Transgender People Should be Barred from Restrooms
August 8, 2011
Apology To Cathy
August 9, 2011

WWTGSKWaHD? (What Would Tolstoy, Gandhi, Sakharov, King, Walesa, and Havel Do?)

I dread writing this post. Not because it is laborious, or texting on my personal resources, but because my sensibilities are afflicted by the subject matter.

It is neither my desire nor intent to further inflame an already hot topic. There are plenty willing and so capable of stoking that fire. It is my only desire to offer a consideration, a course of action which may or may not resolve the matter, but it will define us as a community and how others outside the community view us.

On July 1, 2011 the novice Managing Editor of a small Baltimore based LGBT biweekly newsletter granted a public forum to two radical feminist wishing to make the argument that “gender identity” is a concept, and that protections based upon gender identity will promote harm to “women born women”. The Baltimore based broadside followed this up with an additional elevation of hatred on July 29, 2011 in which one of the previous writers expanded her viewpoints on why gender identity protection through hate crime laws is unacceptable. This in direct response to the pending trial of Teonna Brown, the 18 year old woman accused of assaulting a transgender woman at a local McDonalds in April. It is not the purpose of this commentary to debate these issues. They are receiving enough of that already. Nor is it to challenge the blatant transphobia proffered by the authors’ assertions. Yet this topic has now been advance to the United Nations and has set the debate ablaze.

It is my firm belief that it matters not what befalls our community, however what is of significance is how we, as a community, respond which, in turn will define us.

Above all the transgender community is without question the most misunderstood and maligned minority group in our society. Much of this manifests itself in a state of ignorance, short of enlighten reasoning and latent hatred in respect both gender identity and gender expression. Every human being possesses a gender identity and expresses gender. For most their gender is consistent with the physicality and for some it is not. It is that simple and we are that some.

Tolstoy, Gandhi, Sakharov, King, Walesa, and Havel  are mortals which have offered us pathways to non violent actions that have liberated millions. Our deliverance may well follow in these models.

When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him. – Bayard Rustin

Many members of the transgender community have suffered long and enduring abuses to our persons, our dignity and to our loved ones. These hate filled essays are no different than the hate fill spats to the faces, the hate filled physical assaults with the genitalia of others thrust unto our faces, the hate filled degradation and humiliation of being told we were less than human. One might be considered justified to retaliate in like kind. But it is my firm belief that we lose if we do so. That in my eyes, our only solution is as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington suggested, protest for dignity confers the very same dignity.

Non violent civil disobedience and direct action have proven to be the most successful tools to authoritarianism whether its from our government or members of the broader coalition communities. including TransTories. How that protest presents itself is for or community to decide. I pray the spirit of nonviolence prevails

  • 1. Yes. This. Excellent article.

    2. Despite being (a very left wing) one I had no idea there was a group called TransTories… that’s kinda neet.

    • Valerie, a TransTory is a member of the trans community who is loyal to the oppressors of transpeople.  As in the Colonies’ liberation, Tories sided with the crown,  (Lesbian and Gay groups promoting the “slow march” to freedom). 

      In that respect, its not that “kinda neet.” They are everywhere. Some are legislative aides in our bodies of government, some enjoy the reputation of  lobbying on our behalf ( I say “reputation” because they don’t and can’t really due to their organization’s tax status)  Others promote themselves as civil rights champions, yet suggest the only way to to get African Americans out to vote is to “give them free beer and a BBQ”. 

      Slander and a good whisper campaign are their tools. Their threats, while subtle, to a trans person are deadly. When you intentionally expose a trans person’s past, you open that person us the the hate machine of bigotry. Unemployment and alienation lead the way to scraping out an existence any way possible. As from there, well, we have all attended those vigils.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Please share if you wish , non violent means you feel could bring about full basic human rights for the transgender community.

      • Forgive me for being the kind of Canadian who would note that freedom frequently wears a crown…

        I can’t get behind that nomenclature. Kapos, Quislings, Stockholm Syndrome… these work a lot better than calling loyalists the folks who identified with their oppressors, instead of the folks who saw the crown as the best guarantor of their rights against the well-fed planter class. There’s a reason aboriginals fought on the British side mostly in the Revolutionary War. There’s a reason Halifax has a large black loyalist population.

        As much as I love alliteration, it’s not going to fly with this actual, hard-left-wing Tory. (Delegate for Orchard, Progressive Canadian Candidate in ’04… we’re talking some terrific Torytude… see what I meant about alliteration?)

        If you must alliterate, I recommend TransTurncoats, or possibly TransTania’s. (An SLA-Patty Hearst reference)

        • Well stated, yet remember, here in the States,  we teach history with an American bias. So to us its the American Revolution, to the British its sometimes referred to at “The American Rebellion”. A Loyalist or Tory to an American referred to Colonists who supported the British in opposing the Revolution. In that respect, a TransTory fits if one is of American lineage, but your point is quite valid for outside The U.S.

          • Anonymous

            Unless, for example, one belongs to an aboriginal tribe that fought for the crown, and had their suspicions of the Americans revealed for the next two centuries… I’m not particularly proud of the treatment of aboriginal Canadians, but compared to the Americans, one can, again, understand why freedom wore a crown for many Tories. Your use of Tory as a pejorative for treason and identification with the oppressor does tend to erase minority and working-class voices in the United States.