I'd like to introduce my dear friend Kyril, a transman that I met at Netroots Nation and my newest contributor. He's going to be commenting on trans issues on OAQ as OneAngryTboy, and I'm glad to have him.
The "party line" in the trans community whenever the LGB community wins something is that we were somehow thrown under the bus, ignored, failed by our allies. I'm sure the NY legislature's failure to pass GENDA has already been beaten to death by our self-appointed spokespeople.
But I won't actually be reading those spokespeople's blogs in the wake of this victory. Neither, I suspect, will a lot of other trans people. You see, a lot of us are lesbian, gay, or bisexual. And while the "party line" blogs might begrudgingly acknowledge this when it suits their purposes, they'll quickly forget it whenever the LGBT community actually wins something, because LGB trans people don't fit neatly into the "LGB vs. T" narrative.
I won't buy into that narrative. The truth is that not only is marriage equality a big fucking deal for my non-trans LGB brothers and sisters, it's also a huge fucking deal for LGB trans people. In fact, it just might be bigger for us.
Why, you ask? After all, thanks to the hodgepodge of marriage and gender-marker-change laws around the US, trans people can already arrange to be married in some state or other to someone of any gender and gender history at most phases of our transition, and since our marriages are usually legally "heterosexual," the federal government even recognizes them. I'm gay, and I've already been married. Legally, marriage equality is only a convenience at best - and under DOMA, we're better off finding a state that will "straight-marry" us anyway.
But just as marriage isn't just about legal rights for non-trans LGBs, it's also not just about legal rights for trans LGBs. Marriage is the government's recognition that our relationships have social value. And the State of New York now recognizes that a man can grow up to form a stable, healthy, loving relationship with another man, and that a woman can grow up to form a stable, healthy, loving relationship with another woman. In the eyes of new York, Massachussetts, and other marriage equality states, LGB people are normal men and women.
And for LGB trans people, that's important. For a long time, we weren't even allowed to transition unless we could pretend to be straight. We weren't taken seriously. People, including the medical establishment, believed that "real" men were attracted to women and "real" women were attracted to men. Homosexuality was seen as abnormal or dysfunctional long after it was delisted from the DSM. And medical professionals were loath to let people transition into what they saw as a dysfunctional, incomplete, gender-inappropriate lifestyle.
The availability of transition for LGB trans people has grown with the social normalization of homosexuality. And in New York today, gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals are legally fully "normal." Our relationships are valued just like everyone else's. And that means the world to me - not just as a gay man, but as a trans man. I'm celebrating with absolutely no reservations. Happy Pride and happy NY Equality day!
(obligatory postscript: if you're in NY, please push your congresspeople to support GENDA next session. And everyone call your federal congresspeople about ENDA. Non-discrimination is the next big piece of the equality puzzle.)
Crossposted at Daily Kos.