Friday, September 05, 2008

A Temporary Marriage of Convenience

There's something fascinating unfolding at Bilerico for those among us who can handle some lengthy posts and comments that are intelligent and thoughtful on the subject of LGBT unity and division, feminism and trans people (and that would be all of my readers).

First you ought to read Bil's post in which he admits to knowing not as much as he would like to know about feminism and trans people in order to better inform his writing. The comments are a graduate course in LGBT issues.

Then you should read Bil's follow-up post and the comments in which we discuss the nature of the LGBT community and dissect/dispute its unity.

I think that for a long time we have been afraid to admit that we gay men really don't have much in common with lesbians and trans people. You will find in my comments on Bil's posts that I feel that all the facets of the LGBT diamond together make for brilliance but that we are soldiers from different hamlets, recruited for a common battle which, when over, will allow us to return to our separate ways.

I know at least one rather well read blogger who turns up his nose at Bilerico saying that it is boring. I disagree. Focus, dear, and pay attention for longer than it takes to hit the bridge in a Neil Sedaka tune.

PS: don't miss the comment in which I am accused of being Andrea Dworkin.


Anonymous said...

I LOVED your comment. I’m glad you’re really digging into this. I’d encourage all of your readers to join in and ask their own questions too. I know I’ll end up asking some stupid questions, but we have to allow for that since we have all levels of knowledge on the blog. The experiment is simply this: can we give each other the space to learn and grow and help each other along that path without resorting to the usual hurt feelings and biases a lot of us turn to when confronted with something new and unknown? I hope so. I’d like to be a better trans advocate - and a better woman’s advocate.

Dwerk, I'd encourage you to leave your comment on the site and help us build up the G participation. I tend to agree with what you said and I'm sure we're not the only two that think this way. If you don't want to comment under your own name or your regular account, just leave a moderated comment with a fake name. If it's a real comment, it'll get approved.

And as for boring... I have to admit, I find it boring too sometimes. Usually those are the posts that I don't feel knowledgeable enough to comment on! Thankfully, with over 60 contributors there's always something new showing up on the site.

Paris said...

I wish it was temporary, but I've spent enough time in places that were technically more progressive than the US to know that even when the legal battles are won, there will still be the need for those who are gender non-conforming to hang together against those who don't care for that sort of thing.

Same-sex loving = gender non-conforming

trans-whatever = gender non-conforming

As a trannyfag, I know that David is convinced that my vagina and I are the enemy, but I don't think that such paranoia is the thrust of Bil's or your posts on this topic.* I think that we need to remember that being educated about the experience of others is a privilege and that not everyone has the privilege of educating themselves to use the right language. That said, the internet makes it pretty easy to track down basic information on damn nearly any topic and skip the embarrassment of asking the killingly basic questions. Bilerco is adding to the ease of this process.

*A paranoid corner of my mind is convinced that I briefly met David the one time I have been in Toronto. I find this funny; I hope it doesn't give him hives.

Paris said...

Maybe I am misrepresenting David, but I seem to have driven him off free participation in this blog. Or not.

I am sorry for this because I think blogs have great potential in this area because one can sit and read (and re-read) posts and comments on one's own time whereas in a community meeting or verbal discussions, there is greater opportunity to miss important moments or nuances.

Yet, who hasn't gotten intolerant of an email that is "too long" where a letter of equal length is fine? (I suppose those who are young enough to have never used letters to correspond). The nature of the web browser format demands greater concision and blogs invite fragmentation. Who hasn't not commented on a post that was interesting but has dozens, hundreds, thousands of comments already? Where to enter in the conversation?

I am not sorry because I found that last comment almost illegible and I am painfully aware that I must reserve patient reading for those whom my salary obliges me to decipher.

The unlengthly, unintelligent, unthoughtful response to David's last comment: huh?

Tony Adams said...

Dear Dwerk and Paris,
Please fell free to continue this as long as you like. I may not add to it, but I am reading what you both are saying and I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

As a transgendered person in my early 50s, until recently I had been hidden all my life, although it has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. As a person born with female genitalia, but gay male in brain, heart and soul, I have always felt alone and alienated.

I have no formal education in the understanding of these issues, and admittedly will probably sound naive, but I can only speak from my heart.

The values of our society tend to favour fences. As a culture, we seem not to have the ability to live in a home that is undivided and less managed. I think of it like a fledgling forest which needs time to mature.

James Lovelock's "Gaia Hypothesis" recognises diversity as the variety that exists within a species ... socially, sexually, physically ... as part of the full abundance of the mystery and beauty that is us. I think until we understand that when we have a narrow definition of humanity, let alone gender and sexuality, we limit the potential for joy and love in all human beings.

Human hieroglyphics are enigmatic. They are not anchored in the mind like a logical alphabet. They have the ability to recognise whole concepts and complex visions, and not just single words. I think maybe to secure our full acceptance … all of us … we need to balance our intellectual observations and our passions. How we view each other is highly coloured by our very human and personal perceptions of value.


Doralong said...

Are we not as a species meant to be diverse? Climate, region and circumstance have shaped the human animal into an astonishing range of permutations.. I would posit that any gender/sexuality divergences have been around since the human animal first evolved higher thought processes.

Perhaps I am being naive as well Tony, but in many ways, as the old saying goes, we’re all on the same lake, we’re just in different boats. GLBTQ people and women in general all face a certain amount of bias and any infighting serves to merely give rise to the ability of the power elite to divide and conquer much more easily. One can be terribly academic in this regard, and most certainly such work is of great value, in and of itself. But I really think the only way to have a truly integrated attempt at a level playing field is to stop and take a look at societal constructs from an experience that is genuinely not your own. An understanding of how your own behavior impacts the larger picture tends to lend a bit more perspective on the struggles of others to gain their fundamental rights. And the only way to be able to comprehend an experience that is alien to you is to ask questions, and genuinely listen to the answers. If we’re all too busy fighting people that fundamentally have many of the same problems- nothing will ever really get accomplished.

Human nature tends to make many things much harder than they need to be. There’s something ingrained in the human animal that compels us to unnecessary complications. Being angry with others that also have a common need for the right to simply live their lives in dignity and without fear serves no useful purpose. I find the application of the dusty old golden rule can go an amazingly long way in adjusting one’s point of view on a myriad of subjects. And in a broad way, isn’t respect the core of much of the infighting?

And well done Tony to open yourself up to asking the questions and listening to the answers in a thoughtful way. (My apologies for going on so long)

Tony Adams said...

Human hieroglyphics are enigmatic is a big observation in a tidy one liner. I'm going to steal it, thanks.
I had no idea you were Bat Chain puller/pullover!
A constant series of little implosions has kept the whole LGBT community from hitting home runs. That's the keeper in your valuable comment.

Paris said...

Sock puppets! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.