Bil Browning

WTF?! Elena Kagan vs Chaz Bono

Filed By Bil Browning | May 12, 2010 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Chaz Bono, Elena Kagan, homophobic behavior, sexism, TMZ, transphobia

This is one of those cases where I just don't know what to say because it is sooo very wrong.

Elena_Kagan_vs_Chaz_Bono.jpgJust in case you can't read the quip at the top of TMZ's post, here's what it says:

Solicitor General Elena Kagan (left) could transform history by becoming the fourth woman to sit on the Supreme Court, while former woman Chaz Bono (right) changed his story by transforming into a man.

It's like an open invitation to homophobia and transphobia. TMZ's commenters don't let us down. Check out a sample of them after the jump.

In chronological order:

I guess this one is just for the ladies, since they're both lesbians.
Posted at 3:12 PM on May 11, 2010 by Gary

I'd rather inject bleach into my scrotum
Posted at 3:14 PM on May 11, 2010 by Jonathan S

If I chop off all my hair and eat myself into a disgusting fat pig can I be a lesbian too?
Posted at 3:18 PM on May 11, 2010 by leese27

Vicious bull dykes....jeeeezussss.
Posted at 3:29 PM on May 11, 2010 by victorpark

I still say the thing on the left is an bloated Al Gore
Posted at 3:36 PM on May 11, 2010 by fit

hmmmm- one looks like Kevin James and the other is a man-made man. I'd rather lick the bugs off my windshield.
Posted at 3:39 PM on May 11, 2010 by Mr. Pip

Chastity is just a mixed up puppy. Don't want to deal with her self esteem issues. And no, I'm not going to call her a him or call her by any other name than her given name, Chastity.

Don't mess with mother nature folks. Just saying...
Posted at 3:48 PM on May 11, 2010 by Sonya in Tx

Chaz you are not a boy no matter what you have done to your body. You cant get ride of your period. Yes you can have a total historectomy. You will still have hot flashes.

Born a girl always a girl. You can try to change how god made you but somethings will never go away. Transexual Men can't get rid of the man voice.


Why u have to dress like a boy. How about a lipstick Lesbo
Posted at 4:07 PM on May 11, 2010 by MsRita

This world is so going to HELL!!!! Please GOD,end this already. People here don't believe in you. Please end this. This is one sick F**kin world!!!
Posted at 4:28 PM on May 11, 2010 by Vic

Posted at 4:37 PM on May 11, 2010 by Oh no!

I puke in my mouth whenever I see that fat pig. Go on a diet you fat f--k. I bet Cher is embarrased.
Posted at 4:37 PM on May 11, 2010 by Urall Khuntz

Elena. At least she's human.
Posted at 4:39 PM on May 11, 2010 by Kooky Sucks

That's just from the first couple dozen comments. There are over 100 comments on the thread that continue the theme. Out of that bunch only one comment wasn't gay or trans-bashing.

Ha ha ha. Let's make fun of physically unattractive, yet intelligent females with unusual sexual leanings. Ha ha ha. Why don't you post a 'Who'd You Rather' with pictures of Vern Troyer and the little guy from Fantasy Island, the late Herve Villacheze? Oh yeah, Herve killed himself, because he was sick of being a laughingstock. Ha ha ha. Let's pander to stupid morons so they can get a laugh at the expense of women who doesn't look like Heidi Montag. Ha ha ha. Really funny, TMZ. Really funny.
Posted at 3:33 PM on May 11, 2010 by Sick of TMZ

So for those of you out there who keep insisting that trans issues and gay and lesbian issues aren't comparable and should be kept separate, I'd beg to differ. How'd you feel if this was you up for judgment by society at large? Pull your head out of your asses and see if you can decide which of these human beings deserves that amount of scorn, degradation and public humiliation.

C'mon. It's our community, but some of you keep beating the drum that we shouldn't stand together even though most straight people don't see a difference between us.

Who'd you rather say doesn't deserve civil rights?

(Hat tip to Ed from AfterElton for this one.)

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Were these same critics around for the Clarence Thomas confirmation? Maybe Kagan should use his words with slight modifications as appropriate. Thomas said ....

"This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It's a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree."

Renee Thomas | May 12, 2010 3:35 PM

Thanks Bil

Your support means the world . . .

As for the morons who posted to TMZ - the anonymity afforded by such postings on the internet continues to present a stark challenge to our basic sense of decency that all but one of the posters failed completely.

The visible presence of transgender folk represent, to the larger society, that last, great opportunity to assert affirmatively that yes, our species can evolve in understanding and compassion. In other societies, at other times, the transgender individual had (and has still) much to teach the clan or tribe. Yet with respect to the continued and seeming endless torrent of ignorant and hateful comments perhaps it bears repeating that Jenny Boylan’s mom still said it best:

It’s impossible to hate someone whose story you know”

So for those of you out there who keep insisting that trans issues and gay and lesbian issues aren't comparable and should be kept separate, I'd beg to differ.

I've made the same point before, and I know I wasn't the first. To the unwashed masses out there -- and judging by the comments above, they are very much in need of washing -- differences in gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation are all lumped together as something to make fun of and/or get very nasty about.

