Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Response to Jennifer Boylan

Jennifer Boylan wrote the following in an Op-Ed in the New York Times:

..But if transgender people are sometimes at odds with their gay and lesbian allies, they're also at odds with themselves. The community is rife with disagreements about whether transsexuals (individuals who change, or wish to change, their gender via medical intervention, and whom some define as simply having a "birth challenge" like, say, a cleft palate) even ought to be grouped, politically, with "transgenders" (an umbrella term that includes cross-dressers and drag queens).
Whenever I hear about groups splintering into smaller factions, it's hard for me not to think of John Cleese in Monty Python's "Life of Brian," protesting that he's not with the Judean People's Front; he's with the People's Front of Judea. In short, infighting seems to guarantee that whatever progress is made for gay men and lesbians, transgender people will continue to lag behind.  
We can't afford that. It is painful that the pressing issues of trans-rights seem forgotten beneath the din of wedding bells, but progress in civil rights can only come with the numbers and resources found in unity. Gay men and lesbians, for their part, ought to remember, on the way home from Niagara Falls, that it was drag queens and transsexuals at Stonewall who began this fight...
Let  me put this as gently as possible....  While I consider myself to be a straight woman who supports gay rights, I do not particularly agree with many, if not most of the goals of the transgender movement.  I'm sorry, but I do not support things like:
  • Transvestites being allowed to force employers to let them dress however the mood strikes them...showing up as a man one day, and a woman the next.
  • The ability to change one's birth certificate without having undergone sex reassignment surgery.
  • The idea that one's sex is simply a choice.  Put on a dress, and you are a woman, provided that is how you "identify.
  •  The deconstruction of binary gender.  Personally, I happen to like the binary view of gender and sex.
Simply put, I don't share much of the political goals of the transgender movement, and as I have stated before, I consider much of their efforts to be prejudicial and harmful to the needs and rights of transsexuals.

So, no, the community is not necessarily "rife with disagreements."  There are disagreements between those who choose to identify with transgender, and those who do not.  To state things as Boylan does is to simply ignore the fact that some do not accept the label of transgender.

1 comment:

Not your friend said...

I don't consider her to be relevant.