Jenny Boylan Op-Ed Piece in the NY Times: Transgender Community Unity and LGBT Marriage Equality

Jennifer Boylan visited with TCNE and the Greater Boston Transgender community at First Event 2009.  She read from one of her books during a luncheon, signed her book for attendees and really encouraged most if not all of those who attended her luncheon.   We were so honored to have her.

Jenny is now a board member for GLAAD, has written a new book and has a new column in the New York Times entitled, “We Want Cake Too”    Her article points out that perhaps transgender equal rights should be the top priority of the LGBT community vs. marriage equality.     She goes on to site some frightening statistics:

When you look at the staggering statistics concerning the struggles of transgender people, it’s easy to understand resentment over the amount of resources put into the fight for marriage rights. Transgender people, according to a nationwide study released early this year by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, are nearly four times more likely to live in poverty than the general population. Forty-one percent of respondents reported attempting suicide; of those who came out as students, 78 percent reported harassment, 35 percent physical assault and 12 percent sexual violence. Nineteen percent said they had been homeless. Among transgender people of color, the numbers are even worse.

The right to marry clearly isn’t the most urgent civil rights issue lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (L.G.B.T.) people face.

But her op-ed piece also contains a call for unity amongst the transgender part of the community,

But if transgender people are sometimes at odds with their gay and lesbian allies, they’re also at odds with themselves. The community is rife with disagreements about whether transsexuals (individuals who change, or wish to change, their gender via medical intervention, and whom some define as simply having a “birth challenge” like, say, a cleft palate) even ought to be grouped, politically, with “transgenders” (an umbrella term that includes cross-dressers and drag queens).

Whenever I hear about groups splintering into smaller factions, it’s hard for me not to think of John Cleese in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian,” protesting that he’s not with the Judean People’s Front; he’s with the People’s Front of Judea. In short, infighting seems to guarantee that whatever progress is made for gay men and lesbians, transgender people will continue to lag behind.

Her article, as expected is well written, and excellent and a call to carefully think…for all parts of the LGBT community.

You can (and should) read Jenny’s entire piece at the New York Times, “We Want Cake, Too“.

And we invite our readers to discuss this article in our comments.   TCNE welcomes the entire transgender community, so, let’s hear your thoughts on Jenny’s article!

Comments are closed.