I am going to approach the topic of Wrinkles with a bit of a wrinkle and write from a secondary definition of the word and that would be ”snag”. A wrinkle can be a snag rather than the latest distressing line on my face or ass.
The potential snag I’d like to address is the slowly emerging effort to take the “T” out of LGBT. I am linking to a recent provocative piece from The Independent, a British newspaper, entitled Why it’s time to take the T out of LGBT written by Katie Glover. Ms. Glover is a transgender woman and editor of the transgender and drag publication Frock Magazine.
She starts right out of the box exposing the myth, quite prevalent even in the LGB community, that transgender folks are gay. Most are not and in fact the percent that are is likely no more than the percent of the general population that is gay or lesbian. Glover goes on to point out that being gay and being transgender are two very different things that should not be mixed up.
Historically it made survival sense for trans folks to hitch their wagon to the larger gay movement where they received at least some modicum of acceptance or dare I use the much more loaded and perhaps offensive word: tolerance. Times though have changed and with the transgender closet door swinging wide open and their numbers swelling a tipping point has perhaps been reached and it’s now time to break away from the LGB’s.
A poignant example from Glover’s piece of the confusion that exists in the lesbian and gay community around trans folks was the recent appearance of Caitlyn Jenner on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Ellen was quite surprise by Caitlyn’s lukewarm stance on same sex marriage. Cait was trying to explain to Ellen that she was a traditionalist on matters of marriage, though she has evolved somewhat from the more strident view she held prior to transitioning.
If this movement for the trans community to severe ties with the LGB’s continues to gain steam it may prove to be quite the painful wrinkle. One component of why this will be difficult for gays and lesbians to accept might be the weirdly pejorative views straight society have foisted on us with terms like sissy and tomboy. That gay men are effeminate and lesbian’s masculine butch dykes is still a prevalent and false meme today. This simplistic and totally incorrect view of who we are I think may have and still is contributing to lots of confusion around gender.
Perhaps I am wandering a bit into the bushes here but it seems that many, perhaps most, folks who are transitioning are like Caitlyn Jenner moving towards their true self and that being one of the two established and traditional genders, male and female. Maybe this potential breakaway of T’s from the LBG ‘s might prompt us to view ourselves as third or fourth gender. Here I am of course borrowing from the thinking of Harry Hay on such matters. Harry always encouraged us to view ourselves as other and distinctly different in very fundamental ways from our straight bothers and sisters. Only by exploring and discovering these differences would we get a handle on who we really are.
This may be way too much to take on these days, that would be third and fourth genders, when we as a community and society as a whole seem so confused on the two genders we already perceive. This daunting task aside perhaps we should just start with a suggestion from the Glover piece again where she states: “LGB’s and T’s are getting a little too close for comfort. It might be time to cut the cord”.
I would personably view this breakaway of the T’s as a golden opportunity to once again retrench from the assimilationist trips of marriage and the military and refocus on the task of exploring who we really are, where we came from and what we are for. Maybe we LGB and T’s really are a bunch of wrinkles lending much needed texture and nuance to the human race, snags be damned.