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Open Responce To Gay Family Values

I am writing this in response to a blog post by Bryan from Gay Family Values in the wake of a filmed beating at a McDonald's of an trans women, if you have not read Bryan's blog post I highly recommend that you do, as it is great as always.  I am writing this as a blog post because I feel that I have to much that I wish to say as to my belief on a small part of the explanation to the questions that Bryan rises then could be rightly fit into a simple post in a comment section.

I would like to start off with the fact that I not only find it horrific that this beating happened in the first place, but that I personally can't phantom having that level of rage against any one, especially some one that I don't know and that has not committed some egregious travesty agents others. I also find it quite disheartening and incomprehendable peoples capacity to jump to racism conclusion and paint with racist brushes a whole group of others for the actions of two despicable young women, however these are not the issues that I wish to tackle, at least not at this time. I would like to look into the reason that I think the victim in this case is coming under fire and even being blamed for the horrifying violence that was committed against her. Unfortunately this sort of reaction has come to be no surprise to me even from within the LGB community it's self, and that is one of the saddest parts of this and many other crimes and injustices committed against the Trans community.

I think that this reaction unfortunately does not come as a surprise because it tends to come from the same school of thought that also throws those of the GLB community under the bus of ridicule and blame for the injustices that befall them for not fitting into the "proper" mold of how one must conduct their life, and even how the community must change the way in which it shows strength in its self. This to me seems to be routed in the idea that what is holding the community back from equality and what is causing those who wish to see our rights striped away is that we are not fitting as nicely as we should into societies narrowly constructed norms. This is the sentiment that pride is bad or any gay event is bad where those that participate don't fit into the narrowly constructed moral boxes of those that oppose us, while totally ignoring the fact that just about all of straight society and for the most part those throwing the narrow moral boxes at us don't even fit into them let alone actively fallow them. This becomes an even larger issue when we don't fit in to the stifling boxes of how the sexes should act and what their rolls are, this can be seen clearly in the sentiment that "flamboyant" and "feminine" gays are the ones that are causing damage to the image of the community and if only they wouldn't be so pesky and just behave and be more "straight acting" and "masculine" then we would have our rights. All of this regardless to the fact that said idealized behavior and rolls are quite often what does not come naturally to those who are being demonized for simply being themselves. It is also a logic that pays no regard to the fact that those who want to take our rights away don't care that others are not flamboyant or feminine they object to the fact that they simply exist as gay people and that they should have the same rights as non gay people.

It to me then comes as no surprise that when you colid that sort of logic that ignores the realities of the diversity of people to begin with, with a situation like this where the victim is trans and is attempting to simply live their life as the sex that they are not the sex that society wants to force on them because of their body, then you have the ultimate braking with what a good number say should be being done to gain equality. This would seem to be why even among the GLB there is a lack of support for the trans community, it is because as a community they are the most visibly braking with the rolls that others wish to ascribe them, and the rolls that many think should be taken for the greater good even if it's for the destructive worse for the individual. Then it becomes a surprising short mental trip from well they should not be doing that, to it's their fault they were harmed because they were doing that. It's no wonder that when there is a pressure not only outside the community to blend even when it means not being who you really are and from within that fighting the true issues of equality and standing behind those who suffer inequality can so often get thrown by the wayside.

I think what drives this on the deepest level is actually a form of sexism, and that is the idea that to be male and to be masculine is preferable over anything else, and this idea that still permeates straight society to a lessening degree seems to be even stronger within the gay community. It seems to be almost systematic the idea that to be a man is better than to be a woman, but not only that but to be a masculine man is the ideal the best and the goal to be strives for. It seems that to be male but to be effeminate and to have feminine qualities is to be clearly lesser of a man and something that is views as negative. So again a lack of even really empathy for those that are or where physically male but mentally female and that desire to, and live their lives as such seems to come as less of a surprise. I feel that as a community we need to realize that not only is sexism whether openly acknowledged or not, it is not going to get us to our goals of equality. That instant we need to work to stamp it out, as the very notion that women and men are fundamentally different and only suited for certain rolls props up some of the narrow boxes that are thrown at us by those who want to see us forced back in the closet (or worse) and it will only be with the popular demise of the boxes application to straight women (and straight men) that they will seas to be an effective tool against the LGBT.

