the reason I ask certain questions is because while I can see multiple sides, not everyone always does, so perhaps I'm structuring questions to see how well other people do that -- because I've found that by pushing myself out of my own space in answering a question, I can sometimes grow more and learn more.

I don't expect other people to learn from this. They should be asking their own questions -- this is not me saying to everybody else "learn from each other while I sit there on high", this is me asking you questions so I can learn from you.

Even if you have issues with me.

I have only one side, and that side is mine, and it's not like any other.

1) Considering the small sample size and its self chosen nature, what kind of valid conclusions can be made from the answers to your questions?

2) Many of the responses your questions have received seem to reflect a great deal of ignorance - or is it bias? - about the real nature of the intersections between the GLBT subcommunities. Since the information regarding the true nature of these intersections is already available, what will this exercise do to to remove the blinders that so many people seem to have willingly put on?

3) Do you think this question & answer process will affect the readers and contributors here at The Bilerico Project the way you expected or has something already come up that surprised you?

1. Sociologically, none. Even excluding the criteria you noted, there's been no effort to structure the questions in a manner that would allow for a seriousl study in those lines. The same applies psychologically -- these questions wouldn't pass muster in terms of value in seeking insight to the population as a whole or even Bilerico's visitors.

That wasn't the goal, though. THe goal was for me, personally, to learn from those who do respond. Which, as is rapidly becoming apparent, I did not express clearly enough (and most likely due to personal issues with me as an individual given my history). Ah well.

2.) I'm not certain that this can do anything to remove the blinders you speak of. Ignorance is only cured by education, and then only if the people are willing to learn. As I believe you know all too well, lol, I can encounter some of the nastiest anti-gay stuff ever written and demonstrate the falsehoods, and present more factual and far more logical responses and information, but in the end it's up to the person being given that to do anything with it.

You cannot force someone to accept somethng, all you can do is give them the tools and let them decide if they will or not.

I do think that it is a combination of bias and ignorance -- not an either or, that results in some of the responses but I'm giving allof them the same merit and value as I go through and do the research that I need to do as spurred by this process of asking questions.

It may be that down the road I will have some greater tools for the use of working to remind those blinders and those tools may be developed from this (too early to tell), but this itself is not something I really c0nsidered as a means to do that. This is "in the choir", so to speak, not outside it.

I can say I am seeing many parallels between "WmW" and some responses here, and you'll see those in the future.

3.) I have no idea. I had no expectations of how the questions or answers would affect the readers and contributors -- indeed, I didn't consult with them in doing this, although I plan to on something related to this tangenitally. I can say that I've been uniformly surprised by the answers as a whole. Delighted, as well -- this is stuff that goes to what I see as the core of the disconnects and a strong part of the reason that our opponents are so effective against us.

And I'm seeing many things that I haven't seen before, and it's very troubling.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 5, 2010 4:45 PM

Although I don't want to be as blunt as some of the previous posters, I tend to agree. This has felt more like an exercise in confirming your opinions, rather than an attempt to learn how others feel. This is why I didn't participate in the third round as it seemed to be just a more narrowly focused version of parts 1 and 2.
Either my experiences have been much more painful than yours, my opportunities much more limited or I just take them much more personally. I like gay men. I have a great many friends who are gay men but I have also suffered much greater loss, pain, and humiliation at the hands of gay men than I have at the mercies of ordinary heteros and lesbians combined.
Without meaning to seem rude, when are we going to discuss the great harm done to our, (T), community and how to address it, specifically by gay men such as, (but not limited to), Joe Solmonese, John Aravosis, Ronald Gold and Barney Frank? These are not disagreements or misunderstandings. At best they are born out of convenience and at worst, they are born out of ignorance and bigotry just as surely as the teabaggers who hate Obama because of his race.
There are a lot of great and supportive gay men who write and comment at this blog but there are several who are overtly hateful and contemptuous. My second question is, how come such people are welcomed back when, if that person had made some of the same comments but replaced "trans" with "black", they would be dismissed for the narrow minded bigots that they are? I'm not talking about "silencing" anybody, I'm talking about treating a transphobic bigot differently, (better), than any or all of us would treat a racist. I just don't understand why people continue to give Americablog traffic when if Aravosis had said the same thing about blacks not deserving to be a part of (the LGBT), community, the outrage would have rent the heavens but instead people are "glad to know" him and "happy that (he's) around" and etc. If Joe Solmonese or Barney Frank had betrayed the Asian community the way they betrayed us, not out of principle but out of convenience, HRC would be defunct and Frank would be out of office. If Ronald Gold had told us that Native American culture didn't really exist, that it was just a bunch of people play acting, he have had no defenders here.
My third question: is that trouble enough for you?
Still love your posts as a general rule, don;t look at this as an attack because it was not meant as such.

