I really like the Bilerico project–it’s a great place for queer and trans folks and their allies to meet and discuss things. And it’s never shied away from controversy.
Bilerico recently added a new contributor, Ronald Gold, and reading his biography he’s just the kind of person you want to have there–a long time gay activist, one of the founders of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and a man who was instrumental in getting homosexuality removed from the DSM.
So it’s an enormous disappointment to read his first post, officially titled “‘No’ to the notion of transgender” but if you look at the url it must have been called “Transgender: a disease that doesn’t exist” at some point. And, well, let’s see if you, Gentle Reader, can understand why I was shocked to see it on Bilerico:
What is transgender? Well, there are two sorts who seem to be covered by the name, the drag kings and queens so good at portraying cartoon imitations of straight people, and transsexuals, the folks who report that from an early age they’ve felt themselves trapped in the wrong bodies. Despite the equipment they were born with that belies their assertions, they say they are really men or really women.
Holy fuck. Did I just read that at a queer site? Seriously? Please tell me this is some kind of horrid fundamentalist satire…
I recall reading something by Jan Morris in which it seemed that he thought he needed a sex change because he wanted men to hold doors open for him and kiss him goodbye at train stations. For starters, I’d have told him that I’ve had these nice things happen to me and I’ve still got my pecker.
Oh ye ghods.
Oh, but he isn’t prejudiced against trans folk! See, this is how he ends the piece:
Perhaps it isn’t needless to say that a No to the notion of transgender does not excuse discrimination against cross-dressers or post-op “transsexuals” in employment, housing and public accommodation; and I strongly support legislation that would forbid it. I would, however, get after the doctors – the psychiatrists who use a phony medical model to invent a disease that doesn’t exist, and the surgeons who use such spurious diagnoses to mutilate the bodies of the deluded.
See? I just think you’re deluded, C.L.–but that’s no reason for people to be cruel to you. That is, for levels of cruelty beyond calling you a man and a “transsexual.”
If I was to be charitable (I am reliably informed that for some reason December is a month we’re supposed to do so, here in Merka; the media says so), I guess I could scratch out some kind of “hmm, he’s really against gender essentialism, which I’m down with so…win?” Except, oddly enough, as I write this he’s sharing the front page with Autumn Sandeen, the transgender barista from Pam’s House Blend, and whom I’m sure enjoys having her identity crumpled up in front of her eyes and tossed away.
I just…can’t understand why this of all things should be the first post this guy makes at Bilerico. Didn’t somebody tell him there are actual trans people who visit? Or even, you know, write stuff there? Holy cow.
Grumble…gotta write that “how to take an ally to task” post that everybody is writing nowadays…sheesh.