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My partner and I spent an hour on Wednesday with the college's chaplain, getting a start on the design of our civil union ceremony.  We live in New Jersey and have been domestic partners since this state provided that acknowledgment of our relationship and on October 20th will upgrade that designation to civil union.  Some day, we hope to have that designation changed to "married."  

You see, regardless of what people have been saying about transfolks, we do have sexual orientations.  Most of us are members of our GLB communties either before or after our transitions...or both.

Crossposted at Docudharma

I've written about it before.  I am so tired of the present discussion that I am going to have to use some of my old words.  I apologize for that.  But words that were true when I first said them are still true.  

The notions of homosexuality and heterosexuality get blurred a lot when considering transsexuals.  I have personally always been oriented towards woman...maybe gynephilic is a better word (as opposed to androphilic).  That didn't change when I transitioned, nor do I ever expect it to.

About 50% of male to female transsexuals are lesbian and 50% are straight...if one wants to include bisexual as a category, it's maybe one third of each.

I'm not sure what the percentages are for FtMs, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are the same.  One does not go through transition because of one's sexual orientation, but for oneself.  It's not about who we go to bed with but who we go to bed as.

I think transfolk fall in the category as "queer." :)  One doesn't get much queerer than this, although some of my friends would flame me for saying it.

Personally I consider myself a lesbian, not just because of my orientation towards women but also because I feel a sense of belonging in the lesbian community that I have never felt in any other community.  I realize that my background will always make me different, but nowhere have I ever found acceptance as much as I have among these women.

I've gotten flamed for that last sentence by the transgender community.  I'm Aunt Jemima.  I'm an oreo.  I'll tell you about it someday.

I worked my butt off to gain acceptance among lesbians.  My only skill is teaching.  All I have are my words.  And I did teach.  I did it as the first openly pre-operative transwoman on the Sappho list.  My daughter's partner invited me.  She's a PhD candidate in Literature/Women's Studies at Santa Cruz.  She and Jen won't be able to come to our ceremony, since they just got back from a trip to Paris where Julie presented a paper.  School obligations often prevent opportunities.  And truthfully I think I would have chosen Paris as well.

I moved on from Sappho to be with women more my own age as a founding member of the Owls list.  I still consider that list as my home base on the net.  It's not always been peaceful about us transwomen being there, and some women have left because of it, but we still exist 13 years later.  Those of you who read my biographical work this past summer might be interested to know that it was originally posted to Owls.

And I worked really, really hard to be a contributing member of the Little Rock and Arkansas gay and women's communities through the Women's Project, through Little Rock PFLAG, as a board member of the Arkansas Gay and Lesbian Task Force, with the Arkansas Progressive Network, founder and host of Conway Prism and co-founder of P.R.I.S.M. at the University of Central Arkansas.  And I never said "No" when asked to speak or teach at any venue, which was really cool since I got to meet so many wonderful people, like Mel White, Kerry Lobel, and Suzanne Pharr, and talk to them about gender.  I suppose that to people like John Aravosis, I was being pushy.  But it's what we had to do to get someone speaking our case in the national media, since nobody would take one of us seriously.

People listened.  Some, like Pat Califia, had epiphanies.  I wonder sometimes if it was something I said.

And online I managed to do teaching as well.  On PFLAG-talk, as a co-moderator of tgs-PFLAG, where we got PFLAG to include support for the parents and families of transgender people as well.  I guess that was being pushy.  

Transpeople have community online.  We are experts at building community.  It's our survival mechanism.  We had to build one since we are so few and generally isolated.  We built many.  They have enabled to discuss and hone our thoughts about gender.  When we tell you that removing gender identity from ENDA will mean that gays and lesbians will not be protected, you should really listen to us.  We have experience in this matter.

I won't be protected, for sure, but neither will my daughter...or any androgynous or butch lesbian.  Should bosses really be free to fire gays and lesbians by accusing them of being trannies?

Will you blame that on us, too?

You are pushing to protect the "normal looking" gays at the expense of the rest of us.  I have not been working for 15 years as I have to have you not understand that.  If you cannot see how destructive that is, I pity you.

What will be done will be done.  I have only my words.  If they are not sufficient, I am powerless.  

Know this:  "Coming back for me later" will take at least 14.5 years if history matters at all.  And I can't really promise to still be alive in 2022.  

But I do want you to know this:  when my partner and I have our ceremony in two weeks, it will be a lesbian wedding.

No matter what you think.

Meanwhile I am awaiting the arrival of some liturgical verses about marriage.  I'm taoist, Debbie's a Quaker, the chaplain is presbyterian and the guests will include a vast array of belief systems, including Islamic, Jewish, Catholic, liberal and conservative protestant, atheist...  Anyway, I decided I had more time to edit than to write the vows from scratch.

Originally posted to Robyn's Perch on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 05:01 PM PDT.

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