This critique of the transgender rights movement is through the lens of personal and professional experiences in the fields of social justice activism, academia and politics. This analysis illuminates how capitalism taints the transgender rights movement by prioritizing publicity and profits over people abandoning all integrity. The current culture of the movement obstructs the medical, socio-economic and legislative progression made over the decades of the very community it claims to represent and advocate for.
Statement of Intent:
This analysis intends to counter the biological argument of the Trump administration and anti-transgender lobbyists and discuss the link between gender identity and genetic chromosomal abnormalities. It examines the current culture of the transgender rights movement and why it is proceeding on an unsuitable course due to the lack of regulations in the movement as a whole which in turn contributes to the advancement of anti-transgender legislation and policies that allow institutions to discriminate against transgender people furthering their marginalization. This analysis is to illustrate why the transgender rights movement needs regulations such as a code of conduct, principles of integrity, civil unity and uniform messaging.
This is a critique of the current culture of the transgender rights movement and why it is proceeding on an unsuitable course. When my grandfather was alive, he would always say,
“everybody has a price.” As an individual who contributes to the transgender movement for equality and equity with much success, along with many others, I notice how the movement has
now become more about capitalism rather than about community and the medical, social, legal and economic needs of the people living on the margins of society. From my own experiences in
city, state and national politics and social justice movements, I notice the shift in the attitudes of the “movement culture.”
In 2016 when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States the movement for equality and equity for transgender people came under fire maligning the legacy of President Obama. The Trump Administration is rolling back many of the rights that were established under the Obama administration such as guidance and directives regarding gender identity in schools, healthcare, employment, public accommodations, and housing. The Affordable Care Act is one area Donald Trump tries to repeal which covers medically necessary treatment. President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) now affords people who are born gender incongruent with the medically necessary treatment for psychological and anatomic alignment. People who have the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a medical condition called gender incongruence, the ACA now allows insurance companies to cover the medically necessary treatment for females and males who are born gender incongruent. Donald Trump and his droves of supporters use the office of the President of the United States to declare that only those who are born gender congruent are biologically female and male- here he is using a biological argument to denounce the genetic biological variations resulting in gender incongruence providing anti-transgender rights lobbyist ammunition to discriminate based on a bio- essentialist posture fueling systematic institutional oppression against transgender people. The purpose of this analysis is to demonstrate how and why the transgender rights movement is moving on an unsuitable course.
The objection is to the Trump administration’s government policies that only females and males born gender congruent are biologically born female or male which is the basis for anti-discrimination legislation based on biology hence denouncing the existing biological genetic variations that result in anatomic abnormalities in females and males born gender incongruent.
The Government Policy:
Revised Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual “because of such individual’ s … sex.Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination is a strong and vital principle that underlies the integrity of our workforce. The question of whether Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination based on gender identity per se, including discrimination against transgender individuals, arises in a variety of contexts.
In a December 15, 2014, memorandum, Attorney General Holder concluded that Title VII does encompass such discrimination, based on his view that Title VII prohibits employers from taking into account “sex-based considerations.” in Although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit
discrimination based on gender identity per se. This is a conclusion of law, not policy. The sole issue addressed in this memorandum is what conduct Title VII prohibits by its terms, not what conduct should be prohibited by statute, regulation, or employer action. As a law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice must interpret Title VII as written by Congress. Title VII expressly prohibits discrimination “because of … sex” and several other· protected traits, but it does not refer to gender identity.
“Sex” is ordinarily defined to mean biologically male or female. Congress has confirmed this ordinary meaning by expressly prohibiting, in several other statutes, “gender identity” discrimination, which Congress lists in addition to, rather than within, prohibitions on Revised Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual “because of such individual’ s … sex.”
Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination is a strong and vital principle that underlies the integrity of our workforce. The question of whether Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination
encompasses discrimination based on gender identity per se, including discrimination
against transgender individuals, arises in a variety of contexts. In a December 15, 2014,
memorandum, Attorney General Holder concluded that Title VII does encompass such
discrimination, based on his view that Title VII prohibits employers from taking into
account “sex-based considerations.”
Although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to
transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender
identity per se. This is the law, not a policy. The sole issue addressed in this
memorandum is what conduct Title VII prohibits by its terms, not what conduct should
be prohibited by statute, regulation, or employer action. As a law enforcement agency,
the Department of Justice must interpret Title VII as written by Congress.
Title VII expressly prohibits discrimination “because of … sex” and several other·
protected traits, but it does not refer to gender identity. “Sex” is ordinarily defined to
mean biologically male or female.
Congress has confirmed this ordinary meaning by expressly prohibiting, in several other statutes, “gender identity” and “transgender individuals”. Although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se.
This is a conclusion of law, not policy. The sole issue addressed in this memorandum is what conduct Title VII prohibits by its terms, not what conduct should be prohibited by statute, regulation, or employer action. As a law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice must interpret Title VII as written by Congress. Title VII expressly prohibits discrimination “because
of … sex” and several other· protected traits, but it does not refer to gender identity. “Sex” is ordinarily defined to mean biologically male or female. Congress has confirmed this ordinary meaning by expressly prohibiting, in several other statutes, “gender identity” discrimination, which Congress lists in addition to, rather than within, prohibitions on discrimination based on “sex” or “gender.”
Furthermore, the Supreme Court has explained that “[t]he critical issue, Title VII’s text indicates, is whether members of one sex are exposed to disadvantageous terms or conditions of employment [ or other employment actions] to which members of the other sex are not exposed.” Although Title VII bars “sex stereotypes” insofar as that particular sort of “sex-based consideration]” causes “disparate treatment of men and women.” Title VII is not properly construed to proscribe employment practices (such as sex specific bathrooms) that take account of the sex of employees but do not impose different burdens on similarly situated members of each sex. Accordingly, Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including trans gender status. Therefore, as of the date of this memorandum, which hereby withdraws the December 15, 2014, memorandum, the Department of Justice will take that position in all pending and future matters except where controlling lower court
precedent dictates, otherwise, in which event the issue should be preserved for potential further review).
The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including trans gender individuals. Nothing in this memorandum should be construed to condone mistreatment on the basis of gender identity or to express a policy view on whether Congress should amend Title VII to provide different or additional protections. Nor does this memorandum remove or reduce the protections against discrimination on the basis of sex that Congress has provided all individuals, including transgender individuals, under Title VII. In addition, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act prohibit gender identity discrimination along with other types of discrimination in certain contexts. The Department of Justice has vigorously enforced such laws, and will continue to do so, on behalf of all Americans, including transgender Americans (United States Attorney General, Department of Justice).”
