Antonia D'orsay

Making Trouble: Final Questions

Filed By Antonia D'orsay | March 17, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: homosexual agenda, LGBT, marriage, political parties, politics, Queer Agenda, Questions, Transawareness

Over a series of columns that have upset people on multiple levels, I've been asking questions. They are questions intended to create thought, to make people think in ways outside their norms. They are questions that I am asking because I want to learn from the readers here.

Learning from people is not always a simple process. You can't just ask one question, you see. You ask one, and then you listen to the answer, and then you ask another question based on that answer. People are different -- as the answers have already shown -- and since I've set aside my own thoughts on this so far, I'm able to pay close attention.

So, once again, it's follow up time. I'm still learning from you, the readers, and I'm interested in what you have to say. So, here are some more questions for you.

These are not going to be friendly questions, either. I've learned a lot from the answers, and one of the things I've learned is that some people out there are extremely paranoid about me.

So these questions are not easy, and this time, I really do have an agenda in asking them.

I will stipulate a few rules to this process. I realize some people dislike that even as a merest suggestion, but I think it's important as people need to do it. I'm not changing the rules, either.

A. I'm not going to comment on the posting. I'm learning from you. One of the things some people have said is that I don't listen to others, that I don't give them a shot. Well, this is that chance.

B. Don't critique or criticize another poster's responses. That's going to be hard. In fact, that's going to be damn hard given the questions I'm going to ask.

C. Answer the questions. No vacillating, no talking about subjects that are germane but not part of the actual answer. No guessing about what I mean in asking them, and don't worry about what I might think or others might think about your answers. There's no sinister motive behind this, and if you think the questions are some kind of trap, well, as far as I'm concerned, you have some issues with paranoia.

D. This is just about the questions. Not me, not other commenters, not Bilerico, not some greater good or lesser evil, not about who did what to whom with that where and if they enjoyed it or not. Just the questions.

And now, the questions:

1. What is the LGBT to you?

2. Why is the LGBT that to you?

3. Since it appears to be a strongly held belief among all the groups that Trans only legislation would not pass in Congress, why would anyone think it's going to be "easier" later to do so?

4. How much later? Per the NGLTF, an average of 14 years (and still getting longer with each day) is needed, and in most cases, even after 14 years, its still not happening.

5. Why do people still think assimilation works?

6. Describe feminism.

7. What is intersectionality?

8. What are your privileges?

9. What are you fighting for: tolerance or acceptance?

10. Why are you fighting for that?

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1. LGBT is a stop on the way to the alphabet soup that developed when the "gay community" wasn't inclusive enough. Now instead of inclusion we have border squabbles about which element is or isn't garnering the appropriate amount attention and or respect.

2. I'm pretty much over the whole LGBT thing. I want my gay and lesbian friends to be able to get married, join the army, and have a job. I want my trans friends to get the respect they deserve as human beings, to have a job, get married, join the army, and present themselves in the way that makes the most sense to them. I'm pretty indifferent to all the rest.

3. I think if properly and rationally presented T only legislation could be passed. If brilliantly written we wouldn't need LG legislation.

4. When Dr. Jillian gets elected to Congress.

5. Cause it is working pretty well for me. It works pretty well for a bunch of my friends of all stripes as well.

6. Feminism is the radical notion that women are people too.

7. Intersectionality is something that is of or related to an intersection. An intersection is a place in which if you stand there too long, you eventually get run over by a bus. It is a term used by people who spend too much time thinking or writing about the world and not enough time living in it.

8. My privileges are less now than they were when I carried an American Express card. The word that so often gets left out when people talk about privilege is unearned. In the environment I inhabit, I have access to less unearned privilege than one might automatically assume. It pisses me off, and I want my money back.

9. I'm not fighting, I'm working. There is a difference. I could care less about tolerance, acceptance is where the game is.

10. I don't care if you tolerate me or not. Acceptance is you getting used to the idea that I exist and there isn't anything you can do about that.

I don't understand all the theory. But I will help flesh out the ignorant tail on your sample's bell curve:

1. What is the LGBT to you?

It is a civil rights advocacy community with common interests in ending discrimination against its constituent groups. It includes sets of people with intersecting characteristics. These characteristics share traditional and legal disadvantages that opponents have sought to justify using similar lines of reasoning.

2. Why is the LGBT that to you?

I am primarily interested in remedying official disadvantage attached to socially disfavored groups by governments and private actors.

3. Since it appears to be a strongly held belief among all the groups that Trans only legislation would not pass in Congress, why would anyone think it's going to be "easier" later to do so?

Is this a rhetorical question?

Anyway, I think your apparent implication that "trans-only" legislation will not be realistic in the near future is accurate. Passage of ENDA without gender identity will leave this protection unavailable indefinitely.

4. How much later? Per the NGLTF, an average of 14 years (and still getting longer with each day) is needed, and in most cases, even after 14 years, its still not happening.

It would depend on the gradual process of social acceptance. But that historically has been driven by enactment of civil rights legislation.

It could be decades.

5. Why do people still think assimilation works?

Do you mean assimilation of persons with a transsexual history into the larger society? If so, simply because in some cases it does.

But that does not justify failing to protect the rights of all.

6. Describe feminism.

Support of equality for women, legally and socially.

7. What is intersectionality?

No clue. I will refrain from a joke.

8. What are your privileges?

Well, the Fourteenth Amendment protects against the abridgment of the privileges and immunities of any citizen of the United States. In that sense, there is little distinction between privileges and rights.

A more colloquial interpretation would include things that one is allowed to do, but which can be regulated or prohibited by governmental entities. We all enjoy many things within that category. It is dangerous, however, when elements of basic human fair treatment are not protected as rights for disenfranchised groups.

9. What are you fighting for: tolerance or acceptance?

Equality under the law.

10. Why are you fighting for that?

What is a better goal? As a practical matter, what can do more for people more quickly?

1. LGBT is a dual concept. On one hand it is a loosely-organized political lobby dedicated to the equal rights and protections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. On the other, it's a group of people who live, work, and generally share the same air as non-LGBT people.