Considering TMZ put up side-by-side photos of a woman and a trans man, I guess they need a good washing as well. But I kinda knew that already.

Bil, first I have to second Renee, and say yet again, thanks for being a constant ally of trans ppl! :)

As far I am concerned about the choice, tho (yes, I am going to take this seriously on some level), I would pick Chaz, b/c at least he is open about who he is*, we know that he would be at least neutral on GLBT issues, and he wouldn't be gaming everything he says and does to further his career.

*I mean this not so much relative to her orientation, but just knowing who she is and what she believes. She doens't seem to have every really shown any courage or conviction in anything she has done. Maybe this is related to the 'gaming everything for her career'? You don't want to be unconfirmable, and she has always wanted to be on the Court, so perhpas she has managed her whole carefully for just that end. I would prefer someone more real. This is mostly what I hated about Roberts, even more than what I was sure were his hardcore conservative beliefs, was that he wouldn't be honest and open and take a stand on what he was about (at least Alito was more open about who he was, I suppose).

I think the White House invited speculation by their strong denial that Kagan was gay. I have friends that know her and they've always quietly "known" she was a lesbian. Now, she isn't. Convenient.

I think the emphatic denial will lead to questions being asked during confirmation. Whether or not she is actually gay won't be used against her, but the deception (if it's proven) will.

I still don't understand why the President felt a need to insist that she "wasn't gay."

I so wish they had sad, "We are not commenting on Ms. Kagan's sexual orientation, as that is her personal decision to discuss or to not discuss. However, we do not consider being gay negative in any way, and would just as fully support her if she were openly gay."

And they could even add that just b/c she isn't openly in a relationship with a man, and/or pursuing the current societial notions of femininity, doesn't automatically fucking mean she is GAY!!!!!

If the transsexual and gay issues are so entangled in the public mind, wouldn't it be part of "educating the public" to explain why they aren't? But of course this confusion continues *because* they are purposefully conflated by those who believe in the GLBT method of pursuing "rights".

Sheer numbers aren't the best measure of effectiveness for transsexual people- much of the progress made on the TS front came about before there was a real gay movement.

Mixing these two completely different human phenomenona for political reasons is a disservice to both. It does no one any good when ignorant people like those at TMZ can't tell the difference between transsexuals and gay/lesbian people. If the GLBT is so concerned with this situation why isn't anyone talking about all the differences, and why do we instead have people glorying in the fact that the public so so ignorant these days?

This is one time when standing apart is the better option. This isn't to say that transgender people don't belong in the GLBT, they do. They are for all practical purposes gay. But as far as the transsexual birth condition and the gay "birth condition" go, the parts are greater than the sum of the whole.

Being a smart educated woman whose first priority isn't her sex appeal is an insult to all red-blooded American males. Who does Elena Kagan think she is? And Chaz Bono, how dare he determine his own destiny. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, sure, but only for right-thinking Christians. (satire)

Evangelina | May 12, 2010 7:36 PM

One of the key points that Classic Transsexuals have consistantly tried to make is that our birth condition is unique to us and quite a separate issue from whom we prefer as a partner. The majority of us are in fact heterosexual. We greatly resent the assumption that we are some extreme form of gay.

Personally I find those comments in TMZ abhorrent and totally unacceptable in a civilised society. It is simply proof of how damaging being hauled under the GLBT banner has been for us. I support the right of Gay, Lesbian and bisexual folks to live free of prejudice and persecution but I do it as a heterosexual woman and not because I was once transsexual.

I feel for both those people but not because of some imagined affinity, save one of shared humanity.

I would urge all readers to please go back and seriously consider comments made by Aria Blue and Evangelina.

I *have* considered their positions, many times, and consider those positions as disgusting as they consider trans ppl.

Please. I've never said crossdressers and effeminate gays are disgusting, and if someone hears that in what I say that's their own issue. It says a lot about what they think of themselves, actually.

All I've ever said is that they are not us, and the politics and misappropriation are what anger me. If people have a problem with the truth, or with respecting the rights of born transsexuals, then I think that makes our point doesn't it?


I don't think I have ever heard you (or the others) say anything about femmy gays, but your disgust of 'crossdressers' seems pretty clear to me. You ask that how you identify be respected (
classic transsexual' or whatever), but won't respect how they identify, even those who clearly identify as TG and not TS. So, what *does* that say about how I feel about myself?

And I think I personally *do* respect the rights of transsexuals, even those who define that so narrowly and rigidly that few ppl meet their criteria, and even when their goal is to define themselves totally out of G, L, and B, and most especially T. You can distinguish between 'classic transsexual' and 'post-op trans' and 'transgender' or whatever all you want, and split and define things into a thousand categories for all I care, in any forum you like.

On the other hand, it really pisses me off when you don't stop with excluding yourself from all 'the others,' but feel you have to undermine acceptance of them to improve your status and acceptance, including with yourself. In my mind, that is exactly what you did over on the Ask A Manager blog.

One final thing: Since you are so for linguistic purity, how is it that you continue to use 'crossdresser' for 'transgender'? To me, given the different connotations of the two terms in most ppl's minds, it seems just the same as ppl calling you 'transgendered' instead of 'transsexual' or 'classic transsexual.' But that may just be me making your point for you...

