From the September-October 2015 issue of News & Letters
I was overwhelmed by how many of my friends posted messages celebrating the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Many posted pix of themselves or relatives in same-sex relationships. It’s about equal rights but also about recognizing the dignity of people of all sexual orientations. The legal structure was pushed into recognizing equal rights, grudgingly, by a movement long in the making that has grown swiftly in recent years, winning the hearts and minds of the majority of the U.S. in an astoundingly short time.
On the day the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, several hundred Transgender activists rallied and marched in Greenwich Village. Young Trans people took the lead down the streets. When the NYPD couldn’t force us back onto the curb, people went beyond the designated march zone. Our march, independent of the official Pride March, was critical of the Supreme Court decision and all other false reformist solutions to the glaring problems affecting the Trans community: poverty, incarceration, homelessness, lack of educational opportunities and lack of decent housing.
New York City
I strongly disagree with “What is Transgender solidarity?” by Jaz (July-Aug. N&L). Bad politics or not, Caitlyn Jenner is still a heroine to me.
Trans in New York
All of us who are for freedom, for true human liberation, stand in opposition to Caitlyn Jenner’s politics and philosophy. As an unapologetic Republican, she stands with a party carrying on many wars: against women, against the middle-class and the poor, against the disabled, against racial minorities, against workers, against immigrants; and against the Queer community. I say to you, Ms. Jenner, I stand in support of those who, without equivocation, seek and work for a society built upon truly human foundations.
Jaz seems to put oppression on a scale. Where you are on that scale determines whether your actions merit support. Capitalism hurts everyone, even those who benefit from it. They, too, are denied becoming fully human. Caitlyn Jenner’s suffering as a Transgender person should not be put on a scale against others’ suffering. Her coming out about her experience is to be celebrated as a moment of liberation. At the very least she deserves credit for bringing a conversation about Transgender to the mainstream.
Jaz was not afraid to voice an unpopular stance against Caitlyn Jenner. If we’re really committed to treating human beings as human beings, then a person’s politics should not be set aside for those who are LGBTI, disabled, of color, etc. To do so sells short the movement for human liberation. It is that movement that Jaz makes clear she is so passionately for.
The upcoming national U.S. Trans Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality will be the largest and most comprehensive survey of Transgender America in history. SAGE, a senior center for the LGBTQ community, will be opening their doors on a Saturday to facilitate people using their computers to fill out the survey. The LGBTQ Center on 13th Street has also been encouraging Trans people to participate, as has the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. People are excited by the possibility that finally the U.S. will come to realize the depth, breadth, richness and diversity of the Trans community. We will no longer be an invisible minority suffering through a transphobic culture.
New York City