CNN’s Piers Morgan vilified for amazingly pro-transgender interview

CNN’s Piers Morgan is on the defensive for a reportedly horrific “sensationalized” interview he did with transgender woman, and advocate, Janet Mock on the release of her new book about her life journey.

janet-mock

After the interview, Mock accused Morgan of “sensationalizing” her story, and claimed that Morgan had repeatedly offended her by the questions he asked, and by the way he referred to her life story.

I just watched Morgan’s 15-minute interview with Mock, which I’ve posted below, and it was easily the most pro-transgender interview that I’ve ever seen. Morgan was not just a gentleman, he practically gushed over Mock, repeatedly calling her “remarkable,” “gutsy,” “brave,” and praising her “courage.”

Morgan’s interview helped the transgender cause immensely.  And he’s now paying a price for it.

First a little background on what transpired during the interview.  But later I’m going to get into this larger issue of whether we, on the left, have a tendency to sometimes use a nuclear bomb to swat a gnat that wasn’t even bothering us in the first place.  And in this case, a very friendly gnat at that.

Here’s how Piers Morgan began the interview:

Janet Mock has a remarkable life story. Janet was born a boy, and at the age of 18, she took the extraordinary step to become the woman she is today.

Sounds good so far, no?  You’d be wrong.  We’ll get to that in a moment.  First a few more quotes.

At one point, Morgan talks about how, had he not been informed Mock was transgender, he’d never have guessed, “which makes me absolutely believe, you should always have been a woman, and that must have been what you felt when you were young.”

Again, sounds pretty good.

Here are a few more quotes from Morgan:

“it takes such guts”

“you’re obviously an incredibly gutsy person”

“Not many people have come out and been quite so brave… helping the American people and other countries come to terms with this as being a perfectly normal thing.”

“I can’t think of anyone better to be out there promoting all of this than you.”

I watched the entire 15 minute interview, posted below, and Morgan’s comments I quote are illustrative of the entire interview.  It was gracious and supportive to excess.

But those comments earned Morgan a multi-day harangue online, and utter evisceration from trans-right advocates and Mock herself.

You really have to watch the video for yourself, to fully appreciate just how pro-trans, and softball, the interview really was:

Now, let’s look at a few more specific complaints about Morgan’s interview.

Morgan ended the first segment of the Piers Morgan Live interview by saying that Mock at one point had to tell the man she was dating that “you used to be yourself a man” — although Mock has never identified as a man.

The on-screen description of Mock was that she “was a boy until age 18,” although she was identifying as a girl in high school, and the Piers Morgan Live Twitter account posed the question during the interview, “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are dating was formerly a man?”

To make things even more confusing, Mock repeatedly refered to herself as having been "born a boy" in an autobiographical piece in Marie Claire.

To make things even more confusing, Mock repeatedly referred to herself as having been “born a boy” in an autobiographical piece in Marie Claire.

Except that, most viewers, and most people reading this article, would have said the same thing – that Mock did used to be a man, and was a boy until age 18.  What exactly was wrong with what Morgan said, and how is this “sensationalizing” Mock’s life and experience, even if it were somehow incorrect?

And to make things even more confusing, Mock repeatedly referred to herself as having been “born a boy” in an autobiographical piece in Marie Claire back in 2011.

“Though I had been born a boy…”

“I loved them because they had long hair, and they were the only “dolls” OK for me, a boy, to play with.”

“In fact, I even found other boys like me there…”

“I was once a big dreamer who happened to be born a boy named Charles”

“I calmly said. “I was born a boy.”

And the title of the piece, though editors sometimes mess up titles, is “I was born a boy.”

I suspect what’s going on is an issue surrounding whether trans people “become” the other gender, or whether they were always one gender.  Meaning, I suspect trans people would say that they are not born male and then become female – rather, Mock, for example, was born a female in a male’s body.  Thus, when Morgan said “you used to be a man,” he was inaccurate, since Mock has always been a woman, even if her body was male at birth (however you want to define that).

Though honestly, I have no clear idea what Mock objected to.  Did she mean that she was always female from birth? Or did she mean that she should be referred to as female from the dat at which she started to self-identify as female, which was well before she was 18?  We don’t know because Mock never raised the concern, nor tried to explain, which was why she was there in the first place – to explain to people who know nothing about trans issues, what it is to be transgender.

Regardless of the explanation, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that Piers Morgan sensationalized anything.  I’d have made the same mistake, and I suspect 99% of the public would have, or has, as well.  I’m sure most of us have written the same about Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning – writing that she used to be a man.  And because Mock didn’t explain this point, I’m still not sure how to describe what gender Bradley Manning was before he self-identified as Chelsea.  And while that perhaps means I’m uninformed on the complexities of trans issues, it’s hardly worthy of villification.

You’ll note in the video that Mock did not correct Morgan over this point.  She could have simply said, “actually, Piers, it’s a common error people make about being transgender, thinking that we change genders – in fact, I’ve always been female, whether or not I was born with the body of a male, and whether or not I’ve had sex-change surgery.”  I think that would have been a fascinating point to make and explain, and it’s clear that Morgan would have been receptive to it, judging by how gushing he was throughout the entire interview.  But it never happened.  A teaching moment was lost.

One other point that Mock got upset about, and it’s a point that’s come up before, including when Katie Couric was attacked for doing a different interview with a trans woman that was, again, incredibly supportive.  Morgan asked Mock about her sex-change surgery.  It’s a sore topic among some trans people, I suspect because it feeds a false perception of someone who “used to be a man, but then post-surgery ‘became’ a woman.” It also risks separating trans people into allegedly “real” trans people who have had surgery, versus those who have not.

In fact, that was part of Mock’s criticism of Morgan:

The on-screen line that she “was a boy until age 18” reflected “bad judgment” and “reductive thinking about gender,” she said.

“What they’re saying is, ‘Only until I got the surgery, then I was a woman,’” she said.

Janet Mock appears on Piers Morgan's show a second time to explain why she was upset by the first interview.

Janet Mock appears on Piers Morgan’s show a second time to explain why she was upset by the first interview.

But that’s what a lot of people think is the case, that when you have gender reassignment surgery  your gender is reassigned, that you change from male to female, or female to male.  Mock is putting herself out there as a transgender advocate, who has just written a book about being transgender, and is going on nationwide prime time television to provide the American people a much-needed education about what it is to be transgender, a topic most know little to nothing about.  I’m not sure she’s doing her cause complete justice by complaining about the way an obviously supportive interviewer phrased his questions, or about the topics he inquired about, when they are the questions and topics that most Americans would ask on this subject.

At another point, Morgan discussed Mock’s relationship with her boyfriend, Aaron, who designed the cover of her book, and who she writes about in the book. Mock objected to this topic, after the show:

“My book is not about Aaron or my relationship, but that’s the most sensational thing they want to pull out,” she said. “They’re not talking about my advocacy or anything like that, it’s just about this most sensationalized … meme of discussion of trans women’s lives: ‘We’re not real women, so therefore if we’re in relationships with men we’re deceiving them.’ So, it just feeds into those same kinds of myths and fears that they spread around, which leads to further violence of trans women’s bodies and identities.”

I didn’t find the topic sensational at all.  I found it empowering.  Not to mention, her book is very about Aaron as she included him in the book.  Morgan raised a seemingly valid interview question.  He asked Mock how she approached coming out as transgender to the man she is currently in love with, and how he reacted.  I think it’s a fascinating and relevant question, and it gives us a window into society’s perception and reception of trans people.  You’d ask a gay person what it was like coming out, why not ask a trans person the same?  And in any case, if it’s a sensational topic, then why include it in the book in the first place?

One final point some trans advocates are raising: That Morgan was impolitic in his tweets about Mock after the show.  In fact, here’s his first tweet after the interview:

piers-morgan-tweet

And here is Mock’s first tweet after the interview:

janet-mock-tweet

Here’s the problem.  And I’ve seen this on gay issues, but also on issues of race, and beyond.  There seem to be this notion that there are questions one should and should not ask, and it’s not always clear to the interviewer what those questions are.  I know gay people who get offended when they get asked what they see as “stupid” questions about being gay, such as “who’s the husband and who’s the wife?” when two gay people get married.  And if the person is supportive, and genuinely curious, and not asking with malice, I don’t take offense. I answer their question.  And if I’m unclear as to what they really mean, I might inquire further, “do you mean sexually, or do you mean that you think men and women have different jobs in the home?” And then we discuss that topic.  They have expressed an interest in knowing more about my being gay, in understanding me and learning about me and my people.  I’m not going to rip their heads off no matter what question they ask, so long as the question is asked sincerely and without malice.

America does not know transgender issues.  At all.  It’s only gotten to know gays in recent years – and that education has taken decades.  I’ve noticed a tendency to criticize anyone who attempts to discuss trans issues and then gets any small point incorrect – whether it’s using the wrong pronoun or asking about reassignment surgery.  And that criticism risks not simply alienating people like Piers Morgan who are clearly allies, but it also sends the message that perhaps it’s not safe covering these issues if even a staunch ally like Morgan is going to be eviscerated for giving a softball interview to someone he clearly admires.

There’s nothing wrong with educating people on your issues, and even correcting them when they get something wrong.  But when America knows very little about you, and someone who is clearly sympathetic invites you on their primetime network show to tell the world about your story, and then gushes over you for 15 minutes (one-third of his entire show), ripping his head off is certainly one approach to winning over the hearts and minds.  It isn’t mine.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • buddygonzo

    Go home Piers, now! And don’t be bossy.

  • buddygonzo

    She went on TV then complained about sensationalizing her story? She could stay home and shut up.

  • Kitty

    I agree with that to a large extent. However its not uncommon for people that know of a trans persons past to use it as a weapon against them now. Even though we always identified as x a large portion of people don’t get it. Also if we’re super open about our past some people react in negative, and possibly violent ways. That may be why most trans people bury their past. I personally wouldn’t admit to it, and would avoid the spotlights to keep it quiet. No need to paint more targets on my back. But yea if we could be totally open like you suggest and not be bashed,defamed,discriminated, or any other form of a attack. I would totally be open, and share all details. With friends I’m only open about it after I have gotten to know them well enough to be sure they won’t react negatively.

  • JenkPac Shakur

    LOL, I love it when the left eats their own. Remember libs we told you f:a:g:s are mentally ill and we meant it and they themselves are proving it to you by biting your hand which feeds them.

  • pinky green

    Piers Morgan kissed her @$$ thru out the whole interview, and she’s p*ssed off?
    Why?
    Good lord, man! Uh, I mean lady!
    Get a grip!
    The reality is, this is the 21st century, and people who are playing “God” are now calling themselves transgender. AS IF, God made a mistake. As if nature made a mistake. The way they were born just wasn’t good enuf.
    And I suppose Mr. Morgan’s interview wasn’t good enuf either.
    Geesh!

  • Wilko Schutzendorf

    That was a very kind interview. If she is offended, I blame it on PMS.

  • KF

    “… is identified by your chromosomes.”

    Have you ever been genetically tested to see if you are XX or XY, or are you simply assuming you’re one or the other? There are people who are born XY and go through a fairly uneventful life as girls and women. Their genitals don’t look male at all. There’s also times where people are XXY or XXYY, or another configuration. I don’t think that there’s a specific genetic link found yet for trans people. There might be one.

    “Transgender people need to remember that their lifestyle is a choice”

    Researchers in the mental health field disagree with you on that. I guess yeah, it is a choice since with many trans people the only other option is suicide. I don’t really think it’s a choice if the decision is between suicide and transition. Suppression therapy hasn’t been successful with trans people.

    “To identify as the opposite sex and to go to such extremes to make your appearance match your ideal gender seems makes me question if your still trying to conform to a specific gender role.”

    There’s butch trans women out there, and feminine trans men. Not sure if you thought about that or not.

  • pmcneel1

    I take offense to this backlash against the non-transgender community. Honestly, from our point of view it is hard to understand “Identifying as a ______” because to us it is an unnatural concept for us. From my point of view being a MAN/BOY or WOMAN/GIRL is identified by your chromosomes. I feel the concept of gender roles are wrong, a man can sew, a woman can be a mechanic. Then you have sexual orientation, which is a chemical attraction and people do not have control over who they are attracted to and they can love and marry whoever they want. From me this quantifies any option. Even those that have had the gender reassignment surgery still are still physically the same gender they were, men still have XY pairings and women have XX pairings.
    Transgender people need to remember that their lifestyle is a choice and although nobody should discriminate against them, it is unreasonable for you to expect everyone to be 100% P.C. all the time, people will make mistakes. Hell, I’m sure I’ve probably managed to offend people with my first paragraph despite its based on science, and nothing I’ve said is untrue. However, if something really bothers you, correct them and let it go. Or better yet, just let it go, because its a state of mind which somebody without your convictions will never understand 100%.
    Finally, transgenders spend so much money on body modification to physically look like their ideal version of themselves. To identify as the opposite sex and to go to such extremes to make your appearance match your ideal gender seems makes me question if your still trying to conform to a specific gender role.
    P.S. Before anyone complains about me using the word “choice”, if you identify as the opposite gender, that’s all well and good, but its still a choice. Especially when you decide to physically alter your appearance.
    P.S.S. I also understand that there are males that the testicles never descend, to these people I truly feel sorry for them, it has to be a hard life.
    P.S.S.S. Bring on the thumbs down, and hate comments, I’m sure they are coming. I look forward to your insults.

  • Catherine Hopkins

    Interesting point of view. I agree, it would be better if the labels were totally unnecessary so that I’d be just a woman and not a trans woman and cis would also never be needed but there remain times when it’s appropriate to differentiate between trans people and non-trans people and cis is the word that means non-trans. I’ll happily apologise for using either label when simple woman, man, person would have done but in a discussion where it’s vital to differentiate between those with a difference between sex assigned at birth and gender and those with those two separate attributes in accord, can you come up with a better term – and bring it into currency?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “when you offend someone, even if you don’t see or agree why, the best
    policy is not to try to re-educate them to your point of view but to apologize.” Case in point– ‘cis gender.’

  • Catherine Hopkins

    And I appreciate yours too, John. I think you’ve got the point exactly this time and am glad to see some nuanced movement.

    I still think Piers Morgan’s interview was poor and the response largely justified and I’m interested to read your views on the changing room issues – to which I think the answer is one of personal tact and discretion.

    As for gender at birth, maybe it helps to separate sex and gender? What is assigned at birth is sex, based on a glance at genitals. What develops with the identity of a person is gender. The GRS initials have changed so many times I can’t keep up but I think the point is that genital surgery realigns the sex and the gender of the person so that they match. The person is, however, always the gender with which they self-identify. If we can get across that one point, to the population at large (the man on the Clapham Omnibus as we Brits say) but also to our well intentioned but often uniformed colleagues in minority movements we’ll have made real progress.

    As for Piers, his biggest mistake was not to realise that when you offend someone, even is you don’t see or agree why, the best policy is not to try to re-educate them to your point of view but to apologise. Incidentally, still as a Brit, please keep him. We don’t want him back.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I appreciate the respectful and detailed response. And I don’t really disagree with you on most of this, other than your part about the “offense” taken. Offense is a very tricky thing. I’ve never been one to believe “majority rules” in any discussion. A lot of bad things in life happen to most of us because the majority sees things incorrectly. And on the left, though online in general, left and right, the majority gets offended and sometimes they get it wrong. And I’m talking of my own straight Internet politics crowd here.

    Sometimes it’s justified, but there’s still no reason to do anything about it – such as, when I would go on Tv and a friendly interviewer would talk about “sexual preference” instead of “sexual orientation.” Or they might ask me when I “admitted” to being gay. Depending on the interview, I might not even correct the host, as they’re being pro-gay, the larger points are getting across, and I risk looking like a “bitchy queen” if I correct them. So yes, I could take offense, and I’d be right, but I’d also be tactically and strategically right to give them a pass and not complain about it later.

    I don’t think you rambled at all. I think that’s an excellent explanation. But my points in the article above, and here, are about tactics and strategy, and motivation. People don’t know trans issues. And the “what gender to call oneself” question is terrifically complicated when you get into the question of when a trans woman is referred to as a woman, such as when talking about her birth. I’ve heard two diifferent answers from trans people – well three really. Janet says no gender at birth. I’ve heard trans women say they’re women at birth. And I’ve heard trans women say they’re born male, but when they realized they were trans they became female, or at least assumed their rightful female identity. This stuff is quite complicated.

    And let’s not even get into Janet’s theory of being born without gender. I’d never even heard of that. And if she’s talking about no one in society being born with a gender, then people are going to push back on that as it’s not the way they see gender. That doesn’t mean one or the other is right or wrong, but it does mean that a conversation needs to be had and that it’s going to be a confusing one, and we have to recognize that without getting too upset if the interviewer’s heart is in the right place.

    As for gender reassignment surgery or whatever it’s now called, most Americans perceive trans people as transexuals, people who have gotten surgery and chanted their gender. The Dr from the 70s, Renee Richards comes to mind. I can’t speak for 20 year olds, but for people in their 40s and up, Renee Richards was our frist trans experience, and she was a he who got surgery. That’s what people think of. I get the nuance that you don’t need surgery to be trans, or to be a woman, but that’s new to people. So you can’t be surprised that people get that wrong.

    But there’s another problem with the surgery question, Janet even mentions that she got surgery in Thailand, I believe. I certainly don’t think trans people should have to explain the details of the surgery on television, but discussing the surgery generally, why they chose to get, why they didn’t choose to get it, strikes me as something a lot of people would wonder on these issues, and as someone who isn’t trans, I don’t find it sensational, I don’t find it being asked about in a sense of mockery or malice or titillation. I gets asked because it’s the basis of what most people think of when they think of someone trans. Again, if the question is that offensive, then you need to educate people with ire, if they’re not mocking trans people but are asking a sincere question.

    I will say on the surgery question that when I wrote about the chicago lawsuit a while back, about a trans person wanting to use the allegedly-”other gender” (so to speak) sauna at a health club, I believe, we got into the discussion of how such a policy would work. And I mentioned that I could imagine the policy working more easily, for example, for a trans woman who had had gender reassignment surgery, as a trans woman who hadn’t had such surgery, and who was still quite male, including chest hair and genitals, would likely cause a panic in the women’s changing room or showers. And I don;’t say that to be sensational, I say it as a lawyer trying to think through how these issues would work and how to resolve them. I was told that it was insulting to discuss surgery. I don’t know how you discuss that issue without thinking through the various scenarios. And if I’m wrong, if the surgery doesn’t play into how women will react, and how the policy is implemented, then explain that to me. But don’t rip my head off for asking the question that I bet you 99% of Americans (or 96%) would be asking. The only way to get people comfortable with trans people is to let them ask the hard, embarrassing, impolite questions IF THEIR HEART IS IN THE RIGHT PLACE. And I’d gladly say the same thing about gay issues.

    So sometimes this concept of “we don’t talk about that” seems to set the debate back, rather than move it forward.

    Ayway, I appreciate the response, and the tone – your billing willing to give a detailed and educational answer. JOHN

  • Catherine Hopkins

    John. I’m sure you’ve read some of the truly good op-ed articles that have been written and I’m no professional writer but I’ll try to give you some idea of the faults. Of Piers Morgan’s interview and why I don’t think your article comes over in the way you suggest.

    First – your title – or was is a sub-editor’s? “Amazingly pro-transgender.” You’ve already picked over the bones of why Janet wasn’t happy and seen the reaction from the minority actually involved and yet you still consider the interview amazingly pro-transgender? To ME the title just reads as a defence of Piers Morgan. His interview was offensive. The arbiters of offence have to be the offended, not the offender and not the bystanders. He offended for all the reasons already discussed. His response was then to get defensive and claim hurt and tell us all loudly that he is a supporter. In that, he’s back where the liberal establishment was for your struggle in the 70s or 80s. Claiming support while not understanding the issues BECAUSE they weren’t the oppressed but part of the establishment.

    Lets make no bones about this. The situation for a small minority is still grim. The leading edge is generally young, always poor, trans women of color. They DIE. From Janet’s book, of all the deaths by hate crime against a member of the LGBTQ community in the US last year, 53% were trans women of color. This is what Janet is fighting, having seen it herself. We must struggle for the equality of the most discriminated against. The rest will follow. The way forward is to humanise that cutting edge minority. And Piers Morgan’s interview perpetuated the exact dehumanisation that Janet is fighting. The sensational. The constant contention that someone was ‘born a boy.’ The total focus on the date of the GRS surgery. We are not any of that. We are people. Each with a different story and the attempts by the media to push us into a one size fits all box are no longer acceptable.

    Most of the complaints from my community have been well represented and deconstructed elsewhere by others more capable that I but lets address a few just for consolidation.

    ‘Born a boy,’ and ‘Was a boy until age 18.’ No. Unacceptable and old. Sensasional. Janet was assigned the sex boy at birth but showed the gender identification of girl throughout her life. She grew into that presentation of her gender along with realisation and ability but her gender identity was always girl. The only acceptable variation on those old sensational titles would be ‘Assigned sex at birth was boy.’ You point out the Marie Claire article to justify acceptability. Well, all other considerations apart, that article brought Janet onstage and we have moved on since then. The struggle isn’t immutable thankfully. If struggles were, where would ANY of the LGBTQ community be?

    The point of being a woman or being a man isn’t that operation. You ask, in reflection of Piers Morgan and inquiringly if that is or isn’t the case. While the perception is that we are men (or, id assigned girl at birth, women) until ‘the’ operation we BECOME the operation. We are our gender identities. It is our very core. Janet was a girl from the earliest memory of her own gender identity. Some of us are slower to acknowledge a misaligned gender identity and conform to our sex assigned at birth until quite late in life due to denial and external expectations but even then, once realisation isn’t clouded by that denial, it becomes obvious that we were always had that same gender identity. We just couldn’t admit it even to the person that matters most. Ourselves.

    While we don’t complain and allow the inaccuracies, errors and sensationalisations to continue unchallenged, nothing will change, John. I come from a place not unlike yours. One which now represents less struggle than 30 years ago and more privilege. I’m not a young transwoman of color being brutalised just to survive. But I am right behind Janet and that cutting edge in the struggle because when they are finally equal human beings in the eyes of society, so will be we all. Until even the most obviously transgender (because those like Janet, who can pass as cis women are privileged in that way too) poor black kid on the streets is treated, first and foremost, as an equal human and never as an object, figure of fun or disposable thing, then that is the front line in the continuing struggle. The struggle you started and of which you now occupy the rear echelons, no matter your intentions.

    Again. I commend you to the dozens of excellent op-ed articles already out there for a clearer viewpoint than mine and, especially, urge you to read Janet’s book. She really does point the way forward in a way that resonated even with this old, white, comfortably off and fairly ‘passable as cis’ trans woman at the privileged end of this struggle. And white, black and of color have been used throughout this comment not as racist slurs but simply to emphasise that that gradient of discrimination still exists and is a part of this problem.

    Sorry to ramble – I probably need an editor but I’m no professional writer, as I explained.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That was the entire point of my article. No one outside of a select group in the gay community, understands the trans community outside of the trans community itself. And if you are going to attack people for genuinely trying to understand you, then you aren’t going to be terribly succesful in helping people understand you, and in obtaining your full and equal civil rights. A lot of trans folks who have weighed in seem to think that everyone either knows your issues, or that people who don’t know them obviously hate you. There is a third possibility, that your issues are completely new to most Americans, and that the very questions most Americans have about you are questions you don’t like discussing. That isn’t a recipe for people learning more about you, and ultimately accepting you. I realize you don’t like to hear this, but I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I chose to remain silent on the fact that I think your strategies and tactics are counter-productive.

  • Casual reader

    So educate him of what you think his failings are. That was the whole point of his article: If someone is without malice but with considerable respect and caring, then why not explain to them what they got wrong and why? It seems a better tactic than belittling them.

  • Catherine Hopkins

    You fall into all the same traps as Piers Morgan and, again, just show how little you understand trans women.

  • Dawn T

    While you are looking things up try looking up 1969 NYC gay riots aka Stonewall and see who was the first to combat the corrupt abusing NYPD in the streets. The real reason there was a seperation was because conservative gays didn’t want to be associated with flaming queens once the movement started to pick up speed.

    Yes gay men want to disassociate with the trans community so they can by all appearances pass for heterosexuals.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Same here
    .

  • pappyvet

    Thanks John. I must admit , I am somewhat confused.

  • pappyvet

    LOL I can understand that John. When I was a boy we did not even go to the movies without wearing a suit and tie. Times have changed indeed.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yes. Ugh.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We over lap in the old world. I enjoy these stories. I don’t recall call-out-cards, but remember white gloves and patent leather shoes.( respectable bourgeois Americans never realized that such wear was the calling of footmen.) I do remember my father instructing me to clean the shower and fold the towels if the host family had no staff, but otherwise don’t interfere with the duties of staff. Oh, and never wear spectators after 6. I do recall being that extra man at black tie dinners. What a long time ago was that! —-ancient history and so excessively artificial. I do remember that after my father’s generation gentlemen were not expected to ride and that white dinner jackets were no longer radical.

  • Ninong

    If you called me cis I would have no idea what language you were speaking because I have no clue what that word means or when it was invented.

    Gay men identify as men and lesbians identify as women, so we already have pronouns in every language that are perfectly adequate. The only people who insist of pronouns that are the opposite of their biological gender are transgendered people.

  • Ninong

    You’re lucky you weren’t raised in New Orleans. If you were, you would have had to endure a Mardi Gras custom called the “call-out cards.” When I was 17, my mother offered my “services” to two different colleagues of hers at work whose daughters needed more names to fill out their dance cards for whatever Mardi Gras ball their parents were members of. Some guy stands up there at the mic and calls out the names of the gentlemen for that dance. That was in the mid-1950′s.

    So I had to buy a tux (luckily I wasn’t required to go full formal with tails and white tie) and show up at some stupid ball so that my name could be called out, maybe twice, to dance with some girl I had never met before. Mardi Gras balls are the most boring things in the world, except for the parents whose precious daughters are members of the court. After those two balls, I told my mother, “No more!” So the next year she set me up as the blind date for someone’s daughter’s high school prom. I was into my mid-20′s before she finally gave up on that stuff.

  • Ninong

    I should have added that we gave up our seat for any pregnant woman, regardless of her age or our age unless we were physically unable to stand or something.

    Yes, my grandmother would always remind us to remove our caps when we entered the house in case we had forgotten. And she would practically faint if my little brother showed up at the table wearing a cap. Or if he dared to touch any food on the table until after grace.

    The incident involving the Macy’s door happened to me in the 1970′s in San Francisco. I didn’t understand that the rule about holding the door open didn’t apply to everyone and that some people might think I was deliberately mocking them or something, especially if they were very obviously not dressed like a typical “lady.”

    I didn’t mean it as an insult but I can definitely understand how that person could take it that way, especially since she was 10 or 12 years younger than me and her attire left no doubt about her sexual orientation. After that I knew better. In retrospect, I guess it was a mistake on my part but certainly not an intentional insult.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Did your mom make you go to cotillion? :-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Trans people are being silenced.” Maybe people have just stopped listening. Since the views of ‘feminists’, gays, lesbians and Bisexuals are irrelevant to radical trans positions, then who in the hell do you think will move the trans

    communities into full legal and civil rights?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well done. You used the term ‘cul’t. Now two of us will need shelter from the rabid correctness of transbots.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Come back Shane, come back, come back………………….cowboy rides into sunset.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    As one gentleman to another: good breeding is never ever wrong. When manners are considered fail, then the recipient is a candidate for mercy. You could have shoved her through the doorway, after all it was Macy’s not Bergdorf’s, but then no gentleman would do that. LOL

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bravo! “Only LGBs are dumb enough to keep taking this abuse” Done out of good will I assure you. Most of us have little or no experience with the trans community. The leaders among trans people in SF during the nineties were advocates for GLB rights in an inclusive civil meaning and also directly involved in HIV/AIDS volunteerism. Apparently, all that has changed, if the comments on this blog are indication. I found it extremely offensive to have pro-advocacy spit upon and considered cis arrogance. This speaks to me of trans ghetto mentality and not a movement toward integrated legal civil rights. Janet Mock is a disaster. I’d go so far as to say radical trans attitudes smack of sexual cultism.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Your last graf is funny, I do the same thing, though I was born in the 60s. And you’re right, I never thought about it, but the rule is any woman older than me, and any man who’s a senior, even though I never realized that that was how I picked and chose. Funny, and we’re not even southern. Also, my mom, who immigrated from Greece at a young age, gets very upset when she see’s guys wearing baseball caps inside anywyere, she finds it rude. I never really got that.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Here is a voice I’ve not heard before. I’d be interested to know the history. It sounds like you have been down this road before. Although I realize that the trans bots will jump on this as anti-trans. It seems to me now that the GLB communities need to unhitch the trans caboose.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Simple, GLB people do not think of themselves as non-trans. Cis is a term that smacks of ghetto exclusivity. The GL community went through similar problems in the early decades of activism.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    What would you say if a gay man said “don’t call me cis.” I think we know that answer by now.

