The Estrangement of Trans Gay Men from Cis Gay Men

I have two queer identities and they are at war with each other.  I have one queer identity and it is fully integrated.  I have one queer identity placed in conflict with itself by outside forces.  I have to pick one.  I refuse to pick one.

There’s always been a troubled relationship between the (cis) gay male community and the trans community.  To the extent that when we say “the gay male community,” we mean, “the cis gay male community.”  It’s presupposed within the language that “the trans community” and “the gay community” are discrete and nonintersecting entities.  There’s been an equally troubled relationship between the (cis) lesbian community and the trans community, but in different ways (read: radfems, Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Dirt’s blog, etc), and ultimately I think the (cis) lesbian community and the trans community—at least the FAAB trans community—are more interlocked.  I think FAAB trans people who once identified as lesbians are more likely either to continue identifying that way or to carry on a tight relationship with the lesbian community, whereas MAAB trans people who once identified as gay tend to shed that identification and community connection.  I don’t know if this is correct, or if it is correct why it is correct; it’s just my observation based on the trans people in my little Lebenswelt.  (Things I am in addition to a gay trans man: a douchey person who says things like, “my little Lebenswelt.”)

What I can say is that there is a barrier between cis gay men and trans people in general.  It’s been there for a long time, in the social spaces we occupy within the queer scene, in the ways we present ourselves and are presented to the straight world in media, in the organizations that purport to protect our interests.  It exists because the gay men at the top (who are also, incidentally, white and rich) think trans people are a little too queer, or queer in the wrong way.  At best, they think we’ll scare off the straight people.  At worst, they’re just as transphobic as a straight person who says things like, “But you’re really a man/woman, you silly [insert slur here]!”  All of this is pretty much commonly agreed upon, and we’ve seen it in action many times.  There’s the HRC’s less than stellar record with ENDA, there’s Christian Siriano calling ugly things “hot [slur] messes,” there’s any number of things.

What about the barrier between cis and trans gay men, though?  We belong to the same little gay gang.  Shouldn’t we bro it up and listen to Gypsy together?  I certainly think it would be a good time.

I’ll suggest a few reasons why this hasn’t happened yet.

 

1)  The gay male community is deeply entrenched in the exact same harmful ideas about bodies that trans activists are working to smash.

When this whole “gay movenent” thing got started, we all got very excited about idealizing the (cis) male body and looking up on it in a sexual way.  Now, that’s all very cool in the way it (sort of) subverts the male gaze (or at least turns the male gaze on other men), and can make it clear in one piece of visual art that this is about finding another man sexy and that is perfectly okay.  The end result of all this, though, has been that one of the banner images of the gay male community, one of the essential elements of our culture, is the image of a cis male body.  That’s going to exclude trans men pretty effectively, for my money!

Also, at some point, young gay men started to engage in a discourse about their sexuality that validates their queer identity through degradation of FAAB bodies.  I don’t know when this happened; I just know I hate it.  Jokes like, “And then she was like, do you want to go out some time?  And I was like, ew, no, I’m gay, I don’t want to fall into the gaping black hole of your vagina!”  Or painting, “Kiss me!  Penis only please,” on your chest when you’re shirtless at Pride. Like the above example of idealized images of the cis gay male body, it comes from a desire to validate/express one’s queerness and one’s sexuality, but it ends up being cissexist and loathsome (and, in the case of degrading talk about FAAB bodies, misogynistic more often than not).  It occurs to me that this misogynistic denigration of FAAB bodies is not dissimilar to the femme-shaming that’s so omnipresent in the gay dating scene.  It’s rare to see ten gay male OKCupid profiles without running into quite a few with “no femmes” or “masc. only” in them.  Misogyny in the gay male community is far from a non-issue.

 

2) Gay trans men are erased from histories of gay men.

