08 July 2014

Old Enough To Remember

I have lived only a fifth of my life as a woman.  Still, I've lived as Justine long enough--and as Nick before that--to remember when being gay, lesbian or even bisexual was a big deal, even subversive.

Did you notice that I didn't mention transgenders?  That's because, while attitudes are changing in some quarters, in others,  being trans is still considered everything from an oddity to a crime against God, nature and whatever else people think is right and good--or whatever they simply like.  Unfortunately, the latter quarters sometimes include segments of the gay and lesbian communities.

That is the point Jesse Monteagudo makes in Gay Today.  Here is a particularly pithy segment of his  "Jesse's Journal" column:

I am old enough to remember when being gay was a Big Deal. When I came out (in 1973) to be gay was to rebel against the universe. To paraphrase the gay writer and film director John Waters, to be gay back then meant you did not get married, have children, or serve in the military. Nowadays, of course, all that lesbians and gay men want to do is to get married, have children, or serve in the military. I am not surprised. Like most other people, most lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are conservative, and if society treats them fairly their natural instincts would come forth. Besides, there is nothing our society values more than marriage, parentage and military service. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people become more acceptable when we incorporate those values, not as pretend straights but as openly lesbian, gay or bisexual people.

You notice that I left out transgender people from the previous paragraph. This is because being transgender is still a Big Deal. Today trans* people are in the same fix, minus AIDS, that LGB people were twenty years ago. It is still illegal for Ts to serve in the military. Legislation that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation often ignores discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Trans* people, especially transgender women of color, are often victims of violence, more so than those of us who are lesbian, gay or bi. Transphobic prejudice is more prevalent than homophobia, even among members of our LGBT community.

Thank you, Jesse!

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