1. I think tht we address and discuss the great harm done to the T community as a whole by such people on a nearly daily basis -- both here and in the broader community. While I, personally, haven't raised much of that here in particular, other contributors and guest posters have, often to far greater effect and impact than I ever could.

I have, however, addressed the general basis of that ignorance and bigotry, buy writing and publishing several columns in the wake of the Gold Debacle that serve as a basis for that, which I've also collated and collected on my own site under the grouping of "trans" at the top of the page. Since I reference those for my own writing, I felt it was important to have them available.

These included the what is Trans, what is sex, ten simple rules for talking trans, gender: expression, role and identity, and situational membership stuff.

2.) I would say that part of the reason that we encounter the "welcoming back" is a combination of botht he underlying objective and goal of tolerance in the movment as a whole, but also by the cultural forces that create the combination of heteronormative and sexist behaviors that underlie the institiutional transphobia within the broader cultural milieu. All of us are part of the culture in which we live. We can't escape that, and so within it comes a gret deal of stuff that we will only see when it is pointed out to us.

I think another large part of it is the lack of familiarity with aspects derived from gender studies within the broader community here at Bilerico. One of the things I've learned is that the concept of Privilege is virtually unknown by most of the male readership (not all) that comments, and that they are also unwilling to learn about it on their own, not seeing how it can be of benefit to them. I suspect a lot of this is dervied from the fact that, well, it's been known as "women's studies" a lot longer than it has been known as gender studies and its still often referred to that way. This was not something I had even let enter my head until recently, and I've learned a lot more about that as a result of these questions.

So the short answer is still the same force that drives the same persectuion of LGBT people as a whole: sexism.

3.) Nah, I can handle way more trouble than this, lol. I haven't seen any of the comments on any of the posts as an attack on me, personally -- pointedly so. I did want to answer a couple questions raised int he last one by people who were not following the rules, but I avoided actually getting into any sort of serious discourse as it would do me no good to do so and would color the way that I see the answers.

I have to look at them dispassionately, and without malice and with gratitude. I was actualy pretty hurt to read that one of them was called "snark" because I expressed that gratitude -- which tells me a lot about how some folks read my stuff, lol.

Antonia, I don't know you either personally or by reputation, so nothing I say or ask is about you personally, only about the questions you posed.

All questions are leading questions by that same standard, though.

I can't figure out what the antecedent of "that same standard" is (something Gina wrote, I guess), but some questions are leading questions and some are not. A leading question is worded in such a way as to elicit certain answers or kinds of answer and to preclude other answers or kinds of answers. An open question makes no assumptions about what kind of answer might be forthcoming.

I think it's also important in asking open questions to avoid assuming agreement with something stated in the question, such as "why do we stab each other so often" (I can't remember the exact wording). Which is why I answered, "Do we?" I don't know that we do. If I don't go agree with the assumption, I can't answer the question. I'd prefer a question not to make assumptions. A question doesn't need to make assumptions to be provocative.

They may not be comfortable questions, but I'm not "in the business" of asking comfortable questions.

I'm still of the opinion that your questions are not uncomfortable (or disturbing or provocative, which might be more accurate ways of characterizing what you're trying to do). I know you want the questions to be provocative, and it would be great if they were, but I don't think you're succeeding.

Again, this isn't about you personally. I don't know you. But I am a stickler for clear wording, both of questions and answers, and also of making sure a question has context if it needs it.

The same standard is the examples used to state such.

It's only a leading question if the purpose is to lead you to an particular answer -- I'm not leading anyone.

I phrased the questions in order to elicit conflicting responses -- even if someone disagreed with the underlying assumptions.

By that standard, "Why do you like gay people" is a leading question, for example, whereas one could take out the "why" part and get an entirely different question that by that standard may not seem leading, but is still so in the proper context.

And that's the point -- in politically sensitive areas, context affects the notion of a question being leading or not.

I assert it is not leading, as the context is I'm just asking a question, and it's fairly obvious that I wasn't leading since you didn't follow.

Why didn't you follow, though? Does answering a question have to be always about what you believe? I don't believe in a Christian God, but I can answer the question "Why do you believe in a Christian God" without it affecting my belief system if the point of the exercise it to help educate someone.

It is obvious that many people felt they were leading questions -- I just disagree with them, and that disagreement doesn't affect the value of those respnses to me, merely suggests that I need to ask the same question in a different way.