All queer people are to extent estranged from our own history because of the silence surrounding queer bodies and lives.  But woe betide you if you’re trying to find examples of trans people in history, and woe betide you to the nth power if you’re trying to find examples of trans men.  Good luck finding me an example of a well-known trans man from history who isn’t Alan L Hart, Billy Tipton, Reed Erickson, or Jack Bee Garland.  Even those are well-known only in certain circles, and we spend about half our time trying to keep queer women from falsely claiming that these men were queer women—with the exception of Reed Erickson, where we spend all our time going, “That guy had a fucking leopard.  A leopard!  For a PET!  And knew Chris Isherwood?”  (Both of these things are true.)

Gay men have a history in common.  In many cases it’s a cobbled together history, and in some cases it’s still murky, but it has an established canon, stories that are easy to tell and remember, and it’s fairly easily accessible if you have the internet or a library.  (The full extent of the devastation caused by homophobic negligence at the beginning of AIDS is a good example of a murky period.)  Gay men can point to stories of Oscar Wilde, Harvey Milk, Rimbaud and Verlaine, Walt Whitman, James I, or Larry Kramer (if they’re feeling a bit radical that day), and say, “Look, that’s us, that’s our past, that’s where we come from.”

Gay trans men are implicitly excluded from this history.  There’s Louis Sullivan, of course, the founder of FTM International and a great man who was taken from the world by homophobic negligence during the AIDS epidemic, but discourse on Sullivan’s life is never a part of gay history except when all queers are lumped into “gay.”  Sullivan is never ever discoursed upon as a gay man or a part of gay male history.  He is always a part of trans history, usually as a “trans man who was gay,” and often as “the first gay trans man.”

In this way, gay trans men are implicitly declared to be modern, new, exclusively contemporary, springing fully formed from the skull of Judith Butler.  Did people like me exist before 1980?  I know they must have, but aside from a single photograph I saw once in a Leslie Feinberg book, I’ve never had any real confirmation of the fact.  The dominant gay male paradigm erases the existence of trans gay men from history, and if we don’t have a place in the gay past, it’s going to be very difficult for us to have a place in the gay present.

 

3) It is assumed that gay male culture is largely about sex, and it is also assumed that trans men are sexually unattractive to cis gay men by virtue of their trans bodies, ergo, trans men cannot participate in sex-centered gay male culture.

People usually point this out with astonishment at the idea that any trans man could ever possibly try to live a “gay life,” whatever a gay life is—I think these people are assuming a “gay life” is one where you fuck/date/love people of the same gender.  I’ve had this articulated to me usually by people who aren’t queer, except for the countless times I’ve heard gay trans men talk about being worried no gay man will ever be interested in them because of their FAAB bodies.  The latter makes me impossibly sad to hear.  (I’m obviously a walking refutation of the idea, but you know.  It always feels a little self-aggrandizing to say, “Well, gay men want to have sex with me!  Or maybe I’m just crazy hot.”)  Basically, it’s an assertion that cis gay men will never be interested in trans gay men sexually, ergo, trans gay men can’t really participate in the gay community.

This relies on the ancient homophobic assumption that gay men and the gay male community are obsessed with sex and exclusively focused on sex.  Promiscuous, constantly horny, thinking with their genitals.  Of course you can’t participate in the gay male community!  The gay men don’t want to fuck you, and that’s what their community is, a giant orgy!

Of course, the whole assumption that cis gay men won’t be interested in trans men is founded in cissexist and transphobic ideas about bodies and gender.  And I mean, well.  Buck Angel.  Have you heard of him.  And all the gay men who watch his porn.

 

4)  Gay male culture often involves feminine gender play and expression, and when trans men engage in this, their gender identity is immediately questioned.

If you’ve spent your whole life asserting that no, you’re really not a girl, you didn’t make this up, you aren’t lying, the idea of doing something as quintessentially gay as dressing up as Madonna for Halloween is going to seem pretty terrifying and likely to invalidate you.  The minute a gay trans man participates in the time honored gay male tradition of performing an outrageous, campy version of femininity, his maleness is questioned by those around him.  I once had a boss tell me the reason he consistently mispronouned me was that I liked ballet and musical theatre and sometimes tapped my feet when Britney Spears played in the office.

