today i signed an online petition, the simple purpose of which was to state that transgender lesbian’s attempts to be appealing to cis-gender lesbians is not rape.
seems like this should go without saying, since rape is forcing someone into acts of sex and merely trying to have one’s identity accepted by others in the hope of not being rejected as a lover on the sole basis of one’s self-definition is non-violent.
as a cis-gender bi-sexual woman and part of the lgbt community for about 40 years i am well aware of the discrimination that is perpetrated against the b and t persons allegedly included in that acronym. i have been rejected as a lover simply because i am able to love a man sexually. never mind that my primary sexual attraction is for women, the fact that if i love a man it could include sex makes me persona non-grata with many women within the gay community. never mind that i have only truly loved a few men and have had sex with many women, some of whom i didn’t even love, out of sheer preference and attraction to the female form. never mind that i have never made a practice of having a man and a woman as lovers at the same time much less in the same bed.
i have been less than included by some lesbians, outright rejected by others, as tho i have cooties. i have been accused of ‘riding the fence’, of not being ‘committed’ to women, of being weak for not choosing ‘one side or the other’.
i have fought for the inclusion of our transgender sisters in ‘all woman’ events, such as the ‘michigan womyn’s festival’ which is notorious for excluding any but ‘womyn-born womyn’. i have heatedly debated these more ‘discriminating’ women about what it really means to be a woman.
is it really all about the external form? what’s between the thighs? isn’t that what the patriarchal culture’s paradigm has used to define us? can we not see beyond this?
is it really about the approximately 50/50 chance of landing an XX chromosomal arrangement? an arrangement which only defines the external form and ability to reproduce, by the way. again, isn’t this simply buying into the male-dominated culture’s definitions?
by the time my daughter is out on her own at 20 or 21 years of age, she will have been living as a woman for a longer period of time than most lesbians her age will have known that they are lesbians. she will have been living as a girl for 15 years by then, and will have had the surgery to align her external form to the female she’s always been by age 16. will one of these future lesbians reject her simply for the accident of birth that betrayed her female self by landing her in a male body?
true, it is everyone’s right to choose whom they will for a lover. but what if we replaced ‘transgender’ with ‘black’. would it then seem appropriate to reject person? because of their color? the race into which they were born?
as far as i can see there is not much difference between that kind of racist discrimination and the discrimination with regard to transgender folk, that so many within the gay community find acceptable.
once many years ago, while playing pool in a lesbian bar, i was approached by a woman who looked more like a man. she had bound her breasts tightly to her chest, wore her short hair slicked back into a 50’s style DA, had a leather wallet shoved into the back pocket of her levis and connected to a belt loop by a silver chain. she stode confidently up to the table and plopped down a quarter, signalling that she would take on the winner. as she did so she gave me a lewd ‘undressing’ as bad as any i have received from the eyes of men. when i won (i usually lose, i suck at pool) she came back to the table with a look on her face that made me feel uncomfortable…as tho she’d just won me as a prize. i turned to my former opponent in the game and said, “you can play my win” and walked away.
later when the woman had finished playing my friend, she came to my table and seemed angry when i again refused her advances. she bellowed “if you don’t like women, what are you doing in a women’s bar!” or something like that. to which i replied “i do like women,” then looking her over added “i just don’t see one here” indicating her.
it was catty. it was horrible! i admit it. she was being herself. she was just so ‘manly’ that it turned me off. but i had rejected her based on her presentation more than on her looks, and should have said so instead of calling into question her gender.
on the other hand, i have dated trans-women…go figure!
what we as queers need in our corner of the world is to accept one another, tho not necessarily all behaviours. we must not allow the discriminating tastes we possess to oppress others. because no matter what our experience has been, we can at least agree that for the lgbt community, discrimination and oppression have been a painful common denominator and should have no place among our members