2. I make this distinction because it's one of my "tricks to living a healthy life." I find that if I separate the advocacy from the advocates I can do the same in my own life, thus allowing me to just be a girl when situations allow. I may be politically active, but I still go out with friends, write fiction, and work a full-time job. I need that separation in my life.

3. I tread lightly on this situation, as I've gained ire from some pretty big names for my opinions on the issue. (No joke.) However, I am convinced that trans people are one of the last classes for whom discrimination is not only tolerated, but encouraged. Trans-only legislation is possible at a local/state level, but it's still too hot-button to pass on its own on the national level. It will be no easier to pass later, and one of my fears in LGBT advocacy is that I'll work for LGB legislation, gain rights for LGB people, and then when it comes time to support the T people will be long, long gone. I believe in trust, but daddy didn't raise no fool.

4. 20 years, from the point gay marriage bans are fully repealed. That brings the total to approximately 30 years for trans equality, by my armchair estimate. (Yes, I'm cynical.) Right now, trans people can carve out a meaningful, if not devalued, existence in certain areas of the nation, if they are careful.

5. Assimilation devalues our Other-ness (OMG dude's a chick now!) and makes us just like everyone else. Assimilation works because it sidesteps fear and the struggle to accept what does not fall within social norms.

6. Four words: women are people too.

7. Gonna skip this one.

8. I am an intelligent, college-educated, middle-class, passing transgender woman. I'm not rich, but I make my bills consistently and have a decent savings egg going.

9. Long term? Acceptance.

10. I battle for acceptance because closing one's ears and going "lalala you don't exist!" only works for boogeymen; when the denialist opens their eyes, we are still there, living our lives, sharing space with them.

Or, to put it another way, I tolerate brussels sprouts, but accept cherry pie. And - let's be honest - who _doesn't_ accept pie when its offered? :D

1. An alphabet soup approach to inclusivity that has by now missed the point and obscured the true roots of oppression. Its not that not enough minority groups are included, you see, it's how the groups are being created in the first place that's the problem. But anyways...

2. Because of intersectionality!! But I'll elaborate on that later if i have time.

3. I agree with what someone said above. An excellently written piece of T legislation would perforce include all peoiple, and LGB legislation wouldnt even be necessary.

4. The time is always now in my opinion. It may take years, but you better get started as soon as you notice the problem and don't you dare stop until it is resolved.

5. A person's belief in assimilation's success is directly proportional to the number of minority identities experienced by that single individual.

6. Feminism is a discipline that should be required study in high school and college. It has wonderful tools for indicting paradigms, and asking questions rather than relying on scientific, religious, or naturalistic explanations for the way the world works.

7. Intersectionality is a concept lots of able bodied white folks tend to dismiss offhand. W.E.B. concept of Double-consciousness is one way to think of an experience of intersectionality. But basically it means acknowledging that racism, sexism, straight supremacy, classism and all those other -isms work together in all our lives and are not seperable into L G B T white black foreign national male female and so on... the one will affect your experience of all the others.. etc..

8. I'm relatively able bodied. I grew up in a middle class environment and benefited from that economically and educationally. I have a good amount of passing privilege so I'm (finally) able to live my life without being stopped every ten feet to explain myself and what i'm doing here. These privileges have directly allowed me to transcend most of the negative social consequences for being of afro-dominican descent in this society. Trust me they make a huge difference in one's experience of race in this society. A HUGE one.

9. I'm not fighting for tolerance or acceptance. I'm fighting for the right to be left alone and live as I please, regardless of what others think of me.

10. I'm fighting because I'm done negotiating the amount of power others may have over my life. But I did enjoy what someone said about acceptance.... acceptance means that you realize certain other people exist in the world and that there is nothing you can do about it. I will fight for THAT kind of acceptance any day.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 17, 2010 12:06 PM

1. What is the LGBT to you?
A) To me it's just a concept of a community that should unite for the good of all but only does so when something really outrageous happens to a "member" of that community.
2. Why is the LGBT that to you?
A) That's simply the definition which I have for those letters in that order. I've never felt a real sense of community, again except in cases of extreme outrage against part of that "community"
3. Since it appears to be a strongly held belief among all the groups that Trans only legislation would not pass in Congress, why would anyone think it's going to be "easier" later to do so?
A) They are either a) delusional or b) simply trying to get the transgendered Americans to once again fight for THEIR rights on the vague and always Broken promise of inclusion later. So I cite either extreme insanity or extreme cynicism.
4. How much later? Per the NGLTF, an average of 14 years (and still getting longer with each day) is needed, and in most cases, even after 14 years, its still not happening.
A) Never of course. See the answer to number 3
5. Why do people still think assimilation works?
A) Ignorance of the facts and the history or wishful thinking.
6. Four words: women are people too.
A) One word: duh
6. Describe feminism.
A) I describe feminism as an effort to place women on an equal footing with men, without the condescension or the misogyny that permeates society. It's not about working to be better or more empowered than men, just to be regarded as "fully human". Unfortunately there are many feminists that regard me as not fully human so while I'm somewhat sympathetic, I'm not really allowed to participate.
7. What is intersectionality?
A) I can't find a definition for that word so, as it's your word, you're going to have to define it for me before I can answer intelligently.
8. What are your privileges?
A) I can't answer that question without some context. In regard to what? Society? The community? My family? Apparently everything I do, right down to drawing breath is a "privilege", considering the fact that in my state, I don't even have the "right" to buy food and pay rent.
9. What are you fighting for: tolerance or acceptance?
A) Neither. I couldn't care less whether people accept or tolerate me. I simply want the same rights accorded to every other unincarcerated adult in this country, commensurate with the obligations by which I'm legally bound.
10. Why are you fighting for that?
A) That should be self evident. All oppressed peoples struggle for freedom, security and dignity. I'm no different.

1. What is the LGBT to you?

A coalition of identity groups with largely common causes and experiences of oppression.