One could point out that I didn't posit a particular goal here, and yet, I did -- I wanted to learn from the readers and the commenters here. Nothing more complex than that -- no special idea of *what* to learn.

The rest is, from my perspective, other people leaping to a conclusion about me, in particular.

Part of the reason I added in the ask me is so that people could do so, and perhaps overcome that.

Open questions provide open answers. As a person who is also very particular, I avoid open questions because they are so easily stepped around -- and if you take open questions to our opponents, they will in fact do that.

So it's likely a bad habit, but that doesn't mean that the questions themselves are flawed or bad.

They are just questions, and I'm not asking anyone if they beat their spouses nightly or just once a week, after all.

1. Is it possible that the reason the LGBTTIQ alphabet soup keeps growing is because there is a larger framework of gender and sexual minorities that we keep finding common purposes with, even if identities may differ (i.e. asexuals, consensual BDSM folks, furries)?

2. How do you think people would react if someone put that question out to them today?

3. How do you think the community(ies) will look in 50 years time?

4. What do you think said community(ies) will say about us when they look back at this period in time?

Challenging enough? :)

Oh yes, Very! :D Thank you!!

(and if it wasn't you asking, I'd be put off by the number of them, lol)

1. ) I find that the growth of the alphabet soup is not merely possibly related to commonality, but absolutely due to the commonality. So yes, i do feel its possible, and indeed, I feel that's the primary motivator behind it.

We encounter a great deal of strong resistance that is derived from the same basic forces -- sexism, patriarchy, and heteronormative pressures -- that affect the other groups as a whole. That's not merely conjecture on my part, that's an observable and proven aspect of social science. So for me, personally, that's fairly important.

2.) Right now, I suspect that those same forces -- being institutional and therefore part of the cultural upbringing of many of the people who have thus far been motivated to respond -- would result in a recognition of that commonality, but a denial of its validity in their lives and the way that it affects them.

3.) In 50 years, I suspect there will be a very different overall look to what we think of as the LGBT (etc) community -- for one, it will have gone through a stage that is just past the burgeoning point right now, and by then will probably be in the final stage where it is breaking up due to a lessening of the motivating pressures that form it.

I've been accused of being a bit optimistic in that expectation, and its' quite possible that I'm affected by personal biases, but all the current signs point to the next 7 to 10 years being the ones where the greatest trouble is, with the single greatest increase of violence, resulting in a massive cultural shift that's historically founded and pretty certainly in our favor. The great push achieved it will fracture into the smaller blocs doing their individual parts of the puzzle, with what will be referred to as "natural" alliances -- T & L, for example.

There will still be widespread discrimination and wholesale attacks, but the days we see today of backlash will have ended, and the fight will not be with both the people and the politicians, but really just with the people.

I also see the T taking a large part of the lead in that, as once you give that many trans folk access to money, they will become far more politically influential than people realize.

4.) I think they will look back to this period of time and honor the courage it took for those of us today to stand up for the right just to be heard, to be recognized and to be taught about.

And they will wonder why it took us so damn long to unite in order to achieve it in the first place.

Again, thanks -- those were *great* ones, and the sort of stuff I sit around thinking about all day.

Do you believe there should be separate tax brackets for single, married, married filing separately, and head of household?

Do you believe it should be legal to posses methamphetamine or cocaine?
If yes, how many grams or kilos?

Do you believe the federal government or a state should pay or allow tax deduction for transgender medical procedures?
If so which ones? ( electro, FFS, breast (male female)...)?

1. No I don't believe those whould be the brackets. I believe it should be a flat tax of 18% to all individuals, and 27% to all corporations (without exemptions). But I'm kinda draconian and working on that.

2. Well, I may be wrong but my understanding is that it is legal to posses them. If you have a license (this is why they are called Controlled substances). The amount varies by purpose. Cocaine, for example,is still used in certain eye surgeries as an anesthetic. However, if you meant to infer that it could be something like individual and personal use, then the answer is no.

3. Yes to both allow and, in cases of indigent needs, pay for. Inclusive of BA/BR, soft tissue FFS work, and SRS. I'd like to see Electro/laser included, but that one's probably reaching.

GayHermit | March 5, 2010 9:20 PM

Thanks for all these questions. They are interesting, frustrating, and making me think, which is a good thing. {I hope that some of my answers have given you the same kind of reaction.} ;)

As you may have guessed from some of my responses, I view our community as a tribe. I am considering, as I always have, on some level, of trying to start working with and representing our tribe. (Assuming I can overcome my hermit tendencies.) If I do try doing this, (and I will start by blogging), it is important to me to try to represent all the members of the tribe to the best ability that I can. By knowing as much as I can, so that I can speak about it and knowing when I don't know what I am talking about, so that I can say that and point people to somewhere that they could get that information. I am attempting to do this through education, here at this site, at PHB, your personal website and Zoe Brain's website. (There are others as well, but I feel those are the best currently.)

