Hard to say who I am more annoyed with about this
. Hillary Clinton for her remarks, or Sullivan for his ghastly fanboyism about Thatcher. I really really ought to stop reading Sullivan for the duration, because every time he rants about how wonderful Obama is and how dreadful the Clintons are, I find myself drifting Clintonwards, which heaven forfend!
Seriously, I do find myself wondering whether he would be as totally in favour of Obama were he not so darn cute...And yet I am aware that that is an offensive stereotype of gay men, being men, thinking with their dicks. Only, there too I observed recently during the breakup of a straight couple we knew, some of my gay male friends being indulgent to the quite egregious behaviour of the (actually quite gorgeous and also very camp for a straight man) husband. On the other hand, how much of my own ease in resolving the conflict of loyalties has to do with the good looks and bi premarital history of the wife, and how much with feminist solidarity? Ultimately, I guess, I dunno. Which is probably as it should be.
This brings me to a broader topic which is that you don't always get to pick who is on your team.
What sparked this was not the broader question of the LGBT community, or women, but the parochial concerns of the trans community. As many people will know, Susan Stanton is a US city manager who transitioned, lost her job and fought a big anti-discrimination case; she is also quite conservative and has made some unfortunate remarks about her lack of feelings of solidarity with the trans community as a whole, and her unpreparedness to work for equality for people who are not ready for it.
Now, of course everything she has said - even when she disavowed some of the remarks attributed to her - is pretty dumb and I quite understand why so many people in the community are rightly reading her the riot act. I also understand the concern of US transfolk that she might get co-opted to be the trans spokesperson for all the HRC's crap about ENDA.
Yet here's the thing. I remember what a twit I was for a couple of years in the aftermath of my surgery's eventually being over, how I went through a dumb second adolescence in my mid-30s and luckily only have to live with bad choices in relationships and the private sphere. I was over all that before I got seriously involved with political stuff.
Stanton is a royal pain, but she is not The Great Traitor or The Worst Transperson Ever. She is someone who transitioned without a community to support her and who will quite possibly get over herself and be rightly embarassed. She is my sister, even if I am furious with her, and she does not want to be.
The thing is, I remember so much. I remember straight identified trans people wanting us transqueers to shut the frak up; I remember those of us who criticised sexist shrinks working in the field to be told not to rock the boat. And somehow we stayed a community.
Because you don't get to pick who is on your team any more than you get to pick your team.
Which is why when LGB people behave crappily to trans people, or right wing gay men sell the rest of us out, or a section of radical feminist lesbians talk as if they were a saving fragment and the rest of us are scum, I bite my lip a lot of the time and say harsh things some of the time, but try never to forget that I am in solidarity even with a bully like Julie Bindel or a privilege intoxicated smug rightwing idiot like Sullie.
Because when the Watchers on the Walls, or the Huckabites, come for us, we will all be in the same air-proofed van. We won't be able to say 'Can't I go in some other van, which is only the bits of my people that I like...'