The transgender question in the LGBT movement
When talk show host Ellen DeGeneres had former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner on the season premiere of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, their conversation raised a question that had been long-simmering in the background of the LGBT community.
That is, in the wake of the recent victory of the movement via the US Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage last June, should transgender folk strike out on their own to fight for their rights?
Jenner as transgender on gay marriages
During their pre-taped conversation, Jenner had told Ellen: “I’m a traditionalist. I’m older than most people in the audience. I kind of like tradition, and it’s always been a man and a woman. I’m thinking, ‘I don’t quite get it.’”
However, Jenner added: “I think, like a lot of people on this issue, I have really changed my thinking here to, ‘I don’t ever want to stand in front of anybody’s happiness.’ That’s not my job, okay? If that word – ‘marriage’ – is really, really that important to you, I can go with it,”
In a later interview with Howard Stern, DeGeneres said she had been was surprised with Jenner’s declaration: “I said, ‘You’re wanting people to understand and accept you – this is like, really confusing to people. And you still have a judgement about gay people and marriage.’”
Transgender and the LGB community
This led transgender woman Katie Glover to write in The Independent that this is a too-easy assumption for Ellen to make: that just because transgender is part of the LGBT equation, they are sympathetic in the fight for all gay rights.
Glover points out: “The simple point that everyone seems to be missing here is that being transgender and being gay are two entirely different things and they should never be confused.”
“Don’t get me wrong here; it’s not that we don’t like the LGBs. They have been our valuable friends in the past, and given us safety in numbers. When there were too few trans people around to have any kind of say alone, they gave us a voice. Our collaboration with the LGBs has been good for trans people everywhere – but it has also helped reinforce the gay trans myth that it’s now time for us to deconstruct,” Glover added.
With that in mind, what do you readers think of the transgender question? Do you think transgenders should leave the LGB movement to fight on their own? Make your voice heard in the comments section!