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May 29, 2012

What Inclusionism Means

I wanted to take a moment and address what it means to be a non-Separatist; that is, what it means to be an Inclusionist – part of the transgender community. The Houston transgender community has been an explicitly Inclusionist community since the 1960s. We toyed with separatism in the mid-1980s when West-Coast Separatists tried to force the Houston trans community to give up our native Inclusionist values and the result was disastrous. Instead of letting Separatists tell you what it means to be an Inclusionist, I thought I’d talk about with it means here in Houston.

What Inclusionism looks like:

  • FTM-only groups
  • Post-op MTF TS-only groups
  • Mixed groups
  • Youth-only groups
  • Significant others-only groups
  • Intersex groups

Inclusionism looks like having different TS and transgenderist e-groups. Inclusionism is being okay with the myriad ways in which human beings identify with and express gender. Inclusionism is about allowing people to follow their own path without pressuring them to take steps they shouldn’t take or that they’re not ready to take. Inclusionism is about respecting and affirming our differences while standing together as a community who gives a shit about each others’ welfare. Inclusionism is about unity, not uniformity. In Houston, all kinds of trans folk are included in and work together as one  powerful community that takes care of business. When you hear someone talk about the transgender community, this is the concept they are talking about. When I identify as a transgender person, this is what I’m talking about. I’m identifying myself as being part of this community in the exact same way I might refer to myself as a Texan.

Inclusionism IS NOT about asserting that everyone is exactly the same and that nobody has unique needs. When you hear a Separatist tell you differently, they are lying to you. Inclusionism IS NOT about telling you how you must self-identify, again… Inclusionism not about telling you who you are; rather, it’s about supporting your authentic self in whatever way that looks like. Inclusionism affirms the norm that each one of us has worth, purpose and value – wherever you are on the gender spectrum.

As a community, we’ve been able to do stuff like put together 2 low-cost trans medical clinics with a 3rd on the way, start the nation’s first trans shelter, have the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, open our own transgender center (offering trans-run social services), open our own transgender archive to the public, get our City’s mayor into politics,  etc. We do stuff like run for public office, we’re out and open Judges, we chair city and county meetings and can organize at the drop of a hat to respond and defeat anti trans bills.  We’re doctors, students, fortune 500 company executives, homeless people, sex workers, housewives, bodybuilders,  – we’re everyone. Come to one of our Friday socials and you’ll see ALL OF US hanging out enjoying each other’s company.

Remember, the Houston community is where trans law and trans medical care was born.

What Separatism looks like:

Ashley “I’m Colonized” Love, Separatist Opinion Leader

Here’s a quick review of the reality separatists assert to be true…

“The coiner of the term transgender was Virginia Prince, a heterosexual crossdresser who held those of us who had sex reassignment surgery in contempt. Virginia was particularly vicious in her opinion regarding WBTs who were lesbian after sex reassignment surgery. She called us freaks and mistakes.” – Suzan Cooke

“Feinberg, a Marxist… [asserted that] True transgender liberation requires the overthrow of capitalism, just as any truly revolutionary social change must address the question of transgender liberation. In simple non-dialectic terms, Feinberg believes that capitalism and transgenderism are mutually exclusive. You must be a socialist, or a communist, or maybe even an anarchist if you are truly transgendered.” – Lisa Jain Thompson

“We are not legally, socially or definitely not genetically bound to abandon the medical and patient rights, science or affirming and understanding doctors who support our transsexual medical condition’s accurate narrative just because a group of individuals say so.” – Ashley Love

For those of you who’ve not bought into the idea of a global conspiracy that’s trying to take away transsexual health care, turn transsexuals into commies while simultaneously forcing all of us to give up self identifying as a transsexual, then I suggest you read the following:

Tracking Transgender:

The Historical Truth

(Note: While Separatists claim that I’ve faked my above research because I have a “male ego“, thus far, Drs. Milton Diamond, Susan Stryker and David Valentine have all told me that my research is remarkable. So, I’d just like to point out that this represents yet another divergence of world views between Separatist ideology and what many of us might call reality.)

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 and, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.
  • Making that assertion does not make it so. Pretending that I chose to set up trans housing programs because we wanted to be separate is a puerile misrepresentation of the reality of a service structure that had historically refused services to trans folk.

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  • Cristan your inclusion isn’t about respecting identities if it were you wouldn’t be choosing to label those who disagree with you as seperatist. You wouldn’t be lobbying to have all of us who wish not to be called “Transgender” Transgender (WPATH) (LGBT) (New Federal Transgender Policies) (Members of the LGBT). Being truly an inclusionist is about allowing others the freedom to be excluded. Communists don’t allow people the freedom to be excluded and it would seem that Transgender is every bit as Communist as you would claim to be an inclusionist (Communist). By the way what happened to our debate? I’d really, really love to have a one on one debate with you on Transgender and Communism.

    • Let’s take this line-by-line:

      [Cristan your inclusion isn’t about respecting identities if it were you wouldn’t be choosing to label those who disagree with you as seperatist.]

