Pick a Side: Fantasy or Reality
April 13, 2012
What They Call “Womyn-Only” Space is Really Cisgender-Only Space
May 21, 2012

My Response to Love’s Transsexual Rally

Ashley “I’m Colonized” Love

So, Ashley Love supposedly held a rally outside of a GLAAD meeting. She writes:

Though GLAAD does some good work, primarily for gays and those who support transgender socio-politics, we hold this education rally to inform attendees that the medical condition transsexualism is actually not about third gender politics or homosexuality. Our legitimate birth challenge stems from being born with chromosomal and/or anatomy diversity, and is treated by affirming doctors who aide us is ensuring our body is aligned with our mind.

Simply asserting that transsexualism doesn’t deal with issues of gender or sexuality doesn’t make it so and considering all the evidence to the contrary, it makes this assertion absurd! A simple PubMed search on “transsexual gender roles” and “transsexual sexuality” returns hundreds of studies that can speak to transsexualism as it intersects with non-binary, non-heteronormative expressions of gender and sexuality. In what non-solipsistic universe can Love seriously claim that American transsexuals do not challenge gender and sexual stereotypes? Yes, I get that Love likes to PRETEND that being a transsexual doesn’t entail a social transition which breaks practically every gender stereotype known to American culture, but it kinda does.

GLAAD has concocted and is militantly pushing an opinion based framework that unravels public understanding, promotes transsexual-phobia and even impedes and erodes our legislative advancements and medical rights.

Militantly? Did Love actually say MILITANTLY?

Militantly… as in, “engaged in warfare or combat”? To even suggest that GLAAD is being aggressive is sheer hyperbole. Posting online press releases and using the word transgender in a manner consistent with the English language is NOT “militant” in any conceivable manner.

We ask involved parties to take a deeper look at GLAAD’s social engineering that seeks to erase transsexualism from classrooms…

What the… WHAT?!? Social engineering to erase transsexualism from CLASSROOMS?!?

… and public discourse in favor of their gay and gender deconstructionism only politics, and examine the science, data and literature that supports our transsexual medical condition’s accurate narrative.  Be aware of the unrest and resistance in the transsexual community against this blatant revisionism and co-opting of our lives by non-transsexual entities that has lasted almost twenty years.

Right… Because this…

From GLAAD’s Media Guide

… Is what constitutes “blatant revisionism and co-opting of our lives by non-transsexual entities” in Love’s mind. Yes, isn’t it just AWFUL?!? GLAAD has the audacity to assert that “… some transsexual people still prefer to use the term to describe themselves… It is best to ask which term the individual prefers.”  Oh, yah… total militancy.

As to her puerile implication that transsexuals are being co-opted by the supposed 20 year old term, “transgender”… Love knows that this isn’t true. Here’s the proof that she’s aware that this claim is false. Furthermore, here’s the real history of the way in which transsexualism relates to “transgender.”

This colonialism of transsexualism by gay and transgender ideology groups is irresponsible, psychologically abusive, sexist, and detrimental to the mental and physical health of people born with transsexualism.


This coming from the person who wants to make every transsexual believe that their real history is not their history?

Colonialism, you say?

This coming from the person who wants to pull YOU into HER victim delusion and presumes to speak for all transsexuals?


How about we talk about how people like Love colonize the transsexual identity in an effort to eviscerate our historical narrative and replace it with her own verbal gesticulations. Let’s talk about the kick-ass transsexuals who busted their ass putting on the first TRANSGENDER conference in 1974. Let’s talk about the amazing transsexuals who understood that the path to freedom wasn’t found in separatism. Let’s talk about this or this or this.

No; none of that was real, meaningful or relevant in the world Love wants YOU to live in. Ashley Love wants YOU to turn YOUR back on all of that proud history. Love wants to blight out the radical voices of transsexuals like Carol Riddell who, in a 1972 speech said that transsexuals and transvestites should join “with other sexually persecuted minorities, particularly homosexuals, in confrontation with the police, the legal profession, the psychiatrists, the capitalist nuclear family, the capitalist gender roles… ”  She doesn’t want you to not know that iconic transsexual leaders like Christine Jorgensen publicly identified herself as being transgender.

