Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Why are gay people so intolerant of other minorities, such as transsexuals, and people who have their own gender-identities or no identities at all, or people who do not identify as human? Anon.

Huh? If a person doesn't identify as human, wouldn't you say they have a problem? If a friend of mine said he thought he was a ferret (and that's not a classification of gay bear) I think I would suggest he get professional counseling, wouldn't you? More on that below.

First of all, I don't think most gay people are intolerant of transsexuals. Yes, I've met a few gays who might have racist or anti-Semitic -- and transphobic -- feelings, people who would probably be homophobic if they weren't themselves gay (or who have issues with self-hatred) but most gays are very sympathetic to the transgendered. The "T" in GLBT stands for Transgendered, after all, and many gay people have worked with transsexuals to help them attain their rights and gain respect. They have always been included in the gay movement. Most gay groups insisted that they would not back the ENDA anti-discrimination bill unless it included transsexuals. This sparked a big debate in the gay community. But just because some gays felt that a bill covering transsexual rights should be separate and come later -- after the gay anti-discrimination bill passed -- didn't necessarily make them transphobic.

You're simply wrong that gays are intolerant of transsexuals. This doesn't mean gays identity with transsexuals to any great extent, as there is a big difference between being gay (attracted to your own sex) and being transsexual (feeling you are one sex mistakenly born into the body of the opposite sex). While some transsexuals are gay, many others are actually heterosexual, and some of them don't necessarily relate -- or even have tolerance for -- homosexuals. However, I believe most gays and transsexuals recognize that they are both viewed as "queers" by the intolerant, and may feel a certain kinship on that level, if nothing else. The gay experience is very different from the transgender experience, although they can be related in certain cases. In truth, the transsexual experience can be so foreign to gays and straights alike, that it's unfair to expect gay people to automatically understand it simply because they, too, are a minority.

Because we are discriminated against, many gay people bend over backwards to be progressive and tolerant toward everyone else -- but there's no unwritten rule that says we have to be, or that we have to accept every movement or fashionable notion, or think of every group as a misunderstood minority. Or that we don't have the right to cry foul if we spot homophobic attitudes among other minorities, including other sexual minorities.

As for gender-identification, I have mixed emotions about that. People have the right to present themselves or think of themselves as any gender they wish, or to be androgynous and gender-free if they choose. But sometimes the complete rejection of a gender role indicates that an individual may be deeply confused, unhappy with themselves, and full of self-loathing. In those cases, people should be encouraged to seek therapy from a therapist who has a positive attitude toward and knowledge of gay/transgender issues.

Lastly, if a person does not think of him or herself as even being human, that indicates a basic self-loathing that should definitely be addressed by a professional therapist.

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