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Watch The 'I AM' Series Celebrating Transgender Allies: VIDEO

NoahGLAAD

As seen in the post about LGBT inclusion in the corporate world, there's still a considerable gap between people's acceptance of lesbians and gays and their acceptance of transgender people.

The organizers behind this week's Transgender Awareness Week (November 15-20) hope to bridge that divide and win equality for all Americans and  GLAAD and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition's  "I AM" video series could go a long way in achieving that goal.

Transgender Awareness Week climaxes on the 20th, Transgender Day of Remembrance, the annual commemoration of fallen friends who were targeted for their gender identity. Before that, watch two of the four new 'I AM' videos AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. Even as a gay man i still have a hard time grasping this T concept only because it takes a surgery to be who you think you are. I don't get it but I won't hate it either.

    Posted by: Alexander | Nov 15, 2012 11:38:47 AM


  2. Wait, now Ts are allies again? They started off as allies then they became one "people" with LGBs, apparently by fiat. Now maybe they are allies again.

    What mindless rubbish. There is no such things as LGBT. Ts are, at best, allies. But they are not and never will be one "people" with LGBs, as they are not defined by sexual orientation, but by gender identity.

    Posted by: Dev | Nov 15, 2012 11:49:15 AM


  3. Hi, Alexander:

    It's ok the way you put it. You're not being bigoted.

    I sometimes wonder if some Gay men come out (start going out) in cities or towns in which there is total segregation between Gay and Trans folk. In Philly in the 1970s there was no way you could be "coming out" to the "gayborhood" of 13th street or 12th street and think you were separate from drag queens.

    Some drag queens were transsexual and wanted to eventually have a sex change. Other drag queens were GAY and never wanted sex change surgery. And they perfomed sex the same way any other Gay man would--many of them versatile when it comes to anal sex (tore up "rough trade" booty, child).

    I was at a small party a year ago and we got on this topic. A Gay guy said, "Transgender people are not Gay". Of course, the guy who said this has never been openly Gay, and actually thinks he can pass for straight when he's in public. He thinks he's on the "down low". NOT.

    In other words he was IGNORANT of Trans folk--had never talked to one or read anything about one--never even looked up the definition of Transgender.

    How the f.ck you gonna' have such strong opinion about something that you don't know a goddamn thing about? ....and don't want to know? It's called bigotry, I guess.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 15, 2012 12:01:47 PM


  4. And Dev is back, pushing some strange form of separatism that only people on the fringe could get behind. I haven't actually met anyone IRL who thought that was workable, logical, or ethical. All the trans people I know feel a strong sense of community with the greater LGB movement, and all the gay people I know (including one of my best friends, whom I've known since we were in kindergarten, and my own brother) feel that trans folk have myriad ties to the greater queer movement.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 12:44:23 PM


  5. It's 2012 - the internet exists. There's no reason to not understand who our transgendered or transitioned brothers and sisters are.

    Youtube is your friend - check them out, listen to their own stories.

    This is a wonderful project. We're stronger when we stand in solidarity together.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 15, 2012 12:55:01 PM


  6. So...with Ts...is there a general tendency to be attracted to the same sex or the opposite sex? And is that same- or opposite- to the biological birth-sex, or identity-sex?

    Either way, that lawyer is pretty cute.

    Posted by: Confused. | Nov 15, 2012 1:07:47 PM


  7. I'm probably going to get a lot of crap for saying this, but I really don't think the "T" is grouped with the LGB just as a matter of political convenience; there are essential connections between us as well. We often talk about a spectrum of sexuality; the Kinsey scale is a good example. Most people are not exactly on one end or the other; we have preferences for one sex or another, but most of us do have a degree of fluidity in our sexuality that allows for some level of attraction to others (even if we may never be interested in acting on it). I think transgenderedness works the same way; some of us are very near the gender expression expected of our biological sex (the cisgendered), and some manifest a gender expression that is very nearly the opposite of what is socially expected of their sex (trangendered). Most people (gay, straight, and everything in between) transgress some norms of their socially-expected gender expression; Most men are not Rambo and most women are not Stepford wives. Transgendered folks are vilified for transgressing most or nearly all of them. But feeling attraction for members of one's own biological sex is inherently gender-atypical. This means that gay and lesbian folks are - to a greater extent than most straight folks - somewhat transgendered; we tend to be closer to trans folks on that spectrum than cisgendered straight people are. IN addition, prejudice against trans and LGB folks come from the same place: sexism. Underlying the whole notion of sexism is the idea that men and women are completely separate (opposite, in fact) who have different roles and are valued for different reasons. If we want acceptance as LGB folks, then we need to make room for everyone who doesn't precisely fit into that rigid idea of a gender binary, from straight tomboys all the way to the intersexed.

