Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pretty Pathetic If You Ask Me

The Internecine Tranny Wars

The cancerous division caused by the betrayal of trangenders in the ENDA vote last fall continues to spread. Only the cancer is eating our own more and more each day.

Clearly the Human Righ*s Campaign's decision to back a non-inclusive ENDA was the catalyst for a lot of transphobia within the LGB part of the LGB/T community to come to the fore. Some of the most egregious things written about transgenders were from some of the LGB blogs and publication editorials. HRC's maneuver gave authenticity to others to also cast the transgenders overboard. So it is no surprise the hurt and anger continues to fester for many transgenders. The next question though is "What now?".

For some, it is baying at the moon, calling for boycotts, challenging everything that is touched - nay, tainted - by the long reach of the HRC. For some, it is trying to figure out how best to re-engage HRC into a better acceptance and advocacy of our lives.

But for the past week or so, the transblogosphere has been engaged in a terrible maelstrom of who is "right" who is "wrong" who is a "sellout" who is "real" who is "wimpy" and the like. Unfortunately the commentary hasn't always been polite, sometimes involving profanity and needless personal attacks. And it has involved many noteworthy transgender leaders - Donna Rose, Monica Helms, Marti Abernathy, Vanessa Edwards Foster among the more prominent. All are transgender people of note, of character and of achievement. For each there is must esteem sincerely earned for their endeavors to improve the condition of transpeople.

In a way, all of them are right - yet each has made their own contribution to the nastiness, the divisiveness and the rancor. Its embarrassing to read and is certainly discouraging to local people simply trying to do their best for the sisters and brothers in their communities. If the "big" people can't get along, why should us "little" people dare to try to get involved. And I've seen that happen.

Yes, HRC is to be fairly taken to task for abandoning part of its avowed constituency. As a former Union steward and negotiation team member, I know the importance of staying together, of not providing for the "many" if a few - or even one - is left out. As a former coach of girl's fastpitch softball, I steadfastly held to the notion that winning and losing was a team result. The hero that hits the winning home run in the final inning only got there because of the work of her teammates. The player who drops the fly ball allowing the winning run to score and beat us was put into that position by the collective effort of the team to that point. I feel I speak with honesty and integrity about sticking together.

But much like the terrorists of the World Trade Centers in 2001, we are letting HRC's betrayal have a lingering and more deleterious effect on our community than their initial stab in the back could have ever done by itself, after all let's face, ENDA still isn't law now is it? Post 9-11 we have lost privacies and freedoms and protections all in the name of "security". We've lost our moral compass allowing our government to invade countries not involved in the heinous attack and allowed that government to torture people in our name. And we've done so - at least in the collective majority - willingly.

Let us as the transgender community not delve into that same fear and willingness to abandon our principles and civility only because someone else did it to us first.

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