2. Why is the LGBT that to you?

The cynic in me says it's a numbers game. Also, so many folks find themselves within two of the groups at one point or another.

3. Since it appears to be a strongly held belief among all the groups that Trans only legislation would not pass in Congress, why would anyone think it's going to be "easier" later to do so?

I have no idea why anyone would think that. Then again, I'm of the belief that G&L stuff is why B&T stuff is in the state it's in.

4. How much later? Per the NGLTF, an average of 14 years (and still getting longer with each day) is needed, and in most cases, even after 14 years, its still not happening.

Given the current climate? It will take T folks roughly 10 years after SSM to make up for the time we spent on GLB to reallocate our resources, develop our organizations, and lay the groundwork after the GLB get theirs and stop giving a crap.

5. Why do people still think assimilation works?

Because on an individual level it does short term.

6. Describe feminism.

The social and political critique of how masculinity in its various permutations is held in esteem over all else.

7. What is intersectionality?

A way of describing how various forms of oppression connect on an individual or group impacting, modifying, and complicating the ways that individual or group experience marginalization.

8. What are your privileges?

White, middle-class, read as cis, attractive (so I'm told), employed, non-incarcerated, native-born, able-bodied.. prolly more

9. What are you fighting for: tolerance or acceptance?

The ability to simply make my way in the world. Tolerance seems the best fit of the two.

10. Why are you fighting for that?

I don't need folks to embrace me, just stop screwing with me.

#8 I totally forgot a biggie - I'm understood to be heterosexual, although I don't exactly define my sexuality that way for political reasons.

What is the LGBT to you?

LGBT is a relatively meaningless acronym. I find it useful to flag an initial starting point (ie: does the user use LGBT or GLBT?) I don’t see that using LGBT (as opposed to some other formulation of gay & lesbian) necessarily implies actual inclusion of bisexual or transgender concerns. In addition, it erases the idea that some L/G/B people are T, and some T are L/G/B – and some aren’t. I think that the B is even more of a throwaway than the T because some cultural work has been done to ensure that trans is on the map.

Why is the LGBT that to you?

Because I am politically engaged and active, and this is what I see. Overall, I find most acronyms relatively meaningless –they actually subvert what they are trying to bring to light, in a way. People use acronyms without knowing (or being forced to confront) what they are standing in for.

why would anyone think it's going to be "easier" later?

This isn’t my belief, but I would guess that they believe that, since, in the minds of many folk outside of our community, there is this conflation of trans and LGB, that the ‘general public’ doesn’t understand trans, and opposition would attempt to reduce trans issues to “men in dresses infiltrating women’s rest-stops along the freeway” (bringing to mind thoughts of sexual predators and child rapists).

How much later?

I think that trying to pass any sort of legal protections for sexual orientation but not gender (gender identity or gender presentation… actual or presumed etc.) will backfire. Many people who are discriminated against, for example, in the workplace, “because they are gay” do not actually say “I am gay” or engage in same-sex sexual behavior at the workplace. Its gender cues that set off people’s “gaydar” more often than not. More work has to be done to determine whether discrimination is based on the discriminator’s offense at the way a person looks &/or behaves or what they presume they do in private (or both). It would seem that there is a conflation of the two, so to protect someone on the basis of one rather than the other seems pointless. And it might actually work against us in the end.

Why do people still think assimilation works?

What do you mean by “works”? In our culture, people find “happiness”, “success”, and “sense of community” through the tools of capitalism. If we can amass status symbols, be recognized by a barista at Starbucks (and understand that recognition alone as 'friendship' or 'community'), or be marketed to, we know we are a part of a greater whole. Ultimately, I think that many consumer/citizens see being marketed to as being accepted by. And we pay the marketers back by buying into the machine. They give us acceptance (by wanting our dollars) and we gain some illusory social capital. Totally disgusting.

Describe feminism.

I like the definition in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (which was written by Sally Haslanger): “Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms. However, there are many different kinds of feminism. Feminists disagree about what sexism consists in, and what exactly ought to be done about it; they disagree about what it means to be a woman or a man and what social and political implications gender has or should have. Nonetheless, motivated by the quest for social justice, feminist inquiry provides a wide range of perspectives on social, cultural, and political phenomena. Important topics for feminist theory and politics include: the body, class and work, disability, the family, globalization, human rights, popular culture, race and racism, reproduction, science, the self, sex work, and sexuality.” In a word – well, a phrase – I resonate to the idea of feminism as an “intellectual commitment” – a way of doing social justice, a way of thinking through issues of importance, a way of interacting with other people and engaging with new ideas. And I especially like that built into this definition is resistance and disagreement.

What is intersectionality?

Hopefully none of my friends (or my wife!) who actually do research and work in intersectionality will hold my shallow answer against me. I can’t say that I’ve read enough to provide that thoughtful of an answer. That said, to me, Intersectionality offers a deepening and strengthening to anti-oppression political thought. Kimberlie Crenshaw and Patricia Hill Collins have done a lot of work to bring this to the fore, and I think that Alice Walker’s conception of ‘womanism’ looked at intersectionality, but I don’t think she used this language. To me, it is about expanding one’s vantage point or standpoint from looking through a single lens to seeing through a refracted lens. This has to do with the ways in which multiple oppressions can play out simultaneously (gender & racial oppression, for example), but also the distinct ways in which oppression from multiple fronts create something new (not ‘merely’ racial and gender oppression but also racialgender oppression, if that makes sense).

What are your privileges?

My biggest privilege is that I can walk through my life and people assume that I am well-educated, intelligent and trustworthy, even when I give no indication at first blush that any of that is true.

What are you fighting for: tolerance or acceptance?

No. I would never use those words to describe a battle worth fighting. I would fight for liberation. And for the end of the system(s) which oppress people everywhere.

Why are you fighting for that?