    Posted by: esperando | Nov 15, 2012 1:20:57 PM


  8. Esperando, it's an extension of what many, including folks like Harvey Milk, talked about: the USs.

    the marginalized. the misunderstood. the forgotten and ignored.

    ethnic and cultural minotiies. gays and lesbians and bisexuals. the elderly. our trans brothers and sisters. the disabled, or differently abled.

    we're not "the same" - but we share something that should unite us all. and those of us with compassion in our hearts and integrity in our veins do indeed stand united together.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 15, 2012 1:33:47 PM


  9. Thank you, Esperando.

    The whole topic is very difficult to explain. That's why I tried in my comment to make the language as simple as possible (using the term "drag queen" instead of transwoman--trying to make it simple). But it's still complicated. Still, there's one very simplistic part to this whole discussion: don't be a bigot!

    Go to a Gay Pride in New York (it's like making a pilgrimage to Mecca) one year. You should be able to see why the T is included in LGBT. Those that are Gay are fierce (snap). Well, some of them are lunatics also, but every group has those.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 15, 2012 1:35:49 PM


  10. @Confused: the most recent studies on the matter have found that there's a pretty even 3-way split between heterosexual (relative to self-identified gender), homosexual, and bisexual. There's a lot of low quality or bad information out there, though, because this hasn't really been subject to a lot of study in the past. I would point you towards the "Transgender Sexualiy" page on Wikipedia if you want to learn more.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 1:36:01 PM


  11. @Donna. Thanks. I was also hoping a few Ts might relate their perspectives here too.

    Posted by: Confused. | Nov 15, 2012 1:47:24 PM


  12. @Confused: Well, I'm a trans woman, and I identify as lesbian. Of the other trans people I've met, they've all either identified as homosexual or bisexual, or pansexual. That's anecdotal, of course, and I would never try to tell someone what sexuality they should be, but in my experience trans folk are also overwhelmingly LGB.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 2:10:46 PM


  13. @Confused: Well, I'm a trans woman, and I identify as lesbian. Of the other trans people I've met, they've all either identified as homosexual or bisexual, or pansexual. That's anecdotal, of course, and I would never try to tell someone what sexuality they should be, but in my experience trans folk are also overwhelmingly LGB.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 2:10:47 PM


  14. Derrick From Philly Said: "using the term "drag queen" instead of transwoman--trying to make it simple"

    And this is the problem many transgendered women have with certain gay men. Do NOT compare them to drag queens, they are NOT drag queens, or MEN who perform as women. They are women.

    Posted by: Shaunie | Nov 15, 2012 2:58:11 PM


  15. Shaunie:

    The term drag queen was used when I first made friends with Transwomen in the 1970s. It just didn't refer to drag performers like Lady Bunny or RuPaul. We also used that term for Transwomen who present their feminine selves 24/7 (Lady Chablis or Marsha P Johnson or Pepper LaBeija).

    I do use the the term Transwomen among people who have educated themselves on the new (and more appropriate) terminology.

    I used the term drag queen when arguing with some Gay men about the fact that many Transfolk are Gay. When I use the term Transwoman they automatically think Transsexual. As you know many Transwomen are not Transsexual--they are Gay.

    There are some Transwomen who are offended by the older term "drag queen", and others (usually older, or less educated) who are not. I apologize for offending you.

    It takes time for people to learn new appropriate language. My father still refers to his own race as "Colored people".

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 15, 2012 3:21:10 PM


  16. Oh, and Shaunie:

    I just didn't befriend Transwomen in the 1970s. Everybody thought that was the direction I was headed. I guess that's why the topic gets me so emotional. I remember the bigotry coming not only from Straight folks but from Gay folks also.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 15, 2012 3:25:41 PM


  17. I think the exchange between Shaunie and Derrick has underlined a problem I've been noticing among trans folk of a certain mindset: that words are extraordinarily important, and using the right ones is paramount. For instance, personal pronouns are obviously incredibly complex when it comes to trans individuals and getting it right can be a touchy subject. However, that said, it's important to also recognize that some words are less important, and context matters. From what I've read by Derrick thus far he is obviously a strong supporter of trans folk, and we can assume that he is not operating from a position of ignorance. Further, based on what he said nearer the top, he was explaining how trans and LGB cultures developed side by side, as two branches on the same tree, and how the vocabulary has changed over time. It's really vital to recognize when someone is using certain words in certain ways because they have no idea or are bigots, and when they are using those same words from a position of knowledge. I think that trans folk have just as much work in not alienating allies by insisting on one condoned set of words, as they do in educating people who don't know anything about trans issues. Being defensive and confrontational solves nothing, and just serves to push away people who may otherwise be on our side.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 3:50:06 PM