I can't and don't pretend to know what it is like to be trans, and I don't pretend to represent these as the issues as someone that is trans would see them. I only clime that they are what I see as some of the issue that are causing the problem from my view as a not so masculine yet not so feminine gay man, who has felt himself thrown under the bus for being who I am by some of the prophets of this as I see it fundamentally flawed path to equality.


  1. What we have going on in our country, and really around the world is a culture war. The oppressed are at war with the status quo, and are tired of not having the same civil rights afforded to the straight citizens.

    For whatever reason the very religious seem to be very conservative politically, added with their fear of anything different culturally.

    For the most part the churches fought hard against freeing the blacks, allowing them their civil rights, and allowing them to marry out of their race. The religious right fought hard and dirty to stop women from gaining their rights as well. Many a preacher back in the day thundered about how it was against biblical teaching for women to use a medicine as pain relief.

    I think a lot of the homophobia comes from fear of sex. Because for many people being gay, lesbian or bi is only about sex, pure and simple. If you listen to many of their arguments about giving glb civil rights, it always seems to flow around sex. There is something that the religious fears about sex, I'm not sure what, but its there.

    Transphobia causes culture to look at gender in an entirely new light. At the base is the fear is that we are "tricking" them. Every man that has been arrested for beating or killing a transwoman uses that line. "She tricked me! She was a guy I didnt know until it was to late!" As if that excuses killing someone.

    The GLBT forces the straight people, religious or not to examine their long held beliefs about sex and gender. We make them uncomfortable. And because many of us are hidden, it's easy to think that there are only a very few of us in the world. The ones that do stand out are the flamers and the trans people that dont pass well. Ya know, the whole limp wristed girly boy, and the guy in the dress.

    Great post!

  2. While I agree with Both you and Biki on your observations I have to add that there is an element of squeemishness that comes with the notion of altering parts of your body that you have come to think of as part of what defines you.

    one of my rememberances of my friend Carina is a conversation in which she discussed the effects that hormones were having on her body. She mentioned that she had come to see her penis as a useless thing she did not have any feeling for. While I supported her in her decision I also felt very uncomfortable with the notion of rendering inoperative and then surgically removing genitalia. It just bothered me on a deep down level and I would think, "why would anyone want to do that?!"....well, because they don't feel it belongs to them thats why but at the time I could not recognize that squeemishness as my own shade of transphobia. I personally think that alot of gay men and women go to that thought when thinking about trans people. You can't tell me that women don't squirm a little when a trans man talks of "top surgery" or breast removal. Does this argument sound familiar? It should because that squeemishness is the same directed at gays by those who consider gay sex with the same attitude. It's focusing on the body(and sex) to the exclusion of the person. While we may not be able to imagine what it's like to walk a mile in a trans persons shoes, we can fill in a lot of blanks from our own experiences. Being gay is not about the sex anymore than being trans is about the surgery...or the hormones..or any of the other trappings we tend to focus on though it may include them. I think gay people get caught up in the squeemishness...and ignorance quite frankly...over transitioning processes that not all trans people undergo.

    I also think it likely that alot of people doubt peoples internal experience of feeling like another gender...which again is a failure to apply your own experiences in the form of empathy. You don't have to experience what someone else experiences to give them your respect and common courtesy.

    Ack!!! got me going sermonizing on my soapbox again! I must quite and play some video games now to get the serious out.

    Nice post Matthew!


  3. Bryan you are welcome to do as much "sermonizing on your soapbox" as you would like. I think that you have made great points that I did not think of. I like the experiences and views that you bring with you just as I like hearing from Biki for the same reasons.


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