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Monday, December 14, 2009's the politics

( The story so far goes...The Bilerico Project, one of the largest and most inclusive of the US GLBT websites, published a truly ghastly piece of transphobia by a 90 year old ‘elder’ of the gay movement. After a bit of hesitancy and an overwhelmingly negative response, chiefly from trans people, it got taken down. Fulsome apologies and a surfeit of posts referencing trans sensibilities followed.)

Like many, I’m curious about the decision to publish this piece of dirt, but like, I suspect, most, I go along with the cock-up rather than conspiracy explanation.
The same absolutely does not go for Ron Gold’s reasons for writing it and for getting it published here. From previous ‘guest’ contributions he’s made, senility has been noticeably absent. The ‘common sense’ style, whilst intentionally hitting on trans people’s nerves, seems totally deliberate. It would seem incredible that a man so experienced in gay politics would be so ignorant as to the realities of trans issues. And Mr Gold has form. He is known as non-inclusivist, and perceived as belonging to a sizable number within the gay community who wish, amongst other things, to drop the T, as people found so evident in the HRC’s record on ENDA. And another ENDA debacle, as it approaches this critical time, could really make for a long term fracture in the GLBT grouping.
And so this gets written as Gold’s first ‘house’ posting on an inclusivist site, a work that it would be hard to imagine how edit so as to more greatly inflame tensions.
Isn’t coincidence wonderful !
So how goes Bilerico ? It was a clear mistake to publish this piece, and I do wonder whether Gold’s status was overly respected. The reaction was uneven, but getting rid of Gold , putting some reforms in place and a deluge of trans posts all may help stem the alienation of the trans site readers. For me, it’s a mistake.
And all those comments on all those posts ? Another mistake. I can understand the feelings involved, and indeed I commented on a couple myself, but there’s an overall problem that plays right along with Gold’s agenda.
The more ‘tranny sensibilities’ are on show, the more the overall effect is to alienate the gay community. They’ve all suffered sneers and insults, as well as outright violence. Our relative weakness to such, in the eyes of some number, is, as far as I’ve always found, a major source of misunderstandings. Bilerico, by catering to these sensitivities, also loses credibility amongst those with problems to check their cis-privilege. And it is partly on the reasonable good will of such that inclusive sentiment rests. Sadly.
That’s why I thought Tobi’s piece necessary and Dyss’s apposite, but would have preferred the latter as part of a series covering all in the GLBTQI spectrum. That’s why, though thoroughly enjoying the articles on the history of gay transphobia, I’d prefer them to have had a gay co-author, to own to trans homophobia, which exists, and/or to attempt to frame the gay/trans dialogue on gender in more mutually comprehensible terms. And that’s why I’d have preferred a general statement from Bilerico to their commitment to the whole gender rainbow rather than apologies to trans people.
Because that’s the way to get back at Gold and his agenda.
Because that’s the politics.

1 comment:

  1. Great point!

    Homophobia amongst some crossdressers and crossdressers groups is one example. As well as forms of transphobia towards CDs and non-binary-gender from some transsexuals and vice versa.

    These biases between groups as a consequence of rejecting social conditioning about ones own group while embracing it about other groups and/or often involving scapegoating and invalidating others in order to gain acceptance and to validate their own group seem to follow the same patterns.