Hidden Comments & Two Essays Worth Reading

It might seem as though there isn’t any activity on ATM right now, but actually, things are happening behind the scenes.

This blog receives about 70 or so hits per day, even when no new posts are made. That kind of traffic, although not huge in volume, still results in comments left from time to time at the bottom of posts that are weeks or even months old.

As an example, back in March, I and faithful reader J engaged in a conversation that ran for several days with an author, a mystery writer, who had written a transgender character into her first book and had questions about including an intersex character in her second.

Last week, something completely new popped up, from an actuary studying gender ratings for automobile insurance.  Is that cool or what?  Her questions and comments had to be some of the most interesting I’ve seen so far in this blog.  (You can read her comments and my responses under Part 4 of the CAIS series.)

So if you happen to be browsing around ATM and are looking for something new, check the comments that were written since you were last here.  You might find something of interest.

Lastly, I wanted to bring attention to two timely essays that were published this week, one by Matt Kailey on his blog Tranifesto and an op-ed piece by Jennifer Finney Boylan in the New York Times.  Although the topics of the two pieces are different, I personally find them to be interlinked with regard to the divisiveness that seems to be growing within the trans community.

I have considered writing about these topics recently, but I can’t hold a candle to the literary prowess or knowledge and experience of Matt and Jennifer, so my suggestion to readers would be to check them out.  Matt’s post is entitled,  Meet the New Gender Police — Same as the Old Gender Police, and Jennifer’s column is entitled, We Want Cake, Too. I hope you enjoy them and find them to be interesting.

I also hope everyone is enjoying their summer.


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6 Responses to Hidden Comments & Two Essays Worth Reading

  1. j says:

    aah thanks for introducing me to Jennifer Boylan’s writing. Tell me where there is no infighting… It’s everywhere. Actually its exhausting but you need it. friction leads to small sparks leads to a big fire and everyone else takes note. I’ve seen the infighting in the LGBT community here. It seemed like the worst thing that could happen at that time (maybe 10 yrs ago). But the community survived and is growing all the time and the split factions only provided people with more options. The T component is still the outsider. That too will change. time changes everything.

    • Hi J. Good to hear from you. You’re welcome – Jennifer Boylan has had a couple of her memoirs do very well.

      As for infighting, I can’t say I know for sure that it’s “everywhere” and even if it was, that doesn’t mean we should accept it as it becomes worse. I’m not talking about divisiveness and infighting within the GLBT community. I’m talking about divisiveness and infighting within the trans community. I think that there aren’t enough of us to be splitting off into ‘factions’ – I think we need to stand together and focus our energy collectively against those who want to keep us down rather than direct it amongst ourselves. That’s just my opinion, anyway. In other words, I agree with both Matt Kailey and Jennifer Boylan.

      • j says:

        In an ideal world your dreams of no infighting might come true. But we don’t live in an ideal world. And thank God for that!

        I’ve personally seen infighting in the organized gay woman’s community when it was just maybe 20 woman strong. I was there in the room just an hour before a fight historically split the tiny group into 2 factions. I thought the same thing : there are not enough of gay women who are ‘out’ for them to be ‘splitting into factions’. It’s going to be the death of the gay women’s community that is struggling hard to stay alive.. 20 gay women in a country of 1 billion citizens where gay women have no rights, are beaten and left dead, are married off by their families against their will. If they are not unified how will they manage!

        Shortly after that, I abruptly left the L community as I did not want to take sides and because the L phase in my life got over.

        So did the acrimonious split mean the end of the gay women’s organized community? I thought it should have. But it didn’t. Because 20 squabbling women cannot stop an idea whose time has come.

        Over the years, the same community I was in a hurry to write off has just got larger and larger. The scene is vibrant. Beautiful.

        Sometimes seniors and heavyweights in the G or the L or the B or the T community try to drag everyone their way. They decide their own wisdom is enough; they write one book and think they have the right to speak for the rest of the community. I’m sorry they don’t. And the old emotional blackmail line of ‘if you are not with us you are against us’; and ‘your voice of dissent is going to hamper the growth of the community’, does not work anymore. So for now it is the intellectuals on one side… and millions of ordinary people with lives with their own unique challenges on the other.

