Dumped by her own community on Valentine’s Day

A lesbian friend of mine in San Francisco is in a long-term relationship with her partner, who was lesbian for 40 years but recently transitioned and now identifies as male.

Well, imagine the furor when the newly male-female couple tried to sign up for the local gay Valentine’s dance (benefitting PFLAG, no less).

Apparently, it’s a “lesbian only” dance (or at least “women only”), and men are not welcome.

The dance officials made it clear to my friend and her partner that they were to stay far away from an event they’d attended for years.

Yes, their own community broke up with them on Valentine’s Day.

My friend wrote about this on her blog, and asked if I’d repost it. It’s a good piece, and raises some interesting issues, so I’m glad to do so.

Valentine's Day via Shutterstock

Valentine’s Day via Shutterstock

So much for inclusiveness.

My partner “A”, who is now passing with a beard these days, told me yesterday:

Hey, you know that Valentine’s day dance we’re planning on going to Saturday. Well, those words we’ve been dreading are right there on the flyer: “Women only.”

I kind of knew we’d eventually hit the “lesbian-only/women-only” wall, since now we’re no longer “two women” together. We’re one non-trans lesbian and one transgender male. (Actually, we’d hit the women-only wall before, but it was a bit different. I’ll tell you why in a minute.)

So A emailed the dance oragnizers, you know, just to be cool.  It didn’t go so well.

The thing is, I understand wanting single-gendered spaces. I have nothing against them. Women’s space is awesome. Sometimes you just want to be in a place where you don’t have to deal with men. In fact, I was often the first person who gave the evil eye to the straight couple flaunting their heterosexuality at a gay bar. (Now I see things differently, but hindsight is like that.)

And men-only spaces? Right on. Men should have places where they don’t have to deal with females. As long as they’re not excluding us in board rooms or business, I’m good. More power to you, brothers.

The problem is that there is no neat category for folks who were born with Type-XX parts and a Type-XY brain (or vice-versa).

So A wrote a super polite email (see below) saying hey, he’s just transitioned and now has the physical appearance of the man he’s always been inside. But he’d like to go to the Valentine’s dance with his girlfriend, who, by the way, is still a lesbian (if it’s confusing for you think about how confusing it is for me). So would it be cool if he showed up with his lover for the Valentine’s Day dance?

The response in a word? No. You’re not welcome. Don’t come. But no worries because there are lots of welcoming places a lesbian/trans man couple can go instead, you know, with all those straight couples.

It felt a lot like we were being dumped by our own community, and being told, hey babe, you’ll be fine – there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

The thing is, while we can pass for a straight couple, we really aren’t one. And outside of our community, I’m not so sure how many places a transgender dude and a lesbian could feel safe. But that’s not even the point.

Oh, and did I mention that this women-only dance is a benefit for PFLAG, which used to stand for “Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” but now, according to their mission statement, also includes bisexuals and people who are transgender. But I digress. I don’t like going to parties where I’m not welcomed.

I didn’t anticipate how that rejection would make me feel. It hurt. It hurt me. It hurt the man I love. Happy Valentine’s Day. Thanks PFLAG.

True, I could have gone solo. “A” even sweetly suggested I do so. But seriously. Would you? Would you attend a Valentine’s Day dance from which your spouse was banned?

I told you there was another time we were excluded. A company had advertised an all-women’s whale-watching tour. I asked if it would be cool if A came. They told me no, it would not be cool to bring your man. I was a bit bummed. But I was OK with it. You know the difference? It wasn’t a couples-kind of event. No one was saying, hey come to a romantic event, but please leave home that other person who no longer fits in our world.

It feels like when I was 32 and my dad invited me, but not my then live-in girlfriend, to his big birthday party. It hurt. I told him I loved him, and I respected where he came from, but I couldn’t come if my partner wasn’t invited too. He thought about it and called me the next day. He told me, honey, I want you to come, and your girlfriend is welcome too. I love you.

I remember crying because it took so much courage for him to do that. It took strength for him to stand up for me and let the love shine through.

We were family. We worked it out.

I don’t want to yell at these women. I’m not even mad at them. I know they’ve probably been through all the heartache I have and a lot more, feeling rejected, threatened, and frightened, for being who they were. I grew up in a homophobic world, too.

They said that us being there together would make women feel uncomfortable. So by being who we were, we were hurting them. It feels too familiar. How many times have we heard straight men saying they didn’t want gay men in the locker room, the barracks, or the NFL because it made them feel icky? Since when is someone’s discomfort with someone different a reason for excluding them? I seriously doubt they would feel physically threatened by my partner.

In retrospect, yes, we probably shouldn’t have asked at all. Maybe we should have just shown up (maybe we should still).  But listen: I want all those women to have a safe place. I really do. They’re my sisters. And to think that our mere presence would harm them? Ouch. When your family pushes you out the door and says, sorry, we don’t want you, and your mere presence sickens us, that feels pretty terrible.

Yes, I’ll be fine, and we’ll be fine. We have plenty of amazing, wonderful friends of every stripe. But it still hurts.

I guess I was hoping that maybe, just maybe this family would open the doors just a little wider to let us in and celebrate together.

Not this time.
_________

Below are the emails we exchanged, with names and headers stripped out (I left the rest as is).

My partner writes:

From: A
To: —
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 3:33:40 PM
Subject: Annual Community and PWG Fundraiser for PFLAG

Hi — and —,
We have enjoyed your dances and want to come this saturday with my girlfriend (lesbian) who has very gracefully accepted my recent transition (F to M). Since the caption on your mailer starts out with “For Women Only” I am wondering if I would still be welcome?

Please advise as soon as possible because we planned to up with some of our friends there but won’t if my transgendered condition isn’t acceptable.

Thanks,
A

The dance writes back:

From:
Date: Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 7:57 PM
Subject: Re: Annual Community and PWG Fundraiser for PFLAG
To: A>

Hi — –
Congratulations on your transition!
Your question is a difficult one:
It’s a dance for women and the people attending expect to see women dancing with women. Whether the women are lesbian or straight or bi – they’re still women. If you identify with being a man – then you’re a man.
I’m sorry if it’s not the answer you were looking for – but there are so many opportunities for women and men to dance and play together. This dance is special and especially for women.
All our best,

Then I weigh in:

From: ME
Date: Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 10:51 PM
Subject: Re: Annual Community and PWG Fundraiser for PFLAG
To: —
Cc: A and —

Hi – I came home to find out that we were no longer welcome in the lesbian world – at least at your dance. On the one hand I completely understand wanting a women-only space. (I’m assuming that there will be absolutely no men there at all. I’m also assuming that trans-women will be welcomed, as they are women.)

On the other hand, I’m broken-hearted. I’ve been in the lesbian world for 30 years and my partner has been in lesbian world for 40. We are part of this community. Or were. True, there are many chances for women and men to play together. (There are also many chances for women and women to play together.) But we– a lesbian and a trans man really don’t have many places to go and celebrate with our friends. I feel I’ve lost our community.

With a broken heart,

ME


(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+ | LinkedIn. 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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  • Rrhain

    With “friends” like you, who needs enemies?

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  • KF

    The event wasn’t hosted by PFLAG, just that money was donated to PFLAG. Also, the person who wrote the blog wasn’t the trans man, but his partner. I think it’s more to do with the partner not being in a position of recognizing that she’s no longer seen as in a lesbian relationship. Or maybe that she has to start recognizing her partner’s gender instead of taking advantage of that “in between.”

  • Polterguest

    Man throwing a temper tantrum because some females want some space to themselves. Shocker.

  • Polterguest

    Oh look. A man who isn’t getting his way from the women and throwing a fit. How dare those uppity females tell a man where he is and isn’t welcome.

  • Dave

    On other point: For God’s sake, John A. stop pandering. It will not diminish trans activist hatred one iota. There is no thing or set of things you can do that will ever satisfy them. They attack because attacking makes them feel alive and diverts attention from their own lives. In fact, the more you pander and grovel, the more attractive a target you become. Trans activists do not attack Bryan Fischer or Scott Lively, because those people don’t care what they say. They attack people who are friendly or sympathetic to them – almost exclusively liberals and gays – precisely because those are the people who will apologize and grovel and thus give them their thrill.

    Be a journalist and a writer with integrity. Call these people out as necessary. Question and challenge orthodoxy. The truth is that there are very few trans activists in the world. No trans event anywhere in the world has ever attracted more than a few hundred people and there are probably no more than 100-150 political trans activists in the US. Although weak and few in number, they count on the desire of their victims to avoid conflict, and on the mis-impression that they represent some significant group of people. They don’t. So stop pandering and buck up.

  • Dave

    The nerve of PFLAG for not following double-think! Everyone knows that in the Orwellian world of gender theory and trans activism, you must – MUST – be able to believe X and Not X are both true at the same time.

    So here, it would be appalling and outrageous bigotry to treat “A” as anything less than a man. In fact, any reference to his past, prior name, or any suggestion that he was “born female” will earn you excoriation. But at the same time, you have to treat this couple as a lesbian couple and allow them to a women-only dance.

    Trans activism asks so little of LGBs. Only our identity, organizations, spaces, money, and now – our logic.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    If there was evidence of sabotage, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Everyone would be in agreement that a person whose goal was to undermine the focus of the group should be disinvited from participating.

  • Rrhain

    Yep, you really don’t understand what “safe space” means. This isn’t about assault. Your paranoia regarding “sharks” is telling. You keep trying to make this about you. Thus, the reason it isn’t a “safe space” is precisely because of your behaviour. You keep trying to assert your feelings upon others when it isn’t about you.

    Thank you for your concern, but your actions are disturbing the other guests. Please stop.

  • Rrhain

    Except it isn’t sexism. Sexism requires power and this event is in response to those in power.

    “Saboteurs”? Wow. The paranoia runs high. In any gathering, there is always the chance that someone will take a dump in the punchbowl. Security exists for that.

    But this isn’t about “saboteurs.” This is about other people with real feelings seeking a way to connect to others without worry. Again, this isn’t about assault. This is about psychology. This is about the comfort of other people. And that means that you don’t get to impose your opinion about what is acceptable. It isn’t about you.

  • dcinsider

    One thing I am quite certain about is the undeniable fact that you are anything but right.

    However, since you showed your own ignorance of LGBT issues by using the term “sexual preferences” everything else you say is discounted by that stunning level of stupidity.

    So don’t lecture me on bigotry, pal. And get your head out of your arse. By the way you spelled your name wrong.

  • Nathanael

    Deflecting now, bigot?

    Yep, you’re deflecting. You know what my point is, and you’re deflecting because you know I’m right.

  • dcinsider

    What it says is that I would never use the term “sexual preferences” unless I was a totally out of touch straight guy who is a bit homophobic.

    As for checking my friend’s “gender” the mental picture you just drew will require brain bleach.