  18. I think the exchange between Shaunie and Derrick has underlined a problem I've been noticing among trans folk of a certain mindset: that words are extraordinarily important, and using the right ones is paramount. For instance, personal pronouns are obviously incredibly complex when it comes to trans individuals and getting it right can be a touchy subject. However, that said, it's important to also recognize that some words are less important, and context matters. From what I've read by Derrick thus far he is obviously a strong supporter of trans folk, and we can assume that he is not operating from a position of ignorance. Further, based on what he said nearer the top, he was explaining how trans and LGB cultures developed side by side, as two branches on the same tree, and how the vocabulary has changed over time. It's really vital to recognize when someone is using certain words in certain ways because they have no idea or are bigots, and when they are using those same words from a position of knowledge. I think that trans folk have just as much work in not alienating allies by insisting on one condoned set of words, as they do in educating people who don't know anything about trans issues. Being defensive and confrontational solves nothing, and just serves to push away people who may otherwise be on our side.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 3:50:14 PM


  19. I think the exchange between Shaunie and Derrick has underlined a problem I've been noticing among trans folk of a certain mindset: that words are extraordinarily important, and using the right ones is paramount. For instance, personal pronouns are obviously incredibly complex when it comes to trans individuals and getting it right can be a touchy subject. However, that said, it's important to also recognize that some words are less important, and context matters. From what I've read by Derrick thus far he is obviously a strong supporter of trans folk, and we can assume that he is not operating from a position of ignorance. Further, based on what he said nearer the top, he was explaining how trans and LGB cultures developed side by side, as two branches on the same tree, and how the vocabulary has changed over time. It's really vital to recognize when someone is using certain words in certain ways because they have no idea or are bigots, and when they are using those same words from a position of knowledge. I think that trans folk have just as much work in not alienating allies by insisting on one condoned set of words, as they do in educating people who don't know anything about trans issues. Being defensive and confrontational solves nothing, and just serves to push away people who may otherwise be on our side.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 3:51:43 PM


  20. @TheDrDonna:

    Sorry, as much as you want to pretend that LGBT is some sort of state of nature, it isn't. It didn't even exist before the mid-1990s. Somehow, every gay and lesbian and bi person on Earth was a "separatist" prior to 1995 because they didn't use your alphabet soup jargon?

    No, this isn't about separatism. LGB and T are inherently discrete groups because they are defined entirely differently. This is about an artificial, forced conjoining of the 2. Unelected activists did this for political purposes. Trans activists are happy to have LGBT because it allows them to dictate priorities to LGBs while benefiting from their money. Ts by contrast, give virtually nothing to "LGBT" groups, even while they maintain T-only groups. And they happily take gay money, such as large grants from Jon Stryker, to fund their T-only groups.

    This is an unhealthy, parasitic relationship which disserves both groups. LGBT is a lie and you can't base a community on a lie.

    @LittleKiwi:

    Harvey Milk never used the term "LGBT". He never suggested that gay people are one "people" with transsexuals and transvestites, and made a point of educating Americans that it was a discredited stereotype to equate being gay with being a cross-dresser. He did talk about building coalitions with other groups, but he never confused that with collapsing all the coalition partners into one bogus alphabet soup "people."

    Posted by: Dev | Nov 15, 2012 3:53:34 PM


  21. Aaargh sorry about the double-posting, folks. I am posting from a phone in an area with poor reception, so sometimes it just does that, apparently.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 3:55:56 PM


  22. Aaargh sorry about the double-posting, folks. I am posting from a phone in an area with poor reception, so sometimes it just does that, apparently.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 3:55:58 PM


  23. Dev, as long as cowards like you can only spew their unintelligent opinions from a place of complete anonymity, i take solace knowing your idiocy will not be spread in the real world.

    Your complete lack of understanding of historical context is brilliant, too. next you'll be saying that the pre-Stonewall characters from "The Boys in the Band" were "unliberated". ;-)

    We're strong when we unite together. When folks refuse to unite we become...well. ... real people who stand united and cowards who annex themselves and then b***h online.

    so thanks :D

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 15, 2012 4:01:55 PM


  24. Disturbing reports are coming in nationwide about the refusal of trans groups to support same sex marriage equality campaigns. It is a fact that in Maryland the trans portion of Equality Maryland, although it receives funding from donations, has come out against gay marriage because they do not feel their rights have been properly addressed. This certainly makes one wonder if T inclusion is such a great idea - or if the gay organizations are just being used.

    Posted by: niles | Nov 15, 2012 4:10:27 PM


  25. Miles, care to post a link? I've seen a few people making that claim, and they also have failed to give any real evidence, especially that it's a widespread trend. Could you post some links so I can see where this "nationwide" phenomenon is happening?

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 4:17:59 PM


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