These charming people are participating in a letter writing campaign today, in which they write letters and emails to their representatives insisting that they are not transgendered, but transsexuals, and that they will not put up with the colonialist tyranny of the transgendered any more! They have no truck with the (presumed to be dubious) “sociopolitical” agenda of those who would attack the hallowed gender binary. And so they are declaring March 22nd to be Transsexual Independence Day, and wish it to be known to all that from this day forth, the T is irrevocably sundered from the LGB!
Feh, I say. Feh.
If you look through their site, you’ll see it’s a pretty good example of transsexual separatists, and what is wrong with them. Separatists like to draw a lot of hard lines between them and the wider trans community, and then say that the people on the other side of the line aren’t as good as them and are oppressing them as well. They reject most modern gender theory, tend to be older, and tend to really get freaked out when lines become fuzzy or boundaries blurred.
Reading this independence declaration and the comment thread below it can provide evidence of several unsavory assumptions:
- There are ONLY TWO GENDERS, and transsexuals happen to have the wrong one.
- People who are really trans will naturally seek surgical correction; those who don’t see genital surgery are faking it for political reasons.
- Transsexuals have a “correctable medical condition,” and that, by implication, there is a correct and incorrect way to be trans and those who do not seek their solution are incorrect.
- That “correction” is necessary to go on and function as a useful member of society, and that those who don’t do it their way are, by implication, not useful.
- That transgendered people are trying to co-opt some kind of monolithic ur-trans narrative, that we’re poisoning it and forcing the “classic” transsexuals out in the cold.
The underlaying themes of these assumptions are division, fear, and an insistence that some modes of gender are inherently more legitimate and deserving of recognition than others. Separatists, by all appearances, are retrograde thowbacks who are bitter at being left in the dust. Thankfully not all, or even most (as far as I can tell) self-identified transsexuals believe this tripe. Trans men in particular seem less likely to insist in surgery. So far as I can tell the people in my generation are quite comfortable with the transgender umbrella (which is starting to move towards an even more inclusive “trans*” label, anyhow), and see the value in cooperation, non-judgmental discourse, and allowing each of our brothers and sisters to find their own path.
And so to those of you who value unity, who seek understanding and mutual aid, who know that there are many ways to be a woman and many ways to be a man, I say that today is a day of celebration!
Happy Transgender Unity Day! This day, every year, we will celebrate our triumph over the forces of division and bitterness. Those of us who continue to seek the full surgical route will be supported and loved as they seek to find the self-comfort and relief from dysphoria we all crave; those of us who don’t will be equally loved and looked after as they chart their own course. Together, we will continue fighting for a new world, where everyone can explore gender in peace, safety, and love.
Mark your calenders. I’ll be doing a bigger event next year.