In The Guardian today, Owen Jones reminds us that the pivotal catalyst for the gay rights movement of the latter half of the 20th century — the Stonewall riot of 1969 — happened because transgender people refused to take police abuse any longer. And yet the LGBT community has remained, up to now, largely silent about the T in its acronym.
Why should lesbians, gays and bisexuals stand together with trans people? "Because we get beaten up by the same people!" Sometimes the best explanations are the simplest: this one came from an audience member at a talk given by trans writer and activist Juliet Jacques. Having common enemies provides the potential foundation for solidarity even among the most disparate of groups. "An injury to one is an injury to all" has long been the mantra of the labour movement, but it’s applicable to all struggles. And yet the LGBT movement has long been without its T in practice, leaving trans people marginalised, ignored and even reviled.
And he's correct. One of the filthy false claims made by evangelical activist Michelle Duggar during last fall's campaign to overturn the Fayetteville, Arkansas, ordinance protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination was that the ordinance would allow transgender men who were child molesters to enter women's bathrooms and gain access to girls.
That bit of filth manages to combine the longstanding claim that gay men are child molesters with hysteria about transgender people and bathrooms, all in one big religion-wrapped lie. If it doesn't demonstrate to those of us who are the LGB in the acronym that we stand and fall according to how we permit the T to be treated, then I don't know what possibly can demonstrate this.
The graphic: an article by Jerry Lisker that NY Daily News ran on 6 July 1969 as it reported on the Stonewall riot, via John M. Becker at Bilerico.