Because, to quote Audre Lorde, the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Acceptance within the system which oppresses people is endorsement of oppression. Tolerance within that system – or of that system – is complicity. Neither of those is acceptable for me. That said, I want to think about actual flesh-and-blood people (myself included) who have to live in the world, and survive within a system which they can’t opt out of. I think that those of us who are oppressed are fighting a daily battle just by waking up and walking out of the house. In a culture which grinds us down, I applaud anyone who manages to get through another day without losing herself. It’s my responsibility as a feminist to understand – really understand - how and why we enact our survival. I have to understand how we sometimes uptake attitudes and behaviors which might be resistant in some ways to some things, but oppressive or even dangerous in/to others. It’s my responsibility as a feminist to look at both the resistance and the oppression which co-exist in various attitudes and behaviors, and to subject these attitudes and behaviors to thoughtful, intesectional scrutiny (not to accept a liberal anything-goes attitude).

1. What is the LGBT to you?
LGBT is an acronym for a political coalition.

2. Why is the LGBT that to you?
Gay and trans are people. I'd rather just say queer or gay if people would let me. I know where my personal identity ends and group identity begins. I'm not sure if this is answering the question.

3. Since it appears to be a strongly held belief among all the groups that Trans only legislation would not pass in Congress, why would anyone think it's going to be "easier" later to do so?

I think there are different reasons for different pieces of legislation. And it's different if we're talking US Congress or state legislatures. My three guesses:

a) They don't feel confident enough lobbying has been done.

b) They think passing one law will make it easier to pass another law down the road (incremental strategy).

c) They don't think Congress is the best trigger to pull on a particular issue. (There are more ways to change a policy if there isn't an actual law behind it).

4. How much later? Per the NGLTF, an average of 14 years (and still getting longer with each day) is needed, and in most cases, even after 14 years, its still not happening.

Well I dunno. Is that a question or a statement? The chart is great for raising awareness, but we don't know what was going in of these places and some of them overlap. (Like Portland, OR is a major city inside Multnomah County.) And I don't think it includes hate crimes laws or ID/Birth Certificate laws. So, I have to guess that you mean anti-discrimination laws specifically. Sorry I broke a rule.

I think rural/conservative areas have a better chance of passing sexual orientation, gender identity protections together because there's less disparity in how trans and gay are perceived in those areas. It's urban areas that see them as different and treat them as different with all that book learnin' about sexual orientation and gender being completely separate.

Looking at city vs county vs state, there's a pattern. I think Oregon is really telling. (I've lived there/have family there so I'm familiar with it.) You've got a whole several smaller towns passing laws covering SO and GI at the same time, but a 9 year gap in the big city (Portland). and then finally the state covering both simultaneously. So I'm kind of inclined to say passing laws in smaller towns around the state makes it easier to pass at the state level.

So my answer is: Where people don't think of gay and trans as different: easy to pass laws concerning both at once. Places where they do see them as different groups: harder to pass together and with a bigger gap in between.

5. Why do people still think assimilation works?
Some people yearn for order, predictability, knowing what to do next, a grand plan. They want to know their place in society, to be given meaning as opposed to drifting. I guess assimilation gives you the sense things are in control.

Or it goes back to my answer in number two. If they can control how the group is perceived, they can control how they are perceived as individuals.

A lot of these questions are about what other people think. I don't think they think one thing. So I guess I'm vacillating on what I think they think. What I think is assimilation is overrated.

6. Describe feminism.
These days I would say a social movement to empower individual women.

7. What is intersectionality?
How different types of discrimination intersect.

8. What are your privileges?
I get privileges from being white, natural born American and being cissexual. I get some taken away for being other things.

9. What are you fighting for: tolerance or acceptance?
Acceptance within the community, tolerance outside it.

10. Why are you fighting for that?
I don't need the world, or the country to accept me. Just need a community that does.

Angela Brightfeather | March 17, 2010 2:37 PM

1. What is the LGBT to you?

The LGBT is a recognized community that through hard work and moments of unity, have become known well enough for some people to fight and to be afraid of, because they represent a progressive and dynamic group of people who move society to be more accepting of diversity.

2. Why is the LGBT that to you?

Because I hve fought, played and lived inside of it and I am known as one of them enough to have felt the push of conservative and hateful discrimination against them from others. Since I work and also live in the straight world, I hear what is said and the attitudes of people on both sides of the diversity issue and continue to defend and praise the diveristy side that appelas ot my moral and ethical humanism.

3. Since it appears to be a strongly held belief among all the groups that Trans only legislation would not pass in Congress, why would anyone think it's going to be "easier" later to do so?

I have never believed that, so I am not sure why anyone else would believe it either. I ahve talked and discussed this issue with others, but for the most part they have not offered any substantial proof for their position and more than likely prefer not to comment about it openly and in public, which to me means that they are really ashamed of themselves for thinking that way in the first place. Anyonw who argues their position and knows deep down that they feel to ashamed to do it openly, can't have anythng other than a jaded opinion about Trans friendly legislation to begin with. So they certainly can't comment on what might happen about it in the future.

4. How much later? Per the NGLTF, an average of 14 years (and still getting longer with each day) is needed, and in most cases, even after 14 years, its still not happening.

NGLTF is the only place that I see it happening. Happening to me is seeing someone like Lisa Mottet recieving the IFGE Tiffany Award last year and being voted as the recipient of the award by over 150 Trans leaders who know what they are talking about, against stiff competition for the award.

NGLTF was the first organization to hire anyone to support the Trans Community and they have always been inclusive. They listen and support. They don't collect money and dissapear.

5. Why do people still think assimilation works?

I think because they would rather not try for the brass ring because they are afraid of falling of the merry go round. Assimilation is a cowards way of muting individuality and slowing down the wheels of progress. It is a specious argument because it is usually proposed by people who already have what they want and feel secure, but they don't want to admit that they want someone else to have a part of that security.

6. Describe feminism.

The desire to be equal and the will to fight for it.

7. What is intersectionality?

To me, it is the fact that people who are discriminated against for various reasons due to their being different in some way are actually all interconnected by that discrimination. AS the saying goes, discrimination is discrimination and calling it by another name doesn't make it smell any better.