  • Ninong

    You gotta do what you gotta do. Bye!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Interesting thought N, but I would still go for anti-discrimination inclusion. My example would be conservative black Baptist church communities who actively lobbied to discriminate against gays in the Prop 8 contretemps. As much as I loath their religion and bigotry I couldn’t find myself voting against civil rights. At the same time because of the trans hostility on this post alone, I will no longer direct active support toward Trans issues until a more comprehensive voice is realized. Nor, will I include ‘T’ in GLB anymore.

  • Ninong

    Let me give you an example from my personal experience. I was raised in the Deep South back when boys were taught to be gentlemen and always remove their hats indoors or in the presence of women and always, without fail, open doors for any and all females of any age. Of course, I was born in the 1930′s, so a lot of things were different about the Deep South back then.

    It wasn’t until I moved away from that part of the country that I learned that not all females considered it an acceptable courtesy to have a man hold the door open for them. I was practically assaulted for holding the Macy’s door open for a woman who took it as an extreme insult. The F-bomb was only part of the insult she hurled my way when I tried to let her go first. Maybe not the best example for this thread but it’s to show that you’re right about not knowing which form of address a person prefers and I’m just adding that you never know which gestures are considered a personal insult instead of an expected gesture of respect.

    One more point. When I was young, a gentleman gave up his seat on public transportation for virtually every female, as well as older men. That custom seems to have died. Now that I am much, much older, I don’t have to worry about that one very often.

  • Vera

    Please, don’t let us hold you up. Separate away!

    Oh, I see you’ve already gotten started. Even while trans activists subjected LGB-founded and LGB-funded organizations to an ever-growing list of demands, trans activists have felt perfectly free to maintain their own segregated, trans-only organizations. Funny how “LGBT” only imposes obligations on the LGBs. You’d almost think that the entire arrangement was little more than a systemic fraud on LGBs.

    And those T-only groups? They solicit and happily accept big checks from privileged “cis” white gay men like Jon Stryker, who I am sorry to say is sufficiently naive to think that his donations will buy him one iota of gratitude or kinship from entitled, truculent trans activists. So Rebecca, when you separate, be sure to tell Mr. Stryker to stop sending that privileged cis gay money, k?

  • Vera

    “JANET MOCK: Gay rights and trans rights are not the same thing.”

    That is probably the first true and sincere statement to come out of her mouth. We should listen to her. She is right. LGB and T are 2 discrete groups (and indeed, even T is an “umbrella” term for a variety of very different subgroups. LGBs are not incomplete and we do not need heterosexual people who have gender identity issues to complete us. LGBT is objectively an antigay concept. It was foisted upon us in the 1990s as the result of a collusive effort by trans activists (who would stand to benefit by being able to dictate to LGBs how their resources and political capital should be expended) and certain “queer” academics and activists (who despised the idea of gay civil rights and wanted the movement to be linked to non-mainstream causes, such as a war on the “gender binary.”)

    Prior to the late 1990s and early 2000s, no one used the term LGBT. Go look up the historic national marches in 1979, 1987, 1993 and 2000. Somehow it completely eluded millions of educated, politically aware LGB people over the course of decades that they were actually one “people” with straight hermaphrodites.

    During all those decades, our movement actively educated the public that being gay should not be equated with gender dysphoria or crossdressing. In fact, we objected to such linkage as stereotyping. Thanks to the reactionary concept of LGBT, we now promote the very stereotypes that we used to oppose.

    Mock wants to be listened to and wants her pronouncements to be taken seriously. We should do so and end the reactionary sham of LGBT. Allies we might be. Friends, certainly. Part and parcel, never.

  • Ninong

    Completely agree. I would add that in my experience, which goes back to the 1950′s before trans and then the 1960′s when transgender surgery became more common, every fully transgendered person I knew had been what we would call a “drag queen” previously. That’s not to confuse transgendered with crossing-dressing, I’m just pointing out that even though not all cross-dressers were transgender candidates, all transgendered people I knew were previously fond of drag.

    I knew only about a dozen fully transgendered people back then. The first one was already in her 40′s when she had the surgery in the mid-1960′s and the youngest one I knew was only 21 when she had it done in the late 1960′s. One thing about it back then in the 1960′s was that every one of them previously identified as gay. Apparently the idea that they were never gay hadn’t been realized yet? They considered themselves gay men who had a strong desire to live their lives as women because they felt that would make them happier. So good for them.

    I think it wasn’t until the late 1960′s, early 1970′s, that the notion that transgendered people were simply people who had been “born in the wrong body” took hold.

  • Ninong

    Interesting. Then trans people should insist on being excluded from LGB-rights issues because that would only confuse the issue.

    So trans people are right. They are not gay and they never have been gay. Now that we have that issue straightened out, let’s get on with passing ENDA without any confusing and unnecessary trans language.

  • Ninong

    Janet Mock raises a point that has been thrown at us many times on this forum over the years every time there is any discussion about ENDA or any other topic that drew the attention of transgendered people. They emphatically insist that, like Larry Craig, they “are not gay and have never been gay!”

    If they’re not gay and have never been gay and do not consider themselves part of the “gay community,” then why is there a “T” after the “LGB”? It should be “LGB,” not “LGBT,” which I’m sure they will agree with based on everything I have heard from them.

    It would have been a lot easier to pass ENDA without the trans inclusion. It wasn’t taken up back when the Democrats had control of the House because they feared a backlash from the newly elected Democratic congressmen from districts where that position would not have been accepted. What comes to their minds every time the issue of trans comes up in legislation? It’s the cartoonish people who dress up in carnival-like attire with make-up to match and parade on floats or up and down Bourbom Street on Mardi Gras. They fear that if anti-discrimination legislation includes trans, then someone like that is going to teach first grade.

  • Jay

    One of the most curious thing about this entire fiasco is that Mock was so friendly and appealing while she was on camera, then took to twitter and revealed a very ugly side to her personality. I am still confused about that. It is as though she is projecting onto Morgan her own failure to clarify her own story. After all, most of the things she objects to are things that she has also done, either explicitly or implicitly: referring to her earlier self as a boy, discussing her transition, discussing her relationship with her boyfriend, etc. The contrast between her initial presentation and her subsequent one makes me think that either she is seriously disturbed or that she wants to create more publicity to sell more books and doesn’t care how much she damages Morgan or the trans movement itself.

  • Jay

    There is an irony in this discussion about ENDA because the courts have found that trans people are protected under the civil rights protections that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, but gay men and lesbians are not. This ruling has recently been codified by the EEOC. So trans people enjoy far more legal protections against discrimination than gay men and lesbians do.

  • Jay

    Barney Frank did NOT say that he would never vote for an ENDA with trans inclusion. He said that at the time ENDA with a trans inclusion would not pass Congress. So far, he has been proved right. In addition to lying about Frank’s position on ENDA, you also fail to mention that he has been supportive of trans rights and has hired trans staff members.

  • mark nine

    Piers Morgan is a hater and should go home

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    “they mostly want to separate themselves from gays and lesbians”

    If that’s what you really want, I can’t foresee anyone going against your desires.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Next

  • Tam

    Fare thee well, sweet spirit! Always remember and never forget that you are better than everyone else and hold your nose high in the air!

  • Rebecca

    Trans people hate you specifically, John Aravosis, and I’m sure you know why. And they mostly want to separate themselves from gays and lesbians because they’ve been thrown under the bus by them as a group so many times, they no longer trust anyone.

  • Bill

    Gurrrrrrrrl, Gurrrrrrrrl, Gurrrrrrrrl, Gurrrrrrrrl, Gurrrrrrrrl. :-)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m not sure there’s enough to merit a follow-up post. I might if there’s enough.

    I mean, I did have a great conversation on twitter with a trans person today. Has been reading the blog for a long while, and offered an interesting perspective on this in an incredibly respectful, open, non-judgmental way that was refreshing, and helpful. But, what one thing I gleaned from the discussion was that many trans people think this issue about what to call trans people, when to use what pronoun, and what gender they were at birth, is what I’ll call Trans 101. Meaning, it’s basic stuff that everyone either knows, or if you don’t know it, you didn’t care enough to try to find out because it’s such “basic” stuff. I tried to explain that it’s incredibly complicated to an outsider, and it’s not basic at all. And that in a way, they were asking people to know to inquire about something they’re not even familiar is an issue to begin with. I really think this is one of the central problems underlying this entire blow-up. They think we should already know these things, and if we don’t know them, it’s our fault, and thus they are justified in becoming angry.

    The problem is that it’s not clear and easy at all. For example, I still don’t know what gender someone was born as. Mock says she had no gender at birth. Other trans people have told me that some trans people do in fact say they were the “other” gender as a child, or at birth. And I know for a fact that most non-trans people believe they were one gender or the other at birth – I for example was born a boy and still am one. I don’t know whether Mock believes that no one has a gender at birth, or only she didn’t have one. (And to some degree, I think she’s talking about gender identity and not gender – I’d tend to believe that your gender is your genitals, but your gender identity is whether you “feel” male or female – but in any case, we’re dealing with definitions that are unique to one community and one school of thought (queer theory, or whatever you want to call it), and they’re not necessarily the same definitions for the same words that the public at large believes and uses, thus it’s prone to sow confusion.)

    And if her experience of being born with no gender was unique to her, then it’s understandable that people aren’t aware of her unique situation unless she tells them about it. Otherwise they’ll assume her gender at birth was determined the same way mine was – looking at my sex organs the second I popped out.

    And, on the other hand, if she’s speaking on behalf of every baby in the world, trans and non-trans, then she’s suggesting that none of us were born with a gender, and I think she’s going to run into some blowback on that, as she’d be telling other people what their gender was or wasn’t, and I think people would object to that in the same way that Mock objects to having others dictate what her gender is or is not.

    So the issue is rather complicated, and it makes it extremely difficult to write about it and talk about it. And I think a number of trans people simply don’t believe me, believe us, when we say this. They choose to believe that we simply don’t care, or hate them, or mock them, or don’t believe them, and that’s why we don’t speak or write about these issues in the way they prefer.

    One final point, as I was watching the second interview again tonight with a friend – Morgan invited her back the next night to explain why she got upset after the first interview aired. You can watch it here, it’s not long, maybe ten minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F8WiuxYoE4 In that second interview she grew quite defiant when Morgan was trying to explain that he was a good guy, on her side, and an ally of the LGBT community. He talked about his support for trans people, the fact that he accepts that she is in fact a ‘real woman,” that he highly recommends her book to people, and that he thinks she’s an amazing person and an amazing advocate. He also added that he has been a longtime supporter of gay rights. At that point, Mock cut him off and told him rather sternly, several times, that she’s trans, not gay, and that his support for gay rights had nothing to do with this conversation.

    If we are truly one community, if we are LGBT and not simply “gay” and “trans,” then when determining if someone is an LGBT ally, and whether that person perhaps misspoke during an interview rather than intentionally, or negligently, offended a guest on their show, then that person’s support for trans rights AND gay rights both matter in determining whether or not they are a good LGBT ally. Mock seemed outright offended that Morgan even mentioned his support for gay rights. Personally, as a gay person, I was taken aback by how vehemently she dissociated herself from us. I’m not sure it’s worthy of another post, but it is worth mentioning in an overall wrap up of things we’ve learned from this episode.

  • Jase Tiernan

    Not true. That is a line that Lambda Legal tried to use to justify this insane position of “there shall be no gay civil rights anywhere unless it covers crossdressing and transsexualism”. But it isn’t true. They couldn’t cite a single case where a gay person lost a lawsuit because sexual orientation protections alone weren’t enough. Somehow, it eluded the entire gay civil rights movement for 30 years that gay rights laws were terribly inadequate unless they included transgenders. It was only when trans activists showed up to co-opt our movement and relabel it as LGBT that all of a sudden there was this shocking discovery that LGBs “need” gender identity provisions.

    So much for that lie. Now consider the immorality of opposing gay civil rights unless they are bundled with a trans clause. Some trans people are LGB. They would all benefit from S.O. protections. By insisting that LGB organizations actively oppose and kill gay rights bills which don’t have a trans clause, trans activists are hurting all those trans LGBs. And some non-LGB trans employees will be discriminated against because they are perceived as LGB. SO protections would cover those people too. But thanks to trans activists, they must go without any protections too, because it was more important that LGB rights be sacrificed on the altar of an ideological contrivance known as LGBT.

  • pappyvet

    John , I certainly hope you write a follow up piece to al this.

  • Jase Tiernan

    “I question your sincerity” – Lol! Who cares what you question? Who do you think you are, his priest? His employer? His spouse? How arrogant and pompous of you to assume that you possess any moral authority over John, or that John owes you any obligation to prove the purity of his soul. But that’s the trans activist attack game, no? The thrill of sitting on high, demanding that the people you attack come before you to prove their sincerity and expiate their sins, watching them scramble to accommodate you.

    How about this: Get your own blog. Write whatever you want there. Make it so compliant with all the latest trans activist linguistic demands that no one can understand it. Then send John the link and show him what he missed out on.

    Not only does John not need your commissar – um – consulting services, the blog would be made vastly worse if he were to accept them. The trans activists’ toxic view of people and the world is destructive to any creative enterprise. The last thing any sane reader wants to see on AmericaBlog is the obscurantist jargon of gender activists or the bizarre invented terms and phrases that emanate from what is essentially a small cult of the 100-200 hundred trans activists that make up the entire trans political movement in the US.

  • Danny

    I think we should start referring to transgenders by the section in the DSM V in which their mental problems are listed. That would be accurate, no? And yes, they are listed there, albeit under 2 classifications, slightly modified from the DSM IV. Even the transjacked NGLTF issued a press release denouncing the DSM V changes as semantic. If any gender dysphoria victim objects, I’ll just explain that I am being accurate.

  • Jase Tiernan

    Ask them and then call them by whatever word or words they wish to be called. Common courtesy and decency – not a transgender strong point.

  • Jase Tiernan

    John, as you probably well know, trans activists attack because attacking makes them feel good. It puts them in the role of judge. And when their targets – always an LGB person or a progressive – it enhances the pleasure.

    There is no demand or set of demands which, if satisfied, which will end their attacks. The demands will simply change. They aren’t even internally consistent in what they complain about, as is evidenced by Mock’s objecting to phraseology that she herself has used. Another example would be trans activists attacking filmmaker Diego Luna for the sin of conflating transgender with drag queens. These same trans activists, shortly thereafter attacked PETA for running an ad – which made no mention of transgender at all, but which contained a play on the word “drag” – on the grounds that the ad offended transgender people. For the purposes of facilitating an attack on Luna, trans should not be conflated with drag. For the purpose of facilitating an attack on PETA, trans should be conflated with drag. Whatever it takes to get themselves to a place where they can attack someone.

    You can go down the list of the victims of these trans attacks. The list consists almost entirely of gay and lesbian people and progressives. You won’t see these trans activists spending much time on Bryan Fischer or James Dobson. Why? Because they know that the Christian Right couldn’t care less about their complaints or their tweets or their social media smears. The Christian Right won’t give them what they want, which is to see their targets grovel and apologize and scramble to adapt to the latest contrived demand. Only LGBs are dumb enough to keep taking this abuse while desperately trying to convince themselves the concept of LGBT – invented out of thin air in the 1990s – requires that we take whatever they dish out.

    The best response is to ignore these complaints and attacks or to do the opposite of whatever the trans activists demand. Speak your mind. Be free. Don’t be a slave to these troubled activists and their bullying sport.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Especially in South Africa.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Trans communities should always be included in anti-discrimination laws.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “I offered to consult for you – for free” I suspect that John has his own douser stick and annotated I-Ching, thank you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    She is a heroine. There, fixed it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Words, definitions are evolving and the good news is that the trans communities are entering public consciousness and the path to full civil equality—–that is a good thing. Mature freedom coalitions understand that group identities are not compromised by synthetic overlap in common good—-legally and culturally speaking. I find the process of ‘naming’ and identity linguistics to be very interesting, a perfect example is the evolving semantics of GLB communities over the past fifty years,

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Quite the opposite. It implies that innate nature transcends morphological irregularities and those irregularities are corrected by medical means in most cases, but not all. If Janet is correct innate nature is fixed before transitional morphology.

  • pappyvet

    The language is my point

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Innate

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And if you were bisexual, you’d have the right to join the rest of your community and call yourselves whatever you want. And as soon as someone else started lecturing you that – oh, I don’t know, say, we white people have decided that calling you a negro is more accurate than calling yourself an African-American – then you have the right to tell them to go take a hike. Generally speaking, people get to pick their own names.

  • KF

    But innate would imply that being trans is not natural.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    One one: “innate.”

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you! God forbid that science and reason be rescued from the swamp of ideology.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We are both coming around to the same position on this with different angles. (see above)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Damn right!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Consider this: If you want a ‘trans based’ nomenclature use the word ‘innate’ as a universal. No one outside the ‘trans’ community thinks of themselves as non trans. Why, because even the word trans has a weak foundation of specific meaning. For example, Janet avoided the question, but alluded to the fact she believes that sexuality is innate even when surgical remedies are need to align morphology with ‘nature. It’s a complex and very intricate problem, for which there is no scientific confirmation as of yet. But, I tend to believe her and others that use that belief to assume gender assignment is applied. However if that is so then ‘trans’ is not a universal, but transitional surgical state. Cis not apply. If you have the right and you do to call me cis, I certaily have the right to call you ‘innates.’ How about that?

  • Mike_in_Houston

    Miss Manners once said, back in the days when “Ms.” was a relatively new term, that it wasn’t fair for a woman not to let people know whether she prefered “Miss,” “Mrs.” or “Ms.” and then complain when somebody used the “wrong” term. I’m always reminded of that remark when I read of yet another transgender person making him/herself a victim, which sadly happens with some frequency. I’m sure there are trans folk out there who aren’t constantly complaining and thinking that everybody else is belittling them; they just don’t seem to be the ones who get any air time. To paraphrase Joan Crawford in The Women, “I’m sick of the lot of them.” If we as gays come across to the straight community the way so many trans folk come across to me, it’s no wonder that we have so many outspoken enemies.

  • KF

    We are all humans, and we all are different, however we need language to explain these differences.

  • pappyvet

    Bad comparison KF. Those organizations would not be organizations without the humans who occupy them. Doesn’t matter their color, their meaning is the point. We are ALL humans

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Actually, we’ve all found ways to explain it in these comments – you simply say “someone who isn’t trans.”

  • KF

    So calling yourself a human which would lump you into those same groupings would also be offensive? Also, those are almost all organizations. Saying something like “I’m not black, I’m not Asian, I’m not straight” would be more accurate (just pulling descriptors). I don’t understand why you feel the way you do about the word cisgender, or what you mean in that last sentence. Could you please rephrase it? I’m not sure if you mean that the word would break up the trans community, or if it would break up the LGBT community. Are the “people who hate you” people who hate trans people?

  • pappyvet

    But KF if you are concerned with definition why would you think that I should not be. I am gay I am not Christian identity, I am not neo Nazi , I am not southern Baptist , I am not rightwing , I am not 700 club , I am not Abiding Truth Ministries , I am not ,American Family Association , I am not Americans for Truth About Homosexuality , I am not American Vision , I am not , Concerned Women for America, I am not Family Research Council.
    The term that lumps me into the same grouping with the likes of these is offensive. I am a gay veteran who has earned the right to be an individual and referred to as such. I am a proud part of the gay community. We have earned our ground the hard way. I should not have to come up with an alternative. No matter how clever I thought it to be , I would not use a term that would separate the trans community in such a way that you would have no choice but be considered as part of a package that incudes people who hate you.

  • KF

    I am also a man, I have a gender. Further labeling is required in certain circumstances. We can describe the different experiences I have as a man who is transgender vs yourself as a man who I’m assuming is not transgender. Except there’s no word that you feel is appropriate to describe a person who when born the doctors say “it’s a girl/boy” and that person grows up inline with the genders doctors used to describe them at birth. Saying “we don’t need a word for that” is limiting language, and it’s limiting the ability to describe people.
    If we only had tall, good, and hot (just as examples) and could only describe things as tall or not tall, good or not good, hot or not hot then we’re limited.

  • KF

    But in certain contexts it’s important to specify if a person is trans or cis. So, what word should I use instead of cis? A lot of people are saying not to call them that but won’t provide an alternative.

  • pappyvet

    No I would not

  • BeminDC

    Then don’t specify. It’s fucking rude to call people names they find offensive. I’m not doing it to you, don’t do it to me. And it’s not helping your cause (or maybe it is . . . having a hard time discerning what your cause is apart from being disagreeable).

  • KF

    Well, I’m asking people who are saying “don’t call me cis” what to call them that conveys the same meaning. Saying that you’re a gay man doesn’t specify if you are trans or cis.

  • Sam

    I’m a man. I have a gender. There is no further label required. If people who change genders want to adopt their own labels that is fine, but 99.9% of the human population does not require new terminology in order to appease the .1% who require extra vocabulary to explain the particulars of who they are.

  • BeminDC

    privileged assholes? that seems to be the sentiment. I’m fine with gay man. Thanks.

  • KF

    Then what should I call somebody who is not transgender without saying “not-trans/non-trans” What would you say if a straight person said “I don’t like being called straight” would you continue to call them straight?

  • pappyvet

    I have read NOTHING here that is anti trans but many posts that apparently want to throw dirt in the faces of the gay community. I do not wish to be referred to as cis. But for some strange and inexplicable reason this is an attack on the rights of transgendered people. You cannot have it all your own way and I believe that when someone is looking for a way to justify a fight they will use anything to accomplish that end. I would not refer to transgendered folk in a term that would offend. It does not matter what the root meaning in another language means. How it is used is more important.
    Many , many people who post here are supporters but we are not going to walk on egg shells . We are in a battle for the same thing. The dignity to be who we are. The gay community has earned its right to be a community. The hard way. We will stand with those who seek the same freedoms we are trying for. If we put the period in the wrong place from time to time it’s not the end or time to blister us with rend your garment outrage. I cant help but feel much of this is purpose driven. Like the little boy who stomps off the field saying,”Leave me alone I don’t want to play with ANYBODY.” What profit is there in this?
    Frankly I do not see any.

  • kf

    Then tell me what I should say instead of cisgender that isn’t non-trans(gender) or not-trans(gender). My friends who are cisgender are supportive of the word and think it’s accurate. I haven’t heard of any other language proposed.

  • pappyvet

    Bottom line is that he wasn’t.

  • KF

    It’s shortening a word. Cis, trans, and bi are Latin. Homo and hetero are both Greek roots. I could argue that calling somebody bi isn’t correct because bilateral cingulotomy has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Cis is the shortening of cisgender (in this context). Trans is the shortening of transgender (in this context).

    If cisgender is an inaccurate way to describe somebody who is not transgender then what is an accurate way that isn’t based on describing what a person is not? With that, I mean without saying “non-trans” or “not trans.”

  • BeminDC

    Please quit calling people cisgender. It’s a slur.

  • KF

    HRC pulled trans inclusion at the last minute in 2003. Barney Frank, a gay representative has said and continues to say that he will never vote for an ENDA with trans inclusion. I do agree that yeah, we need to stick together but it would be nice if the cisgender gays and lesbians who support trans people and speak up when they see something wrong. One thing I can think of is that a lot of lesbians will say “I’m a lesbian, and that’s my birth control” but there are lesbian couples out there that are able to reproduce from sex. Just point out that there are lesbian couples who can become pregnant through “traditional methods.” Or if you see a trans person being harassed, speak up.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    One other interesting point. How is Piers Morgan “sensationalizing” Janet’s story by asking Janet about her boyfriend – who she writes about in her book – but it’s not sensationalizing for reporters the trans community likes to write about Janet having been a sex-worker? Imagine had Piers Morgan brought up that fact, he’d have been destroyed. I think there’s an effort to pick and choose individual facts in order to prove something that’s already been decided to be the case. Meaning, if you want hard enough to find that someone hates you , you will eventually find the facts to back it up.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/07/janet-mock-interview_n_4746097.html

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It’s also scientifically incorrect. Read what cis and trans isomers are in organic chemistry. The change in structure of the molecule doesn’t even apply to gender identity as an accurate metaphor. Read what cis and trans actually are.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cis%E2%80%93trans_isomerism
    http://www.chemguide.co.uk/basicorg/isomerism/geometric.html

  • Sam

    My final word: I didn’t hear the term “cis” in this context till this discussion on this very site. I took latin. It’s “CIS Man” “CisGender”. It’s gibberish and deeply offensive. That a community that gets so (rightly) angry about their freedom to adopt the label of their choice now petulantly seeks to redefine my own gender and identity? It’s outrageous. It’s truly awful and honestly it’s given rise to a great deal of resentment towards the Trans community I didn’t have 24 hours ago.

    So, uh, good work there. Keep up the A+ activism.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m not having a good laugh at all. This entire episode has been really sad. And now you’re trying to do to me what you did to Piers Morgan and Katie Couric. If you can find one pronoun that I got wrong, based on your incredibly complicated and seemingly ever-changing rules, then it clearly means I’m an evil transphobe who must be destroyed. It’s just incredibly sad to see, and it speaks volumes to why your movement is so far behind the gay rights movement.

    As for the pronouns, I’ve gotten so many conflicting answers from trans people about what gender to refer to someone before they transition, or come out as trans, or self-identity as trans, that it’s no longer clear what to write. Janet Mock says either she, or every human being regardless of gender identity, or at least every trans person, is born without a gender (and if it’s everyone, then you’re defining the existence of non-trans people too, which I suspect per se will confuse them, to tell them they weren’t born male or female). Whereas another trans person advising me the other night (I asked her advice as Mock had totally confused me in her appearances on CNN), and she told me that in fact some trans women ARE “born boys.” So now I have no idea how to refer to someone trans when they were born, or before they transitioned or came out or self-identified as trans.

    In Chelsea Manning’s case, formerly Bradley Manning, I was told that you refer to trans people by the pronoun they prefer, so I switched to she. But, in the story writing about her change, I used “he” up until the point I announced that “he” had chosen to be openly trans, and now was to be known as “she.” And if you re-read the story, you’ll see exactly what I did.

    I welcome anyone to go read my story and try to find transphobia and visceral hatred of trans people in it: http://americablog.com/2013/08/bradley-manning-to-live-as-a-woman.html

    And I did that for a reason. In writing the story, it was impossible to explain the story without using he. Why? Because if you keep saying she, as in “she leaked millions of pages of secret Iraq war documents, only later to come out as trans” – people are going to think that a woman came out as trans and thus became known as a man. I edited that story multiple times. It’s the same problem Piers Morgan has on his show. If you refer to someone going for sex-change surgery, but you say they were “she” before the surgery, then it sounds like they became “he” after the surgery. But in this case, that’s the opposite of what happened.

    Your issues are terribly complicated and confusing. I know many gay people who don’t even understand how gay and straight works among trans people (I do, but only because someone explained it to me once – how if you’re gay become coming out as trans, you can then end up straight after). And my gay friends know far more about trans issues than the public at large.

    America does not know your community. You hate that fact. And want to find hate in the fact that they don’t know you, rather than simply doing your job as an advocate and educating people. It’s not my fault that I don’t undrestand all the complicated rules, and that the rules I’m being given by multiple trans people keep contradicting each other. Your issues are complicated, and no one is born knowing them. So go and educate people.

    At this point, I question your sincerity. You’re not here to educate folks about your issues, you’re here to find enemies, and rather than finding them, you’re creating them.

  • AndyinChicago

    I think that’s fair. I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree about the fairness and etiquette first interview, but what’s nice about your well laid out logic is that while I don’t completely agree, I definitely don’t think you’re wrong. I think an interviewer does need to do more homework going into an interview, but it’s definitely a hard argument to make that when you have the opportunity to correct someone in an interview and instead jab at them later that you’ve taken the highest path even if you were insulted. It’s why the Laverne Cox and Katie Couric interview was so impressive. I know I’m being a bit of a Pollyanna, but everyone in this case should just admit that everyone was a little in the wrong, that this was a learning opportunity for all involved, and move on with some newly gained insight in dealing with others.

  • AndyinChicago

    But the fact Normal is loaded is exactly why I used it. Normal is the default. In the case of gay vs. straight, how many times has the argument been made that gay is unnatural or abnormal? Same thing with trans identity. It’s often characterized by the ignorant as unnatural or abnormal.

    For the record, I like Cis and Trans; my undergraduate degree was in biochemistry, and cis and trans are terms used in organic chemistry to describe where relevant side groups are relative to a double bond or ring. In that context, I always found it quaint (Look up cis-trans isomerism. Isomers are the coolest. If you happen to be like me, a giant nerd).

  • sinmantyx

    Have you ever considered that the problem is you?

    “I’ve seen the same thing with online “outrage” from bisexuals, military people, and on women’s issues, race and so much more.”

  • sinmantyx

    People are telling you about your mistakes. I offered to consult for you – for free – to help you out.

    You claim to have an old friend who was willing to educate you, and willing to let you ask her any question you came up with.

    Yet – you misgender trans people and use their former names?!

    Then blame trans people for not educating you enough?

