An Inclusive Litany


A letter to the Wall Street Journal's online editorial website,, from Amy Wheeler of San Francisco, August 23, 2001. Ms. Wheeler comments on guidelines issued by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for how to refer to a proposed transsexual character on the television series "The Education of Max Bickford" (in brief, use female pronouns without quotation marks). In response to GLAAD, editors had asked the rhetorical question: "How is it that we are supposed to believe 'sexual orientation' is immutable and genetically determined, while sex itself can be altered by a surgeon's scalpel?"
As a transsexual who is definitely not a part of the "homosexual-transgender community," I was amused at your comments comparing the claims of homosexuals regarding their own aberrant condition with the concept that gender can be changed by surgically altering physical characteristics. I could have been reading you incorrectly, but I detected some skepticism about the legitimacy of a homosexual group purporting to represent transsexuals, who, as a group, have the same generally heterosexual perspective on sexual behavior that most of the world's people share.

If my interpretation is right, you're entirely justified in raising the question. For the past decade or so, homosexuals have been claiming to speak for or otherwise represent transsexuals. This has occurred primarily to add numbers to the community of weirdos that homosexuals try to represent as politically formidable. Most transsexuals strongly reject this attempt to "grandfather" us into their socio-political paradigm.

The truth is that homosexuals are no less likely than right-wing Christians to discriminate against transsexuals.

Another truth is that transsexuals, unlike homosexuals, acknowledge that the condition that affects us is, indeed, abnormal, to the point where radical treatment prescribed by medical and mental health professionals is required to ameliorate the condition's negative effects. Transsexuals, also unlike homosexuals, do not hope that tomorrow there will be even more people like us, so as to create a wonderful new world full of... people who genuinely believe they have the "birth defect" of incorrect gender characteristics. That would be a crazy new world, wouldn't it?

I hope you and your cohorts at The Wall Street Journal don't associate transsexuals too closely with homosexuals, regardless of claims made by homosexual organizations or individuals. The advice given by GLAAD seems to incorporate no special knowledge of transsexualism, just some common sense about how to treat others with respect. Do you really need a group of homosexuals, who routinely refer even to their supporters as "fag hags," to lecture you on respecting others? I don't think so. I hope you don't, either.

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