Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008

This Monday, I was reading this interesting article: Tonight we are going to party like it’s 1985 in which the author, Helen G who is a Transwoman, is denouncing the nomination of Julie Bindel (no seriously check out the link to her Wikipedia page, it’s short and interesting) for the Stonewall awards.

Why you may ask? Because, according to Helen, Julie is a Transphobe. Interesting, non? You see this case may not be directly relevant to our cause or our struggle as Meems, but it does in a way portray the everlasting, internalized xenophobia. Let me summarize for you what has been discussed in those articles:

You have on one hand, Julie Bindel and whoever she represents, who says things like:

As a lesbian, I no longer want to be lumped in with a list of folk defined by ‘odd’ sexual practices, she means anything that is not Lesbian
Transsexuals, having received short shrift from heterosexual society, asked to be included in our rainbow alliance
Queer (anyone who is into “kinky” sex)
Questioning (those having a think about who and how they might shag in the future)
finally (for now) Intersex (those born with biological features that are simultaneously perceived as male and female)
The mantra now at “gay” meetings is a tongue-twisting LGBTQQI.
But I for one do not wish to be lumped in with an ever-increasing list of folk defined by “odd” sexual habits or characteristics. Shall we just start with A and work our way through the alphabet? A, androgynous, b, bisexual, c, cat-fancying d, devil worshipping. Where will it ever end?
No seriously that is exactly what she says, I did not in any way alter any word she said, you can follow the link to her article to check. Now to be honest, I do understand her frustration… Or at least I feel like I should understand it somehow. For example, Lesbians were heavily implicated in the birth of the feminist movement, but then their cause was silenced to ensure the safety of the feminist cause, they gave more than they took. Then in the gay movement they were very implicated also but they were quickly rendered invisible, for all so many reasons. And I have heard a few times trans people make it very clear that they are not homosexuals, NO, they were just born in the wrong body!

So I guess I understand where all the frustration may come from.

Now on the other hand you have Helen G and whoever she represents (apparently a lot of Trans individuals, and more specifically Feminist Trans women) states that the Lesbians never did and never will accept transsexuals as true/full women.

Which gets me to ask myself a few questions, like for example: why is it so difficult for trans and homos to work together? Let’s look at the Lebanese scene, I work on queer issues. I have been working with gays and lesbians for like 2 years now and though the gay/lesbian community admits the presence and importance of trans issues, though they want to be inclusive, it is not that simple. Sometimes I even wonder if Trans people want to be part of the queer scene. Sometimes our goals are so different that I wonder what could possibly bring us together?

For LGB individuals the goal is to be accepted as people that are attracted to people from the same sex. Trans individuals want to be accepted as individuals whose sexual organs do not coincide with their self-identified gender. Right?

Of course it can be right! If this is how you perceive your activism then the previous statement is true for you. And in that case, I don’t really see how you can combine both in one group that works for the same mission.

But keep in mind that this is not how everyone sees activism, this is not how I see activism and this is not what Meem’s mission statement consists of. My activism in Meem is just part of a greater cause, it is the struggle for diversity. I don’t really care if I am accepted as a woman that loves women and I don’t care if I am woman that is not really a woman that does not belong to the female gender. I honestly don’t care. I allow myself to be with the person I am in love with and I allow myself to be person I am, gender and social standards are not really my problem, even prison is not really an issue for me.

My struggle, my goal, my grail is to alter society so that no one would suffer discrimination, no one would feel wrong because of their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their sex, their ethnic origin, their religion, their political choices, their social class… I want no one to suffer from discrimination… Enough already!

Is this feasible? Is it realistic? Probably not, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. I want a mission that makes sense and for me this definition makes sense. And through this definition, trans individuals and homos fight for the same cause, eradicating heteronormativity and this is only one aspect of what I want to work on. But it is the same social mechanism that leads to both homophobia and transphobia. It is those little social boxes that we are supposed to fit it:

“perfect boy, perfect girl, perfect love, perfect marriage proposal, perfect wedding, perfect kids, in a perfect house, with the perfect dog and the perfect cat that have the perfect fight.”

I fit nowhere in that definition, neither do gays, lesbians, bisexuals, queers, questioning, transgender, transsexual, transvestites, Intersexes, single mothers, shy men, atheists, anarchists, people who can’t afford fancy wedding rings and outfits… and so many others. And all of these groups are my activism allies.

Well I guess that says it all for me… I am queer and I am here to stay. Yes attack me, beat me, insult me, laugh at me and put me in jail. It is ok, you don’t know any better. I do. Heteros may not agree, lesbians may not be interested and trans’ may ridicule me, but then again, I have had worse, I have survived times when I didn’t agree with myself, when I was not interested in my own ideas and when I ridiculed myself. What do you think that you can do to make it worse for me?

I guess Bon Jovi was right, it’s my way. It’s now or never.