    I mean, seriously, at this point I wonder if this is just a joke to you – if you’re sitting in front of your computer having a good laugh. At some point, this is so absurd, I question your sincerity.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    What’s also interesting is that much of this seems to play into the larger identity politics notion that you are what you say you are. That you’re not gay until you say you’re gay. That if you’re 90% gay and 10% straight and marry a woman, you ARE straight until you “choose” to leave her and become gay. But in this case, you’re not permitted to define who you are. You will be defined by someone else who isn’t you, and if you don’t like it, then you’re the one with the problem, and more specifically, you clearly must hate the person who has chosen to label you something that had no input in, and don’t like. It’s rather insidious.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That actually might be her name. Could have been MN. I remember midwest because I’m from the midwest. We were at a law school in VT, probably 12 years ago or so. I want to say she had blonde-ish, big hair, for lack of a better term.

  • sinmantyx

    Right – but it’s even more fundamental than that.

    “Sissy” is a term for a certain group of people who are (usually older) AMAB folks who dress in a female typical way sometimes in the context of kink and sometimes not.

    So, even the term “sissy” doesn’t refer to sexual orientation, it refers to gender non-conformity. Though, yeah, I realize it is sometimes used against gay men – but it is used DUE to a perceived gender non-conformity.

    So – these folks are complaining that “cis” sort of sounds like a slur (even though it is not related at all to that slur) that has been used against gay men (even though it doesn’t actually specifically refer to them – but, more directly, refers to gender non-conforming AMAB folks) and therefor it’s offensive.

    AAAAAaaaaaand – to top it off – these are the folks telling trans people not to be offended at the drop of a hat.

    Not sure at what point the cognitive dissonance is going to kick in.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I will say that, although some trans activists and allies are particularly adept at finding a hate crime in every misplaced comma, I’ve seen the same thing with online “outrage” from bisexuals, military people, and on women’s issues, race and so much more. I don’t know if this is a lefty-problem or a more general America-problem, but the need to feel supremely victimized and angry, and find a hater under every bush, has either been fostered by the Internet, or at the very least has been unleashed (meaning, perhaps it was always there but had no way to organize before the Internet, or perhaps the Internet feeds it by putting like-minded people together who then ramp up the perceived outrages). But not-quite-righteous always-on indignation didn’t begin and end with trans advocates. It’s a much larger problem across the left.

  • BeminDC

    You can’t win. If you hadn’t posted about Chelsea Manning you would have been complicit in covering up her story, being “indifferent,” and not giving any visibility to trans issues; you do cover it and you’re ant-trans. Truly insufferable. (And it’s so ironic that a group of people obsessed, rightfully, with language and pronouns is bizarrely labeling another group of people something without their consent. Not doing an favors for acceptance/ moving forward, if that’s even a goal.)

  • BeminDC

    You can’t win. If you hadn’t posted about Chelsea Manning you would have been complicit in covering up her story, being “indifferent,” and not giving any visibility to trans issues; you do cover it and you’re ant-trans. Truly insufferable. (And it’s so ironic that a group of people obsessed, rightfully, with language and pronouns is bizarrely labeling another group of people something without their consent. Not doing an favors for acceptance/ moving forward, if that’s even a goal.)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    No, he said every post was anti-trans. I want 10 of the last 20 posts proven as anti-trans.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    No, he said every post was anti-trans. I want 10 of the last 20 posts proven as anti-trans.

  • BeminDC

    Here’s a real, live example of transphobia. http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/10/14/girls-harassed-school-bathroom-transgender-student-told-his-rights-trump-their-privacy

    It’s not AMERICAblog, it’s not Dan Savage. Stop aiming your vitriol at would-be allies. (Or don’t, but then what is your point of ranting here?)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Dear lord, now my Chelsea manning story is wrong too? Im sorry, but I wrote a completely supportive piece about Manning and intentionally tried to get the pronouns right. At some point it’s your job to educate people about yourselves rather than constantly denigrating them later on because you couldn’t be bothered to politely tell them at the time of their mistake. You want desperately to play the victim and it’s going to hold you back for a very long time if you insist on attacking everyone who doesn’t know every rule about your community.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Dear lord, now my Chelsea manning story is wrong too? Im sorry, but I wrote a completely supportive piece about Manning and intentionally tried to get the pronouns right. At some point it’s your job to educate people about yourselves rather than constantly denigrating them later on because you couldn’t be bothered to politely tell them at the time of their mistake. You want desperately to play the victim and it’s going to hold you back for a very long time if you insist on attacking everyone who doesn’t know every rule about your community.

  • BeminDC

    I think my main takeaway from this discussion is that some people have an awful lot of free time. #superjealous #goodmorningsunshines #let’sbeonthesameside #therearerealbadguysoutthere

  • Ren

    It’s not value-neutral. When a reasonable alternative is coined, I’ll use it.

    http://www.bilerico.com/2011/11/sidetrack_use_of_the_term_cis.php

  • BeminDC

    You watch your language!

  • BeminDC

    You watch your language!

  • Ren

    Wasn’t too hard to find the article where you referred to Chelsea Manning as her old name and repeatedly referred to her as a “he”.

  • BeminDC

    And maybe a specific example or two?

  • BeminDC

    And maybe a specific example or two?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Your comment might be more credible if we didn’t have an archive feature on the blog that let’s you read every trans article. I just looked at them. You’re gonna be hard pressed to find ones that are negative. So, I appreciate your concern, but folks can look at the archive for themselves.

    http://americablog.com/tag/transgender

  • chr477

    Transgender people do themselves no favor by rejecting their pre-op selves. Trying to bleach their past is dangerous and I think it shows in how much they lash out.
    I don’t know why the community demonizes a person’s past. An individual now is the totality of their whole lives. Their pre-op self is not an abomination. Acknowledge it. Yes you always identified as gender X but was born with gender Y parts. That’s all you need to say. “Yes there was a time I had Y parts, but I always identified as X” THAT’S IT! No need for drama. Education has been made. Peace is kept. Understanding has occurred.

    Instead of attacking and insulting every single person who is curious or tries to relate to you, try educating them. That is where a lot of this vicious..just absolutely poisonous lashing comes from. People genuinely wanting to know to understand getting slapped in the face and the door slammed on constantly.

    You know to a lot of people I’m the only gay person they have contact with. They are curious. So I entertain them. It helps educate them, and helps them relate to me. You get a lot more respect for just being patient with people and being a bit of a diplomat rather than going off on a tirade.

  • B.J. Caldwell

    After reading this article, I am done. I have been a fan of this blog for over 6 years and a daily reader. In the past, i tried to ignore the anti-trans language,phrasing and discussions in the comments and in the trans articles written by John. I then just skipped over any post dealing with trans issues on the blog (which I should have just continued to do)….but I clicked on this one. My mistake.
    I honestly didn`t understand the reality of the level of transphobia and indifference in the LGB community. Goodbye AMERICAblog.

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    Her attitude was extra and way over the top. I like Piers Morgan even more after his responses to her foolishness. . .

  • studd

    We all know the Trans hold the LGBT back, but out of some misplaced commitment to tolerance and diversity the trans are included as they should be.
    If the Trans want acceptance they they can always move to Iran or Turkey where I have seen (in Turkey) more acceptance then anywhere else, even among the hetero men that they want so badly.

  • studd

    Lets have a discussion about this “issue” Sen Ted Kennedy always held that he could get ENDA through the Senate if the trans were left out but HRC actually refused. I am not defending the HRC but they did not throw the trans under the bus on important issues.
    Listen we will get what we all want LGBT inc the trans, open relationship gay men (hello Anderson Cooper), etc only if we stick together. The trans have the most to loose by making this a dispute because you are a small population and to be honest not really understandable to many “avg.” citizens.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    That’s very logical, so it probably won’t fly.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Wait a minute. You get to decide what you want to be called. Then we all should.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Are you certain she wasn’t from Minnesota? It sounds like a wonderful lady named Barbara.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Why would one use the word male when talking about a woman?

  • Bomer

    Why can’t you just say “not trans”? “As a person who isn’t transgendered” or what have you? Why insist on using a term that someone finds offensive? I mean “cis-” means not trans, right? So why not call those who prefer to not be labeled “cis-” not trans?

    And while you might not view it as an insult some people do. Whether you intend for it to be an insult or not is irrelevant. The simple fact is that that term, for whatever reason, is offensive to someone and should not be used to describe them. I have no problem calling people by whatever pronoun or label they prefer once I know what that is. Like, say, referring to someone as “she” only to be told they prefer “zie.” Ok. I’ll apologize for the mistake and refer to them with the pronoun they prefer. Likewise, if someone objects to being call “cis-” one would apologize and refer to them as “not trans” instead. What one shouldn’t do is completely disregard the person’s feelings and continue to refer to them in terms they find offensive.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That last argument arose in 2007, and always struck me, from a legal perspective, as convenient times, but I’m skeptical if it’s a legitimate legal concern.

  • KF

    I’ll just name a few places and things and you can do more research on the history if you’d like.
    Jim Fouratt and some others held the view that trans women were gay men who went on hormones to become straight women (to shorten his words up). This is a view that was also promoted by radical second wave feminists in the 70s and even up til today. In fact there have been instances of (cisgender) lesbian women publically outing lesbian trans women (thus putting those trans women in danger). You can look at the history of the GLF, too. It started in the early 70s. Maybe you don’t consider that long standing, but if you consider that the modern day LGBT rights movement started in June of 1969, then yes…it is long standing.

    Trans people are being silenced. Plenty of non trans people try to speak on our behalf or tell us what we need instead of listening to us.

  • KF

    From what I’ve seen looking at state laws, the only way to get trans inclusion in anti-discrimination laws is if it comes with LGB. So although the idea of “we should be thankful for this small step” is desirable, it doesn’t actually end up that way. I’m in NY and I’ve been fighting for an anti-discrimination bill that covers trans people since 2004. Trans people were told “we’ll get you next year” in 2003 when the bill covering sexual orientation was passed (after gender identity was removed there).
    You also have to realize that trans inclusion on bills like this would also cover butch women, and feminine men. You’re still leaving out a decent chunk of the community without “us.”

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    No, there is not a long standing history of gays rejecting trans individuals. It’s actually the other way around, even excepting the minutia of nit picking which you have gleaned to paint with a broad brush to slander your allies in the GLB communities. The HRC, please, who gives any credence to that crowd of Gucci lobbyists. No one is silencing trans people—twit much?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You have been pointing this out for sometime and I must add, to withering criticism. And, here it is in bold CAPS. You were right and yes it is sad.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Amen!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “THAT is what people are saying in these comments.” No. That is ridiculous.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Unfortunately I did and it’s been nibbled down to a nubbin.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    If I am a shining example of electro-shock treatment let me dissuade your enthusiasm. It didn’t work. Now, really what a cheap shot.

  • KF

    There’s a long standing history of gays and lesbians rejecting trans people. It goes back to the 70s when gay civil rights leaders wanted to seem more acceptable. I mean, you can think as recent as HRC in 2003 with Elizabeth Birch who said ENDA would pass with trans inclusion “over my dead body” and she was the head of HRC at the time!
    Or we can go more recently, in March (I think) of last year, there was a march in DC for LGBT rights. There was supposed to be a speech from somebody who was not straight (forgot how they ID’d) and was also not documented. They were told not to edit their speech to hide the fact that they were not a documented immigrant. That same day a trans person was standing with a trans pride flag and was told by a staff member (identified as Karin Quimby) from HRC to put the flag away. The story changed a few times on HRC’s end. On one site, the staffer was heard saying “marriage equality is not a transgender issue.” This staffer kept going up to the one person holding the trans pride flag. The blog of the person who held the trans pride flag says that Karin Quimby first asked “What flag is this?” which seems kind of weird for a person who is a Regional Field Director with HRC.
    I would like to be apart of the same community as gay people (seeing as I’m not straight) but I’d like people to stop silencing trans people, and stop throwing us under the bus.

  • Ninong

    I don’t even know what the word “cis” is all about but I guess it has something to do with a person who is not trans?

    All I know is that things weren’t this complicated back in the 1960′s, which is probably before most of these commenters were even born. I knew a few women who had finished their surgical procedures as well as some who had just started hormone therapy and none of them claimed that they were straight and just happened to be born in the wrong body. I guess all of that is a more recent development? But they were all very nice people who considered themselves part of the same struggle for equal rights.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Exactly. I don’t get pyro when a dear straight friend calls us ‘boys’ at our advanced age. And where is humor in this equation? I’m still waiting to get hate replies over the term ‘transtrolls.’ 5-4-3-2-1

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Waves hand }}}}}}}}

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    True, but ideology is oblivious to obvious logic. I tend to agree with this concept of trans testimony, because most insist on it the way gays insist on being gay from birth—-that makes sense. Trans is therefore a physical transitional term? Perhaps the term ‘innate’s’ is more specific.

  • Ninong

    These threads always end up this way. The hot topic years ago was always earlier versions of ENDA that did not include trans. No matter what anyone said, it wasn’t pro-trans enough for some. Back then if anyone dared voice an opinion that passage of any version of ENDA was a first step in the right direction it was as if a silent alarm went out and suddenly an entire army of angry trans posters were working overtime telling everyone on this forum just how ignorant they were and what traitors they were for even thinking such a thing.

    Oh, well… Maybe the T’s and the Q’s can break away and form a new QT group? After all, virtually every trans who comes over here to tell us how dumb we are is always highly insulted if anyone suggests that they ever were gay, ever in their lives. If so, why did they get stuck in with LGB?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    More commentary from you I hope.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t get a sense from most of the comments that there’s any desire on their part to be in the same community as gay people, who they seem to find, on the whole, racist, sexist, oppressive and repugnant. The overall emotion I’ve sensed here and on twitter is one of visceral longstanding hatred. It’s been an eye opener, sadly.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We totally agree on this one.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I agree, there is no normal. Excellent comment.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You go Jaffa. More power to you!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s not just a sound and you know it. It is an attitude of exclusivity and arrogance—maybe be a cup of your defensive tea, but not mine.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Point taken.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    So do us all a favor and don’t troll here if it upsets your delicate sensibilities.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That’s sick.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You have and your contempt is evident.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Dare one say transtrolling? Or is that too cis?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I did not misunderstand it Jaffa. Cisgender does not exist as a class. Remember the word ‘diversity’”? Within that artificial ‘class’ there are groups who are marginalized. It is you who are dishonest.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I do as do others.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’m listening Jaffa, Tell me more.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Whatever, next……..

  • Ren

    Marsha P. Johnson is a second name. And I never said there weren’t actual drag queens and effeminate gay men there.

  • Polterguest

    That’s one name and there is certainly no evidence she threw the first anything. Does one name justify your erasure of drag queens and effeminate gay men from history? More hijacking and appropriating gay and lesbian history and political power.

  • Ren

    Is that how you’re erasing trans people from our history these days?

    It was Sylvia Rivera. She was a trans woman. The word “transgender” wasn’t in common use when Stonewall happened, so most of the people that were referred to as drag queens and cross-dressers were actually trans.

  • Jafafa Hots

    It IS transphobic when that offense is based on NOTHING but the mere existence of the term itself, when people have found a purely descriptive, grammatically-correct term with no negative connotations to use in order to get themselves out of the “other” box, and you keep trying to shove them back INTO that “other” box because the word offends you.

    Not because of what it means or how it’s used (I don’t believe your weak protestations for a second), but simply because it EXISTS.

    You’re having the exact same reaction that homophobes and other bigots have when confronted with new words created to try to reduce oppression of a minority.

    “How dare you force this on me.”

    A very conservative reaction.

  • Polterguest

    Drag queens.

  • Jafafa Hots

    You are right this time.
    Gay people have become widely accepted in society, with work still to be done, whereas trans people are targeted by phobia and insults wherever they dare reveal themselves.

    Even on “liberal” gay-friendly blogs.

  • Jafafa Hots

    Utter and complete bullshit, Karmanot, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    “Thirdly, insistence on this artificial construct against all non trans peoples is a form of racism”

    Really? What race is “not-transgender?”
    Transgender is a word for a subset of the population.
    Cisgender is a word for a larger subset of the population.

    This is a recognition that there is no “normal.” There are cisgender men and women, transgender men and women, and some people who don’t feel they fit into either.

    We need ways to discuss this. If the ONLY word used is “transgender,” referring to everyone else as “everyone else,” you might as well just use the word that WILL be used – “normal.”

    Transgender versus “no word for it” = “transgender versus “normal”
    You are arguing for permanent othering of trans people… where the only time it is mentioned, the only place there’s a word for it, is for those who are not within that larger group that is “normal” so it doesn’t NEED a word.

    You’re simply arguing for the status quo.

    “Artificial construct?” THAT is offensive,
    ALL words are artificial constructs. We often construct them BECAUSE THEY ARE NEEDED.
    “Gay” is an artificial construct, as far as words go. Used to mean something else, now it means what it means now.
    Gayness itself was considered an artificial construct, still is by many.
    Many STILL see “gay” as an artificial construct not only linguistically, but as human phenomenon.
    They STILL argue that there are no gay people.

    How can you know all of this and toss out the “artificial construct” BS?

    You do realize, do you not, that science has MANY terms that you as an individual can have applied to you based on your physical, mental, genetic background and health characteristics that you yourself are completely ignorant of, and did not “approve?”

    You are cisgender (or so you seem to be stating.)

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Jafafa Hots

    John, “cisgender: is NOT a word “for gay people.”

    If your offense depends on deliberately misunderstanding a word, continually misrepresenting it, and deliberately ignoring explanation if it, then your offense is pretty clearly offense for offenses sake.

    You used to be a Republican.
    It still shows.

  • Jafafa Hots

    An outsider’s perspective is what’s needed?

    OK here is one,
    I am a heterosexual cisgender man.
    I have been fighting for LGBT causes for years.
    I’ve always had gay friends, and so I got into the fight for their rights.
    I’ve taken on Brian Brown personally. I’ve been harassed, had my home phone called, gotten death threats because of my position. No big deal, I take it.

    Recently I made some trans friends and came to better understand what they are going through.

    I also discovered that some of the most rabidly bigoted anti-trans people are in the gay and lesbian communities, but also many of their staunchest defenders.

    From the perspective of a total outside, white straight middle-aged male, one who used to admire some of your comments, YOU have hurt your movement.

    Because you’ve been astonishingly rude, dismissive of the concerns and experiences of anyone but yourself. and you’ve come across as just about the same way as some of the assholes from the National Organization for Marriage that I’ve had to do battle with.

    “cisgender” is NOT ABOUT GAY MEN. It is of course about all non trans people, but as far as “targets” and “people who need to be educated,” in argument, it is far, FAR more often used to refer to people like me – heterosexual males, than it is gay males.

    I’ve been informed that I am cisgender. I’m fine with that. Because its a word that has a MEANING, a non-offensive meaning, was coined purely to express that meaning and that meaning alone, and was coined not out of slang ot bigotry but simple grammatical rules that apply to everything.

    Part of it coincidentally rhymes with part of something else and you can imagine a connection if you try REALLY hard and deliberately ignore REALITY.

    Boo fucking hoo.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I do speak for myself and appreciate your view. I don’t think it trans-phobic to critize or call into question semantics that offend and insist on offending when called out on it.

  • Jafafa Hots

    Grow up and stop being offended by a SOUND that has nothing to do with insulting people, gay or not.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’m not telling you you aren’t allowed to have any exclusive terms you want but am telling you that cis is offensive to many of us. “instead means that you insist on othering us.” the irony is that you are ‘othering’ yourself.

  • Jafafa Hots

    Finding “cis” offensive makes about as much sense as finding “apple” offensive.
    It’s a fucking PREFIX.

    And it has NOTHING to do with being gay, no more than it does with being blue-eyed.

    Seriously… this makes less sense than being offended by the word “niggardly.” At least in THAT case there’s a clear reason for people’s misapprehension that isn’t entirely imaginary.

    Does the word “sister” offend you too, because it has the exact same sound in it as “cis?”

    Jesus. I’ve seen some stupid arguments in my day but this takes the cake.

  • KF

    I do recall several people who objected to being called straight (forgot about it for a bit). They were men who were attracted exclusively to women, and women attracted exclusively to men. They were somewhat kinky and thought that “straight” was similar to “boring” in terms of sexuality and didn’t want to be thought of that way.

  • Jafafa Hots

    Have you been actually reading this blog lately?
    “Old pro Jon” is quite frequently WRONG, and never admits a mistake… when errors in his posts are pointed out, he MIGHT make a lame excuse in comments, might not, but he never corrects anything.

    I’m referring, of course, to the ten percent of his posts that AREN’T videos or year-old memes culled off of Facebook.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Of course you do. What do cis outsiders know?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Like calling them cis?

  • Jafafa Hots

    Ren was clearly meaning that cisgender people are not marginalized as a class – that class being “cisgender.”

    I seriously cannot believe you misunderstood that.

    I think you’re just flat-out being dishonest now.

  • Jafafa Hots

    And I tell you once more – speak for yourself.

  • Jafafa Hots

    You start first, seeing as you are the one completely misunderstanding the word, let alone who it’s intended to refer to.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I suspect it has a lot to do with age and generational difference, I am not cis and refuse to acknowledge the term.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    excellent comment!

  • Jafafa Hots

    I don’t.
    I am cisgender, a word I learned last year, and I don’t find it offensive – because I bothered to UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF THE FUCKING WORD.

    What is this, a conservative blog? “Don’t go inventing new words!”

    What I DON’T understand is whether or not all of those offended are offended because they don’t understand, or because they’re just assholes.

    There is a shitload of transphobia in the gay community, maybe that’s where it comes from.
    Maybe it comes general ignorance.

    Or maybe it comes from having a reaction like the increasingly thick-headed Aravosis and thinking CIS sounds like “sissy,” and thickheadedly thinking “cisgender” refers to gay people, when in reality probably 80% of the people it refers to are heterosexual?

    “We” cis people do NOT feel offended by the word.
    A FEW cis people are offended by it do to their total misunderstanding of it and their BIGOTED refusal to learn or listen.

    The vast majority of cis people are not offended, either thinking “huh?” or never having heard of it.

    Speak for yourself.
    I am cisgender, and I am reading this thread full of bigotry with a feeling like I accidentally stumbled across Stormfront or WorldNetDaily comments.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    He was bff’s with Princes Margret,

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    —Probably one of the most lively and animated conversations here in a long while. Some of us started out very pro-trans advocacy and engaged in dialogue, only to find ourselves insulted and condescended to in a patronizing tone as cis-people, who simply couldn’t possibly understand the agonizing struggle for civil rights or the horrors of marginalization. The pro-trans commentor was articulate and engaging at first, but it became increasingly clear that the discussion was one way only and that differences of opinion were terms of bias. Trans advocacy as only trans can define it appears to be brittle, inflexible and quite frankly too hostile to the gay community. Considering our options for the GLB communities my efforts will be further directed toward coalitions who put out the welcome mat. It seems to me that if this voice is the standard of the ‘non-cis’ world then building civil rights advocacy based on diversity, but common goals, will be a long time coming for the trans world and that is a shame.

  • Jafafa Hots

    cisgender has nothing to do with orientation. It has to do with gender.

    One way to tell is because it contains the word “gender.”

    Amazing fucking coincidence, huh?

  • Jafafa Hots

    Cisgender refers to all people who are not transgender.
    Just because part of sounds vaguely like a slur used against gay men does not mean it is.

    As far as online arguments, activism, etc., it is far more often used to refer to straight men and women, trying to explain reality to them so they are not bigoted against trans people AS WELL AS gay people.

    Would you have a shitfit about the use of the word homophone? Because you’re having a shitfit about a word that is one… or rather, partly one IF you squint really hard and deliberately misinterpret it.

    Stop being so thick.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    next

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Nope, it was meant as affirmation— in spite of the chip on your shoulder. We have a lot of history behind us. We don’t stop advocating for civil rights because black churches launched prop 8 bigotry against our community.—just an example.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Whatever

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Congratulations, you’ve managed to alienate just about every non-trans supporter here.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    If you would listen you might change your mind.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Clearly you have a enough shit from what I’ve observed and I will continue to respond.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “I have to revert to calling people “not transgender”" Your arrogant solipsism is a problem. We cis people feel offended by your labeling.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    FYI: You are not a mod here and I will address your comments at my will.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You define condescending as the simple fact that someone disagrees with you. I wish some of you would simple be eillng to have a mature adult and rational conversation .

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Then we have a fundamental disagreement over what it means to be a civil rights advocate. I’d argue that my approach has worked.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Don’t underestimate yourself.

  • Jani Louvel

    You dumb jackoff

  • pappyvet

    I am not going to argue with you. I said that it offended me and you did not skip a beat. Clearly it does not matter to you that it is offensive , you would rather come up with high school rationalizations to continue no matter what I say. You have found a way to separate , so be it. You should read ALL of my comment and also John’s response to BeminDC below.

  • mpeasee

    ….I am retracting my comment, and going to my room. :(

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Semantics: “Transgender people initiated—” make that participated in leadership roles.”

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    No, trans people do not suck. The issues are complex, intricate and heatedly emotional. The inability of eloquently expressed trans positions to penetrate even a liberal forum like this is disturbing. Many if not most of us want identity freedom and the civil rights that recognize it. If we can’t find overlap in empowering language the bigots win and coalitions will be ages in the making. Clearly those of us who have been around for a long time and offer advice from the battlefield thought maybe a few tips would be helpful. But as is often the case in generational wisdom……not wanted. The road to freedom is always fought anew and is always hard. Rejecting the history and accumulated wisdom of elders is not a good idea—-just say’un.

  • Polterguest

    Feel free to turn off your email notification. As long as you comment, anyone gets to respond to your comments.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Are you implying that the trans community considers cis people to be racist. Now that is an interesting idea and deserves exploration.

  • KF

    Did you also see the panel he had on afterwards to discuss Janet Mock and her gender? That was ridiculous.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I would rather be convinced, and understand that your eloquence on the subject of cis reminds me to be of an open mind, if not an advocate of a movement that wants no outside complexities, other terminologies, or cis input.Thus the hyperbole of ‘cultists.’

  • KF

    What has he done that was significant for LGBT people?

  • Polterguest

    Well if you look at the internet, tumblr, and twitter that is pretty much all the time.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “open your eyes and recognize some harsh realities.” I remember being in Mississippi in 1964 and being run off the road for drinking at the wrong fountain. Don’t lecture me on harsh realities. The fact is civil rights includes you and we old advocates will continue our support of civil rights, including your right to piss where ever you wish—even on AmericaBlog.

  • sinmantyx

    It sort of telling that the atmosphere of this comments section is so anti-trans that a simple statement like that, aimed towards the idea that members of a group should be leaders within their own movement, can be easily read as sarcasm.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “it’s imperative that we are in control of our own advocacy.” So true. Good luck.

  • uhhuhh

    I care what he thinks. He’s been commenting here far longer than you have.
    Sorry, but no one is shutting up just because you throw a tantrum.

  • uhhuhh

    Your victim ideology is cookie-cutter and comical.

  • sinmantyx

    And this is the problem – the Just World Fallacy at it’s finest.

  • uhhuhh

    Nah, I don’t feel like fucking myself now, tranny.

  • uhhuhh

    No, I will speak whenever I damn well please. I don’t need transgender permission to object to a slur.

  • Ren

    Your debating skills are piss poor.

  • Ren

    They may not use it as an insult, but I already told you that it has a historical context of being oppressive. “Cis” does not. And never will, because cis people are not oppressed for being cis.

    Go fuck yourself.

  • uhhuhh

    Hahahahahaha!!!!!
    You’ve certainly drunk down the victim ideology. Good luck with that.

  • Ren

    Ableist rhetoric doesn’t look good on you.

  • uhhuhh

    Just like lots of people don’t use “tranny” as an insult. Your hypocrisy deepens.
    I didn’t say I’ve never engaged in trans politics. I have, quite effectively. You’re welcome, tranny.

  • Ren

    He’s not marginalized for being cisgender.

  • Ren

    I can’t abuse power that I don’t have.

  • Ren

    I don’t use it as an insult. But you’re a one-track narrow-minded asshole, so I have no problem with you never engaging in trans politics anyway.

  • uhhuhh

    It’s a way of telling everyone else to shut up and do as you say. It’s just another form of abusing power. It’s just a kind of abuse of power that you like.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “—-and cisgender people are not.” Tell that to a black, gay Baptist man” and get back to me. Unless you are implying that only white people are cis and that is well, you know—racist.

  • Ren

    It’s not a fucking insult.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    “I’m never going to stop insulting you, so you might as well accept it.”

    Great inclusive logic.

  • Anon

    @disqus_GY5JdgipQO:disqus You are completely loony. Morgan bent over backwards to be polite and understanding and hundreds of thousands of assholes on Twitter went apeshit on him over it.

  • uhhuhh

    I couldn’t care less what insulting slur to cast at me. But you’re both politically stupid and philosophically fascistic and hypocritical to do so. I have no trouble wiping your spit off my face and then doing nothing to help your cause.

  • Ren

    It’s way of telling people that their perspective as an outsider is biased.

  • uhhuhh

    It’s not a crutch; it’s a club. It’s a weapon for shutting down any other perspective and avoiding having to actually defend one’s own.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Maybe—in time.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Wrong. It’s the entire reason.

  • uhhuhh

    Just like “straight” when you’re talking about gay, which is exactly how I corrected his analogy.

    Male or female is not the same as male or abnormal. His analogy was falsely exploiting the normative condemnation of built into abnormal.

