[Editor’s note: As one of the truly iconic and influential LGBT musicians, 67-year-old Jayne County has seen and heard it all over the years. She fought against oppression at the Stonewall riots alongside Marsha P. Johnson, worked with Andy Warhol, and palled around with entertainment legends David Bowie, Lou Reed and Divine. After being banned from Facebook for 24 hours in April for using the words “shemale” and “tranny” in a post and even receiving death threats for being outspoken, the eternally punk County has been raging at activists who’ve called out RuPaul for alleged “transphobia” and tried to police the use of language within the LGBT communities. County has had enough and contributed the following op-ed exclusively to Queerty.]
I know that my alter ego, Wayne/Jayne County, is known for offending many people, but really, death threats? All because I have fiercely defended the use of the word “tranny.” Hey, that dreaded word belongs to me. And as I see it, no one has any right to take away a word that has been a part of my vocabulary for many years! And a lot of other people feel the same as I do.
Tranny is not a slur word and I resent anyone trying to make it one. It’s the intent behind the word, rather than the word itself, that can be sometimes offensive. It may be a silly word, but it’s certainly not worthy enough to be banned. That is censorship, pure and simple and no better than right-wing Christian extremists or any other tyrants, who want to force their narrow-minded, conservative opinions on others. I do not want to live in Aftrannastan, and my religion is not The TrannaBan.
I could hurl the word “angel” at you with such wrath and ridicule that it would become offensive and send shudders down your bony back! Who and where, do the Word Police, get their orders from? God? Rush Limbaugh? (I read that he may be on the side of the activists, and if that’s the case then I am more sure than ever that they are absolutely 150 percent wrong.) Did they play with the Ouija board one drunken night, and suffer from the delusion that they spoke to the ghost of Stalin? Or maybe their orders came from the Great And Powerful Oz? Oops, don’t pull back that curtain! There could be a very, scared, bitter human being hiding behind it — one that wants to lord over the rest of us so much that they are willing to destroy the LGBT community in order to do so.
Actually, I wonder if these fringe word fascists even want to be members of the LGBT community. Since they feel no one else in the community has any right to offer their opinions, I must conclude that these extremists really aren’t in the community at all. They are outsiders. They remind me of the Trojan horse sent to our community to destroy it from within. In my mind, all they are doing is alienating a lot of people that could have been on their side. They say they want respect. Well, respect has to be earned, and demanding it, by threatening, and bullying members of the LGBT community will only get you disrespect.
These word fascists have been pressuring the press with threats and bullying to not print any alternative opinion. This tells me what kind of people these conservative censorship bullies are. They are behaving like a pack of ungrateful little brats. They are disrespecting our history and our rights. That’s right. If they are using their rights to abuse my rights then they don’t deserve to have their rights at all. These holier than thou “guardians of language” remind me of a bunch of old fuddy duddies and party poopers. Old church ladies, hiding behind their living room curtains, peering out at the neighbors and becoming upset and indignant because someone’s skirt is too short or one of the neighbors has come home really late. Do they have axes hidden in their over-sized handbags, just in case prohibition is repealed? (You’re supposed to chuckle there.) That’s how ridiculous I see this entire debacle.
This creepy infatuation and obsession over silly words that may or may not be used in an offensive manner has got to stop. It is dividing us at a time when we need to stick together more than ever. I am old. I’ve been around the block more times than a hooker on bad speed. I have seen them come and go and rise and fall. I was there for all three days of the Stonewall riots. I’ve marched in more marches than a Marine band. I’ve marched for African-Americans, and women’s lib. I marched to end the war in Vietnam, and fought for animal rights. I personally knew Miss Marsha and hung out with Andy Warhol, Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn and Candy Darling. (Miss Marsha would be appalled by these so called trans activists!) Never have I seen such insulting, shameful, destructive behavior toward our community.
I have been knocked down, slapped, spit on, raped and run down by a policeman on a horse. I’ve been called every name in the book. Faggot, cocksucker, scum, bitch, freak. But do I seek to have those words banned? No. Do I consider myself a victim? No. I refuse to become anyone’s victim. I pick myself up, straighten my wig, dust myself off and hold my head up high. I shall not be beaten down! I am not a victim and no one can make me one. I fight on, not just for my rights but for everyone’s. Attacking people like RuPaul and other artists who have paved the way for others is shameful. They are taking away the focus from our real enemies, which is just what the bigots and homophobes want.
We may have come a long way, baby, but there is still a large faction of people not just in this country but all over the world who would like to push us so far back into our closets that they would have to pump air to us. And don’t think that it can’t happen. That’s exactly what happened to the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1930s. Burning books, one word at a time, is not the answer! (Thank you, Calpernia Adams!) So while we are fighting each other over words and their proposed offense, the wolf is watching and waiting behind the door. We stumble, we fall, we’re gone. So wake up children. Wake up and smell the real enemy and stop blaming your own people for your own paranoia about perceived offensive words. Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you — unless you let them!
Dear Word Police, please take your death threats and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine! I’ve been threatened by cowards a lot more scary than you.
Also, I will soon be going into the studio to record two new tracks — a Beach Boys-style called “Check The Tranny” and an animal rights song called “Leave My Pussy Alone.”
Jayne vs. Parker Maire Molloy…
I’d bet on Jayne
No one also seems to want to point that this shit storm was started by white college educated trans women…many of whom are also lesbians
Love her fighting spirit and attitude. And she’s absolutely correct. And what people like Carmen Carrera do not realize is they are being used by right wing higher-ups who are upset, angry and rattled by all progress and equality LGBTQ people have made in the last couple of yrs. And it’s strange that all of this censor crap is coming out after marriage equality is gaining momentum, and will soon be a reality in all states.It wouldn’t surprise me it they try to ban/ censor the word (homo ) next…
This is a BRILLIANT response.
@Tackle: The word homosexual has already been denounced. My mostly straight college professors keep telling me to find it offensive.
I never censored peoples words who are LGBT.I never flagged here anybody.I only censored my own use and misuse of words.And not the words and the people who are LGBT are the problem are the problem in Germany.Here the straight very conservative often religious people behind the words are the problem.And I call THEM out.
Again, years ago Larry Kramer wrote a novel called Faggots. And no one batted an eyelash, because we know who our friends are.
But the trans community have treated us like enemies for years. Maybe it’s time to return the favor.