        After hanging out with the trans community for a year, I find it to be a rich and delightlully diverse tapestry of people with different opinions and needs. Of course you’ll never have everyone on the same page. But that will make little difference. Because like I said, you cannot stop an idea whose time has come. You cannot escape your destiny. Trans is everywhere in all its diversity. Just look at the blogs and websites and youtube videos. Trans is out of the ‘closet’ and it’s never going back. Hurray!

        (Back to bed… zzzz… I really need to sleep more… See you next month or next time you blog… zzzzz)

        Here’s a winner of a print ad done for apple for their ‘think different’ campaign by TBWA\Chiat\Day

        Here’s to the crazy ones.

        The misfits.
        The rebels.
        The troublemakers.
        The round pegs in the square holes.

        The ones who see things differently.
        They’re not fond of rules.
        And they have no respect for the status quo.

        You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
        disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
        About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
        Because they change things.

        They invent. They imagine. They heal.
        They explore. They create. They inspire.
        They push the human race forward.

        Maybe they have to be crazy.

        How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
        Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
        Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

        We make tools for these kinds of people.

        While some see them as the crazy ones,
        we see genius.

        Because the people who are crazy enough to think
        they can change the world, are the ones who do.

        • Thank you J for sharing your experience and thoughts – much appreciated. So, infighting for the sake of infighting…

          In theory, I would not disagree, but for me, it would depend on the reason for the infighting. I will address the example you gave about the lesbian group. I don’t know why this group that you mentioned was experiencing the infighting and the faction split, but let’s say for the sake of the argument, they were unable to decide on what rights they should fight for first. What if one faction thought they should fight for same-sex marriage and the other thought they should fight for employment non-discrimination. Well, okay, that might split up the group if they were passionate about their positions, but at least in this example, community members are not attacking each other and criticizing each other for who they are, which is what is happening in the trans community. The “gender police” situation that Matt talked about, which seems (to me) to be especially apparent in the FTM/genderqueer community, and the transgender vs. transsexual arguments that Jennifer Boylan talked about that seem (to me) to be more prevalent in the MTF/crossdresser community, are cases where trans people are pointing the finger at each other and criticizing each other for how they identify or how far they take their transitions.

          Now I’m severely oversimplifying the situations here, I know, but only for the point I’m trying to make. If infighting is the result of passionate disagreement about the outcome of the activities that can benefit the community anyway, then I wouldn’t be as opposed as I am to what we have in the transgender community which is a collection of personal criticisms against one another. I put up with that crap from people in the non-trans community. Why would it be a good thing to have it within the trans community?

  2. j says:

    Infighting for the sake of infighting? Well no one picks a battle for nothing. (We’ll leave space for the exceptions who are a handful). It’s wearing on the nerves to be a conscientious objector.

    You cannot wish personal criticisms away. Unfortunately. That is just how it is.

    If people are different and want to be seen differently, you cannot help it. How do things work here in India? In India we have the trangender community where you have transwomen and men who would be loath to being seen as anything other than ‘man’ or ‘woman’ in passports and official papers. And then you have the arvani, hijra community, where you have a few fully transitioned ladies who insist on being called the third gender. No one tells them “Oh so now you’ve transitioned so now you are not third gender.” Perhaps this is because you have religion come and save the day. (In both Islam and Hinduism we see them as intercessors to God.) and they’ve always been in a world that is so different. So they get to maintain their third gender status, if that is what they want. The Government listens to their needs. Each party has their own space. And sticks to it.

    I think the problems arise because everyone who is so different, is lumped together in the Transgender space. It just causes a lot of confusion within the transgender umbrella. And if you are beyond the Transgender umbrella, they’re even more confused.

    (last day of my holiday; so see you whenever I next get time to check this space out. God knows when !! )

    • Thanks J. I don’t disagree with you at all – the transgender community is quite diverse. I also agree that if people want to be seen differently, then I have no issue with that. What I have an issue with is when they tell me how I should identify or label myself.

      In the end, they can label themselves any way they want, or put themselves in a different group or whatever, but I think it’s a shame we can’t stand together.

      Good luck going back to work. I know it’s been tough.

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