Happy Pride Month.
Happy LGBT Pride Month. And add the Q and the I, too. Or as my friend Israel would say, happy Rainbow Community Pride Month.
Happy Pride Month to all of us.
But will it be? Or are we going to end up fighting so much amongst ourselves that when we end up, ain’t nobody happy? Sometimes it feels like that’s what is going to happen.
Usually, it seems, the Dallas LGBT(Q, I, Rainbow) community is pretty cohesive. I mean, sure, we have our moments:
The activist types get mad at the party people. The street activists get mad at the checkbook activists. The women get mad at the men and vice-versa. The vanillas get mad at the kinkies. The Fort Worthians get mad at the Dallasites.
And of course, our community must constantly fight the racism, sexism, religious bigotry and prejudice of every stripe that plagues society as a whole.
Because we are, after all, a microcosm reflecting the larger society.
And still, when you compare the queer folk of North Texas to similar communities, we get along pretty well.
I say this because earlier this week, a friend sent me a message on Facebook, attaching the contents of a long, long (very long) discussion of exclusion, inclusion and anger in the San Francisco community.
I don’t know the person who made the original post, and I don’t know anyone who commented (at least, not when it comes to the comments I read. I couldn’t read the whole thread). So I’m not going to talk about those specific people or their specific comments. I am just going to say that when I stopped reading, I was angry, confused and very, very sad.
I know that there are lesbians who want to have little contact as possible with men — lesbian separatists. I don’t understand that sentiment, but hey, it’s fine with me if they choose that lifestyle. (And yes, I know that being a lesbian is NOT a lifestyle. But being a separatist, of any kind, is a lifestyle).
And I know there are gay men who don’t want anything to do with lesbians. Again, I don’t understand it, but they are free to make that choice.
There are kinky folk who don’t want the vanilla folk in their bars, and vanilla folk who don’t want the kinkies in their parades. Some gays don’t want straight people in their bars — especially not straight females having bachelorette parties. And we know how some straights feel about the gays.
The list goes on and on. And it is all about people’s choices. Choices they have the right to make, even if you or I think their choices are stupid.
But there are some other choices people in our community insist on making that not only do I not understand, but that I can’t just accept.
There are some lesbians who refuse to acknowledge transgender women as women, and some rainbow people who only want to associate with others of their own color (which, by the way, makes for a very boring rainbow).
Neither of these things is OK with me.
I have read about lesbians who insist on calling trans women “male-to-trans” or “trans-broz” or just simply “men in dresses.” These are the women that some call TERFs, which stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists.” Those being called TERFs insist that TERF is a slur, practically in the same breath as calling trans women “trans-broz.” And apparently, there are some transgender/non-binary/gender fluid people who have decided that it’s okay for them to threaten — and perhaps even inflict — violence against lesbians who are so-called TERFs or maybe even lesbians who just don’t agree with them on issues.
I don’t understand it. At all. And it’s not
OK. Let’s get this straight (so to speak): Gender — including being transgender — is not a choice. It just is. Just like a person’s race or their ethnicity or their sexual orientation.
People do not choose to be transgender; people do not choose to be female, and they do not choose to be male. We are what we are, even though sometimes, through a biological accident, people are born with physical plumbing that doesn’t match their gender.
So why do some people choose to hate other people based on the way they were born?
Here’s the deal: I may not agree with things you believe, and I may not agree with choices you make. In fact, I may think you believe some really stupid shit and that you make some really stupid decisions. But when you get right down to it, I know that you have the right to believe that stupid shit and make those stupid choices (as long as you don’t try to force your prejudices on me or anyone else).
I acknowledge that you have that right. I won’t try to deprive you of that right and, in fact, I will defend your rights.
But the bigotry of racism, of genderism, of homophobia — well, that’s just not right.
I can’t make somebody not be a racist or a homophobe or anti-transgender or any of those things. But I don’t have to pretend that it’s OK. And I won’t. None of us should.
Especially not during Pride.
Tammye Nash is managing editor of Dallas Voice. She likes rainbows, and rainbow people.