  • Ren

    I asked you to stop responding to my comments. I don’t give a shit what you think anymore.

  • Ren

    I disagree.

  • Ren

    You don’t have to adopt it. But I’m never going to stop calling you and other people like you “cis”, so you might as well try to understand it.

  • Ren

    When that label is causing you institutional oppression, come back and talk to me. Until then, I don’t care.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s perceived as pejorative.

  • Ren

    I am full-on tired of arguing about this term with you.

    - I did not make up this term. The trans community didn’t even make it up. The term was coined by a German sexologist in 1991. He referred to “cissexual” people as opposed to “transsexual.” He wasn’t transgender.

    - A lot of words sound like other words. I didn’t make up the prefixes “trans” and “cis”. They were in existence within chemistry, as an example, long before we started talking about transgender and cisgender.

    - If I invented a word to ONLY TALK ABOUT GAY PEOPLE and that word was “cis,” you MIGHT have an argument. However, this is a word to describe everyone who isn’t transgender. And a lot of transgender people are actually gay. Surprise.

    When it comes down to it, cis people are not marginalized for being cis, trans people are marginalized for not being cis. So yeah, it’s “the man” (you) putting us down.

  • uhhuhh

    I couldn’t care less what you appreciate when you’re shoving labels down other people’s throats.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The conversation is vigorous and that is good. However, telling professed gay advocates that their elitism as white males is a definition of identity is—racist and loses support. In attempting to join this discussion based on 40 years of civil rights advocacy I don’t appreciate being called the peanut gallery. If you don’t want support from the gay community just say so. Our own struggle is still ongoing. BTW I am not Cis, I am gay male—period. If you can’t respect that buzz off.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Everyone has someone who enjoys more privilege than them. At some point, the argument becomes a crutch rather than a tool for furthering the conversation. I’m not denying that privilege exists, I’m suggesting that the way it’s incessantly by some advicates is counterproductive.

  • uhhuhh

    I didn’t say you changed your gender, so you can shove that straw man and your feigned offense up your ass. I explained where the word came from decades ago. If you find “trans” meaning “change” offensive, I suggest you spend more time coming up with a replacement term for yourself instead of shoving names down other people’s throats.

    I couldn’t give a damn whether you ever listen to me or not. What I won’t ever do is adopt “cis” as my label.

    My identity, my goddamn choice.

  • Ren

    It is not a theory that straight people enjoy more privilege in society than gay people, or that men enjoy more privilege than women. You can say you don’t subscribe to the theory, but you are denying a lived reality. That’s why you don’t think the conversation is moving forward.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    So you’re offended that he’s offended that you made up a new word for him that he finds offensive. I have to say, there’s a certain beauty to the dialectic that you guys subscribe to. It always manages to turn everything back to the man putting you down, even when you made up a word to describe him, and a word that just happens to sound like a traditional gay slur.

  • Ren

    I’m no longer speaking to you. Please stop responding to my comments. It’s clogging up my emails.

  • Ren

    I never changed my gender. Just everyone else’s perception of what my gender was.

    Tr*nny has a contextual history of being used to dehumanize and oppress trans people (specifically trans women). So unfortunately you’re wrong there.

    As I said to everyone else in this thread, your insistence in being referred to as “not transgender” implies that you want to be the default and trans people othered as different.

    As I also said in this thread, I don’t care about offensive. I care about oppressive. When cis people are being oppressed for being cis, I’ll give you a listen.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You are doing a great job of alienating allies here. Closing hearts and minds. Come back in a few years and tell us what it’s like outstanding in your field alone, except for Janet of course.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You’re talking politics of privilege, and that’s why these conversations are failing. There’s a subset of the left that subscribes to radical queer theory, and defines every issue by race and privilege. A lot of us don’t. But the bigger problem isn’t simply that we speak a different language, it’s that those theories seem to be based on shutting down anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the theory, and especially people who are male, white, or gay – and if you’re the trifecta, kiss your whitey faggot ass goodbye. :) Those theories may help you understand these issues. But they cause anger, division and mostly sow confusion when used on issues like this in the public sphere. So you can bring it up, but it doesn’t help move the conversation forward, and I’d argue that it moves it backwards. It may be a helpful construct to use in your own community, however you define that community, but in conversations like this, I’ve seen it wielded as a rhetorical weapon again and again, and it has never moved the conversation forward.

  • uhhuhh

    “Trans” also means “change.” That’s where transsexual came from. “Cis” means “on this side of” and “cisgender” means gibberish.

    In any event, I find “cis” offensive. I find its gibberish meaning offensive. I find its resemblance to “sissy” offensive. I find the transgender imposition of it without my consent offensive. And I find its use as a slur offensive.

    To repeat: My identity, my goddamn choice of label. Or shall I just start using “tranny” based on my own assessment that there’s nothing linguistically wrong with it?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t think she explained any of the gender wording issues at all in her first interview, so he didn’t ignore or not hear anything. The second interview was a mess all around. She was ticked, he was pissed, and it was more like a typical tv interview where there’s lot of talking and not much understanding.

    There’s a larger problem I’m seeing here and on twitter. I’m being repeatedly told that it wasn’t Janet’s job to educate him on whether or not she was born a boy, that that’s basic trans 101 and Morgan should have either known it already, or gone and found out before the interview. And that’s a rather odd position for someone to take who’s out there writing a book and then going on TV to try to educate America about an issue taht we presume most Americans, including most TV personalities, know very little about.

    You’re doing the education because you know people just don’t know the basics of your issue, and then you’re angry at people for not knowing the basics, and you dont think it’s your job to explain it to them, which actually is your job as it’s the reason you wrote the book and went on TV in the first place.

    As a gay rights advocate, whose professional life has been spent helping straight people with teachable moments in the public eye, often on tv, some nasty and some friendly, I have no idea what to even do with the notion that it’s not our job to educate people about our issues. And that we should be pissed off at people who don’t understand our issues but are on our side. That attitude will get you nowhere in terms of changing hearts and minds.

  • Ren

    “Trans” means “across”. I’m not “across” a gender.

  • uhhuhh

    It’s not the opposite of “trans” in the sense trans is used in transgender. Cis means “on this side of.” I’m not “on this side” of gender. That’s gibberish.

    It took hate-filled trans militants about two seconds to turn it into a slur.

    My identity, my choice of label. Fuck “cis”!

  • Ren

    “Male” is a loaded term when you are talking about a woman.

  • Ren

    I’m saying that you can’t tell me that every single person who encountered misunderstanding never became frustrated or angry. Whether you personally did or didn’t isn’t my point. You sound like you’re framing it that only the trans community responds in the way Janet Mock did.

    Race should absolutely come up ad nauseum, though. When you are talking about the politics of privilege versus marginalization, race comes into play – as does every other axis of oppression: trans or not, able-bodied or not, fat or thin, . It’s impossible to zone in on just one part of a person’s identity. A black trans woman like Janet Mock is going to face a much bigger backlash than a white trans woman would. Of course I’d love to think otherwise, but it’s a truth that people of colour are slighted. So we have to bring it up in order to have a serious conversation.

  • uhhuhh

    We’re also not going to tolerate all this smug sanctimony about respecting trans perspectives while they shove “CIS” down our throats as our imposed identity.

  • uhhuhh

    “Normal” is loaded; “male” is not. Your analogy fails. The correct analogy would be “straight”/ to “gay,” which plenty of us have plenty of experience politely correcting when somebody is sitting there being so positive.

    I’m offended at trans people shoving “CIS” down my throat as my identity. It’s not my identity, and I refuse to adopt it, no matter how cowering, spineless, and obedient you are to their dictates.

  • AndyinChicago

    I get what you’re saying; creating a conflict isn’t helping the cause of trans-folk if it stifles the chances of positive representation by alienating possible allies. But I also still see Mock’s point. I feel that neither side is being completely transparent; Morgan was effusively positive toward Mock, but didn’t seem to be hearing all of what she was saying. Mock took her offense publicly and very strongly, putting Morgan on the defensive. And Morgan was super defensive in the second interview, which came off as slightly combative on both sides. I guess where I disagree with you is (while I don’t disagree that this might not have been the best way to handle the conflict) more that I don’t think that Morgan was doing his due diligence in trying to avoid obvious conflicts.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I sure as hell didn’t. I don’t think I EVER ripped the head of any friendly interviewer because they got their words wrong, or didn’t fully understand our community. If they were friendly I took the opportunity to educate them nicely. And I’m fixating on the “white” issue because it’s something that comes every every time, ad nauseum, that we discuss any of these issues. Go look at my twitter feed right now. And after the 500th person wants to analyze whether you’re right or wrong based on your race, you end up being kind of over it :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Funny you should mention bathroom panic. I met a wonderful trans advocate, probably 12 years ago now, at a talk we were both giving. She was from I think Wisconsin. Did an Internet radio show there. What an amazing woman and amazing advocate. She was a big fan of the “no stupid questions rule.” She was the first openly trans person that I think I’d ever met. And I wanted to get to know her and understand the entire issue better, and she couldn’t have been more welcoming. She was the one who insisted, right off the bat, that we have the “potty” discussion, as I think she called it at the time. I learned a lot from her. And I’ve rarely seen anyone, gay or trans, or from any other community for that matter, who was so open and willing to educate someone who had no background and wanted to learn. She’s the paragon of what I hope to aspire to in my activism, and what I wish others would emulate as well.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Many of us might agree that Morgan is an asshole and conducted himself badly in the follow up, which only added fuel to the paranoid fire of some non-cis community. Alread CIS is taking on the absurdest formations of its limited nomenclature.

  • Ren

    I’m sure plenty of us (I’m gay, too) did call them homophobic when they got it wrong. Your implication that only trans people get angry and frustrated when someone gets it wrong is a major generalization, and refusing to think that anyone who is in your particular group is capable of that kind of frustration isn’t realistic.

    I’m not sure why you’re fixating on me pointing out that Piers Morgan is white. I was making a very specific point that in the context of power dynamics – something you are refusing to try to understand.

  • sinmantyx

    To some degree, I suppose you’re right.

    Of course, there are a lot of reason for that.

    However, one of them isn’t “because trans people suck” however much some people on here want to embrace that idea.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well done. I’ve always maintained that ‘norma’l is something to be vigorously overcome, like suburban architecture. :-)

  • sinmantyx

    Cultists?

    wow.

    yeah.

    We’ll see where your hyperbole gets you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Make that a good Zinfandel and I’m inviting myself to join.

  • Ren

    If you haven’t heard of Martha P. Johnson, you’re reading a pretty selectively version of history.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    They weren’t. But when someone rightfully called them out for getting it wrong, we didn’t call the accuser a homophobe and then start talking about the color of his skin. Some of us recognize that we don’t always get it right. I think it’s why we’ve been so succesful and why we win.

  • Ren

    Maybe this is because you only choose to interact with trans people when they’re upset about something.

  • http://www.hyperdeath.co.uk hyperdeath

    What kind of pathetic excuse for an “ally” are you, if you stop supporting a group because a member of that group is rude to you? I think the word “saviour” pretty much sums up your mentality. You pompously offer allyship, expecting respect and gratitude in return. When that (completely undeserved) gratitude fails to materialize, you start sulking.

  • Ren

    The difference being transgender people are a marginalized class, and cisgender people are not.

  • Ren

    It is a commonplace prefix to be used as the opposite of trans, not just in the terms I gave before (“cis-atlantic” vs. “trans-atlantic”). It is also incredibly common in chemistry. It being archaic doesn’t make it offensive.

    Why do you think that you’re the expert on the common usage of “cis” (which isn’t capitalized, I’m not sure why people keep doing that)? I can guarantee that I spend more time with trans people than you do, and it is very rarely used in anger. When it is, it still means the exact same thing it does when we’re not angry.

    All words were once “artificial construct”. Comparing it to the deep suffering, dehumanization, and ostracization of people of colour is racist as hell. You actually believe that cis people are being discriminated against when that term is applied? Wow.

    Your replies to me have become increasingly aggressive and now oppressive. Overall, you haven’t convinced me, and calling me a cultist is laughable.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Exactly

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Transgender people initiated the LGBT movement as it is today.” ROTFL so delusional my friend. Perhaps you are too young to know our history.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “My impression is that the trans movement is about 20 years behind where the gay movement is.” BINGO!

  • Polterguest

    For one, because it’s nearly always used as a pejorative and, quite often, along with hate and violence-focused speech by the trans people that love it so much.

  • BeminDC

    Well put. And will be dismissed by someone who only speaks but does not listen in THREE, TWO, ONE!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Funny, I think that’s Piers Morgan’s position.

  • Ren

    When someone can explain to me the offense taken, I might change my mind.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “why it’s offensive” let me give a go at it: first, pretensions to the classicism of Latin are archaic, however correct, and no not structurally align anymore to the opposite of trans. Second, common usage of ‘CIS’ is exclusively and always inappropriately classifying as ‘other’ a complex community of gay, lesbian and bi peoples or straights. Thirdly, insistence on this artificial construct against all non trans peoples is a form of racism and will conflate the perception that trans gendered people who insist on it in the public sphere appear as cultists. See how far that gets you politically or culturally.

  • Ren

    People were blasting him on Twitter before she said anything to him. She didn’t start the fire.

    You aren’t watching enough interviews of trans people if you think this was the best one. Try Janet Mock’s interview with Melissa Harris-Perry.

    Race has everything to do with power dynamics. I certainly would be just as angry, but the context would be completely different. When we do Trans Day of Rememberance, 98% of the murdered victims are trans women of colour like Janet Mock. Internationality is very important.

  • FJ

    I’m not sure I agree. Does the shortening of transgender to trans, which a growing number of transgender people choose to use, and which I personally like and use a lot, automatically mean that a corresponding term “cis” can be forcibly applied to people who aren’t trans, and they have no choice or say in the matter of how they identify or are identified? Just because it comes naturally to the person who’s applying the label to others doesn’t mean that it’s natural for or welcomed by those to whom it is being applied.

  • Ren

    Being able to use the bathroom you want to is a privilege. Not having to answer whether or not you’re a “real” man is a privilege. Never having to have a panel of people discuss the validity of your gender is a privilege. Not having to convince the government of your gender is a privilege. Not having the idea of that your medical history is public information is a privilege. Do I need to go on?

    You may be marginalized as a gay person, but you have privilege on the axis of being not transgender. You may think I need to grow up, but I think you need to actually open your eyes and recognize some harsh realities.

  • Polterguest

    Not at all (but of course you actually know that.) However the presence of some trans people (along with drag queens and effeminate men that wouldn’t identify as trans) doesn’t mean that trans started or jump started the gay and lesbian rights movement in some way that we owe you deference to your opinions when we disagree with them. And I’m well aware that there is a good mix of gay and straight identities among trans people.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    But he didn’t turn on her. He gave her quite likely the biggest softball interview I’ve seen in the history of civil rights.

    He only got upset when she blasted him on Twitter, with 24,000 followers, and then scores of those followers started blasting him.

    Blasting him for the biggest softball interview, mind you.

    So if you’re upset that Piers Morgan got angry on twitter, perhaps attacking him for doing a softball interview where he gushed over your advocate wasn’t the wisest approach.

    And no one’s race has anything to do with this issue. I hope you’d be just as angry if a white trans man were on the show and a black female host had said the same thing. If not, then there are other issues here that need to be addressed as well.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    So, if traveling from SF to NY, it’s the Cis Continental Railway?

  • Ren

    I have pointed out in so, so many comments why Morgan has contributed to oppressing our movement here. I am so tired of trying to convince people otherwise. If you think the words he used to describe us were “friendly,” I think you’re the one who is out of touch with reality.

    For what it’s worth, between Twitter and Tumblr, I have seen far more people reactive positively toward Janet Mock than Piers Morgan. To me, that confirms I am in fact in touch with reality. Sorry you aren’t willing to join us.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Whether you believe we are hurting our movement is not for you to determine as an outsider.” You are, take it from an outsider.

  • sinmantyx

    We can and we have (at least where I am) – just not on the comments section of a blog where the person writing the OP is tone-trolling trans advocates by simultaneously saying that trans advocates should correct people when their wrong and also not sweat the “little stuff”.

    He also says we’re doing a bad job of educating people while flat-out calling an offer of free consulting “offensive”.

    So – really this is just fodder for the peanut gallery – not the people who are calling themselves “allies” while acting like enemy combatants.

    If they were going to lend real support, they already would have.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “You are a person of privilege (not trans) telling a marginalized group how to handle their oppression.” What Bull Sh*t. I am nearly seventy years old, and I am telling you that much of your mojo came from Gl communities who made it possible for you to come out. Person of privilege indeed. Grow up or you’ll find your self embracing a trans cult divorced from the greater good of full civil rights.

  • Ren

    Who said we reject inclusion? Because we have a word that means “not transgender”? You have a word for “not straight”. Does that mean you want to be given special privileges from straight people? You want to be exclusive? Of course not.

    I’m all for you dropping the T if you’re not going to refer to trans people in your advocacy. I mean, please, don’t humour us if you don’t actually want to help us out. But the insistence here that “cis” is insulting continues to be flat-out ridiculous.

  • Sam

    I think that it’s so far out of touch with reality to claim Morgan isn’t a friend to the movement that I don’t think it is worth responding further. I can and do understand why reasonable people would rather just avoid the subject entirely than have their well meaning efforts turned around and used as fuel for a pointless, divisive attack.

    I don’t mean to name call, but it’s delusional. Good luck seeing how many people you convince with Mock’s tactics. My guess would be less than zero. How many already on your side will be turned away by her rudeness and cheap point scoring? My guess would be more than the one i can already confirm (myself).

  • Ren

    He is welcome to give his advice. We are welcome to take it or leave it. We are also welcome to say that his advice is unsolicited.

    The trans community has plenty of their own “old pros”. It’s not a new movement. One of my therapists transitioned thirty years ago, and is a pretty prominent trans advocate. We have our own strategies as well. Having done a lot of advocacy and forming strategies does not mean he knows what is best for the transgender movement as well. I have brought up here that there are nuances that people who are not transgender would never recognize. That is why it’s imperative that we are in control of our own advocacy.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That’s an excellent question. If one gathers from the comments of intelligent Trans people here it would seem that NO, the trans community rejects inclusion in the GLB coalitions of civil rights and advocacy. I will stop using the ‘T’ until that becomes clearer. I ‘feel’ the trans communities represented here are still too close to exclusive trauma to be open to coalitions, and certainly closed to changing insulting terms for non trans advocates. ‘CIS’ is not going to work for me—–except when I fly Cis Atlantic.

  • Ren

    I get the analogy you’re trying to make (I don’t like being called a homo either) but it doesn’t quite reach across, because it’s also commonplace to refer to ourselves as “trans people” instead of always as “transgender people”, so “cis people” comes as naturally.

  • Ren

    I keep mentioning this, but no one seems to actually get it. Piers Morgan is a rich, white, straight man. Janet Mock is a black, transgender woman. There is a power dynamic at play here. People like Piers Morgan have a lot of power in today’s society. He is represented by the vast majority of people who have authority. So when someone like that turns on a marginalized minority and has a tirade in public calling them “hysterical,” “ludicrous,” “nonsensical,” “dimwits,” “stupid,” etc., he is doing massive damage to the community. For people here to continue referring to him as an ally after that is baffling to me. It’s like watching a grown parent shout down at a child. I didn’t want to make that comparison, because I don’t want to give off the idea that trans people don’t have any agency since many children don’t, but that’s the power dynamic that’s taking place.

    Janet Mock is one of the greatest advocates the trans community has. She is absolutely not a problem. The fact that she was willing to get back onto Piers Morgan’s show, probably knowing that she was going to be shouted down by him, and make one further attempt at education even though he only wanted to be justified in his actions is one of some serious bravery and courage. To go back and face someone with as much authority and societal power as Piers Morgan? I couldn’t do it, and I will continue to laud her for that. Her position was one of “they can’t tell us how to define our bodies, and I will not stand for it.” That’s a difficult to position to hold. I’m sorry it’s imposible to recognize that.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    When you ignore the advice of an old pro like John and his mastery of strategy you do no service to pro-trans advocacy. You impress me as highly intelligent, but politically immature. Learn, listen, grow have a broader perspective.

  • FJ

    The term cisgender isn’t offensive to me, but I agree that the term “cis” is used often as an epithet towards non-transgender people.

    For me, the parallel is “homosexual” and “homo.” I identify as gay, and don’t use those terms. If someone called me a homo because “it’s the opposite of hetero,” we’d have a problem. If someone insisted on calling me homosexual because it’s the opposite of heterosexual, same issue. Just because the prefix trans- has an opposite in cis- doesn’t mean that it should be applied to people who see it as a negative, judgmental label. Particularly when it’s commonly used as such.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You are losing me Ren, but I won’t give up on advocacy for the trans community.

  • Ren

    You seem to be suffering under the delusion that trans people just weren’t there at all. Or that trans people aren’t gay.

  • Polterguest

    Nope. That’s not how it happened. Gay men and women were doing real work before the riots. And gay men and women continued doing the work and funding the movement after.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’d like to learnsome history and links to that—-interesting supposition that I heard here for the first time. Those of us around at Stonewall give full credit to drag Queens for that breakthrough.

  • Sam

    No because I would be rightly offended. If she had treated him with professionalism and courtesy in her criticism, I doubt he’d have been so angry in his reply. I truly found how she turned on him – seemingly just to stir up controversy, biting the hand that feeds her when it comes to having given her that very soft ball forum to appear on national tv – outrageous. I would be angry if I were Morgan too. Not just because it would mean I’m Piers Morgan.

    Trans people I would say this: you already have me on your side. Mock is the problem here, and it doesn’t make sense to circle the wagons for someone who is counter productive to your cause. Forget the issue at hand for the moment. If she were speaking about consumer rights, or the environment, etc, and had an interview like the one she got, and then behaved as she did on twitter and the press, would I be wrong to say that she is the one making her cause look bad, not Morgan for running a caption she disagreed with?

    She looks like an egomaniac. It’s just bad optics. Bad PR. And it does no one any good to try and berate people and tell them that they’re wrong for calling her out on it. That doesn’t score you any points and it doesn’t change any minds. To all the reasonable, open minded straight people out there (and gay ones too like me) it just makes me want to dismiss everything she says out of hand.

  • Ren

    Yep. Look it up. And, sorry, but I disagree with you. If we can live harmoniously as “heterosexual” and “homosexual” (and all the other labels), then people can learn what “cisgender” means and live harmoniously with that label as well.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Really? Cis- Atlantic? That’s new to me. I learned something. I feel you are a purest in this regard and that’s fine, but not taking into account the ‘effect’ of exclusive language on the inclusion of the T communities in the broader culture will hinder the goals of civil rights.

  • Ren

    “I thought the conversation was coming to a close. I was wrong.”

    (And you to me: “Insufferable. I’m out.”)

  • BeminDC

    “I think my time leaving comments here is winding to a close . . .” Uh huh.

  • Ren

    I never told you I was done. That was something you said, not me.

  • BeminDC

    You told me you were done!

  • Ren

    Don’t call me that, please.

    Also, reminder that you told me you were “done” with me a few hours ago but are also still here replying. I thought the conversation was coming to a close. I was wrong.

  • Ren

    If it were initiated as a pejorative word, that might hold water. It is not.

  • BeminDC

    Gurrrrrrrrl, this is the longest wind down to comments I’ve ever seen! Have a good weekend and good luck with your advocacy.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s becoming ‘historical’ by common usage and is pejorative to large numbers of GLB communities who would be your advocates.

  • Ren

    I didn’t even see a connection with “sissy” until today. As I said more than once, “cis” is the Latin prefix that is opposite of “trans.” There is nothing wrong with it.

    Male or female do not identify whether or not someone is transgender, so they aren’t helpful or appropriate.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I understand the reasoning. It’s like calling people atheists if they don’t believe in god, thus assuming there is a god. People don’t understand ‘CIS’ for GLB folk it brings up terms like sissy and is offensive. If the trans is toward original nature then it is not necessary to define ‘other than.’ Thus male or female is appropriate and not loaded with such controversy.

  • Ren

    Love how Janet’s picture was high school nonsense, but Piers Morgan’s manchild temper tantrum over Twitter isn’t even mentioned by you.

    What you’re saying here is that you’re only on the side of trans people if they don’t show any emotion when responding to their oppression. That’s a problem.

  • BeminDC

    Amen. There is something to be said for civility and trying to work together (at least with friends). Save a little bit of the vitriol for the Fox-bots and their truly offensive “bathroom panic” stories . . .

  • Ren

    Human beings have been doing that since the beginning of time.

    Fun fact, though, the first instance of someone using “cis” in reference to trans people was actually a scientist who was not transgender. He said “cissexual” though, comparing it with “transsexual”.

  • Sam

    Rude, unprofessional, looking like she was just trying to score cheap points off someone who gave her an incredibly supportive softball interview. That her first tweet was “get it the fuck together” speaks volumes. That’s not how an activist or educator speaks. That is someone LOOKING to be offended. Looking to get attention and stir up controversy rather than engage in constructive discussion. It seems ungrateful after having been given a very supportive national tv platform on which to speak at length on her views and life. What sealed it for me was the absurd photo she posted of her rolling her eyes at Morgan. Total highschool nonsense. I don’t care for Morgan at all – when I end up taking his side and feeling sorry for the guy, clearly she was in the wrong.

    Why is it I’m on the side of trans people 99 times out of 100, but not here? It has everything to do with Ms Mock’s conduct.

  • Ren

    I am not attempting to alienate people here, but I do not appreciate the multitude of people telling me that I have to revert to calling people “not transgender” because they’re uncomfortable with being placed on equal footing with trans people with a term that describes whether they transitioned or not.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I remember decades ago when a well meaning relative asked which one of was the wife. I was tempted to say, “the butch one,” but didn’t. Explanations followed and it was worth it.

  • BeminDC

    (and/but normal human beings do not usually make up words to describe other groups of people without their consent)

  • Ren

    When cis people are being denied job opportunities, kicked out of women’s shelters for being the “wrong” gender, denied bathroom and change room usage, and being murdered only because they are cisgender, you can start complaining about that history to me.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I find you an articulate and forceful voice for the trans community, but find my own advocacy for the trans community dulled by the intransigent, seemingly inreasing gap between the GLB and the trans community to be only growing wider. Alienating supportive advocates here does not argue well for the future. I empathize with John’s frustration. If the trans community cannot build coalitions with experienced civil rights groups it is a sad day indeed.

  • Ren

    “Queer” began as a slur. There isn’t a comparison here.

    You have this backwards. Telling us that we aren’t allowed to have a term that refers to non-transgender people – and considering the “trans” and “cis” are Latin opposites, “cisgender” is a perfectly logical word to use – instead means that you insist on othering us. That “transgender” is abnormal, and “not transgender” is normal.

    If you are not trans, I don’t particularly appreciate you telling me that my movement will fail because we came up with a term that was helpful in our cause. I’m sorry that allies suddenly decided to stop listening once they realised trans people decided to assert themselves as normal human beings.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I prefer ‘fabulous myself! :-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ‘cisgender’ may be the go to point for the trans lexicon, but like ‘queer’ it’s wide acceptance in the longer ‘innings’ as John opined will only add to perception of an apartheid exclusiveness of the trans movement. Lumping non-trans, including straight, gay, bi and all degrees between as other is not going to help build a broad spectrum of advocacy outside the trans community. If the community insists on it as public advocacy the movement will fail to flourish. If people stop listening no progress will happen.

  • Ren

    Just an extra response, because I think you added that last line in before I saw it: there is a difference between me telling you that you are condescending to trans people because you think you know how to handle our movement better than we do, and you telling me that I’m condescending to you because I know how to handle my movement better than you do.

    You are a person of privilege (not trans) telling a marginalized group how to handle their oppression. I am a person of said marginalized group telling you we can handle it for ourselves and don’t need your input. There is a power dynamic at play that you are ignoring.

  • Ren

    I don’t get to decide what’s offensive, but I can certainly demand a reason. However, no one here, despite many, many requests, is able to give me a reason why it’s offensive. I’m left to assume that they just don’t like the idea of trans people identifying them as something other than “normal”.

    In the end, I don’t give a fuck about what’s “offensive.” I give a fuck about what’s “oppressive.” And changing the language that is logically based on the Latin opposite of the “trans” prefix because people refuse to understand it is an act of oppression.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It is important to get this definition out in a more inclusive way. Your use of it seems perfectly fine.

  • Ren

    Most people refer to Stonewall as the catalyst of the movement. Either way, the point stands that we were there are the beginning and our rights have already been ignored.

  • Polterguest

    “Transgender people initiated the LGBT movement as it is today.” That myth completely ignores all the great work done by pioneers like Frank Kameny and the Mattachine Society and the lesbians in the Daughters of Bilitis. They were doing excellent, substantive work well before the Stonewall Riots. And I wouldn’t even agree that the riots were a trans initiated event.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bingo!

  • Polterguest

    Again, YOU don’t get to decide what is offensive to me. In the end, you actually understand that, but you choose to be an asshole about it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well done!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Agree with you completely.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Trans advocates need to explain this issue better” For starters, it would be mandatory to be thoroughly versed in the facts of scientific biology and apply critical reasoning to the results of trans gender nature. Otherwise, her advocacy resembles a creationist arguing cause with an evolutionist.

