I’ve always felt that creating unity within or identifying a common goal for the T community is an almost unachievable goal, despite the amazing progress over the last couple of years.
Unfortunately, we seem to be too diverse a grouping of people to find a single rallying point, to establish a single, clear agenda for ourselves. Of course, the conundrum is that it is just such a broad range of diversity which is one of the most interesting, fascinating facets of the T community.
Yes, we can broadly aim to elevate our status and shout for our rights but the fragmentation that exists within us is not conducive to a solid, unified front to trigger real progress and destroy and eliminate discrimination. If we take crossdressers (CDs) as an example: part of the T community certainly but, as many CDs flip-flop between dressing/appearing as women and at other times as men, it’s not overtly clear what rights they can help shout for — nor whether, given the necessary secrecy which shrouds crossdressing as a whole, that many would wish to shout in public at all.
Added to this lack of unity is the fact that, with the appearance of so many new labels being adopted by the T or associated communities, in some ways we are confusing the general public, or lawmakers, or rights givers from whom we are seeking support and, in my view, are not, at the end of the day, helping ourselves.
I should make it clear that I am all for free expression and hold the opinion that people can refer to themselves however they want, whenever they want: I’m more concerned with how we unite, present a cohesive front and push for the rights of minorities like us — and we, to achieve this, without doubt, need to keep the general public on-side and supportive as far as possible.
To start, let’s look at how we communicate: our language (whichever one we speak) is always evolving and we’re forever seeing new words, or words or phrases which often begin as ‘slang’ and creep into regular spoken or written usage. Certain words or phrases come into vogue, slip in and out of fashion, reoccur in regular usage — perhaps initially being used by a small group of people, and then becoming adopted by the wider community at large.
Undoubtedly, our community, the T community (or should that be the TG community, or even the LGBTQIA community?), has a wide selection of words used to describe it and the people within it. Over the years, we have fought hard to move away from words such as Tranny (to Transvestite), Trans-sexual (to Transgender), from Sex Change to Gender Reassignment or Gender affirmation/confirmation) and so on, gradually moving to words considered less abrasive, less associated with the old times . . . less associated with the offensive, derogatory usage of such terms.
But new labels, new tags, new descriptive phrases keep cropping up and I often have to reread some articles or documents to make sure the subject has, indeed, to do with us. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know but, of late, I’ve been seeing certain terms more and more frequently in articles, commentaries, and interviews when people not always from within our community are talking about us; using some new buzzword . . . phrases such as gender fluid, gender flexible, gender variant or gender queer.
Then we have gender gifted (this one I do like), or gender blessed or even gender non-specific.
We also have the pronoun debate which asks are you wishing to be addressed as you, them, they, it? And sometimes it’s not clear just when certain pronouns are to be used . . . all the time or only some of the time . . . .
All fine and good, except that it seems to me we are fragmenting the T community further by such labelling with the result that no-one outside of the T community (or even some within) will ever know or understand what we are all about: in which case, how can they truly support us?
Unity, I fear, is a long way off . . . .