It’s not equality without the T

July 5, 2008

Jess has posted a link to a piece in Pink News about the launch of a Conservative party website called LGBTory. The implication being that it (the LGBTory site, not Jess’ post nor the Pink News article) is about the Conservative Party’s support for LGBT people.

However…

The ‘T’ is quite clearly not for ‘Trans’. Note that the Pink News article doesn’t use any trans* terminology anywhere. Neither do the Conservative or Labour spokespeople in that piece. Nor does Anastasia Beaumont-Bott (Director and co-founder of LGBTory) in her blog.

And the LGBTory blog itself makes it clear that they don’t even understand the term. Talking about “breaking down the barriers of sexuality” makes that crystal clear. How many times?- sexual orientation is about who you go to bed with – gender identity is about who you go to bed as.

And from LGBT Labour’s site: “Labour legislated to protect LGB people against discrimination in good and services with no exceptions”. That’s ‘LGBT’ spelt ‘LGB’. The ‘T’ is silent. Invisible, in fact. Very apt.

I’m weary of politicians tokenising trans* people merely to gain credibility. If they’re not prepared to engage with us and listen to what we say – and incorporate that in meaningful policies which we can be sure will be implemented, then would they kindly leave us alone. We’re quite capable of surviving without their cynical use of us for publicity with no practical support beyond the headline-grabbing stuff. We are not here to provide material for T-shirt slogans.

At least Stonewall are honest that they don’t represent us – the slogan at the head of their site simply reads “Equality & Justice for Lesbians, Gay Men & Bisexuals”.

Pride? What have any of them got to be proud about? They should be ashamed.

Now I’m really cross.
———-

Later edit: Interesting to note that an LGBTory supporter has threadjacked the comments on the TFW post to focus entirely on LGB topics. And so, once again, trans people are Othered by those who profess to be our supporters. I know it’s not my post, and I have no business criticising – but I do feel rather disillusioned by it, particularly when the original post asked a specifically trans related question: “What to say about the name and logo of the Conservative Party’s group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, but presumably not trans members?”

If this is how LGBTory handle trans* issues in an informal blog-based setting, it leaves me with the impression that, despite their protestations, they really don’t give a flying one about trans* people. We’re too few in number and already too marginalised to be worth worrying about. LGB issues are Teh Sexayyy -but trans issues? Oh just ignore them, they’ll go away.

*le sigh*

Whatever.

———-

©2008 Helen G

6 Responses to “It’s not equality without the T”


  1. I was always told, both by people actively campaigning for Trans inclusion in what was then still titled an LGB Campaign and also by my anthropology lecturer, that “sexuality” is a term for both biological identity and sexual orientation (as opposed to “gender” as a cultural construct). Hence the opposition argument of “we’re about sexuality, Trans isn’t” being an ignorance or nonsense. Has the terminology really changed so greatly in just a few years?

    As for the PinkNews article, I’d love to know how one can write a journalist’s story for them so as to control the coverage but that may well be one of the Twelve Labours of Hercules.

  2. Tim Roll-Pickering Says:

    Oh as for the issue of comment drift, if you’re referring to me, such drift is fairly standard on the net, especially when the original poster made direct comments and questions that needed a response to set the facts straight. If it’s not possible to address such points without making what would be a frankly tokenistic tour round the houses then there’s something wrong in discourse.

    For the record I am not an official spokesperson for LGBTory – I speak only for myself.

    As for Trans issues I will hold my hands up and say that I do not know as much about them as I would like, despite having sat through more debates on Trans inclusion than I can count. And from your post about the disgraceful situation at Pride it seems I’m far from alone in this regard. It’s a learning curve that many are on – perhaps you could recommend a good place to start?

  3. Helen G Says:

    Whatever.

    If you ever decide it’s not entirely beneath you to treat me as an equal, and to talk to me, instead of at me, well then, maybe there’ll be a chance of a useful exchange of views.

    At the moment, here and at TFW, all I hear from you is noise. A shouty Man is a shouty Man.

    Ever try listening without thinking of it as a convenient space while you plan what you’re going to say next?

  4. Helen G Says:

    I want to look again at Mr Roll-Pickering’s comment from yesterday.

    Oh as for the issue of comment drift, if you’re referring to me

    Only in part. A large part, yes.
    But it’s Not.All.About.You.

    such drift is fairly standard on the net

    Don’t patronise me, please. You’re not the only person who’s been using the web forever. I say that you are more concerned with point-scoring on behalf of the Conservatives than you are answering the question of whether or not LGBTory is trans-inclusive; that’s where the drift originates.

    the original poster made direct comments and questions that needed a response to set the facts straight

    Leaving aside the question of who appointed you to provide the authoratitive response – once again, the direct question was: “What to say about the name and logo of the Conservative Party’s group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, but presumably not trans members?” It wasn’t “Please can someone fill me in on the Conservative party’s record on LGB issues?”

    set the facts straight

    Facts are not always absolute – but I think you already know that. Yet you decided you would do it anyway. And you singularly failed to set the relevant facts straight until you read my response of yesterday – and then you scurried over to TFW as fast as you could to cover all the bases. Except that you didn’t. Once again you could not keep to the subject and launched into yet another defence of the Conversative party’s record.