It's not a matter of how I "identify". It's a matter of physical fact. Whether the trangender crowd respects that is immaterial to me. I do insist that they stop practicing politics the way they have been though, as if transsexual is some kind of identity they can claim at will rather than a horrible birth condition. Politics is the exercise of force, and I've had enough force from the TG.

I am using 'identify' in the sense of telling ppl who you really are inside, not a personna you are playing at that moment, your real truth. I realize that for some ppl, how they idendify (their truth) may mean expressing their gender in differ ways on different days, and yes, that can be confusing and perhaps even disconcerting--most of us like to just settle in to dealing with a person the same way every day (which of course is a big reason ppl who knew us before our transition, esp family members, resist accepting us when we become who we really are).

I may be wrong, but it seems that most TG-identified ppl are living their truth, it is just different from the ppl who consider themselves 'born transsexuals (tho most TG-identified folks *I* know consider it a cruel stroke of fate that they weren't born with the body with which they identify; on the other hand, I know that some who post here seem to say that no matter what sex they were born as, they would transition to an intermediate gender, that they like genderfucking).

And yes, to me also it can be confusing when ppl who like their birth genitals call themselves transsexuals instead of transgender, as to me the former means you want to change your sex (as in genitals) and the other means you want to change your gender (as in how you live and express yourself).

The fact that Elena Kagan isn't lesbian adds another layer to this. Remember back in 2007 when people were pointing out that the gender protections in the bill would help gender-nonconforming straight/cissexual people? Well, here's how people react to a straight/cissexual woman when she's trying to get a job. Proves that the need for ENDA goes beyond the L, G, B, and T.

This whole "who would you do" game TMZ is playing is the lowest form of locker room humor. It ranks right up there with "The Man Show" in that you'd have to be a drunken frat boy to find it even remotely funny. It also baits readers into making some of the most vile comments. TMZ can't pretend they aren't responsible for the comments on their post when they set it up this way.

On a more rational note, lesbian rumors have also dogged other powerful women in politics. There are people who still think Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno are gay. The bottom line is that these are all women who kick ass and take names and it doesn't f'ing matter who they're bumping uglies with.

When I first read about the Kagan rumors I suspected it was another GOP smear campaign. Imagine my surprise to find out that it was Andrew Sullivan that started it all. Outing someone, or at least intending to, and then saying "it doesn't matter to me personally, I just think she should be honest about it." is the worst form of yellow journalism and a betrayal of the LGBT community. Andrew Sullivan is dead to me.

As for Chaz, I hope that Elena Kagan has half his courage.

The GLBT has succeeded splendidly in pushing the punchline of this essay over the past fifteen years or so, i.e., consistently insinuating that there is some innate correlation that forever ties those that are transsexual to those that are gay or lesbian...all bound by some self fabricated community.

There is no doubt a gay community; there is no doubt that many transgender feel a part of it. But the insinuation of this essay, that all transsexuals are a part of the GLBT and that the issues of each are mutually inclusive, shows just how out of touch the GLBT and this author really are with reality.

As long as the GLBT insists on generalizing in a way that assimilates all transsexuals into their community, we will voice our protest against the colonization.

One of these women is not just looking for a job, she's being considered for a life long position on the United States Supreme Court...the other woman, aside from being the daughter of an icon, may as well have SEX CHANGE written across her forehead...putting herself into the limelight at every occasion.

If one wants to be special, they will be treated special...and have to take the same heat from the blog comments that are dished out to politicians, religious leaders, actors, actresses, rock stars, poets, authors, and every other high profile public figure.

Since I see several of the HBSers have swarmed to this post like bees to honey, let me be clear: Peddle it elsewhere, sisters.

Your logic is that transexuals aren't part of the transgender community. LGBT = lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. If you're not transgender, then you're not part of the equation at all. So go peddle it elsewhere!

This isn't a thread for a HBS hijacking. No one gives a shit about the intricacies of transexual vs transgender and your petty ass opinions that don't actually try to advance a conversation instead of start a fight.

Go troll elsewhere.

By George, I think you get it, Bil. You're ready for Trans 201 now.

I'm still stuck studying Gay 101, but I hope to get to Gay 102 shortly. Thanks for the help there.

See that's just the issue. The difference between crossdressers/gay men and born transsexuals is not an "intricacy". You insult us greatly by denying the facts, and this is exactly why so many of us have been working against the tg through our legislators. You'd better hope your support of this TG nonsense doesn't cost you ENDA. It has certainly had a negative impact on gay rights up to this point.

You are calling us all gay men and women, in contradiction to science, common sense, and good manners. You have nothing to say about the transsexual issue and the more you try to be the big boss, the more problems you are going to have. You have no authority or special knowledge when it comes to transsexualism. Your authoritarian hierarchy and politics stink.

Wow, I am used to only seeing such 'up-is-down' language from hard-right conservatives--but I guess ideologues are ideologues (and yes, I am aware that you consider the 'fulltime crossdressers' just the same way).

