In response to a couple of articles over at Bustle this week, covering the points of view of an anti-transgender radical feminist and a small sample of transgender women, I watched as many on my Twitter timeline vented their frustrations. After a day of that, just as a way of saying, “hey, why not regroup, keep cool, focus,” I tweeted the following before heading off to work:

 

At that point, I went off to go about my day, working, writing, etc. Later in the day, though, I start to see a common theme. Trans women writing about “respectability politics,” denouncing those who advocate for that approach. I couldn’t help but feel like my earlier tweets, as innocuous as I thought they were, were being seen in a negative light. I couldn’t help but feel like some of the louder trans people online were pointing a finger at me. 

 

 

 

 

 

No, “modern LGBT rights” aren’t here because of “decades of riots.” Stonewall, yes, that’s one… And?  Oh, right, in actuality, modern LGBT rights exist as a result of peaceful organization and people getting to know LGB folks. When Harvey Milk urged the gay community to come out, he didn’t say, “come out… AND THEN RIOT, SCREAM AT SOME HETEROS.” No. it was a calm call to action.

Did I get called “selfish,” “destructive,” and “looking for personal gain at the expense of others?” When I asked @Cisnormativity, they ducked the question repeatedly, only saying that the remarks applied to “anyone who engages in respectability politics.” Still, I didn’t know if they meant me, and I tried asking again, only to again be told that it was a broad, general response. The thing is, it seemed pretty specific to me.

I don’t quite understand how I could write something about trying to find victory through peace, only to be met with insults from people who supposedly have the same goals as me.

All I was trying to say was that the energy that gets directed at a single individual (who will never change her mind) might be better off trying to win the hearts and minds of those whose opinion is not set in stone. If that makes me an advocate of “respectability politics” (I don’t think it does), so be it.

The whole thing bums me out, though. I really try to do my best for myself, for trans people everywhere. Maybe I’m not doing as well as I had thought.