    I have an idea, stop making moronic broad sweeping generalizations about issues in which you possess such a limited understanding. How’s that work for you?

  • Nathanael

    Certainly you don’t *internally* struggle with gender identity, but the outside world could very easily force you to *externally* struggle with it. That’s my point.

    Many trans people don’t internally struggle with gender identity, and many intersex people know exactly what gender they are (neither male nor female).

    Struggling with gender identity is largely about the way the outside world treats you.

  • Nathanael

    When I go to the movies, I try to invite the friend who will most enjoy that particular movie, and leave out the friends who don’t like that genre.

    Apparently you prefer to check your friend’s gender and sexual preferences. What does that say?

  • Nathanael

    I agree that he shouldn’t go to the event. I also think the event is pure sexist bullshit for a sexist audience.

    “Supporting each other as a minority” — bullshit. If you admit any random strange women, you can and will get saboteurs who are not supporting you.

  • dcinsider

    No it’s not. It is called free association. You do it all the time.

    Ever been to the movies with just one friend? Why didn’t you invite your inter-sex friend along, too?

    You are obviously an inter-sex bigot, that’s why you went to the movie without your inter-sex friend. You terrible, terrible bigot.

    And what about the time you had only two tickets to the show, and you brought your straight friend instead of your bi friend. Bigot.

    Nasty, nasty bigot.

    You are so narrow-minded that last week you went to lunch with a co-worker and failed to invite the entire staff of your office to join you. Clearly, because some of the staff make less money than you, you are an elitist.

    Evil, evil elitist.

    Shall I go on?

  • Nathanael

    In other words, it’s bullshit, albeit bullshit which may be useful for people with particular psychological fallacies in their heads.

    A bunch of sexist women *believe* that they are safer in a sexist, exclusionary space, and therefore they call it a “safe space”. they’re not safer in any way shape or form. There are sharks waiting in that space. But they believe they’re safer. Yep, it’s psychology.

    Having learned early that very few spaces are actually safe, I suppose I’m more aware of this than most people. I suppose for people who have illusions of safety, there is value in not disilluisioning them (before they get disillusioned on their own, which they probably will eventually).

  • dcinsider

    No, no, I don’t.

    In general, I tend to find that following my own sense of self, rather than adopting the results of some unnamed survey, serves me well. In this case, I am quite certain as a gay man I do not struggle with gender identity, even if your survey suggests otherwise.

  • Nathanael

    Public (as opposed to private, invitation-only, friends-only, anyone-might-be-excluded) minority-only spaces are generally bullshit. (Occasionally useful bullshit, as with battered women’s shelters, but it’s still bullshit — they’re using it as an easier-to-enforce cover for something else.) The first problem comes in defining a sensible boundary line for admission and organizations which don’t have a *very, very clearly defined mission* usually never overcome that problem.

    I was welcome at the “multicultural” organization for my college, which was a bizarre euphemism for “non-white”, because I am part of an ethnic minority. I mostly avoided it. The staff advisor was actually great (loved him), but the student organization itself was… weird and cliquey and stupid.

    A “minority-only space” quickly becomes a space for a subset of the officially-stated minority — often the subset who are the most bigoted. Is this a good thing?

    This can be avoided with a very clearly defined mission, which makes it much clearer who should be admitted and who shouldn’t be. If we were talking about a “women looking for female dates” dance, that would be a *very very clear mission* and it would be obvious that committed couples should stay away, as well as men.

  • Nathanael

    It’s not difficult to *understand*. It’s sexist builshit, is what it is.

  • Nathanael

    “Women only” spaces which admit all women are not safe spaces. Period.

  • Nathanael

    I’m pretty sure this is just someone using the tag, this isn’t Randall Monroe.

  • Nathanael

    Ehhhh, there are a perhaps-surprising number of bi trans people (as well as lesbian transwomen and gay transmen) and that may have something to do with it.

  • Nathanael

    “We do not understand why gender identity is part of being gay and
    lesbian. After all, gay men and lesbians do not struggle with gender
    identity,”

    Yes, yes, you do. Go do some research as to the definitions of gender identity from 50 or 100 years ago, and you’ll find “men are people who have sex with women” and “women are people who have sex with men” as required, enforced parts of gender identity.

    You were gender outlaws, although the “rules” are being changed so you’re less of outlaws now. The Log Cabin Republicans would simply like to change the rules and then enforce the new rules strictly. If you’re not that type, please have some sympathy with other gender outlaws — there are a lot of different types of gender outlaws, well beyond those of us who are bi, and well beyond trans people. Heck, talk to the intersex people (whose dance do they get to go to?)

  • Nathanael

    Unlike Houdentenor, I actually don’t approve of the “minority space defined by shallow surface characteristic” concept.

    Stuff is waaay too fluid and too fine-grained for that.

    Suppose you’re having a “black community” meeting. What is the status of people who look white but who grew up as black people in a black community? Surely it depends on what you’re actually trying to do in that meeting.

    Are you trying to discuss specific things with people who “can’t pass” due to skin color (fine, exclude the light-skinned ones)?

    Or are you trying to discuss issues of the local community as a whole (don’t exclude the light-skinned people, but do exclude dark-skinned people who rare from completely different communities)?

  • Nathanael

    Pity the poor bi friend of yours who absolutely loves to watch “Valley of the Dolls”, but has to watch it alone, because his gay friends keep excluding him.

    Seriously, filtering membership in groups like that around some irrelevant characteristic is the definition of bigotry.

  • Nathanael

    I suppose if people want to organize an “all-white” event, they should be allowed to do so as well.

    Well, I actually believe that they should be allowed to, if it’s really a private event. I reserve the right to think that they’re idiots, though.

    “If it bothers you, don’t go even if you are of the allowed gender for the event.”
    Unfortunately if there are a lot of exclusive events and very few inclusive events, this can end up cutting you out of your entire social ilfe.

  • Nathanael

    OK, so it’s private, then. A private group can do whatever they like with their dance, including blacklisting individual women.

    And PFLAG can accept money from anyone, including people they disagree with — if I were PFLAG, I’d accept money from the Christian Coalition if they gave it.

  • Nathanael

    Yeah, that was cool. I’ve seen other groups in other places copy that pattern.

  • Nathanael

    Appalled is appropriate. You shouldn’t be surprised, though.

  • Rrhain

    But he isn’t a woman. Nobody else is going to know his backstory. They’re just going to see a man. And as for compassion, why should he be put in a position of having to explain himself to everybody else in the room?

  • Nathanael

    “But interestingly, the strife and agitation comes most times not from
    the male trying to enter a ‘women-only’ space, but from the female
    spouse or girlfriend wanting the exception to be granted so her partner
    can attend with her.”

    You’re discovering that, after exploring them and thinking about them, most women think women-only spaces are a crock and want nothing to do with them. :-P

    There are probably a few actual purposes for women-only spaces.

    But I sat in on (didn’t say anything) a long discussion between two women who were involved in running an operation which was sheltering battered women (not a formal shelter) once. While it was in the form of an argument, they basically ended up agreeing that the “women only” rule was useful in order to have a clear “line” to use to chase abusive men away, but that they’d had to kick abusive women out of the building as well, and someone needed to organize a battered men’s shelter operation too because that was becoming a real problem.

  • Rrhain

    Methinks you don’t really understand what the phrase “safe space” means.

    It isn’t about assault. It’s about psychology.

  • Rrhain

    Why would anybody else know who he is? The party was presented as women-only, so what is this man doing here? If they’re going to let him in, why are they excluding anybody else? Suddenly everybody is questioning everything and the very point of the event has been lost.

  • Rrhain

    Not the same thing. They were keeping transwomen out. This is about a women-only group keeping a transman out.

  • Rrhain

    That’s because it’s not really about assault. It’s about supporting each other as a minority.

    Like it or not, this person presents himself as a man. Nobody else is going to know his backstory. They are only going to see a man. They shouldn’t have to be put in the position of questioning everybody they meet and he shouldn’t be put in the position of having to justify himself to everyone else. When he transitioned to being a man, that necessarily means he doesn’t get to claim womanhood anymore.

  • Nathanael

    Depends what the original purpose of the group is, doesn’t it?

    Many groups outlived their original purpose a long time ago. Lack of clarity as to purpose makes it hard to maintain a “standard” for membership.

  • Nathanael

    I suppose we’re partly talking about the difference between private and public functions. If you admit strangers and hand out *flyers*, it’s not really a private function, is it?

  • Nathanael

    Well, see what I wrote above. I don’t approve of women-only spaces which let in all women — you don’t need them and they don’t work for your purposes, at least not in this day and age. There are women who are conversation-dominators and they will infiltrate and take over.

    If you’re going to have a private invitation-only club and you want that to be women-only, that’s your business.

  • Nathanael

    “cool – why don’t the two of them start their own inclusive group and
    invite everyone at the existing group to attend if that interests them,
    rather than attempt to bend the will and intent of the existing group to
    the whims of one (or two)?”

    This has been done. In the younger generations, usually the new non-discriminatory group is quite effective and the existing sexist group collapses as it bleeds membership.

    I’m told the results quite different among people born prior to roughly 1970. That was a different world to grow up in…

  • Nathanael

    Frankly, you can have a private event (discriminate however you want), or a public event (don’t discriminate on the basis of sex).

    I have zero respect for public events which discriminate on the basis of sex. Zero.

    (Though I suppose I am OK with something along the lines of a behavior or dress code at an event. “Straight people are OK as long as they act gay in public” and all that.)

  • Nathanael

    I still don’t believe in “women-only spaces” as usually construed.

    If you want to have a private club which consists only of a particular group of people, and either the conversational styles of your male friends, or your own ingrained habits of undue deference to men, create problems with having any male friends in it, that’s fine.

    Here’s the thing: There *are* women who will ruin that space just as sure as there are men who will. And if you have a blanket admission of any women, you’re going to get a really screwed up “women-only space” really quickly. So things like this “any woman allowed” dance don’t really cut it on *that* basis.

  • Nathanael

    Of course, as a disbeliever in gender essentialism, I generally think most of gender is a performance period, full stop.

  • Nathanael

    The “safe space” idea is bullshit. It’s an illusion. You want a safe space, you have to exclude unsafe people, not use sexist generalizations. The stories of lesbian-on-lesbian assault in “women-only spaces” are easy enough to research.

    Their dance, their rules, their stupid sexism.

  • Nathanael

    This particular sexist bigotry has been a big issue in feminist circles for a long time. Google “Michigan Women’s Music Festival” if you want to read about the most famous set of controversies.

  • Nathanael

    I actually think “single-gendered spaces” are bullshit. They’re mostly a kneejerk reaction to fears of assault, and they don’t actually work for that purpose anyway (women commit assaults too).

