When Silence Isn’t Golden

September 14, 2009

The recent Bilerico post by TG poster girl Monica Helms was followed by the usual round of comments. Tobi Hill-Meyer is a rather nice person who goes by the genderqueer label, and I’ve never seen her engaging in the kind of attacks that the hardcore TG types do on a regular basis. So my post is not aimed at her, and I am not trying to target her in any way. I would like, however, to point something out to her and other people that associate with the hardcore transgender.

The problem with the “umbrella” model is that when it consists of many people shoved together against their will, leaders that arise (self-appointed usually) do not represent the interests of all the people. They represent only their own wishes. You can ignore the situation only so long as the self-appointed “leaders” do nothing too objectionable. As we know, the TG have long since passed that point with transsexual-born people and now are moving to take a more active role in other areas, such as Intersex issues.

This follows the pattern they used when taking over the term transsexual. First claim association, then claim equivalency, and finally achieve supremacy, replacing the group they have targetted.

Tobi says:

Second of all, it shouldn’t matter. If you think Monica is attacking you, you’re not going to deem her a representative of all African Americans and announce that African Americans are attacking you, right? You’re not going to say she represents all lesbians and announce that lesbians are attacking you, right? So why is it appropriate to deem her a representative of all non-ops and announce that non-ops are attacking you?

That’s prejudice 101. When a person from another group wrongs you, it doesn’t mean all people from that group will act similarly.

Where are all the non-ops and genderqueers? Some of them are defending you, right here, even before you arrived. But most of them aren’t reading Bilerico, living their lives, and could care less about what someone on the internet said.

I think this is a misunderstanding. What I was trying to communicate to her is that when a group remains silent, people WILL speak for you. Whether it is whites for silent oppressed African-Americans though the complete domination of the culture and country, or transgenders speaking for people with birth defects.

The point being missed is that when the leadership of a group speaks, it is the voice of the group itself. It doesn’t matter that not every single TG out there may not agree. What matters is that the dominant voices speak, and the silence of the rest is taken as tacit agreement by the public.

When you remain silent in this situation, the words of the TG “leaders” are your words. They go on television to speak for you while you are off the internet, living your lives. They write on mainstream blogs, and in newspapers to “educate” the public about you. They show up in court to litigate cases that affect your rights. They speak to doctors and psychiatrists and tell them who you are. This isn’t the harmless internet exercise that you seem to think.

There is no genderqueer to the public. You are TG to them, the same as all the full-time fetishists and weekend crossdressing het males who show up on talk shows with their wives. TG has swallowed your identity, and you have no voice.

Despite what Tobi believes to be defense of me and my position, as gays, lesbians, and genderqueer, she and they can’t possibly know what my position is without asking me or other transsexual-born people. To think otherwise is appropriation. Defending the right to “stealth” is an insult. Why do all these people, interlopers really, feel they get to have an opinion in the first place?

This is why transsexual-born people must speak for ourselves, with no “help” from outsiders like the TG. Talking about “stealth” as if it is a real concept is not something a friend would do. And nobody there will ever admit that we are different by birth.

The GLBT needs to understand that we are not obligated to them. We are simply women who were born with a birth defect. That does not give their TG component the right to speak for us. And it certainly doesn’t give them the right to tell us who we are, or how to live our lives.

Bilerico has a habit of placing self-declared non-women in the role of speaking for women. And when women protest, their comments are edited out as “insulting”. This is a startling display of misogyny, but it is commonplace for this gay-centered blog. Is this the brave, new Glbt?

To Tobi and all the others who identify as genderqueer, I am saying this only as a bit of advice from experience, not as a criticism or attack. If you don’t want the TG “leaders” speaking for you, you’d better speak for yourselves. Loudly and often.