Letter: Burden of ‘Homocentrism’

By |2007-11-22T09:00:00-05:00November 22nd, 2007|Opinions|

First, in response to the Between the Lines editorial (November 15, 2007) titled “HRC abandons principles on ENDA”: Good message! Many thanks!
Second, inspired by that editorial, I wish to share with you the letter that I earlier today wrote to the Editor of 365Gay.com. I would feel honored were you to print this. The letter follows, here, and I conclude:
Mr. Ray Robichaud’s (Nov. 14, 2007, or so) letter to the 365Gay.com Editor mentioned “transgendered people who are essentially straight”, implying that all of us are so.
I happen to be a transgender who “essentially” is gay, my partner is similarly gay; there are others like me, and other couples like us. Also, there are many, if not most or all, GLB people who essentially are transgender, because they cross conventional gender lines, in personal psychology and / or behavior. Even the stereotypical hairy, burly “bear” type of “straight appearing and acting” male person who engages in sexual behavior with another male (however “smooth” or femme that one may be) is crossing the gender line — he is acting outside of the binary gender norm for a male — and therefore is transgender. Under ENDA, such a person can be job-discriminated on the basis of gender rather than of sexual orientation. More clearly, a “butch” lesbian or a “flaming” male gay (or a bisexual female or male) can be job-discriminated under ENDA. Less obviously, say, a flaming male could have sex exclusively with females (either straight or lesbian), thus be straight and not have a sexual-orientation issue, and yet be job-discriminated under ENDA, because straights as well as gays are affected. The term “gender identity” itself can be applied only with great caution and deliberation to androgynous people who identify with both binary genders, or with neither one, or identify as simply themselves, and who may exhibit various sorts of public behavior and private sexual expression.
Thus, ENDA should be inclusive. Further, ENDA should not even need to specify “sexual orientation” or “gender identity”. It should be sufficient to prohibit job-discrimination on the basis of simply being “gay” — that one word, by itself, without definition or elaboration, includes all of the LGBT community, which some are trying to tear apart.
Unfortunately, Mr. Robichaud is far from being alone in speaking out on this subject without the benefit of full knowledge of the meaning of “transgender”, and also under the burden of “homocentrism”.
{ITAL Jane Clare Pawling
Denver, Colorado}

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.