  • Rob

    I am a little stunned that so many gay and lesbian people are fine with this kind of exclusion. I have told a couple of times by people that I thought were my friends that my partner and I were not welcome at social events because they were “family oriented.” What that really meant was “gays not welcome.” It hurt. And I would not want to hurt others. And I certainly would not want to be smug about my right to do so.

  • Jay

    This is an interesting situation. I knew a similar couple, who when one of them transitioned were suddenly considered no longer a lesbian couple but a heterosexual couple. I don’t think they thought of themselves that way (and neither does the couple excluded from the lesbian dance), but that is the way they presented themselves and were perceived by others. They suddenly enjoyed “heterosexual privilege” but also lost something as well. I don’t like exclusionary policies, but at least now this couple has learned how some of the exclusionary policies within the glbt community causes pain to others. I suppose that is a positive outcome.

  • dcinsider

    This is the dumbest response I’ve ever read. Typical idiot gibberish from the protector of the oppressed. You have managed to read into my post a myriad of things that do not exist, then, having set up the straw man, you attempt (feebly) to knock it down.

    I tolerate a lot, but outright stupidity bothers me. Don’t respond I’ve placed you on ignore as you offer nothing worthy of discourse.

  • Strepsi

    The thing that’s wrong with your analogy, is that we would expect the Christian group to be discriminatory, and I would hope the lesbian group was better than that.

  • Strepsi

    BeccaM: thoughtful response. But this is why we have to be full-on feminists for female civil equality, but reject biologically-determined feminism. Since queer theory taught us that gender is not unequivocally tied to sex, the first wave “a penis is no different than a gun or a knife” feminism has become obsolete.

    I am more in favor of queer spaces, but I do recognize the need for women-only and lesbian-only events. I have equally seen the presence of straight women, even allies, change the whole dynamic at gay-male-only events. But I have been a regular at a male-only bar that at first banned, then welcomed trans and drag customers… and the sky did not fall.

    Honestly Becca, while I am sympathetic to your very real experience of allowing men into women-only space, do you REALLY think that this particular dude is suddenly going to spout of like an entitled chauvinist straight male, when he has been an out lesbian at women-only events for 40 years? That growing a beard will suddenly change his whole personality and turn him into Don Draper? Thats’s reductionist and a tad ridiculous.

    Why can’t people use a shred of discretion and say “No men allowed — except for Sherry, who is now Bob?”

  • Strepsi

    How about a drop of nuance or basic compassion to a lesbian elder and her love?

  • Strepsi

    This part of feminism I find really repellent: that women are sooooo fragile, soooo threatened, that the presence of a single transgendered man with his life partner makes them feel unsafe? Come off it. Is this lovely F-to-M with his long-term love, going to suddenly start penetrating them? What the hell is unsafe about his presence? And don’t give me the old “if we allow 1 man we have to allow them all” bull, we are people not robots and can use some common sense and discretion.

    This reeks of the type of reactionary first-wave Feminism that failed because it could not theoretically account for queer people, nor separte gender from biology. It’s as bad as thinking gays should not share locker rooms with straights as our presence <threatens them. It does not. We used to welcome all queers into the queer community. And we still should, especially at a PFLAG event. My sympathy is with the couple.

  • ericpayne

    He has transitioned to being physically male. Even before that transition, he identified himself as male. Very vocal members of the T community have made it clear a person’s gender identity is, and should be, determined by the person, themselves, and blanket gender identities of “male” and “female” draped on children at birth are, sometimes, wrong.

    The group clearly identified they wanted their dance to be a safe space for women, and that no males would be admitted. Their dance; their rules.

    So, dude, since you knew that, what’s your point. You were no more welcome at that dance than I was.

  • kandy830

    My Uncle Connor got
    Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG use this link G­a­i­n­s­p­o­s­t­.­ℂ­o­m

  • 2karmanot

    I can’t stop laughing! :-)

  • emjayay

    I was wondering the same things.

  • emjayay

    My comment had absolutely nothing to do with the topic of corporations and people. It was an analogy about identity.

  • Mykell Miller

    Deal with it. He needs to be welcomed into men’s spaces, not to continue to enter women’s spaces. He also needs to be allowed to speak for himself, instead of having his wife send emails and write blog posts on his behalf. Trans men are already silenced enough. Let us speak for ourselves.

  • TF

    Ladies rule, dudes drool.
    Trans men gtfo of my women only spaces. Ur not a priveleged subset.

  • Zorba

    Don’t forget “Aren’t you special?”
    And if you hear all three: “Well, I never! Bless your heart! Aren’t you special?” then you’d best be prepared to run for your life. ;-)

  • 2karmanot

    I know

  • 2karmanot

    Just behind every old Southern Belle is an inner chupcabra. Hear tell, same goes for Texan bebs. :-o

  • 2karmanot

    Yep, second only to : “well, I never!.” :-)

  • KF

    I don’t see anything wrong with this. He’s not a lesbian so it’s not his community. There really are a whole lot of spaces (within the LGBT community) that are welcoming of cis women in relationships with trans men. There’s not so many for lesbian trans women.

  • PeteWa

    as has been pointed out, this person is hardly being shunned:
    “Hi — –

    Congratulations on your transition!”
    oh, how hateful!

  • Jim

    I agree that this is a very thought provoking article! I’m a 60 year old gay man who has been out and active in the “gay world” since 1977. And, I think that although I’ve had a wonderful life so far,but, I’ve missed out on much because of my, and my husband’s, preference of predominately associating socially with people in the gay community. A large part of that exclusionary behavior was due to the comfort, or safety, level of being with our own kind. I think I’ve crippled my self, in a way, and have limited my growth and confidence as a person by not socializing with other types of people. My feeling is that today’s LGBT youth will not be as limited because of the greater acceptance by the straight majority. And, they, and their straight acquaintences, are more desensitized to desegregation. Socially and politically things have changed so much, so quickly. And, I can’t help but visualize the change manifesting itself in the persona of our bi-racial, LGBT forward, President Obama!
    I understand why some lesbian women feel they want a women’s only space, especially in a “pick up” meat market type of bar, but at a Valentine’s dance? The lesson I’m trying to learn every day is that inclusion trumps all! Share the love!

  • Nitpicker

    Long Beach is in Los Angeles County, not Orange County.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Not just Southern Baptists although they would be included. It’s pretty much all sweet, little, old Southern ladies.

  • MJL

    I wouldn’t use what you quoted if I didn’t see it myself. but I guess the ones who are usually pissed and get defensive when someone calls out something that sounds wrong(without even naming the guilty party) are very well guilty themselves

  • The_Fixer

    I’ve read more comments that appear here and have given this more thought.

    I have to say that it is legitimate for the dance organizers to limit attendance to Lesbians only simply because that’s what it is. And I understand the need for everybody to have their own space.

    I guess my unhappiness about the whole situation is that somebody is getting excluded and being excluded sucks. Seeing that brings out the sympathy. Compounding that whole situation is that the letter writer has developed bonds with the other attendees and felt, until now, part of the group.

    But when you make such a physical transition and begin appear as who’s been under the surface all along, then it becomes apparent to others that you no longer match the group. Therefore, it’s something to be expected to not be considered part of the group anymore.

    But as I said, the whole situation sucks and is still difficult. Yes, the right decision can be made, but the end result can still bring about hurt feelings and a bad taste in one’s mouth.

    Opening up another can of worms: The woman who wrote the letter considers herself a lesbian. However, now she is in physical and emotional a relationship with a man, where it was previously only an emotional relationship, one presumes. So does she get “reclassified” as a bisexual person now? Is she considered to have a fluid sexual orientation? She’s had an intimate physical relationship with persons of both genders (simplified, I know that gender definition is wider than that). Does this change things in that matter, too?

    Not trying to present an argument or position on that topic, but it would be interesting to read what people think about that aspect of it.

  • The_Fixer

    Yes, I summed up the one side of the situation inelegantly and incorrectly. Really, as you said, he’s always been a male. The organization holding the fundraising dance is treating the trans man as a former lesbian because he used to attend the dance when presenting as a woman. Secondly, I incorrectly thought that the organization having the dance was PGLAG, when indeed that’s not the case.

  • The_Fixer

    I read once that when Southern Baptists say “Bless Your Heart” that they really mean “F&$K You!”

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Did he always publicly identify as a man? I think this is a long and complicated process for some people. I’d need to hear the story from him. I wouldn’t presume to know the full story.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    And I would never ask to be invited to a women’s only event. That’s not really the point. The point is that now that this person has begun transitioning to being a man, he’s no longer welcome. I think that’s kind of crappy. They are probably (so far as I know anyway) well within their legal rights to exclude him. That doesn’t make it a shitty thing to do. Sorry, I wouldn’t do this.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Bad analogy. This isn’t a new person wanting to join the group. This is a person who was part of the group and has now been shunned. I would understand if someone suddenly wanted to bring a male date. But this was someone who they all know. They aren’t doing this to a stranger. They are doing it to someone who probably thought they were his friends. Obviously he was wrong.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I don’t understand suddenly rejecting someone for growing a beard. Being a trans person is hard enough. To me rejecting someone for that reason is unconscionable. Perhaps such behavior doesn’t bother you, but it bothers me. Yes, I think I’d make an exception for someone who had been a part of the group. I think I’d offer that person some community while they transition. Maybe they’ll want to find another community after they do but I certainly wouldn’t slam the door in his face like this. I think it’s mean spirited. So yes, I find that attitude extremist. Oh you were fine before but now that you’ve changed a bit, you’re no longer welcome so fuck off. I’m sorry I just don’t think that’s behavior I can condone. It’s their club and they can make whatever rules they like, but that doesn’t make them free from criticism when they do something like this. I don’t like it and unless someone has some new information (like the trans man was a huge asshole at the last meeting and that’s why they don’t want him back) then I don’t foresee changing my mind.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    There’s a difference between a car and a person. I realize we live in an era in which idiot court officials think corporations are people, but there’s a difference and I’m stunned that you think there isn’t.

  • 2karmanot

    “Thanks for capitulating honey.”—taken straight from the manual of Troll 101. You’ll have to do better than that ‘honey.’

  • 2karmanot

    “I don’t see why an exception couldn’t be made for a transitioning trans man.” You are still assuming that ‘he’ is a female transitioning to a man. That is a common misconception. He always was a man.

  • 2karmanot

    Thank you

  • 2karmanot

    “What I don’t understand is the need for such ideological purity.” “who can only feel good about themselves when they are treating others like shit.” This kind of reasoning is exactly why men like you are not invited to “Women Only” events. Consider this: discernment of a common group consensus is not the same as discrimination on the level, with which you suggest gay people ( in this case lesbians) are no better than anti-gay bigots. This is catapulting false equivalency to the max.

  • Palto

    Thanks for capitulating honey. I just voted you up.