This law is discriminatory towards females and males who are born gender incongruent. The reason this policy is harmful is that it disenfranchises and further marginalizes people who are born with hormonal, chromosomal and anatomic sex abnormalities which prohibits them from navigating public life in employment, housing and public accommodations without discrimination. If the foundation of the transgender rights movement for equal federal protections predicates its agenda on utilizing a biological model for gender incongruence, I argue, a more comprehensive conversation in regards to federal protections could be led to the current political establishment rethinking its position on Title VII’s inclusion of gender identity
being biological. Gender expression and gender identity are different and confuse many who are heterosexual and/or cisgender.
There is a biological basis for gender dysphoria thus supporting the claim that people born gender incongruent are biologically female or male. Transsexualism is the historical medical term referring to females and males born with a gender incongruent medical condition. Females and males with severe gender dysphoria seek anatomic corrective procedures that are medically necessary. Like with many other medical conditions it is unclear what the specific origins of transsexualism entail, however, there is evidence that “the hormones that trigger the development of biological sex may not work properly on the brain, reproductive organs and genitals, causing differences between them. This may be caused by additional hormones in the mother’s system, the fetus insensitivity to the hormones, known as androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS)- when this happens, gender dysphoria may be caused by hormones not working properly in the womb, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) where a high level of male hormones are produced in female fetus. This causes the genitals to become more male in appearance and, in some cases, the baby may be thought to be biologically male when she is born and intersex conditions which cause babies to be born with genitalia of both sexes or ambiguous genitalia (Cohen-Kettenis, Gooren).”
Since people can be born intersex with ambiguous genitalia or both sexes it is not such a far leap that people can be born with a misalignment between mind and body resulting in gender incongruence. As technology and information expands medical researchers are beginning to
come to the hypothesis that gender incongruence is partly due to the interrelation process of prenatal hormone exposure, genetics, and a variety of brain structures and functions.
Medical Case Study: Biological Factors
According to Cohen-Kettenis and Gooren who have commented extensively on sexual differentiation in the brain, “in the beginning of this century, it became clear that the process of sexual differentiation, of becoming male or female, is not completed with the formation of the external genitalia (the criterion for a newborn child’s gender assignment). Also, the brain undergoes a differentiation into male or female although disagreement exists about certain sexual dimorphisms. In lower mammals, this leads to behavioral patterns that complement the genital status. A male sexual differentiation of the brain occurs in the presence of sufficient amounts of testosterone at the critical period of brain sexual differentiation, whereas the brain becomes female in the absence of testosterone (Cohen-Kettenis, Gooren).”
“In animal studies, the presence or absence of testosterone at the time of the critical period of brain sexual differentiation has been shown to influence the morphology of certain brain nuclei. The almost dogmatic position that all differences between males and females are biological has been challenged in recent years. It has been proposed that some male-female differences are genetically determined, independently of hormonal mechanisms. Another effect of exposure to
testosterone is that the capacity of the pituitary luteinizing hormone (LH) to respond to an estrogen stimulus (the normal ovulation mechanism) is abolished. On this basis, the type of estrogen feedback of LH is further evidence of the earlier sexual differentiation process of the brain. A supposed discrepancy between genital differentiation, on the one hand, and brain sexual differentiation, on the other hand, has been invoked as an explanation of the phenomenon of transsexualism. Given the aforementioned data, biomedical research of transsexualism has addressed three areas: (1) gender identity in subjects with an abnormal perinatal endocrine history—an excess of androgens in females and a lack of androgen action in males; (2) the type of estrogen feedback response of LH; and (3) the morphology of brain nuclei that are sex-differentiated (Cohen-Kettenis, Gooren 315-333).”.
“XX individuals exposed to unusually high levels of testosterone (such as girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia [CAH], a condition causing prenatal exposure to relatively high levels of androgens) would, in the first type of study, be expected to develop a male gender identity, even if raised as a girl. A few such cases have been reported. As Meyer-Bahlburg pointed out, individuals with sexual differentiation disorders may be at risk for gender problems (e.g., because of genital ambiguity or social reactions to this ambiguity). In most cases, however, CAH girls who were assigned and consistently raised as girls do not become transsexuals. Transsexualism was not found in men or women exposed in utero to progestagens, which may have antiandrogenic or androgenic qualities, nor was it found upon exposure to estrogenic drugs, such as diethylstilbestrol (DES. However, in these studies, certain aspects of gender role behavior have been found to be atypical (Cohen-Kettenis, Gooren).”
“In the second type of study it was assumed that, in humans, just as in lower mammals, the neuroendocrine regulation of LH is a reliable indicator of the sexual differentiation of the brain. Based on this assumption it was postulated that MFs, like females, would show a rise in luteinizing hormone (LH) levels after estrogen stimulation, as a consequence of prenatal exposure to imbalanced sex steroid levels. The opposite was expected to occur in FMs. This hypothesis was based on animal research and supported in a study by Dörner. In other studies, however, conducted with a more rigorous endocrine methodology the results could not be replicated (Cohen-Kettenis, Gooren).”
” A third line of research on biological determinants of GID is reflected in studies on sexual dimorphic brain nuclei in transsexuals. In humans, several hypothalamic nuclei have been reported to be sexually dimorphic with respect to size and/or shape: a sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area of the hypothalamus; the SDN-POA; two cell groups in the anterior hypothalamus and the darky staining posteromedial component of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis; the suprachiasmatic nucleus; and the central subdivision of bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTc. These sex differences in the hypothalamus are thought to underlie sex differences in gender identity, reproduction, and sexual orientation. Recently, it was found in six MFs, that the BSTc was not only significantly smaller than in males, but also entirely within the size range of females. Zhou et al. was the first study showing a female brain structure in genetically male transsexuals. Non-transsexuals, who had taken estrogens for medical reasons did not show smaller BSTc, making it unlikely that the size differences had been caused by the transsexuals’ hormone treatment. The BSTc in animals is a hormone-regulated structure. Thus
far no direct evidence exists in the human of a direct relationship between sex hormones and the sex dimorphism of the nucleus (Cohen-Kettenis, Gooren).”