8. What are your privileges?

I have to many priveleges to mention to mention because I am a very lucky and positive person who believes in tryng to stay in a state of attraction with all other things and persons around me. I think that priveleges come with not what you own, but what is drawn to you by a positive outlook.

9. What are you fighting for: tolerance or acceptance?

Much more for acceptance than tolerance I think.

10. Why are you fighting for that?

Because I really do believe that it is more postive to accept others than to tolerate them. It is better for them and it is better for me personally. I beleive this so strongly that I am willing to take the chance of offending some who insidt on being only tolerant. I think they are limiting their one opportunity at happiness and they are settling for mediocrity instead. Life is to short for doing that.

There is no LGBT community, because there is no basis in commonality between LGBs and Ts.

The homosexually- and bisexually-oriented persons share just that - a sexual orientation other than a heterosexual orientation.

Transvestites simply play "dress up." They feel comfortable and achieve a level of pleasure (sexual or otherwise) wearing clothing that has been deemed by society as gender specific.

Transsexuals have a medical condition, that is treatable (and is treated not to force the transsexual into a societal gender role based upon the physicality of their gender, but to ease the conflict the transsexual undergoes due to the mismatch of the gender of their psyche and the gender physicality of their body. Moreover, the treatment(s) are entirely the option of the transsexual.

The lumping together of the two as a "community" is flawed in the construct of such a community.

All minority groups should be working to ensure there is no discrimination toward any other group, going so far as to fight to ensure even the smallest minority - the minority of a single person - has all the same rights of, and responsibilities to, every other person in this country.

So what is basis of the formation of the LBGT "community"... what is the underlying commonality that we're lumped together as a singular unit?


Not gender. Sex. The physical aspect of sex. More specifically, the gender of the person with whom we have sex.

The homosexually oriented - be they male or female - are emotionally attracted to, and have sexual relations with persons of the same gender.

The bisexually oriented - be they male or female - are emotionally attracted to, and have sexual relations with persons of either gender.

Transsexuals, overwhelmingly, are emotionally attracted to, and have sexual relations with, persons of the opposite gender of that transsexual's perceived gender so that, prior to that transsexual seeking treatment (if they desire to have such treatment), they are perceived to be homosexual - often by they, themselves. In actuality, though, those transsexuals are heterosexually oriented.

Some transsexuals, though, are also homosexually oriented. Before seeking treatment (if they desire to have such treatment), they are perceived to be heterosexual. In actuality, though, those transsexuals are homosexually oriented and are, therefore, Gs or Ls.

Some transsexuals, though, are also bisexually oriented. Before and after seeking treatment (if they desire to have such treatment), they are bisexually oriented and are, therefore, Bs.

Toni, I believe you've freely stated you're a "B," both pre- and post-transitioning, correct?


My gripe is with the "Ts" who are not also LGB, who insist the homosexually- and bisexually-oriented rally around them based solely and completely on the gender of the person with whom they have sex, and the perceptions of society to a presumption of orientation because those Ts choose, for whatever reason, not to transition.

I understand, too, the sword cuts both ways; in some states transitioned persons had been allowed to change their "permanent records" (much to the chagrin, I'm sure, of elementary school principals everywhere) so that the record reflected the gender to which they had transitioned. I'm sorry that, during the reign of the Conservatives, over the last 30 years those laws have been slowly stripped away, as Conservative after Conservative had to find some campaign issue on which to seek votes.

Like I said in a posting some time ago - I will never, ever forget that Donahue show I saw in the early 80s. "Alternative Sexuality" was the title of the show, and Donahue had the standard screaming queen, the obligatory leatherman in full regalia, a couple of gym twinks in their best WHAM! duds, and a mixed-race married couple (who lived, I believe, in Minnesota) where the wife had been born with the physicality of a male.

The woman was quite erudite; she had no difficulty explaining she had simply had undergone hormone treatments and surgery to correct a physical birth defect. To the great discomfort of Donahue (he even started writhing on stage as she spoke), she described just how the surgery was performed, and how a vagina was constructed out of the penis. She also went to great pains to inform Donahue and his studio audience she had "absolutely nothing in common" with the gay males who were also guests on the show.

You are correct I am Bisexual (newly out and still learning about it).

You are incorrect in terms of pre and post transition.

"A. I'm not going to comment on the posting. I'm learning from you. One of the things some people have said is that I don't listen to others, that I don't give them a shot. Well, this is that chance."

Just as in your last "10 Questions," with the same rules - I knew you would not be able to adhere to your own rules.

Ah, but I can almost hear you saying I did not abide by the rules, either, as - to you - I did not answer the questions.

But I did.

By answering your first question in these latest "10 Questions" in the manner I did - that I believe there is no area of commonality to state there is a LGBT "community," the rest of your questions are moot.


When I responded to your first venom-filled missive sent to my private e-mail, I specifically asked you to not e-mail me again.

Yet, there's another ugly diatribe from you in my e-mail this morning.

Since you wished to take public commentary private, against my wishes, I feel compelled to ask you, publicly, to respect my wishes and NOT e-mail me, until you can manage to not make the following statements...

"You, sir, are a racist, sexist, elitist, classist, essentialist, transphobic, homophobic, assimilative, republican registered asshole with absolutely no redeeming value in the context of this posting other than to serve as a living example of the kinds of issues that are present in the overall community.

... simply because my opinion differs from yours.

If it were simply because your opinion differs from mine, I wouldn't call you such.

I call you such because you are those things.

As for "another" diatribe, the last one from me to you you already posted below as a part of the whole.

Feeling unfair, I will not call you such things when you can prove you are not them.

Tables turned sweets.

Eric Payne | March 18, 2010 1:33 PM


I've filed a complaint with the editors of Bilerico concerning your actions and behaviors. I'll let them deal with it.

You have a nice day.

