October 11, 2007
Sticks and stones, Pauline
Posted by: Chris
What is it about transgender activists that makes them, almost without exception, incapable of disagreeing without wagging a polished fingernail your direction, throwing out silly accusations of "transgenderphobia"? Please tell me we GLBs aren't so quick to pull the "phobe" trigger when we get our hackles up.
For example, transgender activist Pauline Park, from her perch over on Logo's Visible Vote '08 Forum, can't manage to disagree with me about the "trans or bust" strategy on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act without calling me a "transphobe" and suggesting I'm some sort of gay Nazi stormtrooper. After managing to quote only about half of one sentence from a post I wrote on the subject, she hones in on my conclusion that the strategy of making gays wait until trans folk can be protected as well is "downright immoral."
Why is it immoral to insist on protecting everyone in our community, including the most vulnerable? Is it not obvious even to a transphobe like Crain that transgendered people are even more vulnerable to discrimination than non-transgendered lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people?
(Funny how I'm the phobe even though she's doing all the name-calling.) Well Pauline, there are all sorts of morality, not just each-according-to-her-need, as you advocate here with regard to the relative vulnerability of GLBs and Ts. Another view of morality would favor incremental progress for the sake of protecting some in the interim, rather than leaving everyone "vulnerable" until some date to be named later.
Yet another would aim to protect the largest possible number from discrimination. While hard LGBT numbers are difficult to come by, in 10 years in the LGBT media I've never seen any estimate of the size of the T as anything greater than 1% of the LGBT. It's "downright immoral" for 99% to be left "vulnerable" because doing so (arguably) would hasten the date when the remaining 1% can be protected. (Of course, a huge swath of T -- the vast majority, I've been told by trans activists -- don't even self-identify as LGBT, so they are simply along for the ride.)
"Andoni," a regular reader and commenter on this blog, has offered yet another moral example for Ms. Park, if she's listening, from the field of medicine where he has made a long and successful career. When a cure comes along that can benefit a significant number of afflicted, Andoni points out, it is unthinkable to hold it back simply because not all will see immediate improvement. You could take the analogy even further, since a cure for some might siphon away resources from research to manufacturing, thereby slowing the pace of progress for those still unprotected. Even still, it would be "downright immoral" to keep the cure locked away.
Maybe Pauline Park would disagree with every one of these moral viewpoints, but we don't know since responding in a substantive way isn't nearly so much fun as calling me "gay uber alles." Go Pauline, snap-snap-SNAP!
(I'm "uber alles," apparently, because I'm a "relatively priviliged, U.S.-born, upper middle class gay white man." She must keep an identity-politics pocket calculator handy for tallying up my various alleged life advantages. Interestingly enough, according to Pauline's website profile, after being orphaned in Korea she was raised in the U.S., later receiving her master's from the London School of Economics and studying German in Berlin and Regensburg. Ich bin ein privileged Berliner as well, eh Pauline?
Still, let me get this straight. Ms. Park would dismiss the snobbish views of "relatively priviliged, U.S.-born, upper middle class gay white men." Is she referring to the same "relatively priviliged, U.S.-born, upper middle class gay white men" who overwhelmingly founded and funded those 100 some-odd LGBT organizations that have now signed on to withhold protection for their own so as to protect her and her fellow travelers? Selfish white gay Nazi bastards!)
Amusingly enough, Pauline also accuses me of "getting my facts wrong" for suggesting ENDA had been "trans-jacked," because, she points out, it was introduced with "gender identity" included waaaay back in April. Talk about your short-term memory. ENDA had been "gay-only" ever since 1994; this year was the first time "gender identity" was included.
And that wasn't even my point, anyway. ENDA wasn't "trans-jacked" when "gender identity" was introduced as part of the bill, although I continue to believe that over-eager misstep inevitably led us to the canyon divide we face as a movement today. No, Pauline, the "trans-jacking" occurred when 100-some-odd LGBT groups dared to oppose historic workplace protection for GLB Americans, the same ENDA they had supported for a decade.
For a complete news summary on ENDA, click or bookmark: gaynewswatch.com/enda
For a complete news summary on transgender rights, click or bookmark: gaynewswatch.com/transgender
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