For me, personally, the issue isn’t “what are you aloud to say” it’s about “what should you say”. We have the first amendment to take care of the “aloud” part, we have common decency for the “should” part.
I can’t and won’t try an control what others say. Not my responsibility. I don’t use certain words because they have been used to hurt people I love and they have said certain words offend them. I don’t feel restricted. I feel respected.
Arguments over words only make them stronger. If you don’t like certain words…Don’t use them. If you hear them, by all means I do this myself, stand up and say “Hey that was offensive, here’s why, please don’t use it again.” You can even question them as to why they feel it’s ok to use the word. Hopefully they are open to dialog and not like many people on here who are so full of themselves that that rant against even someone asking a question as using gestapo tactics. They need to get their heads out of their butts. Unfortunately, It is the responsibility of the offended to take the high road. Yelling and making demands are bully tactics and also only serve to sever communication. Then the ball is in the others court. That’s about all you can do. Remove people you feel are negative from your life.
For people who start using negative or hurtful or contentious words more just to be Jagwads…stop it! You’re using playground rules and there’s a reason recess ends in elementary school.
So many people on here are looking to blame outsiders or conspiracy theories. At this point both sides of this argument have become the aggressors. No one is willing to have a conversation. LGB & T are not enemies. NO matter how many people in this thread seem to want them to be. It’s time for calmer heads and really time for peoples own insecurities (not personal experience BUT INSECURITIES) to stop coloring their over the top reactions.
There is nothing left to say about this. You said it perfectly in my opinion. I cannot adequately express how much I agree with your words . Rock on…I’m adding you to my list of people I admire.
@tdx3fan: I much prefer homo to gay. I’ve never identified with Liberace and the compulsory over-effusive graditudinal delight the gay label demands. However, I’m not going to start campaigning against it just because it blows my emo. 😉
A huge [g]A[y]MEN!
Notify me when the belfry falls, cause you just set their bully pulpit on fire, honey. Love to love you!
Thank you for being here.
The reason why I reacted often so agressive as a straight german woman if people who are LGBT attack me here:It is easy for me to avoid or spend time with very conservative religious people here in Berlin.But sometimes because of people who are LGBT I talk to them.I do that because of my personal beliefs my education and because of my friends.And nobody needs to be grateful for that or have to like or highly respect me here.I just think I do not deserve generally hate or disrespect from some people here .
It’s always refreshing to hear from a Trans Person who doesn’t talk like a member of some cult like Scientology.
She never once said “cisgender,” “assigned at birth,” “pronoun abuse” or threaten to commit suicide.
@inbama: She’s lived that life already. She’s gotten beaten up, yelled at, and fought to be heard. Some if most of the social media activists haven’t lived her life.
@Nowuvedoneit: so true… Wayne County was the FIRST to be on display in the very public forum of pop/rock music which was straight white male dominated!
@Jimi: thwe resurgence of Jayne County is a beautiful thing to behold.. thank you, Queerty!
And yet this website rides the fence, showcasing our leaders who call out this stupidness while banning any of our comments that use the magic T word.
Although I am getting “t” word fatigue. I won’t use it of someone asks me not to address them as such and won’t stop others from calling each other that.
@Nowuvedoneit: Good enough. Not policing me is all I need. Now we can get back to the other 99.999999% of life.
Meanwhile, last I checked, e have to type t-anny in this comments section instead of spelling out the word or we get auto-rejected. Parker Molloy may have started this but she isn’t censoring anyone, Queerty is. Why don’t you address this?
Actually it would be very helpful if we could get a list of all the filtered words. Sometimes you can even use a word that is in the Headline of the article and yet a post will be filtered.
@Cam: I don’t think they even know which words are censored from one moment to the next. It’s a mad dash to appease everyone that complains about their hurt feelings.
While the entire discussion is far beyond me – I am just a gay man, quite happy to be exactly that and nothing more or less – I respect others and I absolutely agree with the author. I think she nails it in ways I hadn’t thought of. This type of discussion internal to the community is, I suppose, rather like the “People’s front of Judea” Judean People’s front” skit that was part of “Life of Brian” – and it really really does benefit the people who really wish us all ill – with no benefit to anyone really, and it does make me perk up and wonder… why…
Note, I wouldn’t have even known was “cis” gender was 6 months ago, and I’m not sure I do now, and I’m not very sure that I care beyond other people caring.
Well, after reading this article, I’m falling in with Jayne County. If she survived all that happening to her and still doesn’t care about the T word, then I’ll do my best to toughen up and accept people using it.
I still hate the word, because it has preceded some nasty stuff happening to me in real life as well (assault), so I associate it with violence. But I’ll do my best to overcome it and follow the example of Jayne.
What I do hope is that the discussion around the word has made people more publicly aware that it’s a word that isn’t descriptive of trans people, rather it should be associated with performers and drag culture.
Absolutely brilliant piece, my thought are totally in line with everything said.
Yes I am a trans woman, but I will never forget my roots or expect anyone to curb their language to suit my ego, to the public at large, no matter what we call ourselves, transvestite, transexual, transgender, or one of the increasingly weird labels our “community” are expecting us all to conform to, we are always going to be known as t*****s… its who I
am and I for one am damn proud of everything I have achieved with the help of the general public who I see as friends.
It does seem to me that an awful lot of trans people are reveling in the victim culture they build around themselves and then using this to inflict their ideas on everyone else.
Flawless. This letter should be required reading for all members and friends of the LGB and T community.
It’s as though they want to just completely disregard all of us who went previously, fighting for the entire cause for decades!
No, damn it! No little kiddies with their panties all in a wad have the right to dictate what terms are freaking offensive or not!
Go find something else to clutch your pearls over.
@EvilZoe: Oh, nearly forgot…lol
BRAVO on the article! I’m sharing it everywhere.
@EvilZoe: love it… very nicely put, I have experienced just this scenario with a local trans supp rt group that was dismissive of another group because they were older and had transvestites in the membership…
just where do these people think their “rights” came from..
And while we’re speaking of OUR ownership of OUR words, I’d like to mention a few other words I’d prefer to keep and use:
“LOVER” that’s what we (tired old trolls) used to have and say back then, when we too were young and beautiful, and had never ever thought we could be married to a husband. Now that the time has come and I am married, others, like my straight family members want me to say partner, spouse, husband, etc. They don’t like “lover”. But I insist on LOVER, a better and gayer word that I want to keep. “Do you have a lover? Does he have a lover? My lover…” Some younger readers may not have heard this expression, but there is significant tradition in it because it speaks to our past while reminding us of what is important.
