Letters

Posted on 25 Jan 2007 at 5:01pm

What “‘transgender’ really means
In regards to the trans-less version of the ENDA, we need to make sure we know what we are talking about. Dale Carpenter, Barney Frank, Jay Oppenheimer and Michael Milliken are wrong about this issue. David Webb is absolutely right, as usual. He rocks!

The term transgender is an umbrella term that includes anyone who is gender variant (gender different). This means it not only includes people of transsexual origin, but gender-benders, drag queens, bi-genders, the intersexed and others. The term gender identity can have many implications for those of various gender orientations and characteristics. Many of those who object to transgender inclusion, often define transgender as relating only to those who are transitioning (transsexuals). This definition is incorrect.

Including gender identity with sexual orientation and transgendered people with gays, lesbians and bisexuals is the right thing to do in regards to the ENDA. Many gay people and many straight people are transgendered. Much gay-related discrimination is rooted in gender-based perceptions about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Gender identity isn’t just about people who have transsexuality as a physiological phenomenon. It is about our gender presentation, our gender expression and our gender rights as well. All of these issues directly impact the gay community, as well as the straight community. We can be discriminated against for more than just our sexual orientation. We can be targeted for our gender characteristics, our mannerisms, our gender expressions, the way we talk and the way we talk.

Our communities are not separate. We patronize the neighborhoods. We buy from the stores. We work at your stores when you hire us. When you are willing to stand up for transgender exclusion, you aren’t just crapping on the transsexual community, you are stomping on a large portion of the gender-gifted gay community. It is a shame that there are so many willing to sell out parts of the gender variant gay community and transgendered populations. All of these different bill and amendment ideas are divisive and selfish.

I personally am a heterosexual woman of transsexual origin. I don’t have to stand up for the gay community, but I do. I’ve participated in the events, I’ve written the letters and I’ve made a difference. I know first hand that our communities are linked forever. It is time to separate the gay supremacists and transgender bashers from our groups and start building coalitions that stand up for ALL of the community, not just suit-and-tie gay conformists.

There are many that would like to go back 20 years. It isn’t going to happen! We are not going away. We will be in your groups, clubs, and organizations. Today the community is GLBT. It is time for some people to grow up and accept all of the community, or get out of the movement. One united TLBG community. One strong ENDA bill. One undivided community that cares. No sellouts.

Tylana Marie Coop,
gender rights advocate,
Peoria, Ill.

Pity for Milliken
I feel great pity in my heart for Michael Milliken (“Don’t penalize LG part of LGBT,” Dallas Voice, Oct. 19). ENDA is about ending discrimination in the workplace for some of the most discriminated-against groups: gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. The fight for equality and equal protection is not limited to sexual orientation.

I am thankful that civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the rights of all people in this nation, not just heterosexual black men and women. If not for the civil rights movement, who would have given us a voice? I am thankful that the women’s rights movement fought for the rights of all women, heterosexual and homosexual. If not for the women’s rights movement, who would have heard our voice? I am thankful that the lesbian and gay rights movement has embraced bisexual and transgender people. If not for the lesbian and gay rights movement, who would speak for bisexual and transgender people?

I wonder who hears the cries and has the courage to speak for other oppressed people in this country. I give thanks to my God that I and so many others want every person in this country to have their constitutionally guaranteed rights. I pray, Mr. Milliken, that you will also join us.

Thomas M. Osborne
Dallas

Melder misinterpreted my article
In Daniel Melder’s letter to the editor (“Gay, Republican and seriously mistaken” Dallas Voice, Oct. 19), he expresses disgust for my remark that it takes more courage to come out as a gay Republican to GLBT friends, than as gay to family. By writing that he has never heard of someone being assaulted or losing their life by coming out Republican, he compares two different men’s coming out experiences contrasting someone who comes out as gay (and is kicked out, or physically harmed) to someone who comes out as Republican (who isn’t).

My article makes no such comparison. It confines itself to one individual’s (a gay Republican’s) coming out experiences, and it only compares the dual struggles that one person alone faces when he comes out first as gay to his family, then as a gay Republican to his gay friends and colleagues.

The latter is often more difficult for those who share that double burden. For most of us, not all, family eventually accepts our sexuality, and when they don’t, most of us do move on. However, in many more cases, friends, lovers and even jobs are lost over the political divide.

This explains why there are so many closeted gay Republicans. My main point of the article is to explain that we all stand to benefit if more gay Republicans will reveal themselves and be counted.

There is no question that every individual’s coming out experience is different. Some are easy with great family acceptance, and others are much more difficult for those who are sidelined, left homeless or worse.

I do not attempt to say that gay Republicans’ have a harder time, in general, than others. I do say that they come out twice, and their experiences are unique.

Since Daniel Melder isn’t a gay Republican, I wouldn’t expect him to understand our point of view. I hope this response helps him, and others like him, understand better that we need more openly gay Republicans to help us advance the cause for gay equality.

Rob Schlein, president
Log Cabin Republicans Dallas

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 26, 2007.

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