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Are trans activists “showing up” enough?

April 4th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Editorials

I just finished reading “Marriage equality or bust?“, an editorial by a trans writer asking if the marriage equality agenda is basically another change for major LGBT orgs to push trans equality to a later date. A number of questions come to mind as I read this:

  • Is the fact that LGB activists are actually trying to be out, while trans individuals are seeking to integrate, create an inherent tension in the fight for equality?
  • Do LGB people’s issues get pushed faster because they represent a larger constituency, or because they are more vocal than trans activists? Does the squeaky wheel get the grease?
  • Decisions are made by those who show up. We know from a recent report that only 22 out of 37 national LGBT organizations have transgender board members. Is that because these organizations are having a hard time finding qualified individuals to participate, or because they’re just not looking? Are transgender activists making enough of a stink about this? Is there any group of transgender activists who are seeking to help place members on these boards by providing qualified referrals to organizations lacking representation? If not, why?
  • How much of a burden of responsibility falls on LGBT organizations to “fight for” trans equality? We know that the trans population is quite a bit smaller than the LGB community. Obviously, they’re going to represent a smaller force when it comes to manpower. Does the broader LGB community bear the responsibility of pushing trans equality if that constituency isn’t fully engaged?

Let’s be clear that the following is not up for debate: transgender people deserve the same full equality treatment that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people do, and on a timeline not any less urgent than their peers. We have been staunch supporters of legislation that includes all members of our community, and seek to educate our readers about trans issues at every opportunity. The questions we’re posing involve the current state of trans integration in the broader equality fight.

Sound off in the comments! Creative and constructive solutions always welcome!

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  • QueerToday

    I don’t understand why you would even ask some of these questions because they should be off the table, particularly the one about the size of the trans community. Your post neglects to point out that transgender equality benefits all of us in the LGBTQ community who know what it is like to be teased or discriminated against because of our gender expression.

    • NO question should be off the table. We can’t build a cohesive movement if we are slaves to some unspoken rules.