“WRECK” we wrecked the place. Jo-jo showed up for Thanksgiving wearing eyeliner, and they were so wrecked! But now they say gays are bullying others with our expectations of acceptance and our attempts to silence their freedoom of speech to condemn us. We are not allowed to wreak anyone because we then are perpetrators of their intolerance of us.
Also, “OUT”. It seems someone is causing mainstream media to say “openly gay”. I don’t like openly gay. OUT is better. It is more revolutionary.
These are just three more examples of how we will need to be vigilant in protecting and preserving our cultural history as indicated by the subtle nuance of language.
So perhaps there is real truth in the expression: USE IT OR LOSE IT! : )
Well too bad.
[email protected] is a slur word. That a small minority of people use it as not a slur, does not negate the experience of so many others who have and do use it as a slur word. And the experience of people who’ve had to be on the receiving end.
She’s just going to have to deal with that isn’t she?
Jayne’s op-ed reflects the generational divide in the LGBT community. The younger generation seems to have no sense of our history and even less contact with others who have lived that history. When you add the solopsism that is so prevalent among the young these days, it’s no surprise this silly battle rages. The fundamental problem here is the demand for personal respect while not offering it to others. Understanding the experiences of others is the only way to overcome this deficiency. So, I’d invite Jayne and others to share a more detailed history of their life experiences. It would be (hopefully) educational for those who know little to nothing of the past.
@jar: “Man Enough To Be a Woman” by Jayne County, published in 1995, is now a Kindle book.
I think we have different perceptions based on our experiences and social circles. I have lived in NYC for 27 years. Up until Christian Siriano’s appearance on TV I never heard the word used much outside of trans and drag circles. It was never a slur to us. I think it’s most accurate to classify it as a slang word which has a history of affectionate usage though a growing number of people find it distasteful. I do believe people should probably lay off the word around those who don’t like it, but I also don’t think it’s unfair for you to demand an immediate cultural shift to fit your sensibilities.
You must accept the fact that it is not universally considered a slur. Look, slang is still slang. A news anchor or a reporter should not refer to a woman a “girl” but colloquially we speak this way. So while I do use the word tran-y, if I were acting as a journalist, a teacher, or a spokesperson, I would say “transgender person”. It’s all about context.
By the way, I’m writing the word with a hyphen because Queerty is censoring the comments section. Meanwhile I can type the word “faggot”. Go figure.
Hmm. It seems my earlier post was deleted presumably because I employed the T word prior to my realizing it is banned here.
What I had said is that it seems we are so accustomed to being “outlaws” that we now are facing the additional discomfort of the effects of having fought and struggled for legal rights. It seems some of our valuable straight allies would expect us to conform and play by their rules if we want entrance into their world instead of merely being left alone to our own devices.
For example, a TG high school student won the right to be referenced by his preferred pronoun. He had a straight psychologist as an advocate. The psychologist calls the shots in this environment. The psychologist gives the orders even to the out gay teacher student-advocate who no one listened to before. Now the TG student identifies as a straight boy in the wrong body and rejects his gay teacher and gay community who he now perceives as hostile to straights because we are intolerant of their intolerance to us. I’m not kidding. This is what it’s come to. The poor straight victims of hostile gay activists need the political support of this new straight boy who now identifies with their world, which incidentally doesn’t like drag queens or that T word. You could get into big trouble using that word around him.
So who knows what the answer is? Except for one thing: keep out and proud, and above all else don’t worry because THEY’LL GET OVER IT! : )
I think the need for community was very important for the older generations for very practical safety and protective reasons. There was a need to reach out, and share with others in the safety and protection that a community offered, especially in the face of so much persecution.
But the price of progress on these issues is the loss of such a strong need for community. As young LGBT people today are increasingly just accepted by their straight or cisgender friends, the need to for such strong community protection among other LGBT people has become less and less.
Gay bars are going away in many towns, as Gay people can now drink and congregate anywhere. Lesbian bookstores are going away for the same reasons.
It’s the price of our success.
If you’re thinking that younger LGBT people should be more grateful for the struggles, remember that the whole reason for the struggle was so that younger LGBT people wouldn’t have to struggle. That they could just be themselves amongst their peers, without any prejudice, or weirdness, or rejection.
That increasingly that’s becoming more and more the case, is a good thing. You can’t expect every new generation to completely understand the previous ones, because the new generations have different experiences and challenges that they themselves must deal with.
So I think what you’re looking at is not solopsism, it’s a different perspective of a different generation who’s never had to deal with that.
I do sometimes think the older generation can be a little bit resentful of the fact that younger LGBT people don’t have to be as serious about this.
But then again, that’s what we have been fighting for. For a society that just accepts us, and doesn’t care who we are, or who we marry, or what our gender is. Where people can just be themselves and be accepted.
And that’s a good thing.
Well, you know, things evolve.
There’s people who think that n=gro is still an appropriate term for African Americans. Part of the issue is I think some people of the older generation think that because something was okay back in the day, that it’s still okay now, today.
It’s not. Words, cultures, and meanings, as well of standard’s of what is okay evolve.
I mean you can kind of look at this two ways: you can say “well I’ve always used it this way, so even though that’s no longer socially acceptable, I’m just going to be a crotchety old woman where everyone looks at me and rolls their eyes and says ‘okay grandma…'”
Or, you can adapt and evolve. And be one of those cool grandma’s that everybody says is awesome one of these days.
Do you want to be a Clive Bundy?
The Ironic thing is when European American were told not to use the N-word anymore, that was exactly the same response… it took decades for Most civilized people (because it’s still used to demean people today) to realize exactly the impact it had on a the group of people that it offended and the long history of oppression behind it, which is interesting because it was used as commonly as saying “hello”, it’s rarely spoken at all in politic company these days. And yes in the past even other African American used the word towards others and it was generally a word of contempt for someone they deemed lesser than them as well. Do trans people have the right to use the T-word, sure, but no one else does, however using that word outside of that specific group of people isn’t really appropriate. I’d imagine that if i was hanging with my European American friends and dropping n-bombs left and right, it would make them very uncomfortable. There is a time and place for everything, being offensive to simply be offensive or created a space where people feel uncomfortable is just childish, ignorant, and selfish.