My only question is this. Through the answers I have given so far, does it look like I have learned anything in my quest for knowledge or am I just showing typical cis gay male issues?

If my answers don't give you enough info to make a judgement, that's cool, just let me know.

Thanks to you and all those who have responded to the questions. Your responses are also educating me.

I can say that the answers as a whole have been interesting and made me think, but I can't say that I've been frustrated by them -- except for the insistence of some that I'm false flagging it, which is pretty darn frustrating.

I would suggest adding Questioning Transphobia to your list -- the folks over there are very knowledgeable, and while the grounds are centered on trans lives (which can be uncomfortable for others), there's a wealth of information that I consistently learn from there (even when I don't always agree with it).

I hadn't given the potential for this question much thought, and so I'm not really able to answer at this time without doing a lot of research into your history of views on the subject. Which I might do and later come back and say more, lol

Since I take stuff at face value, and you've said you have tried, I'm going to say that the effort means that you are at least getting somewhere, and that I appreciate the effort.

One thing I've noted a lot of people fail to get about me is that I don't really care if one disagrees with me or agrees with me -- all I care about is that it's based on factual information and not merely parroted opinion designed to hide something.

Prejudice is huge. It's all around us, it's in us, and it's very easy to forget just how easily it can grab you. And I've discovered that those who feel it the most -- those for whom prejudice is a constant companion, be it from within themselves or from others outside them -- are the people who are most likely to be prejudiced themselves.

It breeds itself, and I see it in trans folk who have come to say that all cis folk are bad, period (even to the point they will start a fight to "prove it"), to LGBT folk who hate anyone who is religious, to our mutual opponents, for whom it's all just a part of the massive presence of sexism in society as a whole.

It saddens me. But then, I'm a "true believer" in the power of tolerance.

Go figure.

To those who's questions are still in the Queue, be patient. I'm not the approval or disapproval person so I'm waiting just as you are.

I probably should recommend registering, but I understand how some folks dislike the idea of doing that, and don't want to make it seem a big deal -- it just makes it so that your comments aren't held up for hours at a time.

1)Can we expect any type of final discussion on what you have learned and found out from your questions?

2)Have you considered setting up a section which asks people what questions they think should be asked or which things they would like to see covered in order to allow you to see not only your own questions but what queries others of us may have about the subject to see if that might also inform you direction of inquiry?

3)If "no" to my question #2, might you consider it now? I myself often find this method useful in the research that I do and it often allows me a wider view of my own field of ignorance to a subject in that sometime I may not be asking the questions that I actually should be asking.

1.) Yes, absolutely. late next week or midweek the following, depending on what my schedule looks like (it's a lot to have go through).

2.) I have, but I'm not in charge of the blog, I only write for it -- so while I can consider it, that's all, and I'll answer no. I can say that I'm more than willing to take questions via email -- and that can be ascertained by writing me through the email address in my profile.

3.) I think it's a great idea, in the manner you've suggested it, and may see about setting something of that sort up at my own blog -- there's the whole formspring thing, but that's not quite the same, I don't think. Something like that *on the site* would be really cool. Hopefully, the Powers that Be in charge of such things (ahem, @jerame, @alexblaze, @bilerico via twitter) will be made magically aware of this and perhaps give it thought.

(That's about as subtle as I get in terms of hints, lol)

I do agree that it helps to broaden the scope, and in an ideal format, it allows for "drift" and much wider conversations that bring in additional awarenesses and ideas.

A forum is good for such things -- and I may just do what I can about that.

The I look forward to it re #1. And I hope that the hints are taken.

Sarasnavel | March 5, 2010 11:21 PM

Oh hell, I'll bite. Since you now have a better view of how we feel, here are ten "trouble" questions for you. Kind of a scattershot. And, please, everyone else feel free to submit your answer list too.

1. Which subgroup of the LGBTBx umbrella causes the most strife with the others & what should be done?

2. Do transgender and transsexual people do enough for their own cause?

3. Which group in the umbrella appears to have the most disdain for others & what are their reasons given?

4. Are those reasons at least partially valid?

5. Which group most reduces the chance of legislation being passed and how?

6. What is the best way to alleviate the problem and get legislation passed?

7. What are the most effective tactics used to deny us rights, who is pushing them & how can we counter?

8. Is donating cash to national orgs or grassroots more effective and why?

9. Are we screwing up the fight for equality, how so and how do we fix it going forward?

10. What is the most effective proven way to change mainstream religious peoples' opinion of LGBT people & what is stopping us from using it?