  • 2karmanot

    Whatever

  • emjayay

    “Why not make it a multi-gender, multi-orientation and multi-cultural celebration of Valentines Day?”

    Because they didn’t. It’s not. It’s women only.

  • Palto

    What type of people shun a human being they’ve known for decades over something like this? Shitty superficial ones that’s who. Too bad the two people wasted their time with these assholes all these years. Now it’s time to get real friends.

  • 2karmanot

    “Well, god bless your lil’ heart” is my favorite

  • 2karmanot

    There, made your day.

  • Palto

    This group sounds like it’s run by a bunch of men hating lesbians. I forget the music event, but the Indigo Girls refused to perform at it anymore because the similar thinking lesbians who run it are trying to keep women out who used to be men. Same thing. Yep, men hating lesbians. Down vote away!

  • Palto

    Houndentenor your posts are right on the money.

  • UncleBucky

    To the one who downvoted: “Dumb Ass!”

  • PeteWa

    it is disingenuous to conflate a private event with a denial of rights.

  • PeteWa

    “Perhaps I don’t understand separatism that well.”
    I think this is an issue for some, not understanding that need others have.
    but that’s the point. it is a private function. As an analogy, I have a group of straight male friends who like to have a men’s weekend every year, I’ve never felt the need or desire to be part of that particular bonding ritual. Never been invited, never thought about it, and don’t feel discluded. It’s something they want and enjoy, a private function (albeit a more private private function than the one discussed here).
    While I might not need it, you say you don’t need it, others obviously do need / want that space. They are not where we are, we are not in their shoes.
    Like you I would prefer that everyone is welcome everywhere, but everyone is not like us…

    “If you can behave yourself and treat others with respect”
    wait, I thought everyone was welcome?
    (gentle snark)

  • 2karmanot

    “are they are a traitor? Is it the beard? Is this beard hatred?” Nothing like hyperbole and a touch of hysteria to catapult the concern,

  • 2karmanot

    “telling him that he shouldn’t complain and that he gives transgenders a bad name.” : !. what a crock of bull pucky. Nobody said he gives transgenders a bad name. I think your numbers 2. and 3. are number 2. Clearly it is you who failed reading comprehension.

  • XKCD

    I’m sorry, but you need to think about what you’re saying. You say “I understand the need for minority spaces” but I get the impression that by “extremists” you mean “people who actually enforce the minority-only status”. Which is the same mentality as the author’s. You can’t have it both ways, either you understand why minorities need to have the occasional rare space for themselves or you don’t.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I get your point, but there’s a difference between a fallacious slippery-slope argument and one that’s been borne out in actual experience, based not on irrational prejudice, but on human psychology.

    When one person is granted the special privilege, it’s only a matter of time before someone else wants not a different privilege (aka polygamy or bestiality vs same sex marriage) but access to the exact same privilege, in the name of fairness. Envy, fairness, and entitlement are powerful motivators.

    A more accurate example from the negative side would be if just one gay couple was allowed to marry, but all the others were told we couldn’t. Hence we have the anti-gay bigots fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent any exceptions — because they also understand that a privilege extended to even one is soon demanded by all.

    And almost always happens. Heck, we’re seeing it writ large already, with the argument posited, “Why should gay couples in California or Iowa have marriage rights, but not those in Alabama or Virginia?” Fairness dictates that the rights should be extended to everybody, everywhere.

    Well, the same thing occurs in the microcosm of a group defined by any particular identity. Plus, as I said, I wouldn’t have stated the point of women-only groups soon dissolving as soon as a single male is allowed to join, whatever the original reasons, if I hadn’t witnessed it having happened repeatedly.

  • emjayay

    If you ever visit Falling Water (and you should) book a tour of the nearby Kentuck Knob, a “Usonian” type house nearby. There is also a FLW smallish ranch style house you can tour near Mount Vernon. Of course any FLW house for the people actually cost twice as much as a regular house for the people.

  • emjayay

    Uh oh, drifting off……a lot of suburban architecture today is neo-nothing style free cheap spec crap, like new subdivisions in the Las Vegas area and I suppose other similar places.

    Earlier we used to know how to do bad good.

    Now that I think about it this is almost relevant.

  • emjayay

    I don’t believe turning into a male with a beard happens in a few weeks. And even if it happened overnight it wouldn’t make any difference.
    Say I have a 1955 Ford and am a member of the Vintage Ford Club. One weekend I unbolt the front end (it’s called a front clip) and take the rear fenders and doors off and put on the Mercury versions. I pull the chrome trim off and put on the Mercury trim. I remove the dashboard and steering wheel and put in the Mercury versions. I have the inside door panels changed to the Mercury versions and have the seats reupholstered in the Mercury pattern. The next week I go to the Vintage Ford Club. Guess what. I’m not a member any more and they don’t let me go on their excursion. I don’t have an old Ford any more. I have a Mercury.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Ah, so you’re making the “slippery slope” argument. If we let one man in, then we’ll have to let them all in. Another popular slippery slope argument is ” if we allow same sex couples to marry, polygamy will be next.”

    I would see your point IF the woman was now in a relationship with a bio-male and wanted to attend with him. I don’t see why an exception couldn’t be made for a transitioning trans man. I guess to me people trump ideology. You can claim it’s not about ideology but it’s nothing but that.

    Finally, obviously this group didn’t ask me, and there’s no reason they should care what I think. My opinion doesn’t actually matter. They did what they wanted and I think they are mean for doing so. It seems that’s how it’s going to stand. I just hope they remember this the next time a women’s group decides to exclude the lesbians.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It’s not ideological purity, but as I commented in my post, a recognition — at least from my perspective and experience — that the request for an exception, however well-meant, if granted invariably dooms the group.

    It would be nice if it was otherwise, but unfortunately, that’s the human dynamic and for some reason it’s all the more true when women try to create a space for ourselves.

    As soon as one man is allowed to join, whatever the reason, another woman will be there with hand raised wanting to know why she can’t bring her male friend / lover / significant other / male relative. And then another and another. Before long, the men are asking to bring their male friends…

    It never stops at just one. That’s the whole point.

    And once the precedent has been set, well, that’s it. Soon, after several exceptions, someone will argue that it’s unfair to everyone else that there even be exceptions, that the group should just be thrown open to all, so that everybody’s equal in invitation and membership privileges. And those who try to point out the original purpose of the group or try to argue for exclusivity are vilified as intolerant or un-compassionate or selfish.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    …either a few people do not have proper reading comprehension or just simply hate transpeople.

    In truth, I think your first sentence there speaks volumes. John’s post isn’t unclear or ambiguous. To ignore what was actually written and immediately indict not the author of the emails but her male partner — who appears to have been silent throughout this entire thing — suggests to me at least some degree of anti-T* prejudice.

  • MJL

    I will however add that now that he’s fully made his transition, it will be practically pointless for them to identify as a lesbian couple. Harder for her mostly because she’s always identified with ‘L’ whereas he might’ve identified with it, but may been more comfortable identifying with the ‘T’ the whole time. BeccaM’s post reminded me of that part.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    No. It’s not the clothing, but the identity. A gay man in drag is just a gay man in drag — he’s not ‘a woman for the night.’ It can be confusing to the uninitiated, but even though he may be referred to as ‘she’ for the duration, that doesn’t make him a woman and everybody knows it.

    A gender transition isn’t a pretend thing or something that can be donned and doffed like a costume. In fact, if I remember correctly, someone who has committed to transition and has sought medical assistance in doing so is actually required to commit full-time to it.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I understand why you’d want a women’s space. I don’t understand why one man who was living as a woman until a few weeks ago would spoil that. Perhaps I don’t understand separatism that well. What I don’t understand is the need for such ideological purity.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Exactly.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    As MJL said, it wasn’t the man and it wasn’t him ‘wallowing in this BS.’ It was the female partner, and as I’ve noted, whenever it’s some group with a particular identity — in this case, lesbian women — try to have an exclusive membership in the group, the biggest problem always comes from someone who wants an exception to be granted on the behalf of their partner, friend, lover or acquaintance.

  • MJL

    One thing I’ve noticed from reading the comments section, either a few people do not have proper reading comprehension or just simply hate transpeople. I say that because in some of the comments I’ve read, there is outright blame against the transgender male, telling him that he shouldn’t complain and that he gives transgenders a bad name.

    1st thing for these people: his only role in this was asking the dance organizers if it would still be okay for him to come even though the gender dynamic in his and his partner’s relationship has changed.

    2: The reply back to the organizers (as well as the letter we are reading) was from the female partner. the outrage we are reading is all coming from her. so as far as we know, we can only assume that he’s pissed because she’s pissed. he most definitely will be upset but he might not be as upset with the rejection email as she is. We’ll only know if he presents an open letter as well.

    3: as well meaning and understandable the rejection may be, it still hurts. obviously, it’s gonna hurt when a group of people, you’ve identified with for many years turns you away because a major part of what you had in common with them has changed or it was ever the same and they didn’t know it until recently. that’s part of what makes the LGBT community so strong as it is. many of us know what it’s like to be rejected by friends, family, coworkers, teammates, group members, etc. so for anyone to do it while knowing how it feels, yes it hurts and is a huge what the fuck.

    at the very least, like what another commentator suggested, was that they could be a part of the dance in the committee aspect maybe. or as another commentator suggested, they could try and hold a get together and invite some of their lesbian friends to said get together to see if they really are accepting of their now transgender friend.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Where do you draw the line then?

    A women-only group isn’t women-only if men are permitted to join. As soon as there is one exception permitted, the next is already asking, “Well, he was allowed to join, so why can’t I bring my mine, too?”

    You say you understand the need for women-only spaces, then turn right around and say that it’s wrong for women to try to have one. Which is it to be?

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    The movie is laughably bad in spite some sometimes good performances. What’s interesting now is how much the movie seems to predict the career of Lindsay Lohan. In fact LL looks amazingly like the younger Patti Duke.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Considering the embarrassing amount of racism in the gay community I don’t know why anti-trans attitudes should surprise me, but they do.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    This sounds exactly like the posts from social conservatives who just can’t understand why people are gay. Can’t men see how much better sex with women wouldn’t be? Why do they want to be with men? Why can’t they just hide it so the rest of society doesn’t have to think about it? Yes, that’s what it sounds like.

    No, I don’t technically understand what it’s like to be trans. But I do understand what it’s like to be different from what society expected me to be. It doesn’t take much empathy to understand that some people are trans and that’s their reality. Are we not capable of summoning the understanding we expect from straight people when dealing with trans people? Really? This really is alarming to me. I knew these attitudes existed but I’ve never seen them defended like this. This is like reading the racist, sexist and homophobic nonsense so often found on the internet. Aren’t we better than that? Obviously not. How pathetic.

  • unclemike

    PFLAG.

