Transgender and Gay: Should both Classifications be Under the Same Umbrella?

            As if attaining gay rights was not a big enough controversy already, let us throw in the divide between gays and lesbians with the transgender community. To many straight individuals both titles would simply fall under being homosexual but in the L.G.B.T (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and, Transgender) community there is a major difference. Being gay and being transgendered is divided much like being lighter or darker skin in the African American community is divided. According to GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) being a homosexual is the attraction to one’s same sex but being transgender is when one’s gender identity is different from their assigned identity at birth. In the fight for equality many feel that since both titles mean different things than each fight should be conducted separately.

Many gays and lesbians do not view being transgender as respectable or even as important when really the same goal is trying to be reached. There should not be a difference between either because both simply want the same equal rights as their straight counterparts. In 2007, according to an article in the New York Times, gay congressman, Barney Frank had removed protection for transgender people from his proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The argument that Frank upheld for his decision was that such a bill would be harder to pass if transgender was included because it is the most frowned upon portion of the L.G.B.T community. The biggest argument in support of the decision of compromising is that a little change is better than none.

Should a compromise like that even be considered if that meant leaving a single group out to dry on their own? In a society of an, “every man for themself,” mentality, many disregard the rights of transgender people in favor of their own. Though a majority of the gay and lesbian community support transgender people, a lot of them do not feel the need to fight for their rights as well because in their eyes it would result in a setback of gaining rights for themselves. This mentality is not anything new. Back in 1870, African American people earned the right to vote but it was not until 1920 that women were given their right to vote. It is all about what the majority feels is best in situations like this. Right now, being gay or transgendered is such a huge issue now that people are willing to compromise the rights of others in order to receive some type of change at all. Many people are unaware of how huge this issue has become in the gay and transgender community. It is viewed as being the upmost form of “ungodly” behavior because believing that you were supposed to be born as a different gender would mean that you thought that God made a mistake in creating you the way he did.

Many leaders of the LGBTQ welcome transgender members but their mission mainly focuses on the LGB portion of the organization. Others even go as far as to include transgendered in their mission statements but then it only ends up being something that is written down and not actually acted on. To some the transgender community is not big enough for the fight for their inclusion to be made a major deal. Transgender individuals face just as many hardships as other members of the LGBTQ community. For example, many of them have trouble figuring out which public restrooms to use when they are separated by gender. On one side, they do not want to go into the restroom that does not align with their physical gender as to not make anyone else uncomfortable; at the same time they do not want to use restrooms that do not coincide with what they believe to be.by including them in the fight for equality, something like this could be resolved by offering gender neutral restroom facilities.

Because the majority of people, both regular citizens and people within the government, view being a transgender as an abomination, many believe that the psychological “foot-in-the-door,” technique is what would be best to handle such a situation. The technique calls for making small requests that would easily get a positive response and then working up to larger requests thus increasing the chances of approval. Though that may seem like a good idea to people outside of the transgender community, in reality, no one wants to have their rights placed on hold in order to appease other people. America is famously known for being a diverse “melting pot” of different people and that includes gays and transgendered people. It may take some time for Both parties should instead align together and fight in unity to achieve the rights that should never have been taken away from them due to their sexual classification. Fighting together as one increases the chances of making a difference versus fighting apart.




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Drewboo December 17, 2013 at 02:46 PM
This article is simply not based in reality and that is why you use terms like "many gays" this or that - no real citations. Frank issued that small argument under pressure from HRC to get the bill partially passed. All other known gay/lesbian organizations (hundreds) came out against the bill in partial form and HRC lost hundreds of thousands of gay members over their trans-exclusion position. It has taken years for HRC to redeem its reputation and has only been able to do so because of its singularity and centralization of power. HRC has since learned its lesson and is very pro-trans these days. There are some gays who do not like to be affiliated with trans folk, but those gays also don't like to be affiliated with other gays or democrats - they are not a representative sample of the LGBT community and to imply that they are is simply dishonest. While we do not have ENDA passed, transgender employees are protected with federal precedence via Schroer v. Library of Congress - where it was ruled that transgender discrimination is equal to sex discrimination and is against federal law. Legal systems are now treating trans issues as sex discrimination rather than gender identity because essentially it is a question of sex and sex is already a protected class. So in my view, while I agree with gays and trans folks belong in the same category of sexual minorities (LGBT), I do not find this article to add substance to the conversation. Saying that lesbians and gays are the same thing while trans folks are not is simply untrue. From the dictionary, lesbians and gays may sound similar and different from trans folks, we are not the same thing. The brains hypothalamus size differs between gay and lesbian folks and to imply lesbians are simply the girl version of gay guys is not scientifically honest. We are all different, and I would venture to say that trans folks get more exposure than bisexual folks (who are very much shunned in the gay male community). If you want people to respect your complexity then stop trying to simplify everyone else. This is a conversation that we should be having, but I feel that this article paints an inaccurate picture.


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