“Sex differences in brain structure and function have been attributed in part to sex hormone effects during prenatal development, during sexual differentiation (organizing effects of sex hormones), and later in life (activating effects of sex hormones). Male differentiation of the fetal brain occurs in the presence of androgens, while female differentiation occurs in the absence of androgens. Sexual differentiation of the brain occurs later than genital development. It is thus hypothesized that these two processes could be independently influenced, and when developing in opposite directions, may be important in transsexualism. While disorders of sexual development (DSD) and transsexualism are separate entities, the former may serve as a model for understanding the role of prenatal sex hormone exposure in the latter condition. For example, cross-gender identification has been examined in girls exposed to high levels of prenatal androgens in the setting of classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Dessens et al. reported a 1.6% rate of FTM transgenderism in 46,XX women with CAH, considerably higher than the frequency in the general population (0.003%), though still overall low. There are also suggestive data on the relevance of prenatal sex hormonal milieu amongst individuals without DSDs. While the ratio of the index finger and ring finger length, which is considered a sexually dimorphic feature, has been demonstrated to be higher in MTF transsexuals relative to controls, the ratio of FTM transsexuals is similar to that of control males suggesting that prenatal hormonal exposure may be important in MTF transsexualism. It is unclear if prenatal sex hormone exposure has a genetic
basis, including altered synthesis of sex hormones or altered sensitivity of function of sex hormone receptors.
Genetics Sibling studies have also suggested a possible genetic link. Gomez Gil demonstrated a higher risk of transsexuality among nontwin siblings, with higher risk being noted in brothers as compared to sisters, and in MTF as compared to FTM transsexuals, though the overall risk is low. Furthermore, twin studies have shown that a higher concordance of gender identity disorder in monozygotic, as compared to dizygotic twins.
Sexual Dimorphism of the Brain Data have also suggested that brains of transsexual individuals may be more similar to those with their self-identified gender, rather than those of the same physical sex, albeit brain structure and function of transsexual individuals appear to be selectively, rather than entirely, masculinized or feminized. There are sex differences in the shape and size of certain hypothalamic nuclei with sexual differentiation reported to occur between the ages of 2–4. Sexual differentiation of the bed nuclei of the striae terminalis extends into adulthood. Swaab reported that based on autopsy findings, the size and number of neurons in the bed nucleus of striata terminalis and the third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus of MTF transsexual patients were similar in size and neuron numbers to females.
Signs of masculinization/feminization have also been reported in cortical thickness and in several white matter fiber tracts. With treatment, MTF transsexual individuals have a decrease in cortical and subcortical gray matter volume, while FTM transsexuals have an increase in cortical subcortical gray matter after treatment. Changes are also seen in performance of cognitive tasks, such as mental rotation and visual memory tasks. Data on event-related fMRI in untreated MTF transsexuals are limited to studies measuring cerebral activation while smelling odorous steroids,
viewing erotic film scenes, and in discriminating male versus female voices, but are suggestive of activation patterns more similar to female as opposed to male patterns. For example, Berglund
demonstrated that hypothalamic blood flow in response to odorous compound was more similar among MTF transsexual individuals to control female participants than to males. Such data are unavailable in FTM transsexual individuals. However, there are several notable limitations to the available literature on the pathophysiology of transsexualism including minimal prospective data, lack of controlling for confounding factors such as sexual orientation in many studies, and
lack of data on age of development of onset of transsexualism. It is further unclear if MTF and FTM transsexualism are similar, i.e., comparable entities. Data are particularly limited on FTM transsexuals and in children/adolescents with transsexualism. In conclusion, it is hypothesized that a combination of prenatal sex hormonal milieu, genetics, and differences in sexually dimorphic brain structures may be important in the pathophysiology of transsexualism. However, our understanding of the pathophysiologic underpinnings of transsexualism is limited by a lack of high-quality data and variability amongst available studies in methodology and in accounting for confounding factors (Guillamon, Antonio).”
Doctors assign sex, female or male to every child born in America and usually, that child’s sex assignment corresponds to their gender identity. However, sometimes an acute percentage of children are born gender incongruent with anatomic and chromosomal abnormalities that do not coincide with the child’s sex assignment and gender identity. According to the American Psychiatric Association, gender dysphoria is a medical diagnosis for people who are born with a
misalignment between the mind and body. People born gender dysphoric which is a congenital genetic biological medical condition that begins during early fetal development provides a
foundation to counter the Trump administration’s biological posture. People born gender incongruent are biological females or biological males at birth despite the sex assignment bestowed upon every child born in America. By establishing a connection between one’s gender identity and genetic chromosomal abnormalities it will garner a better understanding of the political support to obtain equal protection under the law. This biological foundation for gender dysphoria and gender incongruence utilizing western scientific medical research to support this claim serves to counter the biological argument of anti-trans lobbyists and the Trump administration.
The earlier a person who is born gender incongruent receives the diagnoses of gender dysphoria for example in childhood and enters the medically necessary treatment the higher the probability of success in that person’s life, as it relates to psychological and anatomic congruence according to the Report of the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder. The American Psychiatric Association Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder has multiple modes to treating children, adolescences and adults with the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. It is optimal for treatment to begin at the onset of gender dysphoria in childhood and during the adolescent stage of human development to maximize the physical, psychological, emotional, social, legal, medical and economic well- being of females and males born gender incongruent in adulthood. The treatment for the early diagnosis of gender
dysphoria varies when it comes to the various stages of human development. As will any medical condition, treatment for gender incongruence depends on the individual and that person’s
particular medical needs as well as the stage in life the person is in. Since children are not legally able to make decisions without parental consent it is important for people who are raising children to be as supportive as possible if they are caring for a child with gender dysphoria according to the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder goes on further to state, if the child’s dysphoria persists until adolescence which is ages twelve to eight-teen years old, the medical treatment plan for that patient is more straightforward and is in alignment with the traditional model of treatment for gender incongruence; more so than individuals with a late onset of gender dysphoria.
Additionally, the individuals with a late-onset are more likely to have other compounding psychopathology along with gender dysphoria which is why I advocate for early diagnosis and treatment of gender incongruence. I often think about how different my life would be if the diagnosis of my medical condition was in early childhood during its onset and my treatment began in early adolescence instead of late adolescence. I know my adulthood would not be so strenuous but at least my access to medically necessary treatment is available and the economic barriers to healthcare are much easier to navigate as a person who requires life sustaining medical treatment.
In this literature by the American Psychiatric Association lays out the treatment plan for gender dysphoria in adolescence, “with the beginning of puberty, development of the secondary sex characteristics of the natal gender often triggers or exacerbates the anatomic dysphoria of adolescents with GID. Recently, the option has become available for pubertal patients with
severe gender dysphoria and minimal, if any, additional psychopathology to have puberty suspended medically in order to prevent or to minimize the development of unwanted secondary
sex characteristics, some of which are not fully reversible with subsequent hormonal or surgical sex reassignment therapies.”
A person’s life is more productive and socially well- adjusted when there is access to the medically necessary treatment the Affordable Care Acts provides which helps support females and males born gender incongruent supplying a platform for non- discrimination laws across the United States diffusing the anti-transgender rights supporters’ position that females and males born gender incongruent are not biologically born female and male. There is a distinction between the transgender population and females and males born gender incongruent. The
the distinction between the two is the former is not seeking medical treatment and the latter is; however, both need and deserve policies that protect them from discrimination.