 

5) Straight women sometimes feel more comfortable in the company of gay men, and the dominant paradigm assumes this is because they are insecure about being able to attract straight men.  The dominant paradigm assumes that trans people are self-hating and this is the etiology of their gender identities.   The dominant paradigm therefore deduces that gay trans men belong to the aforementioned group of insecure straight women.

This line of thought is usually a sibling to Zucker-esque “straight trans men are lesbians who hate themselves” and “gay trans women are attracted to the image of themselves as a woman” ideas.  It conceives of gay trans men as inadequate straight women.  Because these straight women are inadequate, they seek out the company of gay men, who will not scorn them as straight men do.  They feel so comfortable with these gay men that they wish to become one of them, and they therefore try to do so.

This obviously rests in the idea that femaleness is an inferior condition, one that women must try to escape.  It is profoundly misogynistic and thus of course extremely common, because misogyny is the little black dress of social evils and goes perfectly with every single -ism you can think of.

 

6) Because of gay activism’s poor record with trans issues, there is significant pressure within the trans community for trans people to minimize their gay identities.

I noticed this especially when the marriage equality movement became extremely intense in New York.  Complaining that the queer movement is too focused on marriage is perfectly legitimate.  I agree.  But I received significant backlash that took this form: “This is a gay issue.  You’re trans.  You are betraying your transness by involving yourself in a gay issue when the queer movement is overly focused on gay issues.”  It’s just one way that gay trans people are attacked for trying to fully live and express their sexual identity and gender identity together.

That’s the end of my litany, I think.  There are more ways the gay and trans male communities are estranged from one another, of course, but I have to leave some ground to cover for the dissertation I finally write, right?

I’d love other people’s thoughts on this.  You may have noticed it’s a subject close to my heart.

I’ll leave you by repeating that it is incredibly fucked up that we think of “the trans community” and “the gay community” as discrete things.  I feel stretched between both and barred from fully joining both because of my membership in the other.  I’m going to drown my sorrows in sushi and Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall.

 

NB:  When I first posted this on my Tumblr, one of my followers brought up wanting a discussion of how race intersects with this; I want that too.  I unfortunately am not yet at a place in my anti-racist education where I’m competent to provide that.  If you’re reading this and you are, your thoughts would be a gift.

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30 Responses to “The Estrangement of Trans Gay Men from Cis Gay Men”


  1. 1 Victoria November 18, 2011 at 12:30 am

    I understand you are addressing your community, but now that your Chaz blog has attracted so much attention, could you possibly explain all those terms, such as (cis), non-binary, trans gay man, straight trans men, etc.,

    Your blog fascinates me and I would be very interested to find out your definition of these terms.

    • 2 ScarUponTheSky November 18, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      If I may assist in your endeavor to understand these terms?

      The prefix “cis” in generally means “the same as.” When Stephen calls someone cisgender, he is basically stating they are not transgender. In more detailed terms, a cisgender person is an individual whose gender identity and many times gender expression matches or links up with their sex assignment at birth.

      A non-binary individual is bit more difficult as this overall term includes many identities such as genderqueer, gender neutral, gender nonconforming, gender variant, and recently more used with children, gender creative. As simple as I can get (and please step in someone else if I explain too simplistically) a non-binary individual is someone whose gender identity is both male and female, neither male nor female, or any combination thereof. It is used to break away from the societal creation of a gender binary which asserts there are two genders only: male and female. With an example of non-binary: I identify as transqueer which is a non-binary term I created for myself (not sure if others use something similar) because I identify as someone who is “medically transitioning” and as someone who is genderqueer. Here’s a handy resource from the National Center for Transgender Equality (http://transequality.org/Resources/index.html), scroll to the bottom and click the terminology link. There are many terms there and definitions that will help. (Just remember not to be overgeneralized when speaking with those terms.) :)

      Gay transman and straight transman are relatively self-explanatory. Since most transmen who use this term identify and live as male/guys/dudes/etcetera, one who find other males/guys/dude predominantly attractive would be gay. One who finds females/chicks/ladies predominantly attractive would be straight. Sexual orientation and gender identity are two separate things and thus are not mutually exclusive.