    Acronyms have meaning.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I have been to gay bars with male and female heterosexual friends. They were not kicked out. We’d have gotten nowhere without allies. I understand the need to have safe spaces for your own minority group, but I have little patience with the extremists.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    What? That makes no sense. This is a person who is deciding to live honestly. No, being trans isn’t exactly the same as being gay, but it’s similar enough that we ought to be able to be understanding of what it’s like. If not, we are a pathetic bunch and underserving of the rights we demand.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I’m appalled that the gay community can be so shitty to trans people. Of all people we ought to be the most understanding of what it’s like not to fit neatly into other people’s pre-conceived notions of male and female. Shame on us for not standing up for other minority groups. Are we going to become yet another group happy to close the door after us once we’ve gotten into the party? Shame on all of us if that’s how it’s going to be.

  • MJL

    if you read the letter, it doesn’t really look like he’s the one complaining. he didn’t write a reply to the dance organizers after the rejection email. the woman did. and she was was the one who wrote the letter too. so we don’t know how upset he may be about it. it may have probably hurt him, but he might probably be more accepting or acknowledging of the rejection. but at the very least we know her feelings about it

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    That’s how that works. My friends are always more offended when someone treats me badly than I am, and vice versa.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Then how is that different from straight people discriminating against gay people? I understand the need for women only spaces. I’m a man. I know how we are. We come in and start dominating every conversation. Not all of us but enough of us that I understand the concern. But I’m wary of zero tolerance policies. The real world requires exceptions. I think this was mean-spirited. Turning around and acting like the oppressors is not liberation.

  • MJL

    I have to say, reading your response made it very understandable and made me put it into some perspective.

  • MJL

    it wasn’t the boyfriend. it was more of the girlfriend.

    he had emailed the the people hosting the dance first but after their reply to him, he told his girlfriend and she made the passive-aggressive reply and also wrote the letter

  • Silver_Witch

    Totally – agree. Sorry to have presumed too far.

  • madcap123

    Hi,
    I know Valentine’s Day is over, but I had a thought. How would this change if the now male partner came shaved and in “feminine attire”? Just one more night, in a long life of nights as a lesbian. Getting in touch with family, not hiding just playing a familiar role?
    My thought was, what is different, at this point? The beard?
    Did the attendees wear dresses and tuxes and many things in between, so attire probably was not an issue?
    Here is a person, one who obviously has, and always had, some balance of male and female within him. (as most of us in the LGBTQBQ community have). Cutting him off, worrying that it will open the floodgates of males longing to be at a lesbian Valentine’s dance seems more like an excuse for excluding someone who you love and know as a lesbian and now, all of a sudden, they are a traitor?
    Is it the beard? Is this beard hatred?

  • MJL

    you could be right, but in this world today, anyone could say something nice and not even mean it. it is also possible for someone to use a nice and positive sentence to soften a blow before hitting their target with something that could hurt

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    There is a great deal of ugliness and bigotry in our society but the most inexcusable examples are the cases where one oppressed minority group turns around and dumps shit on an even more oppressed minority group. For Lesbians to treat a trans man this way is inexcusable. What did it harm anyone for this couple to attend a dance. How petty and mean. It’s bullying of the very kind we’re supposedly fighting against. Yes, I understand the problem of straights coming in and taking over our spaces. This is a frequent problem. But that’s not what happened here. If we can’t treat other people with dignity and respect, then we have no right to expect those things from others. I’m disgusted.

  • http://www.theangryfag.com/ TheAngryFag

    It’s a marriage of convenience.

  • http://www.theangryfag.com/ TheAngryFag

    No, you weren’t mean. You hit the nail on the head multiple times with master precision. This man was being passive-aggressive and trying to emotionally blackmail the organizers.

    And, to be honest, they give other transgendered folk a bad name wallowing in this BS.

  • Kathy11

    I came out in the 70’s – and have seen the “safe apace” canard used to attack trans children just this week. Passed several nondiscrim laws – one a 1st in the nation. Been one of the first trans people invited to the White House. Elected a delegate some time ago – yeah – a neophyte.

    If you’re going to use it – back it up. It’s hurting kids right now and preventing their equal access to schools. It has hurt trans adults for decades.

    Or, you could just cavalierly toss it around because argument.

  • Olterigo

    I think that’s a presumption too far. It probably really depends on how well he can pass. Just as the presumed “enjoying all the benefits” of their now opposite-sex relationship. There are plenty of states where they don’t change the sex line in the documents and so, they’d still be trapped if something happens across the state border in a non-LGBT-friendly state.

  • WilmRoget

    This has been a contentious issue for decades. And it tends to bring out both misandry and misogyny, to the point that I am convinced that the best answer is to let those who wish to have a men’s only event, or a women’s only event, do so. If it bothers you, don’t go even if you are of the allowed gender for the event. It doesn’t bother you, go and have a great time.

  • glasper9

    This is the most whiny, self-indulgent piece of narcissism I’ve read all week. If she “understands the need for women only spaces” she should accept her exclusion given that she’s not in a lesbian partnership any more. If people don’t fit into neat categories, then there’s no justification for any of the bulwarks and exclusions that she, as a lesbian, once defended.

  • emjayay

    In case anyone missed it, later it was clarified. Not actually a PFAG event.

  • emjayay

    I wouldn’t know how to contact this Disqus thingy. Sometimes the internets just do things apparently. The internets got confused recently and thought a car oriented blog (obviously) named Carscoop was terrorists or something and they had to change their internet name to Carscoops because they couldn’t fix things.

  • bbock

    I think that was spot on. You either fit with the mission of the group or you don’t. People change and you don’t always fit in with a group you once loved. And when that happens, it’s time to move on. I can understand that they are upset and mourning the loss of a group that meant so much to them for so long. But they need to recognize the purpose of the group and consider how they might have felt at their start with the group is someone else had a similar situation.

  • meoldgayman

    I am an old guy, in 1973 I had to go into the back door of the only gay bar in Long Beach “Victor Hugo’s” in Orange County. I was 15. My best friend was Cha-Cha!!! My boyfriend could go through the front door but we would have to go in the back door!! In 1988 Cha Cha “OWNED HER SELF” Her words not mine, and become a woman. I had thought she was always a woman!!. I was with her throughout her surgery, and life!!.
    So I think, and how I have lived my life as a gay man! “If you don’t get ask or invited to the party, have a better party next week and do not invite the ones that excluded you and wife or family member!!! Life is too short!!!!
    go on live life, I am with my husband 34 years now. Life could not, OH sorry UGANDA, NIGERIA, RUSSIA< we do still have a lot to learn.

  • 2karmanot

    :-)

  • Jim Olson

    Yes, yes you did.

  • ComradeRutherford

    What a great article. I really enjoy being challenged to think through interesting issues like this.

    The event organizer that replied in the first email put it very succinctly, “If you identify with being a man – then you’re a man.” Clearly that would exclude that person from a women-only event.

    I am fascinated by this on so many levels.

  • 2karmanot

    I’m a chest man, and an affectionato of pecs, so can totally relate. :-)

  • WilmRoget

    It seems to me that the event organizers are simply doing what transfolk ask – “treat us as the gender we identify with, whether it matches our body or not”.

    If they were to say ‘well, sure, your body is male now, but you really are woman’ wouldn’t that be deeply disrespectful of his transformation and the personal challenges that made it necessary?

    If someone were insisting on treating him as female now and thus excluded him from a male focused event or place, that would be wrong – so how is it wrong to accept that he is male now simply because it means he is excluded from a female focused event or place?

    If he identifies as male, he really shouldn’t be going to a female only event.

  • WilmRoget

    So she really doesn’t have a case here. The event welcomes women, including transwomen, but her partner, if we accept him as he self-labels, is no longer a woman. He identifies as a man, and unless the event is open to all men, he doesn’t get a special privilege because his body used to be female.

  • chris10858

    I agree with your thoughts completely. If a group has a women;s only group event (be it straight or gay women). but then allows a F2M T boyfriend to attend, then it;s almost as if they’re saying… sure he’s not a real man. He’s just a lesbian pretending to be a boy.

    On a secondary note… while I agree with supporting the T community and for pushing for full equality, I believe that sexual orientation and gender identity are two very different things. A trans person can be gay or straight. I think it does a disservice to both gay and trans people to lump us all in together as LGBT.

  • UncleBucky

    As the father on “That 70s Show” said, “Dumb Ass!” (To those who excluded a person who had attended so long, eh?)

  • jawstaysun

    http://transmanpartner.blogspot.com/2014/02/banningFTMs.html

    “UPDATE: It’s been quite an emotional roller coaster. I want to make a clarification: This is a private group of women holding a fundraiser. It is NOT a PFLAG group. PFLAG, itself is trans-inclusive and trans-friendly. In addition, trans-women are welcomed at the dance. (Not sure about people who don’t identify as either binary but that’s a different issue.)”

  • FLL

    The first line in the email reply from the dance organizers (“Congratulations on your transition!”) makes it clear that the couple’s longtime friends in the group have no intention of shunning them and will most likely socialize with them elsewhere. With that in mind, the group’s request to keep their dance women-only seems reasonable. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that an evangelical Christian group had a similar dance that was reserved for male-female couples only, but the wife of one heterosexual couple had transitioned from female to male and the couple were perfectly happy to remain together. If the evangelical Christian group were as accepting as these lesbian dance organizers, they would also start their reply email by saying, “Congratulations on your transition!” and make it clear that they would continue to socialize with the couple everywhere other than the “male-female-couples-only” dance. Something tells me, however, that the hypothetical evangelical Christian might possibly say, “Don’t ever speak to us again.” When you consider all these factors, the lesbian dance group seems fair-minded, even if they value this one particular women-only dance. I’ll stop there in the interest of keeping my remarks brief because I don’t think Americablog’s female posters are keen on having some man go on and on and on… (LOL.)

  • PeteWa

    indeed, I have a friend who was in a very similar situation several years ago.
    it was upsetting that he was literally scared to tell me that he was transitioning, he had already told a few friends and had gotten a bad reaction, even lost “friends”…
    to me it made no difference at all, I would prefer that he were who he was rather than who society and an accident of nature physically made him.
    he’s a very strong person and continued to grow into the wonderful man he already was over the ensuing years. it is great to see him so much more confident and comfortable with himself than he had ever been before.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It sure can, and that’s where she and her partner both have my sympathies. Especially coming to this realization well along in one’s life — and wanting to maintain a committed relationship within a particular minority community whose definition one no longer meets. That can’t be easy.

  • LanceThruster

    Toe cleavage!

    xD

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I know, I was a little mean. Maybe more than a little. But I have little patience for emotional blackmail or passive aggression.