The Critique of the Transgender Rights Movement
There are two segments of the movement, the true activists who care about educating and advocating for the needs of the transgender community and there is the “entertainment,” those who are obsessing over becoming famous and their proximity to influential people with enormous social- economic and political capital. Additionally, this second segment of the movement is sacrificing the transgender community using them as collateral damage to fulfill their egoic; narcissistic attention supply while lining their pockets with blood money. For example, a person by the name of Kayden H. made the decision to call out the producers of the
Jerry Springer Show and Maury Povich Show because of how shows exploit transgender people in a petition that was found in a quick Google Search. The problem is not the producers of these
television shows but the transgender people who make the choice to be on either of those entertainment television shows. I know a few people who have been on both the Jerry Springer show and the Maury Povich show and it puzzles me why someone would subject themselves to that type of ridicule. Is it the few hundred dollars in appearance fees, or the opportunity to finally get on a plane and visit a new city? Is fame worth reinforcing negative stereotypes sacrificing one’s dignity and humanity worth the humiliation and physical violence these transgender people subject themselves too? The answer to those questions is yes. It is worth it because if it was not, the Jerry Springer Show and the Maury Povich Show would not continue to have trans women willingly volunteer to abandon all integrity and self- respect for a mere television appearance, a trip out of town and a few bucks in their pockets with no sense of responsibility to themselves or the how the general public will view transgender women.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that puts a higher value on money than morals. With regulations, the transgender movement could avoid or minimize such behavior that reflects poorly on other members of that community. The transgender people who choose capitalism over the community are damaging the movement.
This is how the movement for equality and equity is being influenced by capitalism. Gigantic corporation-like philanthropic, and non- profit organizations, and pharmaceutical companies are in bed with multimedia conglomerates who put false inaccurate portrayals of transgender women into the public sphere. Across radio station airwaves, streaming television melodramas and sitcoms, social media websites, and digital online news articles, all crams the google search
engine with every trope that is opposite of the real everyday life experiences of females and males born gender incongruent.
The First Critique: Identity Politics
The shift in attitudes of the “movement culture,” comes from multiple observations namely the misuse of the term “trans.” I object to using the term “trans.” It is an abbreviation for transvestite, transgender or transsexual. These three words have three different definitions. The abbreviation of these terms causes the American public much confusion because it does not accurately speak to the segment of the “trans” community who seek corrective medical treatment for the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Gender incongruent is the modern-day term that replaced transsexualism according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The over- popularization and politicization of the word transgender, feeds into an archetype that do not reflect the distinctions between those who, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), World Health Organization (WHO), Diagnostic Statistical Manual V (DSM-V) and the World Professionals Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), seek medically necessary procedures to correct anatomic abnormalities. These anatomic abnormalities are linked to congenital chromosomal variations. Gender identity is linked to congenital chromosomal variations for example, one can possess XX chromosomes and appear phenotypically male and one can possess XY chromosomes and appear phenotypically female. The former is XX Male Syndrome and the latter is Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome notes the World Health Organization (WHO). The self- identification model of the transgender rights movement is confusing the American public and the transgender community itself which is why many anti-transgender lobbyists are gaining support from
massive conservative religious institutions using biology as a means to justify passing anti-transgender legislation.
Making the distinction between transgender people and females and males born gender incongruent by using a medical-biological model to educate the public is the direction the transgender rights movement needs to be motioning toward. The word transgender is too inclusive permitting those who do not seek and/or undergo medical treatment to share a movement and space that traditionally speaks to the specific everyday life challenges of females and males born gender incongruent such as access to medically necessary treatment, legal protections, and employment opportunities.
Secondly, the inclusion of the “non- binary” gender identification into the transgender rights movement. Those who identify as non- binary use “they and them” pronouns and subscribe to neither a female or male gender identity nor do they adhere to society’s gender norms or roles yet many of these people often physically present as female or male furthering American society’s confusion about gender identity. This undermines the education regarding gender identity that many activists fight for. The inclusion of the non- binary gender identification in the transgender rights movement is illogical by definition. To be transgender is to have a strong desire to be the opposite of their sex assignment at birth, so why do people who say they do not identify as female or male want inclusion in a movement for people that by definition subscribe to a female or male gender identity? There is a distinction between non-binary and transgender, “one refers to behaviors that are not typical of individuals with the same assigned gender in a given society while the latter, refers to the broad spectrum of individuals who transiently or persistently
identify with a gender opposite the one given at birth and in recent times the term gender incongruent is the replacement term transsexual. A person born gender incongruent which is a medical diagnosis refers to an individual who seeks or has undergone, the medically necessary treatment to for mind/body congruence according to the American Psychological Association (APA).” This is the major distinction between non- binary, transgender people and people born gender incongruent. Simply put, non-binary people denote individuals who behave in such a way that is opposite the gender role that is a part of the social construct. Yes, non- binary people need equal protection under the law but not off of the coattails of the transgender rights movement.
For example, Indya Moore stars on a television show on the cable network FX. Indya identifies as a non- binary person but physically presents as female. This is a complete and total contradiction that is confusing for the American public. Transgender rights activists actively fight to affirm their gender identity as female or male, non- binary people oppose society’s binary model of gender, therefore, their inclusion in the transgender rights movement needs revoking. Indya is also a fashion model who graces the covers of women’s magazines but does not identify as a woman. This fictitious non-binary gender identity Indya adorns serves as a money-making opportunity because the fashion industry is quite fond of models who can appear androgynous. This is a macro-sociological level example of the misuse of gender identity at the cost of everyday authentic females and males born gender incongruent on the micro-sociological level. The transgender rights movement permits these fallacies which cripple the fight for transgender equity and equality. Americans truly believe being transgender is a choice and/or lifestyle. This is far from true.
People born gender incongruent do make a choice, but that choice is whether to enter treatment or die. We choose life over death and it is the task of the transgender rights movement to acknowledge the importance of the medically necessary treatment by designing spaces that cater to this specific demographic of people with the diagnosis of gender dysphoria instead of pushing back on the traditional binary medical model of explaining gender identity. This disfigurement of gender identity encourages the religious conservative anti-transgender lobbyists that transgender people are mentally unwell. The movement is inadvertently replenishing the arsenal of the opposition prolonging moving the pendulum forward to the liberation of transgender people with the passage of national non- discrimination laws. Open discussion recognizing this defect in the transgender rights movement is never talked about. Those who do raise such concerns face demonization by transgender rights activist even if they contribute to the movement, any critique of transgender people is automatically met with disdain and vitriol even if by one of their own. Somehow living in a binary world with full mind and body congruency is oppressive because it reinforces America’s gender norms and gender roles. My question always is, why is that a problem? Is it not the mission of the transgender rights movement to medically, socially, economically and legislatively affirm the female or male gender identity of people born gender incongruent? I believe it is, however, the current movement culture disagrees with this perspective which is why the movement for equal protections is on an unsuitable course. Regulating the movement with uniform messaging will aid in a more effective strategy to achieve equality.