Sarasnavel, if you'd do me the favor of picking the three you'd like me to answer the most, please? :)

2.) This is kinda complex to ask of me, lol, but my *opinion* is no. Mostly because of the issues of internal erasure and separation, but also because of facotrs such as blending/stealth, and an unwillingness to forego certain sacred cows or golden calves within the community as a whole.

That said, one of the most devastating things we do is eat our own -- one example being that while we are harsh on our foes, we often push away those who would be allies by denying them the very thing we are denied -- a voice in the movment as a whole.

7.) THe most effective tactics that I see being used are the deception rules -- in short, the modesty attack. It's not just used against us, either -- it's used to divide us within our own community, as well. THis is best summed up by the oft heard phrase "bathroom bill".

In talking with the people who are most apt to believe this sort of thing, I've come to the viewpoint that the most effectve tactic is going to be to use the same method of attack.

Get some passable trans men and women together, and film a series of spots of them going into the wrong restroom and getting attacked. Then say that this is what our opponents are saying they want to happen.

It will force them to go defensive, and when they get defensive, they make really stupid mistakes. They really do not know how to get a handle on us.

One of the limitations to this is that trans folks as a whole don't have the ability to mount a funded counter attack -- to do this we need to make our allies or partners or whatever a part of this process, since the bathroom thing will be used agains them as well.

9) I don't believe we are screwing it up, but I am fairly certain we are, as a whole (the LGBT etc), actually contributing to our downfall by not working harder to build the bridges between our parts and develop a cohesive general strategy that has buy in from major orgs.

A lack of willingness to engage in education about each other is one of the biggest deals we face, insofar as it pertains to the rest of the selected questions, so tht would be nice to work on, but it can't be forced -- people have to want to be involved.


10) From personal expereince: Religion is the best, most effectve way, since it's the excuse used. The problem is that there is a very high degree of bigotry and prejudice against the religious within the LGBT community that effectivley stops it's use.

this, to me,
has been the most interesting series
of posts ever at this blog.
it goes into "theory" which is, with real life experiance, combined to figure ourselves out, as "the" trans community.
(and glbt community)
QT also has an interesting post on GQ right now, but it has died out a little bit.
toni is doing what needs to be done
in alot of t people's opinions-
asking what the GLB community really thinks of us, and how and "who" they see us as.
if more people don't bite, and take these 'polls', what can you do?
"transnews" is only one type of trans interest story.
there are alot of venues for that on the net.
most t people seem to LIKE lisa and emily's site- as it 'thinks about' things.

that is taking place HERE in these posts, also.
love it or hate it, Queer theory and Feminism gave people alot of personal freedom by letting people self define.
Transfeminism will also do that, as it grows and grows.Queer theory may not apply to everyone, but if it doesn't, read another post, there are so many here at BP.

besides, Queer theory applies to many parts of glbt life, in many ways that people don't think about, across groups.
that is alot of the point that might be discovered here, with this series of posts.

as to questions, i myself have so many and some are so controversial, i'll e-mail them to the contact e-mail sometime, as not to start us all fighting again.,lol(for "screening"lol)

antonia has been really good at addressing stuff i for one have sent to her, and she is scoring an A+in this ftm's

what you DO ask her will end up in the soup next post, by the way,lol,so any concern might be addressed if you just ask-
that's been my experience...)

so bring it on
(sorry! had to say that-
alex B posted re anoying net words earlier"fail")

and,also, to me,
these posts seem the polar OPPOSITE of "SELF-centered".........

SarasNavel | March 6, 2010 2:10 AM

My apologies, I completely missed rule number three!

Okay; 2, 7, 9

I figure the rest will end up getting answered as you start talking about the previous question sets and your observations. Again, I apologize for skimming & not reading carefully. I've been a bit busy & with the previous sets, I was writing offline and then dumping into the submission form. Obviously that didn't work this time...

1. Is inclusive language that doesn't erase anyone while still being succinct possible? I've asked myself this and have no answer or solution. I say "gay marriage", "gay rights", and "gay community" all the time and it's not because I'm trying to erase anyone.

2. Do we have to disown anyone? Or maybe the better question is, can we disown anyone? That's not really a question for you personally, because I don't think I've ever seen you ask that of anyone. It's just a general question I have. Because I feel like what's being asked of me is that to be an ally I have to disown some gay person or gay organization that isn't an ally. And...I don't know how or if I can do that even if I wanted to.

