Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ashley Love

Ashley Love has a new post entitled Martin Luther King, Jr. Did Not Believe in Segregation, Nor Do TS/IS Americans.  It is a different take on how those born transsexual or intersex are actually being segregated from our correct gender by being forced under the transgender umbrella. Not being of color most of us could never have this insight but it is a brilliant analogy.

This is a must read for everyone.

Unfortunately even if transsexuals are removed from under the transgender umbrella it will not solve the major underlying problem the transsexual community has always had and that problem is close to unsolvable. What is that problem? The question simply becomes who is and who is not transsexual? It has been around since the 70s if not earlier.

I hate being simplistic but it is easier to solve segregation when dealing with color which is sickeningly obvious than it is with transsexualism which is open to almost anyone learning a narrative and getting through. It is near impossible to change skin tone, think Michael Jackson there, but not to learn a narrative.

Certain groups under transgender will just re-identify themselves as transsexual and we will be back to square one with the same nuts claiming they are transsexual and the transgender activists will suddenly be activists for transsexual rights. Autumn Sandeen could never not be in the spotlight. We will rid ourselves of the gender variant but I envision people claiming to be "transsexual for a day" instead of "queen for a day". It would be nice if only transsexuals came out from under the transgender umbrella but we all know that is not how it works.

Fighting segregation is easier when color defines the act of segregation but it is almost impossible when gender identification defines the act of segregation.  It is a good first step but the giant leap for transsexuals will come if and only if it is eventually possible to determine who is and who is not transsexual.

We need ground breaking research and yes we need another Harry Benjamin to come forth to help define transsexualism as Dr. Benjamin tried to do back in my day. Maybe I am just a pessimist after all these years and I wish I could be optimistic but I am not.

Good luck Ashley.


Anonymous said...


But dont you think that the only people who really use these terms are trans-people themselves and people in the medical field. I am new to the politics of trans-everything but in my experience, the only time anyone ever refers to me as trans-anything is at the doctor, other trans-folk, or if I am talking about issues to someone I refer to us as transexuals or even more "girls like me".

I think that unlike the color of someones skin, these labels are invented, thrown around, and mis-used by people not God.

Now maybe I am just catching on, but is this about being "diagnosed" or something by a therapist? For example, if a person was to go to a therapist, say the right words, and BAM, they get letters for SRS? If so, isn't it more of a mistake on the part of the person getting the SRS because they were not being honest? I am so cunfused.

No matter what...I feel that I am pretty much not effected by the confusion of these labels. The only place were my "transness" matters is my blog, or my doctors visits. Anywhere else it is really not an issue because being a woman overrides being trans-anything.

Anne said...

I too feel there is little hope. After all, the inmates are running the asylum, and those few of us that live free risk our hard won freedom everytime we speak out against the tyranny. Our only hope, and the hopes of those born IS/TS, lie with the courage and wisdom of people like Ashley Love.

She has my heartfelt love and wholehearted support.

Anonymous said...

@ Anne

Can you feel me in on what we need hope for? I feel that the TS women before me have made it so much easier for me to be who I am do to their hopes and will to live. Is it that certain people who were TS from a very, very young age like me, are being made out to be crazy by people who transition at lets say, 50 or 60? If so, who is it that we are proving otherwise to?

Anonymous said...

@Elizabeth: I started my transition at 53, but I was born transsexual, same as you, same as any transsexual. Some of us just take longer to figure ourselves out.

I can't speak for anyone who transitions for reasons other than being transsexual.

Anonymous said...

@ Ariel

Please don't be offended by my asking because I truly do not mean to sound as ignorant as I might sound but do you man figure out what you are feeling or how to deal with what you are feeling?

I ask because I always knew exactly what I felt and that I felt like a girl. It wasn't something I figured out. I do understand figuring out how to deal with it tho. However, I transitioned because I am a woman. I am a transsexual because I transitioned. Does that make sense or do I sound ridiculous?

Anonymous said...

Like you Liz I have been around the traps. I've lived a little. As you well know when we began our journeys the were basically three groups. Drag Queens who were the outrageous gay boys. Transvestites who were the weekend cross dressers and Us. Very quickly perhaps motivated by addiction to transvestism and or the shame attached to transvestism at that time the transvestites became transsexuals. Along comes Arnold Lowman aka Virginia Prince and voila Transgender was born. Prince had one aim and that was to eradicate transsexuality. He nearly succeeded because wll transsexuals wished to do was to belong with our sisters who are regular women who married and formed families. Now a few of us have surfaced only to find the lunatics have taken over the asylum and we began to assert our independence. Indeed I began writing on establishing the separation from transgenders doctrines back in 2002

For 27 years my life has been that of any other women in spite of transgender advances. Really so much of this fight does not touch me. I have my place among other women I am not segregated.

A few years ago we wrote of the similarities between TS women who could assimilate with mainstream with the people of African and European parentage who passed for white. The furore with which this assertion was met was hostile to say the least.

Ashley Is correct here and sincerely I wish her well. She is smart, writes well, is passionate and insightful and of the right generation to change things for the better. I hope she does; however, the TG juggernaut has much to lose, are devious and resourceful and unless medical research reveals a definitive measure for diagnosis of the condition I fear the will again cling to our skirts claiming our birthright.