Then there are the capitalistic driven interests by openly visible trans women willing to perpetuate false narratives for personal gain while exploiting and weaponizing the “trans”
identity to the detriment of females and males born gender incongruent. For example, Janet Mock the former editor of People Magazine coming out as a “trans” woman on the cover of Marie Claire magazine with the caption in bold bright yellow print, “I Was Born a Boy,” feeds the false narrative of anti-trans lobbyist that people born with a misalignment between mind and body are not born biologically female. This portrayal of trans women is the antithesis of the biological model the medical industry establishes and further undermines the womanhood of trans women. On the television show, “Love and Hip-Hop New York,” Sydney Starr another trans woman contributes to the negative perceptions the American public forms about all trans women because she intentionally lies about having intimate rendezvous with high profile music artists like the rapper Chingy which is untrue. This behavior maintains that transgender women as a whole are deceitful, lack integrity and are publicity driven attention seekers despite the damage it causes to females born gender incongruent. Social media empowers people to build an audience and cultivate a persona to propel them to fame. This generally consists of distorting reality to suit a narrative of grandeur lacking sophistication, genuineness, and integrity.
“Not all transgender people identify with the term “transgender” (e.g., a transgender woman who identifies as female only). As such, surveys that include “transgender” as the only option other than male or female are likely to underestimate the population size under the transgender umbrella. The available evidence suggests that the size of the gender-nonconforming or gender-variant population may be twice as large as our best estimate for the transgender population size (United States National Library of Medicine’s National Institutes of Health).”
The Second Critique: The Lack of Regulations
The lack of integrity, coupled without the formality of consolidation of alliances, code of conduct and uniform messaging with the transgender rights movement is why anti-transgender lobbyists and supporters are succeeding in the passing of anti-transgender legislation assisting in further discrimination and disparities in employment and healthcare. Creating regulations such as a code of conduct, principles of integrity, civil unity and uniform messaging is a solution to the massive public plugging into the salacious clickbait propaganda produced by transgender people for the sake of, as they say in popular American music rap culture, “securing a bag,” is capitalistic, inherently exploitative and counterproductive to the progression of the movement for equity and equality. The motivation of these types of individuals is money and they are replacing the individuals who have the interests of the community as a whole at heart.
When I reflect on successful social justice movements, the Civil Rights Movement comes to mind. The African American community in all of our different shades, eye colors, hair textures, and body types came together for the sole purpose of equal rights under the law without discrimination. The leaders of the Civil Rights Movement had different approaches and ideologies when it comes to the matter of racial discrimination, however, each civil rights leader from Angela Davis, Fannie Lou Hammer, Assata Shakur, Malcolm X, Chairman Fred Hampton, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., had their perspectives and experiences on the liberation of black people here in American and around the world and what revolution looks like on a tangible, practical level when strategic planning and organizing scale on the micro and macro social, economic, legal and political levels under one message- (non- discrimination on
the basis of skin color), principles of integrity- (trust, transparency, loyalty, accountability, etc…), civil respect- (respect for the varying intellectual discourse on black thought) and codes of conduct (ways of behaving publicly) in the black community. Arguably, there are still many more advancements that can be made toward equity and equality for black people here in America and globally, however, the impact of the regulations in this social justice and human rights movement cannot go without acknowledgment and praise because it is beneficial to black people in America which is why I argue that the transgender rights movement needs such regulations.
The Third Critique: Non- Profit & For- Profit Exploitation
There is a dependency on the capitalistic non- profit and for-profit organizational structures that blindsides transgender rights activists and entertainers into the illusion that their visibility and representation equate to socio-political and economic equity and equality for the collective of transgender Americans. This is a major flaw in the transgender rights movement. The illusion of inclusion. Transgender rights activists believe that simply because organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the American Civil Liberties Union perform superficial displays of support for transgender people by designating transgender tokens to the forefront of their multi-million dollar organizations as representatives for the entire transgender community which mimics a modern-day minstrel show that leads to the
destitute of vision. Their exuberance to sing and tap dance to the sweet tune of empty promises and no real tangible opportunities for upward mobility eventually end in discard and dismissal. This flaw in the movement for transgender rights hinders the advancement of federal non-
discrimination legislation. These organizations need diversity and inclusion for grant funding purposes, but they do not enrich the everyday lives of transgender Americans nor do they accurately educate the public to yield more effective legislative policies nationally. Every LGBTQ organization across the nation has at least one token transgender person as a placeholder, not a stakeholder. These social and public service agencies rarely have transgender people on salary and in executive leadership positions nor do these agencies use their funding to properly serve the most- dire people of their community with basic needs, food, shelter, sustainable income and access to healthcare.
The Fourth Critique: The Death Chasers & The Life Span Myth:
The American murder epidemic is not isolated to the transgender community. There is a narrative being told by both transgender activists and the mass media that there is an epidemic of transgender murders, particularly of black transgender women which gives the general public the misconception that transgender people are the victims of homicides more than non-transgender people which is a dangerous myth to perpetuate instead of examining and analyzing the statistics. The media is using the American Medical Association’s acknowledgment of the violence transgender people face and an action plan to prevent such violence to infer the association is on board with the myth of an epidemic of transgender murders.
The American Medical Association cites the Human Rights Campaign, a white non-transgender homosexual organization with a history of racism, transphobia, and classism, A National Epidemic: Fatal Transgender Violence in America in 2018 Report to give weight to the validity of this myth of an epidemic of transgender murders. The American Medical Association
stance on anti-transgender violence is as follows, “Fatal attacks against transgender people have prompted the AMA to adopt a plan to help bring national attention to the epidemic of violence against the transgender community, the amplified psychical dangers faced by trans people of color (AMA).” An American Medical Association board member by the name of, S. Bobby Mukkamala M.D. gave these words, according to available tracking, fatal anti-transgender violence in the U.S. is on the rise and most victims were black transgender women. The number of victims could be even higher due to underreporting and better data collection by law enforcement is needed to create strategies that will prevent anti- transgender violence (AMA).”
