Surprised. I must admit I was surprised. Though, in thinking about it a bit more, I really shouldn’t have been. About what? Glad you asked.
A few days ago I was involved in a discussion with members of the LGBTQ community. We were discussing how to attract different groups within the community. One person stated that it would be good to have the perspective of a Lesbian on the topic at hand. Now keep in mind, we were all aware of where each of us is within the LGBTQ umbrella (for lack of a better word). It was at this point in the discussion that I simply raised my hand and said “we do”.
“What do you mean”, they replied.
“I am. I’m gay”.
“Oh, sorry, but your trans aren’t you?”
“Yes, but that has nothing to do with sexual orientation. I’m a lesbian”
“Okay, wait a minute, back up and explain that to me.”
And we went from there. So what followed was a discussion about what it means to be trans, at least to me, and how I can be trans and gay at the same time. This, to them was a revelation. Don’t get me wrong, they were quite taken aback that they didn’t think of this and apologized profusely. No feelings were hurt at anytime during this discussion. I, to, was taken aback that they didn’t know or think about this. How could that be! They are part of my community, LGBTQ community. Seriously??!
But they don’t think about it because in their world they don’t have to. They are completely settled in their world, and go about their lives as they should. It did prove to me however, that the LGB may not really understand the T so much. And this appears to be a recurring theme. Not only in my little corner of the world, but in communities around the world. It does go to show that there is work to do, not only in the general public but within the community. The sticky point for me is that CIS people who engage with the LBG part may feel they are getting correct information about the “T” part. And maybe they are. I guess my take-away is, don’t assume that.
Maybe that’s why the Lesbian world (in my circumstance) don’t accept trans woman who are gay into their sub community. They think we are trans only and therefore, by their definition, can’t be a lesbian. I could certainly go on at length about that topic. Right now, I think that this is something that may be worth a bit more rumination on my part as I try to find my way in this whole new world. I certainly don’t have the answer right now, and may never have. So I won’t open my big mouth…at least not yet.