Anonymous said...

@Elizabeth: Both really. I knew that "male" didn't fit me, but I didn't think it was possible for me to be female, so I tried my best to muddle along. Things were very different 30+ years ago.

Don't make the mistake of assuming that because you felt a certain way when you did that anyone else whose path was different isn't like you.

If you met me, I'm pretty sure you would at least have to make an exception to your thinking about those who transition late. I have no doubt that I am a woman. Neither does anyone else I know or meet.

Anonymous said...

@ Ariel

I think you are an exception already Ariel. To be honest, my thinking is never black and white and to try to put you in a box simply because you transitioned late would be pretty ignorant. It would be like saying all black people are the same. It's stereotyping to say the least.

As much as I want to be understood, I could care less what people think all of these labels mean. I couldn't care less who claims to be a transsexual. What matters more is how you act not what label you are and I am no one to tell someone who they are even tho sometimes I might try. I'm still human.

Annette said...

Back in the 60s & 70s... So many of us were taught that it's only possible to be male or female. And whatever your birth certificate said is what you are/were.

I know what I felt, but having been carefully taught it wasn't possible, I tried hard to live as if it wasn't. I honestly believed I had to be a bit crazy.

When I first went to a therapist, it took some time to get beyond that state - to come to understand that what was inside me wasn't crazy and wasn't even unique. I was all set to transition in '87, when my first child was on the way. I shelved my plans and decided to pretend to be the best daddy a kid could have.

I paid for that decision with my health (stress can do bad things to the body)... But, as a result, today that baby and her younger sister - along with my spouse - are my biggest supporters. Within two weeks of coming out to my wife AND being accepted my BP was down (It had been in the 130s/90s WITH meds) to under 120/70! I've been off BP meds for over two years now, and am moving toward my transition!

Do I wish I could have transitioned 25 years ago? 45 years ago? Sometimes. But, by paying what I have, I have a wonderful family I'd not trade.

Why all this? I just wanted to explain how someone in their 50s might be transitioning NOW and how someone might not "know" they were TS at a young age... It's not easy to shake off early training/conditioning.

Anonymous said...

I understand. I guess sometimes when it comes to marriage, the whole sexual preference thing even catches me of guard and confuses me. I was never able to even attempt to be with a woman. I couldn't even attempt to use my (whispers) pp at all. I just couldn't handle it there.

I was teased and tormented and I had no idea about trans-anything. I actually thought that all gay men felt like women on the inside until I tried to actually be a gay man and well.....that was just wrong too. So I can completely understand being confused about it when you are young.

In all honesty, maybe it just means that I am not as strong as girls who transition later. I can't even imagine the amount of strength needed to go through the confusion, anxiety, and depression until 50 yrs old. Maybe if I was attracted to women tho, it would have been more confusing and I would have been a late transitioner. Who knows.

Anne said...


The women who went before us were even more obscure and well hidden, except for a notable few. In my case I was aware of Christine Jorgenson and Lily Elbe. That was it.

At the time that I became aware of this "miracle-like" solution, I was probably in my early teens. In fact until I had access to the "stacks" at UCLA, my only inkling that there might be some solution to the total "wrongness" that I felt with my body were some vague memories of news stories that I had seen on TV sometime in the early or mid 50's.

Nevertheless, they did show me the light, and yes they did in fact offer an example of a way out of the darkness. My biggest fear, in fact, probaly the biggest reason why I waited as long as I did, was my fear of becoming a celebrity like Christine. There is NO WAY I would ever want that kind of notoriety.

I think that a similar dilema exists for those who are born IS/TS today. They are constantly confronted on all sides by the media's, (internet and broadcast/cable TV), caricature of women in the form of the TG.

My hope, when I stepped out of my very happy and fulfilled life as a woman in the mainstream, was to offer myself as an example of successful transition to simple womanhood. I went so far as to attend large national TG conferences where I was summarily slienced and marginalized as an "elitist separatist", suffering from such "unenlightened ideas and concepts such as sexual dimorphism and gender binary.

In a world run by narcisstic sociopaths, I cannot help but feel pessimistic. My hope is that folks like Ashley can find a way to unite the very disparate voices of those women born transsexual who are trying to stand against the socialist, "we are all the same" madness being pedddled and shoved down our throats by GLAAD and the LGBT

Anonymous said...

@ Anne


Suzan said...

As for late transitioners.

About 12 years ago I met someone who was my demographic twin. we were both from small towns, the same age, lived around the corner form each other in the Haight in 1967-8.

I transitioned at 21 in 1969, she transitioned in the 90s.

We both knew as children.

The differences: I was much more obvious and had been labeled young.

My parents threw me out, she was afraid hers would disown her.

Even though I was bisexual and later wound up lesbian I was initially attracted to guys.

She fell in love and became a parent.

Gail Sheehy's "Passages" explains the clustering at certain points for all sorts of life altering actions.

I think many young tansitioners are so obvious that transitioning is easier than not. I think many older transitioners weren't as obvious and were afraid of parental disowning, and not being able to make it.

Things like FFS help a lot of people now days.

Then too there is more social acceptance and less to fear about the only possible place one will find where one can exist is in some form of ghetto.