Stephanie Donald| Publisher—LGBT-Today
Ru Paul has been making the talk show circuit lately to drum-up more viewers for her hit TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Races” on Logo TV. During his recent interview with Salon Magazine he said “I feel like the boy who fell from the sky,” indicating that he, of most people I’ve ever met, has molded his own reality in ways that most can’t even imagine.
RuPaul in an ABC Nightline interview recently.
Over the past few years the lesbian, gay and bisexual community has become polarized, like all other groups, into two segments: Those who accept transgender and gender non-conforming and those who believe that it’s time that transgender, queer and gender non-conformist’s get their own life and entity and break-off from the acronym of “LGBTQ”.
Suppose the only way open to our joined communities gaining full equality is banding together and supporting each other’s cause? In the current left proposition that we should all be “politically correct” the subject of transgender, queer and gender non-conformist’s has become the metaphorical elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, but just under the surface, there is trouble in River City, folks.
The gay pioneer for whom I began this modest blog, Jack Nichols, was very divided about the subject. He once told me that transgender and drag queens were just “confused gay men,” not accounting for female-to-male transgender people was his Achilles heel on that issue when we privately debated it. He would just shrug and said “there are always exceptions to the rule.”
Jack held-up the personage of the late Sylvia Rivera who spent her/his life wallowing in a needle up his/her (I use this apparition sparingly because Jack happened to be right about Sylvia in that regard) arm or a can of beer and bended elbow exercises until she passed out. As a matter of fact, Sylvia always portrayed herself as the one who threw the first rock at Stonewall in 1969 when Marsha P. Johnson, another gender non-conformist, found Sylvia passed out in an alleyway in Greenwich Village after injecting heroin on a daily basis—about 6 hours after it started. Sylvia was perhaps one of the first transgender hookers at least in LGBTQ written history, but she was no frontline activist for our rights as some people point out.
Sylvia was an addict and quite a bullshiter and those two things often dovetail together to make a legend not supported by facts.
I know that feeling well as researching a movie script on the lives of Jack Nichols and Lige Clarke proved to deflate a good deal of my favorable opinion of Jack. In their relationship, Lige was the calm, cool hand of reason while Jack made unreasonable expectations that Lige take on the role of the wife in a relationship that parodied heterosexual couples. I imagine that Jack had to be good in bed and sometimes reasonable, but for the majority of their tumultuous relationship, Lige couldn’t find the exit fast enough and even Jack’s friends admonished him for the way he treated Lige.
Legend is always stronger than reality it seems.
But the one thing legend can’t deny is the link between all divisions of sexual minorities in the world. We aren’t dealing with an altogether friendly past heritage for the LGBTQ community. We need to fight this together or we will certainly fail in our attempts at equality.
It seems that the phrase “we’re stronger in numbers” has a lot to do with whether or not we attain our liberty ala carte. I have always despised the LGBTQ activist’s constant whining about “we can’t ask for that because it’s too much and we’ll never get it!” How would we know whether it’s too much unless we try?
Many hold up the original gay pioneers (if there is such a thing) and their attempts at equality as the measuring stick, but in a historical perspective, they were the warm-up band for main act. They never went far enough because of the fear instilled in them by the way people used to treat us. The elements of transgender, queer and gender non-conformists has always been present, probably since the beginning of time, but those who aren’t fear us because it’s a natural instinct to hate what we fear. Gender non-conformity may be the key to unlocking our equality because I’ve seen the hate of transgender people escalate with gender non-conformity being held up as, “It’s a boy one day and a girl the next.” Gee, with that thinking and no instances of transgender and gender non-conforming people violations of women in public restrooms, how did they get so stupid over the past 200 years embracing the industrial revolution and technology booming? One has only to use Google about the two issues to see that one does not mean they’re the other.
We shall overcome, as the old hymn goes, but we need to stop this insistence that we blow apart in order to frame our own realities and pull together rather apart—intervening in public if necessary—in order to attain the basic human right to exist as we imagine we can and take our slice of the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” pie.
That one issue is what gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and queer-questioning gender non-conformists need to understand that what made up our past with the gay pioneers was that they saw a different version of reality from their own perspective and set off trying to make it a peaceful reality instead of a violent one, although the election of King-terd Trump may make a civil war inevitable, at least when we take up arms against those who would remove our basic human rights, we’ll have a few more muskets on our side than if we blow apart.