3. And for that matter, am I an "Ally" or am I a "Family Member"?

1. I've found that it is possible outside the wider rubric of LGBT, they generally get it more when you see LGBT but still focus on the "gay" part and fail to see much difference..

Within the community, I'm not sure that we can get more succinct that Gay, Lesbian, Bi, and Trans so long as we cling to the concept of Identity Politics as the measure by which we define ourselves.

We have extended our identities beyond just our own skin, and wrapped then around other people instead of seeing what we have in common and wrapping that around all of us.

Too much focus on what makes us different from each other, and not enough on what makes us alike.

2.) I think it's entirely possible for the LGBT to disown one of its groups, Indeed, it's been done, before,and it took 20 years to get it back together.

What I don't think is that it's the wisest course of action -- sexism is still at the root of what is oppositional to us all, and so all that does is leave one chunk trailing behind and slowing the rest of the movement down. Until the cord of sexism is cut, there will always be that little bit to stop all from reaching equality.

As a note, i'ts been my experience that those who see the issue as sexism clearest are those who are subject to it in intersectional ways.

3.) I like to think that we are all both -- and I feel that you are one of the people who is such.

1. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Comm... start again.

1 (reprised). What are the three questions you'd most like to be asked?

2. What are the answers?

3. There is no 3.

1. No senator McCarthy, I haven't, and you can su-- er, sorry.

1.) Oooh, good one. Totally caught me off guard there. Hmmm. Let me think on that one and get back to you.

2.) drat, I will have to sit and think for a while longer.

Seriously -- I hadn't thought of what I wanted people to ask. Probably because I didn't have any specific goals in doing this in terms of particular questions.

So the answer, contextually, is that I had no questions in mind I'd like to be asked, and therefore cannot know the answers to those unasked questions.

That said, and having an idea of how you think to some meager extent, I can widen things outside of context and just go in general.

For that, though, I'll have to sit and think a bit. Will return in my morning to give my responses.

No Hurry. Please put this one on the back burner while you think on it, and answer other questions not quite as hard.

Hugs, Zoe

In thinking long and hard about what questions I would like to have been asked, I first had to rethink this whole thing in terms of what I would like people to know from me, and since I write that stuff most of the time I figured I'd need to step outside the realm of stuff I'd normally write on.

At least, here, lol.

So the three questions that I cam up with were:

1. Why is it so important to you that people recognize there is a community?

2. Why is it so important to you that trans people get along with gay people?

3. What do you see as the greatest obstacle to our equality as LGBT people.

and the answers to those questions are:

1. Because there is a community. There is the free flowing sharing of ideas, desires, goals, thoughts, commerce, and more. And while within that community the B and the T are marginalized very heavily, the fact is that they can *be* marginalized in it because it is a community.

It annoys me that people think community is some readily defined thing where everyone gets along and is happy and sparkly and fabulous. Saying there is not LGBT community is like saying there is no US community.

Doing that erases heroes and heroines, history and circumstance, suffering and victory. It takes everything that we've done -- and WE have done it, all of us, separately or, far more often, together -- and thows it out the window, and places everything we have still to fight for at risk.

2. Most trans folks might see it as the reverse, which is equally true -- I'd like gay folks to get along with trans and bi folks as well. But in the case of trans folk, if we get along better with them, then we can show them how to take advantage of the incredible hypocrisy of our opponents, and devastate not only their fear based attacks but their religious ones, as well.

There's not much they can do with us because they have no real handle on us -- and if you want to learn to fight them, you back us and we will show you how to do it.

Transfolk don't generally have money to donate or support big efforts, and yet most of us, until a couple years ago at least, have done exactly that. Money we spend kills our ability to be ourselves -- for us to truly "come out" costs us several thousand dollars and takes a year.

And yet, we are denied employment, denied equality within the movement that we helped to start on equal footing with all the others, and denied our voice within that movement.

And still here we are. We are a stubborn, potent, powerful lot, and if given the support we need, we will, in fact, devastate the opponents because we do something that renders them powerless.

3. It's two things, equally. First, the intense prejudice against the religious that colors much of our overall "rank and file" conversation. The grassroots is intensely prejudiced -- not merely irreligious, but antireligious. It attacks all persons of faith, and helps our opponents classify us as a threat to all. Secondly, our lack in cohesion about each other. So long as any of us is willing to sacrifice any of us -- be it trans folk being willing to sacrifice gay men or some org being willing to sacrifice trans folks to get any kind of legislation passed, we will never achieve equality for all of us, merely some of us.