    If it’s not possible to address such points without making what would be a frankly tokenistic tour round the houses then there’s something wrong in discourse.

    Well, I’m not a highly-qualified, high-powered academic like you so I’ll have to take your word for it. But it didn’t seem very tokenistic to me. Your comments on that thread read like the complete history of Conservative party policies on LGB matters.

    For the record I am not an official spokesperson for LGBTory

    Who said you were? I said you are a supporter. Which, having researched your background, I concede might not be strictly accurate – but I notice that both you and Anastasia Beaumont-Bott (Director and co-founder of LGBTory) are linked via Conservative Future – "the movement for under 30s, including all members of the Conservative Party of this age. The organisation is all about involving young people in politics and addressing the issues that matter to them."

    Six degrees of separation?

    The conclusion I draw from that is that the youth wing of the Conservative party views gender dysphoria as the sole preserve of the under-30s. Big mistake. You don’t magically grow out of it overnight, you know. Someone who was born in – ooh, let’s pluck a date from the air, shall we? – 1956 would be in their early 50s now. So who, in the Conservative party, is concerned about that part of the demographic of potential voters? Because if you’re going to insist on such ageism, maybe you would prefer me to talk about trans* issues with someone older than you? Although you’ve also been quite clear that you view your older political colleagues as irrelevant and soon to be disposed of, come the next general election. What is a 52-year old trans woman to make of that, I wonder.

    As for Trans issues I will hold my hands up and say that I do not know as much about them as I would like, despite having sat through more debates on Trans inclusion than I can count.

    Thereby confirming my hunch that you don’t listen.

    perhaps you could recommend a good place to start?

    Before you even think about asking me to do your work for you, you would do well to examine your privileges – in my blogroll are numerous ‘privilege checklists’ – they will provide you with a starting point but are not to be construed as being set in stone.

    In tandem, please will you try and develop some sensitivity and awareness? Stomping around in a feminist forum and a trans woman’s blog, shooting your mouth off about Conservative party policies on just about everything except trans issues – the original subject – simply antagonises people.

    Unless that’s your intention, of course.

  5. TooScared Says:

    Helen,

    Your blog is a revelation, well done on speaking out on controversial issues and standing up to the league of “highly-qualified, high-powered academics” and challenging members of the old boys clubs which no doubt includes Mr Tim Roll-Pickering, a careerist who has risen through into politics using the NUS and LGB(T) issues as a convenient platform.

  6. Helen G Says:

    TooScared: Thanks for stopping by.

    To be honest, I’m equally suspicious of all political parties; as regards transsexuality they do seem -without exception – to have missed the point entirely. Transsexuality is not a political ideology, or this week’s bandwagon to climb aboard in search of a few votes. It is an uncommon and distressing medical condition.

    My life experiences since my diagnosis have politicised me and continue to inform my politics to this day. Trans* women, in particular, are disenfranchised, alienated, marginalised, Othered, harassed, discriminated against, subject to hate speech, sexism misogyny and violence – the list of oppressions goes on – and what are these mighty powers-that-be doing to help us?

    When it comes to healthcare, we have as bad a postcode lottery as anybody else, and that is not addressed. It is said (although I don’t know how the figures were arrived at) that there is a 50% suicide rate amongst pre-operative trans women. Post-op I am as at risk of prostate cancer as I am breast cancer and will probably be taking oestrogen supplements for the rest of my life – which raises my risk of DVT. And where is the research into the long-term use of HRT in trans women? I’ll tell you where – it doesn’t exist. Because we’re viewed as disposable people – this is even more noticeable for trans women of colour… And don’t even start me on class…

    And this is just scratching the surface; there are so many issues, so many. They are issues which all trans women face each and every day of our lives. Healthcare, employment, pensions, you name it and it affects on us one way or another – usually negatively.

    It is said that whilst women are second-class citizens, trans women are second-class women. I kow that’s a generalisation and, in fact, we get a lot of support from feminists (although not from all feminists). But natal women and trans women are both oppressed by the patriarchal system and party politicians would do well to remember that before launching into more meaningless rhetoric about why our votes should go to them. Women died to earn our votes for us and I for one will not be giving it away to any political party simply because it has a rainbow in its logo.

    Walk a mile in my shoes? I’d like to see *any* political vote-scraper try – preferably without the benefit of about half-a-dozen intersecting and overlapping privileges to lighten the burden…

    *breathes*

    Sorry, I’m ranting, aren’t I?
    ;)


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