Here are some examples, a New York Times article headline reads, “18 Transgender Killings This Year Raise Fears of an ‘Epidemic.’ Additionally, the article continues to state, “in the United States this year, at least eight-teen transgender people – most of them transgender women of color – have been killed in a wave of violence that the American Medical Association has declared an “epidemic.” The killings, which have been reported across the country, have for some prompted a heightened sense of vigilance (The New York Times).” Transgender activists such as Mariah Moore who is a program associate for the Transgender Law Center contributes to furthering this narrative by stating, “we are the most afraid we’ve ever been,” in The New York Times. If the transgender community is on the rise with representation and visibility more so now in 2019 than in 1990 as well as having more legal protections and options for insurance companies to cover medically necessary treatment, how are transgender people “most afraid we’ve ever been? This is a contradiction.
A quote from a trans activist in ABC News, “for trans women of color facing the ‘epidemic’ of violence, each day is a fight for survival: I’m an endangered species…but I cannot stop living.” Monica Roberts, a trans activist in Texas dedicates her Transgriot blog’s mission to “correct every news article and police report that misgenders trans women,” mostly in their death. For over a decade Roberts continues to write about trans murders to build both awareness for the public and prominence for herself. It is also important to acknowledge the work Roberts has done to highlight the victories and accomplishments of transgender people. Transgriot is more than just a blog in cyberspace, it is a historical hub for transgender people and their accolades.
Another example is from CNN, the headline in bold black text reads, “At least 22 transgender people have been killed this year. But numbers don’t tell the full story (CNN).” The article’s sole purpose is illustrating the horrific manner by which transgender murder victims met their demise in hopes to garner sympathy from the readers when in reality it further dehumanizes and desensitizes the public to such gruesome violations of the law and humanity. In a quote from this article the executive director of the New York City Anti- Violence Project “tells people not to get too caught up in the numbers (CNN).” Why should people not focus on the numbers when the trans activists and the media constantly invoke the number of transgender homicide victims?
Why are transgender activists and the media maintaining this narrative? For these activists and media outlets, it means clicks and views on their stories which drives analytics thus resulting in speaking engagements, travel opportunities and panel discussions that are often unpaid or underpaid for the trans activists that are starving for attention due to the lack of social acceptance, family support and sense of self- worth. For the media outlets, it is about the
perception of “diversity and inclusion” in their reporting and paychecks for the reporters who are writing these stories. Do you know who does not benefit from such sensationalizing of this false and misleading narrative? The transgender murder victims, the families and the people who love them.
One way of determining if something is an epidemic is by using data and statistics. Which is why these people touting this transgender murder epidemic agenda do not want people to “get caught up in the numbers,” because the numbers will show that transgender people are not victims of murder more than non- transgender people are. America as a whole has a murder epidemic. The trans murder epidemic is a myth, a falsehood, a lie. Let’s take a look at the numbers. The total American population is 330,117,622 million with a death occurring every ten seconds according to the United States Census Bureau (United States Department of Commerce).
There are an estimated 1.4 million individuals in America that identify as transgender according to a report by the Williams Institute with data from the federal and state governments.
“We used data from national surveys to estimate the population size of transgender people in the United States. Estimates of the number of transgender adults significantly increased over the past decade, with a current best estimate of 390 per 100 000 adults. That is about 1 in every 250 adults or almost 1 million Americans. These numbers may be more typical of younger adults than of the entire US population. We expect that future surveys will find higher numbers of transgender people and recommend that standardized questions be used, which will allow a more
accurate population size estimate (United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health).”
“We aimed to estimate the current transgender population size in the United States. On the basis of our analysis of national probability samples, 390 per 100 000 adults are estimated to be transgender in 2016, but the evidence suggests that future surveys will likely observe higher numbers. Our analysis also found that surveys use a variety of questions to ask about transgender identity and may still miscategorize transgender as a sexual orientation. This categorization does not reflect the current understanding of transgender as a gender identity, and we recommend using standardized questions to identify respondents with transgender and nonbinary gender identities in future population surveys. Best practices regarding questions that can be used for transgender-inclusive data collection have already been published (The GenIUSS Group).”
The myth of the transgender homicide epidemic gave way to the lifespan of transgender people not living over 35years old myth. The champion of promoting this myth is a trans activist and personality Ashlee Marie Preston who became known to most of the public via TMZ as the black trans woman whose confrontation with the billionaire make up mogul Kylie Jenner’s parent, Caitlyn Jenner who Kylie refers too as Dad. Preston’s ambushing of the parental Jenner about her lack of concern, and awareness of the intersectionality of gender and race was an attempt for the senior Jenner klan member to recognize her white privilege and how her support for the Trump Administration is damaging the transgender people of color communities. Especially black transgender women often giving black males license to kill the objects of their desire, black trans women. Preston began using the hashtag, “Thrive Over 35.” In a video interview on Blavity.com, Preston cites no real substantial evidence or any research data to support the claim that most black transgender women do not live over thirty-five years of age. One may deduce, of all of the known killings of black transgender women in a particular year, perhaps many of them
are in fact under thirty- five but that does not make the statement- the lifespan of black trans women is on average thirty- five years old true.
There are not any academic research studies that conclude any truth value to this assertion. According to an online article in a digital publication “The Stranger,” author Katie Herzong calls out the same life span myth of a trans woman’s life expectancy being thirty- five years old by many trans activists and trans entertainers as a lie. Herzong writes, Latin American organizations report that the life expectancy of trans women in the region is between thirty and thirty-five years of age (The Stranger). There are no data attached, but evidently outlets and people who repeat this claim are extrapolating the life expectancy in the United States based on organizations that have made that claim about an entirely different region, one with some of the highest murder rates in the world. Sounds airtight. As for the second claim, that eighty percent of trans persons killed during a fifteen- month period were thirty- five years of age or younger, that’s not particularly surprising. Homicides drop precipitously with age all across demographics: Globally, over eighty percent of homicide victims are under the age of forty-four, with the bulk of victims being twenty-nine and younger (Herzog). But still, that statistic has nothing to do with the average trans woman because the average trans woman is not the victim of murder.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights did not respond to requests for comment, but this seems to be an example of reporters and activist groups failing to do basic due diligence. An activist group cites a poorly sourced press release, a reporter or blogger assumes that it’s fact, and a false statistic spread like a particularly virulent virus (Herzog).” Why would trans activist groups, media publications, and human rights organizations spread false narratives with no real tangible data to support such claims? Capitalism, visibility, and clout are why these people and
organizations mislead the public. This type of misinformation creates more un-needed fear, anxiety and a false perception of the world outside of the transgender community. Yes, unfortunately, life is not fair, and we live in a social system that favors and elevates groups of people over others. Yes, there are people in this world that have so much vitriol in their hearts they commit violent acts upon unknowing victims but there are also very understanding, accepting and respectful people in the world who truly enjoy helping other people grow, learn and live in accordance to that person’s sense of self and autonomy. Unfortunately, there are many, many victims of horrific fatal violence in the transgender community so there is no need other than money, clout, fame, and publicity to sensationalize and falsify the life expectancy of trans women like this story by Jen Richards published in the Advocate Magazine titled, “It’s Time for Trans Lives to Truly Matter to Us.” Richards writes, “four of the six [trans murders] were black trans women, by and far, the most overrepresented demographic in this epidemic. Whether or not a seventh person, M. Edwards, self- identified as trans remains unconfirmed, but either way would be one of nearly a dozen LGBT people of color whose lives ended violently and prematurely. The ages of the victims are horrifying support for the claim that the average life span of a trans woman of color is 35 (Richards).”