      Happy reading, and thank you for asking in a civil and polite way for clarification on these terms. :)

      • 3 ScarUponTheSky November 18, 2011 at 8:32 pm

        *Sorry, I meant “Sexual orientation and gender identity are two separate things and thus can be mutually exclusive. :)

  2. 4 summerhologram November 18, 2011 at 5:33 am

    I think I figured out, eventually and with a little googling, what CIS meant, and all the other terms – you write very very well, and it’s so refreshing to see such intellect at work. I see the difficulties you’re encountering, have no solution – but clearly, humans like dualisms and get uncomfortable (not always but often) when someone defies them.

    Still, there are a lot of non-dualists of there (of every sex, gender and sexual preference) and all people in that more fluid community have trouble with the rest of the world (if that helps at all).

  3. 5 Ninja November 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts. I do know that gender identity – like religion – can be a very individual thing. It is very much for me. I believe that trans is every bit a part of the queer community if that trans person wants to be part of it. But if that trans person doesn’t – gosh I have no choice but to respect that.

    There is so much work to be done sometimes I feel that it is overwhelming.

  4. 6 biyuti November 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I swear… In a small, strange way I sort of feel like you live in my head. I love your writing and the way you approach these issues.

    Also? I may not be a ‘cis gay man’ (I’m bakla which does mean, however, that people often take me for this), but I would *love* to bro it up with you and listen to Gypsy. Seriously.

  5. 7 syd November 20, 2011 at 2:41 am

    As someone somewhere along the trans spectrum but not gay I found this really interesting as it deals with body shaming and percieved appropriate behaviors in a way I hadn’t really encountered. I also wanted to…thank you? for number 4. It feels so terrible to be told how “pretty” I look in a dress (for whatever unfortunate reason I am wearing one), but I find that feeling is always caught up in, “well is it because I think being pretty is bad? Is it because I don’t think just anyone can wear dresses?” when really it just comes down to feeling invalidated.

    also I greatly enjoy that you say “my little Lebenswelt” and what I am guessing to be Nota Bene (NB?).

  6. 8 Joey November 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I’ve found personally, as a gay FtM, that I haven’t really faced a lot of discrimination in real life. I mean, at a gay bar, or club, or on a website for gay dating, I don’t really have much of a problem. I always tell a guy right when we start to get sexually flirty, and the majority of the gay guys stay interested. In fact, I have more sexual and romantic partners than some other gay guys I know. I think there are big intellectual debates on the internet. But it all boils down to the fact that the people on the internet really never met a real person they were attracted to, found out they were ftm, and realized they were still attracted to them.

    • 9 Stephen November 23, 2011 at 7:35 pm

      Like you, I haven’t had a huge amount of like, bad experiences personally, although they have been one or two. For me, it’s more of a broader cultural divide.

  7. 10 Kyle November 25, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Very incisive!

  8. 11 leftytgirl November 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Very interesting read. As a queer trans woman, it’s interesting to see both parallels and differences in the situation for trans women in the larger queer women’s community. This is something I’ll probably be blogging about in the near future.

  9. 12 anon November 27, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I don’t agree with your post. I’m gay and trans, and this just doesn’t reflect my experience at all. I came out as trans in the 80s, and the gay male communitiy was the only place where I was easily accepted. Also, it was the only place where trans women were accepted. I have personally witnessed trans women being beaten up and kicked out of lesbian places, and this never ever happened at gay male places. Many queer places in the past were run by trans women with lots of trans women and gay male customers, so that communities mixed. Everybody treated each other well.

    In his diaries, Lou Sullivan describes similar positive experiences with different gay male communities where he was out and well integrated, even in the late 60s, and during the 70s and 80s. When he died from AIDS, the Advocate ran a several pages long biography, celebrating his achievements (that’s how I first heard about him in about 1992).

