petition wants to take the T out of LGBT

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In many ways, this has been an encouragingly fast-moving year in terms of recognition for the transgender community, from Caitlyn Jenner to the recent decision by Governor Cuomo to extend legal protections statewide in New York. But the community is facing backlash, too, from feminists like Germaine Greer's not-"real women" commentary to Houston voters, who struck down a 2014 LGBT anti-discrimination law, goaded largely by the fearmongering rationale that the law let people choose public bathrooms based on their self-identified, not their biological birth, gender. And now a small number of gay people want to end common cause with them, too, putting up a petition demanding that several important LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights organizations remove the T from their missions.

Why undo such a long-standing coalition? "We feel their ideology is not only completely different from that promoted by the LGB community (LGB is about sexual orientation, trans is about gender identity)," reads the anonymous petition, "but is ultimately regressive and actually hostile to the goals of women and gay men."

The author of the petition, a gay man, gave an (anonymous) interview to the conservative website the Federalist, playing the victim to this supposed transgender tyranny. "Any attempt to rationally discuss issues that gays/lesbians/bisexuals are concerned about regarding the trans movement is met with unparalleled vitriol, harassment, death threats, and silencing—demanding that the person commenting contrary to the trans narrative be banned from forums, for example."

Photos of notable LGBTQ women and activists:

Notable LGBT women and activists
See Gallery petition wants to take the T out of LGBT
Actress Portia de Rossi and television personality Ellen DeGeneres pose backstage at the People's Choice Awards 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Actor and honoree Laverne Cox poses at Variety's Power of Women Luncheon in Beverly Hills, California U.S., October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Caitlyn Jenner arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Chely Wright

Country music star Chely Wright performs at the 2014 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at President's Park on December 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)

Tammy Baldwin

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) listens during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on July 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee is examining the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, focusing on combating campus sexual assault. (Photo by Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown arrives at the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards at The Great Hall at Cooper Union on June 1, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images)

Martina Navratilova

Navratilova was born in Prague in 1956, and defected to the United States in 1975, becoming a US citizen in 1981. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles including the women's singles title at Wimbledon which she won a record nine times, as well as 40 Grand Slam doubles titles. She came out as a lesbian in response to speculation about her relationship with Rita Mae Brown. In 1991 her split from partner of 9 years Judy Nelson was much publicised in the media. In 1994 Navratilova retired from the singles tour and was introduced into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000. She is the oldest ever Grand Slam champion having won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles titles in 2003 aged 46 years and 8 months. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

Tig Notaro

Tig Notaro attends PETA's 35th anniversary party at Hollywood Palladium on September 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury speaks to the media after Game Two of the WNBA Western Conference Semifinals against the Tulsa Shock on September 19, 2015 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Images)

Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge performs at The Bardavon 1869 Opera House on June 14, 2015 in Poughkeepsie, New York. (Photo by Steve Mack/Getty Images)

Portia de Rossi

Actress Portia de Rossi attends the celebration of ABC's TGIT Line-up held at Gracias Madre on September 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Sheryl Swoopes

Sheryl Swoopes #22 of the Seattle Storm during a press conference on March 3, 2008 in Seattle, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE via Getty Images)

Wanda Sykes

LAST COMIC STANDING -- Episode 905 -- Pictured: Wanda Sykes -- (Photo by: Ben Cohen/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell performs onstage at the 3rd Annual One Billion Rising: REVOLUTION at Hammerstein Ballroom on February 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage for V-Day)

Ellen Page

Actress Ellen Page stands for a portrait at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown in advance of the release of her movie 'Freeheld' in Washington, DC on Friday, October 02, 2015. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch poses in the press room during the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)

Rachel Maddow

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Rachel Maddow -- Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images


Of course, fear of this is why he remains in the closet when it comes to having this "rational discussion," instead putting up a sniping petition.

And never mind how often transgender folks are and have been victims of violence and harassment.

The good news: His anti-T petition has been up for nearly a week and gained just a bit more than 1,700 signatories as of Tuesday afternoon, but a "Stand with Trans People--Reject 'Drop the T'" counterpetition, started by a Brit named Jonathan Boniface, has received more than twice that so far.

Three of the major groups the anti-trans petition addressed — Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, and GLAAD — have all publicly denounced the petition, with Lambda Legal declaring, "We are fighting together for an end to discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation as well as gender identity and expression because these are all forms of prejudice and abuses of power that are rooted in hatred, fear and a lack of understanding of those who are perceived as not conforming to gender stereotypes."

Not that there isn't an intelligent discussion of actual issues to be had somewhere in here. As the LGBT movement matures and becomes more mainstream, the conversation also has to evolve. Do transfolks feel that some of their issues are not properly addressed by mainline LGBT organizations, and are there areas where they wish well-meaning LGB allies would back off and let transfolks have the mic when it comes to trans issues, with the LGBs (perhaps quietly) providing financial, technical, or feet-on-the-ground support? That's worth exploring. But the impetus for it should come from the trans community.

But there is a reason why the L's, G's, B's, and T's have for so long stood as one — just as they are often targeted as a monolith. Said the Human Rights Campaign in its rebuttal to the petition: "The hate that killed Matthew Shepard killed Zella Ziona [a black transwoman who was fatally shot in Maryland last month]. The bullies at school aren't just harassing the gay kids, they're harassing the transgender kids."

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