    Anywho — thanks. ;-)

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Not pissed off and enjoying the name-check :) Good work, I think you may have been a little tough on her with the line-by-line dissection but it was a launching pad for lots of good points.
    I thought the Piers Morgan thing a couple weeks ago was interesting because he was like “What the hell, I feel like I’m on your side but I apparently said something wrong and suddenly Twitter hates me.” Gender identification is confusing to a lot of people, myself included, because of the myriad possible situations, and it might take a little patience as everyone works out the kinks and tries to get in sync with the T world.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I don’t claim to understand the trans world but it’s my understanding that many describe themselves as being a man/woman born in a woman’s/man’s body. This person chose to transition but doesn’t sound like they chose to identify as male — they seem like they were born into it.

  • LanceThruster

    That some are “more equal than others” is a *really* crappy selling point, no?

  • Silver_Witch

    Indeed – change is good!

  • PeteWa

    it would be interesting to find out. they are in a unique situation that at least one of them is not seeming to fully acknowledge, they (or at least one of them) are grieving for a lost, comforting reality that they no longer have (full) access to.
    growth can be painful.

  • PeteWa

    thank you Silver (used to be white?) Witch.

  • Silver_Witch

    Much like…double star PeteWa!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Oh, I know — and thanks very much. But interestingly, the strife and agitation comes most times not from the male trying to enter a ‘women-only’ space, but from the female spouse or girlfriend wanting the exception to be granted so her partner can attend with her.

    I can’t say for certain in this case illustrated here, but I would not be at all surprised if the author is way more upset with the dance party exclusion than her partner is.

  • PeteWa

    oh, I was agreeing with you – I really love the way you broke it all down, I continue to be envious of your clear minded eloquence.
    it’s just so selfish and arrogant to think that everyone should amend what they had agreed to because of some special snowflake who is like, really, really unique:
    He’s totally behind women’s rights and feminism and everything. He’ll totally respect our space.

    he’s totally not doing that just by asking / coercing to be included.
    what an ally…

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t think she was blaming PFLAG. I think the point was that this was an event that the organizers were donating money to a gay rights group, and then they cut somebody out of the event – it felt counter civil rightsy :)

  • 2karmanot

    My cane has a light. We could find a way.

  • 2karmanot

    The politics of kitsch classics could become very heated and interesting.

  • 2karmanot

    Wow, you continue to amaze Becca. Well done.

  • jomicur

    Well, I’m disabled–partially paralyzed, wrecked sense of balance, forced to walk on a cane. But if you know of a dance where I might fit in, you’re on. :)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    More to the point, they’re trying to hang onto something — the identity of ‘lesbian’ — that transition dictates must be left behind. For at least one of them anyway. As I remarked above, the offended author of the letter will eventually have to decide whether she’s along for the ride or not.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I like boobies. But in truth, I’ve always been a Leg Gal. ;-)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I know. But like I said up in the comment there, this kind of thing happens all the friggin’ time. And it plays out the same ways every time, too.

    It’s either ‘Exception is made, then another and another and another until the group no longer serves its original purpose’ or ‘Exception is refused and the requester feels mortally offended, often to the point of leaving.’

    In a way, your suggestion isn’t a bad one. If the author and her partner were on another calendar date to throw a fund-raising dance party, and invite all of their lesbian friends from the other group, they’d probably learn right quick which ones are their real friends and community and which ones aren’t.

  • dcinsider

    What debate? You mean when you raise ridiculous arguments and we shoot them down?

  • dcinsider

    I see an exorcism in your future.

  • PeteWa

    some well-meaning but (IMHO) misguided member say something like, “I
    want to invite (insert male name here) to come to our meeting. He’s
    totally behind women’s rights and feminism and everything. He’ll totally
    respect our space.”

    cool – why don’t the two of them start their own inclusive group and invite everyone at the existing group to attend if that interests them, rather than attempt to bend the will and intent of the existing group to the whims of one (or two)?

  • dcinsider

    I could start a whole thread on Valley of the Dolls.

  • 2karmanot

    The good old days………….

  • Silver_Witch

    Well BeccaM you have once again taken a very complex conversation and made it rather simple and understandable from all sides. I totally hear and support your stance that it is the man in this relationship is the one leaving his former world and that he and his wife/girlfriend will now join the world of the “normals” where they can hug, kiss, dance, love, laugh and play all the time. Well said Becca…thank you.

  • http://www.theangryfag.com/ TheAngryFag

    You are correct. They’re trying to have their cake and eat it too.

  • 2karmanot

    So did Sullivan. Suburbs ain’t what they used to be, huh? :-)

  • dcinsider

    LOL

  • 2karmanot

    Thanks. It’s like being born again. :-) Did I just write that?

  • dcinsider

    Helen Lawson: “The only hit that comes out of a Helen Lawson show is Helen Lawson, and that’s ME, baby, remember?”

    Helen Lawson: “Look. They drummed you right outta Hollywood! So ya come crawlin’ back to Broadway. Well, Broadway doesn’t go for booze and dope. Now you get outta my way, I got a guy waitin’ for me.”
    Neely O’Hara: “That’s a switch from the fags you’re usually stuck with!”

    Mel: “You’re spending a lot more time than necessary with that fag.”
    Neely O’Hara: “Ted Casablanca is NOT a fag… and I’m the dame who can prove it.”

  • perljammer

    Hey! Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built a number of houses in suburban settings!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’ll try to avoid the acrimonious reactions (might not succeed…) and don’t want to debate whether LGBT should include T (I feel it should), and instead address this from the angle a few others have touched upon. And open it with a slightly different example: I have at times been involved with women’s rights groups. My wife even more than me. (Actually, lots more.) Also a women-only Wiccan group.

    I can’t begin to tell you all how many times women have tried to create women-only spaces for ourselves, only to have some well-meaning but (IMHO) misguided member say something like, “I want to invite (insert male name here) to come to our meeting. He’s totally behind women’s rights and feminism and everything. He’ll totally respect our space.”

    Then comes the inevitable argument. Some want to be inclusive and are offended because they feel their friend / husband / boyfriend is being singled out for rejection (along with the suggester herself). Others are angry because the whole purpose of the ‘women-only’ space is being undermined.

    Even if that one exception is granted and the male promises to be quiet, his presence changes the dynamic of the group. Not in a good way either. And quite frankly, the promise is never kept — I’ve seen it with my own eyes. As soon as there are 2 or 3 or 4 men there, they start talking to each other and take over the conversation. Why? Because that’s the usual expression of our male-dominated culture, the very same that women are trying to compensate for when we ask for women-only spaces for ourselves.

    Anyway, while I cringe at the un-artful language used by the lesbian-only dance organizer — specifically the ‘people expect to see’ part, where she’s refusing to own her position and stand for it — but I have to side with the group. When the author’s partner decided to transition and began presenting and passing as male in public, they stopped being a lesbian couple. It clearly sounds like they both have a lot to work out in terms of their relationship, which is totally understandable.

    But I’m also hoping she realizes that since she’s with someone who presents as and apparently passes well for male, she’s now enjoying all the benefits of heterosexual privilege. Just because she’s 30 years away from being used to that state of privilege doesn’t change the fact of it.

    If her partner obtains a legal gender status change, they can marry in any state in America. (Even Texas just upheld one such marriage, which was challenged by this one widow’s bigoted in-law family.) No Christian-owned B&B will ban them from sharing a bed; no florist or baker will try to refuse to provide goods for their wedding. If they walk down the street holding hands, they won’t have cartons of food lobbed and homophobic epithets shouted at them. Hell, they can go to any night club, anywhere, and dance together without having to endure catcalls and crude requests for threesomes.

    A support group for lesbians can be full of friends. Close friends or even best friends. But it’s not the same as a family — and even if it were, folks like these here ought to know the old saying about how “family is where they always have to take you in” simply isn’t true and never has been.

    I’m going to do something here and piss off SkippyFlipJack as I take apart that last somewhat passive-aggressive response up there.

    Hi – I came home to find out that we were no longer welcome in the lesbian world – at least at your dance.

    Like I said, starting right off with a passive-aggressive tone, as well as attempting to guilt-trip and overinflate the whole thing by these references to “lesbian world” — as if this one lesbian-only dance and this one group is the entire lesbian civil rights and co-support movement. Not cool.

    It also won’t persuade.

    On the one hand I completely understand wanting a women-only space. (I’m assuming that there will be absolutely no men there at all. I’m also assuming that trans-women will be welcomed, as they are women.)

    I call this technique “fishing for bigotry” — as in, trying to see if this is actually anti-T* bias as opposed to simply wishing to exclude males. Of COURSE they won’t have any men there. (Sadly, she does have a point in mentioning how women/lesbian groups do quite often exclude MtF Transfolk… Nothing’s perfect. Still, this is exactly what I mean when I say that if the author were looking to bring her fully transitioned T* girlfriend/partner/spouse, I would have sided instead with her.)

    On the other hand, I’m broken-hearted. I’ve been in the lesbian world for 30 years and my partner has been in lesbian world for 40.

    And then her partner left this proverbial ‘lesbian world.’ If she hasn’t already realized it, she’ll soon have to face the same decision. You’re not a lesbian if your committed sexual partner is male, even if he is T*. Welcome to Bisexuality. Or ambisexuality. Or omnisexuality or whatever you want to call it.

    But they won’t be in ‘lesbian world’ anymore. Talk to any transitioned Transperson and you’ll soon learn that every one of them had to leave things behind — family, friends, community… even self-labels and identity. It’s not the same for all, but there’s always a cost.

    An ‘appeal to longevity’ isn’t a valid argument. It’d be like some guy telling his recently divorced wife that because they slept together for 30 or 40 years, he should always be allowed to have sex with her. Sometimes a life-change brings with it a hard delineation between what existed before and what will be in the future.

    We are part of this community. Or were.

    Perhaps they still are. She’ll also soon learn who her real friends are and who put conditions on that friendship. But the partner doesn’t get to be a lesbian in the community, and if she stays with him, soon she will be identified as bisexual. She’ll have to decide if she’s okay with that, or if the label and self-identity of ‘lesbian’ is more important than being with someone she loves.

    True, there are many chances for women and men to play together.

    Yeah, it’s this place called EVERYWHERE and scheduled for ALL THE TIME. Even the fundamentalist Christians are cool with it, believe it or not. In fact, they’d like to make it mandatory for everyone. (See ref. above regarding ‘heterosexual privilege.’)

    (There are also many chances for women and women to play together.)

    If this was true, there wouldn’t be a need for any women-only dances or lesbian-only bars, would there?

    But we– a lesbian and a trans man really don’t have many places to go and celebrate with our friends.

    Again, if there are women — lesbian or not — who will not associate with you because of who you and your partner are, they’re not your friends.

    I feel I’ve lost our community.

    Sorry, no — you’re in the process of leaving it, you and your partner both. Yes, it’s painful. But it’d be like some 30 year old mourning the loss of being able to attend high school dances, being turned away at the door. “Hey, I was welcome here 12 years ago, why can’t I keep coming?”