Eric Payne | March 18, 2010 1:47 PM


My point being, Toni, that there should be some reaction by the editors of Bilerico to what I see as a your violation of Bilerico's Terms of Service - specifically in regards to your private response to a public comment, the accusations you make within that response, and the stated threat in that response, to wit:

"I can't wait to see what happens to you in the near future. And what's great is that Ron Gold will have had it 'easy'."

Have a good day.

What *is* that threat you are referring to?

What kind of threat is it you are saying I made?

What sort of reaction are you seeking from them?


Did you actualy raise the spectre of the fate of Mr Gold to threaten Mr' Payne's peace of mind?

Eric Payne | March 18, 2010 5:27 PM


She acknowledges, in one of her comments, above, that I shared, verbatim, her e-mail to me above, you can clearly see where the spectre of Mr. Gold was raised.

1)It is a socio-political grouping of folks who experience oppression from the same cultural institutions.

2)Because we seem to have a lot of differences between us because we come to know one another but the cultural institutions against which we struggle do group us together in their view and in our treatment by them.

3 & 4) Incrementalism seems to be the order of the day, but often reeks of "let me get mine now and then we will get yours later" I don't think that it is a reasonable approach.

5)But it can work and I am ok with it working for someone. If his or her desire is to fit in and be normal or normalish then I wish him or her the best. If he or she wants to be straightish fine by me. However I draw then line at him or her telling me that I need to be an assimilationist or that assimilationism is the right way for everyone to be.

6)From an historical perspective I am familiar with three forms or waves. I myself tend toward sharing more views toward it with Rebecca Walker and would be considered to be an advocate of the Third Wave. My third wave tendencies tie in really well with my views on religious freedom, socio economic class oppression and queer theory. Feminism is important to me in theoretical ways because if my concept of what is right but in personal ways because I raised a daughter.

7)I think that in both 2 and 6 above I spoke a bit to this. There are so many manifestations of oppression but the source in the culture in which I live is primarily the same. It is a nasty system which is rooted in Abrahamaic religion especially Christianity along with a patriarchal system again rooted in Abrahamaism and brought to us through the Anglosaxon culture which has infested much of the Western world with it's ethnocentrism and racism. *A note when I use the term Anglosaxon I specifically mean the cultural group and not white people in general, as a white person who is primarily of Gaelic and Polish descent I am offended when I am called Anglo especially considering the centuries of suffering my people endured at the hands of the Anglosaxons.

8)I am white, I am male, I am often assumed to be straight, I am fluent in English, I am cis gender identified, I am third generation in the US, I am well educated, I have lived in a small suburban-bordering-rural town for so long that I am often treated as a townie, I own my own business. I find that all of these things lead to privileged treatment in differing contexts.

9)Neither tolerance nor acceptance. I don't see where anyone is in a special position to grant these things to another. I also think that were I seeking this sort of validation from another I would be giving him the authority to grant or withhold according to his own choice. If another person merely tolerates me then he is welcomed to his silent discomfiture. If someone accepts me that is a good thing. What I would like to see is mutual respect one for another. What I fight for is equal treatment for everyone.

10)My ancient cultural roots dictate it. It is what I was taught, I am a Gaelic Traditionalist adherent to the traditions of the Gaels before the coming of the English and even the Christians. In ancient Gaelic tradition there were NO THROW AWAY PEOPLE, women had rights and held property and could even be elected to the kingships. Children could not be abused and had rights. The gods value truth and it is to be spoken by anyone and to anyone no matter the situation. The system of justice demanded redress rather than punishment. Land was not personal property and most wealth was held in common through families and clans. There were seven primary forms of marriage, and same sex relationships resulted in neither special benefit nor particular negatives it just was. This is what I am taught and what I believe and because of this I am compelled to do what I believe is right and say what I believe is true and to say it to anyone.

I have a question for you. Do you still plan on running for a political office?

1. What is the LGBT to you? The LGBT(QIA) is my tribe.
2. Why is the LGBT that to you? They are my tribe because we share a number of things that tend to separate us from the mainstream. They are my tribe because they share issues with me and together we can both overcome and celebrate our issues. The concept of unity in diversity is involved with this.
3. Since it appears to be a strongly held belief among all the groups that Trans only legislation would not pass in Congress, why would anyone think it's going to be "easier" later to do so? I am not sure that a lot of those people actually think that. I think it is them giving lip-service to the possibility so that they can get what rights they can and then ignore anyone else. Which is really sad, pathetic and extremely short-sighted, but unfortunately relatively common.
4. How much later? I don't know. I would think the sooner the better, as it is usually easier to accomplish something while it is still fresh in peoples minds.
5. Why do people still think assimilation works? Probably because that is all that the mainstream media machine of today shows us.
6. Describe feminism. (Slightly sarcastic answer.) Feminism is the radical idea that women have minds. (More serious answer.) Feminism is the attempt to stop or mitigate the predominantly patriarchal power system that currently exists.
7. What is intersectionality? It is the areas where things that are generally dealt with separately mingle. An example would be a lesbian trans woman.
8. What are your privileges? White Male. Gay.
9. What are you fighting for: tolerance or acceptance? Both
10. Why are you fighting for that? I am fighting for both so that everyone else has the chance to get whichever one they might be fighting for. It also allows me to have a partial victory if we only achieve one or the other.

This is a simple cut-and-paste. I'm hoping the formatting comes through, so that it's easily discernible who is "speaking."

