A small group has posted a petition called “Drop the T” to Change.org, broadcasting their demand that three eminent LGBT advocacy groups–Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, and GLAAD–sever their relationships with the transgender community. In other words, the “T” should be erased from the unifying acronym “LGBT,” and thus from the concerns of those who advocate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
The reasoning? The anonymous petition explains, “We feel [the transgender] ideology is not only completely different from that promoted by the LGB community (LGB is about sexual orientation, trans is about gender identity), but is ultimately repressive and actually hostile to the goals of women and gay men.”
Whoa there. It might be time to take a gender studies class or ten. Borrow a copy of Stone Butch Blues from the library. And recognize that the acronym you’re attempting to shorten has since become far more capacious.
Unfortunately, those who put forward this petition have their supporters. At the time of this post’s publication, the petition had elicited 2,048 signatures. The author, a gay male, has also spoken to conservative website the Federalist in order to further promote this cause:
“Any attempt to rationally discuss issues that gays/lesbians/bisexuals are concerned about regarding the trans movement is met with unparalleled vitriol, harassment, death threats, and silencing–demanding that the person commenting contrary to the trans narrative be banned from forums, for example.”
Death threats and silencing, you say? As it happens, I hear those words associated painfully often with the transgender community.
No one is saying, of course, that there should not be careful discussions about the future of queer activism. As New York magazine notes,
“[The] conversation...has to evolve. Do transfolks feel that some of their issues are not properly addressed by mainline LGBT organizations, and are there areas where they wish well-meaning LGB allies would back off and let transfolks have the mic when it comes to trans issues, with the LGBs (perhaps quietly) providing financial, technical, or feet-on-the-ground support? That’s worth exploring. But the impetus should come from the trans community.”
In the meantime, all three of the organizations named by the petition have condemned its demands. You can also go here to sign “Stand with Trans People – Reject ‘Drop the T,’” a counter-petition drawn up by British advocate Jonathan Boniface.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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