    Some things just aren’t appropriate. Bringing a man — T* or not — to a lesbian-only dance is also inappropriate.

    As Gary says below, this is all part of the transition. The author will need to decide — and probably soon — whether she wants to be part of what her partner is going through.

    Now if there comes a day when there is true gender equality, we might have a very different conversation indeed…

  • Jim Olson

    Ooh. I’m sorry, Karmanot. I’ve always enjoyed your posts.

  • perljammer

    I have, but it was about 45 years ago. As I recall, Sharon Tate was pretty good, and Patty Duke was awesome. If there were any gay men, lesbians or transsexuals in attendance, they didn’t make an impression on me. But then, I was young and rather naive.

  • 2karmanot

    Neely: “Boobies, boobies, boobies. Nothin’ but boobies. Who needs ‘em?” Ah, the classics.

  • 2karmanot

    There is the problem of what to wear.

  • Silver_Witch

    Ding ding ding…exactly WilmRoget – well said.

  • 2karmanot

    I almost always agree with you, but disagree on ‘women only’ safe gatherings as discrimination. However, I want you to know that I would always be delighted to company you to a Valentine’s dance of your choosing—provided they let us participate. :-)

  • Silver_Witch

    I hear you 2karmanot…only one exception…they are not “pushing them out because they are sickened” by the gender change…they are not disgusted nor do they despise the person…they are just having a tough time knowing what to do as the gender lines blur. Hopefully soon we will all figure it out.

  • perljammer

    Finally! Someone who actually gets it! Thank you for that!

    Actually, I thought the discussion had reached its logical conclusion with dcinsider’s “Yes, all discrimination is bad” post above.

  • 2karmanot

    Or the ‘Men Only’ urinal.

  • Silver_Witch

    Times are changing and hopefully the community will change with it. I was often excluded from Lesbian events because I have a male child (and obviously must have slept with a man – this was back in the early 70s). And as a sentiant being that loves who I love – regardless of their gender I get the pain your ME talks about.

    It is sad that even the LGBT community excludes those that don’t fit the standard type. Just between you and me…I have always been worried about what would happen when we got “here”. As a woman, that is really a man, who has learned to embrace my female body and not accept it as a limitation of my “man-ness” I get it. That said…it will be okay…we will grow and learn not to judge people by their gentialia or perceived gender! I hope I live to see that day!

  • 2karmanot

    Nope—screwed by Disqus. Lost years of commenting history, difficulty posting and still battling over the avatar. I hope you never have to deal with them. It’s like taking on the Byzantine Empire when applying for a drivers license. Thanks for asking.

  • 2karmanot

    I was being ironic.

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    Safe from a heterosexist privilege and male privilege. Is that so difficult to understand?

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    I feel the pain in the author’s words. But this too is part of the transition. Let go and move on.

  • 2karmanot

    Perception is so often the reality, even when not true. Survival dictates discernment.

  • cole3244

    very nice in b town and your suggestion on a solution seems so obvious that’s why no one has thought of it, yet.

  • 2karmanot

    Neely: “Never judge anyone by another’s opinions. We all have different sides that we show to different people.” Boobies, boobies, boobies. Nothin’ but boobies. Who needs ‘em?” Ah, the classics.

  • jomicur

    I don’t believe I’ve raised a false equivalency at all. This is an instance of a larger, much better established minority discriminating against a smaller, much more badly maligned minority. That is not terribly different from a majority discriminating against any minority, and the comparison i raised, while not exactly equivalent point for point, is sufficiently well equivalent for the comparison to be valid.

  • 2karmanot

    That’s why you are ‘the’ judge! Well done!

  • 2karmanot

    Amen!

  • PeteWa

    he didn’t choose to consider himself as a male, that’s just as silly as thinking someone chooses to be gay.
    actually, it’s even sillier.
    of the people I know who have transitioned, it was like coming out all over again.
    same problems, same issues, lost friends, confusion, etc.
    who would choose to be a different sex and have to go through that hell again?
    the only choice was to come out of the closet about it or not.

  • 2karmanot

    Once your false equivalencies are exhausted there doesn’t seem much of an argument, much like the case for suburban architecture.

  • jomicur

    Someone who has to resort to that kind of sophomoric exaggeration has pretty much conceded the debate.

  • cole3244

    this is way out of my expertise but if i had to take a side it would be with pflag, if an exception is made here the can of worms opened will never be satisfied.
    i plead the fifth i’m afraid

  • 2karmanot

    A masochist?

  • dcinsider

    You know, when I “grew up” in Boston, each year the Fenway Community Health Center held a “women’s dance” and an alternate “men’s dance.” Guess what, the women volunteered and worked the men’s dance (bartenders, waiters, etc.) and the men did the same for the “women’s dance.

    Now that’s community. Rather than bitch about it, perhaps our transgender friend could have volunteered to work the dance, see his old friends, and respect their right to gather.

  • DRoseDARs

    Identity =/= sexual orientation
    Yes, you choose how you present yourself to the outside world, what identity you show. Sexual orientation is completely different and is not chosen.

  • 2karmanot

    I doubt it. One might assume, incorrectly, that the ointment would subsume the fly.

  • 2karmanot

    Oh please, it surprises me that you would drag out the old false equivalency canard. There is a definite distinction between discernment of a common good and discrimination.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    ‘Juvenile’. Unless you’re comparing them to young birds, which may be the case. :)

  • dcinsider

    Yeah, I don’t understand, that’s the ticket!

  • SkippyFlipjack

    ..in addition to the “gays only” one?

  • dcinsider

    Yes, all discrimination is bad.

    Accordingly, from here unto eternity, every public event involving gay men or lesbians MUST include all gender identities, who must receive personal invitations, and must be acknowledged at the event so that we may all give them a standing ovation.

    There, problem resolved.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    What happened to Karmanot Prime? Forget your password?

  • SkippyFlipjack

    If that’s the case he probably shouldn’t have gone in the first place…

  • 2karmanot

    ANSWER: Yes, it is perfectly OK to have a women’s only space. Thanks for the eloquent common sense.

  • dcinsider

    I see you’ve never been to a screening of “Valley of the Dolls.”

  • jomicur

    You appear to be a specialist in false equivalencies. A group of gay men getting together to watch a movie is not a public event. Comparing it to one is COLOSSALLY false.

  • 2karmanot

    You do that kemosabi and let us know how it works out.

  • 2karmanot

    What Juvenal nonsense. I can think of nothing more ideal than safe towns and communes.

  • jomicur

    We are not talking about a minority excluding a majority, here. A minority-only even would be something quite different. We’re talking about a minority engaging in discrimination against another minority. That kind of discrimination is wrong, no matter who does it.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Well, I doubt he’d say he “chose” to identify as male…

    And for the record, it doesn’t appear that they’re “wasting everyone else’s time”, just dealing with some tricky questions the best they can. No need to be insulting.

  • 2karmanot

    Red Herring? Projection? What BS. You know perfectly well ‘women-only’ spaces are implied as safe places. Maybe you haven’t been around long enough or are recently transgendered and haven’t lived that history. What I am sensing here is the same ab-reactive hostility one finds from the T community so frequently seen in other posts on this blog.

  • DRoseDARs

    Is he going to bitch and whine now that he’s not allowed to use the women’s restroom? The dance is a private event, meant for an all-female attendance. He chose to transition to male, chose to identify as male. This is one of the consequences: You don’t get to attend the lesbian dance. This isn’t a co-ed event. Deal with it and stop wasting everyone else’s time you petulant, selfish child.

  • dcinsider

    I think we all know what I mean by safe space.

  • 2karmanot

    Why even add the ‘T’ to GLB? Virtually every discussion of the topic on this site would indicate that the trans community would prefer a chasm of distance from GLB communities, whom they openly despise in many cases. I agree with them, they don’t belong with the GLB communities unless they are also GLB, but to a man and woman most embrace trans ideology as prima facie and the rest of us as cis nation.

  • dcinsider

    Or as I note below, sometimes a gaggle of gay men just want to get together and watch “Valley of the Dolls.”

    It doesn’t mean we hate women, or transgender folks, or bisexuals.

  • dcinsider

    Why do the women need to compromise? It’s their dance.

  • dcinsider

    False equivalency. That is the problem with your objection. In your world, all events must be open to all comers. That simply ignores that sometimes, a gaggle of gay men (that is the plural of gay men) just want to hang out together and watch “Valley of the Dolls.”

    It does not mean that we hate women, or are anti-trans, or can’t stand bisexuals.

  • cole3244

    this is a tough one and i would guess they will work out a compromise everyone can live with, after all they are not cons or right wingers so there is hope sans hate or violence.

  • 2karmanot

    Not every body is transfixed at multiple opportunities for perceived slight. #humor

  • 2karmanot

    True, but that would be drag and a form of visual irony in a ‘women-only’ venue, particularly because he has a beard.

  • 2karmanot

    A beautiful, articulate, and painful letter, which encapsulates exactly the price each of us pays for a genuine and authentic identity. There is a certain tragedy in that we may suffer in association with those we love. That ‘sacrifice’ becomes a deeper bond of love. “When your family pushes you out the door and says, sorry, we don’t want you, and your mere presence sickens us, that feels pretty terrible.” A women only dance is not the ‘family.’ No body else matters except long standing and loyal ‘friends.’

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Because sometimes it’s not ‘our’ community, but somebody else’s.

  • Kathy11

    Where in the invite or discussion did you see it being described by PFLAG or anyone as being set up as a safe space?

    It’s certainly a sex segregated/sexual orientation segregated social space – but in none of the ads or communications was safety ever discussed.

    Red Herring. Or perhaps just projection.

  • Kathy11

    Really? – all those trans people you invite?

    And the the percentage that would accept?

    I was wrong – you DO have a sense of humor.

  • Rrhain

    You do understand the difference between exclusion of a minority and the minority banding together, yes?

    On the surface, it appears to be a double-standard, but that’s only because you’re looking at the surface and forgetting the reality in which this takes place. A majority with power excluding people without power is very different from people without power coming together to support each other.

    This comes down to a few basic questions, none of which are that easy: Is it OK to have a “women-only” space? If so, why should a person who identifies as a man be allowed in?

    Remember, the other patrons aren’t going to know his history. They aren’t going to understand where he came from or how he arrived at where he is. All they’re going to see is a man. Is it really their responsibility to individually assess every single person they come across? And what an imposition to put upon him, having to justify himself to every single person in the room?

    If the response is along the lines of, “Can’t we all just get along,” that gets back to the first question: Is it OK to have a women-only space? We have two groups, women and the transgender, both of which are devalued in society, in conflict. Are we really saying that we have to play a game of “I’m more oppressed”?

