There is an op-ed by John Aravosis on Salon.com today, entitled "How did the T get in LGBT?" I think that it reveals several interesting things. The article contains some of the "gradualism" arguments we have been hearing related to the exclusion of transgender people from the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA), but also inadvertently reveals the transphobia underlying many of these statements.
First, he writes:
If we waited until society was ready to accept each and every member of the civil rights community before passing any civil rights legislation, we'd have no civil rights laws at all. Someone is always left behind, at least temporarily. It stinks, but it's the way it's always worked, and it's the way you win.
It's a fair question, but one we know we dare not ask. It is simply not p.c. in the gay community to question how and why the T got added on to the LGB, let alone ask what I as a gay man have in common with a man who wants to cut off his penis, surgically construct a vagina, and become a woman. I'm not passing judgment, I respect transgendered people and sympathize with their cause, but I simply don't get how I am just as closely related to a transsexual (who is often not gay) as I am to a lesbian (who is).
I think that the second quote illustrates the lack of education about trans issues that is part of the reason for the current situation. Aravosis also ignores the fact that non-trans people who don't conform to certain forms of gender expression would also benefit from an inclusive ENDA.
What are your thoughts?
Update: Susan Stryker has written a response editorial, entitled "Why the T in LGBT is here to stay."