I agree, the difference between crossdressers and transsexuals and gay men and transsexuals is no trivial one. I *don't* agree with you grouping crossdressers and gay men, tho, as they are not that linked, and I am now wondering if when you say 'crossdresser,' you mean not transgender, but rather drag queen...which means you are including a lot of ppl in groups they feel they aren't part of, just like you accuse ppl of doing to you.

I even agree that the difference between transgender and transsexual is not a trivial one, eps if you define transsexual as meaning someone who has had SRS, or wants to/plans to. Tanssexual can either be a whole separate path from ppl who have no desire to ever have surgery, or as a subset of transgender ppl (which is how I personally see it).

I also am fine with you not wanting to be part of whatever group, or have your identity threatening by having ppl consider you such. If you want to make a 'clarification' post everywhere that TG is in your mind misapplied to TS, fine with me, too. If you don't support rights for TS-identified ppl, fine also.

What gets my attention is when you actively work against other ppl's rights b/c you don't like how that group defines itself, and use language meant to disparage that group of ppl. You just admitted to the former, and constantly do the latter.

I am beginning to reframe my view on the 'Society of True/classic/born Transsexuals' to that of a hate group along the lines of Traditional Values Coalition et al, rather than a group who might have some ideas I can learn from. You are the on trying to deny rights to others, and yet you are the one being oppressed?


I'm feeling the same way. When I first heard about the HBS idea, I read the basics and thought, "Oh, that's the same way I was! It sounds reasonable enough ..." but then I've seen how often they act like and use the same words as the people who abused me before my transition, and it changed to "DO NOT WANT". :P

Yeps, me too...I thought, "Why are ppl so set against HBS??? That is *exactly* what I went thru, and how I feel!" And now that I see the position of the 'classic' transsexuals who post here, I understand why 'HBS' has such negative connotations, and it sucks that the whole concept has been taken over by ppl I consider extremists.

Kinda the way they feel about the transgender 'chicks-who-are-proud-of-their-dicks'...

I do have to admit I feel they make some good and useful points about some things, but overall they tend to go to an extreme that just repulses me. ~

I do have to admit I feel they make some good and useful points about some things, but overall they tend to go to an extreme that just repulses me. -carol

Translation: I hear what I want to hear and what fits my circumstances.

That's funny, because that seems to be your own mission statement.

Again, this isn't about "identity". That is a TG thing. You simply cannot do things that affect peoples lives, like activism, "education" and other politics and expect people to leave you be. If the TG insist on practicing politics in everyone's name, it is not a legitimate response to tell people who are affected that they should just go away. This business about telling everyone that transsexual, a birth condition, is some kind of choice has got to stop.

If people like Bil think that transsexual doesn't exist it's the same as some bigot saying being gay is a choice. It is simple bigotry to say that transsexual is not real at this point in time, given the amount of science that is pointing to a physical cause.

Either they, the GLBT, own up to the reality of our condition or they reveal themselves to be the same kind of bigots as the people that hate them. Either way, it is not acceptable to have gay men speaking for us. They have nothing to do with us except that some tg activists have shoved us all together for their own purposes. I just don't think enough people understand that being born transsexual does not therefore make you transgender. It's a political misappropriation.

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Not all ppl who consider themselves transgender women have dicks, and most who do aren't out there bragging about it (tho some do, I agree), if they talk about it at all, they are trying to get acceptance while having one, b/c they can't do anything about it at that point.

Not all ppl who consider themselves transgender are out to get you. I know I'm not. But when points of view I strogly disgree with are presented, I will object...and those objections may be in your favor or not, depending on the circumstances.

Not all ppl who consider themselves transgender are rapists or rapist deniers/apologists. I know I'm not. I don't know any of the details about what happened to you, so at this point I believe you and understand your pain and anger.

I don't really see gay men here working against lesbians, tho I certainly wish more cis lesbians posted and commented here.

I do have to admit that gay men (cis and trans) are mostly a mystery to me, tho not as much as str8 men (also both cis and trans)tend to be...

Renee Thomas | May 13, 2010 11:30 AM

" . . . the other woman, aside from being the daughter of an icon, may as well have SEX CHANGE written across her forehead...putting herself into the limelight at every occasion"

Not withstanding the sheer homophobic fucknuttery of your comments Susan, is it really a rhetorical asskicking you’re after by posting foolishness to this thread? Don't wanna be part of the LGBT - then by all means don't. But let's be clear, your merry band of wingnuts does not speak for the majority of transfolk, many of whom routinely shed their sweat and tears (and on occasion their blood) working in support of this community. And another thing, nothing you could offer is worse than the willful and malicious disrespect you show Chaz Bono by failing to acknowledge his humanity and his free agency in charting the course for his destiny – note the repeated use of the personal pronoun
HIS . . . Learn it, Live it.

Be who ever the hell you want to be Susan - I'll say good on ya. Yet, with respect to your own special brew of bigotry, I'll second Bil's motion:

Peddle your malicious foolishness elsewhere. We like you best when you sequester yourselves in your mythical kingdom to sing kumbaya evermore. You can leave the heavy lifting to those of us who are actually doing it.

"I support the right of Gay, Lesbian and bisexual folks to live free of prejudice and persecution but I do it as a heterosexual woman and not because I was once transsexual."