And people say we should learn from the past, i guess some people still haven’t gotten that memo.
Sara, I don’t think you’re getting it that there is a difference between a non-transgender person using the T word versus a transgender or transvestite/drag performer using that word, ESPECIALLY when they are using it in a positive sense. Words have context as well as meaning and just because a word CAN have negative connotations does not mean it ALWAYS does. There are gay men that call each other homo, mary, fag, gurl, etc. as terms of endearment whereas those from outside the group using those words could be offensive. RuPaul is considered an IN group for this word, as is Jayne, and thus their use of the word should not be as closely scrutinized.
Parker Molloy needs to learn this as well as ALL of her ilk. They are wrong on this issue and can’t see the forest for the trees, unfortunately.
This is a really good statement. But the statement does not come from a transgender person. Drag queens are not considered part of the bizarre gaggle of subgroups which comprise “transgender.” Of course, trans activists often will try to take credit for Stonewall and thus appropriate drag queens, but when the question is put on the table, they will admit that folks like Jayne County are not included. In fact, trans activists dislike drag and consider it to be anti-trans.
There is no such thing as LGBT. There is no such thing as “LGBT people” or “the LGBT community.” LGBT was invented by trans and queer activists for ideological purposes. The results have been disastrous for LGB people. Time to end this linguistic fraud.
Smiling at this because back in the mid-1990s when I was 25-ish and working an entry-level editorial job in NYC, my supervising editor was a 40-ish, openly gay man who would say things like, “my LOVER Gary and I just saw the most amazing Broadway show,” which always caused minor cringing among me and the other junior editors (who were all straight).
I was also openly gay and in an LTR, but I would phrase it like, “my boyfriend Juan and I decided we’ve been together long enough that we should adopt a dog” — which my str8 coworkers found perfectly normal.
But the word “lover,” to all of us, sounded old-fashioned and vaguely hinted at adultery, like something out of Anna Karenina. (To this day, I can hardly pronounce the sentence “He is my lover” without slipping into a fake Russian-countess accent: “Hhhhe ees my LAH-vair-r-r-r.”)
P.S. Thanks to FB, I reestablished contact with that former supervisor, and I recently learned that he and his “lover” FINALLY decided to become legal husbands!
Some trans activists do, but I think the historical truth — and the actual relationship between “trans” and “drag” — is more complicated. I suspect that one could find certain parallels with the very complex history of blackface minstrel shows in 19th-century America.
Ummmm…. some might argue that “LG” was also invented for ideological purposes, and that “L people” might have progressed farther and faster if they weren’t burdened by the bad public image of the “G people” (whose behavior tends to shock the straight mainstream more than the behavior of “L people”).
Oh I absolutely get it jbeau, and I understand, but the thing is, transgender issues are starting to take the national stage.
It does matter now when somebody is more in the national spotlight, how they act, and behave, and the words they choose to use.
This isn’t like back in the day, when things like drag shows were more for the LGBT community only.
People are paying attention now. They are looking at this, and how we behave is important. It is a slur, to many people. And we don’t want to be giving people the impression that that’s okay to use.
Part of the issue here, is that she is an entertainer, and so takes issue with the fact that a word that she uses in her performances and that she makes money on, is no longer socially acceptable.
But in that sense, she has a conflict of interest. Promoting LGBT rights and getting broader cultural acceptance and better behavior from non-LGBT people is far more important than one entertainer’s routine.
Jacob, that is simply ignorance. Marsha P. Johnson, a transwoman, was at Stonewall. As well as Sylvia Rivera. At the time, transwomen co-mingled with the Transvestites and Drag Queens which might be why there seems to be debate or confusion about this, but while I don’t know about transgender men, the presence of transgender women, is a matter of historical record.
@Throbert McGee: so glad to see you love the expression LOVER. Being 15 ish in the 70s someone with a lover meant, actually the opposite of adultery, that you had a boyfriend that you didn’t go out on. “He’s not available because he’s got a lover.” It meant something. And wouldn’t you rather have that than a partner (like a cowboy or in a business); a husband (derived from animal husbandry like in sheep); a spouse (like a fish or something)? I think that’s the beauty and purpose of our own culture- to create and define or own tearms as we see fit. The problems lie in seeking acceptance and approval of others. I don’t care so much about approval. I just want my rights and for them to keep out of my way.
Sara, you didn’t even address the point of context. Language shouldn’t be policed because some are too ignorant or stupid to understand what one means or when it is appropriate to use such language or when it is not. RuPaul considers herself a tran-y, and therefore should be able to use it to describe herself if she wants. Same with the whole “she-word” controversy.
You can either choose to be a victim of something or rise above. I choose to rise above and have since I was a teenager, which wasn’t that long ago. Nobody has the power to make me feel less of a person except me, and they can call me whatever they want, and I will take what they’re using and use it to empower myself. Parker Molloy should do the same, or at least learn how to research and write well.
Well@jbeau: Well, you know, language IS policed because some people are to stupid or ignorant to understand.
Those who lead, have a responsibility to be mindful of the sheep.
The “victim” thing is neither here nor there. The N-word is highly inappropriate. You don’t get to just say that it’s not okay for people to say that it is (inappropriate) because if they would just “rise above” then they wouldn’t be a “victim”.
Insulting behavior is insulting behavior. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a “victim” or not, it’s still insulting and rude. And not appropriate to be encouraging people to use with regards to transgender people in the case of this word.
Uh, no, they don’t, Sara. That is a very ignorant statement to make, and also a horrible comparison to make, considering the black community reappropriated the n word A LONG TIME AGO and the civil rights movement never played the victim or tried to be the word police like Parker Molloy is.
@Saralikesyarr: You completely misunderstand my point. There is a lack of understanding of or interest in history among the younger generation IMO. If those attacking County, Savage (see other recent article), et al. had a firmer understanding of history they might be less inclined to reject everything that came before them out of hand.
It has always been the case that each new generation has their own issues and battles to face, but that traditionally has not precluded an understanding of how one got to the place in which one exists. I always thought Santanyana’s famous aphorism was an obvious truism that need not be stated, but it seems particularly apt to our current age.