    Until this day it is always gay men, especially younger gay men, who support me the strongest when I’m out. I don’t experience that with lesbian friends. In practise they often have a much more troubled relationship with trans men and with trans women. Lesbians read theory about transgender and talk a lot about it, but that’s it. Very few lesbian trans women I know are well integrated in the lesbian communitites, while all my gay trans male friends are integrated in the gay male communities. I’m not saying that every single gay cis man in the world is trans friendly, but a high percentage is.
    Check out my dissertation ;)

    • 13 Stephen November 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      I mean, your experiences can be different than mine and both can still be valid! I’m also trans and gay, and I wrote the post from my experience. I don’t think every gay trans man is going to have this set of experiences, necessarily.

      Still, it is true that these are problems in the wider structure of how queer life is lived and perceived. The issue, as always, is not so much individual people (gay men or not) being transphobic or cissexist, but that certain cultural structures are in place that enforce and enable cissexism and transphobia. Within (cis) gay male communities, those structures work in certain ways, and it makes things difficult for some trans gay men. Others may be lucky enough to escape it.

      This could also be a generational divide–after all, you came out in the 1980s and I came out in the early 2000s. It’s a depressing thought that gay male communities may have become less trans friendly over the years, but I think it’s possible.

      • 14 anon November 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm

        Hey Stephen, thank you for your reply. It’s obvious that some places might be better and others worse and that that can shift all the time.

        I replied to your post because you are not just talking about your personal experinces (actually you are not talking about that at all), but rather present a general theory of what is going on in gay cis communities. And I didn’t agree with that for several reasons.
        Obviously we are living in a “capitalist patriarchal” society, and the cis gay communities are no exception to that. But with that in mind you paint a certain picture of gay cis male communities that just doesn’t ring true to me, or only to a very superfluous aspect.

        I might have come out in the 80s, but that doesn’t mean that I have left these communities. I also have lots of gay friend (trans and cis) from very different places all over the world, and everybody is telling basically the same story. When I read Lou Sullivans diaries, that impression was confirmed for me. He came out in a provicial place in the late 60s and later lived in the SF area until the early 90s, and was always supported.

        I have come out in a big city community but have lived in other places, and met people form very different paces over the course of over 20 years, so I think that has some weight.

        About the generational divide- it’s rather the opposite. The older cis guys who were influenced by radical feminism and Janice Raymond tend to be much more transphobic. You might have followed the big controversy at Bilerico a while ago. That was a good example for opinions on trans people that you can find with some cis gay men who are 55 or older and were in involved in politics in the 70s and early 80s.

        I have not lived in LA and NYC, so I can’t comment on that. It might very well be that these places are problematic.

        Another factor I have seen sometimes when conflicts arise between gay trans and cis guys is when trans guys have lived in women only communities for a long time and bring the learned social behaviour with them. It’s certainly true that all male communities like the gay male communities have hugely different social rules than all female communities. This can lead to a lot of confusion and misunderstandings.

        I have been speaking up only because your text was linked in Art of Transliness. It might give a very misleading impression to younger gay trans guys who are just coming out, as there are relatively few texts on that topic. I’m not saying that all is wine and roses, there certainly are problems, but not in the way you describe them. You wouldn’t be the first gay guy (cis or trans) to criticize and analyze the gay male communities ;-)

        • 15 Stephen November 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm

          Please remember to keep me in my proper context. I’m not “just talking about my personal experiences,” naturally–I mean, I’m also talking about the experiences of other gay trans guys of my generation and in the communities I run in. I’m not the only person having these experiences, though I may be the first one you’ve encountered.

          When I look at cis gay male culture at large, I see rampant cissexism. I see the reification of the cis gay male body as the ideal object of male homosexual attraction. I see humor centered around how gross vaginas are. I see demonization of female and feminine characteristics by guys who only want “str8 acting” men. If individual cis gay men who participate in this culture are super sweet and accepting of individual gay trans men, it doesn’t give their culture a free pass for cissexism.