Well, you certainly fit right in with those str8s who find trans ppl disgusting. It's mighty nice of you to allow humanity to non-trans-identified GLB ppl, tho.

Just curious,...while you are sharing your hate of trans ppl with these other str8s, do you ever mention your own history? 'Cause I am sure they totally get the distinction you are making between HBSers and everyone else, right?


So, anyone who doesn't construct their sentences to your exact specifications is showing a hate for a whole group of people? Is that it? Opens up a whole line of reasoning for your insults, does it?

How would you suggest those of us of transsexual history word our sentences in order to show support for the GLBT and their drive for whatever rights it is they don't have but feel they should...but at the same time make it clear that we do not appreciate being colonized by a group we do not belong to and have almost nothing in common with?

Tell me.

Tell Evangelina.

The truth is you can't...Bil can't...Jillian Weiss can't. It doesn't matter what we say, how we say it, or how we word it. If we protest a forced inclusion, we are met with some word with phobia or ist on the end of it.

Knock yourself out sweetpea, it rolls off like water from a duck's back.

I've got news for you sweetpea...people, in general, very much recognize the clear difference between surgery tracked transsexuals and the full time crossdresser...and further, most of that same group could give a flying nun whether are not someone is "trans" or not, much less being disgusted with them. Reasonable people, of which most of society is, do not equate intellectual disagreement with hate.

Women of TS history don't need or feel compelled to discuss our history as a precursor to introduction...nor wear our medical charts on our shirt sleeves...none. Why should we? Why would we? What is served by doing so? If someone wants to relegate themselves to "other than" or "different than" simply female/male, fine...we do not.

You're right, there is no way you can construct your sentences that will read any different to me. There just isn't any nice way to express your views on trans ppl. You don't even allow them use of the word trans; you refer to them as full-time crossdressers.

I get that you feel trans ppl are trying to force you into believing something about yourself that is very destructive to your self-image. I get that you feel trans ppl are making you look bad by association (tho I don't really understand that, if everyone can see sooo clearly the difference between the real transsexuals and all the pretenders?). I just don't agree with it. I have a hard time understanding the motication and goals of some of the trans community myself, but I feel that we all have the right to express our gender as fits who we are.

As far as the surgical status goes, I am not saying that you *should* tell anyone, much less everyone. I don't share mine, as I don't feel it is anyone's business except ppl who are going to see me naked down there. My point was, are you really so sure that ppl actually make a distinction based on that? The Traditional Values folks don't, except that they see operative trans women as men who wear a dress *and* have mutalated themselves. Those folks commenting on TMZ don't. In my own personal experience, the vast majority of ppl don't. You and the other real transsexuals must associate with a far more enlightened group of ppl than the general public.

Dr. J. linked to str8/cis business site recently where a trans woman was being harrassed and discriminated against. This woman applied and was hired as a woman, didn't even transition there, but someone found out she was trans. The other employees didn't seem to know her surgical status, but trashed her anyhow. It didn't matter to them how much she had done to change herself or what her current appearance was, only that 'she was really a man.'

I come at a sense of community with all the GLBT folks not because I necessarily identify or even understand all the ppl in the family, but b/c I see see common cause in so many ways, and feel that 1) all of us is better than any of us, and 2) we shouldn't leave anyone behind who is considered 'gay' by the general public. I understand that you and the other real transsexuals posting here *don't* feel that way. That is your right, it just bugs me to see ppl say, "Well, I'm not really part of any of the group, but I can tolerate those ppl over there wanted rights they think they don't have, but these ppl here, to me don't even exist".

One final thing. I have no opinion of any of the vocal 'real transsexual' group as ppl. I don't know enough about any of you to form an opinion. You may be wonderful ppl, and a blessing to all you come in contact with in rl (unless they are trans, I guess). My insults and disgust are directed at the opinions you are expressing here, as I thought I made clear...I don't think I made any personal attacks on anyone. If so, I was wrong, and I apologize. I do feel strongly about 'purity tests' excluding ppl, tho, and I won't let those stand without challenge.


Hi Carol

I think you are compleatly missing the point.

When you say ...

"1) all of us is better than any of us, and 2) we shouldn't leave anyone behind who is considered 'gay' by the general public."

.... it is this very mindset that causes the public to turn their backs on transitioning or transitioned people.

The general public do not accept groups, they accept (or reject) individuals, individually on their own merit or lack of. When you try to say
Therefore, "all of us is better than any of us" is wrong for transitioned/transitioning individuals who should think of it as "more is less". Think of this in the analogy of makeup, the more you put on, does not make the effect better, it merely accentuates and "others" the bearer. The "all of us" works for the gays and lesbians because they are indeed a group with commonality. It does not work for trans ppl because we are visible individually.

In your second statement ... "and 2) we shouldn't leave anyone behind who is considered 'gay' by the general public." ...

Well thats all well and good but the fact of the matter is that sort of attitude will leave everyone behind. If you think for one moment that the Gays and Lesbians have that attitude for transitioning and transitioned ppl, then I have a bridge to sell you. If it comes down to ejecting the T from their ranks to get SSM or DADT repeal or ENDA, they will do what they need to do.