On page X of the 1996 book Transgender Warriors, Leslie Feinberg wrote, “Today the word transgender has at least two colloquial meanings. It has been used as an umbrella term to include everyone who challenges the boundaries of sex and gender. It is also used to draw a distinction between those who reassign the sex they were labeled at birth, and those of us whose gender expression is considered inappropriate for our sex.” Ashley wants to lie to you so that you’ll believe that the definition of the term transgender was somehow different in the 1970s or better yet, that the term didn’t exist because it’s supposedly only 20 years old.  Ashley Love is willing to sacrifice our proud history on the alter of her own ego. If there’s any colonialism going on, Love is most certainly not on the receiving end of it.

Colonialism? I say totalitarianism for it is Love who’s asserting that our historical narrative isn’t real. Our past as transsexuals didn’t happen and it is Love who will tell you what to think about our past without even once – NOT ONCE – supporting ANY of her assertions with any objective evidence. She demands obeisance in the form of YOUR unquestioning assimilation into her fraudulent victim narrative.

We’ve had enough.

Yes, well… I’ve had enough of Love’s malformed arguments and her unadulterated hubris. I’m tired of her active erasure of transsexual history. I’m tired of her LYING to the public and most of all, I’m tired of her using transsexuals to prop up her own private fantasy world wherein she exists as some sort of victimized freedom fighter.

cross-posted from Ehipassiko

Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams

Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites TransAdvocate.com and TheTERFs.com, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.

  • Honey, you need to get over Ashley Love. Seriously. Or change the name from “Transadvocate” to “Ashley Love is a meanie poo,” because this sounds like a playground feud. These rants against Ashley Love come off as trivial and are an embarassment to our community. I mean, really??? What happened, did she unfriend you on Facebook or something? This shit is childish.

    • When Love gets over spreading misinformation and lies for the purpose of inspiring enmity within the trans community, I’ll get over calling her out on her bad behavior.

  • Old-Timer

    “transvestites should join “with other sexually persecuted minorities like LGB?…” Erm no thanks. We’ve been fighting against this for decades. Gay. Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transsexuals (GLBT) are not a fetish or a fad or an identity one chooses on a Friday night thank you. We’re where we are today because we drew a line and stuck to it. A ‘joining’ would have led people to think GLBT were a fetish or a ‘lifestyle’ choice. Please stop undoing all the work the GLBT have done so far or you’ll have no friends left anywhere…….. sorry had to add that to the post below…


  • Old-Timer

    Transsexuals have always fought against being included with gender-nonconforming people by having their own name/status. They have also always fought against being included with Transvestites because of the amount of fetishistic straight men. Mentioning a FEW Transsexuals who haven’t fought against this means nothing! Transsexuals have done this so that they were separate from a) LGB and b) fetishists. They have fought a good fight to be accepted so far but Transgenders are reversing this. The T in GLB ALWAYS stood for Transsexual not Transumbrella or anything else. They also are VERY scared by GenderQueers trying to take away their medical condition tag, that they wish to keep as a medical condition because they need the hormones/surgery etc. Transgenders are seemingly not only appropriating Transsexual dialogue and making it their own when the AIMS are totally different, but also seem to be AT THE SAME TIME co-opting any GLB who is gender non-conforming. Basically nobody out of GLBT (GAY, Lesbians, Bisexuals or Transsexuals in old skool terminology) really likes the rest of the ‘alphabet’ do they? Nobody has aked The GLBT if this has ever been ok? Also the GLB have been in TOTAL agreement with the Transsexuals for DECADES that we should NOT in any way get mixed up with or advocate for Common Garden Straight Fetish Transvestites because they have NOTHING to do with us! Trangenders really have taken over the Transsexual tag and morphed it beyond recognition until it now ACTIVELY OPPOSSES what Transsexuals have been fighting for, for decades.

    Sorry but it’s true. My heart goes out to them. It really does. They are a tiny minority who, in the last 5 years have been trampled on by people who wanted to use them for their own purposes and then chuck them away and call them names.

    Yours, a GLBT old-timer who WAS THERE when ‘history’ was ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!!!!!!!