          I fucking love gay male culture and I want to be able to fully be in it, but right now, I can’t.

    • 16 Ninja November 29, 2011 at 2:53 am

      Anon: You are very lucky indeed to have such a supportive community – I think that is great. This unfortunately is not true for everyone. As far as lesbians not being supportive of transmen, that is also not my experience. Depends on one’s circumstances I suppose.

      • 17 anon November 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm

        I think the whole lesbians versus gay men thinking is wrong. None is better. In both communities there are segments who are trans friendly and other segments who are trans phobic. Both have social structures that are good and others that are destructive.

        For trans guys, esp straight or queer trans guys who date FAAB, and have a history with lesbian communities, that seems to be a very supportive place. Often, they have old friends there, and know the social rules.
        For me that didn’t work at all because I didn’t know the rules and wasn’t attracted to FAAB. I was more used to male rules, so there was constant conflict and misunderstanding. This was especially problematic as everybody assumed that I belonged there.
        I have heard similar stories from bunches of gay trans guys who never dated FAAB or weren’t involved with the lesbian/queer communities before transition.

        I’ve never had conflicts with MAAB communities, but I see similar social conflicts when trans guys who are from FAAB communities come to cis gay communities.
        It’s like two completely social different languages. These trans guys often don’t feel at home there, like I always felt alienated at FAAB communities.

        (sorry for the language, I just don’t know what other words to use to transport my meaning).

        I want to stress that I’m not an “essentialist, sexist” type of trans guy. I’m a feminist, I’ve done the reading, I’m politically active and so on.

        • 18 Chris Smith June 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm

          Following on from this, I’d agree that it’s a mistake to suppose that cis lesbian culture is any better than cis gay male culture, and I rather suspect is a product of you writing as a gay trans man and being more likely to crack your head on the latter; cis lesbians are all too willing to expound upon their revulsion to cock, police trans* lesbians (my personal favourite is ‘raping women’s spaces’, because it manages a stunning double whammy of trivialising rape and transmisogyny), run trans* exclusive events (thinking in this case especially of sex- and sexuality-centred spaces) under the guise of protecting women… etc. etc. etc. imo the cis lesbian community is just as fucked up in its own way.

  10. 19 another anon November 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Another gay trans guy here. I have to agree with the anon above. I’ve always had a easier time with the gay male community than any other. Yeah I’ve met a few idiots, and some of the biggest idiots I’ve known were very well educated on queer theory but had just never actually met a gay trans guy before. I’ve had more of an issue with lesbians than any other group, again, too much queer theory not enough personal experience. I think cis gay men are becoming more accepting, at least in my area they seem to be.

    • 20 Stephen November 29, 2011 at 5:52 am

      Is it awkward to ask where you guys are from? My experience has been in LA and NYC, mostly. Come to think of it, when I was in rural Arizona, it was better. It probably varies regionally.

      • 21 Devon October 25, 2012 at 7:43 am

        I think trans* acceptance by the LGB segment is extremely varied by region. My experience in New England has been very poor with FAAB lesbians in particular. I cannot personally speak to MAAB gay culture as I really don’t have a lot of social ties to that community.

        What I can say is that there seems to be at least a low level of general hostility toward us. More than once while working in trans* activism circles we have discussed whether it
        is more effective to build support initially outside of the LGB community as our interactions there have been so problematic.

  11. 22 summerhologram December 1, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I just want to say that this entire dialogue has given me so much more understanding. Stephen, you’re brilliant (and it’s always cool to see different viewpoints, you seem to attract really interesting people to your blog).

  12. 23 Noah Adams September 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Commenting on the following blurb;

    “This line of thought is usually a sibling to Zucker-esque “straight trans men are lesbians who hate themselves” and “gay trans women are attracted to the image of themselves as a woman” ideas. It conceives of gay trans men as inadequate straight women. Because these straight women are inadequate, they seek out the company of gay men, who will not scorn them as straight men do. They feel so comfortable with these gay men that they wish to become one of them, and they therefore try to do so.”