As susan said, do you want to be seen as primarily gay, othered, not the same as, or are you transitioning/transitioned your sex to become one with your target gender? Unfortunatly, these are not mutually inclusive to society as a whole and those that fail to choose will in the end fail to truly transition.

The gender revolution that started with the new millenium has 10 years later ran its course. It is rejected by society as a whole, as can be seen by the comments to the TMZ article. The party's over, the guests have left and only the cleaning up remains to be done.

Leigh said:

".... it is this very mindset that causes the public to turn their backs on transitioning or transitioned people.

The general public do not accept groups, they accept (or reject) individuals, individually on their own merit or lack of. When you try to say
Therefore, "all of us is better than any of us" is wrong for transitioned/transitioning individuals who should think of it as "more is less"."

First, based on my experience, I disagree that ppl are acepted or rejected solely on their own merits. While how you behave and sadly, how you look, makes some difference plus or minus, to a large degree it is the 'ick' factor that ppl bring to how they view others who are different that makes most of the difference, in most cases (there are certainly some open-minded ppl who will modify strong beliefs based on new info, but most ppl seem to cling to what they already believe).

You can see this with gay ppl--the younger generation, who has grown up with an increasing number of positive examples of gay ppl, is much more accepting (in general) than the older ones, who grew up with gay ppl being demonized. To me, the more ppl have more exposure to trans ppl in society, the more that society will eventually accept trans ppl and transitioning.

However, I realize that I have no more corner on the truth than anyone else, this is just my opinion, and I may be wrong. We are not likely to change each other's minds on this at this point, tho. :)

I really dont understand your response to my statement 2)...

How does this leave everyone behind?

I understand that cis gays and lesbians may kick trans ppl off the bus if that will help them get what they want (tho I don't believe that most of them will)...are you saying they aren't loyal to trans ppl, so trans ppl shouldn't be making common cause with them?

That doesn't work for me, personally. If it came to not getting something that helped trans ppl unless it damaged cis gay ppl, I wouldn't support it. And tho I see myself as gay (always have), I have no interest in trying to make common cause with gay men and lesbians at the expense of trans ppl who see themselves as 'all genders' or 'no genders' or whatever. Even tho I really *don't* want to be trans, and my overriding identity is as a lesbian (and that is how I live my life, as much as possible), I will always *be* trans, even if the new DSM supposedly gives an opt-out of gender identity discomfort or whatever they are calling it now. I can't change my history, as much as I wish it were different. I *am* trans, like it or not. And I accept the wide range of identity and expression within that community, even if how I feel falls into one tiny corner of it.

So then carol, as I expected, you really have no idea what you are talking about from a woman's perspective. Everything you say is framed in a gay perspective.

I reference you:
You can see this with gay ppl--the younger generation, who has grown up with an increasing number of positive examples of gay ppl, is much more accepting (in general) than the older ones, who grew up with gay ppl being demonized. To me, the more ppl have more exposure to trans ppl in society, the more that society will eventually accept trans ppl and transitioning.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news carol, but the general public will never accept gay males dressed in womens clothes, presenting as women, no matter how well they learn to mimic a female.
Yes there is an "ick" factor. You demonstrate it every time you dismiss a woman of history for standing up for herself. Why would you expect society to not equally discriminate against you in the same way?

Now you make perfect sense.

Ok, I wasn't talking about gay men in dresses. But I think you know that. :)

Oh, and thanks for misgendering me, too...

Do you 'classic transsexual' folks ever wonder why you never convince anyone of anything you say, even if they start with a lot of the same opinions? or does that self-righteous smugness always just carry you through?

I am not denying you the way you see yourselves. I am opposed to actively working against other ppl (and that includes the extreme trans activists, too) just because they are associated with a group that contains some ppl you despise.

And I actually don't despise any of you. I know you are sincere, and agree with your perspective in many ways. However, I do find you willfully and relentlessly obtuse, and unable to accept any common ground other than that which you feel already belongs to you. So I've had enough for now. :)

So to you, our biological condition is just the way we see ourselves? I don't suppose its possible to get you to see how condescending and bigoted that sounds. That's ok, our message was heard loud and clear where it counted.

oh, please...

No, it isn't *just* the way you see yourselves, it is how you are, not some way you decided to conceptualize yourselves. But you also arent the only ppl who feel that way. And you seem to deny anyone who doesnt feel oppressed and persecuted by everyone else who considers themselves trans in one way or another the right to be transsexual.

Maybe you just don't care, or it fits part of what makes you special to be misunderstood and resented, but you seem to work to make enemies of ppl who are inclined to relate to how you experience life. Doing that isn't going to make those horrid transgendereds go away, it is just going to make most ppl have an automatic negative reaction to your opinions, b/c you come across as bigots, no matter how right and justified you feel you are.

The whole "who would you do" also shades into "who would you bother to rape" in many of these men's minds.

Kagan dresses like a lawyer and an administrator who mixes with the wealthiest of the wealthy, in other words, adheres to the WASP dress code. Women in the WASP dress code do not wear a great deal of makeup, the goal being to appear "naturally beautiful". No bright red lipstick or nails for the WASP dress code woman! Just look at a Brooks Brothers ad/display/catalogue to see the general style.