An easy example of the ignorance of the younger generation is the refrain that Obama is the “most gay friendly” president in the history of the US. They excoriate Clinton (of whom I have never been a fan) for DADT, but have no knowledge or interest in the events that gave rise to that compromise. They are completely unaware that Clinton was the first president to publicly acknowledge the existence of gay and lesbian Americans and expended significant political capital early in his first term in trying to open the military to gay and lesbian Americans. That kind of ignorance is to be despaired, not embraced. You, of course, are free to disagree.
Receiving suggested use of language from “drag icons” is akin to getting advice on the correct appropriation of certain words from Lil’ Wayne.
@Saralikesyarr: Re: “It does matter now when somebody is more in the national spotlight, how they act, and behave, and the words they choose to use.”
This comment reminds me of the old battle between the conservative/bourgeois elements of the community who decried the d*kes on bikes, drag queens, leather folks, etc. as the real obstacle to the attainment of our deserved rights. I reject it today as much as I did 20 years ago. It is a shameful position IMO, especially since it is those folks who had the courage to stand up and be themselves who were much more gay-positive than the pearl clutchers and tongue cluckers hiding in the shadows, too afraid to take the risks necessary for our advancement. Again, the sense of history is lost.
@jar: I think it’s possible Jar, that some people are living a little too much in history, and not quite enough in the present moment.
What you want, I think what you are asking for, from young people is not simply appreciation or respect for hard work, it seems as though what you are asking for is to be treated as seniority.
You’re not going to get that, because each young LGBT person who is discriminated against, kicked out of their home for being LGBT, brave enough to come out at school, brave enough to use the locker room, or bathroom if they are transgender… These people are fighting battles for themselves, and for their friends. And I don’t think they feel that they should owe you some sort of subordination, simply because they are LGBT for fighting for the right to be who they are. And you, of a different generation happened to have to fight similar battles before.
Their suffering that they have gone through is very real for them, and I don’t think they feel they owe you subordination just because you fought similar battles first.
Sara, wrong again. Way to respect your elders and learn from the past.
Those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Wise words. Learn them and gain a sense of humility.
@corvaspikenard: I’m with you on this. The word should be used within the confines of drag culture and should not be directed at trans* people.
“Respect” and subordination are not the same thing jbeau.
“Learning from the past” and subordination are not the same thing either.
One can be very knowledgable about history, but not feel the need to give subordination to someone simply because they are physically older.
If you want subordination, you have to show yourself to be a capable, and responsible leader, not simply demand it as the price of your age.
Respect is given simply for being a decent human being.
Subordination is earned based on the merit of your leadership capabilities.
” I don’t think they feel they owe you subordination just because you fought similar battles first…”
Then why bother trying to pull rank by claiming “Jacob, that is simply ignorance. Marsha P. Johnson, a transwoman, was at Stonewall. As well as Sylvia Rivera….”
Actually, at the time of Stonewall, Marsha P. Johnson was a famous Drag Queen.
While Rivera later came to identify as trangender, in 1970, she and Johnson founded STAR as “Street Transvestites Action Revolutionairies.”
Fifty years ago, it wasn’t just that “transwomen co-mingled with the Transvestites and Drag Queens” – they cross identified.
BTW, you’re calling everyone “ignorant” has gotten REALLY old.
@Jacob23: Jacob23 – I’ve known Jayne County for over 20 years and she is a transgendered person, not a drag queen. You shouldn’t judge people you don’t know. She is a third sex. Yes, she has a penis, but she is also 150% female. Being transgendered means one lives as one feels s/he is. What you wrote is totally wrong and comes from a ignorant(look up the definition of that word before you reply!) individual. Know your his/herstory before you dump Jayne in a category. She is above all that.
@inbama: Inbama, it doesn’t matter what they identified as at the time. They are (or were at the time of death) in fact transwomen. Lots of transgender people previously identified as cross-dressers, etc.
There are plenty of gay men who at one time identified as bisexual, before being more honest. That doesn’t mean they aren’t gay.
@Throbert McGee: Amen, sista-brotha!
” it doesn’t matter what they identified as at the time.”
Actually, it does if you want to tell the story honestly and think yourself entitled to call other people “ignorant.”
I enjoy reading your comments. Very insightful.
However, LG and LGB are in no way comparable to LGBT. LGB is a logical construct. Yes, the 3 letters are set forth for political/ideological reasons, specifically to combat the invisibility that Ls and Bs felt they were experiencing. LGB is not particularly elegant, but it is a logical construct. It describes a real phenomenon – people who are attracted to their own sex. Aesthetically, it would be nicer to have one word to encompass L, G and B, and frankly, I would be happy to be called “lesbian” as that is a dignified term which references an historical figure. But we have 3 letters and there’s no fundamental logical problem with describing our group that way.
Adding the T was fundamentally different. That was a deliberate effort to alter the movement and to eradicate gay (or LGB) identity and replace it with something else. Ts are not defined by their sexual orientation and most are not gay. At some point in the late 1990s, gay people suddenly became “one people” with an assortment of groups consisting of mostly heterosexuals, including hermaphrodites, fully transitioned transsexuals, the neutrois (people who think they have no gender and wish to be castrated), and millions of ordinary straight people who exhibit some gender atypical characteristic.
To the extent that anyone even bothered to justify LGBT, it was sold as just adding another letter, like breaking out the L and B. But in truth it was an act of fraud which has hurt LGBs in myriad ways. I think that LGBs and Ts would benefit if we correct the mistake, recognize that we are talking about 2 discrete groups, and just agree to be allies.
@kitschherr: I concluded she was a drag queen and not trans because in her statement above, she refers to “my alter ego, Wayne/Jayne County.” As far as I know, that is the way drag queens refer to their stage personalities. I have never heard of a trans person talk about their “alter ego.” If I read this wrong, then of course I accept whatever her identification is and her statement about the insanity and violence of trans activists is still spot on.
But it is one group. All gay men are gender non-conforming by straight heterosexual Christian standards, as they are only so happy to remind us.
In reality, the LGB is a subset of the gender non-conforming movement. Lesbians with short hair are gender non-conforming by traditional “woman” standards and benefit from the same gender-identity laws that make illegal to fire someone based on some sort of gender non-conformity.
What you don’t get, is we’re not fighting *for* a particular group, we’re fighting *against* a particular group.