From my private e-mail:

Wow. Exactly as I said you would reply - and you gave me even more stuff. Thank you! Some points: 1. You really don't know what privilege is. Especially if you are speaking a) about belief, and b) about not showing any. It's truly laughable, but not *nearly* as laughable as your utter failure to do any research on the subject with actual intent to learn what it is so that you can properly defend yourself. 2. You don't know what elitism is. 3. You seriously have no clue what racism is -- and even use the "well I have a good friend" canard, utterly oblivious to the racism inherent in using their lives to defend your racism. Not to mention the white privilege that runs like water from this missive of yours. Wow. You aren't kidding -- you don't get out much. 4. You don't understand the concept of Erasure. 5. You're classist, as well. I had so hoped that one wouldn't show up, but it's to be expected. 6. You have a hard time making distinguishing finer points of language. Commenting on a posting is different from commenting on a comment. You should work on that. Hard. 7. You both underestimate me and overestimate me -- all in one response. 8. You do indeed blame me for your personal shortcomings. And, when I'm not available, you blame others -- I'm just the target of the moment. Predictable addict behavior. 9. I love your "I don’t dismiss women" and yet your "answer" to the question of Define Feminism is subsumed in a patriarchal rant that does, in fact, erase and dismiss women. But then, you don't understand privilege, and you are a sexist one, to boot, so you sorta kinda will never realize it and then when someone *does* make you see it, you will be angry about it (which is fairly standard). 10. I'd never paint you as a queen, Eric. A queen is a trans person, and you've made it perfectly clear that you separate trans from gay. 11. I also love the way you consistently defame trans folk: "transgendered" "medical condition" used as opposition to "innate". Since it was already established by you that you refuse to learn anything, and your actions and efforts speak to a very deep and abiding transphobia, I shouldn’t be as surprised, but yet I am. 12. A phobia is an aversion, and/or intense dislike, and/or fear of -- singly or in any combination -- something, Eric. You demonstrate and intense dislike of trans concepts, and an aversion to trans aspects in general. That is a phobia. 13. You are also a moralist, applying a set of morals that you assume I share in common to me. One of the nice things about email is that you can block certain senders. You keep on writing the way you have been. I can't wait to see what happens to you in the near future. And what's great is that Ron Gold will have had it "easy". Antonia E. D'orsay, Ph.D. M.S.M.A. aka "dyssonance"

From: Eric Payne
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 10:53 PM
To: Dyssonance
Subject: Re: [The Bilerico Project] New Comment Added to 'Making Trouble: Final Questions'

Dyssonance wrote:
> There is an exception to every rule. You are exceptional, are you not?

Am I exceptional? By today's standards, probably. By the standards of the eras in which I reach maturity? Not at all. Today, educators are not permitted to educate; they're nothing more than warehouse over-seers.

> You asked a question, directly, of me. There is nothing in the rules that says I will not answer a question asked of me.

I pasted the rule, verbatim, that you, yourself created, and have now violated on many occasions - you would not make comment on the posting. You may say you "answered a question asked of" you, but you didn't - you answered a question, then made a comment concerning the post, specifically that I was "wrong" about pre-/post-transition orientation.

> Nor have I commented on the post -- you are confusing making a comment in general with commenting on the post.

See above. You stated that I was wrong; you made a comment on the post.

> Please stop blaming me for your personal shortcomings.

I don't. Please stop confusing me with the internet-equivalent of a rube. You are extremely transparent in your motives behind your columns, and not nearly the Agatha Christie you, obviously, believe yourself to be. The "big climax" of your writings is, bluntly, a bore.

> To your point, however, right now, in *this* specific post, I am indeed breaking the rules. In specific, B.
> You state that your response to the first question erases the Values of the others. Since you, personally, have made it quite clear that you not only utterly lack an understanding of what privilege is (and, therefore, are unable to to understand intersectionality), You are unaware that those questions, in specific, are completely unaddressed by your response.

I know what privilege is. I don't believe I exhibit any sort of privilege, nor do I expect any to be given. If someone disagrees with you, in a coherent manner, with statements and examples to explain and support their thinking - that is not "privilege." That is "debate." It is you who are displaying an expectation of privilege when you point the finger and label others - you are exhibiting an expectation of agreement in your statement, or an expectation of whimpering support for you, and for others to join in the rally of "privilege" and "Eric Payne is soooooo mean to us!"

> Personally, on my part, I find absolutely laughable in the extreme that you have the hubris to dismiss women, as a whole, in the manner that you did, as well.

I didn't dismiss women, as a whole. I dismissed you - and your "Ten Questions" mentality. You lay a trap - which, by your own admission was your intent - so that you can weave together your continuing anti-male, anti-gay musings. Dismissive of women? I have no brothers, only sisters. I was out in Jonestown and Fredericksburg, PA, in the early 70s, as a pubescent, going door-to-door in Pennsylvania Amish Country trying to whip up support for Pennsylvania voting in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Yesterday, you attempted (in your "I know exactly who you are, Eric" musings) to paint me as some obese queen one step away from Medicaid and Welfare.

You know absolutely nothing about me, Toni. Your pretense you do is both laughable and pathetic - pathetic that a transgendered person who has experienced, first-hand, the interesting vagaries life has to offer immediately reaches for a stereotype to drape across someone they've never met, simply because they do not share the same opinion you do.

> You, sir, are a racist, sexist, elitist, classist, essentialist, transphobic, homophobic, assimilative, republican registered asshole with absolutely no redeeming value in the context of this posting other than to serve as a living example of the kinds of issues that are present in the overall community.

I registered Republican, yes. I did it as a form of protest against both parties. As I've stated, I will never vote for a Republican, period, even if that Republican is the better candidate. In that instance, I simply will not cast a vote for that office.

Labeling people a "racist, sexist, elitist, classist, essentialist, transphobic, homophobic, assimilative"? Wow, well, let's see... my first lover in San Diego was Bruce Parnell. Oh, yeah, he's African-American. He dumped me after two years for another African-American his mother introduced him to. We're friends to this day. I've dated men of every race. I will admit, simply physically, Asians don't interest me as sexual partners. My sisters will be the first to tell you I'm not sexist... hard as it is for you to believe, I do not treat (as I've told you from the beginning of my making comment at Bilerico, but which you refuse to acknowledge) people differently based on their gender... even when some people expect it of me.

