After beginning a course devoted to sexual identities, and seeing the breakdown of each on the syllabus, I noticed one omission from the standard group of letters I'd been accustomed to seeing. There was the ‘L' for lesbian, ‘G' for gay, ‘B' for bisexual, and even a ‘Q' for queer or questioning, but no ‘T'. After thinking for a moment, it made perfect sense that transgender studies wouldn't be included in the course, because after all, being trans isn't a sexual identity it's a gender identity.
Then I began wondering why, given the distinct difference between sexuality and gender, the ‘T' was included in a group where all the others were joining forces due to a shared aspect of their identities, and oppressions. Furthermore, after becoming more consciously aware of this separation, I also began to notice instances in which transgender individuals or issues were specifically pointed out (as if to separate them further) or intentionally withheld from discussions about equality and rights—not just by politicians but by members of the gay community as well.
[...] Gender and sexuality are like two lines intersecting on a graph, and trying to make them parallel undoes the very notion of homo-, hetero- or bisexuality.” (Stryker) Rosemary Auchmuty even goes as far as to suggest that, under a feminist argument, as far as government is concerned, there would actually be more interest in serving trans rights (especially with regards to helping provide sex reassignment surgeries) because “they would rather have people living the gender role they want, than have people who are one sex, but stretching the limits of that sex beyond what they would want The would rather have people fitting into heterosexual society.” (Nataf) Just as trans-people have been excluded from organizations or rights movements by the gay community, when only some women are allowed to participate in the women's movement, transphobia within feminism also becomes an issue. [...]
[...] "Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come" The Transgender Studies Reader. Ed. Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle. New York: Taylor and Francis Group 205-220. Irving, Dan. "Trans Politics and Anti-Capitalism: An Interview with Dan Irving." Upping the Anti . a journal of theory and action Oct Apr < http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/2789>. Johnson, Chris. "Human Rights Campaign [...]
[...] Work Cited Aravosis, John. "How did the T get in Salon.com 8 Oct Feb < http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/10/08/lgbt/index.html>. Bornstein, Kate. Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us. New York and London: Routledge Califa, Pat. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism. San Francisco: Cleis Press Inc Devor, Aaron, and Nicholas Matte. Inc. and Reed Erickson: The Uneasy Collaboration of Gay and Trans Activism” " The Transgender Studies Reader. Ed. Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle. New York: Taylor and Francis Group 387-406. [...]
[...] Bisexuals argued they could, lesbian and gay, then queer and now transgender If only they could be brought together and things would change.” (Nataf) Without removing gender from the equation, demanding a greater understanding of it, could also help the feminist, gay/lesbian/bisexual, and trans movements all move forward together. After all, solidarity is built on understanding how and why oppression exists, and as Feinberg suggests “Genuine bonds of solidarity can be forged between people who respect each other's differences and are willing to fight their enemy together.” (Feinberg) Further education to create more awareness of the contributions of trans individuals to the gay/lesbian community as well as the feminist community could also help forge more unification. [...]
[...] (Lorber) While I agree that a large portion of the oppression of women lies with the binary system of gender, as a globally recognized social structure, gender, will be the hardest to eradicate from societies. I realize that authors like Bornstein or Judith Lorber are talking about ‘de-gendering', rather than eliminating cultural gender identities, but to me it seems unlikely that we can reach a point where gender may no longer exist as a social construct, and still remain as a personal identity for individuals—a point that Califa criticizes Bornstein on, when it comes back around to uniting communities, stating the difficulty in aligning gays under a transliberation banner of liberation, because “such an alliance would require homosexuals to abandon the very categories that inspire their desire and love.” (Califa). [...]
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