When NOM and other groups are against gay marriage, it’s because “that’s now how ‘men and women’ should behave” they say.
It’s not because “that’s now how heterosexual people should behave”.
It’s all about gender for our enemies. It always has been. It’s all about gender behavior, and what one gender “should” do, and what the other gender “should not” do, and vice versa. It’s about them viewing the world as a gender binary, and each gender “must” do certain things, and behaviors.
And it doesn’t matter whether that sterotype is that men should marry women, or that people who appear to be born men should act like men instead of identifying as a woman. To them it’s all the same.
And that’s why everyone is fighting together, because everyone is the same target to them. And everyone shares the same enemy.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” as the old saying goes. LGBT is not about all the people of the acronym being the exact same. It’s just a label for our Allied Army.
the line should read:
it’s because “that’s not how ‘men and women’ should behave”
there was a typo that said now rather than not.
@Saralikesyarr: First, gay people are not sheep. You must have us confused with a religious cult, which is a pretty good description of the trans activist community, with its brain-killing jargon, its abuse of language, its siege mentality and its perpetual war on internal and external enemies.
Second, even if we were sheep, we would not be your sheep. Try to sheer us and you’ll lose a hand.
Third, your point about Stonewall is inaccurate and reactionary. There were several thousand people who participated in Stonewall, demonstrating over several days and nights. You noted 2 “transwomen”. In fact, they did not identify as trans at that time. That does matter, because you can’t argue that they were fighting for trans rights or LGBT rights because they didn’t even so identify. And even if we did count them as trans, that would only be 2 out of 1000-2000, which is about the rate of transgenderism in the population at large.
More importantly, all this focus about “who was at Stonewall” as a way to stake an ownership claim on LGBs shows how reactionary trans activism really is. To you, we should be governed in 2014 by who happened to be at a bar or in a neighborhood in 1969. We are always slaves to the past. Now, as far as I know, there were no Asian Americans at Stonewall. Do they get the boot? At the same time, there were plenty of drug addicts (including your hero, Sylvia Rivera, who ironically was a heroin addict) and drug dealers and mafia informants and hustlers and blackmailers. Do each of these groups get their own letter? No, we look to Stonewall as a catalytic event, not as a religious text to dictate our lives. Sorry my dear, go find some other rubes to rule over.
@Saralikesyarr: Do you willfully misread my comments or is it a reading comprehension problem? You have exhibited another tiresome trend- the imposition of one’s own meaning onto another’s words with no regard to what was actually written. You go so far as to read into my comment a demand for subordination? Please show me what I wrote that would justify your ridiculous conclusion.
I find it amusing that you read my comment touting the importance of knowing one’s history as a call for subordination of some sort. It clearly never occurred to you that it’s valuable or important for one to know one’s history (which was the point of my comment). It’s important because it instills knowledge and the ability to learn from it. That all you could take from this is that some old guy is demanding that you bow down to him is more informative that you can probably imagine.
@Jacob23: You don’t know your his/herstory. Jayne is a transgendered person, not a drag queen, idiot. Read her book and you’ll know. You must read only online materials and not the words of the living. You’re a sham to the community.
You’ve got some interesting assumptions you are making about my comments. And you know what they say about assuming I will gather. Ass-u-me…
Anyway, I was not saying that gay people are sheep. I’m saying that there are plenty of human beings that are sheep, gay people included.
Human beings in general are mostly ignorant, sheeple, who do ignorant sheeple things.
For people who know better, and have the ability to lead, they do have a responsibility in how they lead the little ones.
Check this out from Saralikesyarr:
“All gay men are gender non-conforming by straight heterosexual Christian standards, as they are only so happy to remind us.”
“In reality, the LGB is a subset of the gender non-conforming movement.”
In other words, homophobic straight Christians say that being gay makes you less of a man and being lesbian makes you less of a woman. And trans activist Saralikesyarr AGREES.
Trans activists are fundamentally anti-gay. They define us for their own selfish ends. They want us to identify as LGBT so that trans activists can lay an ownership claim on LGBs. To justify LGBT, they ask us to define ourselves based upon what our rightwing Christian enemies think of us. These are the same people who would see us dead or rotting in prison. These are the people who lie about us daily, who call us child molesters, and go abroad to foment monstrous hate. And because some of these people (not all, but some) equate homosexuality with gender confusion, trans activists leap to their feet and say “You should adopt what they think of you. You are gender nonconforming!”
No, we don’t define ourselves based on what Peter Labarbera or Bryan Fischer believe in their sick minds. We define ourselves. Being gay is not gender non-conforming. Men who love men are men, every bit as much as those who only love women. Women who love women are women, every bit as much as those who only love men. Bryan Fischer may disagree, but who cares what he thinks? To hell with him and to hell with trans activists who perversely try to get LGBs to internalize lies about themselves.
@kitschherr: You do know that you are not allowed to say “transgendered” don’t you? That is considered almost as bad as tra**y. I do hope that you don’t get death threats from the trans activists you love so much!
As I noted above, Jayne County refers above to her “alter ego”. Why is she making that reference if she is transgender and not a drag queen with a stage name? Answer please.
That was an interesting rant. Must have hit a nerve there.
You have a good one.
Okay. Lets take a look at what you originally said.
“Jayne’s op-ed reflects the generational divide in the LGBT community. The younger generation seems to have no sense of our history and even less contact with others who have lived that history. When you add the solopsism that is so prevalent among the young these days, it’s no surprise this silly battle rages. The fundamental problem here is the demand for personal respect while not offering it to others. Understanding the experiences of others is the only way to overcome this deficiency. So, I’d invite Jayne and others to share a more detailed history of their life experiences. It would be (hopefully) educational for those who know little to nothing of the past.”
You essentially view younger people as disrespectful. You said this yourself when you said younger people do not “offer it to others”.
By “others” you are obviously meaning your personal generation, because you are speaking of younger people as a group.
So you don’t feel younger people are respectful to your generation.
However, in my experience, younger people always give basic human respect to people of every generation. You know, if you’re having trouble with some grocery bags you are carrying, they will hold the door for you, etc.
So it’s not basic respect that you want. So then what kind of respect is it? Well, what’s left, is “deference.” Or, “humble submission and respect”
This is why you mention the history thing. In your opinion, younger people are not knowledgeable about “history” otherwise, they would show “more respect”. In your opinion.