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Thanks, good perspective.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I’m on the fence, so to play devil’s advocate to your point — it’s easy to see this things as part of global arguments but on a personal level, this is a small event at which this couple was previously welcome. It’s also probably an event at which they’d feel much more comfortable and included than at a straight dance. Suddenly excluding a person because they’d gone through a gender transformation does seem wrong in a community that has often felt excluded elsewhere.

    Yes I think that it would be easier if there were hard and fast rules on who to call what and who fits where. (Piers Morgan recently got flak from a trans woman for saying she’d been “born a boy” even though that was the title of an autobiographical article she’d ostensibly dictated to another writer.) Unfortunately people’s feelings and self-identification aren’t always so tidy.

  • Kathy11

    Having transitioned decades ago, I’ve never once been invited to or asked to attend an exclusively gay male social event. Or any exclusively male event that wasn’t something any other woman wouldn’t consider it discriminatory to exclude women from, like groups with professional benefits.

    From what’s presented here, he does identify as a man and has transitioned. He is a man. Even if his partner identifies as a lesbian and is still welcome as an individual in that space.

    The letter writer assumes trans women are accepted here, but doesn’t confirm it. And while that may or may not be true – it isn’t always. I’ve been told trans women aren’t welcome in such spaces over the years. Saying that men with trans histories (and I don’t mean people who don’t identify as something other than men or live as other than men) are also women when convenient – but women with trans histories may not be admitted…….leaves rather little space, respect or opportunity for us, doesn’t it?

    No social space inclusion – certainly poorer employment options – and let’s not get started on social stigma and violence.

    Transition is difficult. It doesn’t just effect the person but all of their friends and family. And the ways they interact with many groups. I don’t go to hang out with my brother and the boys, I am seated with my sisters at family events now, there’s no way I would stop in places for a drink as a single woman that this gent might now, I certainly am much less comfortable waiting for a bus or subway later at night, I’m not invited to bachelor parties, I am invited to baby showers.

    Really – it’s kind of funny – the only placse there ever seem to be problems is religious nuts & some parts of gay space. Other spaces don’t seem to feel entitled to dissect your being so much. They may not accept. But – at least they can let it go.

    And they let trans people have voices to discus their own lives on their sites. Kos, Huffpo, FDL – whatever. So what’s missing? You know – agency. Not always being viewed through others eyes like we are here. We must be pretty scary to have to be so tightly controlled. History of eye rolling posts aside.

  • perljammer

    I’m not really clear on how Hitler would come into this; can you explain why you think he’s relevant to the discussion?

    Anyway, I’m glad you brought up oppression, because that’s what this is all about. Now tell me, who is justified in feeling threatened or oppressed when a single individual finds himself/herself the only non-conforming person in a large group of conforming persons?

  • climate3

    Read what you just said. “Safe space.” Are you implying that this couple will harm someone there? I know that’s not what you mean but folks need to talk things out. Seems to me no matter how intellectually or common you put it, it all comes out to the same crap – telling someone that they don’t belong because they are not one of “the gang.” What’s next? Establishing “safe towns” or “safe communes.” Any way you slice it, it still stinks.

  • climate3

    Yeah. How about a gay bar putting up a “whites only” sign. That should do the trick.

  • XKCD

    Yes, because gay men and lesbians who merely want a handful of bars and dances for themselves who are the true oppressors.
    You’re not making a very good case for your point, whatever it is. Let me guess, Hitler is next?

  • perljammer

    “Minorities should be able to have minority-only spaces.”

    I think you would probably have gotten agreement with this sentiment from the folks running South Africa back in the days of apartheid.

  • XKCD

    I love how you included only majority-based exclusion. Of course exclusion by whites or by Christians seems different, because they’re a majority of -all- spaces. That’s a false equivalence, and I think you know that.

    Minorities should be able to have minority-only spaces. To argue otherwise isn’t to argue for ‘inclusiveness’, but rather, you’re arguing to take spaces away from minorities.

  • 2karmanot

    You are so baaaad Mr. Nicho. :-)

  • perljammer

    Maybe some snowflakes are more special than others. Maybe the shoe feels different on the other foot. Or maybe even people who have been the victims of discrimination, can be guilty of discrimination themselves.

    PFLAG wants to provide a women-only space where the lesbian attendees will feel safe. I get it, I really do, and I don’t have a problem with it. But tell me, is the white woman who crosses the street to avoid a group of black men trying to feel safe, or is she being a bigot?

    Country Club: we want to keep our club WASP-only, to provide a safe place without THOSE people horning in for our socializing.

    NFL: we want to keep professional football manly men-only, to provide a safe, straight male-only space for our sport.

    PFLAG: we want to keep this event lesbian-only, to provide a safe, women-only space for our event.

  • WilmRoget

    “one of the people is no longer a lesbian.”

    As transfolk explain their sense of gender, he never really was a lesbian, he was a heterosexual male in a female body.

    He identifies as male now, and that means that like all other males, he cannot go to women-only events.

  • WilmRoget

    Why is she blaming PFLAG?

  • emjayay

    I get the inclusion of the T in LGBT as one of a group of people who are stigmatized and discriminated against for sexuality related reasons. But a male appearing T is not a lesbian and has just not quite gotten what they decided to do if they think they should be able to go to a woman-only event.

  • XKCD

    Same reason why there are gay and lesbian bars. Or any minority-based event/organization.

  • XKCD

    Lol what.

  • emjayay

    “Why do they have to make it exclusively lesbian? Why not make it a multi-gender, multi-orientation and multi-cultural celebration of Valentines Day?”

    Because that’s not what they chose to do. That would be a different event – an everybody welcome event. It’s not up to someone who decided to be a man to claim they are still a lesbian because they are really a lesbian (woman who is attracted to women) inside even though they decided to take synthetic hormones and I suppose have surgery to turn their body into a male one.

    I don’t think it’s a tough one at all, and I don’t understand the hurt feelings.

  • jomicur

    How is that any different from a “whites only” event? Or an even run by Christians that bars Jews? Discrimination is wrong now matter who perpetrates it.

  • jomicur

    You really don’t understand that trans people are stigmatized for not conforming to sexual stereotypes in the same way gay people are? Um…okay.

  • http://liberawheeler.blogspot.com/ Elijah Jacob Shalis

    Why would our community be selective in being lesbian only anyways? That seems wrong to me.

  • perljammer

    “Unless, he’s claiming that he’s a male lesbian (which now means Facebook has to add one more category).”

    ROFL!

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    ‘Struth, did the XKCD idiot weigh in on this? God almighty. Stick to the moronic geek jokes, please, XKCD guy.

  • nicho

    I think allowing him to go to the women’s only dance would violate his right to be treated as the gender in which he presents himself. Unless, he’s claiming that he’s a male lesbian (which now means Facebook has to add one more category). I’m sure if someone addressed him as “Ms.,” he’d become indignant.

  • XKCD

    I have to disagree, climate, and I think that’s a false equivalence (acting “as badly”, negating the lack of legal rights and past physical violence).

    I feel like the LGBT community has preached “tolerance” (which isn’t even an admirable goal, IMO) for so long that it’s sort of being used against us to argue that things like gay bars are “intolerant”. People just need to accept that maybe groups should be able to occasionally have their own social spaces for themselves.

  • dcinsider

    Don’t transgender people also have an obligation here? Why must gays and lesbians conform our behavior to fill the expectations of transgender people? Why can’t the transgender person be more open-minded, and more understanding of the need for women to have their spaces to gather?

  • dcinsider

    This is going to make my dinner party invitations significantly more difficult.

  • Jenny McDonald

    I understand the hurt feelings, I do. But I must ask, as a trans man, why would you want to go to a woman’s only dance? You say you’ve been to them before, and while there weren’t you uncomfortable, knowing you were the only man there? You were born male in a female body. Surely you never felt like a woman? Trans men and women everywhere are fighting to be acknowledged as their identifying gender. If this isn’t a problem for you, and you don’t mind being recognized as a woman AND a man, why not dress as a woman for the night?

  • The_Fixer

    Boy, this is a tough one.

    On the one hand, I can understand the dance organizers’ point. Yeah, it’s a dance for lesbians. one of the people is no longer a lesbian. On the surface, it would seem like the case is closed.

    However, PFLAG has expanded beyond their original role of being only a gay and lesbian support organization.

    Excluding one group or another is kind of antithetical to what I always thought the LGBTQUIA groups wanted. We always wanted inclusion, not exclusion.

    In the end, I don’t think that the world is going to stop turning if they permit one trans man into the party. Or many. Why do they have to make it exclusively lesbian? Why not make it a multi-gender, multi-orientation and multi-cultural celebration of Valentines Day?

    Work toward inclusion, not exclusion.

  • dcinsider

    Far from it. This is simply a safe space for women who identify as lesbians. What the hell is so wrong with that?

  • dcinsider

    No. But gays and lesbians can have a dance and not feel like it has to include every subset of gender identity in order to legitimize it as an “inclusive event.”

  • climate3

    At first, I understood the need for “only-spaces” but when things like this happen, I do wonder if folks go so far that they don’t realize that they are acting as badly as those who originally omitted them out.

  • dcinsider

    Got to agree with XKCD on this one. I get the hurt. However, the “T” part of LGBT is an ongoing challenge. Many of us, myself included, don’t really get it. We do not understand why gender identity is part of being gay and lesbian. After all, gay men and lesbians do not struggle with gender identity, we know which gender we are. We also know that we are attracted to the same gender.

    Somewhere along the line, the gay and lesbian community adopted the “T” and it became unacceptable for any gay man or lesbian to question that decision. We are forbidden from raising our concerns about areas in which we may have divergent interests from the “T” community. If we dare to object, we are pounded upon by the transgender police who immediately sentence us to death for questioning the status quo.

    As a result, this group of lesbians is being portrayed as the bad guys. They are “rejecting” a member of the “community.” But the truth is they are not doing any such thing. They are having a women only dance. It’s that simple. If you identify as a women, you are welcome. If you do not, they prefer you not attend.

    Good grief folks, have we not at least reached a place that it’s simply OK that lesbians have a dance? Must the “T” always be present for the dance to have legitimacy and openness?

    I get your friend’s position. I also understand why she might be hurt. But the women holding this dance are not evil, and they are not rejecting anyone. The “T” need to learn to accept that, as we need to learn to accept the “T” in LGBT.

  • iamlegion

    It’s a dance for women and the people attending expect to see women dancing with women.

    That’s the key line right there. After countless years of trying to change & normalize the perception of LGBT, this group is right back to using “perception” as a weapon.

  • jomicur

    So Facebook can recognize 50 genders but our community has to adhere rigidly to two?

  • XKCD

    I feel for his sense of loss, I really do. But if a trans man really wants to be treated fully as a man, shouldn’t he accept that he doesn’t have access to women-only spaces now? They’re only treating him the same as any other male. You would think that’s what a trans person should want, no double-standards.

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