    • [Transsexuals have always fought against being included with gender-nonconforming people by having their own name/status.] Then link to the transsexual books, leaders, newsletters, magazine articles, etc that support this assertion. While this might be your belief based upon your personal experience from your particular geographic location, but that reality isn’t found in the newspapers, newsletters, national groups, national leaders disagree with your take.

      [ Mentioning a FEW Transsexuals who haven’t fought against this means nothing! ]

      This is a mischaracterization of reality. ALL the national transsexual organizations were explicitly inclusive. That’s a testable assertion. Either they were or they were’t. Numerous national leaders made statements supporting inclusivity. Either that happened or it didn’t. Either the first international trans event in 1974 used “transgender” in its modern sense or it didn’t. These are all testable realities. I understand that it’s your strong belief that these things didn’t happen, that you’re being oppressed and must fight back.

      That’s all fine. However, I can’t escape the fact that those of you who make these types of assertions never seem to cite any objective evidence to support your fact assertions. Generally you folks make assertions and then expect everyone to believe it on faith alone.

  • I was at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles this
    weekend as a journalist for LGBT Weekly
    covering the red carpet. I photographed much of the event and have a few video
    interviews I need to process for YouTube for use on Pam’s House Blend
    this week.


    The pre-party for the GLAAD Media Awards began at 3:30 PM,
    the stars began walking the red carpet began at 4:30 PM, and the
    dinner/ceremony/fundraiser proper began at 6:00 PM.


    I also was inside for the dinner and awards ceremony. I was
    there when Chaz Bono — a trans man — was presented the prestigious Stephen F
    Kolzak award by his Mom Cher and his Step-Mom Mary Bono. (Video of him winning
    the award is on Perez Hilton’s website here).
    The Stephen F. Kolzak Award is presented to an openly LGBT media professional
    who has made a significant difference in promoting equality — that a
    trans-identified person won the award this year is a very big deal.


    I was assigned to table 115. At 05:58 PM on the 20th,I
    received a text from a friend of mine who also was attending the GLAAD Awards.
    She said Ashley was at her table — table 104. Later my friend told me Ashley
    was there because someone who didn’t know about her alleged history of
    “crashing” and disrupting LGBT events had given her their spare ticket — the
    spare ticket originally being for the wife of a lesbian attendee that couldn’t
    attend the event due to illness.


    I was approached by two senior members of GLAAD’s staff at
    different points in the evening and told that Ashley was at the ceremony. Both
    times I was approached by staff, I was informed that security had been
    notified. Given my past public history with Ashley, I believe they were afraid
    that there may be trouble between Ashley and I — I certainly was not looking
    to be a part of any drama at the GLAAD event, and would go out of my way not to
    be involved in any disruption of the event. Hey, I love GLAAD and the work that
    they do — it’s an organization I even financially support.


    On seeing Ashley at table 104, I briefly exchanged
    peasantries with Ashley at the GLAAD event — as I had a couple of weeks ago when
    we both attended Alexis Rivera’s memorial service. There were no sparks…no
    drama…at least between the two of us.


    Given Ashley’s alleged history of disrupting LGBT events —
    she’s allegedly rushed stages and taken microphones to deliver her
    transsexual-related messaging at other LGBT fundraisers — I was told by four
    people in the know at the event that she was being watched extremely closely.
    (I’m personally aware of two east coast LGBT fundraisers from which she was
    escorted out of in 2010.) However, other than just her presence apparently
    causing heightened tension for much staff & security at the GLAAD Media
    Awards, Ashley didn’t disrupt GLAAD’s event.


    Personally, I’m just trying to match what I saw of her very
    seemly behavior inside of the event with what I now know were her actions of
    protesting the event earlier that afternoon/early evening on the outside. And,
    it just doesn’t add up. As much as I try to make sense of the totality of
    Ashley’s behavior that evening, I just can’t align her inside the event
    behavior and the outside the event behavior.


    I can only wonder what the people she protested on the
    outside of the event with would think of her attending the very same event she
    was protesting, eating a dinner for which a strong supporter of GLAAD had paid
    several hundred dollars. As someone who was on the invited to be participation
    inside of GLAAD’s event, and someone who has experience being a direct action
    protester myself, I’m mystified as to why Ashley would even want to come inside
    to be a well-behaved spectator of the awards ceremony for the organization
    she’d just finished protesting just minutes earlier.