And yet, they do show basic respect in my experience.
So the only respect that they are not showing, is deference. They are not giving you “humble submission and respect” that you feel “history” demands that you deserve.
Subordination, in other words.
But what you don’t understand is that young people do not view themselves to be a part of an LGBT “community” as much that is separate from the rest of their friends.
They just see themselves as normal people, and it’s the bigots who are weird and abnormal.
And so, because they don’t see themselves as a part of a “community” they don’t feel that they owe any “deference” to so-called senior members of that community.
After all, when a highschool girl is being bullied for liking other girls, where is the senior LGBT people then?
When some transgender girl is coming out to her parents, and they kick her out on the streets, where is the senior LGBT community then? Often nowhere.
When some gay boy wants to invite his boyfriend to the prom in a southern state, and gets harassed for it? Who sticks up for him?
Often it’s not Baby Boomers in the “LGBT community” It’s his own friends, including straight friends.
So these people don’t particularly feel that they owe you any “deference” or if you want to call it “additional respect” simply because you happen to be an LGBT person, and a bit older.
They would give you respect (and they do, I’ve seen it) If you are there, if you are protecting them, if you give them shelter when they are kicked out of their home for being LGBT.
The people of the older generation who do things like that DO get significantly more respect, and deference, and subordination from younger people. They are glad to view such people as leaders, because these people are making a real practical difference in their immediate lives.
But older LGBT people who simply demand the same simply because they are older and happen to be LGBT?
“Oh, I was marching in gay pride parades and protests when you were in diapers…”
Yeah that attitude doesn’t really garner a whole lot of respect.
When teenagers and others ask me why we have a rainbow flag as our symbol, the first thing I explain is that it represents unity of diversity. The great beauty of diversity is that all of the colors represent the different types of gay people. We are all gay. That’s a rainbow. I go on to say that in the past there in most places was only one meeting place, the gay bar. Everyone gay went there. Old, young, men, women, fem, butch, cute, trolls, cholos, college students, every race and color, rich, poor, hustlers, chickenhawks, hippies, fashion plates, s&m, cowboys, handicapped, everything, everyone. That was the beauty and wonder of entering the gay bar for the first time. Different people hung around in different groups, but we were all together under the same roof and that included people who were bi, lesbians, fag-hags, and the occasional straight-curious friend, drug dealer, or relative of someone. We were ALL GAY. That is the beauty of our unified multicolored rainbow. And at some point we all were entertained by a drag show. All of us. We are all gay.
Also, I mention that God in the Bible sends the rainbow as a symbol and promise of his covenant with ALL the living – that never again will a flood be sent, … ALL the living includes all gay people. All of us.
Then I mention something about Judy Garland singing Over the Rainbow; the Hollywood Golden years, chorus boys, more Judy Garland etc. And those days were before Stonewall, rainbow flags, and most readers and writers here I imagine.
OK. So times change. Good. That’s what we want. So now maybe transgender people have their own flag, but so what? If their gay, their gay just like the rest of us, including fag-hags and everyone else. We haven’t got a person to waste in our cause for freedom and protection – worldwide. So we’ve got a lot of work to do- all of us- whatever we call ourselves- whatever our individual multitude of preferences- our people are still killing themselves and being beaten to death and subjected to every other sort of indignity. So hey? What about we GET OVER OURSELVES and work through all this together under the same banner called Gay Liberation?
LGBT is no longer a “gay liberation” movement.
That was lost the day the first gay man was fool enough to call himself “cisgendered.”
@Jacob23: because through the 1970’s, glam/glitter/punk fans/record buyers knew her as Wayne County, before she returned from Germany as Jayne County, losing fans and earning the wraith of the UK music press in the process..
@Saralikesyarr: Thanks for explicating your Oedipal/Electra issues so clearly. I now at least understand why you have such difficulty understanding my comments.
The respect I spoke of is the respect that we all should give to the lived experiences of others. It has nothing to do with age or deference or supplication or any other notion your fevered brain conjures up. As you so clearly (and unintentionally, I assume) confirmed, the younger generation does not feel that respect is something that is freely given. As you state, it’s all about- what have YOU done for me? That’s an extremely selfish and solopsistic attitude. It was my apparently silly notion that learning history (in this case, the story of Jayne County’s experience as a transgendered person living through a more hostile time) would foster greater understanding and respect, not obeisance (this is your anxiety alone). You have made clear that this is not something you and, according to you, your peers do not value.
I also believe that a more magnanimous spirit would be a good thing to cultivate. Assessing the respect to be accorded to people based upon what they’ve explicitly done for YOU reflects an anemic soul IMO. Hopefully you will come to understand that support comes in many forms, many of which are not expressly known. I have always understood and respected that we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It’s a lesson I hope you one day learn.
@inbama: Best comment! You summed it up so perfectly…
It’s amazing how comments turn into battle. Wow. And i think we should ban the word ‘ignorant’…too many people are using It to offend others. I’m joking. 🙂
@Jacob23: She recognizes that she was once Wayne and now she is Jayne. She had a great music career under the Wayne name in the 70s. If you actually did your homework instead of surfing the net for your info, you would have known the answer to your question. Read her book. It’s on kindle for goddess’ sake!
“There’s people who think that n=gro is still an appropriate term for African Americans”.
LOL I’m not even reading any more comments after you pretending to say this with a straight face.
Yep, I see your point. Although my objection to “husband” is not that it sounds like “animal husbandry,” but that I’ve long been sick and tired of the “Which gay guy plays the husband and which one plays the wife?” question from clueless straights. For much the same reason, I’m a “separatist” on the legal-gay-unions question and would prefer NOT to use the term “marriage”. If “civil union” sounds too clunky and bureaucratic, I’d rather coin a new term like “quarriage” or whatever for colloquial use.
Suffice to say I’m a “separatist” here, too — I’d rather acknowledge and celebrate the fact that Mars/Mars dynamics are different from Venus/Venus, and both of these are different from Mars/Venus.
I do agree with you, though, on the classical-sounding dignity of “Lesbian” (though I’d argue that “Sapphic” makes more sense and also sounds prettier).
And as a homosexual man, I’d much sooner be “G as in Gilgamesh” than “G as in gay” — the latter originated as a campy euphemism, and the love of men for men does not need to be described euphemistically.
