Monday, May 09, 2011

What's An Old-Style Semi-Butch Lesbian To Do?

The first workshop I attended at the National Conference for Media Reform was Beyond Pronouns: Creating Real Stories About Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People.  I have struggled with the "style" issues in writing about transgender folk and this workshop was helpful in that respect as well as in how transpeople are demonized, endangered and exoticized by media coverage. More importantly for me, a middle-aged lesbian identified with an earlier generation of feminism, womanism and a GLBT movement that was the radical edge of social change, I finally came to understand why I need to ally myself with trans and gender non-conforming folk.

Let's face it, the GLB movement isn't what it used to be.  Let me say I love my non-matrimonial spousal equivalent partner for life.  You might think this is a lot to say when, because I live in Massachusetts, I could get married, call her my spouse or (heaven forbid) my wife.  Marriage isn't a victory to me.  Military service anathema  -- I'm more of a don't serve kind of girl. Groups like Queers for Economic Justice have well developed critique of these supposedly progressive organizing efforts within the gay community.  Now don't get me wrong.  There are many GLB organizations doing cutting edge work  on homelessness, anti-violence, and economic justice. But note that I leave the Q & T off.  For many of these more established groups Q & T (and frequently youth) are an afterthought. Organizations like The Audre Lorde Project, Queers for Economic Justice,, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition So it seems like the radical edge has shifted.  GLB has mainstreamed so that you can be gay, married, Republican and advocate for the conservative assault on women's health.

All movements have their moment.  Now it's time to let the transgendered and gender non-conforming folk help lead us along their radical edge of social change.


  1. Yes! Truest thing I've read in a long time.

  2. ARGH! just wrote you such a long comment and blogger ate it! will try to recreate main points:

    1. this is far too short. in fact, this is at least 4 posts i'd like to read. write them.

    2. a big part of my happiness about the end of DADT is deeply cynical: i believe it will bring about the end of DOMA. the military takes care of its own (mostly; see 3), and when legally openly gay soldiers start dying and their partners can't get death benefits...well, it will be fun watching the republicans try to wiggle out of their painted-in corners. (IF troops=good AND gays=bad AND gays=troops...SYSTEM FAILURE)

    3. the other part of my happiness at the death of DADT comes because i believe it is an important step towards protecting the rights of female soldiers, gay and straight. all the military culture of rape needed was, "sleep with me or i'll tell them you're a lesbian." it's like high school with assault rifles. i consider it a sign of the casual misogyny of mainstream culture that, out of all the articles i've read about DADT, exactly one has discussed its effects on women.

    4. you know i'm a terrible, conformist type of lesbo, all snuggling into heterosexist institutions first chance i get and all, but i am also something of a political pragmatist. i have no hope at all that the laws giving 1138 (but who's counting?) federal rights to married people will ever be rewritten to include non-state-sanctioned unions. the end of DOMA is occam's razor. and i am real sick of imputed income tax.


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