However, here's what I do know: it's wrong to belittle or attack people in the community for speaking out as John Avarosis has done. The fact that Avarosis is saying what he's saying - and that his points are reverberating throughout the glbt community - is telling. There's a divide among the glb population: some people are completely behind the trans community, willing to forsake their own chance to pass ENDA, while others think more pragmatically. They sympathize with transgendered and transsexual people, but think any progress, even incremental progress, is important. Obviously, people who identify as the latter have questions about whether or not "glbt" is actually one community, or two, or something else.
On one point, Avarosis is as right as a 90 degree angle: if people speak against a completely inclusive ENDA or about how transgendered people fit in the glbt movement, they're immediately labeled by some as transphobic or George Bush Republicans. Heck, Mike's latest blog on the matter was primarily meant to point people out to this response to Avarosis, written by Susan Stryker, an academic on glbt and trans issues. Mike loved the essay, I think it's exactly what's wrong with the GLBT community. For someone who purports to be an academic, I've never seen such a hit piece on someone who would otherwise be an ally (after all, Avarosis says he's for trans rights, he just supports a different way of getting there). Instead of sticking to why Avarosis is wrong, Stryker writes pages to cast Avarosis as either dumb or a charter member of Team 'Ophobia.
This coming from an ex-Republican, former congressional aide, Georgetown-educated, inside-the-Beltway lawyer who studied under Secretary of State Madeleine Albright...
See what I mean? We can't listen to Avaroris, because he used to be a Republican! Never mind the fact that he operates one of the largest progressive blogs on the internet and is in fact gay, there was a point in time where a R used to appear beside his name. Sacrilege! Apparently, being a life-long Democrat is a new litmus test for the greater progressive movement. Let's all go fire Kos from DailyKos, because he used to be a Republican too.
I keep saying this and I don't think people understand what I mean by it - we need to have some serious discussions inside the glbt movement. I should be able to create a post on this subject without having to worry about QueerToday frantically writing posts saying "how dare I" even talk about this sort of issue. How dare I? Well, it's important! If they wanted to be productive, instead of vindictive, they'd be the ones hosting these discussions to help inform and persuade the masses (which I attempted to do on my last LeftAhead podcast, to the praise of at least one person who identifies as transgender).
People need to be able to talk about these issues rationally, free from fear of being publicly tarred and feathered, if we want to count on them being there with us when it really matters (like when a Democrat is elected President). A sizable number of gays, lesbians and bisexual people don't understand what's going on or how we got to be here. We're supposed to tell them to shut up? Or, even worse, ridicule them when they speak their mind?
While I reject Trevor from QueerToday's description of me, even if he were right in saying I have a "chillingly unconcerned white gay male middle to upper class stance on this issue," would that make my view any less important? Do certain gay people in the glbt community not count? (By the way, Trevor, thanks for the lack of curiosity and rush to judgements, but I'm far from being upper class - I come from a single parent home, with a nurse for a mother.) For a movement that demands inclusiveness, we're certainly willing to write off a large number of people for being white, male or middle-to-upper class - millions upon millions, in fact.
Unless we have this dialogue now, the entire movement is screwed. These sorts of attacks, be they QueerToday or Susan Stryker, are the worst kind of obstruction. It's funny, but sometimes I think the glbt population is its own worst enemy: there are those who question why certain things are the way they are, while others scream and yell and attack any of them who raise their voices to ask. Which is worse? Maybe Frank should just totally shelve both ENDAs because, quite frankly, not only are they highly unlikely to pass, I don't know if we actually deserve it.