  • BeminDC

    Leave me alone! ;)

  • Ren

    Could say the same thing about you guys.

  • Ren

    You people are literally impossible. It’s commonplace to refer to which side of the Atlantic ocean you’re on as “trans-Atlantic” or “cis-Atlantic” but OH NO “cisgender” is OFFENSIVE AS HELL. Ridiculous.

  • BeminDC

    With friends like these . . . who needs Fox News and the Teabillies . . .

  • Ren

    I’m sure every gay person in history was the perfect picture of poise and grace when it comes to how they react to media representation.

  • sinmantyx

    And just to make this clear to you.

    I volunteered at call centers. I wrote letters to the editor. I bought over 8 yard signs on our busy street because they kept getting vandalized. I actually confronted one of the vandals once. When my family and I were driving down the road with our “Vote No” bumper sticker, a group of guys in a truck pulled up beside our car, opened their car door and yelled at us because of it.

    Enjoy your marriage rights.

    I did those things because it was the right things to do – the least I could do. I don’t expect you to return the favor and give any f**ks about my friends and family having access to healthcare; or, on a national level, being protected by anti-discrimination laws.

    I didn’t do those things for points – I did them because they were the right thing to do.

    I’m just mentioning it to illustrate how ridiculous it would have been – if upon seeing a gay person upset about something or acting in a way that annoyed me – I said:

    “You’ve lost one ally. I guess you don’t think you need any allies, so it all works out.”

    I mean – you’re acting like a nasty customer at a Fast Food place or something. It’s really ridiculous.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well done!

  • Ren

    Lol. I’ve spent hours here explaining to people why things are offensive and why they aren’t and at the end of it, I get fools like you.

  • Ren

    I’m promoting discussion. I thought you said you were done with me. Stop fucking talking to me. You don’t want an education from me.

  • Ren

    No, absolutely NOT. I refuse to use my life as someone’s “teachable moment.” This is literally the most disgusting thing you have said to me during this conversation. I am a human being, and I have a life outside of being trans. Just because you chose to become a prominent advocate doesn’t mean that you can expect all of us to follow suit. I am commenting here because I want to be, not because I have to be.

    You are literally implying that at every moment in time, I have to consider that cis people are watching me and judging the entire trans community on my actions. I cannot be expected to never let my guard down, to always be polite to people who are offending the crap out of me, I have to educated them on THEIR terms when THEY want me to, because I am responsible for their opinions. I am not responsible for their opinions. I am not responsible for their lack of education. They are responsible for themselves.

  • sinmantyx

    So, Ren’s response was a troll – but the person who accused Trans people of “hijacking gay and lesbian organizations” was being civil and reasonable?

  • Ren

    Did I say we were the only victims? You’re attacking a straw man. I’m telling you that in this case, the comments that Piers made and the tactics that he used were absolutely devastating to the transgender community, and you are taking his side. He doesn’t need you.

  • BeminDC

    What’s your goal here? At this point it seems to be trolling. (Successful trolling, as I’m responding . . .)

  • Ren

    Trans people started the LGBT movement. The initial riots that jumpstarted it had trans women as key players. Gay men specifically have already hijacked our progress due to their enjoyment of male privilege in society.

  • Ren

    The trans women who use it to describe themselves are acting within their rights. It’s a slur. They reclaimed it for themselves. Whether or not they use it is certainly not up to me. But I will tell people who are not trans women not to use it.

    I don’t speak for the trans community, but when hundreds of trans women have told me that the t-slur is harmful, I’m going to repeat that to other people. The few people that you know who don’t mind people using it don’t overrule that either.

  • Polterguest

    Feel free to take your T and start your own movement. See where that gets you.

    Your 2nd paragraph is just as legitimate as me saying I have a perfect right to hate trans people because the T has hijacked gay and lesbian organizations and done a lot of damage (helping to keep EDNA from getting passed when we had the chance for example.)

  • Polterguest

    I believe you have no grounds for finding most of the things you find offensive to be offensive. So there we are. Enjoy your rage.

  • sinmantyx

    Seriously – you calling other people “condescending” is just absurdest at this point.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    “And if you’d rather be sympathetic towards him than us, you aren’t really being much of an ally either.”

    I wish people would stop with the passive-aggressive attempts to shut down dialogue. You’re not the only victims in town, and having watched my friends die and considered committing suicide because of my sexual orientation, I don’t like being condescended to by people who think that they have somehow suffered while the rest of us have had a cake walk and should be dismissed. It’s supremely offensive.

  • Polterguest

    You don’t get to decide that for a group you don’t belong to. You, of course, understand that, but you choose to play games regarding it. That’s what the small minority of transgendered people that claim to represent that whole of the transgendered community do.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    “we also can’t be constantly expected to use our lives as teachable moments.” – yes you can and you should because it’s what I’ve had to do as an openly gay man for over 20 years now. My life is a teaching moment for straight people, whether I like it or not.

    And anger can be teaching, as anyone who’s followed me, this blog, or overall gay rights advocacy knows. But anger is a tool, it’s not a sexual orientation or a gender identity. I think far too many people in America today think “anger” is their entitlement and their cure-all for all the woes in the world. And when directly appropriately it can help. But not when it’s used against the wrong people at the wrong time.

  • Polterguest

    then you don’t have the right to be offended if I use the word tranny. Especially since most of the transgendered (M2F) that I work with use the term to describe themselves and each other AND don’t have a problem with other people using it. Despite what you think, you and those like you don’t speak for or own the transgender community.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    No, the comparison is fifteen years ago going on TV as a gay advocate and having the host call it the gay lifestyle, or talk about your sexual preference, which has happened to me. And rather than ignore it, and rip the host later, especially when it’s a host who is obviously sympathetic, I’d have explained that it’s not a lifestyle and that it’s actualy not a preference. And I’ve have understood why 15 years ago, when straight people didn’t know much about gays, other than the bad stuff, they would get the phrasing wrong.

    As for the word normal, what they got upset about wasnæt Morgan calling anyone not normal, it was Morgan talking about people in society who say this isn’t natural, and asking for her reaction. That is exactly what we would have been asked as gay people, about how we resond to people who say this isn’t natural, that this is a choice. We still get asked that. And we don’t get angry, because it’s the interviewers job to ask us the hard questions, and as gay activists we want to be asked the hard questions – it educates no one on our issues if we avoid the hard questions that every straight person wants an answer to, and insist instead on answering the questions that we’d prefer straight people care about.

    Love you, Andy, but have to heartily disagree :)

  • sinmantyx

    So, when people say things that aren’t true – and we correct them – and are accused of “ripping people’s heads off” by correcting them and being disappointed that they didn’t bother (literally) doing their homework when their entire job is “doing the homework” because their (supposedly) journalists:

    What then?

    Do you read the things that Piers accused Janet of due to her three tweets to his show about the titles added during the broadcast?

    Yet, you’re not lecturing him on being a decent journalist who might be bothered to even read the first 10 pages of a book? Are you?

  • sinmantyx

    No she was afraid of correcting him directly or showing any annoyance at his error.

    Why? Because she knew what would happen.

    When she saw the broadcast, she tweeted THE SHOW, not Piers personally – about the title-tags that were added to the broadcast that she had a problem with.

    See how that turned out?!

    Don’t try to tell me that if she actually confronted him during the interview, she wouldn’t have been labeled and harangued as an over-sensitive nip-picky drama queen who just can’t be satisfied.

    That is EXACTLY what happens every stinking time – and you are seeing it played out yet again here.

    She explains this (more accurately than your “advice”) in the second interview and Piers can’t stop trying to make it all about him and his feelings and talking over her.

  • sinmantyx

    Yes, people have very loudly objected to “straight” before and screamed that they are not “straight” they are “normal”

    The only difference is that when a straight person does that, they are almost universally dismissed as a bigot; but when a cis person does that, fewer people recognize it.

  • Ren

    You’re being silly, though. There are lots of labels that lump us with straight people. I like photography. When I say “photographers,” I am lumped with lots of straight people. The thing we have in common is that we all like photography. In kind, when I say “cisgender people,” what you all have in common is that you’re not transgender. That’s all it means.

  • Ren

    I think my time leaving comments here is winding to a close, so I wanted to leave a few things that might help readers understand what was offensive about Piers’ interview. I’m not sure if anyone in the comments actually touched on it.

    “Formerly a man” and “used to be a boy”: As I did say in a comment, comments like that uphold the belief that trans people are “deceiving” you. But also noteworthy: when Janet said in her second interview that she was born a baby who was assigned a gender and later had the agency to control her own life, she is referring to the idea that sex itself is a social construct and not a biological truth. The act of looking at a baby’s genitals and assigning them a gender is a social convention, and as the existent of transgender people have proved, it’s not a 100% accurate way to identify a person’s gender. We have had studies show that trans men’s brains are structurally similar to cis men’s brains, so this is a reason for . So Janet did not “become” a woman after having her surgery. She was always a woman.

    “I never would have guessed”: We know. That’s why we had to come out to tell you. This isn’t an offensive comment to every trans person. A lot of us like the idea that we’ve assimilated well into society. It’s also dangerous because there are so many trans people who can’t pass. While saying this sounds positive, it also means that you’re applying normative characteristics to men and women. Behind it, there’s an implication that men and women have to look a certain way. When Piers said that he thought Janet was “meant to be a woman,” it had the same effect – erasing trans women who don’t look like her.

    Janet also took issue with the idea the Piers made a lot of her interview about how she came out to her boyfriend, which was a very small part of her book, so she was upset that their conversation had to surround the experience of other people reacting to trans people instead of her life as a transgender woman and having a trans experience. This is why she lashed out at the comment on the PiersMorganLive Twitter account. She felt that he was sensationalizing it.

    Hope that’s helpful.

  • pappyvet

    Now you are being silly. There are many transgender who are hetero , I am not.

  • AndyinChicago

    I’ve been thinking about this since the interview happened. I’m a gay, cis man from Chicago, and it took me a while to get used to the proper phrases and terms when talking to or about trans-folk, but it’s work I feel I need to do as member of the same community.

    I think the closest analogy I can come up with to why Ms. Mock is offended is the idea of someone saying about me, “Andy was born a normal young boy, and at the age of 15, he took the extraordinary step to become the homosexual he is today.” If someone started an interview with that, I’d be at the very least ill at ease. It’s the idea that even if the rest of the world’s perception of you changed at a specific moment when you came out, and thus that’s the most fascinating thing about you. To the world, most children are considered straight, so if someone kept saying, “You were born straight” even though I feel I was always largely who I am today, it’d set a bad tone. It doesn’t matter if someone is being a cheerleader saying how great it is that I’m gay, if I’ve made it clear I object to that phrasing, it’s the least someone can do to refrain from doing so, especially if they’re claiming to be an ally.

  • sinmantyx

    I see that you have a MN state symbol as on your icon. I also live in MN.

    I get that it is sometimes advantageous to try to maintain composure and be civil when someone says things out of ignorance; because there is a hope there, that if they gain a better understanding that they will “get it” and be part of real solutions to real, important problems such as health care access, discrimination, etc.

    However, after reading the conversation about “cis” in this thread, you’ve shown yourself not to simply be uninformed, but to be combative and unreasonable.

    There is no way I would want you anywhere’s NEAR trans activism in Minnesota. Please, seriously – do not come to meetings – do not put in your 2 cents – do not pretend to care.

    There are plenty of awesome activists in Minnesota who, especially once informed, are strong robust allies to trans people.

    We do not need your toxicity. So, please stay away. If you PERSONALLY stop pretending to be an ally, that is helpful, not a hindrance to accomplishing our goals in Minnesota.

    If you need every trans person or every trans ally to kiss your ass to care about the SRS restriction being taken out of MN Public Health – you are no ally, and you don’t care about the lives of transgender people.

    The only thing I ask you, sincerely, is not to get in our way.

    Thanks.

  • Ren

    “Human” is also a large general category that includes people who would love to beat the hell out of us, but you don’t object to that.

    And there are many transgender people who are straight.

  • pappyvet

    Don’t care where it comes from. Why can you not accept that it offends me?
    There are enough labels that separate. I do not care who you go to bed with , what color your hair is or how you dress. What kind of music do you like? Who do you read? What do you think of single malt scotch? Do not lump me into a broad general category that includes so many that would love to beat the hell out of both of us. I would not dream of lumping transgender folks into a box with heteros , do not do the same to me.

  • Ren

    I think “99%” is a stretch, but I’m aware of what the majority of Americans think. Contrary to the beliefs of most people, we don’t write off everyone, but we also can’t be constantly expected to use our lives as teachable moments. I’m trying to live my life the best that I can. I absolutely have to pick my fights, and I do. I have to decide whether someone is worth engaging or not. Sometimes they’re not (as with a couple people here), but I still go because I’m passionate. I’m still here talking to you because I know you have a wider reach than I do and because you’re responding back in kind.

    The fact that you would have said Janet was formerly a man and are involved in LGBT politics is definitely a good indicator that even though the movement has been gaining traction for years now, people (even those within LGBT) still have no idea what to think of us. You might say this is lack of education on part. It’s absolutely not, though. We’ve got tons of resources out there. I just happen to be of the belief that people should educate themselves on a topic before discussing it in-depth so that you can be on equal grounds with them.

    When I first in engaged in racial politics, I’ll admit I was totally offended by the amount of people of colour who said “white people” in a demeaning way. I absolutely felt defensive at first. I was quiet and I listened. I found out about the outstanding number of black people incarcerated, about police brutality against POC, about microaggressions like them being followed around in convenience stores, about how other countries perceive black people as thieves and thugs because of how American media presents them, etc. The list goes on. Good lord, and this is all because society is founded on white supremacy. It absolutely doesn’t hurt when I hear someone lament about “white people” anymore. I get it, and I’m angry, too. On their behalf. I share that anger. Not at other white people in general, but the fact that white supremacy is so prevalent in our society that they are hurting and are so angry.

    Sometimes anger is productive. Anger is still teaching. It isn’t wrong. The refusal to listen to someone who is angry and understand why they are angry is a refusal to be educated, which is what people are demanding of the trans community. Sometimes when people are talking about their own civil rights and their own movement, they get angry. Because it means a lot to them. And sometimes the right thing to do IS actually to shut up and listen.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    One more thing, because I think this is huge. You wrote:

    “No one is saying he didn’t have good intentions. But what people continually fail to understand is that sentiments like ‘formerly a man’ and ‘I never would have known’ uphold the belief that trans people are deceiving everyone.”

    That is how 99% of America perceives trans people. If you write off everyone who thinks that way, because you assume they have malice, or are unteachable, then you will win over no one. You have to understand that you are at the beginning of your journey – I’m assuming your trans, perhaps you’re not. But you are the beginning of educating America about who you are. So you can’t go ballistic on people who are trying in good conscience to find out who you are and who get it wrong. Of course they’re going to get it wrong, they don’t know you – that’s the entire point behind her writing the book and going on TV in the first place.

    I’d have said that she was formerly a man, and most of America would have as well. That’s when you politely explain to me that actually you weren’t previously a man, and that this is common misconception about trans people that you are so happy you can finally explain to the viewer audience. As for “I’d have never known,” again, I would have thought that that was a compliment. I understand now that you don’t perceive it as one. But I think most people would perceive it as a compliment, so you need to politely explain to them why it isn’t.

    You are in the first inning, maybe the second, of a long education campaign on this issue. And because most Americans aren’t into the 7th inning, in terms of their understanding of this issue, you get angry, you vilify them, and then write them off. And I think you’re seriously shooting your movement in the foot by so doing. And if that makes me a bad person, for giving my expert advice on how the gay movement won the amazing PR victories we have to date, then so be it. I didn’t start this blog, or become a gay rights advocate, to sit back, shut up, and not speak up when I think people are hurting their own movement and their own civil rights.

  • Ren

    I told you that I’m not surprised that he got defensive. Human reaction. However, this was a rich straight white man – the pinnacle of privilege – responding to one of the most marginalized communities in the country. He had an “infuriating 24 hours.” We have another dead body. And if you’d rather be sympathetic towards him than us, you aren’t really being much of an ally either.

  • Ren

    I think the trans community’s outrage in response to oppressive comments is always justified, but I also think that, for example, telling Piers to kill himself or hope for his death is an overreaction. Whether you believe we are hurting our movement is not for you to determine as an outsider. That’s what I’m trying to get at.

    I don’t believe there is an unfair bias against gay people from the trans community, especially considering many of us are gay ourselves. The unfair bias against gay people that does exist comes from society. This is institutional oppression.

    However, whatever so-called “bias” you believe there is against men, white people, and trans people is not institutional oppression. People who aren’t men, aren’t white, or aren’t trans often times don’t appreciate people who *are* speaking on their behalf. Perhaps you’ve heard of privilege before? It refers to what are basically “blinders” that don’t enable people outside of a marginalized group to recognize oppressive behaviour, because it’s normal for them; basically because society is stacked in their favour on that axis.

    That’s what this article is an example of, though. It’s a display of the privilege of not being transgender (what I would call “cis privilege,” but I’m trying to keep you on the same level as me here). From the outside, you believe that the interview was amazingly pro-transgender. From the inside, we are seeing all of the small things (“used to be a boy,” “formerly a man,” “I never would have guessed,” “you were meant to be a woman,” etc.) that have now set our movement back. Does that make sense?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    After Janet went after him on Twitter, used the f-bomb, and her followers started sending Piers Morgan tweets about his cock. Repeatedly. And you’re surprised that he got upset in return? I’m not. I’ve been on the receiving end of non-stop twitter venom, and every time – every time – after people tell you go to kill yourself, call you a fag, which you dead, and then you reply with a tone that’s appropriate for people who have dehumanized you, they then use your tone to prove that you’re a bad person. So I’m not sympathetic to this argument, as it’s a trick question, a set up, though I don’t think you intend it to be.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    She had 15 minutes on national television to tell them how she wants to be characterized and she didn’t do it. You’re trying very hard to find animus where there isn’t any.

  • Sam

    I was disgusted with Mock’s behavior. I have nothing but sympathy for trans people, but her conduct was absurd and a massive set back for her cause. Rather than promote further discussion or understanding, I just had to roll my eyes and say ‘she be crazy’. Rude, out of touch, entitled. Just bizarre.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    By the way, you used the word “normal” to describe people who aren’t trans. Had I done that, this discussion would be over, and you’d be twitter-trolled until you ended up canceling your account and never going online again. :-)

    I couldn’t care less if you used the wrong term, because your overall tone in the previous comment is obviously polite, respectful, and of someone wishing to engage in a civilized dialogue, and I very much appreciate that. And that’s kind of my entire point here, which is when you can tell from other indices that the person you’re dealing with has a heart that’s in the right place, you dont’ destroy them because they didn’t get the memo on the words that are and aren’t permitted today.

  • Ren

    The trans community believes that Piers Morgan’s interview with Janet Mock misrepresented us. I do believe our anger is justified, but I certainly don’t think a lot of the comments directed toward him were appropriate. What continues to be the problem – and what actually defines him as an ally – is how he reacted to finding out that people took issue with some of his wording.

    Getting on the defensive is a human response, but his temper tantrum over Twitter afterwards was telling. There were plenty of people who did try to calmly explain what was wrong with his wording, but he only seemed to be concentrating on people who were attacking him. And his outright refusal to apologize in return (or try to see the other side of the story) was also an example of a bad ally.

    I didn’t think the first interview made him a bad person. No one is saying he didn’t have good intentions. But what people continually fail to understand is that sentiments like “formerly a man” and “I never would have known” uphold the belief that trans people are deceiving everyone. This is why we reacted so strongly. Those are words that contribute to oppression. They literally indirectly contribute to people like Janet Mock being killed.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    So you think it’s impossible for the trans community to ever be overly sensitive and to ever over-react? Or you think it could happen, but if it does, we should just sit back and watch it happen, even if it means they’re hurting their own movement?

    And I never claimed to be offering advice from a transgender point of view. I claim to be offering advice as someone who has a proven record of successful advocacy and especially successful PR, including PR on TV, on civil rights issues. And I’m being told that my expertise on PR somehow is no longer valid expertise because the issue involved is trans right. Yet my expertise works on gay issues, Iraq issues, election issues, and more. I just don’t buy that argument.

    I think at a fundamental level there’s some bias going on here against gay people, against men, against white people, and against people who aren’t trans. There’s an assumption that anyone who fits the wrong category is per se an enemy, per se has malice, per se doesn’t know anything or have any advice to give, or even have an opinion that’s worth listening to. And sadly that error seems to be effective in creating enemies where they didn’t exist before.

    And I find your comment equally condescending.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    He has the right to think he was mistreated, and she has that same right. And in a free country, we’re all permitted to discuss this and offer our opinion. He thinks, and I tend to agree, that he did an incredible program that was more pro-trans than anything I’ve ever seen on TV. And he got vilified for it by trans advocates. He felt he was wronged. So I’m not surprised that he wanted an apology. I’m not sure that pointing to the fact that he wanted an apology somehow proves that he’s a bad man or that the first interview was somehow bad.

    There’s a basic fundamental difference in many trans people and many people who aren’t trans perceive this entire debate. And it’s too bad. Because I think it underscores what happened on that first show, and what’s clearly happening in the comments on this site, and what always seems to happen on these issues when gay and trans people try to get together to discuss.

  • Ren

    “Cis” is the opposite of “trans” in Latin prefixes, just as “hetero” is the opposite of “homo” in Latin prefixes. They are equal. Why do you think it is a slur?

  • pappyvet

    Sorry but it is a slur to me . I am not a “cis” I know of no heteros who mind being called a hetero but I know many who do not like being called a breeder.

  • Ren

    No thanks.

  • BeminDC

    That’s a lie. Tune into the podcast (there’s about a 3 year archive out there).

  • Ren

    Savage has done more than dehumanize trans people. I’m not interested in people trying to defend him. Thanks.

  • Ren

    “Breeders” vs “cisgender” is not a fair comparison, sorry.

    This would be like straight people saying “don’t call me ‘hetero’, call me ‘not gay’”.

  • Ren

    Piers did not give Janet the chance to explain. I’m not surprised your learning of trans issues fell short in this interview. Piers was not interested in them. He was very clear on Twitter that he was only interested in getting an apology from her. His panel afterwards of people justifying his ways of defining her body made that even more clear.

  • Tom

    I know I don’t have the experience you do, and I appreciate you doing this work in gay politics for 20 years. I’m not insulting you as a person or saying that you can’t have an opinion because of your race or sexuality or anything. I know this is long and I’m not a professional writer, but I thought it was worth responding. I think this piece from the advocate today puts it better than I can. http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/02/07/op-ed-what-not-do-when-calling-yourself-transgender-ally

    I think your comparison of trans people saying what bothers them to “ex-gay” people (who are frauds) is hurtful and inaccurate. I’m trying to point out that when it comes to how they feel, their perspective matters more because they’re trans. They’ve got that lived experience that you and I as gay men never will. It’s not that you can’t have an opinion, but I wish you’d recognize that they’ll have insights you won’t, and will be affected by transphobia differently than you. Wouldn’t you agree that gay people have a better grasp on what their life is like than straight ones?

    When Mock and others pointed did publicly defend their opinion that, despite his intentions, Morgan did a lot of hurtful things, he reacted with cruelty and was incredulous that they would dare say that. I don’t understand what of her actual problems with what he said–the “was a boy” stuff, the how would you feel if your girlfriend was formerly a man? twitter question, etc–is not actually insulting. I can see you saying that Morgan didn’t mean to be insulting, but that’s different than dismissing her feeling insulted or that they were insulting things to say. Does that make sense?

    I’ve seen you talk in the other comments here about frustrations of not knowing what to say about trans people, and how to talk about them. But can you see how writing articles like this one, and responding to comments with sarcasm and condescension (the tone and emoticons came off that way to me) isn’t helpful? Even if you don’t agree with how Mock and others handled this, you’re coming off as not understanding (or wanting to understand) why they feel and did what they did.

    With all your experience and skills, I hope you take some time to step back and learn more about what trans people’s lives are like so you can put your best intentions to use and help everyone in the LGBTQ community be treated with respect.

  • pappyvet

    You do not get Dan Savage in the same way as some do not get transgender

    http://outfrontonline.com/ofcnow/dan-savage-responds-to-critics-accusing-him-of-anti-trans-comments/

  • Ren

    If you want me to stop using a word that I feel is necessary to place people who are trans and people who are not trans on equal footing – because NO OTHER WORD exists – you will have to explain it to me. You are right. I cannot accept that you feel it is offensive with absolutely no reason.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I don’t need to explain it to you. I feel it is offensive. That should be enough, but you can’t accept that.

  • Ren

    No, I believe you have no grounds for believing it’s offensive. You haven’t responded to my above comment explaining how it is belittling you. You simply interpreted it that way.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I think everyone understands what cisgender means, but apparently you believe we’re all so dumb that we can’t tie our shoes. I see the word cis as being of no use and offensive. However, you believe that we need to bow to you and accept it.

  • Ren

    I guess we didn’t read the same columns, then.

  • pappyvet

    John , some people are just on the defensive all the time. You could say good morning to them and they would find some reason to be offended. This does very little to help their case and drives people away. If they want understanding then teaching out of confidence is the best strategy. She was born a male. Her inner self was a female so she changed course. Swell ! More power to her ! It seemed to me that she does not understand that she is more than the sum of her genitalia. I am very confused by her stance. I believe in fighting when you are attacked but when the opportunity to educate is at hand use it! Whether we like it or not , demeanor is important. I am sorry but “our issues are complicated.” is not enough and we all must live in this world. She was given a ticket to ride but barely made it to the station.

  • Ren

    I have told you, multiple times in this thread, that “cisgender” is not a word for gay people. It is a word for ALL people who aren’t transgender. How are you not understanding this? I also pointed out that “cis” is literally the opposite of “trans” in terms of Latin prefixes, but you missed that as well. We didn’t choose the prefix, and we certainly didn’t choose it to sound like a slur.

    It is in no way comparable to using the t-slur, because that word has absolutely no use other than to be offensive.

    Edit: Also, stop acting like gay and trans are mutually exclusive.

  • BeminDC

    Now this is someone I could have a beer with! Would we agree on everything? Probably not. But good tone.

  • Ren

    We do want our issues talked about, but like every marginalized group, what we want is for our own voices to be amplified. We don’t want you to talk for us.

    You must realize that this article is not positive media for trans people, though. You are portraying us the same way that Piers Morgan did: oversensitive and overreactive. Did you speak directly with any trans people before writing this article? Have you consulted with anyone about why we were so offended?

    This is absolutely not “expert advice and analysis” from a transgender point of view. It is from the point of view of a gay cisgender man who seems to think he knows what’s best for us, and implying that trans people don’t know how to advocate for themselves. It’s condescending.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yes he certainly did. I’ve read the apology and I’ve seen him make it repeatedly. And I read all the original sources and most of them people lied about. So, I’m sorry, but you’re not going to get a free pass on denigrating and trying to destroy one of the heroes of the gay rights movement.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    As a trans person you simply don’t get to make up new words for gay people, especially words that they don’t like. And it’s rather passive-aggressive of you to insist that Bemin be called what you want to call him, and then accuse him of acting superior (which sounds a lot like uppity) because he has the gall to stand up and ask you to stop calling him a word that you created for him, and that he doesn’t like. This sounds an awful lot like a gay person insisting on calling trans people “trannies” because that gay person finds the word useful and not offensive. Especially when the word you’ve chosen to call gay people who aren’t trans is a word that sounds like a gay slur “sissy,”

    And Dan Savage is a god to the community, and the fact that you want to destroy one of our top advocates doesn’t sound terribly “all one community.”

  • Ren

    I wouldn’t want to have drinks with someone as hypocritical as you and Mike are, anyway. Referring to “cis” as a term implying “superior” while simultaneously demanding that we refer to you as “not trans” thereby rendering yourselves superior. Not to mention neither of you seem to understand privilege or power dynamics. I’m not fond of anyone who worships actual human feces Dan Savage, either. If you learned about trans people from him, I am actually horrified. Peace.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Are we LGBT or not? I’m very confused at this point. Trans people complain that we don’t write ENOUGH about their issues, that we don’t talk about their issues, that we don’t focus on their issues, then when we do we’re told to shut up, like you just did. Which way is it? Do you want help from gay people who know how effective advocacy is done, or not? You seem to think that you know how to do this best, but your movement isn’t doing terribly well as compared to the gay movement, and trans people readily admit this. But then when we offer our expert advice and analysis, if you don’t like that advice, if it doesn’t agree 100% with your pre-conceived notions, we’re give a lot of racist, sexist, homophobic taunts and told to shut up. You’re often not terribly effective at messaging and it’s hurting your movement. And if you don’t want gay people working on your issues, say the word and they won’t. But then don’t complain about it in the future when we focus on marriage and DADT.

