Transphobia Flairs At Two Gay Events

Hordes of homos will descend on Chicago this weekend for the International Mr. Leather contest. And, as per tradition, many participants will pop into legendary S&M club, Chicago Hellfire Club. Unfortunately, trans men aren’t invited.

Chicago Hellfire Club – one of the oldest S&M clubs in the nation – enacted a strict no female-to-male policy ten years ago, thus barring a significant portion of the S&M community.

Of their unfriendly policy, former Hellfire Club president and long-time member, David Igasaki said:

The general rule of thumb is that there has to be a penile attachment… They don’t want to admit women. It’s not that people are anti-women or personally discriminate against transgender people. It’s just that as a sex club there is a desire to protect a gay environment during play.

Igasaki claims that Hellfire Club can bar FTM’s because its a private club.

Critics, however, claim that the Club goes into public space to recruit members. One transman comments: “I don’t think that a private club would set up a table at a public venue and allow anybody to talk with you and inquire to attend an event.” And transmen aren’t the only ones fighting the Hellfire.

The 15 Association, another S&M group, has distanced itself from the Hellfire Club and even made a point of adding a gender non-discrimination policy to its regulations. The 15 Association leaders, however, won’t go so far as the censure the Hellfire Club. Chairman Steven Gaynes commented:

We disagree with them on this, but we don’t want to make it into a situation where there are any bad feelings. We are not coming down on them, we are just not doing business with them.

One Club member, however, has spoken out against the policy. David Schultz wrote a damning editorial in the club’s newsletter. Unfortunately, club leaders trashed that particular edition, thus silencing his dissent.

The Chicago case isn’t the only case of transphobia going on right now. Lesbian director Catherine Crouch’s come under fire for her independent film, The Gendercator, a sci-fi flick about transmen who attempt to “convert” lady lesbians into butch bullies. Crouch describes her creation thus:

In 1973 a group of hippie women are celebrating Billie Jean King’s victory over Bobby Riggs. They are partying in the rural woods outside of Bloomington, Indiana. Our heroine Sally is a simple minded, sporty type who overindulges at the party and passes out under a tree. Sally wakes up 75 years later in 2048 to discover (amongst other social changes) that feminism has failed utterly and completely. Sex roles and gender expression are rigidly binary and enforced by law and social custom.

Sally [learns] that in the early 2000s the evangelical Christians took over the government and legislated their strict family values, legally sanctioning only “one man, one woman” couples. Advances in sex reassignment surgery have made it possible to honor an individual’s choice of gender AND government policy. Sally is comfortable in the middle of the genders, an unacceptable choice in 2048.

The film – which Crouch hopes will “foster discussion about female body modification and medical ethics” – has been pulled from the San Francisco Film Festival and a number of other festivals are considering doing the same. To help matters along, a group of San Francisco based activists have created a petition reading:

We, the multigendered LGBT community and its allies, declare that there is no space for hatred and transphobia in our community institutions. We reject the notion that transsexuality is anti-feminist or anti-gay. We demand that our community artists be held accountable for the messages that they deliver, and that artistic projects not be allowed to hide under the mask of “sparking dialogue” when the intention is actually to divide and demonize.

If you’re not about transphobia in the queer community, we suggest you head on over, read the rest of their words and sign away. If you support discrimination – head on over to the Chicago Hellfire Club and get fucked.

Chicago SM club under fire for anti-trans policy [Bay Area Reporter]

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  • ggreen

    I’m sure this post was written with the intent of starting a flame war by the frequent posters to increase the number of hits this site gets. However sloppy opinion being used as fact is below the standards of even this low brow blog.

    “Chicago Hellfire Club – one of the oldest S&M clubs in the nation – enacted a strict no female-to-male policy ten years ago, thus barring a significant portion of the S&M community.”

    Editors: Just where do the facts of this story or any other justify that blanket idiotic statement?