      Are you asserting that you are not, “an advocate of independence or autonomy for a part of a political unit” (the verbatim definition of the term according to Webster)?

      You wouldn’t be lobbying to have all of us who wish not to be called “Transgender” Transgender (WPATH) (LGBT) (New Federal Transgender Policies) (Members of the LGBT). ]

      Are you really going to argue that Inclusionism isn’t Inclusionism because I don’t include – against your will – those who do not choose to be included?

      Being truly an inclusionist is about allowing others the freedom to be excluded. ]

      Post into a reply wherein I state that you MUST self identify as being transgender. Post into a reply wherein I state that you MUST be part of any community. Post into a reply wherein I state anything of the sort in this – or any other – article.

      That’s the problem with you Sepritists. You seem to believe what you believe because your belief tells you to believe it. You have a priori beliefs you state as if it were fact and practically never back up your assertions with objective evidence. You folks seem to assume that because a thought is rolling around in YOUR head, that thought must therefore be fact by virtue of its origin.

      I’ve said over, and over, and over, and over, and over again that I don’t give a fuck what you call yourself and/or if you choose to be part of any particular community. But no… apparently what I’ve said (over and over and over) again doesn’t matter because you apparently NEED me to play the part of a villain who tells you that you must reject the term transsexual in your little victim fantasy.

      The ONLY thing I’ve done is check the historical assertions of fact separatists have made because those assertions are demonstrable BS. If you tell me that you don’t like me because I killed JFK, I’m going to point out that your reasoning is BS. That’s NOT the same thing as saying that you must like me. Likewise, if separatists tells me (and they have overwhelmingly done so) that they hate “transgender” because it was coined by Prince, I’m going to point out that their reasoning is also BS. If you’re going to assert (without evidence) that, contrary to what newsletters, newspapers and magazines of the era had to say about it, transsexuals and non-transsexuals didn’t work together as one before the 1990s, I’m also going to call BS. PLEASE GET THIS THROUGH YOUR HEAD: calling BS on your BS history assertions is NOT the same thing as saying that you must call yourself transgender. Can’t any of you grasp this simple truth? No?

      [Communists don’t allow people the freedom to be excluded and it would seem that Transgender is every bit as Communist as you would claim to be an inclusionist (Communist).]

      This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard uttered from a separatist. It’s exactly as logical as saying, “The Khmer Rouge said that all must be independent from democracy and it would seem that the “as long as anyone uses the term ‘transgender’ in a manner consistent with the English language, I’m gonna upset myself” crowd is every bit as totalitarian as you would claim to be an Independent (totalitarian).” It’s pure hyperbole and the fact that you’re blind to it highlights the demonstrable obtuse hubris that seems to run through the Separatist community like a cancer.

      [By the way what happened to our debate?]

      Really? Are you really going to publicly pretend that that I didn’t FB you about that June 5th, June 7th, June 13th, Sunday and yesterday? I’m damn glad that I’ve been screen caping our FB conversations. If you chose to not show up and then lie about my willingness to debate you, it will really make you look like a big turd. Please don’t do that. It’s a lie. We both know that we’ve been FBing about this every few days and that it was ME – not you – who contacted you to set up everything. We both know that it’s been me who set up the debate platform. We both know that it’s me who’s been contacting you to ensure that we have all of our bases covered and that you feel comfortable with the platform prior to the debate.

      • Cristan did you ever think to try and contact me and ask why I asked that question? No you didn’t instead you just assumed and posted them. The record shows you made no effort to ask me why. The record also shows that when you did next contact me again you didn’t ask why you simply accused me of cancelling the debate. I’m not denying you sent me the link I’m just saying that we weren’t in full agreement at the time you sent it as to how to deal with the issue of questions. If you feel the need to trash me go for it I’m not going to lose any sleep over it and life goes on. As for a debate I’m going to start posting to facebook you can choose to respond to my posts or not at this point it really doesn’t matter to me. Please deny the fact that you just assumed on your own that I totally cancelled the debate.

        • @facebook-100001589787115:disqus Since we were emailing back and forth for weeks, did it not occur to you that emailing me was the proper way to ask your question and/or check in with me? No, I suspect that it didn’t because you weren’t attempting to communicate with me; rather, you were communicating to those who would read this post and your message was designed to make it sound as if *I* wasn’t communicating with *you* – which is lame. The readership of this blog was your target audience, not me. I only replied to the audience you chose to pose your question to.

          You claimed that you wanted a professional, respectful debate. You lied. You misrepresented to truth for your own purposes… which is, judging by both your and GenderReality’s posts, something folks on your side seem to be comfortable doing.

          BTW – The record you chose to show doesn’t include all the emails. Why is that, Lisa? Why not post the rest of it?

          Also, do you have an approximate release date for the “academic style” paper you said would be coming out “soon” about 6 weeks ago? You know, the one that you claimed would show everyone that I’m a big fraud and that indeed, the entire trans movement is a communist plot? I’m very eager to review it.