(The legendary king Gilgamesh was definitely not an exclusive homo, but there are strong arguments to be made that he and his super-macho buddy Enkidu were “bi-curious friends with benefits” — IMHO, a much better case than can be made for David and Jonathan, for example.)
Even today, young people whose first “gay bar” experience was in a small college town would probably recognize exactly what you’re talking about.
Self-segregating bars where practically everyone is black, or practically everyone is over 40, or practically everyone is female, tend to be a phenomenon of densely-concentrated gayborhoods in large cities.
Hell, I lived in NYC in the late ’90s, and the queer-bar clientele became more diverse — though such bars were fewer in number — as soon as you crossed the East River from Manhattan into Brooklyn. (Note that Brooklyn actually has a larger population than Manhattan, but it’s much more spread out.)
@jar: You know, your increasingly insulting and belittling responses only go to show that I hit the nail on the head. : )
You have a nice day now.
I’m glad that Queerty doesn’t have like/dislike buttons for comments, because I’d be completely torn on how to vote for this young whippersnapper Sara!
I agree with a lot of the “young people need to learn more about the community’s history” comments; but I’m also aware that certain elements in the LGBT community can be every bit as hidebound and reactionary and traditionalist as any Southern Baptist (they’re simply clinging to different traditions…), so in that sense I sympathize with Sara.
Anyway, that’s all from me for today. Enjoy your weekends, folks!
@gskorich: Yesterday I was sort of still in the seventies. Then some people around here helped me become more enlightened and up to date.. So now today I understand; I think.
Here’s how it goes: a person is born, apparently, physically, let’s say, female, and documented as such by a doctor. The that person grows into adolescence, and spends a lot of time on line reading current information and diverse views about stuff like gender and sexuality, only to discover and decide “she” is truly a boy. Her awakening sexuality may tell “him” I like boys, so I must really be a gay boy! If I could reassign my body, I might, or might not, become a boy and have a boyfriend. Then as time goes by, he discovers self-attraction more to girls and concludes I am a boy who likes girls. I am not a lesbian because lesbians are girls who like girls. Although I may have a vagina because my parents and doctors won’t let me transition, or I may be unable to take the medical treatment or I may believe that God wants me to leave my body as it is; still I am a boy with a vagina who likes girls. I might hang with the the gay community depending upon how they treat me. Or I may hang with the straight community and identify as straight depending upon how they treat me. Or I may form a new community of people like me who understand and accept me.
This is the way things are now because of the work we have all contributed to in our movement and because of the power of social media. The medical establishment plays a huge role. But most power, in my opinion, still lies with people who would lobby politicians and VOTE.
So don’t worry. Times and terms change, but we are making forward movement if we stay OUT & PROUD and support the wonderful young people who are our future : )
Jun 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm · @Reply ·
@Saralikesyarr: But, of course…
Carnival of Cultures in Berlin…
and my boyfriend flagged a comment here and I have to take the responsibility for that…(Just 2 people know here some of my comments just 1 person know that I comment on QUEERTY).If I comment as a straight woman here it has to be MY OWN journey in my book.So there were trouble in paradise here because that.
The” Fag Hag/Ally only” Sign on your gay bar I friendly ignore.If you call a stubborn mule directly YOUR Fag Hag it might punch back.
Age of Enlightenment…
Democracy is gay.Why not?
And if Equal Rights,the Freedom of Religion, the Seperation of Church and State are a base of Democracy ALL People have the Right /should feel free to conform or not to conform to any kind “gender roles”( whatever that mean one day)
Question:If a public person makes the coming out /private life public (like Guido Westerwelle) I would say in english he is openly gay.Because it still matters so much.If a person is Out but private with the private Life,I would/could call it Out.Is this wrong?Anyway why people still can’t just be gay without these Questions…I mean we ALL live in a Democracy.It is so stupid.
And I still belive I am probably the wrong person here .Instead of a better understanding between us and our cultures so many THINGS “happened” that just makes us feel bad or sad. But I learned a lot from the people here.I THANK YOU ALL.
(And yes I know Teenagers all over the world are often insecure,not just in Soccer and not just the one’s who are gay…:)
@Jacob23: Jane County is transgender, she has lived as a woman for several decades.
@Saralikesyarr: The older generation of LGBT people have created countless organizations and services to assist queer youth including The Ali Forney Center which provides housing and services to homeless LGBT youth (http://www.aliforneycenter.org/), The Trevor Project, a 24 hour hotline for LGBT and questioning youth (www.thetrevorproject.org), and the Hetrick Martin Institute which provides education and advocacy for LGBT youth. (http://www.hmi.org/). The Hetrick Martin institute actually created a school for at risk queer youth, The Harvey Milk School, which is part of the New York City Public School system.
Many if not most LGBT people had a difficult time in our youth.Due to this many of us have an aching concern about the treatment of young queer people by their parents, schools, and communities. I’m sorry that you haven’t observed this yet, maybe you need a little time explore.
@Miss Understood: Well you know you know you can explain you rationale to the vast majority of homeless youth who are also LGBT. And tell them that they should feel more grateful. In your opinion.
Since her days as Wayne, the first transgender punk/glam star to front a rock band in the 1970?s at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, Miss County has always been at the forefront…. you can get “The Best Of Jayne/Wayne County And The Electric Chairs” on itunes or amazon..and you should,.. and her ground breaking book from twenty years ago, “Man Enough To Be A Woman”, is now an e book.. an inspiration!
@Miss Understood: And besides, from what I’ve observed young people are very grateful to the *individual people* who founded such organizations and/or volunteer for them if they are there for them. However other people who are not involved in such organizations do not get those people’s gratitude by osmosis. What have *you* done for LGBT youth lately?
It’s this idea that we are all a “community” just because we are LGBT that I object to, so that because one LGBT person does something good (and that person is fully deserving of credit for that.) every other LGBT person thinks they somehow deserve credit for that person’s actions also. Just because they happen to be LGBT also.
It’s a bit like claiming credit for the iPod, just because you happen to be of the same generation as Steve Jobs. Sorry. But you didn’t work on that project.
@Jacob23 _ don’t you know the definition of trans? it means ‘across’ gender! You are so stupid! TRANSGENDER means above GENDER. YOU ARE IGNORANT GO LIE OWN IN A HOLE It’s a compliment, idiot
Your definition on “trans” is so 2008
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