  • http://www.gravatar.com/bonzeblayk/ Bonze Anne Rose Blayk

    I think that it can be very difficult to educate a normally gendered person on the topic, because they typically find it very difficult to perceive (physical) sex and (psychological) gender as different things – since their own sexual identity is so closely identified with their gender identity – and if and when they do, they may be provoked to deny the truth that is expressed when we make this distinction, as they experience discomfort at realizing that their own style of gender expression is not truly “natural and normative,” but is an expression of the cultural values they have accepted without reflection. (cf. Deborah Rudacille’s brief closing reflections on her own “gender identity” – which she had previously held as normative without questioning its roots – in her excellent, and largely unbiased book, “The Riddle of Gender”.)

    Overall you’re making some good points about conducting public advocacy, John, but you’re also making some assumptions about me – as a “transgendered person” – that are not correct; I think this is a part of the problem here, treating a person as “representative of a class,” rather than “just another individual with some distinctive characteristics.”

    “You find those questions offensive.” – Actually not, assuming they come from well-meaning people, not at all; I’m OK with trying to offer explanations to people, and I’ll talk about ANYTHING, but note 1) I’m not an advocate, I’m a comedienne, and 2) I’m not omniscient, so I’m really not sure at times what point other people are making with their explanations for their particular brand of gender non-conformity (especially the postmodernist ones?).

    “You guys have a different strategy…” – Hmm. I don’t recall being invited to the Grand Strategy Session of Trans Inc. (a/k/a the “Transsexual Assassins’ Guild”), so I don’t think I really count as one of “you guys?” (NB: “lol, lol, lol!”)

    Frankly, I dissociate myself from the “transgender community” at every opportunity, mostly because I think the modern notion of “communities of identity” into which one is drafted without one’s consent, with the expectation that one will “conform to the norms of the community,”† is hogwash.

    thanks,
    - bonzie anne

    † As you note, within the “transgender community” there’s the somewhat precious obsession with “terminological correctness,” which I violated above by using “normally gendered,” and later by characterizing myself as a “transgenderED person” rather than “transgender?” HORRORS (+eyeroll)

  • BeminDC

    Insufferable. I’m out. Not trying to be mean, but I could not imagine wanting to have a beer with you and learning more about this subject, based on these pedantic exchanges. If the goal isn’t influencing people and educating people, I’m confused as to what you’re doing here. Will be open to meeting and getting to know trans people who don’t make me feel like I’m walking on egg shells or criticize selectively real heroes in the gay community, one of whom is Dan Savage (have learned more from him about transgendered people than anyone else). Good luck and please (I mean this sincerely) reflect a bit on what’s more important — a ping pong game arguing over semantics or trying to make the world a better place for all of us, including trans people.

  • Ren

    That is your opinion. As Nicole Lynn Miller implied above, when you identify as transgender, you may have input on what is important to our cause.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I think the anger you often show is counter-productive to your cause. Anger is a tool, it’s shouldn’t be an all-consuming identity, and it’s not an argument. And sometimes, especially when educating people, you need to present an argument, not simply argue.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I just watched Janet’s second interview with Piers Morgan, the one he had her back on to talk about why people were offended by the first interview. That second interview was a normal hard-hitting interview. It’s the kind of interview you’d expect on any tv show, and especially on Piers Morgan. That first interview was the anomaly – it was far nicer than most any interview any of us have ever done.

    Overall impression of the second interview – Janet isn’t understanding Piers’ confusion over gender and the fact that trans people don’t actually change gender. She attempts to explain what I think must be gender theory, about not being born into one gender, and I don’t think she did it well. And as a non-trans person trying to understand trans issues, I don’t think she explained it well to people who aren’t trans – and I should know, as I’m not trans. I’m still confused as to whether she thinks no children are born with a gender, or what. She didn’t say she was born a girl. She just doesn’t want to be called a boy when she was born. Now I have no idea if trans people think children are born into one gender or another, whether it’s only some children, or whether no child is born with a gender. I have no idea now, after watching Mock on two shows. And it’s just not enough to say “our issues are complicated.” All issues are complicated.

    Trans advocates need to explain this issue better than they are doing, as people do not understand how all of this works, and you simply cannot use that lack of understanding against people if you are interested in educating people about your issues and moving forward.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2014/02/06/pmt-janet-mock-2-0-piers-morgan-live.cnn.html

  • Ren

    You find fag offensive because of the word’s history. It has been used to dehumanize and oppress gay people. It is a word that many gay people heard before being bashed or beaten to death. It’s an absolutely disgusting word that represents violence and a history of inequality.

    Cis does not have that history. How is “cisgender” belittling you? How is it being used to imply that trans people are superior? How is it being used to mean anything other than “not transgender”?

    It was a word that was literally put into place to indicate the difference between trans and not, and you are somehow interpreting this to mean “superior” while simultaneously insisting we go back to othering ourselves. How are you not seeing the hypocrisy in that?

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Of course.

  • BeminDC

    While lecturing others on what they would like to be called . . . A bit hypocritical.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Alright then, I find it offensive, because I see it as a word used by a group of people in order to belittle another group. We repeatedly tell them that it is offensive to us, but they continue writing and saying it. A group that decides it’s okay to call a group by a name they find offensive is a group that feels superior. That’s where the problem is occurring.

  • Ren

    See below.

  • Ren

    “I do” isn’t a reason.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I do. I find f*g offensive, but the folks at Westboro don’t. Should I find it not offensive, because they think it’s necessary?

  • Ren

    I’ve told you why “cisgender” is a necessary term, and why it is necessary to have a term that refers to people who aren’t transgender on equal grounds.

    Why do you find “cis” offensive?

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Then neither do you. Although, your statement will probably be the most ridiculous thing I will hear or read today.

  • Ren

    And I’m saying you have no right to be offended.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I’m saying you have no right to offend us.

  • Ren

    “Cis” was the opposite of “trans” before we coined “cisgender.” See chemistry. We didn’t come up with the prefix.

  • Ren

    That’s a personal opinion, not a historical one.

  • Ren

    You are telling us that we don’t deserve to be on equal grounds with people who aren’t transgender. We have to identify ourselves as “other”. That is offensive.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I find cis dehumanizing.

  • Ren

    Fag has a history of dehumanization and oppression. You should absolutely find it offensive.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Then you need to say non trans. We’re telling you that we find cis offensive. That should be enough.

  • Ren

    The word isn’t exclusively for gay men, so that argument doesn’t hold.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    F*g without a doubt refers to a homosexual male.. Should I not find it offensive?

  • KF

    Nothing is wrong with it, but there are gay trans men out there. Since trans men are men the discription doesn’t actually exclude trans people. Apples and oranges, not really talking about the same thing.

  • Ren

    If you think that a word that literally only calls you “not transgender,” is offensive, you’re misinterpreting it.

  • BeminDC

    I’ll happily not call trans people offensive names. Kindly don’t make up names for me.

  • Ren

    I literally just explained to you why that’s not okay.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Then go with not transgender. Many of us find cis offensive, but it doesn’t seem to matter to you.

  • BeminDC

    You’re off base on Dan Savage.

  • Ren

    I am also male, a gay male, and a man. It doesn’t discern the difference between transgender and not.

  • Ren

    I was referring to how Laverne reacted to the questions she posed: in an educational and not angry manner. Katie Couric asked ridiculously invasive questions. She deserved anger.

    Actually, Dan Savage has never apologized for his former comments about trans people, and his advocating almost exclusively benefits white cisgender gay men like himself. He’s called rape victims liars, denied bisexuality’s existence (though retracted that one), referred to asexual people as afflicting themselves on people who aren’t, etc. I have absolutely every reason to dislike him.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I find cis dehumanizing, and the history is starting to build.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It’s true that we don’t often hear from the non-strident ones.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    First, it always seemed to be used in anger, and second, a lot of gay men use the word tranny and don’t use it anger, in fact I’ve found younger friends simply use it as the regular slang word they have for soeone who’s trans. And I’ve corrected them on it because trans people find it offensive.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    What’s wrong with male, gay male, or man?

  • KF

    What language would you propose as a descriptor of somebody who is not transgender or transsexual (outside of describing them as “not trans”)?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And the word sissy doesn’t have a history of oppression and dehumanization? It would be like us coming up with a word to describe you that just by chance sounds like “tranny,” and then telling you to suck it up, it’s our word we’ve chosen for you. It’s not what allies do.

  • Ren

    Here’s my final take on cisgender. It was a term that came about to refer to people who aren’t transgender. It was a term that the trans community created in the late 90s so that we could refer to non-transgender people as something other than “non-transgender”. It is a term so that we can be placed on equal footing. Because if there isn’t a term for “not transgender”, you are implying you want to be called “normal”. That’s offensive.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Actually, Katie Couric was destroyed for what was also a friendly interview.

    And Dan Savage is amazing, and one of the most effective gay rights advocates (and trans rights advocates) we have in america. I’m not sure that the trans community’s ongoing effort to malign, who is probably our most effective gay rights advocate is, is a wise strategy in coalition building.

    And as for Dan, I’ve read all the original content that you guys use to allege how evil he is, most of it is bs. There were a few things from his early years that he’s disavowed, but most of the allegation is, as always seems to be the case in these “we hate person so-in-so” is without any basis.

  • KF

    I’ve heard people object to being called white a lot.

  • Ren

    As below. You think we’re always angry. Not the case.

  • Ren

    You assume that the trans community is always angry. Did you see Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera’s interview on Katie Couric? Janet was completely ready for a primetime interview. She was on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show recently as well. Luckily, Harris-Perry is actually a decent human being.

    Piers Morgan reacted like a petulant man-child when he realized that Janet Mock was upset with some of his comments. He spent the entire day publicly belittling and degrading the trans community on Twitter, calling us “ludicrous,” “hysterical,” “dimwits,” “stupid,” etc. When his second interview with Janet was over, he had a panel of cisgender people discuss the validity of her identity. Those are not the actions of an ally.

    Dan Savage is dirt personified, and I don’t even want to get into him.

    Transgender people initiated the LGBT movement as it is today. The most prominent riots (oh, look, anger) that pushed it into action had trans people as key players. However, privilege took precedence and gay men were able to gain mainstream acceptance before we got our turn – which still hasn’t come. If we are 20 years behind, it is not our fault.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Actually, smart equality advocates use both the carrot and the stick. I went on Fox a lot in the early years, 1998 to 2002, because it served our interests to show a preppy GOP-looking american boy in his republican suit being polite as hell to Bill O’Reilly – oh, and look ma, he’s gay! And it worked. We won O’Reilly over (at least for the time I was going on his show, not later), and it showed Fox’s audience, who per se wasn’t the friendliest, a nice gay boy that looked just like their own lovable son. That doesn’t mean we didn’t beat the bejesus out of Dr Laura at the same time. But you’d better believe we used both a carrot and a stick to get to where we are today. It’s smart politics, It’s smart civil rights, and it works. You dont’ want to do that, and that’s fine. But don’t expect it to work then.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You don’t seem to understand that that is how America sees you. They think you actually change genders, and do it via surgery. If that’s not the case, and I know it isn’t, then it is your job to explain that to them. (And she didn’t explain that at all du ring her interview.) You can’t rip the head off of every American who isn’t up on your issues, especially those who are trying to help, which that interview clearly was, and then expect victory. You can’t silence the most obvious questions about who you are and expect to educate people. You find the most basic questions, about what it is to be trans, offensive. Okay. Then people aren’t going to learn about you. It’s your choice.

  • BeminDC

    Can you point me to the place where its says you’re “supposed to sit down and take it”? Maybe be pissed like the second time a person tells you that, but not the first if they don’t know better? It’s pretty confusing and it’s not like we all have trans friends. Part of learning is asking stupid questions and part of teaching is being able to field them. It’s one thing if someone is purposefully being a dick, it’s another if they want to be an ally and there’s a zero tolerance approach to talking about the subject in an open and honest way.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I wonder if you’re educated in syntax.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    If you find it offensive, then it is offensive, but apparently I’m suppose to sit down and take being called cis.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    No one has ever told me that they object to straight. Can the same be said about cis?

  • BeminDC

    I take an “all of the above” approach. Being angry didn’t win over allies in rural Michigan where I grew up as a gay person. Being angry does work in some cases, like ending DADT. An anger only approach — especially with allies — causes some of us to withdraw and not want to learn more for fear of making some unforgiveable mistake. Listening and educating worked. In 2014, I put up with a lot less than I did 20 years ago. My impression is that the trans movement is about 20 years behind where the gay movement is. The point is the most virulent fire might be saved for Fox news fucks and not for Piers Morgan or John Aravois or Dan Savage who want to be allies. Educate your friends and family. And, I’m sorry, maybe she wasn’t ready for a prime time interview. If she was, she would have been prepared to confront (either with anger or with gentle redirection as John suggested) Piers on the show in real time.

  • Ren

    In that case, I believe you aren’t actually educated in history.

  • Ren

    I find people telling me that I was “born a woman” offensive, but according to this article I’m supposed to just sit down and take it.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    As others have said in the comments here, they find it offensive to have to justify their existence, to have to explain who they are, and to have to disabuse people of their preconceived notions as to who trans people really are, and what it means to be transgender. That notion, that answering these questions is somehow offensive, goes against every thing we have ever done as successful gay rights advocates. Our job is to educate the public, and answer questions we think stupid, and explain why it is we are in fact equal citizens and human beings. They don’t want to do that. Okay. Then they won’t educate the public and they won’t win. And if you suggest otherwise, you’re hatefeul. Well, then get ready for many more years of the public not understanding who trans people are, and their issues langusihing.

  • KF

    Well, cis and trans are opposites. If you watch Melissa Harris-Perry (somebody who I think is a great trans ally) she talks about the word cis, and what it means. Somebody who is angry at a cis person for talking incorrectly about trans issues might point out that person as being cis. If you replace trans with gay and cis with straight, or trans with black, and cis with white it might be easier to understand.

    I could make the comparison in your response “If you can call me cis, why can’t I call you tranny?” If it was rephrased to “If you can call me straight, why can’t I call you a fag?” Same idea.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    i believe they were smart enough not to tick off their allies.

  • Ren

    That doesn’t describe whether or not you’re transgender. I’m gay, too.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Then don’t write a book about your experience, don’t go on CNN to talk about it, and don’t expect to ever educate the public about who you are.

    It’s just as offensive to have to explain what it means to be gay, to have to explain why it is we deserve to be married, why it is we deserve to not be fired from our jobs, why it is that we deserve to serve in the military, that we’re as patriotic as every other american, really we are, that we aren’t just waiting to spill all of our military secrets to the enemy (one of the arguments used to justify DADT). But I decided to be a gay rights advocate, I decided that I was going to devote my life to educating the public about me and my people, and I decided that I was going to educate people the best way I knew how, by explaining to them all those things that I found offensive to have to explain in the first place.

    You don’t want to have to explain who you are. You don’t like having to talk about certain subjects, and you don’t like having to disabuse the public of their preconceived notions about who you are. Well, welcome to the club. It’s the way civil rights works. If you choose not to, that’s certainly your choice. But it’s a counterproductive strategy.

  • Ren

    Do you actually believe that people got equality in history by being nice about it?

  • BeminDC

    Gay is fine.

  • Ren

    I am asking you to clarify them, and you’re skirting the question.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    You seem to think you know what I think. You must have direct access to my thoughts.

  • Ren

    What would you rather be called?

  • BeminDC

    Well, as John has politely pointed out ad nauseum, this is no way to make progress. If you want to sit in a circle and rant, that’s one thing. If you want to gain allies and acceptances, might think about being a little nicer.

  • BeminDC

    I don’t consent to this “cisgender” label. Don’t call me that I find it offensive and weird.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I’m telling you that I find cis offensive, but that seems to not bother you.

  • Ren

    Thanks for that helpful answer.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    We discussed that below. She used the f-bomb and he responded angrily. Both of them were angry. Not to mention, he did a softball interview with her, trying to help, and got blasted for it. Then he had a bunch of Twitter trolls writing him about his penis – see my comment further down with examples. So it’s not surprisingly that he wasn’t terribly happy about it. I’m not sure how exactly that helps us understand whether the interview was right or wrong, the fact that he got upset after someone threw the f-bomb at him and a bunch of twitter trolls started tweeting about his penis.

  • Ren

    I was referring to John’s saying “a lot of gay people” find it offensive.

    I can call you cis because you’re cisgender. You can call me trans because I’m transgender. You can’t call me the t-slur because it has an incredible history of oppression and dehumanization behind it.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Wow, when did you move into my head?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I think trans advocates want to educate America about their issues, but they have a very long list of things they refuse to talk about – which are the very things people think about when you say the word “transgender” (sex change, surgery, changing from one gender to another), and they have a long list of the correct and incorrect way to talk about their issues, and both are counterproductive to the presumed goal here of educating America about your issues. Most people think that being trans is about changing your gender. I get that it isn’t, but it’s what most people think. Thus when the issue is raised during an interview, it’s your job to respond then and there and explain to the interviewer how gender actually works with trans people. Then, when the interviewer wants to talk about reassingment surgery, you explain how that works – NOT the details of the surgery itself, but you explain that in fact not everybody gets surgery, and that surgery is not necessary to “change” – or to finally adopt your birth gender.

    These are not rude questions. They’re the obvious questions that every American would ask when learning about your issues. You find those questions offensive. Well, then you have to make your own choice as to whether you want to truly educate people about your issues or not, because if you’re going to be a public advocate, you have to expect and welcome questions that you think are stupid, uninformed, based on myth etc. The best way to send a message that there’s something wrong is for you to refuse to talk about something. When I came out out to my mom, she was fixated on whether I’d get sick (presumably from AIDS). She kept asking WHY I knew that I wasn’t going to get sick, forcing me into a discussion of safe sex. It was horrifically uncomfortable, as we come from a family that doesn’t really talk about sex. But I knew that if I wanted my mom to believe that I wasn’t hiding anything, that gay really was okay, I had to be willing to discuss any topic she wanted to ask about. So we talked about safe sex.

    I think when it comes down to it, this is about educating people. And doing it on TV works. I know from personal experience, and our movement knows. And we’ve been quite successful at it. You guys have a different strategy, and as you admit, you’re not even sure education even works. I think that’s too bad. Because without educaiton, you’re going to see a løt less progress on your issues.

  • Ren

    It is oppression when you suggest that when we hear transphobic and cissexist sentiment, we sit down and be nice about it.

  • Ren

    Okay, so rather than try and figure out why they’re angry in the first place (maybe it has something to do with trans women of colour being murdered on the streets daily), you just brush them off?

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    It’s just not one.

  • BeminDC

    One!? Sure hope there’s a silent majority out there somewhere.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    It feels like a slur. We know it’s just not aimed at the gays, so I guess we’re not the dummies that you have assumed. If you can call me cis, why can’t I call you tranny?

  • Ren

    If one angry trans person means you’re done with the trans community, you were never an ally to begin with.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    You’ve lost one ally. I guess you don’t think you need any allies, so it all works out.

  • Ren

    Um, “cis” isn’t a slur for gay. It’s literally the opposite of “trans.”

    Edit: This is like saying that straight people find “straight” to be a slur when used in anger.

  • BeminDC

    So what was the point of the book and going on CNN? I’m truly lost here. (Though losing interest quickly with activists who aren’t interested in allies?!).

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It’s not oppression when someone simply disagrees with you.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And a lot of gay people find the term offensive since it’s often used a slur, as a pejorative, such as the person in the comment below. Considering the argument keeps being made that each community gets to pick its own language, and gets to decide what is and isn’t offensive, it would seem counterproductive for trans advocates to come here and continually use a word to describe gay people that many gay people find a slur.

  • Jay

    She wrote a whole book about her decision to transition. She gave the dates. This whole thing is ridiculous. It is one thing to out someone who is a “stealth” transgender. That would be unethical and cruel. But Janet Mock is a writer whose very subject is the fact that she is transgender and has transitioned via sex reassignment surgery.

  • Jay

    Well, yes, that is what she says now. But she has previously described herself as formerly a boy and referred to her boyhood. If she thinks it is an important point to stress that she now thinks she was NEVER a boy, then she squandered an opportunity to make that clear on national television. That was her fault, not Piers Morgan’s.

  • BeminDC

    People know, right, even Nicole Lynn Miller, that people in the real world don’t know that in the hell “CIS” means? Even gay liberals who want to be supportive but aren’t going to tolerate having their heads bitten off at every turn.

  • Nicole Lynn Miller

    SHUT THE HELL UP YOU CIS ASSHOLE. You are a fucking CIS MALE. You do NOT get to decide what is ‘pro-trans’, what qualifies as an ally to us. You have literally no right to do that, yet here you are telling us what we can and cannot be upset about.

    This is a perfect example of why trans people have every right to hate cis people. Act like our saviors when you’re really doing nothing but oppressing us to gain popularity among other ignorant cis people that want ‘ally cookies’.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I do agree that that question in the twitter account was trying for a buzzfeed type gotcha headline to get clicks.

  • nestazhe265

    My Uncle Caleb just got red
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  • http://www.gravatar.com/bonzeblayk/ Bonze Anne Rose Blayk

    Sorry, John, “you still don’t get it!”

    The interview was not “amazingly pro-transgender” because, in essence, the last thing to do when you’re trying to be supportive of someone belonging to a different class is to challenge them with all the dumb tropes that those who detest you – just for existing and having the audacity to “be yourself” – use as insults?

    For example, Trope #1 – “You are unnatural!”

    “It takes such guts, John, … you’re obviously just incredibly gutsy but very determined … because there must have been so many people – I get, I’m surmising here – trying to persuade you that this is not a good idea, that you should stick to ‘nature’s plan,’ you’d have heard all the cliches.” – 4m10s

    Paraphrased – so maybe you’ll see my point here? That cliche is false, because both homosexuality and cross-gendered identities are natural variations in “nature’s plan,” unfurling in a different way for each person in one’s development prior to birth – for some, a lot different! – and rolling out the cliche without underscoring why it’s wrong is to assume, “for the sake of discussing your history,” the point of view of the haters, and implicitly promote it as “the way reasonable people think.”

    “I know gay people who get offended when they get asked what they see as “stupid” questions about being gay, such as “who’s the husband and who’s the wife?” when two gay people get married.” – John Aravosis

    Indeed, and I know gay people and “allies” who would be offended if I was in a relationship with a man and respond to the same question with “Who’s the boy and who’s the girl? Isn’t it obvious? I’m the girl!” (Yes, I myself have been flamed for noting that this may be true in a “homosexual” relationship!)

    I agree that a lot of people get overly touchy when asked clueless questions by well-intended persons that they feel “challenge their identity,” and try to avoid being oversensitive to such myself; on the other hand… who’s being oversensitive here? Janet, or the guy who invites a “fierce transgender advocate” on his show and is shocked and deeply offended when it turns out she IS fierce!

    I think Janet felt kind of stuck with the necessity of having to explain after the interview why the focus of Piers Morgan’s questions – on surgery, on “changing your gender from a boy to a girl” – was wrong, because the psychological gender of a transgender person would have always been the same, however they chose to express it in a society that’s often hostile to people who are obviously gender-variant – but she got too prickly over it (on Twitter, “naturally!”)

    Piers Morgan could have dealt with Janet’s negative reaction to his line of questioning in a manner that was both suave and not-too-condescending, but no, he felt “horribly offended” and just could not quash his feelings of indignation and move on: “He’s such a sensitive man!” (LOL)

    “Yeah, whatever” – my own feeling is that anybody who expects to be “educated” while consuming contemporary mainstream media is fantasizing they’re swimming in a sea of information, while in truth they’re playing Marco Polo in the shallow end of the pool.

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    John I feel like it’s almost as if the trans community won’t let you say anything critical about them at all. A lot of them (not all) want to be included more in the spectrum of gay civil rights, yet a lot often feel they can say what ever they want and any critique or criticism is immediately labeled as transphobic or hateful. I really think that’s doing a disservice to everyone. You are incredibly pro-trans on this site, and I’ve seen no evidence otherwise.

  • Indigo

    Shifting signifiers as far as the ear can hear and the eye can see and the mind can comprehend. Of such discord are disagreements and misunderstandings made. The bottom line, I fear, is that the topic of transgenderism is unlikely to show up in interview discussion programs again, not for a good long while.

  • Take Back Pride

    I find it really fascinating that you utterly fail to point out the fact that Morgan then went ballistic in his Twitter responses. Instead of apologizing for misunderstanding the situation and perhaps being insensitive, he went on a rant about someone being “cisphopic.” Which as you know, is not a thing. It’s like a white guy screaming about “reverse racism” (also not a thing).

  • Matt

    Do you realize how obnoxious it is to turn a person’s expression of their own identity, feelings and experiences into an “argument?”

    Too many people try to see this stuff through debate team rules where it’s about making the most articulate argument rather than having the desire to understand. And the other side is seeing it as personal expressions of their own identity and experiences, which it is.

    There is a lot of false equivalence going on. To put it on truly equal terms: If you want to talk about your personal experiences and reflections and expressions of who YOU are, as an individual, regarding your own life, family, body image, evolution, ambitions, struggles, etc., pretty much no trans advocate or anti-racist advocate or feminist is going to take any issue with that whatsoever.

    But if you started talking about those personal things about yourself, and then somebody who knows nothing about your personal experiences started critiquing you, and you got a little annoyed at how poorly they seemed to understand, and they came back with “well it’s racist for you to say my opinion about your personal experience is less relevant than your opinion of your personal experience, and I haven’t seen you make an argument that actually refutes mine,” I bet you’d be even more annoyed.

    That is where the point comes from that someone is cis white man and shouldn’t be trying to position himself as an authority on a certain topic. Each time, it’s not about your right to an opinion, it’s about whether you have the ability to recognize what type of conversation you’re having, and recognize the line where a theoretical or political exchange of ideas becomes a personal conversation in which somebody else is the subject and you are not.

    If you can’t see the line, or if you keep crossing it, people who have a lot at stake just don’t want you to continue having cultural influence, because those with cultural influence affect the world they have to live in. They’d rather you did not have a following and their self-interest is in prying that following away.

    I guess its your choice whether you want to have a “fair argument” with trans people as opposed to wanting to hear and understand trans people’s concerns and experiences first. But if you want an argument, you’re going to be increasingly out of touch with the real sentiment out there.

  • mpeasee

    ” I’m not sure she’s doing her cause complete justice by complaining
    about the way an obviously supportive interviewer phrased his questions,
    or about the topics he inquired about, when they are the questions and
    topics that most Americans would ask on this subject.”

    …indeed, as a person of color, totally agree! “…you don’t have any ____ people on your show!”, “…look at that, the token ____ person on your show!” Unfortunately, this scenario is being screamed in this interview.

  • KF

    I think the large part of the reason why she spoke up was what the little note at the bottom said during the entire interview, and the question that the show’s twitter account wrote “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are dating was formerly a man? @JanetMock shares her experience now.” The interview was not very good, but if things like this happen during/afterward, yeah I’d be annoyed enough to say something. Everybody has their breaking point of what’s going too far.
    Plus, she was on the show promoting the book which had the answers to all of the poorly worded stuff. I could understand if he was pointing at excerpts in the book where she said things he didn’t understand instead of saying “you were a man.” The way I saw it, he would say something that was a bit off, she’d respond with the language she preferred and he would continue with the language he used to start.
    Also, as Mock pointed out in the part II of the interview, she didn’t write that piece about her being a boy. Somebody else wrote it. It was not her chosen words. She did write a counter to the Marie Claire article.
    The issue is that every interview I’ve seen with trans women (particularly black trans women) always is the same. The focus is always on surgery, love life/sex, and who this person was before their transition.

  • sinmantyx

    ffs

    She was born with a penis and therefor assigned male at birth because most people with penises are male.

    However, she is not male. At about age 6, she was old enough to realize this and articulate it to her parents.

    Shouldn’t expect to know when she transitioned?

    They certainly knew the age she had surgery and plastered that all over.

  • sinmantyx

    She was tweeted at the SHOW not him and referring to the titles, not the interview itself. She sent three tweets.

    Just sayin’.

    Although I wouldn’t blame her too much if she actually did what you are saying she did.

  • Carolyn Collette Gray

    You need to view the Piers Morgan Live show account, @PiersMorganLive. That’s where the tweeting began, NOT with the @PiersMorgan tweet you reference.

    I’m not able to post a screenshot in comments here, but I believe this link will take you directly to the @PiersMorganLive tweet –made during the broadcast– that seemed to have been the breaking point:
    https://twitter.com/PiersMorganLive/status/430890960826798081

    So, again I say your framing of the issue we started with… is not really the issue we started with.

    Yes, focusing solely on interview #1 itself, I understand what you’re saying. I disagree with you that it was uniformly good for the audience to see Morgan’s treatment of the trans woman who was his guest. Yet I see your point that if that’s where it ended, then yes both sides could very well declare victory and that’s that.

    But the fact is that Morgan himself made certain that his audience’s education would not end at interview #1. Instead they would be treated to his rude and self-regarding behavior a second night, again at the expense of his guest.

    You have not properly researched the facts of this matter, and as a result your essay becomes and parcel of the mistreatment and miseducation that tainted Morgan’s actions from the very start. (For evidence of my assertion, I point you to many of the comments it prompted here on your site.)Why you have leapt so energetically to comfort the privileged and scold the marginalized is frankly beyond me.

    I have no wish to drag you into endless bickering, so I won’t comment further. But I do ask that you view the Piers Morgan Live account and correct the misleading depiction in your essay.

