Published Thursday, 29-Jul-2010 in issue 1179
As some of you might have noticed, I’m publishing a new column for the Gay & Lesbian Times under the title of “Transgressive.” Before a number of columns are posted without an explanation of why that name for the column, I’d like to indicate why I chose that name. There are actually multiple reasons why I chose that name.
The first is found in how I’m transgender. I’m very out and proud as transgender. With “trans” as the first syllable of “transgressive,” the column name gives a nod to my transsexual and transgender identities.
Secondly, to transgress (per dictionary.com anyway) is “to violate a law, command, moral code, etc.; offend; sin.” I definitely am aware that being a transsexual — a transsexual who identifies with the sociopolitical identity of transgender — transgresses the sex and gender norms of our American society. And too, there are many on the religious right, as well as those who identify as “classic transsexuals,” “women of transsexual history” (those who believe having genital reconstruction surgery cures them from being transsexual), and those who identify with “Harry Benjamin Syndrome” (an alleged medical condition that the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health don’t recognize as a medical, psychiatric, or psychological condition), who believe my politics are wrongheaded and both my transsexual and transgender identities are sham identities.
So, I transgress against being boxed in by societal sex and gender constraints.
I’m also transgressive in how I now have embraced direct actions and civil disobedience to obtain gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) freedom, equality, and civil rights. I’m convinced we need an outside game that creates the tension for legislative change. I handcuffed myself to the White House fence last April for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), being arrested and confined for a day for that direct action. I plan in the future to engage with others in direct actions over DADT and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
I transgress against inequities against all my siblings in the GLBT community, so in this way too I am transgressive.
Thirdly, I consider myself to be a progressive. And by progressive, I mean both in being liberal in my politics regarding social issues and in a somewhat traditional understanding of progressive politics of the Progressive Era. The Progressive Era understanding of progressive means working against political corruption of all sorts, as well as trying to expose and undercut corporate control of legislative agendas, especially when these interests result in government that fails to adequately consider the public interest.
Lastly, a significant number of these Transgressive columns are going to be about teaching T to GLB. I don’t speak for all in the transgender community, just as I don’t speak for all in the GLBT community, but I’m going to be working to explain where GLB specific issues and T specific issues intersect, and introducing my thoughts about where GLB and T people have commonalities within our community experiences. I’ve found that many consider the idea that trans people and gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have community intersections and commonalities of experience to be a foreign concept and often worthy of contempt. So, for those who don’t want to be exposed to the idea that there may be intersections or commonalities between the subcommunities of our broad community, I will, as a trans woman, transgress yet again.
I own, heck, I embrace that my thoughts, as well as the way I personally live my life as an out transgender woman, are transgressive to many. So, I think it goes without saying that I’m not going to ask forgiveness for any of my sex and gender related “trans”-gressions.