TAG | Bangor Daily News
While the addition of letters to the communal acronym is often hard to follow and many will argue about what is most proper (LGBTQQI even leaves out some letters, and generally, I subscribe to the group using LGBT as a simplified, acceptable form), the additions are for good reason:
Each letter represents something that is clearly distinguishable within the scope of sex, gender, and sexual orientation. Each letter is important because they show that we’re starting to truly recognize these distinctions. The sooner we acknowledge the individual letters within the community and within society at large, the more we will be prepared to find solutions for issues like intersex people competing in sports, what bathrooms Trans youth should use, etc. without being sidetracked by basic premises.
Sean Bugg wrote an excellent piece for Metro Weekly titled, “When it comes to transphobia, gays and lesbians still have a lot to learn.” Bugg put his pride aside and admitted something that the most of the GLB of the community should admit: the ‘T’ issues (and I’ll include the ‘I’) are often foreign to us as well. Understandably, we battled different social pressures (sexual orientation versus gender/sex). But the GLB in the community definitely needs to work harder to embrace the ‘T’ and ‘I’.
Do not feel ashamed if you’re a little stunted in your own knowledge and perceptions, because you are not alone. For the 6+ years I lived in Southern California and Texas, I’d say 90% of my friends were gay. But I can’t think of a single Trans (gender or sexual) person I knew. Only since volunteering at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center have I started to interact with Trans people more regularly. And while talking about KYC, these Trans youth are more brave and courageous than any child should ever be asked to be.
I am fortunate to have a very socially conscious and insists-to-be-accurate roommate that has really challenged my own ignorance and helped me to become more informed. He corrects me when I need to be corrected and answers tricky questions about how to accurately distinguish people. (Assuming distinguishing is necessary; he prefers the all-encompassing “queer” label for the community, but I find that to have a little too much negative sound to it.)
Some quick basics that must be stated: intersex is different than transgender, sex does not always match gender, and transgender and transsexual have nothing to do with sexual orientation.
We set up a society of dichotomies, but as a species, we are far from it.
Through my carousing of news lately, I have read several articles relating to the Trans community. Many of the articles, and especially the comments, use terms inaccurately and confuse sex, gender, and sexual orientation. A perfect example in the article about which bathroom Trans youth should be allowed to use: the random Christian group voicing their opinion said “[the new guidelines] represent the latest effort by the homosexual lobby to impose their confused views of sexuality on society at large.”
Sorry, but the truly “confused view of sexuality” is the one that assigns sex and gender at birth when there are ambiguities in genitalia.
Read the comments to that same article for a disturbing smack-in-the-face of misconceptions, ignorance, and bigotry.
More ignorance: Transgender issue leads club to cancel membership. In justifying this course of action, the country club wrote in a letter to Rachael Gieschen, the uninvited member: “Other members’ comments support the conclusion that, although you are now a woman, members will be uncomfortable regardless of which locker rooms or rest rooms you use.”
Look, I recognize that these subjects will make people uncomfortable at first. But first and foremost, legally and sexually, Gieschen is a female and a woman. Second, get over it. Whites were uncomfortable mixing with blacks 50 years ago. Hell, pathetically, that racial discomfort survives in far too many environments today.
But when you challenge your personal prejudices and perceptions, you learn that you were uncomfortable for no other reason than unfamiliarity.
I hope you have a bit more familiarity after reading this and challenge you to continue to familiarize yourself with the ‘T’ and the ‘I’. And I hope you continue to challenge me to do the same.