There is no separation. Trans folk are part of every single bit of the LGB, and the LGBT is part of all the various flavors of trans folk. While SO and GI may be two different things, all of us have both, and as far as our opponents are concerned, it doesn't matter which one they use against us. And as far as our people are concerned, their SO is just as much a part of them, as their GI.

There are days when I see gay folk talking as if they don't have a gender identity, which is like straight folks talking like they don't have a sexual orientation -- just plain stupid as all get out.

Both of those problems have one thing in common though: intolerance.

Exclusion breeds intolerance and prejudice. That's how it happened that some trans folk are prejudiced against gay peeps, and how gay peeps are prejudiced against trans folks and how all the LGBT is prejudiced against the religious.

Tolerance doesn't allow for that. You cannot be tolerant and not tolerate something. IT is not a "kinda tolerant" path we are on here, and until we make our movement *truly* about tolerance, within and without, we will fail and be beaten.

So glad to hear you say 50 years to equality. I intend to be here. One hundred years ago, transsexual children who did not quickly learn to keep silent and walk binomial line, were abandoned in the woods and swamps with community blessing. Fifty years ago folk were so afraid of gender bent kids that many were nailed to the floor, electroshocked or drugged for use as institutional good behavior perks. Now most of us have not been killed, beaten or hospitalized. We still put up with a lot of prejudice, but the end is in sight. From personal experience as a mainstream pastor, I can tell you that thousands of congregations are in the process or have already moved to welcome all of the GLBT into their fellowship. Just fifty years ago most of these mainline churches did not even accept women as full voting members. Times are changing. And times are changing rapidly. It is long past time to build bridges to these churches. The pastors of these congregations write letters, preach sermons and teach children that Pat Robinson, the Pope and others like them are bigots. These mainline churches have been supportive of gay, lesbian and transsexual pastors and bishops. They have been active in lobbying for queer rights of many kinds. They recognize that oppression of anyone is oppression of everyone.
How would you approach these churches to enlist even greater cooperation for equality?

Until such a time as we can overcome the own prejudices within our movement, I'm not sure that we can.

Personally, I would (and do) approach them on the ground of common goals, from separate but equal approaches. I'm not a Christian, not a Muslim, not a Jew, and yet I have enough faith myself to stand before any of then and speak on terms of faith to the universal needs that most religions are really bent on achieving.

But that requires that one at least have a faith to start with, and so we have to turn to those who are religious within our movement to address that -- and they've been mocked and scorned and told they aren't good enough.

Failing that, I'm afraid my answer is horrifically draconian and illegal under most national and international laws, accords, and treaties. But loving in the same way that the Pope loves all God's Children.

(see how jarring that is?)

battybattybats battybattybats | March 7, 2010 10:42 PM

1. How do you think we can we get more Sex and Gender Diverse individuals to come out and get involved in fighting for their rights, especially the greatly dissproportionatly under-represented portions?

2. How do you think we can end or minimise the pointless internecine hostilities between parts of the Sexuality Sex and Gender Diverse communities?

3. What do you think are the most powerful memes and rhetoric we can use to defeat that of the haters that oppose our rights? We can reason to the reasonable and thats worked to a point but they are using rhetoric and emotional unreason and lies, what truths do we have that may still reach the hearts of those they rely on the reactions of to defeat us?

1. Make loud, active protests on behalf of non transsexual gender variant people that are specifically meant to deal with the issue of stigma, guilt, and shame in the general community around us.

In other words, we need to take the hidden secret part of it away before they will come out. And since most publicly visible activists generally are out and find nothing is shameful about it, I don't see that happening any time soon.

It doesn't help that the Trans community is as fractured as the g/l are. I don't know enough about the B to say if they are internally fractured or not.

With transsexuals looking down their noses at CD's, and CD's saying TS folk went too far, and both of them ignoring GQ folks, or walking all over their identities or the identities of all the other variable kinds of GV folks, well...

Le'ts say we've got some logs to pull out of some eyes.

I will say this much -- it's going to end up where "Full time and medical" trans folk get their rights, and the rest sorta get left behind because they are still unseen far too often. I suspect that the new DSM will actually help that happen sooner, but no matter how often transsexuals stand up for everyone, they still aren't the same as one of the various subgroups standing up to speak.

You know how I feel about it, in terms of importance and equity and everything, but I don't understand it myself, I can't speak to it like one of then can. I can't describe the hell of being GQ even though I've passed through a point there along my path. I don't understand the identity, only the experience, and then only vaguely -- situationally, to reference myself.