The knuckledraggers' wives, if they have any, are likely as chubby as Kagan, but dress down the class ladder. Makeup has to be obvious or the woman hasn't put in enough effort. Skin-tight clothes are OK, no matter the woman's size - specifically, the "muffin effect" of fat overhang with way-too-tight clothes is common.*

* I am being classist and not anti-fat-people. Larger size women can choose to be elegant or they can choose to look like they won't bother getting clothes until they lose weight. Believe me, I live in a land of biscuits and gravy, where double-wide hospital wheelchairs outnumber the standard width type, and where it seems as if half the adult patients have type II diabetes.

Elena. At least she's human.

A perfect illustration of the difference between the attitudes of many towards (allegedly)Gay vs Trans.

We'll make that kind of thing extinct too. We have to.

Hey, I'm Intersexed, remember? There's plenty of people in GLBT who think much the same about us. They're just not strident about it, nor do they deliberately deny us rights. I can live with that.

Bravo Bil on spanking the trolls.

Being transgender, I view the T-separatist viewpoint as being extremely unwise from a utilitarian perspective. Nonetheless, a sensibly argued theoretical debate of the issue is (in the proper forum and context) legitimate.

Using *this* issue as springboard/pretext, and justification (!!) for these views is flat-out batshit! *This* problem is caused by the TMZ commenters being insufficiently *educated* in *distinguishing* between gay and trans! Really?!

"Thanks for ejicating us," cry TMZ commenters "as to how utterly dissimilar these two fat-ugly queer bitches are!"

Evangelina | May 13, 2010 1:54 AM

Bil, I am sorry you feel like that. The title of this essay links transsexual ie Chaz Bono to Gay/ Lesbian. It was the purpose of the thread I thought.

Now just for the record I am not a supporter of the HBS paradigm. Those folks are just too darn crazy for words. I am however a supporter of transsexual being separated from Gay Lesbian issues. This thread seeks to rejoin that link so I think as a once transsexual woman, I have a say in that. I believe I have been curteous in expressing honestly held views.

Carol, I do not hate transgender people, I just object to be told I am one against my will and belief just because it makes someone else feel good. Neither do I fit in with anyone who holds the kind of prejudices and hate you talk of. I am asuming you mean "rednecks" Well I am not any kind of redneck or hater. You have me wrong there very wrong. I do however stand firm against being called something I am not and never have been.

Now let me say it again, both those people deserve far better treatment than they are currently receiving. All of those comments on TMZ are abhorrent and against my principles. Both those people deserve Civil Rights. Bil, if you want support for civil rights you're going to need the support of straight folks and that includes us. Telling us to "it elsewhere when we are actualy supporting your civil rights" is a tad disingenuous don't you think?

I am however a supporter of transsexual being separated from Gay Lesbian issues.

In theory, you're right.

In practice - so many Trans people are Gay or Lesbian that the overlap is too great to be ignored.
In practice - those who oppose us see no difference, no matter how hard we try to educate

And in practice - I'm straight, but I've been accused of being both gay (not a "real" woman) and lesbian (married to another woman) at the same time, by the same people. The one thing they can agree on is that I'm neither Bi nor straight.

Actually Zoe .. they do see and know the difference when they come across us, the problem is that happens rarely because the out, loud and visual are often the only ones they see.

When the "educating" as you put it comes from the GLBT, well ... it's kinda like getting a newsflash from al-jazeera that all muslims are friendly towards all christians ...

...kinda makes it hard to swallow.

So if they 'do' know the difference, what is your gripe?

"So if they 'do' know the difference, what is your gripe?"

The operative words are "when they come across us".

an example: A post-op woman dates a str8 guy. Initially, she does not reveal history. This is fairly normal. The relationship builds and the onus now becomes whether to disclose. At that point, the outcome depends on public perception of what she is about to tell the guy. If the public perception that all of us are essentially gay is the norm, then the outcome could be disasterous or even dangerous. However, since the guy has known and been intimate with the woman for a long period of time, has interacted with her in public with no averse problems, this would be a case of "when they come across us".

You might not see this analogy if you have not had SRS and not been put in this position. The position works equally with lesbians btw. Many natal lesbians will never accept transsexuals as partners, especially when those women are pre-op.

The public perception influences everyone, and it is the public perception of who and what we are that needs to protected.

ah, so you mean 'know' like in the biblical sense of 'know'!

And yes, I know quite a few str8 trans women (most are 'post-op'). They aren't gay, but if ppl know they are trans, they are considered part of the gay community, just because they have something 'wierd' going on 'sexually' (which is one reason I use transgender to describe myself rather than transsexual--anything with 'sexual' in it freaks the hell out of most Americans).

Maybe I am just dense, or just have experience with the worst kind of cis ppl, but I have never known anyone to just be considered a 'man' or a 'woman,' no matter how well they pass, once ppl know their history, so I just don't get the polical distinction between true transsexuals and anyone else (look at Obama's appointee as an example: str8, cis-looking trans woman who was talked about in as dehumanizing terms as any 'crossdresser').

