Wednesday, June 30, 2010

DON'T DEFAME THE DIGNITY OF LGBT PEOPLE

In my opinion, a distinction has to be made between "hedonism" and "Gay," and much public persona of Gay people, and the commentators on all too many LGBT-oriented websites, seem to be more hedonistic than Gay. Frivolity, indecency, and use of hateful epithets as self-identifiers tell us far more about them than it does about Gay people.

Those who are hedonistically-oriented are likely to use the oppressor's derogatory terms such as "queer," because they feel "queer" and, unconsciously and/or consciously, don't see being Gay in any other terms than being "indecent" and "abnormal." And many of them content and even pride themselves on being outsiders, and seem to have no meaningful interest in equal rights, even going so far as to reject being a vital part of mainstream society.

This phenomenon of contentment in a Gay ghetto of the mind and/or society reflects their unconscious and/or conscious shame and self-loathing, and many are too dense to accept that fact, let alone change their rhetoric and self-perceptions.

Many of them resent anyone who tells them that they are not "mistakes," and that a dignified presentation of self is essential in living one's life, as well as moving the struggle for equal rights forward; many seem to thrive on lack of such dignity due to their unfounded beliefs that they are neither desirous nor worthy of equality.

I learned a lot from a transgender woman, for example, when she resented the fact that I said that she and anyone who is transgendered wasn't a mistake! She tenaciously hung on to the fact that she is a mistake and resented any other possibility.

The same is true for many Gay people who comment on assorted Gay-oriented websites. Blindly accepting the oppressor's rhetoric and actions has done inordinate harm to many LGBT people, and that's a great deal of what those of us who want full and equal rights for LGBT people must fight against.

The struggle for equal rights must first occur as "a transformation of consciousness," leading to outrage at the indignities of being treated as maligned second-class citizens, and then leading to expressed coordinated grassroots and organizational activism.

The pariah and outlaw mentality of many LGBT people is also reflected in the counterproductive nature of bizarre excesses in many Pride Parades, which can be seen to be akin to African Americans holding minstrel shows during the African American Civil Rights movement!

[Thanks to Towleroad for this photo.]

Burlesquing, trivializing, and sexualizing LGBT identity not only fulfills negative stereotypes, but can only serve to alienate potential Straight allies to the cause of full and equal civil rights for LGBT people; deflects energies and monies that could better be spent in fighting abridgment of civil rights in the streets and in the courts.

Besides, what is being celebrated at these Pride Parades? Lack of equality? The relegation of LGBT people to second-class citizenship and pariah status? The existence and continuation of DADT? The existence and continuation of DOMA?

Moreover, one can only see the extremes in the Pride Parades in California, at the time when Prop. 8 is being adjudicated, as being nothing short of traitorous and/or masochistic.

There are hedonistic Gay people and there are hedonistic Straight people! Just as the public doesn't usually equate hedonism with Straight people, we must not allow the confusion of hedonism with Gay people in the public's mind!

Being Gay is a God-given and dignified sexual orientation, and it's high time that the presentation of self, the public persona, the mind-set, and the rhetoric attached to being Gay reflects that God-given dignity!
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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I admire your article, and agree with just about all of it, I'd have to say that I would side with the transgendered woman you spoke with: being transgendered is, in effect, an "error" to her. She feels she was born in the wrong body. Isn't that just about the perfect definition of "error"? If she felt like a woman in a man's body and had absolutely no intention of doing anything about it, or was even content to live as such, then we might consider saying her psychosexual identity was not "an error". If she felt no need to remedy it, then it isn't an error. For those who felt the need to apply the remedy to their situation, then there WAS an error, and one that was easily fixed. ("easily" is used here figuratively)

Jerry Maneker said...

FROM DON CHARLES:

Your argument doesn't hold water. All the time, people have their noses fixed, their breasts augmented, and even their skin lightened. Does that mean big noses, small breasts and dark skin are deformities? You may think biological gender wouldn't fall into the same category, but it does! When society devalues some aspect of natural human physicality (such as penises and testes on women, and yes, I am saying that's natural for a Transperson), there will always be some people whose self-esteem can't handle it. Those people will seek to alter their physical features, which of course, is their right. But feeling that you are disordered and actually having a disorder can be two different things.

Anonymous said...

What I'm saying is that we need to be careful about using the the word "error" when dealing with transgendered person. There's the "error of nature" insulting way of talking about gay and lesbian people, then there's the "oops, I think there was a mistake here... I'm actually a woman, why am I inside a man's body?" way a transgendered person might look at it.

I'm only suggesting that we not diminish a trans person's opinion by denying her right to see her being born in the wrong body as an "error", one which can, thankfully be repaired through gender corrective surgery.

And I would NEVER dare to compare transgenderism to a face-lift or a boob-job.

The enemies of the LGBT community often use the "error of nature" argument to bolster their weak case, and I can see someone saying that there is nothing erroneous in our existence. They would be right to refute the idea that we are somehow "errors".

I think that is a bit different from the particular case of a woman born in a man's body.

By the way, I would heartily disagree that "society devaluing penises and testes" has anything to do with how a transgendered person feels. That's taking an incredibly superficial approach to something far deeper and more fundamental in the psycho-sexual make-up of a person.

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

That "something far deeper and more fundamental" is what a Transperson possesses regardless of surgical procedures. Your argument still doesn't hold water. You're trying to say that LGBT status is natural and normal unless LGBT folk think it isn't! What you're forgetting is that the truth of our naturalness and normalcy is often at odds with what we've been taught to believe about ourselves. Truth is constant; opinion has no effect on it!

Like so many people I've spoken to about this, your mind is too narrow to accept the reality of women with male anatomy, and vice-versa. You won't allow yourselves to think of it as anything but a mistake. So long as that mentality predominates, Transfolk will never be liberated.

Also, you are engaging in falsehood when you say I'm comparing "face lifts and boob jobs" to Transgenderism. I compared nose jobs, breast augmentation and skin lightening to the superficial changes achieved by so-called "gender reassignment" surgery. Transgenderism is within LGBT folk. It is, in fact, gender, and gender cannot be changed by surgical means.