  • DeColonise

    You are of course correct there. Those 100 sleeping cows sounded very, very nice cute by the way :)

  • sinmantyx
  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I pulled up both of their twitter accounts, hers and his, and read them before I posted the tweets. I’m not sure what you think is wrong, unless you explain in more detail.

    I’ve attached the tweets you’re referring to. It’s clear why Morgan’s tweets became less friendly. Here’s what people starting sending him after Mock criticized him:

    RT @ChernoBiko While on the topic of genitals @piersmorgan please tell America the size of your penis & if your left nut hangs low.

    RT @Yuricon: @piersmorgan “Piers Morgan, currently a man, with male genitalia, was excruciatingly rude to a woman on TV tonight.”

    Folks can have a look for themselves, but they seem to take us back to the same issue we started with. Morgan asked the questions and topic most Americans would ask about when learning about trans issues for the first time. And a number of folks think those questions or issues are rude to inquire about. That is not a recipe for educating America about trans issues.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I think I’m actually quite well versed in the discrimination that gay people face, considering I’ve been gay since I was 6 and considered killing myself as a result. So please don’t lecture me either about my expertise on what it’s like being gay and facing our own micro-aggression every day. You don’t get to silence people you disagree with, and that’s exactly what yet again you’re trying to do with that last comment. And it’s really inappropriate. And I’m happy to consider that if you’re willing to consider that sometimes a lot of people with a long history of being put down can be so overly sensitive that they assume everyone is out to get them, when everyone really isn’t.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And I know some good trans activists, but more often than not, they’re afraid to speak up when the bad activistst do things like this. Which is ironic, since so many want to have a discussion about “speaking over” others and exercising power over people’s opinions.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I had heard fable or something, on TV or somewhere, about how ten crickets are louder than 100 sleeping cows. It was something like that. The idea being that small and vocal does not necessary mean “representative.” And yes, the Internet empowers all, and I mean all :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Actually it’s racist as well when you fixate on someone’s race as a basis for the accuracy of their argument.

    Second, Lisa suggested that anyone expressing an opinion different from her own was per se “speaking over” her. That doesn’t make sense. She’s been as welcome as anyone else to express her opinion here.

    Third, she didn’t really offer any advice. She simply said we shouldn’t offer our opinions on this issue. Asking someone to STFU isn’t really ‘advice.’

    And finally, I don’t subscribe to queer studies buzz words as a substitute for real arguments. I have no idea what anti-oppression language in reverse means, but I suspect it means offering one’s opinion. And as noted before, this is a political blog. An LGBT one at that. That’s what we do. All of us. Writers and commenters. We offer opinions on the issues of the day. And it isn’t per se oppression or speaking over you if someone simply disagrees with you. I know that in our movement, on the left, and sadly in America overall today a lot of people conflate the two – disagreement with censorship – but it’s really not.

  • Carolyn Collette Gray

    You have some crucial facts wrong, and I urge you to edit your essay to correct the record. What you present as Morgan’s and Mock’s “first tweets after the interview” suggest that we’re seeing a conversation: Morgan tweeted, Mock replied. That is NOT the case.

    Look at the tweet you posted from Mock. She was replying to @PiersMorganLive, the show’s account, which had been issuing tweets throughout the broadcast. See their tweets from Feb. 4 at 9:29 to 9:41 p.m. THIS is the twitter conversation that was taking place.

    The post from Morgan’s own account that you have above was sent essentially at the same time Janet was replying to the show’s account.

    Do you understand? You have based your position here on a false narrative, one promulgated by Morgan in his LATER tweets, when he began trolling Mock and positioning himself as some sort of victim of a hypersensitive trans woman of color, the big meanie.

    Ask yourself: Why have you bought so easily into this framing?

    It’s possible you may need to check your own damn privilege, as the saying goes.

    Yes, you liked the interview. You’ve made your opinion very clear. Although I feel the initial interview had problems, I’d be inclined to agree with you, overall, in the interest of strategy — if that’s where it ended. But it didn’t, because Morgan himself saw to it that it didn’t, with his rude treatment of Janet on Twitter and the following evening as well.

    There is indeed a separate strategic issue when it comes to judging the impact of the interview. However you don’t have the facts, nor do you seem willing to assess the matter except through your own filters. And while I’m sure your filters have served you well throughout your career thus far, they are failing you right now.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t think that’s accurate. She went after him on twitter, dropping the f-bomb, immediately after the first interview.

  • pappyvet

    When Piers does a softball interview then I think it’s time to stop shooting from the hip and be a bit more natural than antagonistic.

  • pkibble

    And you see no discrepancy between this quote and the Marie Claire excerpt posted above, which apparently needs to be cited again because you’ve failed to address the contradictions clearly on display here?:

    “Though I had been born a boy…”

    “I loved them because they had long hair, and they were the only “dolls” OK for me, a boy, to play with.”

    “In fact, I even found other boys like me there…”

    “I was once a big dreamer who happened to be born a boy named Charles”

    “I calmly said. “I was born a boy.”

    So she was born a baby (neither male nor female), though she was also born a boy. Which is it? Self-definition requires a little consistency, otherwise all those who don’t under the complexities of gender identity may get confused.

    Thus I believe most readers (or listeners) would naively assume that someone who declares she was BORN neither male nor female would be referring not to her nebulous gender identity but to whether she possessed none of the external markers of sex (the genitals) or a combination of both.

    This is a crudely reductive-”biologistic” reading, but it was Mock who invited such a reading, because in the Marie Claire article she tells readers/listeners that she was BORN a boy. The word “boy” falls under the category of “male,” and to say you were “born a boy,” rather than forcibly acculturated into that role, is to create a fairly unambiguous personal origin myth.

    Perhaps you can parse the nuances of terminology for the uninitiated?.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg Moderator4

    You do not make your own point by typing in all caps, yourself. Please do not do so again.

  • Dave

    So she wasn’t assigned male at birth? She was told she was assigned male at birth but that wasn’t really the case?

    I dont see it.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    Also, nobody bit Morgan’s head off until *after* he had a breakdown over Mock’s initial, pretty brief, complaint.

  • Dave

    The error is on her part for hesitating then, im not saying that I dont sympathise as to why she hesitated but at the same time its still an error on her part, and she took that out on Morgan as if he is obliged to know every knoock and crany of transgenderism.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    That’s not even close. What you’re suggesting is like saying you had your eyes closed and they told you that you were in a blue room, but you opened them and found that the room was pink, and that means that by some stretch you had been in a blue room.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well, you’re going to need a better argument than simply writing “you’re not helping” before I agree that I’m not helping.

  • houstonray

    I’m just going to post that I watched the interview live when it happened, I was amazed at her story, and I thought she was eloquent and inspirational. I also found Piers to be very much a gentleman in all his questions. Heck, I told my partner at the end that he was gushing over her and I felt like he was even innocently flirting. I remember commenting afterwards that she was a great spokesperson for the Trans community, very articulate and I’d be fascinated to read her book. Before I saw that, I hate to say I had no idea who she was. And the interview got me interested in her story.

    Sadly, I kind of wonder now about her true feelings and would have to wonder what she wrote is as accurate as she portrays? As you pointed out, she brought up things she herself wrote in her book. If she was upset about the on-screen chyron, she missed an important moment to make people understand how trans people feel. It was, as they say, a teachable moment.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    One community, in which you speak for your own experiences and perhaps those that are most similar to yours, while other people speak for their own experiences.

  • Dave

    ” who was assigned male at birth”

    So she is accepting that she was male, by some stretch or definition, which she has left rather vague in definition. Again leaving scope for misinterpretation and thus someone who doesn’t know her life story could quite reasonably assume she was once ‘male’ or ‘a boy’.

    “I became who I am”
    This implies a transition, from one state to another, it perfectly reasonable to assume this transition is from boy to girl is it not?

    ” it started when I was 6 years old”
    Well i’m sure Morgan is very sorry but expecting every single person who interviews you to know the exact date of your ‘transition’ is absured, and then biting their head off for getting it wrong is utterly moronic.

  • sinmantyx

    Many transgender people are also LGB, but a large portion are not. BTW

    And trust me, for the most part (although there are exceptions) STFU is not about your identity, it’s about being wrong or presuming to patronizingly lead the way.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    That strikes me as a ridiculously paranoid interpretation of why she hesitates. She said in the second interview that she did so because she was afraid.

  • Dave

    Although I’ll add that despite Mock implying this vaguely she never explicitly claims it, she dances around the idea almost as if she want to leave some ambiguity there so that she can behead anyone that gets it wrong and launch her army of transgenders against whoever is unfortunate enough to fall into this trap

  • Matt Pizzuti

    This is what Mock said:

    “I was born a baby (meaning neither male nor female), who was assigned male at birth. I did not identify or live my life as a boy. As soon as I had enough agency in my life to grow up, I became who I am… it started when I was 6 years old…it has a lot of nuance and it’s hard to communicate in 30 seconds.”

    Parenthetical is mine.

  • Dave

    I know, Transcontinental travel, having transitioned from one continent to the other
    Across the boundary between male and female? From male to female (or vice versa)? Its the same thing. It implies a that boundaries have been crossed, and in the context of sexuality it implies that a transition has taken place from one sexuality to the other.
    If this is the case, then it is perfectly reasonable to assume that you have been more than one gender.

    Are trans people one gender from the start who simply have surgery to get biologically closer to this gender? It seems that Mock is implying this, if this is the case then trans is an incredibly misleading term.

  • jennrubenstein

    really disappointed in this, john. there’s a reason so many trans* folks don’t feel represented by the so-called lgbt community. we should be standing together in solidarity, not discounting/belittling others’ experiences. you’re not helping.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    ‘The trans community is too easy to offend, too easy to set-off–’

    That’s a rather sweeping generalization.

    The real problem is there will always be the loud, strident, and easily offended ones — who are vastly outnumbered by everyone else. But it’s the loud ones that get all the notice, and then are deemed representative of the entire ‘community.’

  • Matt Pizzuti

    Please consider the second interview along with this post. Here it is: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2014/02/06/pmt-janet-mock-2-0-piers-morgan-live.cnn.html

  • Matt Pizzuti

    Wait … so advising trans people on the appropriate way to deal with conversations as trans people is OK because trans people need to be tactful to win the political fight … but advising a cis man on how to deal with relationships and conversations as cis men is sexist and homophobic “silencing?”

    I mean you can’t just shift anti-oppression language into reverse and call that being an ally. What’s the reverse of anti-oppression?

  • Matt Pizzuti

    The Latin prefix “trans-” means “across” not “switched.”

  • sinmantyx

    Oh good – so everyone is going to ignore you now.

    Win – win.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    Like most situations like this, it’s 10% about the ignorant mistakes made during the interview and 90% about his response to having them pointed out.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    It’s just lazy and unprofessional to have someone there, physically in your presence, understanding that they come from a very vulnerable community, and not even let them tell you themselves how they are comfortable being characterized.

  • sinmantyx

    1) Please don’t lecture me on issues you admit you don’t understand.

    2) If you write about trans issues again, I will consult for free. (I also have contacts that have more experience than I do.)

    Look me up. @mamelby

    Consider that what you perceive as being “insignificant issues” might actually be a big deal.

  • Dave

    All trans people are achieving with behaviour like this is turning their movement into a minefield for anybody who isn’t completely in the know about the feelings and opinions of every single trans individual. The truth is, the trans community is too easy to offend, too easy to set-off, you’re discriminated against, this is sad and it needs to change, straight up attacking everybody in sight isn’t going to win this because you’re heavily outnumbered. Its going to take time, perceveirance and dilligence.

    Its worth adding as a side not here for perspective, I think that putting gay couples into the media, television shows and movies has helped make homosexuality less of a radical subject for the average hetero, as a result, a gay person is less likely to be singled out and discriminated against; they’ve become an accepted part of society because of this. Do you think any TV or Movie producer is going to want to risk touching the trans subject with a 10 foot bargepole when the trans community are almost certainly going to explode like an atomic bomb when the ‘wrong’ word is used to describe something?

    If the trans community want to engage with society and become accepted by those ignorant to their cause, then shouting in their faces is not going to work.

    Finally I would like to add a point with close reference to an example in this article, she criticises Morgan for saying she used to be a boy, which the editor has excellently refuted, but I personally feel that trans people forget that they are essentialy that… TRANSexual. Trans, short for transform: change. If you have changed into a female, then its perfectly reasonable to assume that you were something else before that. If you dont accept this then you need to change the name. Correctedsexual? Amendedsexual?

  • pablo

    Just to be clear, I’m talking about activists. I know some transwomen and none of them instantly throw screaming hissy fits the second someone makes a faux pas or shows ignorance of trans issues.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    I don’t think you fully realize how trigger-happy a lot of “mainstream” people are about getting really mad — sometimes violently mad — at trans people. I can see how it’s intimidating and hard to guess at what’s safe to say and do, and with the pressure of a TV interview, it’s a situation where you hesitate.

    (I’m not saying that Morgan or anyone on staff was a threat to Mock but I think she cared a great deal about making the most positive impression for that fickle audience.)

    My only suggestion to you, though, is PLEASE just watch the follow-up interview online.

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    She had the opportunity to tell him to his face on his show that he was using the wrong terminology and being insensitive. Yet she did nothing but was happy to talk about herself and let him gush over her. Now she’s happy to bring more attention to herself by causing a ruckus.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I think lots of producers would have done that because most everyone in America thinks that a trans person who has had surgery “used to be” the other gender. If that’s wrong, then a lot of education does need to be done. But I just cannot accept that this is an excuse to blow up at someone and accuse them of ill-will, which she and her followers did.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    From my own cisgender perspective, the education needed to understand trans identity issues is really extremely simple.

    Mainstream society’s message: Boys have to do [insert a million things associated with being male] because when they were born somebody looked at their genitals and decided that’s what they must be regardless of how they felt about it, and girls have to do [insert a million things associated with being female], et cetera.

    Transgender message: People should speak for themselves on who they are and on how to acknowledge them for who they are.

    (i.e. putting “was a boy until age 18″ up on the screen without asking if that’s how they’d prefer to be identified is hella rude)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    She wrote a book about herself and went on CNN. I’m sorry, I don’t buy the argument that she was afraid of putting herself out there. And no, it really isn’t hard to explain. You say “Piers, that’s interesting you mentioned that I was a boy. As a trans person, I don’t think of myself as ever having been a boy. I was born into a male body, but I never knew, I never fully understood, what I was. I just knew things didn’t feel quite right. As I got older I realized finally that I was really born a girl.”

    That would have been a great answer. It’s really not that hard.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    But it’s not micro-aggression. That’s the underlying problem with this whole discussion. It’s not micro-aggression that people weren’t born knowing trans issues inside out. It just isn’t. I don’t even understand all the rules about what I can and can’t say about trans people when writing about them – I get it wrong practicaly every single time I write a story that references trans people. And as you pointed out, I got it wrong again. At some point, it becomes impossible to discuss the issue when the community involved perceives every single comment as a micro-aggression, even when the interviewer is ridiculously biased in your favor.

    I’m gay. I’ve been gay as long as I can remember. I”m sure I can find lots of micro-aggression from the straight people I know, who still don’t fully understand what it is to be gay, since they’re not gay. But I choose not to fixate on every insigificant detail that they get wrong.

    This blowing up at everyone over every small thing isn’t helping the trans cause. If you guys think it is, more power to you. But things have gone awfully well on gay issues of late – I think we’re pretty good at the strategy. Things have not progressed nearly as much on trans issues. You need massive education on your issues. And this is not the way to do it.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    The suggestion that she’s sensationalizing herself is so offensive — because if you have any significant amount of prior knowledge from reading or discussing trans experiences and issues, the words Mock is saying make a lot of sense, her take-away from the whole thing makes a lot of sense sense, and it’s obvious that it’s all just going over Morgan’s head in Wednesday’s follow-up interview.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m not entirely sure how Piers Morgan doing a pro-trans softball interview has anything to do with some drunk chick trying to get in your gay friend’s pants :)

    And when folks decide whether we’re all one community, or whether gay people are supposed to STFU on anything concerning trans people, and I assume trans people will now STFU about anything dealing with gay people, get back to me. It’s getting awfully confusing keeping track of all the ever-changing one-way rules. :)

  • Matt Pizzuti

    That is the way Piers Morgan characterized it, and that’s how a lot of cisgender people like to see it — because think trans issues are a confusing, abstract topic that’s being forcefully imposed on all of society, rather than seeing all the countless expectations and elements involved in binary gender roles as confusing, abstract, and forcefully imposed on all of society.

    It sets up a situation where people are really oblivious to the double-standards trans people are held to, rhetorically and politically, and even well-intended “allies” are constantly holding trans people to these double standards. Ultimately, though, the fact that the overwhelming majority of people are in the “not getting it” side makes it harder, not easier, to deal with.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    It *IS* something that most people see as complicated, and not that easy to explain.

    I am cisgender but have heard a similar account from multiple trans people telling stories for our magazine and elsewhere, and rather than try to put it in my own words I’ll just use Mock’s words from the follow-up interview with Piers Morgan on Wednesday:

    “I was born a baby (neither male nor female), who was assigned male at birth. I did not identify or live my life as a boy. As soon as I had enough agency in my life to grow up, I became who I am… it started when I was 6 years old…it has a lot of nuance and it’s hard to communicate in 30 seconds.”

    She also explained that she wasn’t aware of how things were going to be represented on the screen and discovering the the text that appeared there made it worse, explains that she was fearful of speaking up during the first interview, and says a lot of other things about how she did not intend for Twitter to be a debate.

  • Aaron

    Although we’re gay men I don’t think we have the right to judge a transgendered person’s response to feeling sensationalized or mischaracterized .
    This reminds me of a recent experience at party I attended with a couple of gay friends. We were a hit with several of the straight girls who thought we were just “FAB”. Not an uncommon experience for gay men at straight parties. But one woman was obnoxious and kept asking if we were sure we were totally gay. After more drinks she told my one friend that she was gonna get him really drunk in an attempt to “turn him back straight”. He snarkily replied that it would only work if he could get her boyfriend really drunk and turn him back gay.
    So yeah, I guess my friend could have taken her aside and graciously thanked her for accepting him as being gay and turned it in to a teaching moment but he didn’t. In fact everyone there including some of the other women thought it was hilarious that he put her in check.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you!

  • sinmantyx

    Well – a great many of them don’t. A cis person is not going to be more likely to understand transgender issues just because they are not het. That’s just not how it works.

    And some aspects of your article point to you not realizing some of the underlying issues either.

    For example, complimenting someone on how well they “pass” is sometimes considered very rude; and is hurtful to those whose trans status is apparent.

    And this:

    “Except that, most viewers, and most people reading this article, would have said the same thing – that Mock did used to be a man, and was a boy until age 18.”

    Is a big problem.

    The “born as [original assignment]” phrase is sometimes used in trans activism, not because it’s accurate, but because most cis-folks just can’t wrap their brain around the idea that gender is assigned.

    Some trans folks do identify as being one gender and then “transitioning” to being another; but that’s, frankly, really really unusual. Painting that narrative onto people, many of whom have dealt with intense dysphoria at very young ages and were told over-and-over again (sometimes with violence) that they weren’t the gender they actually are, is an extremely raw micro-aggression.

    That’s one reason that people get mad.

    I wish that many of your rhetorical questions in the OP were REAL questions that you wanted the answer to.

    “What exactly was wrong with what Morgan said, and how is this “sensationalizing” Mock’s life and experience, even if it were somehow incorrect?”

    I mean, have you considered that your question might have an answer?

  • mamazboy

    I can’t stand Piers Morgan – based mainly on his involvement with the British eavesdropping scandal – but this “controversy” seems really ridiculous. Does anyone honestly believe that Morgan is transphobic, based on that interview? Why don’t we save the venom for those who are doing actual harm? I’m increasingly thinking Mock’s reaction and the subsequent brouhaha are a mix of marginalized-community victimology and the wish to increase her book’s profits. Such thin-skinned reactions make our community look weak and pathetic, an absurd notion given the fight we’ve had to engage in for so long.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    She explained all of this the next day when she went back on.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t really judge people’s arguments by the color of their skin, their gender identity, or whether they have a penis, so I may not be much help to you. As for whether I’d put up with straight people, I’ve been doing national TV for 16 years putting up with straight people not understanding what it is to be gay. And we’ve won, for the most part, by engaging straight people and trying to win over allies.

    And actually, you’re the one trying to shut down conversation here. I wrote an essay that invited debate here in the comments, and we’ve left up comments that disagree with me. You however chose to post a racist, sexist and homophobic comment in reply, in an attempt to shame me into not speaking.

    Similar to how Republicans tend to approach debate, you seem to think that someone simply disagreeing with you somehow impinges on your freedom of speech. It really doesn’t. Even if they’re white, gay and a man.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    If it starts again, tell me or a mod.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And I think all of this points to some ongoing bad blood, misunderstanding, lack of communication, that still exists and many doesn’t seem terribly interested in acknowledging or addressing. I tried to raise this issue seven years ago, about gay people not really understanding the trans issue overall, and it got me a whole lot of hate :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Maybe, but I don’t buy that. It’s not terribly hard to explain, if this is even the case, that a central tenet of being trans is that y our gender never changes, you are always the same gender, she was born female, but inthe body of a male. If that’s the case, if that’s true what I just wrote, then it’s not very hard to explain, I just did.

  • sinmantyx

    No problem.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Oh I’m sure it got ugly all around. I’ve been in the middle of those twitter wars, they’re horrible – everyone gets nasty fast. But he was already getting it from her followers, and then responded. It’s quite hard to be maligned on twitter, by a ton of people, and not respond. And many people like Joan Walsh, Greenwald, Max Blumenthal (all colleagues) do respond, and some pretty strongly.

    And I still maintain that she had the opportunity to educate a lot of people on the show by explaining why a trans person’s gender doesn’t actually change (if that’s even what she meant). He was eating her up, he’d have loved that discussion. She didn’t do it. She waited until after, and then ripped into him, and her followers did the same. It wasn’t handled terribly well on her side either.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    Maybe the fact that most cisgender people see this stuff as very complicated is why Mock bit her tongue in front of a mainstream audience, kept it simple, and complained about it later to a crowd that is more up-to-speed and understands why some of those things are problematic and exhausting to deal with. Mock handled it politically, but then she has her own safer space where she she can voice her frustrations at a more advanced and candid level. And then Morgan took it back in front of a mainstream audience and made it really personal.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well, we can have a separate discussion about whether people should ever be mean, angry, or combattive on Twitter. But hello – twitter :)

  • sinmantyx

    It’s just the same old respectability politics arguments that all movements have. Same old – same old.

    However, in this case, I think you’ve missed the mark in not fully acknowledging just how much Piers fanned the flames – saying seriously provocative things to his VERY LARGE twitter base.

    This resulted in trans women being seriously harassed by his followers; and even though he certainly doesn’t have direct responsibility for things other people have done (and neither does Mock!) – the way he responded has a lot to do with why this escalated.

    And however much I think it was rude for him to imply that Mock was pointing out some of the issues she had with the interview to push book sales; it was painfully obvious that he was trolling the twitter storm for ratings.

    I mean, for goodness sakes, he said he would “deal with” Mock on his show. It was really blatant.

  • http://www.questioningtransphobia.com Lisa Harney

    It is amazing how many cis white men believe that trans women need to have transmisogyny explained back to us, as if we don’t live it and see it every day. Seriously, Aravosis, would you put up with straight people telling you how you’re supposed to be gay? I somehow doubt it. So try listening to trans women instead of speaking over us.

    You haven’t changed a bit since http://www.salon.com/2007/10/08/lgbt/ have you?

  • Zorba

    Yes, I always preferred to take allies any way I could get them.
    Rather than accusing people who are actually fighting on the same side of being some kind of enemy.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You kind of lost me at that last part about hormone therapy.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t think you understand that most non-trans people don’t know what they don’t know. I still don’t understand – anymore, after all of this – when to refer to a trans person by what gender. I was always told to refer to them by the gender they prefer. But no one has yet explained how you describe their gender as a child, and honestly, it’s not something I’d have even known to research before an interview, especially when Janet herself repeatedly refered to herself as a young “boy” in her autobiographical piece in Marie Claire. You cannot assume that non-trans producers and non-trans tv personalities know the ins and outs of what you consider acceptable and unacceptable discussion. And, people are busy. If you want to go on network television, you can’t expect producers and Tv personalities to spend all afternoon researching every potential way they can not offend you. That’s Janet’s people’s job to do, it’s the job of trans advocates, just as it’s my job to tell CNN not to call me a “gay activist” which they have in the past, and which I’ve told them not to, because I think it’s a bit of a religious right buzz word that comes across badly on TV. I didn’t publicly fume about it, I made sure I told the producer next time not to do it.

    As I said, I no longer understand when it’s okay, or if it’s okay at all, to refer to someone as a boy or a girl if they end up trans later. Educate people. Don’t assume they understand, or will find the answer on their own.

  • sinmantyx

    Exactly – and I think all the people calling transgender folks a bunch of “drama queens” therefor they shouldn’t be allies have to check themselves.

    Essentially that thinking boils down to:

    Some trans folks are rude on twitter, therefore all transfolks shouldn’t been supported by anti-discrimination laws in employment or housing; and they shouldn’t have access to life-saving healthcare.

    I mean really – the argument in a nutshell is – some trans folks are rude on twitter so trans folks (in general) can die on the street for all I care.

    THAT is what people are saying in these comments.

    It’s the same bulls**t excuse that anti-gay conservatives make when they point to a particularly sexy or violent moment in a gay-pride parade and think that is evidence that gays are deviant and shouldn’t have the legal right to marry.

    It pretty ridiculous.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well, it’s far too early in your civil rights battle to stop trying.

  • Matt Pizzuti

    If the interview was an out-of-the-park success for trans people being humanized for mainstream America, was that success compromised due to angry tweets from the trans community (and actually consider the demographics of Piers Morgan’s audience vs. twitter users) — or was it actually more compromised when Morgan publicly criticized his former guest, characterized the politically-active trans community as one that will simply never be satisfied, and leveraged his much-larger following in a flame war on Twitter?

    There is a heightened responsibility that comes when you have heightened influence. I am an editor of a very small LGBT magazine and even on the scale that it is, I know that you do not engage emotionally with angry reader responses — certainly not publicly and emotionally — if you don’t fully understand what the complaints are coming from. Either they have valuable information for you or they don’t and you say nothing. Surely Morgan has had some coaching on that topic before.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    As I told David, he’s being mean, just let it go – if he keeps it up, I’ll start deleting comments. Please just drop this conversation guys.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    One of the real problems is the false equivalency, of course. This practice of taking someone who means well — let’s say our host, John Aravosis — and who is actually 100% in favor of trans-rights, and equating him with the most virulent of transphobic bigots. Like those who claim there’s no such thing as being transgender, or that it’s nothing but men wanting to wear dresses or whatever.

    Someone who wants to be on your side and support your causes is never the same as someone who wants you locked up or dead — yet this is what keeps being put forward.

    And as I said above, I’ve seen it in a whole bunch of contexts, with the angry, loud people getting all the attention. Which then leads to ignorant generalizations as false as the equivalencies.

    It’s a losing strategy.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I realize this discussion has an easy tendency to get heated, but I don’t think your point as to why hormon therapy or surgery matters to this discussion. It does sound like you’re just being mean.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    He should apologize for giving her 1/3 of his show for a softball interview that gushed over her the entire time?

    I’m sorry, but you guys are trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. You had probably the best interview you’ve ever had on your issues, it’s the best I’ve seen, and it’s the easiest most pro-anything interview I’ve ever seen on any issue. I’d die to have that good and easy and positive of an interview on a gay rights issue. And you’ve managed to turn this into a disaster, or at least attempting to portray it as a disaster. You won. I just don’t believe in trying to turn massive PR victories into massive failures.

    And if you want America not to say that you were a boy and then had surger at 18 and become a woman, then you need to explain to America why that’s offensive, becuse it’s how most Americans think of transgender issues, as “sex change.” If that’s not right, then you need to explain that. Mock missed a golden opportunity to do that. But you can’t be incensed with people for not knowing your issues when they don’t even know your community at all. You need to inform them, educate them, but not rip the head off of someone who clearly adored your representative during that interview. I’ve had to deal with the exact same thing on gay issues for the 16 years that I’ve been doing national TV on it. I think I as a person and an activist and political strategist am far more willing to explain myself to straight people, and I think it’s gotten us farther than ripping the head off of people who are obviously allies. In the end, I think this strategy is not only not helping you move forward, I think it’s hurting you. And that’s why I wrote about it, even though I knew I’d be eviscerated (not by you, on twitter :)

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    I agree, John.

    I was lucky enough to be friends with a transgender person when I got into college, one who preferred reasoned conversation and didn’t expect me to read his mind.

    Yes some of the questions transgender people are asked are pretty horrid, but I too think it’s important to consider the source when gauging one’s reaction. As you pointed out, not everyone understands transgenderism.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ppppffffttt!

  • DeColonise

    yeah.. there is no movement. You’re right but I would like that you wouldn’t be..
    Its like “there is no spoon” thing from Matrix heh. You can see it but its just not really there.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    What left winged movement? Where?

