Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Umbrella

When I do training I have a slide at the beginning of the section on definitions, it says…

  • Every culture has their own language 
  • Definitions evolve
  • Words can have different means to different people
  • Some people are very passionate about labels
  • Some of the more common definitions (At least for today) are…

And one of those words that are evolving is the word “Transgender” back when I was coming out it was an umbrella term that covered anyone who cross the gender norms.
Trans* Women Are Not Freakshows and Drag Queens: The Problem With the Transgender Umbrella
Huffington Gay Voices
By Nikki Araguz Loyd
Posted: 11/24/2015

Over the last couple decades, societally, the term "transgender" has become an umbrella term, joining all transsexual, intersex, transvestite, cross-dressers, non-binary people and others who either identify as either male and female, or neither male or female into one category of human. While in most cases, I have found myself relating to my "lumped together" counter-parts, there seems to be a movement amongst some "transgender" identified individuals that I don't agree with, the "bearded lady" movement, and it makes me increasingly frustrated at the appropriation of our community by individuals who seek to push the boundaries of societies gender roles while positioning themselves as victims of it. Sometimes, it reminds me of the kids in high school that would change their preferences based on what was "cool" at the moment. I guess, right now, trans is cool.
Just because I am transgender, it doesn't mean that I am required to completely disregard society's gender role norms, including choosing to not shave and become the "bearded lady." In fact, I actually like stereotypical gender roles; my first dream was to be a mom and a housewife.

It's sad that in our individual assertion of our right to choose the gender we most identify with, some far left-wing, anti-binary activists insist that we must also then ignore all socially accepted gender identities and if we don't, we then are considered racist or privileged. I guess I could say, that by my following societies gender norms, it has afforded me acceptance. Which is one of the reasons why my organization, Transgender National Alliance, is the only organization that provides financial support for life changing name and gender marker changes as well as medical procedures, helping others to achieve their own personal goals. Sometimes, people choose to live a "non-binary," "androgynous" and even "cross-dresser" existence because they are afraid to transition or they think they can't "pass" as their chosen gender, and our organization exists to knock down those obstacles inspiring others to fearlessly walk in their truth.
When I have talked to children and young adults, they are more fluid in their gender. It seems to me that the old we are the more rigid we are to the binary. I believe as I mentioned before that “Transgender” does cover drag queens and kings, it does cover crossdressers, it covers all those who are outside of the gender norms.

There are many trans people who do not blend into society and there are some who do not want to integrate into society.

She ends the article with,
In the end, being transgender does not mean I dislike binary roles, and liking binary roles doesn't mean I dislike non-binary people. But the bottom line is intersexed people, crossdressers, drag kings and queens, transsexuals (non/pre/post), effeminate men, masculine women, questioning and gender queer individuals should view each other through the eyes of equality in that we are all a part of the same community and none of us are better than, more authentic than and/or more legitimate than any other type of trans person.
I have written in the past about lateral hostility (here, here, and here) we cannot let it tear us apart. We cannot have "them vs. us." We should push aside our biases and embrace all who cross the gender norms.

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