This type of behavior damages the movement for equal rights because it shows a lack of principles of integrity and accountability for activist groups and entertainers which is why I argue the transgender rights movement is on an unsuitable course and gives anti-transgender lobbyists and the Trump Administration more political and legal ammunition to gather support against the establishment of federal laws that protect the transgender community from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Many trans activists,
entertainers and everyday transgender people are in a state of economic, emotional, social and medical deprivation and without fundamental principles and regulations for a cohesive transgender rights movement, national legislation that protects the American transgender population will sadly not happen in my lifetime.
The Fifth Critique: Centering the Trans Attracted Male
In early September of twenty-nineteen, members of the transgender community became fed up with the persistent attacks on their community through legislation by the Trump Administration and decided to organize the first National Trans March for Visibility. Transgender people from all across the United States descended upon Washington, D.C. to demonstrate their discontent with the current exclusion of gender identity from Title VII and to voice the importance of passing federal non- discrimination bill protecting all transgender Americans in employment, housing, and public accommodations. At that time, the federal non- discrimination bill made it through the United States House of Representatives which the Democratic majority controls, however, the bill requires the Republican Senate majority and the National D.C. Trans March was a way to hopefully sway Republican lawmakers into passing federal non- discrimination laws for the American transgender population. The National D.C. Trans March took a year to organize. The speaker’s list and event logistics had been set then suddenly many members of the transgender community heard rumbling that Malik Yoba would be a guest speaker. Mass pandemonium about Yoba participating in the march broke out among the trans community, particularly for transgender women. The community became divided on the matter of Yoba participating in the event or not. The reason that some community members
thought it was a good idea to have Yoba participate is that most men who have an attraction too trans women rarely if ever come out publicly about their attraction to trans women, but Yoba did, causing a media storm, centering men who are attracted to transgender women. The digital online urban magazine named, The Grapevine, reported on Yoba’s public revelation in an article titled, “Malik Yoba Says He’s Attracted to Trans Women, Will Host Workshop at National Trans Visibility March on D.C.” The author of the article goes on to state, “the 51year old actor recently took to the social media platform [Instagram] to reveal he is trans attracted and will be hosting a workshop at the National Trans Visibility March in Washington, D.C.
“Trans people deserve love and respect as do those of us that love them!!” The actor exclaimed in the caption. “I love ALL women AND count MYSELF among those that find themselves trans attracted and I too have felt the self- imposed shame that comes with that truth but it’s time to speak up (The Grapevine).”
BET and many other news outlets began echoing Yoba’s sentiments and in the view of many trans women distracting from the purpose of the march which was the need for equal rights and protections federally. Here is another instance where our male-dominated society only seems to validate the experiences of women through the male gaze. Now that a well- known urban television actor has publicly expressed his attraction to trans women not because he is going to use his male privilege and celebrity to push for equal rights legislation but to garner publicity off of the tragedy of another trans attracted male, a twenty-year-old Philadelphian named Reese
Willoughby who also was found dead of an accidental overdose weeks after a Facebook Live video went viral when a group of males in North Philadelphia found out Willoughby’s girlfriend
Faith is a trans woman. Willoughby’s death was first thought to be a suicide because of being bullied for his attraction but was, in fact, an accidental overdose. This situation sparked Yoba’s public revelation and admission and a conversation about the men who are attracted to trans women thus centering trans attracted men and their experiences which angered many trans women and delighted others, dividing the transgender women in the trans community.
Of all the trans women that have been murdered over the years, Yoba a cisgender male-only choose to speak out when another cisgender male spoke out about his attraction to trans women unapologetically so arguably Yoba came to the defense of another cisgender male, not to the support of trans women and tried to use the march for visibility to center himself and other trans attracted males and their experiences negating the long legacy for the fight transgender people are having to establish equal protection under the law. The national conversation about trans equality quickly turned in to a conversation, centering cisgender males and their sexual attraction to trans women and many trans women think Yoba and Willoughby’s confessions are somehow affirming. This is another reason why the transgender rights movement is on an unsuitable course, the need for cisgender male validation.
This is not to say that males who are attracted to trans women do not need space to discuss their experiences nor is this to say that their support is unwanted however their cisgender male privilege and experiences should not overshadow the decades of struggle of the transgender rights movement to gain non-discrimination legislation passed nationwide. After all, trans attracted males are not experiencing the lack of non- discrimination protections in employment, housing, and public
accommodations like transgender people are. The reason many transgenders are starving for validation and acceptance is that many of them tolerate humiliating, degrading and disrespectful interactions with heterosexual cisgender males who are trans attracted. These individuals subject themselves to this treatment daily which lowers one’s self-esteem and sends the wrong message to about the transgender community at large which is, because trans folks face so many social factors that contribute to them feeling unwanted, unloved and disregarded, the public perception to many cisgender males is that, it is ok to exploit, kill, and discriminate against transgender people because there are no legal consequences to doing such. This is why I argue that implementing regulations in the transgender rights movement is what is needed to avoid and/ or minimize harm and further the fight for federal legal protections.
There are many other critiques of the transgender rights movement I have however I chose to highlight these five issues that are the major points of contention.
The divorcing of one’s gender identity is apparent in the transgender rights movement for the concept of gender neutrality which undermines the plight of gender incongruent females and males who require medically necessary treatment that requires insurance companies to cover such medical procedures due to the Affordable Care Act put in place by the Obama administration. The Trump administration now allows medical providers to deny service to females and males born gender dysphoric based on religious beliefs. This is antithetical to the mission of the transgender rights movement which is why I argue that the distinction between gender incongruent females and males, transgender people and non- binary people needs to be made due to medical necessity. People who identify as non-binary and/ or trans need their own
spaces and demonstrations. They should not be confused with females and male born gender incongruent. Utilizing a biological basis for gender identity is the best approach, I argue, to counter the Trump Administrations’ exclusion of gender identity under Title VII Sex discrimination which is based on biology and only a biological argument for gender identity is a formidable opposing position. Establishing a biological foundation for gender identity destroys the White House’s position thus giving way to the passing of federal non- discrimination legislation that will protect the American transgender population. If people are biologically born with hormonal, chromosomal and/or anatomic abnormalities, it is also logical that human beings can be born gender incongruent, a misalignment between the mind and body.