  • Zorba

    Exactly right, Becca.
    Way back in the day, when I was involved in the feminist movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement, we had to deal with the whole “purer than you” types.
    It used to drive me nuts.
    Take the positive and stop looking for reasons to be offended by those who truly want to be on the same side.
    And use your anger to deal with the actual enemies.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    God forbid anyone would say ‘transghazi.”

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    You hear that, diabetics? Out of the pool. You there, guy with Addison’s disease, out as well.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    No, it sounds like I think Piers Morgan did a kick ass job presenting trans people to non-trans America, and that a lot of people blew that opportunity by turning this into a “thing” when it was actually a victory. I don’t like seeing people blow opportunities.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Fortunately, it’s not up to you. I also hope to every god there is you’re not a doctor.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well, we have some petulant drama queens too, myself included :)

  • Matt Pizzuti

    It sounds like you think Piers Morgan is the one with the most at stake here.

  • sinmantyx

    I respect your coworker and everyone has a right to deal with their life the way they see fit – to get along the way that feels right for them.

    However, the idea that you are admiring someone because they don’t raise a fuss when they are being disrespected even to the point of name-calling is beyond creepy. I mean, lets put that in any other context and see how it plays out.

    Examples:

    I admire my black friend, because even when people call him “articulate for a black man” he doesn’t get annoyed.

    I admire my atheist friend, because even when people call her a Satanist who is destroying America, she never talks back.

    I admire my gay friend, because even when people think he is not a suitable parent and shouldn’t ever be alone with children because of his sickness of “same-sex attraction” he just shrugs and smiles.

    ***

    I mean, if that sounds reasonable to you and you admire everyone plays a door-mat to keep the peace and not cause trouble for themselves.

    Well, at least you’d be self-consistent; but I doubt that’s true.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well I’m not entirely sure how that’s relevant.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It is 1000% my responsibility to win over America. Why do you think I’m here? To sit on my butt and wait for straight people to start liking me? I think you misunderstand the nature of advocacy.

    And when do trans people get to live without being asked to convince people of their worth? The same day gay people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and people with disabilities, and Jews, and Muslims, and all the rest of us get to.

    I realize you don’t like having to do it. You think I liked going on TV and having to debate whether I was a pedophile? Going on O’Reilly and debating whether I was a biological error and the preponderance of gay men are sexually predatory on young boys? But doing so helped to convince people I wasn’t. O’Reilly ended up agreeing with me, and chastizing Dr. Laura by my 4th appearance on his show. That was hugely helpful to our PR, in the year 2000, having Bill O’Reilly stick up for gay people before a Fox News audience. I could have refused to have the discussion, and left people thinking I was a child rapist, or I could try to change their minds. And I think we have. And that’s why the gay rights movement has been the most successful progressive movement these past several years.

    It’s not about what I like having to do. Winning straight people over is my job.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    A response from a trans journalist in Montreal. She raises a good point about watching the transphobic comments in stories about this stuff. http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2014/02/06/piers-morgan-interview-with-janet-mock-was-well-done/

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Except the success of the interview isn’t determined by whether trans people like it, it’s determined by how non-trans people liked. When I go on tv and debate gay rights issues, my target is rarely fellow gay people. It’s 99% of the time straight people, or companies we’re targeting, or the IOC, or an Olympic advertiser. It’s rarely fellow gays. Now that doesn’t mean that I will always like how hte interview went – I remember in the middle of an interview on something not gay, it might have been Iraq, I have no idea now, Paula Zahn, on camera, turns to me, I’m standing right next to her, and says “so, John, you’re gay” – my jaw almost hit the floor. Her producers were mortified. It was just very strange in context. But we all dealt with it, and Paula had and has been such an advocate for us that I let it slide.

    Politically, that interview was success hit out of the ballpark.

  • sinmantyx

    Okay – let’s have a discussion.

    Should gays have electro-shock treatment to make them not gay? We need to have this discussion before we decide if us BTQ folks should continue our alliance with GL peeps.

  • carrie

    If you are going to have a minority individual on your show as an attempt to proliferate some knowledge about the individual’s struggles, you had best prepare by doing your research. I completely disagree with you. It was Piers’ program, Piers has the privilege and the platform, and as such he had a responsibility to Janet to provide a safe space to talk about the issues she faces on HER terms, not his. That is what you do if you are truly an ally. You shut up, and listen, as you don’t have her experiences, you don’t know what she faces on a regular basis.

  • David

    If we continue to represent gays using “lgbt” then it is absolutely a discussion that must be had.

  • sinmantyx

    No, it’s not.

    Whether or not someone has HRT or surgery is not something that the “gay community” should be having a discussion about, in the same way that feminists shouldn’t be having a discussion about whether or not I have a hysterectomy or take birth control.

    But don’t worry, the trans community knows very well that many gay people make horrid allies, don’t bother educating themselves about transgender issues, and have just as many misconceptions and prejudices as cis-hets tend to.

  • carrie

    I didn’t change the subject at all. You made an appeal to authority, suggesting that your years of experience with “national gay rights advocacy” help inform your knowledge of what a productive interview with a trans person might be. I don’t see how that’s relevant, primarily because MANY gay people continue to throw trans individuals under the bus. Trans issues are a completely separate issue, as sexuality and gender are different things, and the trans community has a different struggle from the gay community. You can write all you want about those topics, but that makes you no expert on trans issues.

    Where are you perceiving personal attacks? I have made none. Yes, my tone is that of frustration and anger at times, not passivity. That is because this issue affects my personal life. I am passionate. The duty of the oppressed is not to sit quiet while the oppressors feed us scraps and expect a pat on the back. I am tired of seeing my peers not listened to, demonized, trivialized by cis white men who think they are saviors & pat themselves on the back for simply acknowledging that trans people exist. That isn’t enough.

    We are not “one big happy community” at all, as long as trans individuals are being beaten, killed, and tossed aside like trash at the volume that is happening currently. And gay marriage is a priority? I don’t think so. Give me equal employment rights, housing rights, anti-discrimination laws, health care, and address the overwhelming homeless queer population first.

    The banner at the bottom of the screen that said “was a boy until age 18″ was completely unnecessary and sensational because as Mock explained in the first interview, she had already been going by the name “Janet” and identifying as female MUCH sooner than that. She said several times that she NEVER identified as a “boy” or “man”. Calling her such at any point is a complete disregard of what she said.

    “America does not know transgender issues. At all. It’s only gotten to know gays in recent years – and that education has taken decades. I’ve noticed a tendency to criticize anyone who attempts to discuss trans issues and then gets any small point incorrect – whether it’s using the wrong pronoun or asking about reassignment surgery.” I appreciate the first part of this paragraph, and you’re right. But what’s happening here is that a minority individual is demanding respect, demanding to be listened to, and the majority individual is appalled that she wasn’t just happy with the scraps he gave her. As if he was doing her a favor by pretending to hear her out at all. The whole thing is completely self-serving for Piers, which I would be willing to overlook personally, if he hadn’t posted really vile, playing-the-victim tweets attacking Janet ad hominem.

    All that was needed was some dialogue and an apology. The internet is FULL of resources as to how to talk to trans individuals and questions/statements to avoid. There is no excuse for lazy journalism that clearly lacks research.

  • Disappointing critique

    “But when America knows very little about you, and someone who is clearly
    sympathetic invites you on their primetime network show to tell the
    world about your story, and then gushes over you for 15 minutes
    (one-third of his entire show), ripping his head off is certainly one
    approach to winning over the hearts and minds. It isn’t mine.”

    Interesting that someone who promotes gay “rights,” can, with a serious face, talk about how it is the responsibility of a person who is historically and presently relegated to second-class citizenship to “win over” the hearts and minds of those who see them as such. Odd. At what point do trans* people simply get to live without being asked to convince people of their worth? This is a tired argument and the fact that so many of the G and L in the LGBTQ community are intent on throwing trans* people under the bus is fascinating, and oddly, not in *your* best interest or helpful to *your* cause. The moment you start allowing room for so-called “allies,” and others, to begin dictating the parameters of the discussion or the extent to which they will grant you a voice, you’re legitimizing every other -phobe who will find any flimsy excuse to dismiss you and your cause.

    Finally, you might want to do some self-reflection when it comes to your own transphobia. I won’t elaborate, but that’s it’s kind of obvious.

    -Cis Straight Woman

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I did, and he didn’t. I actually posted their first two tweets above, in to the post. He was gracious, she used the f-bomb.

    As for trans people being upset about this interview, that either means that they’re right or they’re wrong. But just because they all agree that the interview was terrible doesn’t mean the interview came off as terrible to someone who isn’t trans. As an expert on not being trans I can say that that interview rocked, it presented trans people in the best light I’ve ever seen on television. I’m happy to listen, always, and I am intrigued why so many people found this interview offensive. But as someone who’s in the target audience for the interview, non-trans people, that interview left me liking trans people and respecting trans people more, not less. You may think he harmed you, I think you harmed yourselves by attacking him after he actually helped you.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Do you know how many years I spent debating whether I”m a pedophile? :) I finally did refuse, a while back, but it still comes back up, did again just a few years ago on CNN. That’s how education works, you discuss it and discuss it and discuss it until everyone hears about it and realizes you’re normal and just like them :)

  • David

    I don’t support the taking of hormones or having children take hormones. This is a discussion the gay community needs to have if we are going to continue our alliance with the trans.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Interesting point, so I went to our trans archives – they’re all pro trans. And we debate whether this morning’s story about a drag queen is a trans story.

    http://americablog.com/tag/transgender

  • uhhuhh

    WHEN THE VOICES OF TRANS PEOPLE ARE STRIDENT ATTACKS AT EVERY LAST MINUTE DETAIL WITH NO MODULATION WHATSOEVER, NO, THEY DON’T REGISTER WITH SOME OF US BECAUSE WE HAVE STOPPED LISTENING ENTIRELY. WHEN EVERYTHING IS SCREAMED IN ALL CAPS, PEOPLE START IGNORING IT ALL.

  • carrie

    I completely, completely disagree. Mock did use the f word out of frustration, I will give you that. But I see no personal ad hominem attacks to the same degree.

  • uhhuhh

    What next interviewer? After that experience, interviewers are now less likely to even bother with the abuse.

  • DeColonise

    This seems like a problem with Internet in general. Its usually a breeding ground from the worst kind of people of any group/community that makes the loudest noises and those that makes the loudest noises online are the ones that are seen.
    Of course there are also healthy, sane and friendly discussions happening but they don’t scream so much and are often just shunted into the background.

  • uhhuhh

    First of all, that’s not what John said in the piece. His constant theme was that if you think an ally needs some educating, the way to do it is not to rip out the ally’s throat. That’s politically stupid.

    To your point about shutting up, I reject entirely this proposition that we’re supposed to be shoved together into one supposedly common movement and then ordered to never have an opinion about anything relating at all to a T. It’s such a ridiculous game. When the T militants think it advances their interests to demand complete merger, they screech that we’re all one and how dare we speak of differences. Then, in the next moment, when the T militants think it advances their interests to take the opposite position, suddenly we’re completely different and the rest of us are all to just shut up and do as we’re told. Heads I win; tails you lose. Fuck that.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    To answer your question, no, I myself don’t believe the ‘strident criticism’ is representative of the broader community’s views.

    But they are often the loudest voices in the proverbial room, so everybody thinks they are representative — which could not be further from the truth.

  • uhhuhh

    I welcome the concession that gender and sexuality are different. That is precisely why the attempt to shove them together in one movement is dysfunctional.

  • uhhuhh

    You’re forgetting a key element of the ideology, John. No one with “privilege” ever has any right to speak. The only permissible behavior is nodding silently in agreement.

  • DeColonise

    A problem with “civilised humans” I would like to say.

  • Hue-Man

    To add to my comment about media focus, take the example of Jared Leto and Dallas Buyers Club being criticized because Leto is not trans. There is a part of Gay World that is critical because Ledger and Gyllenhall weren’t gay, yet played (sort-of) gay in Brokeback Mountain. Although we would all like to see more gay actors in leading roles, BBM has overwhelming support in the gay community because it tells a story about men loving men.

    Is the strident criticism from part of Trans Universe not representative of the broader community’s views? BTW, as far as I’m concerned, Leto can play gay or straight or other on-screen any time he likes!

  • uhhuhh

    Some of us have stopped trying.

  • BeminDC

    Look, there are very few trans people. The ones that are around are going to need to be willing to educate and be a little patient, especially with potential allies. Screaming over a pronoun (not intentionally misused) isn’t going to help you make an progress. It might be satisfying, but not sure what it does for advocacy. Dan Savage has to put up with allegations of being anti-trans all the time. Dan Savage, one of our most effective, kick-ass advocates. Don’t shoot your friends or potential friends. Educate, them, sure, but being shrill.

  • Carolyn Collette Gray

    Janet used the expression “f*k” in one tweet, so you are mischaracterizing and misreporting when you say “some of her tweets were vulgar.” You also mis-use the phrase “Twitter trolled” when you apply it Janet, as her two tweets were in response to Piers and The Piers live twitter account.

    You also seem to place Janet on an equal footing with Piers, as if there’s no power dynamic involved when a CNN primetime anchor questions a guest in-studio, edits the interview, then spends hours chastising her and, eventually, trans women in general. That strikes me as an important point in any reporting or analysis of this situation.

    Finally, you keep saying that Piers was “trying to help the trans people.” Well, the trans people are trying to tell you that his interview –the questioning, the framing, the promotion– has perpetuated harm, not help. Do the voices of the trans people register with you at all, or are you simply going to dig your heels and continue insisting that the trans people are wrong, wrong, wrong?

    That interview and ensuing dispute was a measure of Piers Morgan’s character. I think your essay and continuing commentary may very well prove to be a measure of yours.

  • uhhuhh

    There may be some similar problem with the left in general, but it is nowhere near as severe. As best I can tell, it is just about impossible to say one word about anything related to trans issues without getting ripped to shreds by some obnoxious trans activist who is just eager to be offended and attack.

    But I’ve solved that problem. I just don’t ever discuss the issues at all anymore. It’s not my movement, and I’m not putting up with the abuse. I fully realize that lots of trans people are not obnoxious. They need to shut down the attention hounds who are. It seems almost as if the attack activists sit around refining and refining and refining their “theory” with the goal of making everything a verbal trap, just so they can feel justified in exploding like a volcano over whatever the latest micro-nuance is. I’m not playing that game any more.

  • Hue-Man

    Is Gay Media cherry-picking the most outrageous comments from the Trans Universe to generate pageviews? You don’t have to look very far for outrageous comments from the Gay Universe – GOProud, LCR, even Ex-Gays, plus vile individual commenters – that could be characterized as self-defeating in achieving the “Gay Agenda”. I don’t think the vast majority of lesbians and gays would say those views are representative. Similarly, is there a way of gauging the “majority” view of transgender individuals?

    I ask only because it seems so destructive to attack a sympathetic interviewer or to attack the gay and lesbian community for perceived slights. I think I’ve made the point before that there is nearly zero support for trans issues in Straight World and lesbians and gays have a long history of supporting trans issues even as part of the gay world considers that the two communities’ issues and objectives are not always aligned. At a human level, I support laws that stop discrimination against trans people – ENDA, housing, DADT, etc. – as any other vulernable minority. And John, this isn’t a personal attack on you, merely a question about why most trans stories in Gay Media have a negative perspective.

  • Roger Jungemann

    I agree with you, except that the next interviewer to come along would just ask the same exact questions. It isn’t for lack of resources on the topic.

  • cole3244

    i wouldn’t touch this one with a ten foot pole.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Actually, I’m glad she posted the link. I just posted the first two tweets from Morgan and Mock in the post – he gushed about her, she used the f-bomb.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Not everyone. And there are enough gay people jumping on the Morgan-sucks bandwagon as well. As Becca notes above in her comment, this isn’t just a trans problem, it’s a problem with the left, and maybe just a problem with people in general.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Exactly. And as I mentioned, but it’s an entirely other post (that I already wrote, my “Outrage Inc.” post), this isn’t just about trans people. There’s a knee-jerk anger on the left, increasingly so of late, and it’s not helping the cause. Especially in this case, where the interview was amazingly helpful in presenting trans people in a good light.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Oppression and misunderstanding often leads to justifiable feelings of defensiveness and persecution.

    Constantly being attacked and misrepresented leads to those feelings of persecution becoming laden with justifiable insecurity, anger, and fear.

    This leads to a habitual reaction to look for mortal offense even when none was intended. Like somehow being expected to know all the ‘approved’ ways of referring to an unfamiliar experience and self-identity. Even though the group in question can’t itself agree on all the ‘approved’ terms or language.

    This means potential allies who may simply not understand, but who are willing to be educated, being alienated, made to feel unwelcome, and driven away.

    Which further perpetuates powerlessness, misunderstanding, and oppression. (Return to the top of this comment-list…)

    The part I didn’t get to is this isn’t specific just to transgender folks. I’ve encountered bisexuals like this. Gay and lesbian activists. Feminist activists. Minority civil rights groups. The more historically oppressed the group, the more likely there are to be the stridently angry ones, almost literally looking for reasons to be offended — who seem to have lost sight of the difference between those who want to help and those who are the actual enemies.

  • Jay

    Thanks for this post. Not having seen the interview, I mistakenly thought that somehow Piers Morgan has been transphobic and sensationalistic, which surprised me. Have watched the interview, it is absolutely clear that he was being nothing but supportive. Janet Mock could easily have corrected any misconceptions he had. She did not. To blame him for not taking the opportunity to make clarifications is not only unfair, but is also likely to make other interviewers shy away from giving transgender writers the opportunity to make their voices heard.

  • DeColonise

    Maybe not being a man but def. male.

  • terry

    Someone here mentioned Trans peoples can be assholes too just like the rest of us. Watching this delusional Woman explaining herself to the world as born a “baby” is almost like saying i never existed as a boy or a girl. Delusional about your biology is like really far out and i’m pretty sure a mental disorder to think one part of you does not exist.I also think to some of them being a woman will somehow direct homophobia elsewhere. Some Trans women even Hate to be associated with Gay people. I don’t get it but i get it you want to fit in
    She went on a show to promote and Instead you had the perfect opportunity to own it and say yes i was born a male and now i’m female, next question after all it’s the only reason you are there is to talk about this to the media. you are not Janet Jackson(unless your trying to get your 15 minutes) your subject in the book is about, duh “Your Journey to womanhood”
    The problem i have with some Trans women is the lacking of a sense of reality in the thought process and then believing into something and it has taken become ridiculous.
    Also taking Hormone therapy is dangerous, playing Russian roulette with ones body and according to Janet Going to Thailand fora risky surgery. One has to question the longterm effects either way it’s a choice and a difficult choice. All i ask is the trans community is to be less entitled

  • DeColonise

    shh..you are not suppose to read her tweets. Its only all the rest of us in this world that are stupid, dumb and “cis-women” are of course the worst that just don’t wanna give up their private spaces to this outstanding friendly community. We all need to learn the “right” way or take the highway…
    Reminds me that we live in such a culture already.

    And I can point out, before I’m being called a transphobic that I know there are amazing transwomen out there and they too seem to get bullied and shamed, maybe the are not “true” enough.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I looked. Some of her tweets were vulgar. And his were what you’d expect from soneone who just got Twitter trolled for devoting 1/3 of his show to a softball piece trying to help the trans people. Folks can look at them here: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/did-piers-morgan-sensationalize-transgender-activist-janet-mocks-story/

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I saw hers and his Tweets. She had some vulgar ones, and his were as you’d expect after you gave a softball interview for 1/3 of your show and then got vilified for it. I don’t accept that his tweets some justify the treatment he’s getting.

  • pablo

    Why are transactivists such petulant drama queens? And since no ally is ever pure enough for them then why do people try and be their allies?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    But people do define being trans as “the surgery.” If that’s not the case, and I know it’s not, then trans people need to explain that, and Mock had the perfect opportunity with a host who was gushing over her for 15 minutes. She chose not to. I think that was a huge mistake.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well, I’ve been in gay politics for 20 years, and progressive politics as well, and learned long ago that whenever you disagree with anyone, they find a way to make sure you’re not entitled to your opinion, whether it’s your race, your gender, your gender identity or your sexual orientation. They always find a way to say that they’re permitted to express an opinion, and their opinion is per se correct, because of their status. And I don’t accept that. We don’t accept “ex-gay” people’s statements of “facts” on anything. Yet we’re supposed to accept that gays who say they “chose” their orientation are correct because they say so, and they’re describing their experience. Under that logic we should accept “ex-gays’ too. And the same applies here. Trans people are entitled to their opinion on when they think non-trans people are dissing them, and if they’re going to work in advocacy, it behooves them to publicly defend their opinion as well because sometimes they might just be wrong. It’s happened to all of us :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You’re free to keep chaning the subject, but you said I didn’t know what a productive TV interview was like, and I noted the fact that I had 16 years experience with productive TV interviews on everything from gay rights advocacy, to US elections, to Iraq policy. And as for how non-trans people perceive that interview, and what best convinces non-trans people to support you, non-trans people are quite clearly an authority.

    But putting that aside, I just wrote a probably 2000 word essay about this topic, explaining why I think she and you are wrong. Rather than turning to personal attacks, you might consider giving me and us the courtesy of a rational argument responding to points that you think I got wrong, and explaining why.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Just read his tweets. They read like an ally who did a great interview and then got savaged for it. And her tweets aren’t exactly the best either.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    The thing is, she was an amazing interview. I thought she and he both hit it out of the ballpark. That was easily the best interview of a trans person I’ve ever seen, and the most positive interview I’ve ever seen on any issue. But unfortunately, a home run was turned into a disaster after the fact. That was simply not smart politics, in addition to being, I think, simply incorrect as well.

  • Carolyn Collette Gray

    Please, do look at what Morgan said. He deliberately twitter-trolled Janet for hours and hours, and is still doing so today, widening his focus to include the community of trans women in general.

    And I must say, you are flat-out wrong when you write that he never should have been criticized and that he did a stupendous job. Please, please listen to trans women –the many, many trans women– who are critical of this entire hurtful affair.

    Your essay, as it stands now, shows a stunning lack of insight, to the point where it almost reads like a caricature of cis-centric, cis-normative privilege. I know that is not where you’re coming from, but I am honestly shocked that you would make the case you have made here.

    Again, please do listen to what trans women ourselves are saying. Morgan never did, not even once. I truly hope that you will, and so avoid further perpetuating the real harm that Morgan has done and continues to do.

  • Strepsi

    No, David, to me that is offensive. But I’d call out the produer, not Morgan’s interview.

  • Strepsi

    “Maybe if you discussed with a trans person which questions/statements are offensive to him/her, you might get a better handle on how a productive interview might go.”

    — this is true. And is absolutely the responsibility of the person who is to be interviewed, NOT the interviewer.

    Celebrities have PR people who ‘pre-interview’, designate terms, vocabulary and topics that are on- or off the table. We as minorities, if we want to educate and not be faced with inappropriate questions, need to do the same.

  • carrie

    How does gay rights advocacy exactly help you with trans issues? NOT the same thing. Gender and sexuality are different. Talking about gayness is absolutely not relevant here.

    Maybe if you discussed with a trans person which questions/statements are offensive to him/her, you might get a better handle on how a productive interview might go. You should be paying attention to Janet’s complaints in the second segment, nstead of deciding for yourself what shouldn’t be offensive to Janet. She is the authority on that, not you. She is the trans person, not you.

  • daisy

    Mediocre writer, even amateurish who is a terrible example of the Transgender community. I have a Coworker who is transgender who is not a fan of the Grand delusion the “community” spews out.
    Delusional fool. You were born a Male just like my coworker and Still my admire my coworker because She never complains and embraces her past and never gets offended over someone’s misconception of her and name calling
    Never Liked Piers Morgan but i have to Agree he was Tricked into some FAKE Controversy to sell her Mediocre Book. Piers should never have invited this Rude Delusional woman. I will call her a woman out of respect for who she chooses to be but find her comparing herself to Beyonce is a tad overly Narcissistic.
    Transgender need to find better representation. Someone who can actually reason with the press and not go on Twitter attacks. Shame on You!

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    Not sure what there is to see here other than she’s trying to sensationalize herself and sell books. He’s clearly calling her out for doing it. Sorry but trans people can be assholes just like everyone else.

  • DeColonise

    It seems that nothing anyone does is good enough for the trans community and still the same people wanna break havoc into every other community out there.

  • carrie

    read his disgusting tweets: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/did-piers-morgan-sensationalize-transgender-activist-janet-mocks-story/

    I am APPALLED. “oh stop it” and calling her supporters “stupid” and “dimwits” as a way to attempt to clear his name as an ally??????? Vile.

  • Tom

    If the trans community, including Mock herself, felt so hurt and offended by what Morgan said in this interview, on twitter after, and on the second interview last night, how can you say it’s “more helpful to the trans community”? Even if he thinks he’s an ally and means well and says she’s brave and awesome, but says hurtful things to her and the community there’s still damage done.

    I feel like a big problem with what Morgan said, and what you did in your piece a bit too, is tell trans people how they are supposed to feel and what should or shouldn’t offend them (she says she felt the stuff about her boyfriend was sensational, you tell her it was actually empowering). When she did call him out on it on twitter and the second interview, he got angry and dismissive, and brought on a panel (of non-transgender people) to agree with him. That’s not a good way to be an ally.

  • iamlegion

    I think it’s less the interview and more the complete meltdown Piers had in twitter when Mock and others complained. _That’s_ the point at which he goes completely childish & unprofessional.

  • DeColonise

    Ooookey.. Then I know to stay the hell away from Janet Mock and not invite her–or her allies if they too behaves as ridiclous as this–into my personal space.

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    Where did he shame/attempt to silence her in the interview? I didn’t witness that.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Ok, let me look at what he and others said after, but considering that he was eviscerated for doing an amazing interview, I’m going to give him some leeway for being defensive. He should have never been criticized in the first place for this interview. He did a stupendous job.

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    I agree John. Sometimes minorities can be their own worst enemy and we can become over-sensitized and hypercritical. Clearly Morgan is doing his best to be as pro-trans as he can be and then he gets slack for it. No wonder people give liberals a hard time – they’re never fucking happy.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Actually, having done 20 years of national gay rights advocacy, including 16 of those years on national television, I’m intimately aware of what a productive interivew is like, and have even managed to have them with Bill O’Reilly on gay issues. Piers Morgan was amazing, and this interview was more helpful to the trans community than any interview I’ve ever seen.

    And where didn’t he listen to her? He gushed over her for 15 minutes?

  • David

    She DID used to be a man though (and arguably, still is). goodness gracious. Being a man is not a bad thing to be. It’s not smart to expect people to ignore reality.

  • David

    Piers Morgan did nothing wrong. It was a good piece. YThe trans need to separate themselves from the gay movement immediately

  • waffle

    The big issue was the Chyron (the little title things at the bottom) that was put over the interview that said “used to be a man”. Which is why she couldn’t complain during the interview since it was done in post-production.

  • Mark Crawford

    There is such a thing as a stupid question. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjqsB1huDxg

  • Agent Smith

    Part of his problem is interviewing a lunatic. If he’d bothered to interview someone relatively sane, it would have been fine.

  • carrie

    This article is terrible and clearly you have no idea what a productive interview would have actually looked like. Patting people on the back for not being total bigots is not enough, Piers needed to actually *listen* to her and treat her and her identity with total respect, as SHE is the authority on her transition, not Piers. If he wanted to actually be a good ally, he would listen, not shame/attempt to silence her for stating her opinion.

  • http://www.emilytimbol.com/ emilytimbol

    Yes, after. I highly doubt this incident would be as big as it was if he hadn’t said all the inflammatory things on Twitter he did, about “cisphobia” and all that.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I didn’t hear her express any frustration. Are you saying after the interview?

  • Roger Jungemann

    The Katie Couric interview was problematic because Laverne Cox kept trying to bring up important issues but Katie Couric kept bringing back the topic to the surgery, which although is something that many people fixate on, is a very personal thing. What would it be like if every time there was a gay guest, instead of talking about what they’re there to talk about, the interviewer repeatedly asked them “what is it like to get fucked”?

    Piers wrote on Twitter that “I fear I am a victim of cisphobia”. This is not a real thing, because there is no political system where people who present as the gender they were born with are systematically denied jobs, counseling, and other things. “It’s only bullying when it is punching down,” and anybody who identifies as queer likely has first-hand experience with that.

    As someone who is a gay male, I think there tons of instances of people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bi are throwing trans people under the bus, even though they have been here since the beginning. I do not think that people should lay down and hope things work out. I don’t think real change happens that way.

  • http://www.emilytimbol.com/ emilytimbol

    You’re missing the much larger point. All Piers had to do after Mock first expressed frustration over some of the word choices and questions from the interview was simply say, “Janet – I’m sorry, my apologies if I was offensive, that was not my intent. Thanks for showing me what was wrong.” Instead, he took to Twitter with righteous defensive indignation, and played the victim. If he hadn’t gone on the attack against her, this wouldn’t have blown up. It was a teaching moment that he failed.
    Allies are not and should not be protected from criticism if they do something offensive – regardless of intent. It’s their job to apologize and learn. And I say all of this AS an ally.

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