It's not enough to argue the case effectively, and that means mistakes and mistakes mean someone's going to get left behind.

2. Time for me to piss off everyone.

We can't. The future can, if we teach people about it now, while they are young, and we can ensure that gender variance and diversity is treated with the same sort of simple awareness we ask now of kids in schools.

That means education. If we didn't have unbelievably high levels of unemployment and fractionalization, we could form an educational body or just muscle in on GLSEN (they wouldn't mind too much) and start working towards a strong curriculum that's trans aware. There are kids books about Penguins having two Dads, but not so many about that boy that became a girl on weekends.

We, however, the us right now -- we are a bunch of people who have had to deal with some of the most amazingly cruel crap heaped on us. Stuff that people in general would look at and scratch their heads and say "why did that hurt" or "why is that important?"

And to be frank, it's left a lot of us with coping mechanisms and survival skills that aren't exactly conducive to our working together since, sadly, so much of that is based in our fight to be just the particular kind of GV person we are.

There are pressure to transition that hit CD's, pressures to have surgery that hit TS folk, pressures to "pick a side" for the GQ and the Agender and the third gender and even more besides that. As a "letter" we are, in a very real sense, still finding out about all the possibilities that exist within the T. By the end of this new Decade, there will be tons more evidence to support some of them and some evidence to say that others don't exist, and then other evidence tht creates new ones. There is still language to create, terminology to conquer -- outside of the "big two" that always get mentioned (TS and CD), there's still new infant identities being created that are solidifying primarily by defining themselves by what they are not instead of by what they are, because the language doesn't exist for it yet.

Most of what I have in my "What is Trans" post is *current, right now* stuff. And some of it is so new that people out there haven't even figured out where they fit in any of that within the T -- and you don't want to get me started on outside the T when people are still fighting over pansexual, unisexual, hypersexual and who knows how many others in the equally distant no man's land of being Bi.

And I'm *just* now getting into some of that. Its almost as much to learn as there is about us...

3. Put pretty people front. Society is lookist, we need rights, use it against them. Tolerance first, not acceptance (you can't force acceptance). Individuality matters. Nonconformity is critical to society. Argue religion only if you have one -- and never use logic, only faith.

You can't argue faith with logic -- it's trying to apply the rational to something which is fundamentally irrational. So you must use the irrational to combat it.

They want to make people afraid of us, we need to make people afraid of them.

But, ultimately, that means money, because we have to create good strong advertising campaigns that change people's ideas on the emotional level first, and then hit them with the factual logical stuff.

battybattybats battybattybats | March 8, 2010 9:42 AM

A follow up pair of questions if i may?

1. how do you think we may begin to get the money you say we need?

2. And for that matter recruit the attractive and media-savvy spokespeople.

Thanks for the patience of those who waited over the weekend. I needed some time for myself.

3. Put pretty people front.

I get concerned every time this comes up. Wasn't the whole campaign for trans exclusion in the 1970s (and more, because it ultimately included "butch" lesbians and effeminate men by the '80s) because we weren't an acceptable face of gay rights? Because we challenged the "we're just like you" approach that gay rights activists at the time wanted to take?

Yes, we need some "pretty people" out there, but without sweeping anyone else under the rug or acting like they're an embarassment.

I know that's not what you meant to get at, but it's where it can lead.

That tired approach still gets some traffic and it really is problematic. The whole idea that we are just like anyone else is so messed up we are not even just like one another. And that is rather the way I like it.

I agree, it *is* a risk. But there is Robs point below, as well.

That whole "just like you" thing is part of the same assimilationist movement that's been there for a long time.

Fact is, we are not just like them, and they know it, and they use that against us. We are discriminated against because we are not just like them. Even if we are *really* close to being just like them.

Of course, it helps when some of them are us -- I kinda pointedly avoided mentioning the whole het folk as members of the LGBT thing because that gets me in even more trouble.

My bigger concern with putting the pretty people up front is that it will make things worse for the rest of us that aren't all that pretty -- and for the same reason: society is lookist. THey want us to look like them.

They want us to look like, talk like, sound like, think like, act like, be like them. That is their goal, because if we do those things, we become them.

Hence the being individual -- even with pretty people up front in the commercials and the ads and the media crap, by pushing individuality and it's value and necessary importance to society, we should have better luck than trying to become them.

It sucks, it makes me uncomfortable to say it, but in the end, emotional power is what gives us the crack in the door.

1. No clue. I haven't enough information yet to really figure it out.

2. We have the talent within our ranks already.