    “Shocked” is just not a strong enough word to describe what
    I’m thinking and feeling — again, I can’t make any sense whatsoever of her
    behavior on Saturday night.


    wonder the GLAAD staffers at the event were concerned about her presence — if
    I were a GLAAD staffer I would have been concerned too knowing she’d scheduled
    a protest earlier that evening, knowing that both Ashley and I were there and
    have had a sometimes contentious history, and knowing of her alleged past
    history of disrupting events. It no doubt appeared to GLAAD staff that Ashley’s
    presence was a metaphorical powder keg waiting to be lit — thankfully for all
    of us at the event there was no metaphorical explosion.

  • Sophie Raf

    Don’t think you’re really appreciating, with your criticism of ‘militantly’, that Ashley actually is a radical in terms of the english language. Instead of the normal ‘chromosonal’ on her ‘about’ blog  text she experimented for months using the altogether more poetic ‘chromosonical’. These disorders then ‘transpired’ into a medical condition:  again poetically, conjuring up a picture of her giving off water through her pores, since otherwise the word doesn’t make any sense.                      
    Isn’t this the kind of radical transformative use of language that we want from a would be spokesperson ? They can’t simply be mistakes, because surely someone would have told her and she’d have listened and changed…er…maybe I should rethink this.

  • You realize that you just publically stated that Transgender really did start as a Marxist Communist movement by posting about Carrol Riddel. Yet you deny that in your fictional account of Transgender history. Your posts and your denial of Transsexuals as people with different beliefs and different political goals smacks of totalitarian communist leanings.

    • Pft… I’ve done nothing of the sort. Did I say that “Transgender really did start as a Marxist Communist movement”? Nope. I said, and I quote:

      Love wants to blight out the radical voices of transsexuals like Carol Riddell who, in a 1972 speech said that transsexuals and transvestites should join “with other sexually persecuted minorities, particularly homosexuals, in confrontation with the police, the legal profession, the psychiatrists, the capitalist nuclear family, the capitalist gender roles… ” 

      In the above paragraph did I say that transgender started with communism? No, what I said is that Love wants to blight out radical transsexual voices like Carol Riddell. You’ve made a strawman argument. You’re pretending that I’ve made a point I’ve not made.

      TAO – the first inclusive activist org – predates that 72 UK speech and Erickson’s support of all trans issues predates TAO.

  • Divadarya

    Cristan, you just really pissed off about thirteen people. I’d love to see a photo of that “rally”.

    • Me too sister!

    • Fourteen. My cis spouse makes Fifteen.

      A plurality – the majority I think, so far – of the comments here in fact, seem to take a pretty dim view of Cristana’s criticism.

      To be fair, “pissed off” is a bit strong. Dan Savage pisses me off. This just sort of disappoints me. For the record, I don’t entirely agree with Love either.

      Based on my lived experiences as a transsexual woman, I’ve been conflated with transvestites more often than I can count. Many people, including family, coworkers, acquaintances, even friends, seem to “default” to thinking of transsexuals undergoing sex-reassignment as something sexual.

      Here’s the thing – straight white men have privilege, and even enjoying wearing women’s clothes doesn’t erase that privilege for them – they can switch back to male drag and they are just another straight white man. Let them fight for their proclivities. I don’t care. I have a *medical condition*, not a fetish, and I’d rather not be confused with a transvestite (as we so often are) and have to explain this over and over to cis people. Certainly, abandoning the transgender term doesn’t erase this need, but it helps. I’d prefer people not label me with that. I’m a transsexual woman.

      If that makes me a jerk, so be it. I’m not about to weep for the struggle of (overwhelmingly) straight, white, men though.

      • I wrote “Cristina”, when I should have written “Cristan” above. I’m sorry about that, my fingers got away from me, I guess.

      • I’m curious about a couple of things:

        What do you think “transgender” meant originally?

        What evidence do you have informing your opinion that without an umbrella term, uneducated people know that TS =/= TV?

        Thanks for commenting!