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Why Do We Even Have an LGBT Movement?

Monday, Jul 08, 2013


The question came up on a crossdressing forum I recently joined: Why go out in public when you're dressed up? The person posing the question was asking because she has a close family member who doesn't approve, who thinks we should stay behind closed doors and keep our freakiness to ourselves. I call bullocks on that reasoning. There are more fundamental issues at stake that apply to everyone in our country, not just the T part of LGBT.

(This article started as my response to the question, some of that response still remains but is heavily edited/expounded)


I think that there's a fundamental acceptance issue that you'll find almost everybody has, because it's a natural, normal drive for humans to seek out membership in a group. And being accepted completely in that group is certainly part of it. Without that fundamental acceptance issue, the drive wouldn't be nearly as strong as it is. When I say "acceptance", I don't necessarily mean being accepted as a woman, for MTF crossdressers. I mean being accepted as who we are and treated with the same dignity and respect that all other people who leave their homes should receive.

You may as well ask why the elderly go and drive their cars slow in the fast lane. Or ask why the invalid take their wheelchairs out to the park when they can't play any of the sports. Why do the blind go to movies?

Now, the transgender community is certainly not disabled, but the question that is asked of us becomes immediately invalid when asked of many other groups, so why is it considered a valid question to ask us?

The Drive for Acceptance is Pervasive

The need to be accepted into a group plays into all aspects of life. It's why we seek to join teams (at work, for most people), why we try to identify with a nationality, ethnic group, religious group, etc. It's why we have these rivalries between sports teams and schools and even businesses. It's why we had a civil rights movement, women's suffrage movement, and now the LGBT movement. It's also why we have gender roles and their associated traits.

It's the foundation of civilization as we know it, and without this need, there would be no civilization at all. Or rather, the dominant species would probably be a coalition of the great apes and we would be referred to as bushmeat ("Get your damn dirty hands off me you filthy apes!").

Going on, this need is reflected in many mammalian species. Wolves travel in packs for a reason. Cattle in herds, etc. Birds, while not mammals, still group together for their bi-annual migrations. Lions, tigers, and bears all collect into groups. Whales, even (although the humpback whale made famous by Star Trek is mostly a species of loners, they still group together for annual mating riturals). So it's not just natural and normal for crossdressers, it is natural and normal for a great deal of the world we live in regardless of species.

So it's quite reasonable for us to want to go out en femme and be accepted. We're humans, after all.

It was the same for Rosa Parks. It was the same for Dredd Scott. It was the fundamental cause of the Stonewall Riots.

You can't just love the parts of me you like and ignore the rest. You either love all of me, including the parts you don't like, or you're a dick.

Why Have an LGBT Movement?

Why do we have a movement, then? Why have transgender people thrown in with the gays and the part-time gays?

It takes numbers to be accepted as a group, and oftentimes individual acceptance depends on whether or not there's a group that accepts you. Atheists face this same problem, that's why we've started to collect in groups. That's why there's an NAACP. That's why there are labor unions, and even political parties. Consider that if every member of the Tea Party stayed independent, rather than being the revolting wing of the GOP, we'd consider them all crackpots and they'd have no political power. But by banding together within the GOP and being accepted as part of the GOP, they become a group that we have to accept and deal with accordingly.

At a certain point, it becomes easy to round up individuals and put them to death. Stalin showed us that one. Hitler, on the other hand, showed us that and the danger of being a recognizable and hated group.

So as a movement, we're not just seeking recognition. We really are after acceptance. We need to be taken seriously. For many of us, our lives depend on whether or not we're taken seriously. I think that at this time it's more important for the T in LGBT, but even so many LGBs are still in danger and unreasonably so.

Which isn't a surprise when you think about it. It hasn't been that long since several rednecks in Jarrell chained a black man to a pickup truck and drove until he was past dead.

Attitudes need to change. The general population needs to know that we exist and that we deserve the same dignity and respect they give one another. And that's not going to happen if we stay in the closet. Staying in the closet represents a virtual death for each and every one of us.

Therefore, I'd suggest it's the close family member that's the one having the problem. It's certainly not us.

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