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Silence Exile and Crumpets
 
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Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Time Event
12:07a
The same old song to yet another tune
Someone just asked me in Facebook just why I think gender expression is something that should be thought of alongside sexual object choice identity, why the T belongs with the L and the G and the B, given how many trans people identify as straight.

What I said was this:

I think the answer is this.

The same people want to kill us; the same people want to deprive us of civil rights; the same people mock us in the street or try to beat us up; the same people would rather kill their own children than let them be like us.

For many of us, the queer world is where we live and the culture of the queer world is where we breathe.

For me, being trans is an identity, but so is being queer - I was gay when I was living the life of an unhappy boy who knew she was a girl really, and I am a dyke now. I was queer even in the brief months when I was post-operatively shagging guys - I did not, I realized, go through all that to be some fucking straight.

I get as angry with trans people who think that the lesbian and gay world is nothing to do with them as I do with the gay and lesbian world that tries to exclude and sometimes defame us. Because to live in a cis-gendered heteronormative world as anything other than cis and straight is to be a target and thus a member of the same family and you don't respect people who refuse to recognize their family.
9:37a
On being divisive
oatc commented on my entry about Sunday night's pre-meeting meeting thus:
'So by what right does this new cabal hijack the anger at Bindel and her ilk, and at PFC's and GT's total loss of concern for what are supposed to be their reasons for existence, their power-base, as exemplified by their response on Bindel and Stonewall, as "radical queer trans"?

Uh, of course, how could it possibly be about anything but out, queer, proud, trans people? Silly me.

Ignore the fact that it is SRS, transsexual children, "stealth" women, and our partners, whether straight or lesbian, Bindel and her ilk are most against. What is "radical queer" about those?

Brilliant divisive move there.'

As I have stated before, there is no cabal. A bunch of us who came together over the Bindel zap of last year, or the Zucker demo, or the Stonewall demo, are keen not to lose the impetus we and the community have right now, an impetus which, as it happens, derives in part from our feeling that we have been marginalized as dyke-identified trans women, or gender queer trans men, or bisexual transgendered genderqueer people, or people who just don't fit into the current spectrum of LGBT politics. We want our slice of the pie and no-one is queueing up to give it to us.

No-one is hijacking anything - the whole point of this is to create a grass-roots movement that will represent marginalized groups. I for one want nothing better than to see that representation happening and be able to go back to concentrating on writing my books. Activism gets done by activists - people who are not currently doing anything can always turn up at meetings or in on-line forums and be critical of what we are doing.

As someone who has been writing and arguing against the whole Raymond/Jeffreys axis since the late 70s, I resent the accusation that I am hijacking anyone's anger against that group.

In what way are we being divisive, or working against anyone's interests?

Back in the mid-80s, I was approached by former Department of Health colleagues worried about attacks on the funding of Charing Cross and who wanted to leak strategically through me, whom they trusted, to trans organizations. I contacted the unfortunately acronymed Self Help Action For Transexuals and was told that they would not deal with me because I was lesbian-identified. After talking to my former colleagues, I planted a positive story about Charing Cross in the Evening Standard at the cost of being outed not just to neighbours and colleagues but to the whole of London. One consequence of this was that someone - who had recognized me and tried earlier in the evening to get me into his car - followed my black cab home and tried to run me down in my courtyard. Who was being divisive then? And who put their life on the line to protect SRS, come to that, even if I did not know I was doing it?

During the Parliamentary forum days, I and a colleague had to speak up quite sharply when straight-identified trans women on the committee wanted to promote their interest in marriage at the expense of the rest of us. Were we being divisive, or were they?

No-one I would work with wants to push a subversivist agenda at anyone's expense; at the same time, we are fed up with the constant assumption that we, and our partners of the same sex, deserve less respect than those trans people who live heterosexual lives. Some of us have children and the implication that we don't and are not interested in the interests of those children is highly offensive.

I think it is extremely problematic to argue that any one group is more or less hated by Bindel. She really really hates all of us equally - if you want, I can show you the venomous communications I had from her last week.

And, I have to say in all sisterly feeling, I will take no lectures on being divisive from people who have chosen to live in stealth. And snipe from the sidelines.

I have been biting my tongue about the under representation of my personal interests in trans and gay politics for twenty years and more - it is not being divisive to speak up now.

It was divisive of trans politics and gay politics wilfully to neglect those interests.

Enough.

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