  • donald

    ggreen: I was thinking the same thing. But in nicer terms. *wink*

    Significant usually means a fairly large or significant amount. I hardly think there is a large amount of FTM individuals that are also in the S&M community. Maybe 2%?

    I am all for and support Transgendered individuals. But that does not mean I want to have sex with them. I also do not like having sex with smooth hairless young twink boys, drug users, smokers, chubby people, etc. That is just my person preference. I take offense that the editor calls this discrimination.

    If they are interested in S&M activities, then they can very easily start a new club or organization that is inclusive of Transgendered individuals rather than forcing an organization, that has established and observed this policy for 10 years, to change their policies to accompany 3 or 4 people. Besides, according to the article, there is at least one organization that would allow them to attend their events.

  • Mr. B

    Donald, I bet you wouldn’t ask those smooth twinks or chubby people or smokers to “start their own organization.” It’s a public event for men who love men (and are into leather). If some of those men happen to have been born with different equipment against their will, they shouldn’t have to be sent off to a leper colony. It’s kind of like what happened at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in reverse–only with more focus on body fascism than gender politics.

    I challenge anyone who attends a Mr. Leather competition–or any kind of gay event–to honestly say that he’s sexually attracted to every single guy there just because they all have regular, factory-issue penises. (For one thing, half of those penises would be “too small” for their liking anyway.) Come on, there are regulars screams of disgust at some of the Morning Goods guys, and they most certainly have a leg up on most of us. One man’s boner-killer is another man’s hard-on, and bringing biological essentialism into it just because a bunch of queens are squicked out by a “lack of penile attachment” (snort) is juvenile and elitist. (And not all queens are squicked out by FTM bodies, BTW. If they were, some of us would be getting significantly less action.) If they’re so worried about preventing revulsion, they might as well instill a “no ugly people” or “no dicks smaller than X inches” policy while they’re at it. Public event, indeed.

    I’m heading out for the weekend, so I won’t get to “enjoy” the flame war. But I just want to say that as a transsexual man who loves men, I do NOT expect all gay men to be aroused by my body, any more than any other guy who’s too short/too hairy/too chubby/has too small of a dick to match the ideal. But just because some transman’s genitalia may not appeal to every fag at the venue doesn’t mean he should be barred from a public event. And there are plenty of gay transmen around, let alonegay transmen into leather. This is a significant portion of the demographic, not just a fringe of “3 or 4 people.”

  • Mr. B

    BTW, Queerty editors, good article. :)

  • el polacko

    jeeze.. i dunno … i’ve seen the buck angel video and there was nothing ‘gay’ about it. it pretty much grossed me out. i know the transgendered have a tough row to hoe, and i wish them no ill, but TG and GAY just aren’t the same thing.

  • jay in chicago

    why even bring up buck angel? IT’S PORNOGRAPHY, not real life, IDIOT!

  • Mr. B

    But El Polacko, nobody is saying that transgendered and gay are the same thing. In point of fact, they’re not. One’s about what gender the person is, the other is about what gender the person’s attracted to. The point of Buck is that he is a man, hence the porn he does with other men is gay. Buck is just a different “kind” of man, is all. There are lots of those. (Let us all please leave the biological essentialism argument out of this, as it’s not really pertinent to this and it’s tired anyway.)

    Buck is not to everybody’s taste, of course. Nor are trans people of any gender, regardless of what surgeries they have had. Everybody has different comfort levels andpreferences and turn-offs and blah blah blah. (And the gay male community at large is not always a collective, unanimous voice.) So in the end–and this has been my personal experience too–there are gay and bi men who are perfectly capable and willing to have sex with a transgendered man, and there are gay and bi men who have no desire to go there. But the point to all of this is that the guys who do find an FTM guy attractive–in all respects–don’t have to revoke their gay card because of it. And the guys who don’t? They’re welcome, as with anyone else who doesn’t turn their cranks, to look the other way– in the porn store OR at Mr. Leather–and find someone they do like. :)

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