    Would this mean that “fag hags” are on the spectrum towards gay trans men, since they seek out the company of gay men and (presumably) feel comfortable with them?

    Now that would be an interesting idea to introduce to Zucker.

  13. 24 olliebeast October 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    The conversation here is quite interesting. As a recently out gay trans*guy who hasn’t really ventured out into the gay scene, it’s interesting to hear different peoples experiences and perspectives. With the good and the bad it makes it seem less daunting.

    I want to connect this a bit to the racial aspect. These are more inklings at the moment then well formed opinions, but I’m curious what other people think. I’ve found the most accepting places for me, in general, have been with people of color (cis, straight, gay, bi, etc). I find that the spaces that have been discussed here (both gay and lesbian) are predominantly white (including the cultural institutions perpetuating the transphobia and misogyny). There are a variety of white gay and lesbian communities and also people within them, since other people here have already spoken about these (im guessing) – I will not.

    I think there are much different dynamics when you’re talking about POC communities. In my experience, these communities have been less strictly segregated according to gender (lesbian and gay) and therefore end up being more welcoming to the spectrum of trans experience. I think many of this can be explained by some of the reasons used for the split in the feminist community along white/POC lines. Generally POC men and women work more together, and are also more used to addressing issues of diversity within diversity categories.

    There’s also a broader understanding that the institution portrayal of “our” history, cannot be blankly accepted because both POC and trans people have often been excluded or at best marginalized here. So there’s an acceptance that one can’t take things at face value, therefore causing a situation where people make less assumptions and ask more questions (YAY).

    I also want to say something about drag shows (I am speaking from a 2005-2012 experience). These performers tend to include more POC then the white dominated audience watching, in the hip young gay club of the day. I feel more and more like these shows are being tokenized and exoticized, and although I haven’t quite thought this through, I see it as having both racial and transphobic components. Also, the fact that it’s still called drag and no one mentions themselves as being trans or even the show of including people who are trans (and NOT in drag), I feel like the gay community keeps this glorified and FABulous identity in the closet of 40 years ago while reveling in their new found equality as LGBQ people. It makes it look like they’re embracing people of varied gender identity/expression, but it just feels to me like a lot of bull shit and very uncomfortable. Just to note my discomfort is often due to the audience, not the performers. I feel the performers are extremely brave and I wish I could stand up there and dance. But I’d never do it in the gay clubs I’ve been to.

    Going to keep brewing on this and try to understand what is going on better. Curious what these comments bring up for people.

  14. 25 Jyler October 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I have a terrible time with this and I live in Kentucky. There is not a gay man within 100 miles or so it seems that wants to get with me (I’m genderqueer, FAAB and on T). I have no trouble at all with cis women, never but dudes there just aren’t any. I try and try and only face a lot of ewwwwwwwww, vagina comments.

  15. 26 Shane October 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    So, as a cis gay male, how do I make myself more available to gay trans men? I want to be available to them. I want a whole community surrounded by love. I have already been in contact with my school’s counseling center to sign up for a TransSafeZone training, but I feel like there is more that I can do. I’m posting more trans related articles on my tumblr too. But, I still don’t feel like this is enough.

  16. 27 Ella Helwi January 6, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Sexual orientation and gender identity are two separate things and thus can be mutually exclusive. Trans girls are not different in their mind. They also have a soft feminine mind. They are ready to give everything to a right person.


  1. 1 The Femisphere: Trans Feminist Bloggers (Part 1) : Ms. Magazine Blog Trackback on June 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm
  2. 2 on the tyranny of narrative(s) and representation(s) « A Genderqueer Menace Trackback on August 22, 2012 at 7:19 am
  3. 3 On The Tyranny Of Narrative(s) And Representation(s) « This Mongrel Land Trackback on August 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm

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