i have to admit, i'm not sure if the T belongs on the end of the "lgbt" thing or not. i'm not sure that the
agendas--political, social, personal, whatever--of all the folks represented by those 4 letters are similar enough. i also think that if we want everyone, and the dominant culture, to understand and accept the difference between gender and sexuality, then we need to differentiate them in our discourse.
And, the HRC has a history of dissassociating from folks that they think "make them look bad" or "hurt
the cause," so i think it might be more appropriate to address that big-picture problem rather than an
isolated incident of such exclusion. Ah well, i'm still thinking this all through for myself--haven't quite decided what i think--but i thought some of you might be intriqued and/or inspired by this idea posted on a listserv i belong to...
>You have read how the HRC has systematically worked to exclude transgender people from inclusion in federal non-discrimination legislation. You are probably tired of them giving us lip-service inside
the GLB/T "community," while distancing themselves from us in the work they do with straight/nontrans policymakers.
Well, it is Pride season, and a simple idea is making the rounds. Instead of having frustrating and meaningless dialogues with the HRC clipboard volunteers at your local Pride celebration, carry a colored pen around with you. When they come over and ask you to sign up on their address & contact list, simply write in the line given you "Another Transperson Excluded from ENDA." (Or, if applicable: "The Partner of...," The Friend of... etc.) Be polite; if they ask, explain briefly, but remember, you are talking to
someone who has good intentions but no power. (The effect we are going for here is drops of water on
Here are several reasons why the write-in-Trans-ID might be a good tactic:
- There are more of them than there are of us willing/able to chase after them all day at Pride. (Why let them ruin our good time?)
- This is something that many people can do to self-identify and stand in solidarity with us, so we can put the word out through local lists and boards.
- Transpeople who are not very out can participate; allies and partners can also participate, as our families are not being served by HRC's mission either.
- It is a non-confrontational way to get some numbers to the HRC: when the sheets go back to headquarters, we will be there, undeniable, while anecdotes of a few of us chasing the clipboarders around will likely be dismissed as merely the actions of a small fringe group. (I don't think
sheets which already have addresses on them will be discarded.)
- Those nontrans people who see the clipboard next can ask about our write-ins. Or if our write-ins make the clipboarders turn the page, well then, they run out of pages sooner!
- Trying to stop nontrans people who otherwise wish to support the legitimate goals of HRC might give the nontrans folks the impression that the trans community is annoying, disruptive, and disgruntled
(which we are, but shh!) -- and use an irreplaceable education-moment to teach them incorrectly that we are in "opposition" to their issues (which would actually support the HRC's agenda of splitting us off from the herd).
This is not meant to discourage direct action when necessary -- it is simply another way we can get our message and numbers across.
Feel free to repost this as appropriate.