This whole “Trans rights is the new priority” fiasco needs to stop. This framing of the trans struggle as a “new” priority absolves Gay INC of its complicity in literally stealing from us, pathologizing us, harming us and erasing us. Trans people have been here lying under your bus forever. We were actually the old struggle of this movement — we just got kicked out of it.
Let’s get a few things straight:
1. The separation of “gay” from “trans” and “sexuality” from “gender identity” has a political history. This distinction was a conscious strategy to make the gay movement more palatable to straight cis white middle class society.
2. “Love” became separated from “Gender” because Gay INC knew that a politics of love would be much more palatable than a politics of gender. “Love” allowed gay activists to say, “We’re just like you!” instead of “We look different from you.” Trans become the repository for difference, for otherness, for transgression.
3. In order for “homosexuality” to become de-pathologized, gender nonconformity had to become re-pathologized. Gayness had to distinguish itself from trans: “We are not freaks like them.” The modern gay subject only emerged in distinguishing him/herself from gender nonconformity.
4. The history of the gay movement is a history of (re)producing the gender binary and gender conformity. It is a history of institutionalized transphobia. The gay movement is foundationally trans violence. It would not exist without trans violence.
5. Now transphobia is discussed with no history or origin story. It’s only discussed as individual episodes of harm and not a structure of violence. This de-historicization of trans violence means that individual trans people are blamed for both their violence and their outrage. People ask, “Why are you so angry?” instead of, “How am I complicit in your oppression?”
6. There is no gay celebration without trans violence. Love won because gender didn’t.
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