If the transgender rights movement establishes regulations such as a code of conduct, civil unity, uniform messaging and principle of integrity, it is my position as a social justice activist, academic and from my professional, political and personal experience with the transgender community that;
- misconceptions and stereotypes of transgender people would be greatly minimized and/ or dispelled,
- individual activists and groups would stop spreading uncited misleading and false information about transgender murders and the life span of trans women in the United States,
- the argument for equal rights and federal protections would be taken more seriously by Republican lawmakers,
- the American public would be more understanding of the experiences of the transgender community thus greater social respect,
- People who are attracted to transgender people can live with who they love without stigmas.
I have a very binary view of gender and gender roles. I fully understand and acknowledge that not everyone in society and the transgender community has a binary view of gender and gender roles. This critique is from my personal, professional, political, legal, social and medical experiences as a person who makes continuous contributions to the transgender rights movement for equality. In this critique, I have noted my observations and come to such conclusions over the course of the last decade of my community involvement. I am a firm believer in equal rights and protections for all people and no human being should have to face discrimination in healthcare, employment, housing, and public accommodations or any part of public life however I do believe, to be of service to communities that are constantly facing marginalization that community needs to be on one accord with the demand for equality. As a dear friend said to me, “one band, one song,” meaning a community of people as a whole need to all be on the same page when it comes to the mission, and goals of a social justice movement and members of that community must work together in cooperation with each other to acquire the resources and leverage necessary to achieve the advancement of rights in federal law to include protections for transgender people.
For the last decade, the guidance that the Obama Administration implemented affording certain protections for transgender people, many of them have been rescinded by the Trump Administration and this is, in my view, due to both the bigotry of anti-trans supporters and the lack of regulations in the transgender rights movement.
The Call to Action:
It is highly doubtful that the majority of the transgender community will even remotely consider these critiques as valid or my position understandable because the trans activism movement has moved so far to the radical left that it seems absurdly clownish, completely individualistic, self- serving and alienating to anyone who has a binary view of the world and navigates society as such. There have been calls of action from the radical trans non- binary left to destroy the gender binary. This is a blatant attack on people who live in a gender binary world and enjoy the gender roles and norms of women and men. Yes, we live in a progressive society and people are choosing to perhaps adjust certain gender roles like men who are fathers staying home with the children and women who are mothers that are the breadwinners in their households. This is an example of the progression of social gender roles. There is also space for traditional gender roles. Why can’t we all co-exist? Both progressive, traditional and moderate perspectives and ideologies regarding gender. I believe there are spaces for everyone, but it is going to take some very serious and uncomfortable conversations to come to a consensus on how everyone can get the resources they need and a methodology on how to execute an effective and efficient organizing strategy.
To the transgender community, take some time to set aside your ego, capitalism, the publicity, and personal interest and consider how the lack of regulations in the transgender rights movement such as a code of conduct, uniform messaging, civil unity and principle of integrity are damaging the fight for federal protections, alienating potential allies, and contributing to the public’s misunderstanding, and lack of respect for the transgender community. These are the reasons that I argue that the transgender rights movement is moving
on an unsuitable course. I hope that this critique will spark intellectual public dialogue among members of the transgender community and result in a uniformed movement for equality.
And I end with this quote from my favorite most inspirational civil rights activist Malcolm X’s, “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for today. The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, my brothers and sisters- Plymouth Rock landed on us. If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success. You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he [or she] has his [or her] freedom. I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. Truth is on the side of the oppressed. You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker. Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world. If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing (Malcom X, Organization of Afro-American Unity, June 28, 1964).”
This quote from Malcolm X sums up the lens in which I view social justice activism and human rights causes. Education is the path to possibilities and allows people to pull back the veil of deceit and the spectacle of our capitalistic socio- political system and the myths and contradictions that are continuously being pushed by the trans folks and media that contributes to the misinformation of the American public about the transgender population. Education is the key to social, economic, legislative change. I consider myself a seeker of truth and any social justice movement that negates the truth for the sake of saving face because of identity politics is moving
on an unsuitable course. The time has come for the transgender community to start being honest about the dysfunction and disorganization within the community.
By: Sharron L. Cooks
Master of Liberal Arts
December 9, 2019
The Critique of the Transgender Rights Movement
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42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) (prohibiting discrimination by private employers and by state and local governments); 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(a) (providing that personnel actions by federal agencies “shall be made free from any discrimination based on … sex).
Memo. at 2; see also id. at 1 n.l (defining “gender identity” and “transgender individuals”).
See, e.g., Etsitty v. Utah Transit Auth. , 502 F.3d 1215, 1221-22 (10th Cir. 2007); Hively v. Ivy Tech Cmty. Coll., 853 F.3d 339, 362 (7th Cir. 2017) (en bane) (Sykes, J., dissenting) (citing dictionaries).
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) (prohibiting discrimination by private employers and by state and
local governments); 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(a) (providing that personnel actions by federal
agencies “shall be made free from any discrimination based on … sex”)
Memo. at 2; see also id. at 1 n.l (defining “genderidentity” and “transgender individuals”).
See, e.g., Etsitty v. Utah Transit Auth., 502 F.3d 1215,
1221-22 (10th Cir. 2007); Hively v. Ivy Tech Cmty. Coll., 853 F.3d 339, 362 (7th Cir.
2017) (en bane) (Sykes, J., dissenting) (citing dictionaries).
See, e.g., Etsitty v. Utah Transit Auth., 502 F.3d 1215, 1221-22 (10th Cir. 2007); Hively v. Ivy Tech Cmty. Coll., 853 F.3d 339, 362
7th Cir. 2017) (en bane) (Sykes, J., dissenting) (citing dictionaries).
See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(2); 42 U.S.C. § 13925(b)(l3) (A).
Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs., Inc., 523 U.S. 75, 80 (1998).
Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228,242,251 (1989) (plurality op.).
See, e.g., Jespersen v. Harrah’s Operating Co., Inc., 444 F.3d 1104, 1109-10 (9th Cir. 2006) (en bane).
18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(2); 42 U.S.C. § 13925(b)(l3) (A).