And my experience with lesbians (again, just my personal experience) has been that most of the them, like pretty much everyone else, don't see trans women as women once they know their history, no matter how much surgery she's had, or how long it has been. My theory is that the lack of trans acceptance is why that trans men are so accepted by the lesbian community--they still see the trans men as women, and therefore as butch lesbians, so they accept them into their community much better than trans lesbians.

Really, the women who in my experience accept trans women the best are cis bi women. I kinda see this as they don't see men as icky, 'cause they are attracted to them, and they of course like women, so they don't have any hangups about how you got to where you are. If this is too simplistic or insensitive, I am happy to hear why...

utterly dissimilar Aislin ?

Perhaps you would like to borrow my glasses and have another look ...

friday jones | May 13, 2010 3:15 AM

"Sweetpea?" Yeesh. Take it from someone who transitioned VERY young WAAAAAY back in 1982, our excrement stinks too, and using misogynistic diminutives does not make your argument very persuasive, it has the opposite effect.

Carol, I do believe you are being just a bit intransigent, stubborn and somewhat insensitive. I have read at least three posts here from people that I am guessing are women of Post-op transsexual history, who seem to be supporting your agenda of "equal rights/freedom for discrimination etc. To whit: "I support the right of Gay, Lesbian and bisexual folks to live free of prejudice and persecution but I do it as a heterosexual woman and not because I was once transsexual."

Your own words..."You're right, there is no way you can construct your sentences that will read any different to me. There just isn't any nice way to express your views on trans ppl. You don't even allow them use of the word trans; you refer to them as full-time crossdressers.", are a total misconstruction of what they are saying.

My understanding is this. There is a tiny minority who feel their "Essence"... who they are, (IE Biological/medically treatable TRANS-SEXUALS) is being "Colonized" by people who CLEARLY are different and who are not surgically tracked or Post-op TS.

I really do not see, or understand why, a gay or straight man who enjoys cross dressing OR a full time Non OP transgender would want to pretend to be or claim to be other that what they truly are. Guys who dress or act like women, (call them what you will) or wannabe "women" with penises. Transgenders are no better nor worse than transsexuals. TG 'cross over' or "blur' the gender binery while TS's "cross over" the sexual one

Personally, I see trans-sexuality as a transitory state. It describes that period of time during which an individual "TRANSITS" or crosses over the SEXUAL boundary from one morphology to the opposite. A "trans-sexual" is someone who is in that process of crossing over, or who HAS crossed over.

I think some of the animosity being expressed on one side and seeming lack of comprehension as to the source of that animosity, might be seen in the following.

Consider a post mastectomy patient or someone who has undergone a radical mastectomy. Would you not expect some bit of resistance or even outrage if a man. (be he gay or straight) were to "speak up" for her "rights" or to represent her feelings to others. Imagine how you feel when the Elders of the Mormon Church tell the world that you suffer from an affliction being gay. What does HE know? He is not gay.

By the same token then, surely YOU who are not transsexual might understand the protest of those who are that you speak for them.

As for the "commentary" emanating from TMZ, I see it as a sad reflection of just how counter productive this conflation of TG/TS/Gay has become. There really IS "A CLEAR AND DESCRIBABLE DIFFERENCE". Why not just recognize it and move on?

Well, Anna, you are certainly entitled to express your opinions, as I am mine. Thanks so much for the condescension.

And I guess I am automatically NOT transsexual b/c I don't agree with your scorched-earth defense of the trademark to the word trans? Nice...

I hate to tell you and Leigh and the rest, but you don't get to put a fence around the use of a word; as you all say, it is too late for that anyhow. And whether you like it or not, however much you like to call them gays in dresses, or crossdressers, or whatever, you can't make all the other ppl who consider themselves transwhatever to disappear. But have much fun trying, okes?

Renee Thomas | May 13, 2010 10:23 PM

Spot on Carol – well said

Me, I'll go with Trans pioneers for 100 points Alex . . .

"What well-known Trans pioneer was quoted to have said:

There is no one right way to be trans"

Who is Jamison Green?

"Correct! for 100 points"

So all you HBS'ers out there intent on co-opting the language . . . good luck with that.

Minds and voices far more astute and disciplined than yours have already settled the issue . . .

Such as Sandy Stone, Leslie Feinberg, Joan Roughgarden, Julia Serano, Kate Bornstein, Stephen Whittle, Susan Stryker . . . I mean, shit, I could go on all night with this, but I expect you get the point.

You can interpret that as you wish, Leigh--instead of trying to find the things I *do* agree with you on, and building on that, you can just write off any discourse, if that is how you see fit. Which is of course in perfect alignment with how you interact with the trans community in general...

Ya know, I kinda sympathize with some of the T-total sentiments expressed here, because I've felt this way myself.

My brief quandary began when I discovered the NAYHPTAT website (apologies for not linking, but The National Ass'n. of Yak-Herders, Polygamists, Trapeze-Artists and Transsexuals site is, sadly, defunct). "Yak-herding," thought I "has nothing to do with me!" So it took but a moment's reflection to realize I ought, thus, have nothing to do with them!

P.S. I've nothing against Yak-Herders, understand. Trapeze Artists, OTOH, are depraved Swingers, hiding behind the veneer of respectability that "artist" implies.