As for "elitist, classist, essentialist"? Oh, geez, what a laugh! I come from a solidly middle class family, with five children born in 8 years. Neither of my parents even attended college; my father enlisted in the army in 1949 rather than finish high school. In my own life, I've been completely wiped out and homeless on at least four occasions; I finished my final year of college in NYC, living in a homeless shelter at night and going to school during the day. If I didn't make it to the shelter at 3rd and the Bowery by 6:45 in the evening, I didn't eat that day. If I didn't get there by 7:30, I didn't get a bed, so I rode the subway all night. When I did have a bed, wake-up time was 3 AM, everyone had to be out of the shelter by 5. My first class was at 9. When we left the shelter in the morning, we would be given two subway tokens; that's how I got to school. My total income was less than $70 a week, working in the school library and loading a couple of newspaper boxes down by the WTC.

As I said. You know absolutely nothing about me, yet ascribe to me pretty heinous mind-sets.

Your hubris is showing, Toni.

Homophobic? That's rich, Toni. Oooooh.... I'm afraid of myself.... or don't you know that "phobia" is, by definition, an irrational fear?

Transphobic? Nah, I'm not afraid of you, or any other transsexual. I sincerely hope we all become equals under the law as the persons who are born completely comfortable and natural in their gender identity and are heterosexual.

But, as I've said from the very beginning: My fight is NOT your fight, nor is yours mine. They have common goals, yes, but if victory in attaining my goals doesn't get your goals met... oh, well. I'll feel bad about that, and continue to point out the disparity... but I'm not going to refuse the award(s) of my victory because we're some sort of "community."

We're not a community. I have an innate sexual orientation that makes me "different." You have a medical condition that makes you "different." The perceptions of some heterosexuals is that you and I are the same, merely because when you were still encumbered with your original gender, you were viewed by those heterosexuals in power as, simply, another queer. And because of that lumping, when you were actually the victim of a very cruel (and I'm sure, long-term emotionally depressing) medical condition that necessitated a severe transformation of your physical being to ease. Instead of those heterosexuals in power viewing transitioned persons as a distinct unit, they decided all homosexually oriented persons must be a victim of that same medical condition.

If, after transitioning, you had never discovered you were bisexual, you would then be a heterosexual woman. So our point of commonality would be we both have sex with men? Or is the point of commonality we're both men who sleep with men except now you're a woman who sleeps with men? Don't bother to answer that; after I respond to your e-mail with this e-mail, I'd prefer not receiving e-mails from you. Not because you're a transsexual. Not because I have a sense of privilege (though, since it's my e-mail, I would be entitled to that privilege). But because I don't like you.

> And what's great about you, truly, is that I'm thrilled to have you making these kinds of challenges to me, because each time you do, going forward, I will remind you of your own personal shortcomings, and be gleefully toying with you because you will, of course, continue to deny that you are any of those things, despite being an American, born and bred here.

But those shortcomings don't exist; you've simply decided they do. Remind away. I'll simply respond as I do, each and every time - calmly, rationally and without the slightest hint of anger.

> So thank you, Eric. Your value has been exceedingly great to me, as you have been the perfect tool by which I've illustrated several points.

One of us has been a tool. I don't think it's me; you don't think it's you. This is one of those moments where people say: "I guess we'll have to agree to disagree."

> And I am very excited that you will continue to be around in the future, as I turn my attention tot he things that I see need to be written about -- things like privilege, and intersectionality, and feminism, and stigma.

You just type your little fingers off, Toni. I'll respond in kind.

> And your comments will be *very valuable* to me in this process, as I will use them to demonstrate key points. Most of which are known to the women out there that you treat with such abandon.
> Seth would have been so too, but he's too preoccupied with just maligning me. Such a man, that one -- you can feel the patriarchy and the testosterone dripping off him. You, at least, have taken the time to create false pretense and trump up accusations and generally achieve your obvious goal.

Yadda... yadda... yadda. (yawn.).

Impressive credentials, Toni; I'll simply assume they're real.

Have a nice day.

Eric Payne
Lawrenceville, GA

Shit! You live within a short driving distance from me??? Gees. Now I have another "Payne" (pain) associated with living in Georgia.

Yo! Toni! Maybe I should be talkin' to da Godmother?

Eric Payne | March 18, 2010 1:10 PM

Well, Monica, I don't know where you live, so I can't say whether we're within driving distance or not.

We live very near to the intersection of 29 (Lawrenceville Highway) and Sugarloaf.

If we are within driving distance, great. If you'd like, contact me via private e-mail, and perhaps we could meet for a cup of coffee or something. At some point this summer, Bill and I will be hosting a BBQ for his department at work - there'd be absolutely no problem in grilling another steak and potato; there's always more than enough macaroni and potato salad. It'd be great to have you.

I live in Marietta, with my girlfriend. I'd love to meet up with you to do a little recon for . . . I mean, to get to know you and Bill better. (giggle) I'll send you a private E-mail.

Eric Payne | March 18, 2010 2:11 PM

Bill and I are actually going to be in Marietta Saturday night; it will, however be late in the evening - we're planning on going to the Marietta Diner for a post-theater late supper (Cobb Energy Center - Fiddler on the Roof with Harvey Fierstein as Tevye. I really don't know what time we'll be there, since I don't know when the production will be finished, or the driving time from the Cobb to the Diner, so I'd hesitate to suggest that as a meeting point.

However, we'll also be in Marietta sometime soon for a production of "Little Shop" at the Strand.

Because of my medical condition, I no longer drive (docs are afraid I'll drop dead at the wheel and take out a schoolbus full of nuns on their way to a Haitian Children's Food Drive, I guess) and use a Segway for local transportation. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the range to get from Lawrenceville to Marietta, via surface streets, on a single charge. If you're ever in Duluth (or points east), and the weather permits, just let me know; I'll glide on over.


That comment made my day. ;)

@Eric & Toni:

This is normally where I'd tell you two to take it off the blog and start e-mailing each other or something. In this case, that's obviously not wanted.

So let it die. Because here isn't the place for your personal snipes either.

And if I simply must get blogmotherly on y'all, Toni - stop e-mailing the guy and Eric, stop picking on your sister. There. Now go to your corners and you can come out when dinner's ready.

Welcome back Pop we cleaned up after the party and it wasn't as bad as the neighbors say.